Monday, Kitty did great at the IEP meeting (alert and participating, no shut downs!), but was tired from the sleep study so only went to one hour of school.
Tuesday, she got anxious when they started the new behavior charting… or something. She couldn’t say why she was anxious exactly, but she thought it might be the question of how anxious she was feeling being asked by the behavior program staff. Left class at 1:30 and called home. We talked her into going back to class, but at 2:30pm she felt even more anxious, and the nurse let her call me and said she could go home.
Wednesday, she made it through school just fine so I decided to let her ride the bus to school the next day for the first time since she was hospitalized in September. She has been for the most part more emotionally stable since that last increase in Depak*te.
Thursday, she saw that stupid movie in 1st period Teen Leadership class. I’m watching it now. It’s pretty awful from the point of view of a kid who feels guilty/ responsible/ suicidal…. I can’t imagine why they showed it even to “mentally healthy” kids (it practically advocates suicide as a solution). When she called me, I asked her if she felt like hurting herself, she said “sort of.” Later she talked about having spent all morning resisting the urge to self harm. In the car on the way to speak to someone at the MHMR (I thought it was an assessment person, but there was a miscommunication), she talked about her new fear of being in a car accident. We’d been talking to all of the kids about the responsibilities associated with driving (and that it was one reason why we were doing neuropsych testing). I tried to reassure her that car accidents can sometimes be just fender benders, and it’s normal to be nervous about this (I mentioned my similar fear in my teens). I didn’t know what to say.
Today, she called me at 11am because she felt anxious again. She told me on the way to the crisis assessment, that she is nervous about going to residential treatment.
I don’t want you to think we’ve been talking up residential. We didn’t talk about it at all when she was released from the hospital. Eventually we mentioned it briefly as an option to help give her a safe place to deal with her trauma issues. Now that it’s possible that it could happen any day, I felt we needed to discuss it. For one thing she has to get some shopping done (they require 8 pairs of jeans and bras without underwires – which she doesn’t own).
I feel like it’s a horrible Catch 22. I want to just deny it until we know exactly when it’s happening, and then not tell her until right before it happens so she doesn’t go through this anxiety of waiting. On the other hand, I want to talk to her about it. Explain why we think it will help, what she needs to work on while she’s there, let her know it’s OK to be scared and give her as much reassurance as possible that this is not an abandonment or punishment. It really could happen as early as Tuesday depending on how the review of her clinicals goes in Nebraska. They have an open bed at the treatment center we’ve chosen.
In Trauma therapy today, we talked about a minor meltdown Kitty had while trying on jeans at a thrift store. She didn’t like the jeans I’d found on the sale rack, and she didn’t want to try jeans on at all. She found one pair (not on the sale rack) and was done. When I pushed her to try on more (she NEEDS more jeans, and they wouldn’t let me use my credit card for less than $10 and I don’t carry cash), she started crying, got overwhelmed and let out a cuss word that could be heard by me on the other side of the store. When I said, “Language.” She said she didn’t care, and got belligerent. I helped her hang up the jeans and we walked out of the store without buying anything.
So in therapy, the therapist asked me what would have happened if I had just walked out of the store when Kitty had started acting up. I said I wouldn’t do that because I know it would trigger Kitty’s abandonment issues, but just our conversation did that! She started talking about how she’d call the police and get me on child abuse charges and would run away. It was very frustrating for me because she was just as upset and angry at me as if I’d actually done it! I reassured her that I wouldn’t do that, and reminded her that I hadn’t, but it took quite awhile to get her calmed down again.
It’s days like today that I really get why she’s going to residential treatment. I just hope it helps and doesn’t make things worse.