This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bad choices, emotional instability & the Surgery Analogy

Emotionally Kitty is falling apart. Bear hasn't been helping.

Wednesday she stayed home with me and we had a fairly quiet day. Earlier Bear had told me that she owed him $3.50 for a sandwich he'd given her at school (I asked him why he'd expected her to be able to pay him money since she's pretty much always broke, and he claimed she'd been buying snacks from the vending machine so he thought she could afford it). So I asked Kitty about it. She insisted that Bear had a wooden horse he'd made that he wanted her to take, so he'd bribed her with his sandwich since he knew she was hungry.


Doesn't make sense to me either, but honestly I tend to believe Kitty over Bear. Bear has a nasty habit of being generous when he has funds, and then when he doesn't, or he's mad at someone, then he demands they pay him back, although it's not been previously agreed upon.

Over an hour after bed time (Kitty had probably gotten up to go to the bathroom), I heard Bear and Kitty going at it. Don't know which of them broached the subject, but Bear was demanding repayment. Kitty denied owing him anything, and he started verbally attacking her. I didn't hear it all, but at one point he stated he was never going to give her anything again, even Christmas presents, because she turned everything to crap. At that, I yelled up a reprimand, and they stopped (Ponito came out of his room and thanked me because he'd been trying to sleep).


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Thursday, Kitty called me and asked me to give her a ride home from school rather than ride the bus. I'd run into her earlier in the day and asked if she wanted a ride home, because Bob was staying after school and Bear has manipulated his way into riding the regular ed bus. She said no at the time, but called me later and said she didn't feel up to riding the bus.


On the way home, kind of out of the blue, she stated she was not going to therapy the next day with the trauma therapist, because she "hates" the trauma therapist and "it doesn't help anyway." We had a heated discussion, in which I informed her that, "yes, it has too been helping and you don't have to like your therapist, in fact, since she's forcing you to deal with stuff you don't want to have to deal with, you probably won't. Just like sometimes you get mad at me, especially when you're in a bad place. Later when you feel better you know that we really do love you." We talked briefly about my "Surgery Analogy." Then she escalated to screaming irrationality, and I finally just had to shut her down and refuse to speak of it anymore.



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Friday, Kitty called me for a ride home, but I was picking up my car from the shop (several cracked brake shoes and a new battery). Bob was staying after school for tutoring. So Kitty would be riding home on the bus with Bear. Unfortunately the girl Kitty wanted to sit with was apparently sitting in the seat behind Bear and his friend.

I don't know what happened. Bear has been really in everybody's space lately. Kitty is constantly accusing everyone of hating her and deliberately pushing her buttons.

The gist: Kitty was holding a pencil, her hand was in Bear's space. Bear knocked her hand away. The pencil marked on Bear's hat. Bear verbally jumped on Kitty.


After picking up my car, I decided to do a bit of quick Cmas shopping before running home. So when Kitty came home hot, I wasn't there. Poor Hubby. He's having trouble talking about it, and Kitty's version is distorted, but...


The gist: Kitty walked in the door and told Hubby she was refusing to go to therapy. He insisted. He called her a liar (trigger for her because she prefers to see herself as truthful and in her black and white world, she basically is truthful) because she's been pretending there's nothing wrong with her to everyone but family, and she apparently told him she's faking it at home to get to go to the hospital. She cussed him out, spit in his face, slapped him, and tried to kick him. He called her a bitch (she freaked over this because she assumed it meant he was calling her a slut. In therapy, he apparently defined it for her).


He managed to get her in the car to therapy. It took awhile, but I managed to convince him to let me talk to her, so I could get her to calm down. I was able to get her to do some deep breathing with me. After about a minute of me telling her when to breath (in, hold, out, count out loud...), she was finally calm enough to come out of fight, flight or freeze.


Hubby took a couple of days to calm down and get to where he could stand to be near her. He feels if she can control it elsewhere, then she should be able to control it at home. It doesn't help that she's told him that she's faking, and he believes her.


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Saturday, meltdown because we didn't let her spend the night at Grandma's with the other kids.


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Sunday, meltdown because when we arrived at Grandma's for lunch, Bear walked into the kitchen where Kitty was standing, and started an argument with Poppy. Since Bear was helping make lunch, I called Kitty out of the room. It wasn't "fair" that I made her leave and let him stay, even though he was helping with lunch, and she was the one that was upset by arguing.


When I went in to calm her down, we had the usual argument ... I hate her. I love the other kids more. She's fine. It's not her fault. She promises to be good.... At one point I made a bad choice and told her that no one in the family really likes being around her right now, and while we love her, we don't really like her when she's acting like this. I know. Not a nice thing to say, but I'm trying to get her to understand she can't treat the family this way.


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By Monday, Hubby had gotten himself together enough to be able to be in the same room with Kitty. I decided to see if we could keep her home, because she's missed soooo much school and it's finals week. I called her psychiatrist to see if she had any suggestions, but she has decided Kitty's issues are trauma based, so doesn't really want to mess with her meds. She increased Kitty's Ser*quel to 300mg (which is still pretty low).



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SURGERY ANALOGY


When we first got Kitty, her mental illness and trauma issues were buried deep inside like a malignant cancer. She'd suppressed them to such an extent that not only couldn't she feel her emotions, she couldn't feel her body. She thought it was cool that she couldn't be tickled or feel her extremities. She was constantly offering to let people pinch her forearms or kick her shins, bragging that it didn't hurt.





After many years of therapy, Kitty finally started to get in touch with her emotions, and her physical body too. When she gets angry she can tell you that she feels it in her chest and fists. She's even a little ticklish.





With Bear, we describe his defense mechanisms as armor... very thick armor. He uses it to protect himself, and it keeps everyone from getting too close. When we first got him at age 13, it was more like he was wearing porcupine spines, but after a rage we'd see his soft underbelly for about 10-20 minutes. After residential treatment the rages stopped, but so did those glimpses of underbelly. He is able to wear the armor 24/7 and we don't seem to be able to convince him that it's no longer needed and while he wears it he's stuck. He can't change or grow. He can't feel hurt, but he can't really feel anything at all. Not happiness, pride, love...





I think Kitty's protective gear is more like super thick mummy bandages. They restrict her movement and feelings. The good news is that we've been slowly unwrapping her and have finally reached the hurt parts. The problem is, that she's now completely exposed with the trauma right out in the open, for every little bump and stray remark to feel like a lash against her tender skin.





The school is worried that if we let Kitty call home, leave class, go to homebound... then she'll never want to go back to regular classes. I believe that when someone is in a lot of pain, and preparing for surgery, the hospital will prescribe M*rphine or Hydr*codone, even though they are highly addictive. When the (hopefully successful) surgery is over, then the doctor will start working on weaning the person off the medications. People heal faster when they are not in pain.





The problem is that Kitty is not having surgery. She's in pain, she's prepped to start work on the horrible, cancerous trauma... but it isn't like we can just rip it out or give her a transplant. This is something that's going to take years, and she's going to have to stay exposed most of that time. So what do we do?

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