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, January 4, 2009

On the fourth day of New Year

On the fourth day of the New Year my daughter gave to me, four good things from therapy
three half-hearted "I love you"s
two five minute conversations,
and 7 hours of waiting blearily.

Kitty’s happy as a clam. No school catch-up work, no chores, fried food, white bread and noodles, frequent sugary treats, sodas, TV shows/channels she’s not allowed to watch at home, bedtime that’s 2-3 hours later than her normal time, ditto with morning wake up time, therapists who don’t know her issues so they can’t make her address them, no parents, no siblings, no Grandma, lots of crazy teenagers with whom to have superficial relationships...

Apparently this outweighs the few downsides. Bed as hard as rocks, a roommate who apparently isn’t interested in being friends, new BFFs who leave after a couple of days, girls who get into screaming fights that make your chest hurt and you can’t just walk away, and the “wrong kind” of hairbrush (provided by the hospital).

I on the other hand am a bit of a mess. Hubby is overwhelmed and I wasn’t even sure if he was going to get out of bed this morning. He was so out of it, he made me very nervous. I hate it when he doesn’t talk to me. It always makes me feel like it’s something I did. Of course it made me more sensitive and when he commented that I run away from stress it really upset me. I see it as not getting all worked up about something I can’t do anything about and focusing on the things I can change. Which means all the financial stuff falls entirely on his shoulders, because I have no idea what to do when we don’t have the money to pay for something (like payroll, taxes, insurance, getting the car fixed…).

When we got to the hospital I felt SOO nervous about the family therapy session. I’ve heard so many parents talking about how they get blamed for their child’s problems, plus I knew Kitty is probably acting totally normally (because of the lack of usual stresses). Luckily we were able to talk to the therapist individually before Kitty came in and were able to talk about what we are already doing. I was upfront about our expectations – if they can cure her, great! But all we really expect is a safe place for her to be while they muck with her meds. The therapist seemed to appreciate my realistic expectations.

For the remainder of the session we decided to focus on a “safety plan.” The therapist asked Kitty why she was at the hospital. Kitty said she needs to “get better.” We talked about how upset she gets when asked to do things and the therapist tried to get Kitty to list some things she could do besides escalate to a situation like what happened on New Year’s Day. Kitty said she could go outside and talk to the dogs (something that works well, and we often have her do when she needs a break). But sometimes that’s not an option, and when the therapist mentioned this, Kitty instantly dissociated and wanted to leave. This happens in therapy a lot, and in fact last time we were in AT my “homework” was to help Kitty realize how often she dissociates. So today, I pointed it out to Kitty and tried to help her come back to the discussion, but she couldn’t make it back.

She was feeling “criticized” because we were holding her accountable and it was too overwhelming for her. She has never been able to handle “criticism” well, although she’s getting better about recognizing her reaction to it and handling it. It used to be if someone walked in and said, “Who left the butter out?” she would instantly have a meltdown. Now most of the time she can handle that plus 2 or three directions to actually put the butter away, and wipe the butter off the counter, and wipe the butter off her face, and the handle of the door… I know, I know, it’s not really criticism, but that’s how it feels to her.

4 good things came from therapy.
1) I feel better about how I’m doing in handling Kitty in therapy. Even though I could see mistakes and areas where maybe I should have backed off a little, the therapist said we seem like really great parents.
2) Hubby got to sit in on a therapy session for the first time and see how they work.
3) One of Kitty’s recent complaints is that she doesn’t want to talk about her issues in front of me, which means she’s recently started claiming she’s forgotten everything about her past (I attend Attachment therapy with her – because it’s “attachment” therapy! Plus I attend EMDR therapy to make sure she actually stays on topic and works on her issues instead of dissociating and talking about random crap – the EMDR therapist doesn’t know her well). She drug this out again in therapy, and the family therapist said that as a teen she of course has issues she doesn’t want to talk about in front of Mom. *sigh* I don’t remember if it was she or Hubby that mentioned maybe having half a session be individual sometimes. Now THAT I can live with. I don’t want her to be able to triangulate us, but I do want her to have a chance to talk about things without me there (with a therapist I can trust to not allow her to throw her family under the bus).
4) Now the therapist has a little better idea about Kitty’s issues and has basically told us that we have the right goal for Kitty’s time in the hospital (stabilize meds, send her home).

Bad things about today.
I think Kitty’s issues with Hubby/men seem even more evident.
I talked to the nurse at the hospital and they are taking Kitty off the anti-depressant again, which is fine, but they are not making any other med changes and that’s what caused her to be there in the first place!
Hubby and I are still not in a great place with meeting each other’s emotional needs. Bob is still sick and apparently Bear is vomiting.
I spent 2 hours doing laundry in Kitty’s room (8 loads at least!) and I’m still not done.
I cleaned out the kid’s bathroom last night (found tons of empty shampoo, body wash, cleanser bottles; 4 empty caffeinated soda cans; a Tic Tac bottle half full of empty capsules from Bear’s Amantadine med – which he denies all knowledge of, and all the stuff I had pulled out to get rid of) – he put back because Grandma took them home while we were visiting Kitty and I hadn’t had a chance to get rid of it all yet.


KM said...

You used Kitty's real name in this post and the last one too. Just a head's up!

marythemom said...

Thank you!! Half the time I type these out for therapists or others and when I use them on blog posts I go back and change names. Obviously I used Kitty's other name a lot on these last few posts, and missed one. I wish this thing had spell check too!