I’ve talked to Kitty and her therapist about the increase in the walking and talking to herself. During therapy we briefly touched on the fact that it is keeping her from doing her chores, and she got so agitated we were unable to continue the conversation. I think she felt criticized. I do not think this is to avoid chores though and I reassured her of that.
I did ask her what she was saying when she was out there (I forget who mentioned I should just ask! Even though it didn’t answer my questions, I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me). She pretty much said she didn’t know. The therapist and I asked if she thought she was hearing voices and she said no. She was pretty activated by this point though.
She did say she thought she’d heard voices for awhile after a 16 yr old family member died under traumatic circumstances (She still lived with biomom and I think she would have been about 6 years old – she was in a different state when it occured.). She’s referred to the 16yr old as her guardian angel who she talks to sometimes. She’s also said she’s talking to the dogs, but that is extremely unlikely as she is not paying any attention to them.
The backyard is large and the area she walks in is very open (no trees or bushes to hide things in). She used to swing and liked that better than walking (although she did walk too). The swing broke though (it was old and she weighed more than 175lbs). We bought a minitramp, but it is inside and apparently is too close to the family; she’s never used it.
She appears to be less stressed when she comes in from the yard. If I can catch it early enough we can stave off a meltdown if I can get her to go out there to calm down. She has major issues with emotional regulation and walking appears to help. When she has to be with the family though she pretty much needs me to help her emotionally regulate.