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!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

Saw Bear's psychiatrist a couple of days ago. I've been so frustrated that I couldn't even post about it.

Basically I've been talking to the pdoc through Bear's case manager, telling her (and therefore him) about Bear's latest exploits and our general concerns. The last few days have been snow days (not because of actual snow or ice, but rolling brown outs that are knocking out power at most of the schools in our district for about 30-45 minutes at a time 3 to 4 times a day). So on the day of Bear's pdoc appointment I was focused on who I was leaving home alone together (something I rarely do), and how I was going to get everyone to school. Between the trainings I'm attending, the fact that I'm probably a little depressed, Kitty's latest issues with depression/rages because she's been hanging out with kids who are depressed and cutting, and the guilt I'm feeling about not being able to focus a lot of time on her because of all the other stuff I'm doing... I was pretty distracted during Bear's appointment.

So when the pdoc stated that he'd read my e-mails and felt that Bear's behavior was nothing new, it didn't really register. When he stated that Bear's risk taking behavior was typical teenage boy behavior, I didn't even bother to argue (yes, it is typical teenage boy behavior, but Bear is not really a teenage boy developmentally, and... you know what, I still don't have the energy to argue). Bear spent the entire appointment with his head in his hands, obviously depressed or overwhelmed, but he willingly answered the pdoc's questions. He told the pdoc that he had all As and Bs (I hadn't checked in awhile - he's actually failing his computer class so this wasn't true).

The next thing I knew we were being ushered out of the appointment with no meds changed. See ya in a couple of months!

Talking about it with Hubby this morning, and we're still in a major dilemma.

  • Bear needs structure and supervision.
  • He needs major meds.
  • He does not believe in his diagnoses.
  • Any issues that crop up are your problem not his.
  • He believes that needing chaos is part of his identity so he needs risk-taking, adrenaline junkie activities.
  • His IQ is low, but not quite mentally retarded (mid 70s to low 80s).
  • He gets overwhelmed in groups bigger than 6.
  • He does not handle criticism or being told what to do.
  • He has black and white thinking.
  • He has low impulse control.
  • If you are not his best friend (aka always doing what he wants), then you hate him and he will defiantly do the opposite of what you want - even if it is not in his own best interest.
  • He is uncoordinated and has issues with heat and stamina.
  • He has an addictive brain - so is vulnerable to addictive substances (tobacco, drugs, eating disorders, sex...).

This is not my opinion. These are symptoms of his diagnoses (C-PTSD, bipolar, personality disorders...) and unlike most teens, he will NOT grow out of them.

People "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" all the time. People with low IQs get good jobs and support themselves and a family just fine. Rebellious teens outgrow it and become productive citizens. People with bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, ADD, personality disorders, victims of childhood abuse... take their meds, go to therapy, find ways to adapt, and become semi-happy adults. You hear about success stories.

I don't think Bear has what the people in those success stories have. Usually those will serious illnesses and issues have the brain power to work their way around it. Those with low IQs and disabilities have the can-do attitude and support from others to help them get through it.

Many years ago, my brother-in-law lived with us. He has some pretty major cognitive disabilities, probably a low IQ and unmedicated ADHD. He also had issues with depression and had a passive aggressive personality (emphasis on the passive). He lived with Hubby and I for awhile and we tried to help him through college/technical school. At the time, Hubby was working as an engineer, back before the hi-tech industry crashed, so was making really good money.

My BIL wanted what Hubby had, but didn't have what it took to go through the years of school that Hubby did. We finally realized that we were enabling BIL (after he reneged on yet another car loan, flunked out of yet another school, and didn't bother showing up to yet another appointment to help him get assessed to get help for his issues...). I was allowing his learned helplessness to continue. He felt entitled to what Hubby had and would just give up when he couldn't achieve it easily.

We finally encouraged him to go back to Nebraska and live near my MIL(mother-in-law) where everyone has blue-collar jobs and are hard workers, reaping the realistic rewards of their labors. He did better (for awhile).

I wonder if we are doing the same thing to Bear (and Kitty) setting them up to want to live in the lifestyle to which they've grown accustomed, knowing they do not have the abilities to achieve it. If we lived on a farm, or worked in a factory in a small town, or something like that... then it seems like our kids would have a better chance of being happy with what they are capable of.

That probably sounds snobby or elitist or something. It's not the way I meant it. I'm just frustrated.

Need to make lunch so I can get the kids to Grandma's and go shopping at the local thrift stores for a suit for my job interview on Monday. Maybe some retail therapy will make me feel better. Yes, I have a job interview, and I'm kind of excited about it.


GB's Mom said...

Congratulations on the interview. Praying and crossing my fingers and toes!

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for the job interview! Will keep you in my prayers.

I don't think you're being a snob at all. The world we live in is a dicotomy of poeple who actually DO work and those who just move money and ideas around. We need the workers as much or more than the others, and as the economy wanes the workers have more stability.

I wish there were an easy way to solve this problem. Maybe get in touch with a local community college counselor and ask for suggestions?

Anonymous said...

I think TV and movies are working far "harder" than you are to create the illusion that one needs to do very little to have very much.
Actually, I think you've been working quite hard to show the opposite, but you aren't as flashy and million-frame-cuts-per-second as the TV is.
They are simply going to believe the TV over you.

tbirdonawire said...

I'm here to tell you that you can forget about "If we lived on a farm, or worked in a factory in a small town, or something like that... then it seems like our kids would have a better chance of being happy with what they are capable of." Well at least forget about the living on a farm part. All three of our kids couldn't wait to high tail it off our farm and live in the city. The boys left as soon as they turned 18.

Our girl is 18 and is itching to leave even seeing with her own eyes that the boys are worse off now than they were with us. She wants no part of manual work. Neither did the boys. No pride in any of it.

I guess it just is what it is, so don't be so hard on yourself or try to second guess what "might have worked".

You were describing my oldest (now 21) to a T when you were describing Bear. He now lives in a group type home. Thank G-d for his mental health case manager.

I feel your pain, trust me.