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!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Seven Pounds

Kitty was sent home on Tuesday because the school had implemented a new rating scale (Kitty needs to verbally state how anxious she’s feeling on a scale of 1 to 10)… and when asked, she started feeling very anxious (doesn’t make sense to me either). She didn’t know why she felt that way, but at 1:30pm she called me from the classroom of her school case manager and told me she was feeling very anxious and wanted to go home.

I talked to the behavior program staff she was with, and he felt he could talk her into going back to class. At 2:30pm I got another call, this time from the nurse’s office. Kitty was feeling even more anxious and wanted to go home. The nurse felt it would be a good idea for her to go home. Kitty was quiet on the way home, and went straight outside to walk/stalk the backyard talking to herself for hours (she does this almost every day for 20 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how upset she feels).

I found out that in first period, they played the movie, 7 Pounds. (A Will Smith movie in which he feels guilty about causing the deaths of his fiancee and a family of 6, because he was texting while driving. SPOILER: He decides to give everything he owns, including his own organs to people he deems worthy - he tests them himself (sometimes in cruel ways) to determine if they're "worthy." It ends with him committing suicide so the last of his organs can be given to his chosen "worthy" recipients).

I had issues watching this movie. I wouldn't want my neurotypical teens watching it. I can't imagine showing it in school, even if it does send the message don't text and drive!

Kitty was very shaken by it as it felt a little too close to home, and triggered quite a bit of trauma for her. She managed to make it through the next period and lunch, but requested the behavior program staff during math class. They spoke to her for awhile, but she called me from the nurse’s office soon after this.

When I asked her if she felt like hurting herself she said, “Sort of.” So I took her to the MHMR Crisis for an assessment (to document this absence for school since we are being super careful to avoid potential truancy issues and don't want them to change their mind and say I was overreacting). On the way there, she was very tense and spoke about a newly developed fear of being seriously injured in a car accident.

She started pouring out her trauma history to the crisis staff person she’d practically just met. He seemed a little overwhelmed. After we left, Kitty went home to stalk the backyard, and recover.

What is the school thinking? I get that they want to use "socially relevant issues for teens," but come on! She's literally right out of the hospital for suicidal ideation. All the teachers had just gotten a note asking them to censor assignments. They don't make her write Tweety's Eulogy, but this is ok?! There's only 13 kids in this class. It's not like they didn't know.

We had so many issues over the years with triggering, inappropriate school assignments:
Censorship post


jwg said...

All other issues aside, what a stupid choice of movie to show kids. What class was it in? Was there teaching involved or just filling time? Did anyone stop to think about what effect it would have on Java?

marythemom said...

Maybe it's supposed to teach them the dangers of texting and driving (he was messing with his phone when he wrecked). I've found that most of the movies, plays, and books the school teaches are "social messages," which I can appreciate... but not for Kitty.

The class is titled Teen Leadership. It's one of the few general ed classes that Kitty has, but it only has 13 kids in the class. I get the feeling it's one of those weird electives for the kids that don't have special interests and probably are "special" in some way.

Considering I JUST sent out a request to Kitty's casemanager to send out a note to all Kitty's teachers to censor what she's being shown... No, I don't think anyone stopped to think about what effect it would have on Kitty.


Anonymous said...

1. One sometimes notices that one is anxious based on physical symptoms (sweaty, racing heart, muscle tension). Kitty is pretty lousy at noticing these things, but if she were to try to "ask her body" how she is feeling she may well be over-interpreting what she can notice -- and once the cycle has started, it can get quite out of control. ... I would consider asking Kitty how she decides if she is anxious or not.

2. I'd ask that Kitty not have that teacher anymore. With 13 kids she certainly ought to be quite aware that Kitty has been having some major problems "surrounding" the issue of suicide. But on the good side, it pushed her observable-behaviors-at-school ... Who knows, maybe that teacher was well-intentioned in wanting Kitty to display behavior at school so she will get proper placement?