Yet another tantrum. Over the lights.
We had an appointment with the psychiatrist today. Talked to him about how the behavior is still an issue. Still seeing violence a few times a week, toward herself and others in the family. It’s a vast improvement over the several-times-a-day violence we used to experience, but it is still not good enough. We still have a ways to go. So we talked about helping her sleep better, in the hopes that with less exhaustion will come fewer outbursts and less violence. Starting with melatonin for now (which I’m putting Cambria on as well in the hopes that she will start getting to sleep before midnight and be less exhausted in the mornings; maybe more sleep will help cut back on her violent behavior). We’ll see if it helps. If not, then the next step will be a mild behavior modification medication. One of the side effects of the behavior modifying medication is that it makes kids tired, so that might help with the sleep issue as well.
It feels crummy to be treating the symptoms without understanding the cause, but at this point I don’t feel like there’s really any other option. We’ve done everything we could. My life and the life of our whole family already revolves around this child so much, and every week with her therapist I get a new list of things we need to do to make life easier for her. And I’m just exhausted. So we’ll keep doing the therapy, and keep dealing with the anxiety, and keep trying to accommodate her as much as possible, but I’ve got to get some help. If the sleep meds don’t help, then we’ll take the next (drastic, but necessary) step of behavior modification. Oh, how I hope it will make a difference.
So the talk with the doctor today included such things as “Try to be still and rest and relax after you take your medicine. Turn the lights down low and don’t get up and move around a lot.” Thus came the argument at bedtime over the lights. Mom wants her to use the bedside lamp. She wants the overhead lights on high. Ok, I’m willing to compromise. Turn the overhead lights down low. Not good enough – Mom wants them too low. So instead of communicating, she runs to the lights, turns them off, screams about how I hate her and how frustrated and exhausted she gets when she wants to do something and I tell her no. I told her I loved her, that I love her too much to argue, that all I want is to be able to help her but that she won’t let me, and then I left. And she screamed. And stomped. And punched things. And screamed some more.
I don’t know. Maybe it is asking too much to change more than one thing at a time. Today the changes were medication and turning down the lights. Maybe it was too much. Maybe the doctor appointment was enough to throw her schedule off for the day, and now I’m sunk no matter what because we’re “off” normal. I don’t know. I can’t keep guessing because there’s an infinite amount of things that really could be the issue, and I will never really know what happened. She won’t talk to me about it.
I feel so much like I spend so much of my time, physical and emotional energy, money, and resources trying to help this person who is usually absolutely unwilling to be helped. Partly because I want her to be happy, partly because I want my other children to be safe, but also largely because I need some calm in my home. I have spent YEARS dealing with this and I am simply, completely, and totally exhausted.
I get away from time to time. I do. I do things because I want to every now and then. I even have some pretty amazing friends that I’d call more than just acquaintances. And to top it all off, I’m on some pretty heavy-duty anti-depressant/-anxiety meds. But it’s not enough. And I’m sinking. Coming up for air a little too infrequently. The weights are just getting to be too much, and I’m just not strong enough to keep my head above water any more. And so today I made the call to my doctor’s office, and tomorrow I will go in. And we’ll change the medication. I’m maxed out on my current stuff, so I guess that means a whole med change. Not thrilled at the prospect of being in flux for months, but I’ve got to have hope that it can get better. Something has got to give. I’m so exhausted and just completely and totally drained in every way.
Sometimes I think to myself that if it was just one big thing, or maybe two, that I’d be ok. But there are too many enormous issues going on in my life right now that I just can’t seem to keep up any more. Things were tough when winter started and the weather changed, but I thought I could power through. And since then, more and more things have been piling up and I just can’t seem to make it work. This is too much.
I hope, with all my heart, that there are sunnier skies in the near future. That there are answers, or at least band-aid solutions to tide us over until the answers come. Because without that, I just might drown.