Just Another Day

I’m sitting at Erica’s therapy appointment, waiting while she has her session. It has been a pretty miserable morning with her so far today. I don’t know what to do with her, or for her, or about her. The therapist says they will need to work on some anger management with her and also that we as the parents need to come up with a better discipline system, though she has no suggestions. What that will be, I don’t know. Nothing we try has an effect on her. She claims she doesn’t care about any discipline she is given, and sometimes I think that really could be the case. That she really and truly just doesn’t care. About much of anything at all.

It makes me ill to think of life going on like this for years to come. Makes me seriously feel like giving up now, because what is the point? Nothing we are doing is getting to the bottom of this situation. Nothing is helping significantly enough to make me feel like it is worthwhile. My energy is shot, and I’m exhausted just thinking about another day of this.

We started her on melatonin this week to see if that would help her sleep and thus help her attitude improve. Sometimes I think it might be helping, because she seems quiet in her room so much earlier at night, but I don’t think I notice a difference in her attitude or ability to cope with stress/anxiety. Things have been so bad the last few weeks that it doesn’t seem like ANYTHING is helping. The psychiatrist says if more sleep doesn’t help, then we’ll move on to behavior modifying medication. So he talked to me (and Erica was in the room) about some of the side effects of that medicine, including the possibility that it might make her dizzy in the mornings when she gets up out of bed. Just for my information, in case we do decide to start that medication before we go back to see him. So we’d be aware if that happened. That night, we started the melatonin. And the very next morning, Erica came down the stairs, walking very slowly and carefully, and said, “Is it just me or is the room spinning?” I took a deep breath, because I knew what was going on, and proceeded to explain to Erica that the side effect she was attempting to experience was not caused by the medicine we had just started; it was a side effect of a medication she hadn’t yet taken. And suddenly, the dizziness went away. Amazing the way that works.

She is manipulative and cunning. She is dramatic and intense. At some point in her life, these things may be beneficial to her, if she can learn how to use them properly. But right now, these traits cause many hard days and nights.

I talked with her teacher a few days ago about why she is out of class so much for so many doctor’s appointments. The teacher was very understanding and not upset at all – just wanted to know what was going on, and if Erica is ok. I talked to her (probably for the first time with this teacher – it’s hard to remember who I’ve told the gruesome details and who I haven’t) about the violence and anger we experience at home, about the high anxiety and stress Erica lives with, and about what we are trying to do to help her. It is still absolutely incredible to me that people who spend so much time with this child don’t know what we deal with. Erica holds herself together so much, and so well, and it just astounds me that she is able to do that. And dismays me at the same time, because that means we, her family, take the brunt of her negative emotions and actions.

I’m anxious to have the neuro-psych testing done. Ready to know whatever that can tell us. I hesitate to try the behavior modification medicine before we’ve ruled out finding a diagnosis from the psychology arena, but at the same time, I’m not sure I can handle another 6 weeks like this, waiting and trying to cope. That’s asking a lot, and I’m not sure I’ve got that much in me. And yet, though I feel this way, somehow I keep going, day after blasted day. I wonder how much longer I will be able to keep that up.

I wonder what it must be like to live in her head. To feel life the way she must feel it; to experience the world so deeply and so intensely that it causes so much distress. I wonder, but I will never know. I will never be able to understand any experience but my own, and that is the case with all of us. But maybe I could find more empathy, more patience, more understanding, if I had some idea of what it is like to be her. If someone could shed some light on her thought process or her emotional experience. I guess that’s what I’m hoping for from the neuro-psych testing: an inkling of what goes on in her personal experience. Someone who can help me understand what she is dealing with. Someone to give me the tools to help my child. Someone with some answers.

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One Response to Just Another Day

  1. Jennifer Smith says:

    Christine, I am so sorry you are faced with such an overwhelming challenge. I hope you find the answers you need to help your family find the peace you are so desperately seeking. Maybe someday you’ll even understand why Erica needed you as a mom. I’m sure as hard as it is to see, you have gifts and talents and insights that only you can offer her and that she would be a challenge for any parent. I’ll keep your family in our prayers.

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