Friday, February 24, 2012

Journaling Severely

Sometimes I accidentally hit the 'delete comment' button on my phone screen instead of the 'publish comment' button thus losing the comment forever. One such delete the other day involved Claudia's recent comment about a couch surfacing kid of hers, who now listed the sofa owners as his family on Facebook, yet another 'screw you moment' that the majority of adoptive parents will experience at some point.

I know Claudia well enough to know that she so sees through this machination.

Remember parents, this is all your fault in their minds. If not for you, and your stupid smile, and all your stupid rules, they could've been with their birth least that's what their minds tell them.

I wish it were so, I'd not have stood in their way. It would've been better for them emotionally, I suppose, to have not lost that primal connection that happened many, many years before I ever met them. I do sincerely regret that they had to suffer such insurmountable loss. I know that must've been unbearably painful. Yet I also know that they were not safe there in their birth homes, but that knowledge is also painful for them to comprehend.

I get it, I do.

Yesterday in Athens, Georgia, the thermometer hit 79 degrees, tying the previous record held since 1980.

It was delightful.

Upon awakening this morning, like any other nerd bucket, I checked the weather on my phone before emails, of course, as the weather is of utmost importance to me each day. It was 70 degrees at 5:15 a.m.

That ain't gonna last. The highs will soon be only in the upper 50s for the next three days.

But hey, my sugar snap snow peas are planted, as is one bed of potatoes, another bed to be sown this morning quickly.

Dr. Mandy is helping me understand why now, with the severe trauma lifted away from us, that I am so deeply grieving, yet also remaining emotionally closed off. I'm working through it. I've not gone to visit them for several reasons, not the least of which is that I gotta heal a bit first.

As for another child and their subsequent just released psychological evaluation, she, Dr. Mandy, is also helping me understand that his proclivities for verbal cruelty are actions that he nearly can't help, can't stop himself from doing this, when he is in a low mood known as anhedonia.

Anhedonia: Loss of the capacity to experience pleasure. The inability to gain pleasure from normally pleasurable experiences. Anhedonia is a core clinical feature of depression, schizophrenia, and some other mental illnesses.

A psych eval, in our situation, is amazingly beneficial in that she has more than a decade of experience within our family, not just my interpretations, but the descriptions also come from different family members, her perspective upon us is richly developed.

What we have here is Cyclothymic Disorder, which is often considered to be a mild form of Bipolar Disorder, as mood symptoms do not meet the diagnostic threshold for major depressive or manic episodes. It is an impairing condition and should be treated as such.

From the Mayo Clinic
: Cyclothymia (si-kloh-THIGH-me-uh), also called cyclothymic disorder, is a mild form of bipolar disorder. Like bipolar disorder, cyclothymia is a chronic mood disorder that causes emotional ups and downs.

With cyclothymia, you experience periods when your mood noticeably fluctuates from your baseline. You may feel on top of the world for a time, followed by a low period when you feel somewhat blue. Between these cyclothymic highs and lows, you may feel stable and fine.

Compared with bipolar disorder, the highs and lows of cyclothymia are less extreme. Still, it's critical to seek help managing these symptoms because they increase your risk of bipolar disorder.

The symptoms can be found here.

Being as thorough as possible, Dr. Mandy includes teacher input as well, in the forms of ratings scales, and it's important to note the consistency between them and with my own ratings in that the demonstrated behaviors were noted by all of us, these include his noticeable social difficulties such as him, "purposefully excluding others, falsely accusing others, annoying others and instigating negative interactions with others."

Ongoing therapy is essential and possible medications to even out the mood swings. This is where Dr C comes in, the psychiatrist.

This all sounds defeating, yet he has greatly improved over more than the past decade, coming a very long way from a raging, spitting, guttural toddler with no language ability at all before age 6. Cute as a button certainly, but inordinately difficult to manage. He's not been outright violent toward others, he's been viciously and verbally ugly to many people, but physically not so at all.

This is a kid who was suspended in kindergarten for hitting a teacher, a sweet lady who goes to church with Grandma.

It's an intricate condition, it's a tightrope wire act for those around him, how much more so to be him?

This is his third psychological evaluation. I've spent many, many years trying to understand and to help him, often it is not until one is in their teens before these rating scales (KTEA-2, RIAS or Conners) become consistent across the board, these behaviors can be extraordinarily difficult to pinpoint.

Yes, he does lie about me to his teachers, or about his teachers to me, or to Dr. Mandy.

This lying can be devastating to us adoptive parents. It's not just due to his severity but it is across the board in the adoption of older children, as they try and justify either their actions or their place in this world.

It hurts, lemme tell ya. Your own friends might even believe these atrocious remarks that are made about us. That anyone would believe these lies hurts even more, it is physically and psychologically devastating.

But here, decades later, after all the emotional abuse I've absorbed...???!! I don't even know how to punctuate that thought. Not even with an interrobang.

I'm now a bit of a mess at times, with some uncontrollable weeping out in my gardens alone, or I whimper to Sarah, Yolie, Emily or Dr. Mandy, or I roll with the punches, or I explode in my head, or I shake it off, or I shut down, or I go on long walks, or I shake and twitch within, and on the outside as well, looking spastic and ridiculous...but the damage to me has been extraordinarily difficult to either catalog or to ascertain.

Would I have chosen to adopt all these children if I'd known what was up ahead for me? Well, heck no. I wouldn't have thought it to be emotionally nor physically possible to endure.

That's why we DON'T know what's up ahead, we wouldn't ever get out of bed if we knew.


It's the not knowing that allowed me to do what I've done and to be glad I've done it.

So nyah, nyah, nyah to the devil who'd have stopped me, if possible. The demons of discouragement, doubt and fear have surely attacked me at times, but have not won.

Listening to Dr. Joy Browne's podcast yesterday as I worked, she read aloud the results of a study that indicated journaling was proven to be effective in the weight loss realm, to which I extrapolated that journaling here via blogging has been effective (for me) over the last seven years. I specifically thank Claudia for introducing me to this aspect of online journaling, and I thank y'all for your support, comments and emails.

I'm still going...