On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Monday, November 21, 2011

Resistance is Futile

how did it go, how did it go...

good, bad but neither ugly nor beautiful.

I'm exhausted. She didn't stop talking. When asked to stop talking she said, "I didn't even know I was talking." She just chattered and chattered to no one about everything. It fried my nerves.

OK, I've done this therapeutic parenting thing long enough to know that when discussing an event, one should begin with a positive, then add the negative and finish off with another positive. Let me try once more.

She was well kept when I picked her up - clean, no stains, hair tidy, face washed. She was excited to see me and happy to be going home for the weekend. She was pleasant on the trip home which was easy enough with a movie playing (thank god for the advances of modern technology!) She went straight to sleep and woke up cheery on Saturday morning. She didn't begrudge the yard work we all did as a family and was excited about our fire pit and s'mores plan for that evening, the children's reward for their hard work. When she got upset it was a tantrum and not full blown raging.

She had to be redirected at every turn. She didn't stop talking. She was rude and short-tempered. She showered but didn't wash so we made her shower again (this after profuse lying and complaining that the staff at the hospital doesn't care how long she showers and never checks after her.) She couldn't occupy herself, had to be given instructions even just to have "fun". She complained of belly pain for nearly four hours until she figured out that I wasn't going to go berserk about it. She tantrumed in her room, kicking and punching the walls. She picked fights with WG, she wouldn't receive correction, she blamed everything on everyone else and she asked me to get her a lot of stuff. To the point of my distraction. It was everything I could do to keep my stuff together.

But she settled down after her tantrum, 30 minutes before it was time to return to the hospital. She let me rub her back and talk to her about some of the things that need to be changed in order for living at home to be successful for her. She didn't launch into primal rage screaming and didn't threaten to hurt herself or anyone else.

How'd I do? Do I get the nod for therapeutic parenting?

Good. Now I can breathe. *sound of air escaping a large balloon that is now flapping and flitting all over the room until it empties and lands on the floor with a wet 'flap'*

And we get do to it again on Wednesday AFTER I bring WG and AB with me to the hospital and do a family session with Sissy and the therapist. Show of hands, how many of you think AB is going to handle that trip and therapy session well? Oh, look at that. No one has raised their hands.

Right, then. Whose bringing me a shot of vodka Wednesday evening when I get back with them knowing I'll have to turn around the next day and take them four hours round trip for Thanksgiving dinner with The Dad's family? Ah, there we go, much better. All of you have offered to commiserate with me and alcohol. Thank you.

Meanwhile, I'm quilting up a storm. I'm happy to report that I've got a few commissioned projects in the queue and AB's dental bill is slowly being whittled down. Keep your eyes peeled, I'll be adding some Christmas items on my Etsy shop. And once again, thank you SO very much to those of you who have contributed to my vices. I still wonder in amazement at the love and generosity I've gotten. From a new sewing machine to yards and yards of fabric, I'm one lucky gal indeed and I owe it all to you, my readers!

Now I'll have to surrender some of my coveted space in the garage/den (which has officially been deemed "The Happy Zone") to make room for a Christmas tree. Some of you may recall last year's tree debacle. AB suggested we put up a tree this year in The Happy Zone and after much deliberation, it appears that his idea may prove best. It just means I have to shuffle my quilting a wee bit.

I'll get over it.

With Sissy having left for the hospital before school started, we didn't get a annual portrait of her so I took some head shots yesterday and got them printed out at the local pharmacy. We hope to get a family photo over Thanksgiving as it's been three years since we had one. That's too long but the past few holidays have been so hard and we've endured so much as a family that the thought of encapsulating that grief and trauma in a photo was too much to bear. This year I'm marginally optimistic. Enough to get a photo or two. Which is saying A LOT. Turns out proz@c's good for a lot of things.

So as I wrap up my morning, the coffee in my cup ...hang on a sec ... now officially gone (I had to drink the last sip before I could type that because otherwise I'd have been lying), WG's friend leaving in a few minutes after a long overdue sleep over, bills waiting to be paid, holiday groceries waiting to be shopped for and quilting in The Happy Zone neatly laid out last night so I can piece the blocks, I shall conclude with a thought or two about the shopping TL.

The original thought behind that shopping experience began when the therapist asked me what events at home were the most likely triggers for Sissy. I replied that any community outing was a challenge for both her and AB. She asked for more specifics. I began listing the places I consider taboo to take them too unless I absolutely have to. Of course, the grocery store was on the list.

This conversation was taking place during an FTM (family team meeting) which was staffed by the CBAY representative and the FSP (family support provider) who I'd met only two minutes before the discussion although she's "been on the team the whole time", a team that got it's inception in JUNE... I digress. Also in attendance was Sissy, myself, Sissy's individual therapist and the family therapist. We were all huddled in a room about 9x8, door closed, chairs and a table. It was cramped. Sissy was rocking. All eyes were on me. I was the only one talking and the general theme of the FTM was that we collaborate as a team to think of ideas in which "the family could be supported in the home environment to ensure a successful transition after discharge". (really, I get so freakin' tired of all that happy-go-lucky mumbo-jumbo therapy talk. *enter fake vomiting sounds here*)


The therapist landed on the grocery store thing. "What about the grocery store is hard for you and Sissy?" I tried to explain the past images and melt downs and rages I could see in my head and tried to verbally reiterate those events and with all those eyes on me I felt like I was bumbling and failing to communicate and Sissy was rocking and ... the therapist said, "would you be willing to do a TL at the grocery store so we can trouble-shoot those problem areas?" and like a deer in the headlights I said, "yes." because after all, it was an FTM and we were working as a team to help find successful ways for Sissy to transition home and if I'd said, "no," then the next question would have been "well what interventions ARE you willing to try, mom? We're here for YOU, to help YOU" and all those eyes staring at me and Sissy rocking and that tiny room with the walls closing in all around me and all i REALLY wanted to do was scream and shout and holler and rock like Sissy was doing because at that point, that really did seem like the best idea EVER.

Maybe I should have?

maybe my ability to keep my cool and not rage back at the machine called mental health is to my detriment?

Maybe if I went wickity-wackity-loo-loo too then someone running the machine would say, "huh. guess we're stressing out mom too much with all this. perhaps THAT's the problem?" Maybe I should have had a panic attack in the grocery store instead of being a good girl and taking my anti-anxiety tabs? Maybe I should have ...

Aw heck. I don't know what else I should have done. I'm tired of thinking about it all the time. It makes my head hurt. And it doesn't matter anyway. Mental Health is the Borg. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

And that's why we did a grocery store shop with the therapist that never gave ME a positive/negative/positive comment about MY performance.


Becky said...

Reminds me ... I related your shopping experience in addition to the therapists comments to my mom who is an MSW with more letters behind her name than is in her name (lol.) Her impression: "I would call that counselors supervisor and lodge a LOUD complaint!" Thought you might appreciate that one :-)

Wishing you blessings on this Thanksgiving <3

Ranger said...

OMG it's relentless :( Hugs. And vodka. I'll keep a stiff one on the rocks for you.

Lisa said...

You know, there are so many issues/triggers for them to address that it's amazing this would be the one they thought merited a special session. I mean, I don't know what would be a priority at this point either, but it's not like she is on meds because she can't handle the "grocery store experience" in general. The grocery store issues stem from many of her other problems. Fix the root problem and the grocery store/social situation problems will (hopefully) improve, right? It seems like a no-brainer that they would focus on the core issues instead of wasting time and man-power hours on this one particular situation. Also, as usual, they told YOU how to behave and how to make Sissy happier in that environment instead of teaching Sissy the coping skills SHE needs to employ while there. That teaches her that it's all YOUR fault that she's unhappy and cannot behave herself. WRONG - WRONG - WRONG!!!!! I am so sick of hearing about all the many, many ways we are wrong to expect decent behaviors because it's the right thing to do as opposed to doing everything in our power to make life easier on our kids. They all just need to get over it!! I have to do lots and lots of things I don't want to, even when I don't feel well or am stressed, tired and hungry. I'd love to throw a hissy fit when the store is out of my favorite treats or I don't have enough money to buy all the things that will make MY life easier but I have learned coping skills to hopefully get me thru the chore/situation. Shouldn't they be focusing on teaching those skills? Sure, we try to teach these things to our kids, but when it isn't working, that should be the first thing someone else brings up, not yet another way for us to change. AUGH!!! I totally understand your frustration.