Category Archives: PTSD

Feeling Unmoored

I have not slept well since before my father passed away. My memory has been affected, I am having so much trouble remembering even basic things- and it is affecting my work. I am trying to hide it. My kids lost out on having breakfast at school this next month because I forgot to turn in their menus over the past two days. I just now huddled over them on the floor and scanned them into my phone and emailed them in as a desperate attempt to see them fed- and they already get breakfast before they leave here! Why do I do it to myself?

I am running on empty and I get why people give up and give their kids a handful of M&Ms for dinner. I get it. But when I do that my children have meltdowns from the sugar and end up whining for M&Ms at each meal, and I regret it tenfold.

My middle son I just found in bed hitting himself in the head and crying because he doesn’t want to take swimming classes, and he has swimming in the morning. I get that he is afraid of drying drops and I get that he is afraid of swimmer’s ear and I get it. But to be seven years old and so disturbed that you are trying to hurt yourself over disliking drying drops is too much. I gently dragged him out of bed and taught him how to do push ups. I told him if he wants to hurt himself this is the best option, because it builds up the muscles he wants for archery and fencing. His form sucks but it doesn’t matter. He has to learn some healthy way to deal with things- and I hope this sticks. I hope with everything in me. I grieve for who he will be, how life will torture him, if his resilience is such as this. It hurts so much to watch him tear up over everything, to see him rankle at the word “no”. I want to give up, give in, cry myself dry. He is not violent any longer but he seems unable to cope.

My oldest child seems to be doing well, but he never looks up. He has no idea what is happening around him, he does not relate to anyone but rarely. He is always in a book- he is never present. At conferences the teacher told me she doesn’t want to stop him from reading but he has to do his math. I can relate. Two days ago Middle Child stopped him from walking into traffic with a book in front of his face. He is using it for sensory deprivation, I get that. Autistic kids are easily overwhelmed, but this is about growth and safety and health, too. His books are not a coping tool any longer, they are methods of escape. I have to treat books now like screens and designate times for them, take them away, etc. He won’t develop if he doesn’t participate in his life.

My house is dirty. We had archery all week, an hour and a half each night, and I have only had time to cook and feed them and clean up. I prepped food all last weekend and it was gone in two days. Everything a person needs to do for a home I need to do, and winterize it, too. I have about six hours to get it all done this weekend plus cooking and shopping for the week. Tomorrow we have swimming and we go to the pumpkin farm and Sunday we go up to their grandmother’s- so they can see she is okay living without my father. Oldest Child has been fretting over her nearly as much as I have.

I was absent from work for a few days for things I had to do after my father passed away and I still have not caught up from that. I cannot get ahead at work, this is the second month that I am continuously behind. My desk is stacked with papers that I cannot seem to get rid of.

I spend an hour on the internet every night. An hour I ought to be cleaning or cooking or planning or remembering all the shit I forget. I want my hour to read and I want more. I want another hour to eat in peace and talk to each child one on one about their day. I am tired of never getting it all done and I am tired of feeling like a failure every time I come through that door and see the mess still there. I am calling another family meeting tomorrow and going over expectations and listing the problems I am having with keeping up, like lunches. They want lunches from home, and rightly so, being dairy intolerant- but I cannot keep up with the cooking and the packing and the unpacking. I am drowning. I don’t know if children in kindergarten and second and third grade can help me with this, but there is no one else to ask. They already do help with laundry and chores and I want to do all the rest for them but I can’t figure out how. I need more time. I need another me.

I have neighbors with clean houses who also work full time. I don’t know how they do that.

 

 

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Filed under ADHD, ASD, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, ODD, PTSD, SIngle Parenting, Uncategorized

Losing Family

I have this fear and hatred of losing family.

I lost my first husband to his unfounded suspicions. Some serious drinking and risky behaviour got me through the divorce

I lost my second husband to reasons unknown, that I still continue to guess at. I had years to become fond of his family and it still hurts. I will never know how they are no matter how I worry, and I will always be aware that they do not care how I am. Some divorces just rip the guts out of you and they never grow back.

The children’s father’s family I lost out of necessity. If they know where I am, so does he. This was about preservation.

I lost my best friend to a heart attack. I suppose multiple heart attacks, really, and the last one was just that.

Now I have lost my father for that same reason and my children have lost a grandfather who taught them how to fish, took them on their first ATV ride, and reassured them that bears were not threatening to people in the overwhelming majority of encounters.

I lost my father once when I was child, age thirteen. He did not speak to me for about four years. He sent me letters explaining how to gain his favor back, but the letter (for it was photocopied and sent a few times) did not make sense to me. I wanted a love that was not conditional. I did not understand how things worked, what people wanted from me. I was deficient in my understanding and lacking in my behaviour and I just wanted to be known and loved. Nothing else made sense to me. When I reached adulthood I contacted him to re-establish a relationship and I decided I would never give him any cause to leave me again. He offered me a room (conditionally) when I was homeless and I turned it down. I wouldn’t have been able to bear losing him again because I failed to meet his conditions. Worse, I couldn’t bear his disapproval.

I have had some of his disapproval in the years since but I have never offended him enough that he chose not to contact me.

The children had some of his disapproval, but he still showed up with hugs for their birthdays and took fish off their hooks. They have not many male role models, so he was very important to them. The oldest and youngest adored him and my suspicious middle child was coming around to a mutual respect- as they are both avid outdoorsmen.

The youngest is five. Too young to lose a grandpa. None of them have sat down and cried about it-though there was some tearing up. The oldest, at nine, is trying to make me stop talking about their grandfather. He doesn’t want to remember that his grandfather has passed away. I had a talk with him about it, and explained we cannot pretend someone is still with us, it is disrespectful, nor can we simply stop mentioning the deceased for the same reason. He understood. He just doesn’t want the hurt. I don’t want it, either.

I have his Christmas present on a shelf. I know the brand of pickled fish I was going to pick up for him the next time I was in town, a brand I don’t think he had ever had.

He asked me a few times if something ever happened to him, what would I want of his? I wanted his cowboy boots. He didn’t have them anymore. I wanted his boot polisher. He didn’t have that anymore. I wanted one of his puzzles. He was going to look for them. He used to do puzzles and eat popcorn and watch baseball or football. Huge puzzles. Boring picture puzzles of covered bridges and fall leaves, the kind that you put together more by chance and determination than by color. The kind you take a month to finish. I want to take months to finish it, knowing he did so before me, with patience.

That’s all I want. Whatever my stepmother meant about having money that her own father left her that she sunk into the house or about how they both worked for what they have I hope she didn’t have a point or any suspicions of me.

Because that would mean she wouldn’t know me at all, after 35 years. I was worried about her. I wanted to meet with her so I could see her face and reassure myself that she was okay. I left the children at home with a sitter in case the stress was too much for me or for her. I needed to see her, my father’s beloved other half. Because I love her. I love how much she did for my father and I love how happy she made him. I truly believe she tamed him and made his life worthwhile. No one else could shush him when he was getting offensive. She was everything to him, no matter how demented he had behaved towards her this past year. I remember what a comfort she had been to him during the years I tortured my parents with my own mental illness, if my preteen confusion was that. His divorce with my mother enabled him to establish a relationship with a woman who completed him in a way no one else could have managed. Early enough in my life that I could become attached to her, too. I was five when I met her- she was like the mother I often wished I had, who had always patience and cookies.

So I am terrified that my children will lose their grandmother. Terrified.

 

 

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Filed under Child Psychology, PTSD, Trauma, Uncategorized

My Life Does Not Seem Real

My Oldest Son has had three tests now. The 1 hour EEG showed abnormalities. The MRI was normal. I don’t have the results of the 24 hour EEG. I hate waiting for the doctor to meet with me. Why can’t people just type stuff up and shoot off an email?

The Baby has become unpleasant. She is five and somehow her cute strong will has become her rude abusive personality in recent months. We are working on it.

My Middle Child last week was playing with two kids when one pushed him to the ground and he lashed out with a foot and kicked the other (a girl) in the face from defensive posture. He kicked a girl who suffered from a concussion most of last year. He is under instruction not to hit anyone, and not to ever mess with her head because of the risk of injury! He and another witness say he was kicked before he did that, and the victim and another witness say he was not. The girl he kicked immediately gave him a hard kick in the balls. She is a teenager, he has just started second grade, so it was a decent kick that covered the entire area, not a little toddler kick like his sister has. He iced himself up and was okay after a while. Either way, he was forbidden to play with either child and he was grounded from his favorite things. So instead of playing with this girl he helped his friend play with her yesterday by filling up a water gun for him, as a sort of refill assistant. I saw him coming out of the house with the full gun but he seemed to be staying out of the fun as he was instructed, so I thought nothing of it.

Until the girl came running up drenched in water and told me it was toilet water. Some had gotten in her mouth and she had swallowed it. I told her I couldn’t imagine he would do that, he had to be lying and she was reassured. I got him home and he explained to me that he put some toilet water in the gun and I marched him back over and made him confess. The victim wants nothing to do with our family anymore. She asked me to keep my kids away from her and specifically my Middle Child- she never wants to see his face again.

I lost a babysitter, a friend of ours who went everywhere with us for two years, from the zoo to the pumpkin farm to wildlife rescue trips. She spent hours puking after the incident and worse, she feels victimized by my son. He punched her once in the spring, kicked her last week, and this. He is a lot better than he used to be, but none of this acceptable. He has been complaining about her for months, he says she targets him and pushes him down, kicks him, won’t let him play when all the kids are playing together. It bewildered me, I had seen none of it. I thought it was his skewed perception, his PTSD. I have tried to get him to talk to her about it, he would not. I have seen her be aggressive but not like what he describes.

So I don’t know if this is revenge or thoughtlessness. He seemed to think it would be funny. He did not seem to understand how offensive it was until he saw how angry I was. He has restrictions lasting a very long time, and we are respecting her wishes. Today is the next day, and we did not play outside. We did not park in our parking lot, we walked in from the street from the side so we would not have to cross her front door.

I don’t know what to do. I have to keep a seven year old away from his next door neighbor, when both are outside all the time normally. This is my hyper kid, who needs to run and be active all day. I can’t even trust him with a water gun. I have to cook and I have to clean and I can’t just let him play anymore but for a half hour an evening. I don’t know what to do. I liked it here, but I don’t want to distress this girl any longer. She is the victim, and I can’t keep her safe from my kid even when I am present. I think I have to move somewhere else. I cannot think of any other right thing to do.

My life has become a nightmare again. I am right back where I was a few years ago, when my kid was a danger to other people. I have to treat him like that and hope he can rise above it. It’s a horrible catch 22. I have to treat a kid like he is dangerous and then hope he doesn’t see himself as dangerous so that he can learn normal behaviour instead of living up to expectations of being dangerous.

I can’t stop crying. The only saving grace was that I had cleaned the toilet before we came outside. It’s a serious miracle that there was a bit of cleaner in the water instead of what it could have been. Still crying, though. Since yesterday.

 

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Filed under Bully, Bullying, Child Abuse, Child Psychology, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, ODD, PTSD, SIngle Parenting, Trauma, Uncategorized

Best PTSD Resource

http://www.new-synapse.com

I cannot believe how accurate this site is on how having and healing from PTSD feels. For those of us who are trying to heal ourselves or others, please just take a look. Some very good ideas are in here, the focus is on being in charge of your own recovery- tons of things you can do without being in session, though having a therapist is of course recommended. I very rarely plug anything, so you know it´s good.

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Filed under PTSD, Trauma, Uncategorized

Police Training

 

I taught my autistic child to put his hands up and say “I am autistic, I need an ambulance, please!” to the police so that he doesn’t get hurt or misunderstood by law enforcement. What did you teach your kids?

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Filed under ASD, Asperger's, Autism, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, PTSD, SIngle Parenting, Trauma, Uncategorized

My Oldest Son

My autistic child has regressed so completely that his short term memory is shot. He is completely unable to sequence anymore. He opens the door, and does not shut it. He uses the bathroom, and does not flush. He takes a DVD out, and does not put it away. He also now just follows his impulses. He does not ask me for permissions. He takes off for the property next door without asking. He eats all the frozen juice without asking if all sixteen juice pops are for him.

This is how he used to be, as a kindergartner. He seems to have stopped thinking. Today I found myself going over basics of critical thinking with him, in a desperate attempt to get him to pause before taking any action so he can determine if he should take that action at all.

So there is no more tying shoes and no more bathing and no more of much anything. But he is drawing cartoons a tad better than before. Okay, I just found one of his drawings, so make that a lot better.

It is exhausting. I cannot get used to him as he is now when he as he was a few months ago is still fresh in my memory. I find myself getting frustrated with him multiple times a day for breaking rules he had known since he was five. I have to follow behind him, just to stop him from eating just before lunch is served, or from going out to the sandbox when it is bedtime, or from trying to skip rocks in a pie pan full of water.

If he stays like this he will never be able to live on his own. Six months ago I was leaning towards him being okay after I pass on, and now instead I am heartbroken from worrying about who will care for him and how he will do without me.

He cannot recognize anyone anymore, more than half our neighbors he has now mistaken for someone else. The school said there was no issue with faceblindness at his IEP in May. I don’t know if he is hiding it while there or if this is related to his regression.

I don’t see any sign of epilepsy yet- and I don’t know how to get him back to where he was before. I am so worried for him. I am always watching. I need another me, so that I don’t have to cook or clean or be in another room.

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Filed under ADHD, ASD, Asperger's, Autism, PTSD, SIngle Parenting, Trauma, Uncategorized

Social Worker Closes Our File

Two years ago I contacted the county and requested that a social worker be assigned to my autistic son so that I had full access to available resources and representation at IEPs.

We had the same worker until a few months ago, when our old worker was replaced by the woman who used to be my DV advocate when I first got into town. Which was nice.

Yesterday the new social worker called me to say that after review with her supervisor the county has decided to drop me from her caseload because I don´t seem to need any help.

She suggested PACER instead, if I ever had problems with the schools.

So that is one less support.

 

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Filed under ASD, Asperger's, Autism, Child Abuse, Child Psychology, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, PTSD, SIngle Parenting, Uncategorized

Aggressive Autistics

¨There are medicines available for aggressive autistics,¨ the child psychologist says to me. ¨my favorite is Abilify. I will write that down for you, right here..¨

I don´t want my son to be that kind of autistic. I want him to be like me instead.

I never had a problem with his diagnosis before. But I don´t know if I can do this. I already have a son like this-minus the autism. Two is too much for me.

I don´t want it to be like this.

 

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Filed under ASD, Asperger's, Autism, Bully, Bullying, Child Abuse, Child Psychology, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, Medication, PTSD, SIngle Parenting, Trauma, Uncategorized

The Bad List

When the children and I first escaped, my father would watch the boys for me while my stepmother and I went to thrift stores to try to find winter coats or car seats or shoes for the children.

Each time I rejoined my boys they were not happy and neither was my father. I think I left them three times and then never again, after I watched my father slap my four year old on the head for touching a television remote that looked just like his own. I specifically asked my father not to hit my son after that. So he would grab him by the arm instead (I remember that from being a kid, and it hurt) and so we cut back on visits for a while.

Things are a little better since then. But maybe not.

My kids are bored and frustrated at my father´s house. Nothing there is interactive. There are no games to play, no one is allowed to watch a screen, and no one is allowed to be inside – because nothing inside is for touching. These are ADHD kids, they need to be involved in something or they are all over the place.

This last visit they got in trouble for pretty much everything they did outside. No peeling bark (of course I agree with that one), no moving rocks, no tearing down stumps, no looking for bugs under things, no picking flowers or leaves, etc. The only thing they were left with was sticks. Picking up sticks or breaking sticks. If my father had had those rules when I was a kid on that property I would have died. My brother and I tore up plants and broke rocks into shards and hacked down whatever we could. We made pets out of root clumps and found bugs and animals and chased them down.

My autistic son is not too good at following directions. If you let it get to you then you would just be perpetually angry at him. He cannot help it. He is a people pleaser, so if he is not doing what you tell him to do then most likely he has forgotten it or he has fixated on doing that thing and is unable to process redirection. He also cannot understand two-part directions, which really hinders him in the big world.

Anyway, a few years ago, about the time I quit visiting for a bit, my father and his wife drove over an hour to come and see me. Me, without the children present. They did this so they could tell me that I had to ¨do something¨ about my sons, who were obviously out of control. Well, they still sometimes are. They said they would never have a normal life if they don´t learn this or that. Mostly about impulse control and obedience.

I knew I had to ¨do something¨ already, and I had known it since they learned to walk. I couldn´t do much about it until we were free. They were my kids and I was already working with what was the beginning of my medical team when they had this talk with me.

Less than a year later my oldest was diagnosed with autism and his brother with PTSD and ADHD. Both were also diagnosed with ODD but I never bothered to tell my father that, because sometimes it is just a comorbid dx, a default before the real diagnosis comes in. When I told my father my son was autistic he refused to believe it. He insisted my son was normal and every kid must be autistic. I asked him then why he had made a special trip to tell me the year before that my sons needed help. He had no answer to that.

So he still does not get it.

We go up to his house for my birthday lunch and just before the meal begins he announces that my son is on his ¨bad list¨ for ripping apart a stump and not stopping when being told to. This is something my father has praised my sons for doing on previous occasions, he has had them destroy stumps for him because the ones that are falling apart are such a pain to get out of the ground. I am positive my son does not know which stumps he can do this to and which he cannot. Hell, I don´t know either. A stump is a stump, to me.

I told my father that he has to tell my son something more than once and he shot me a disgusted look. I had the strongest urge to spell out the word ¨autistic¨ to him, but I did not. I was just thinking ¨You and everybody else.¨ Life sucks often enough when you are autistic. The least his family could do would be to be patient and to attempt to teach rather than condemn him. Why is it easier for people to believe that children are naughty than it is to believe that their brain might work differently? Why is it easier to believe that a child would fish for anger rather than love and approval?

I was always on his bad list, too. My son has great company.

 

 

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Filed under ADHD, ASD, Asperger's, Autism, Bully, Bullying, Child Abuse, Child Psychology, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, ODD, PTSD, SIngle Parenting, Trauma, Uncategorized

Abuse and Unhealthy Relationships

Yesterday when I picked up my daughter from daycare the preschool teacher pulled me aside. She wanted to tell me what had happened that day.

My daughter was coloring with her friend. She wanted to stop and go do something else. It was free time, where the children can choose from different stations and play with the available toys. Her friend went over to the trash can and held her half of their best friend´s necklace over it, the one she kept when she gave the other half to my daughter last fall.

She dangled the string and said ¨If you stop coloring I will throw this away…¨ While smiling.

The teachers didn´t understand what was going on. They asked the girl if she was going to throw her necklace away, if it were broken? and my daughter chimed in and explained it to them. I am glad she speaks up.

There is just no getting away from it. I see abuse everywhere, in everything. My daughter has just turned five and already she is involved in unhealthy patterns. She has had a propensity to be involved in cliques at her daycare and though it was super cute when she was two- it doesn´t look that way anymore.

Chances are pretty good that she engages in this sort of blackmail, too. She tries it with me, a few times a year. Such as the ¨If you don´t give me candy for breakfast, I will scream and scream!¨ whispered in my ear last fall.

I keep trying to teach them.

 

 

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Filed under Bully, Bullying, Child Abuse, Child Psychology, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, PTSD, SIngle Parenting, Trauma, Uncategorized