Tag Archives: DV

Domestic Violence Advocate

There is an opening at the local DV advocacy. Two of the staff told me to apply.

My heart sang all afternoon, thinking I could do this for a living instead of as a hobby. Then I started to cry, torn between what I want to do and what I already do. I wish I could do both. But both are full time.

I love my job. The work is not challenging or fun, but I do it really well and I love the people I work for and work with. I don’t want to leave them looking for someone who can handle my workload. I don’t want to miss the company Christmas party. My job is no stress. I stress out, anyway, but imagine how much worse my stress would be working with traumatized people day in and day out who are hanging onto every word I say. The burnout is super high. Only one woman there has managed to stay longer than a year. There has been a new advocate every year since I got here.

I don’t know what the pay would be. Probably comparable or more than what I make. Which is well below the poverty level. It would not bother me to lose a little income, I know how to make do.

What if the stress made me less available to my children? What if I am once again robbing myself of a fantastic opportunity because I am comfortable where I am and too afraid to move?

I wanted to do this after I got my degree. Years from now.

I am so paralyzed by hope and fear that I can hardly breathe. I know this feeling. Ultimately I will do nothing.

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Friday with the Child Psychologist

Today both boys had an appointment with the child psychologist.

She asked me what we should be working on today, and I reminded her of the current issues. I asked my middle child what he should be working on, in case I missed something, and he said he is about ready to graduate. Not the answer I expected.

After session, she told me she thought he might be ready to cease his sessions with her. She told me she remembers how they were when they first started with her, middle son at two years ago and oldest child at a year ago.

She said they were bouncing off of things. Had no focus. Became upset every minute. Did not share. Argued with everyone and each other.

Middle child did not talk about his father and did not want to discuss his feelings AT ALL for a year.

I was surprised she felt he might be done with therapy. He is doing remarkably well right now, true, but I just did not know if it were due to his medication or due to his emotional growth.

She walked us to the door and turned to me and looked me in the eyes and said “good job”.

Last week a social worker visited us in our home and attributed my kid’s good behaviour to good parenting.

After years of criticisms from their father, my father, the shelter staff- I can scarcely believe it.

I hope the children do. They worked really hard to get here.

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Anniversary Triggers and Guilt

Last year at this time my oldest son first became afraid of being alone.

My youngest boy’s medication stopped working, suddenly, prompting a scramble for a better fit.

We are coming up on the anniversary of leaving. I am trying to prep for it, it caught me off guard last year.

This week I had seven commitments. One of which was a sport, so six appointments and one sport. I have three of them tomorrow afternoon. Earlier in the week I was a wreck.
It felt like I had not taken my medication. I became short tempered. I caught it, I told the children something was not right, I needed to be alone for a bit after dinner, I did not feel well. I don’t know why I was triggered. Anniversary? Finding out my cholesterol was too high? The number of appointments? I hadn’t felt antsy and impatient and touchy like that for a long time.

I forgot to take my GABA supplement for a few days a week or so ago, and I had some of the same feeling. I shouldn’t be taking it any longer. I have been on it for months. I love it, though. If I forget that or my vitamins I can feel the PTSD creeping up the base of my neck and shortening my temper. It feels like a pressure rising in the top of my head. Like a fake pressure. I cannot explain it. A tension, I suppose would be the closest I can come. I ought to try with glutamate instead, it is supposed to be safer. Some are of the opinion that GABA does not reach the brain, but some insist that the weight of the testimonials prove that it does. It is not the sort of thing you should take long term. I don’t know which is true, I swear often the internet just compounds the issue. I just know I feel more like the pre-trauma me, if I take it.

I Googled PTSD support groups in my area. Of course, they are only for veterans. The Army would not take me. I tried to become a veteran. It just did not pan out. Probably the only option for support is to go back to the DV group. By now there must be more than four attending. But most of them don’t have PTSD. I want to talk about that, not my trauma. Which is why I have PTSD, ironically. From not talking about it. Meant to post some intrusive thought stuff… right.

I hope the next month goes well. If my son’s anxiety gets any worse, I would have to put him on tranquilizers. I have to remember to get him his L-Theanine on a regular basis, and to slip my own supplement into my bag for his doc to look at tomorrow. I want her opinion for the both of us.

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The Psychologist- April 2015 and A Bit Of Rambling.

Yesterday I saw the psychiatrist nurse with one of the boys. I told her about my oldest son’s reaction to Tenex/Guanficine, which is a horribly overwhelming increase in his anxiety, regression on rigidity and transitions, and a much lower tolerance threshold. I gave it my best shot, six weeks, and I don’t like it. There were some benefits, more communication, more identification of feelings and assertiveness, but that slipped into bullying, as I had mentioned before. Not quite the result I would want.

She wanted a low SSRI instead. I said no. She wanted a very small dose of tried and true hypertension meds, the kind that I take. That was no problem. I have to pick them up tomorrow morning. I am weaning him off of the other medication. I don’t like SSRIs. I will try everything else first.

Today I saw the child psychologist. All the children went, because apparently children do not need daycare on Good Friday, as all good people take the day off. Or something. Daycare was closed, I mean to say. I prefer to get paid, so I worked and had a sitter and then hauled all the children to the psychology appointments.

The child psychologist said to me: ¨I don’t know if anyone has told you lately, but you are a really great mother. Look at them, right now, compared to how they were two years ago.¨ She was right. The baby was off by herself, arranging plastic food on plastic plates. The boys were huddled together over my phone, analyzing some monster foe in the game they were playing. No fighting. No outbursts, no hitting, no clinging to mommy. Their progress is truly miraculous. But I cannot take all the credit. There is:
One consistent family who interacts positively with them
One fantastically calming occupational therapist
One intuitive child psychologist
One experienced child psychiatric nurse
One super educated skills therapist
One really canny pediatrician
One cheerful nurse of said pediatrician
An army of young women at the daycare(low turnover), who love them.
The internet. I have done so much research on my kids and their issues online it is nearly obsession. I mean it is an obsession.

Soon we will be out for three years. Three years of recovery. A long time.

My son told me about a nightmare he had, I recounted it for the psychologist, she took a few notes and asked me on a notepad if my son had been sexually abused. It turns out that a common nightmare for abused children has them being eaten while their caregiver is looking for the monster somewhere else, unaware it is consuming their child. For as long as I can remember, his nightmares have been about teeth. Things with teeth, things biting him. This is the first time he told me about being eaten.

Today, on the advice of the psychiatric nurse I crafted a long letter to the healthcare plan ombudsman, requesting an appeal to the decision to deny my son his necessary medication that costs so much and makes education possible for him. I have been paying out of pocket. It took me an hour, I would say. Thirty minutes later the pharmacy called me and told me they finally had a response from the insurance in clear English, that the coverage would begin in four months. Only four more months out of pocket on these meds and then never again. The letter never left my bag. It was telepathy!

My living room is fantastic. I have a battered but clean couch, two bean bag chairs, a fabric tunnel with reinforced steel ribs, a Wii, a computer, fidget toys, Legos, and a lot of books. The children are either there, or outside on their bikes. I remember when we were in the shelter and there was nothing. Nothing for them to do. We had nothing at all for weeks, when the police took me back to get whatever I could fit into a rental car. I had to tell them long, super long, stories about how superheroes chose peace over violence and friendship over enmity to keep them entertained. Now they are never bored. Behind the living room, on a wall of the kitchen, is our art area. I have everything in there that they ever said they wanted for art.

I used to put tshirt diapers on my daughter. Not to be thrifty. Because there was no alternative. Our lives are so much better since leaving, in every way.

Here is my advice to anyone experiencing domestic strife:
If you have domestic abuse in your house, separate, move, divorce, or leave with the kids. Don’t expose your children to it. My sons might never recover from it. PTSD is usually a lifelong illness, it changes the brain and the brain’s chemistry and is hard to recondition. Children are, obviously, more vulnerable to such ailments than a functioning adult with a set identity would be. Think of your life in third person- what would you advise a friend to do, in your shoes?

If your child is autistic or quirky:
Don’t force them. Be supportive. Coach them, rather than correct them. Guide, rather than discipline. They cannot help it. Give them the tools they need to be in an environment that does not overwhelm them, or they will not be capable of learning anything. Dampen the sound, the lights, and get rid of the clutter. Learn what causes overstimulation, and control it. Learn about SPD. Schedule everything very tightly and consistently. If anyone is critical of your child’s differences, shut them out. Focus on the needs of your child.

I had six appointments this week and two sports sessions. Eight commitments. Totally worth it.

The baby is coughing a little when she should be sleeping. I have to go.

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