Tag Archives: Psychology

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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Skills Therapy and Family

My boys go to skills therapy twice a month. I would like to do more, but they need individual attention and they see a psychologist twice a month, too. Today I had to sign paperwork for their treatment plan with the skills therapist. Nothing had changed, previously I just signed and did not read the paperwork. I know, I know. I am not supposed to do that.
So today I had time and I read the paperwork, signature page to cover, back to front. I agreed with the whole plan, which had been set up nearly a year ago, and when I got to the front page there was a breakdown of each child.
Under weaknesses it gave their worst traits, the reasons they were in therapy.
Under strengths for both of them it said ¨Supportive Family¨.
That’s me.


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Update From the Psychologist

1) The aggression and anger are manifesting only in my presence, now. This means that this portion of PTSD symptoms are under control, and this is purely a learned behaviour that can be addressed.

2) Propranolol treats PTSD symptoms. It keeps your adrenaline from increasing, thus preventing the acceleration of heartrate and preventing “flight or fight” panic attacks. The doctors who told me there was nothing to be done for my brain chemistry besides antianxiety and antidepressant medications were mistaken. I don’t have to dope up to tamp down my responses.

3) Skip the 123 Magic for aggression and violence from the children. Institute a daily and weekly reward system, and take away belongings when violence has been the chosen method of communication. Make them earn it back.

4) I need EMDR, as much as my child does, so my traumatic memories stop being traumatic and merely become memories, which will also help the stress chemicals in my brain. A world without triggers. What would that be like?

When I finally stopped beating my head against the wall in hindsight over my own stupidity for inadvertently showing tolerance for inappropriate behaviour, I got to work. My son has lost every single one of his Pokemon cards. He can have back five each day that is violence free. I am waiting for one of those days to happen. He is already doing better, but his impulses are not in alignment yet, though I can see him trying. Battered women often do not respond appropriately to violence. There should be a zero tolerance, but many like me end up negotiating it in degrees of pain or intensity or intent, even. Being accustomed to it often means that incidents are not responded to with the correct degree of shock. I usually go monotone and place a child in time out with a lack of facial expression. This might have helped me to avoid further beatings from a batterer, but it does not teach a child the severity of their bad choices regarding violent solutions. Guilt will not help me, now I know better, and I can try to correct my behaviour and to help with my child’s learning.

In an institutional setting, violent children have their every belonging confiscated, leaving them with a bare mattress. Their things are earned back, by demonstrating proper choices and behaviour. I cannot quite do this, as I have other children who play with things, too, but I sure can start with the most beloved items. The next things to be taken away will be anything else he wants to sleep with, as that is the surest way to estimate their value to him. Yes, he slept with his Pokemon cards. Every night, in a plastic ziplock bag. I also take anything used in a tantrum or violent episode. Throwing your Wii remote? No Wii. Throwing pillows at me? Don’t plead pillow fight when you are screaming insults in my direction, your pillow is gone.

The EMDR provider for adults is over a half hour away from me. I will call tomorrow to find out if they can take a new patient and accept my insurance. This is the same organization that provides restorative parenting classes, so it is good I get in touch with them, anyway. Then I am going to the community college and asking for an education and checking my finance options.

For any person reading this, who is in an abusive relationship, just leave. I am out now for nearly two years, and look at how it still consumes me. Do it for your unborn children, if you are childless, and for your children, if you have them. It’s never too late. Kick the guilt to the curb. You deserve an unencumbered life.


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Incident Reports

I get incident reports from daycare once every three months or so. Usually it is the fault of one of my own children, for throwing something (that found flesh), hitting out, or doing something really inappropriate-like removing their bathing suit in a playroom instead of a bathroom. 

Today I began the incident report for the psychologist to use in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitivation and Reprocessing) therapy. It’s going to be a list of incidents, that she uses in stories, while guiding the eye movements of my boys. This takes the traumatic memories and moves them from the frontal lobe to the storage area of the brain, which cuts down on triggering and flashbacks, and hopefully softens the memories to a point where the children won’t rely on them as examples in their behavior. It’s like magic, the way she describes it.

Hardest homework ever. The guilt is crippling me. I am their mother. Everything that has happened to them has been my responsibility. I can only blame myself for it. 

The victim advocates told me that the guilt will mess up my parenting tactics, that I will end up spoiling my kids when I should be teaching them. Sometimes I think they’re right, and sometimes I just want to see the kids be happy. I try to play with them more, so that I don’t slip up and let them out of time out early, or let something slide. So I can see them laughing instead of trying to hit me.

It took me a month to write down an incident. I really didn’t want to go back there.

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