Tuesday 18 January 2011

Archived Post 2011 - I lose it too.

Over the winter break this happened in my house one day, I am sharing it because I know I am not the only one who has been there and plenty of parents beat themselves up after they lose it with their kids. I feel bad as well,  but after I have lost it I always make sure that I pick up the pieces and that helps.

"Kevin why did you steal that candy" I asked calmly

"I wanted it" he said with a mocking tone.

"Well, Kevin, I can appreciate that you wanted it but you knew that it was not yours to take. Can you tell me how you were feeling when you took it" said in my calm therapeutic Mama voice


"Kevin, how were you feeling?"

 He begins to shout " I was not feeling anything, I just wanted it!"

I calmly respond, "I can hear that you wanted it but you understand that sneaking around the house at night and taking things is unacceptable and you know what the consequence will be if you do, so I would like to know what you were thinking and feeling while all of this was happening last night. "

He continues to shout at me, " I was not thinking or feeling anything. I wanted it! Besides why should you care, you don't care about me anyway. You hate me."

"No Kevin I do not hate you, you might feel that way sometimes though. Right now we are talking about stealing though not about my love for you. Can you please tell me how you were feeling last night when you decided to get out of bed and sneak around the house?"

Repeat variations of these lines for about 30 minutes with him getting more angry and me doing my best to remain calm.

Finally I lost it. And screamed at him. I did not just yell from across the room, I got right in his face and yelled at him. I shouted about how he had pushed and poked hard enough and now I was yelling. I yelled about how hard it was to repeat the same things over and over again and about very frustrated I was. I yelled and yelled for a good 5 minutes or so. Then I informed him I was to angry to talk to him anymore I closed his door, set his door alarm and left the room.

It took me almost 2 hours to calm down enough to be able to talk to him calmly without being triggered by his yelling and button pushing.

Once I was calm and regulated and I knew that I could talk him all the way through the choices he had made and get to the feelings that caused them I went back to him. I apologised for yelling and explained what had happened for me and why I yelled. We talked about his choices and his behaviour and we got to a place where he said, " Sometimes I see something that I want and it is really tempting and I just feel like I have to take it. " That was so much better than " I wanted it" and it gave me somethings to work with and a way to talk about the act of stealing and about desiring things we could not have. It was a good conversation. Then we moved on to feelings and some of the things that motivate us and in the end we were able to move on a save the remainder of the day.

I yelled, then I cried and I apologised to my son. I am trying to stay regulated when he pushes me, I am not always successful but I am trying and doing my best and that is all I can offer.

Friday 14 January 2011

Archived Post from 2011 - Clinical Depression is one of the things I do not talk about much

Yesterday was a much better day, a fabulous day in fact. The boys were regulated and happy and I took some much needed me time and that helped put a lot of things in perspective. I had brunch with a friend, I ran some errands and  then I went to therapy. Yes you read right, therapy, alone, for me and not for or with my children.

I have been seeing the same therapist on and off for 12 years, I have known her longer than I have known my husband or my children. She is good at what she does and having seen the same person for all these years makes everything easier to talk about because she understands how my past effects my parenting.

I started seeing her when I was in my first year of university. I was depressed, not oh my that is so sad depressed but like I think I should drive this car into a brick wall depressed. My depression came on suddenly and although there were a variety of reasons, once it started it knocked me on my ass with it's force. I spent days and days in bed, I did not eat, sleep or socialize at all. I got up, went to school and then went back to bed. It was a very dark time for me.

Looking back on that time in my life there are three things that kept me alive over that first 6 months, literally alive, my therapist who gave me her home number, anti-depressants and an online support group that I stumbled into one day. My therapist and that group of woman held my hand as I dealt with some of the hardest things I will ever face in my life. Those woman listened, reached out, they cared about me and made sure that if I felt like I was going to drive the car into a brick wall or down a bottle of pills that I called one of them first. It gave me the smallest glimmer of hope to know that I was never truly alone, that many people had walked this road before me and sadly many more would come after me. Those woman, strangers that I only knew on the Internet and on the phone saved me from the jumping off the edge more times than I care to count. They reached out because each and everyone of them had been in that dark place that I was in and they were willing to hold my hand until I saw the light again. I am still thankful for each and every one of them.

It took years for me to heal. I worked hard. I went to therapy, I took my meds each and everyday.  I visited the world most annoying Doctor weekly and then monthly so that I could get more meds because for along time she would only let me have 7 days worth of pills at a time. I made new real in person friends, I put me first, I learned coping strategies and self care.

It was a very dark time in my life but it was a road that had to be walked. There was healing that needed to happen and until I spoke the words, until I acknowledged the feelings there was not going to be any healing. That time in my life is a large piece of the puzzle that makes up who I am now and how I chose to live my life.

The first year was the hardest. Looking back I can remember when there started to be a bit of light, when the hope started to return. After that first year I stayed on meds and in therapy for the next 5 years. Then one day I got out of bed and decided it was time to stop the meds and see if I could take on the big, big world on my own. If I had learned enough skills to deal with the chemical imbalances in my brain on my own. I was slowly weaned off the meds and I kept going to therapy because I needed it. I needed to talk about what was going on and how I was coping. I did cope, I saw the darkness but it did not return with the overwhelming  force that it once had.

I was healing.

In fact I decided that I was going to take on the world and I left home and went to Asia by myself for 18 months. It was difficult but I coped and I had fun and I lived. There were days when I was sad and hid in my apartment but those days never turned into weeks and I knew to reach out and talk to people when I began to feel that way. For the first time in years I felt as though as I could do this, I could cope with life.

I came home from my time away, I got married, we adopted traumatized kids and the darkness returned. It did not happen all at once but it started to creep back into my days, slowly like a mist but it was definitely there. I was scared of being really depressed again so I reached out. I went back to regular therapy appointments, I found support in the Internet again and I began to take care of me as well as my family.

There are days when the darkness feels overwhelming but I continue to reach out. I am not ashamed. If one day I need to go back on medication then I will do that.

We do not talk about how very hard it can be to parent children from trauma, we do not talk about how that effects us as parents but we should. Because I was depressed before I look at the darkness from a different place now and I deal with it differently but I do not doubt for a minute that if this was the first time I experienced these feelings I would be completely overwhelmed by them. Instead I continue to see my therapist, we talk about me and about how I feel and right now that is enough to keep the darkness from taking over.

If you are walking in the darkness know that you are not alone, reach out and let someone hold you up because there is hope and it gets better.

You are not alone.

Thursday 13 January 2011

Archived Post 2011 - Healing, really it is.

Kevin had a tantrum last night, that much was clear from my post. I was not feeling well and asked him to help me by vacuuming up the pine needles from the tree off the living room carpet. He happily agreed and then decided it was actually work and did not want to do it. After the 3rd attempt of saying he was done when he clearly was not I said fine, you go fold the laundry and I will do this.

Well that was a mistake because he started by turning the vacuum off while I was using it and then disappeared (fight then flight) into his room, then he tried to run through the house and I said to stay in his room and he actually went back. I closed his bedroom door and told him I would be back. He wailed (as though someone had just killed his cat) for some time.

I went back about 10 minutes later to talk to him, he wailed and yelled at me some more. He yelled a tale of woe about kids at school and blamed them for his behaviour. I tried to talk it through with him and then I tried to calm him and when it became clear I was not getting anywhere I left again saying I would be back soon.

Repeat the above every 10 minutes for almost 2 hours. He stayed in his room the whole time although he did try some of his old tricks while there.

Then finally the switch flipped and he told what was really happened, that he had a made a choice in gym that led to him being excluded by the other kids. He could see that it was his choice that led to them excluding him. He could understand that he could of done things differently and he was accountable for his actions. As exhausted as I was, that gave me so much hope for him. The tantrum with me really was secondary in that moment because he processed his feelings, apologised for taking it out on me and me and we moved on.

And that my friends is healing and I will help him through it time and time again until he can get there on his own.

Thursday 6 January 2011

Archived Post 2011 - Jealous much



Of what?

Randall's love for his birthmom.

Mature I know.

But it is true, I am jealous of the pedestal which he places her on and I long to find just a corner of that pedestal for myself. It is really hard to do everything for him and then have him place her on a pedestal. She did not care enough for change her behaviour to get him back. She did not so anything of the things asked of her in the 2 years that he was in foster care and yet he imagines her to be this sainted woman who unjustly had her children ripped away from her. Okay maybe I am exaggerating but you know what I mean.

Last week when our Christmas cards finally appeared from Shutterfly I sat down and wrote them all out so I could get them in the mail before the long weekend. I wrote one to the boys birthmom and then casually told them that if they wanted to include a letter they had to do it today as I was mailing them. We have done this every year, it is nothing new. Kevin's card was pretty plain and only said love you and miss you, pretty reflective of were he is in his journey of attachment with us and his realtionship with her.Randall on the other hand got very elaborate with pictures and words. He talked about putting a tear on the card so she would know that he was sad in his heart. Then he wrote on the back of the card " Mom you rock". He proudly showed it off to me and I said it was nice and moved on because although I didn't say anything I was hurt by it. He realised that I was hurt and said " oh that should say birthmom you rock", it was a good save on his part and speaks volumes about his ability to realise when someone is hurting.

What he said and did is not the point though, he is a child with a lot of conflicting emotions and really it is not his job to protect me from how he is feeling.

It made me feel jealous of her though. 

I do think that it is a completely normal feeling to have for a Mom in my situation. I have not been as honest withRandall as I have with Kevin about what their birthmom did and the reasons that they were apprehended. He is not ready to hear it because he needs to keep her on that pedestal awhile longer, Kevin is in a much different place. I get that, I understand the theory and all but it still hurts when he makes comments that make me feel as though he loves her more.

He might always love her more, he might not, I am going to need to love him to pieces no matter what though even if I am jealous.