Showing posts with label anxiety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anxiety. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Why Our Son's ADHD Diagnosis Didn't Surprise Us




My beautiful baby boy was born just like any other baby. He was healthy and just the most beautiful baby you'd ever seen with a full head of hair like Elvis. He behaved like any other child and my husband and I were doing our best to raise him to be an awesome little individual.



When he was almost three years old, I went back to work full time. Before then, I had been working part time, but between that job and my husband's full time job, we weren't making enough for us to buy groceries without some kind of assistance, so I wanted to get a full time job to help out.

That meant that my son and daughter would have to go to day care for the day. We chose one close to where we worked so they would only be there eight hours a day versus the ten they would be in if we had them somewhere close to home.

Things Began to Change

When my son turned three, he was kicked out of day care because he was still biting and at three, they expected all kids to stop at that moment. We were baffled that they expected him to change overnight, but we had him evaluated for preschool and my gracious grandma who had just retired said she would watch him for us and get him to and from preschool every day.



Guys- not all grandmas are the best, but mine really is. I don't know why she never went into teaching because she's always been good with us and my children. However, I suppose it's different when the children belong to you.  My grandma always encouraged my son to use his imagination. We'd come and pick him up and they'd be strapping on their "scuba gear" ready to do a deep sea dive in the kitchen or unrolling a treasure map and counting their paces to reach the buried treasure. She really kept his mind fueled all day with imagination and learning.


My son is so smart and we got compliments about his vocabulary, but we started to notice differences between him and other kids.

As a parent who went to church, I was wrangled into watching the preschool aged children. Most of the kids were just the sweetest and then there were the terrors and my son was right in the middle. He misbehaved the worst with me, probably because I'm mom, but when it was someone else's week to watch the kids, it was always my child that created the drama. He didn't want to sit still during story time or work on crafts with the other kids and when he didn't get his way, he'd bite or hit- things that he didn't do at home.

We'd tell the worker that we were sorry and that we'd work on his social skills with the other kids and we would, but it was always the same each week.

He began having problems in preschool. He didn't know how to judge personal space. He had no concept of it at all and kept getting in trouble with the other kids because he would be in their space and he also spoke loudly.

We Took Action


It really became an issue and we ended up having to have an in home meeting with his preschool teacher, one that we didn't want to schedule, but she had insisted. She watched my son interact with his sister and with us.

After the meeting, she suggested that we start him with speech and occupational therapy. While he was incredibly smart and had an amazing vocabulary, there were social cues that he was ignoring and most of it, she said, could be linked back to not being able to completely communicate his meanings because there were some speech barriers that we thought were age appropriate holding him back.

So, we agreed to get him into speech and occupational therapy, which they did at school. Things began to improve.

Triggered

Then we moved and then had another baby. Things that we thought were going well like him using the potty and his acknowledgement of personal space went right out the window.

My son had met another classmate, we'll call him Klaus, and meltdowns started to ensue and things were crazy. We learned that Klaus had a ton of social behavior issues. He was a bully. If Klaus wanted a toy and didn't get it, he'd hit my son. If Klaus was told not to do something, he'd start to throw chairs.

Unfortunately for us, my son picked up some of those behaviors and my husband and I had to learn a whole different way to approach parenting because things weren't going well the way they had before.

We were glad when my son began Kindergarten and Klaus and he were in different schools. Unfortunately, some of those behaviors that he had picked up the year before transferred over to the new school and it was so frustrating because my son didn't behave the same way at home as he did in school. It's not easy to correct a behavior when the behavior isn't always displayed.

By the grace of God, I got a phone call, one day from the social worker at the school. My son had been suspended on his very first day of Kindergarten because he stuck his tongue out at the principal in front of the other kids during lunch and there was the possibility of another one for him for disrupting the lunch room again and once again, embarrassing the principal. I was already angry, frustrated, and feeling a plethora of emotions, so the phone call wasn't welcomed and I know I was snarky, but the social worker was calm and understanding, the whole time.

Putting Together a Behavior Plan

For the first time, I felt like there was someone who was on my son's side. This social worker wanted to create a behavior plan and put it on file, so if some of my son's naughty behaviors emerged, he wouldn't be suspended or in as much trouble because different protocols would be in place.

If you don't know what a behavior plan is, it is a plan that is put together to help your child behave better. If something were to set him off, then the teacher or staff member who was with him at the time would follow the steps put in place for an easy transition. They were also protocols that needed to be followed before getting him in trouble or suspended.

For my son, this entailed seating him somewhere where there wasn't a window or a door to look through. It also meant that instead of calling him out for something, there would be visual cues.

Ex: When he was speaking loudly, the teacher would hold up two fingers so he knew to lower his voice. Another is when he's doing something he shouldn't, he'd have a stop sign taped to his desk and the teacher would discreetly walk over and point to it. His behavior wouldn't be brought forth to the whole class and he could easily correct it without being embarrassed for being called out.

When it was time to switch from one activity to another, he would get a five minute warning, then two, and then time's up.

If he were to begin to feel anxious or argumentative, he was also allowed to leave the classroom to visit the social worker or put himself in a timeout somewhere that was designated for that reason.

Things Got Better, Again

Things got so much better and when it came time for Kindergarten graduation, cheers from the staff members rang out when they called his name. It was very emotional.

After the graduation, the social worker wanted a picture with my son. He was getting married and was moving away and wanted something to remember him by.  He told me that of all of the students he's ever worked with, my son was his favorite. He also said that normally, the staff wouldn't all show up, but they wanted to cheer for my son when it was his turn.

It was a very emotional day. We were stopped by the janitorial staff who told us that my son is the sweetest boy they'd ever met who helps them when he sees paper on the floor and lets them know if someone makes a mess. On our short walk home, a lunch lady who was retiring, pulled over her truck and started crying. She told us that my son was her favorite part of her mornings because he would sit with her and tell her stories. She said she would miss him.

It was amazing to see the transformation; to know that others were seeing my sweet baby for who he is and not for what he had done.


First grade went well and it was almost smooth sailing until he entered the second grade.

Chaos 

It was like a light switch had flipped at school and at home. It was becoming harder and harder to get my son to listen. He'd get in trouble at school, and then even more trouble at home. 

We had been giving my son time outs when he was in trouble. It usually worked when we would set a timer that he'd get to see, but those time outs wouldn't work. It was a very difficult time. 

I had tried to send him to his room when he'd get into trouble, but he'd scream that he had to go to the bathroom and then one time, he looked at me through his door (our bedroom doors all have windows covered by curtains) and wet himself... on purpose... I cried.

The homework that he had would take him up to two hours to do each night, mostly because he didn't want to start it or work on it. 

I made a time out chart and hung it up on the wall. That began to work better because I included his brother in sister on it and put an x next to their names every time one of them had a time out and he soon realized that those xs would show whenever grandma came over for dinner. 

I tried to enforce a positivity chart where after they did so many good, positive things, I would reward them with a piece of candy or something else that they liked at the time. Movie rentals on the weekend were a huge hit.

Getting the Diagnosis

As things got better at home, they were sill getting worse at school. My son was getting sent home almost every other day for disruptive and dangerous behavior. The last time it happened, I was fed up.

I had gotten my son to behave better at home, why wasn't the school able to do it, too? I marched into that office and demanded a meeting. With only 15 minutes of the school day left, the awesome librarian that my daughter thought was a fairy princess was kind enough to take all three of my kids to the library to hang out while I hashed things out.

The principal was just like Professor Umbridge in Harry Potter. Sickly sweet and passive aggressive with nothing worth while to pitch in. When she left the meeting, I looked right at the newer social worker and asked, "Do you think it's possible that my son has ADHD?" and he basically said, "yeah".

Right away, he got things put in order for us. He gave me the name and number of a doctor who specialized in ADHD, convened a panel with the school psychologist, school nurse, first grade teacher, second grade teacher, the case worker from the year before and the case worker from that year, and together, we all filled out a questionaire and after the psychologist tallied it all up, the results, although staggering in some places, all agreed that he had ADHD with anxiety and aggressive behaviors. 

Treatment

There are many different ways that we could have used to treat him, but we started off with medication.

Related- Why We Chose to Medicate Our Son

After a few trials and errors, we came up with a dosage that worked best for him.

In just a few short weeks, that loving, caring, creative boy came back.

I never knew how far behind he was in his academics until I saw that my daughter was expected to do the same things and more than what my son was doing at home. 

My son was having difficulties in school because he didn't know how to read like he should. I didn't know that. I thought he was just being difficult.

If you could see how much his learning has skyrocketed, you'd be floored.

Today

Today, you wouldn't know that he has ADHD or that he was so far behind. He is reading where he should and he's amazing at math. He can add and subtract faster in his mind than I can. 

The frustrations and behavior issues that he had was because he couldn't comprehend what he was supposed to do. His mind was moving too fast to remember sight words or to remember how to do a certain problem. It caused him to become embarrassed and act out. Now he's not. 

Getting him to do his homework has never been easier. In fact, he sits down and does all of his homework for the whole week on Monday and then just does the corrections for the rest of the week. 

About the only thing he struggles with is social cues when he's off of his medicine. Since it's a time release and we only give it to him once a day, it's practically worn off by the time we get home. 

When we don't give it to him over the weekends or on break, he likes to go overboard on wrestling with his brother and sister and doesn't know when too much is too much, but that is something that he'll learn to do one day. 

Did the Diagnosis Surprise Us?

No! Absolutely not. There were warning signs the whole time he was growing up. In fact, his diagnosis was a relief because if he didn't get it, I would have believed that I was just a bad parent. If it weren't for my very well behaved daughter, I would have believed that all the bad was because I didn't know how to discipline my son. After all, I sometimes had temper tantrums when I got anxious. All of the bad behaviors my son had were similar to the ones that I had as a kid. 

Now I know that it wasn't my fault. Things are so much easier now. (Knock on wood)

Fortunately and unfortunately, ADHD is hereditary. If you know that you or someone in your family has ADHD, it's easier to get the diagnosis and to start early prevention whether it be medication or some other way like oils or healthy diet.

Unfortunately, more than one child can have it and one child may display it differently from another one. My youngest leans towards ADHD, too, but he's only four. We are on watch for him, since he can't be officially diagnosed until he's older because kids do change. 

It's just once you know about ADHD, you see ADHD everywhere. Try not to become too paranoid.

For more information, read this related post- Signs Your Child Might Have ADHD

Friday, July 20, 2018

Do You Worry About Being Remembered?

     I don't know if it's just part of being a woman or maybe every human feels this way from time to time, but sometimes, out of nowhere, I get into a weird funk. Sometimes it happens when I'm reading a book or when I'm listening to old songs (this is usually what gets me) and I get taken back to a time years ago. Sometimes it happens when I try on a pair of clothes and they no longer fit or when I see a picture of myself and think, "That's not what I look like in the mirror." I can get really down and I start thinking about what it was like in school.
 
     I used to be a very outgoing introvert... I think the terminology might be ambivert, now.... or maybe I'm wrong about that. I was the type of person who liked to go meet people, but after a while, I liked to just be by myself because I overwhelmed myself from trying to get popular. I was the type of person who tried to befriend everyone! I was the person who followed the calling, "Go forth and make disciples" (especially when it was competition time in the youth group.) If I knew you, you probably were getting invited to church all the time.

       I used to be cute and skinny and had many boyfriend prospects. It was nice to know that people liked me and that I could make friends so easily. Perhaps that's why I get into funks now. As a stay-at-home mom, my priorities have changed. My friends are my kids and my family members. Yes, I wonder from time to time if someone thinks about me and has great memories of me just like I do them. It can be discouraging when I think about how large my group of friends were, even though I still had my close group of friends too.

      I thinks its natural though, to separate from each other. We're all at different parts of life, right now. I've been blessed to get married right out of college and have kids right away. At some point, we had to grow up. We went to different colleges because that was what was right for us. We had to move away because we had better opportunities. When I get into my funk and I wonder if I'm thought of often or even on occasion and hope that I'm thought of fondly, I should be glad to have had those experiences at all. We weren't dumped by our friends, time and life just happened and we should be glad that our friends are happy and wish the best for them.

     Here's my challenge for you: If you think of someone from the past, pray for them. Let them know. It's funny how we have this thing called Facebook. Send them a message; a word of encouragement. Don't be shady about it, because that's just weird. Say "Hi, I was thinking about you today. Remember when....?" It might brighten their day, and if they're like me and feeling down about their weight or feeling a little lonely, it can turn a funk day around to a good day. So let's encourage each other, today!







Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Case For an Overthinker

     I'm one of those annoying people who asks a lot of questions. I'm an intuitive person and I overthink things to death. It might have to do with some of my anxiety, but overall, I think I have a pretty good handle on things.... I guess.

     This is what my day looks like. I walked the kids to school, this morning. The school just put up a fence all around the school. There are only two ways to get into the school, now. If I were on the committee who decided to put that fence up, some questions would be raised.
Not the actual school
  1. What happens if there is an emergency where the kids need to be evacuated? The kids and teachers can't escape through the field. Instead, everyone has to go out the same fence opening. If there is an actual fire, there really could be a potential explosion if the fire happened near the gas line. The kids can evacuate into the field, but what if they need more room than that? They'll either all get jammed into the two openings or they'll have to scale the fence to get out the fastest way possible.
  2. So much for having the kids who walk get to school in time. In order to cut into the field, they'd have to climb the fence. The only way to get to the school now is for the kids to take the sidewalk and go ALL the way around. It's also more unsafe for them to go along that way because there are busy roads on all sides of the school. The door that my kids go through is also the door where all the parents drop their kids off for school. Many of those parents are in a hurry and aren't paying attention to the kids outside of their vehicle. It takes one kid to slip off the curb and get hit to have a lawsuit against you. If there was a way for them to cut through the field, all of this thought was for not.
  3. Why didn't they make a couple of openings at the other ends of the fence? I understand wanting to keep strangers off of the property. Make gates that can close and have an employee chain it up once a reasonable amount of time has passed since the tardy bell.
  4. Those geese inside of the field... My m-i-l works next to a school who has a coyote decoy out on the lawn. It deters the geese so there are none in the field making a poopy mess.
It doesn't have to be THIS menacing.


     This thinking is just from today. If you hired and overthinker, think of how many problems could be solved before they even happen?!?!?!

     There are times when my ability gets annoying. I'm extremely perceptive. I pick up on faces and if I'm brave enough, will question you about what it means. You may not even know that you did it, but if you don't answer me, I WILL create a whole dialogue from your perspective and mine. Watch out!

Example:

Me: What is that look supposed to mean?
Him: What look?
Me: You made a face.
Me: (Imitates him) I didn't make a face, Britt.
Me: Yes you did!
Me: (Imitates him) No, I didn't. You're...
Me: Paranoid? You did make a look and I don't think you agree with how I spoke with the kids.
Me: (Imitates him) It's not nice to tell the kids that a little man named the Tooth Napper is going to come steal the kids teeth if they don't brush them because he collects dirty teeth.
Him: You said it, not me.

     Just another reason to hire or pair up with an overthinker. Put someone in an interrogation room and we'll tell you if they are innocent or not. We're just that good at questioning and reading people.

     Overthinking does have its disadvantages; going to bed at an early time is one. there is nothing like lying in bed, exhausted, but then your brain wakes up. My husband hates this because then I ask him questions until 1:00 AM and I have to ask questions every which way to truly understand what is being said. I also like to over explain things. I don't know if that's my overthinking or my wanting you to know EXACTLY what I'm thinking or how I'm feeling.

     Overthinking, I think, also causes me to have trippy dreams or weird nightmares. If I kept a diary, I'd have many plots for book or movie ideas.

     However, even though overthinking can cause problems, including thinking too much about how a person perceives me or what I could have said or done differently after a situation, I still like my overthinking self. I think that I feel smarter and am a good problem solver. Am I? Aren't I? I guess I'll just have to think about that later.

     What type of quirks do you have? Are you an overthinker? 


Friday, September 8, 2017

I Think the World Wants to Be Modest

     I have no actual facts to back me up on this topic. Most of what I write today is my own conclusion, but I think, or rather hope that all of you wonderful people will agree with me on this. In a world where sex is everywhere, I still think that the world really wants to be modest. However, it's  the media and social outlets that tells us that being modest is not the norm.

    Growing up, we're not sexual beings. If we were, we wouldn't laugh at words like butt, boobs, penis... and so on and so forth. We laughed because those words made us feel uncomfortable and they were bad words to say when we would talk about another person. When I was younger, I didn't know what sex even was until I was a little older and a cousin found a naughty channel on their parent's television. That was my first educational learning experience and one that I wish I never encountered. Even years later, there are certain things that I see that remind me of a scene that I saw when I was younger just because it was on television when the adults were gone. You know what? I didn't feel sexually charged or empowered as a kid, possibly a teenager, by then, I felt ashamed and embarrassed.

     Now this was over 15 years ago, at least. Facebook wasn't available and the internet was still a pretty new thing. It wasn't quite as easy to find pornographic images as it is today. Texting wasn't unlimited and if you sent a text, it was going to cost you. Picture texts were twice as much as a worded text. Back then, sites were password protected. The school had firewalls to prevent students from looking that type of stuff up. I bet, that if I were to type in one word that described a body part, hundreds of images would pop up. As a parent, I can childproof my computer and when the time comes, I can childproof my kid's phones and other devices, but I won't be able to childproof their friends. As parents, we are going to have to rely on our children to keep themselves modest and that starts with us as parents. It's our job to model modesty and good behavior. With luck, and high expectations, we can hope that our children will take responsibility of their bodies and be modest.

     I was very lucky to have a wonderful grandmother who modeled what it was like to b a child of Christ. Long before I truly became a Christian, I knew that God wanted us to wait for marriage. I knew that if I was to give myself to someone, that it should be my husband. When you read historical romances, it was very taboo for women to be sexual. They were to be modest and never alone with a man because it would soil their reputation and a woman with no virtue was a woman not worth marrying. Those women became mistresses or prostitutes. They were blown off and humiliated unless they had parents who were willing to take care of them. Yes, there was a whole feminist movement that made certain things ok, but that is a different story for a different day.
     I trailed off, sorry. I didn't really give my life to Christ until I was about to become a junior in high school. Before then, however, I never felt comfortable wearing short shorts or low cut tops. I had a cute body for it, so I could have pulled it off, but I had a dad in my house. I had grandparents. I just never felt comfortable showing off my goods. My sexuality was for me to control and not for boys or the "norms" to tell me otherwise. Even as a married woman who has nursed three children, I feel most comfortable when I'm covered up.

     I don't think that I'm the only one who could agree with that. Dads, think about your daughters. Would you be ok with them walking around the house or school with cleavage and their boobs bursting out of their shirts? Are you comfortable seeing your little girls walking around with the bottom of their butt cheeks just about to show through their shorts? My guess is probably not. So why in the world do we let designers keep designing skimpy clothes for our daughters? I would like to know why my 5 year old needs a swim suit designed with little triangles to outline her flat chest like she was a 20 year old super model? My daughter is 5, going on 6- not 5, going on 21.

    I've seen it so many times on Facebook or on my newsfeed- 20 hilarious shut downs. You've probably seen them. Some of them are pretty funny, but then you see some like this:




     We need to teach our children that it's not ok to be sending others pictures of them naked. Tell the them that it's ok to say no. No one owes anyone anything of that nature. If you catch them sending naked photos of themselves to someone, take away their texting privileges. Take away their phones. We are the parents, not them and we can do that! 


 
    If you are a teenager think about how you want to be represented to your children. Do you want to tell them that you had many conquests? Do you want an old photo of you that you sent to a girlfriend or boyfriend resurfaced? It is so easy for anyone to get a photo, these days. Do you want everyone to see what was only meant for one other person to see?

    I wasn't completely sure, so I looked it up. Prostitution is illegal.  Trafficking is illegal.  So why isn't striping? Why isn't pornography illegal? Have you ever heard someone say, "I wish I was a stripper!" or "I wonder how many people I can sleep with tonight to help pay for rent?" If you have, it was probably in jest. There is generally a negative connotation about it and when you hear about these professions, when you've heard about how someone got into that line of work, they don't get into it because that was what they've always wanted to be. Some people might have gotten into that line of work for the money, but others get into because they didn't know any other way to get around it. There's a reason that they call anything else, "honest work"

      How much of our world's problems are because of sex? Do you think that it's possible that all of the anxiety, depression, confusion is because of all of the sexual resources out there? When boys or girls believe that it's ok to show someone else something just because everyone is doing it, do you really think that it doesn't affect them? Look at kids who were sexually assaulted. Many of them have issues in their adult years. If kids, teens, adult really believed or were ok with premature sexuality before they even know a person, do you think there would be so many mental issues? I'm not a scientist or researcher. I don't have statistics to show or any proof whatsoever. I believe what I believe and what I believe is that if we brought back modesty and virtue, that the world would be a better place. People would stop feeling like  the world owed them something because it absolutely doesn't.

     I've strayed again. I don't have very much evidence, if any that really prove a point and my thoughts are all over the place, but I hope that this title is correct. I hope that the world wants to be modest. We need to stop making sex the norm. There is no reason for kids to be getting pregnant. There is no reason for teenagers to be sending or requesting naked photos of another person. We need to teach our sons and daughters abstinence. Even if you don't practice it yourself, think about whether or not you want your child to live the same life that you've been living. Stop chipping away our children's innocence. Start practicing modesty!

Monday, July 24, 2017

You Can't Just Get Over It

    I've had it said to me or have heard it said to others, but it is never as simple as it sounds. The phrase, "Get over it" is easier said than done. Unless you know how a person truly feels and have been in their shoes, using the phrase is just insensitive. You don't actually have to use that phrase in order for the same meaning to come across. For instance, "Have you prayed about it?" can be just as complicated and hurtful. There are many different scenarios to where this phrase can be pointed towards and perhaps, we can stop being insensitive people and stop asking others these questions. 

    For instance: Grief- Every person grieves differently than another person. We may try to show our support and want to help the other person to finish mourning, but that's not up to us. To tell another person to hurry or that their grieving process is absurd, tiring, in the past- is selfish. Unless you are a licensed therapist, you really have no right to ask another person to move on. For them to just "forget about it"  is to ask them to cover up their emotions, to pretend it isn't there. That is going to cause resentment, cause them to be dispassionate about other things, and even to stop trusting you or see you as a friend. 

                          Anxiety- This is a mental illness. This isn't something that we can just get over either. For some people, anxiety is a result of years of abuse or being ignored. It can be from years about worrying. There are many causes for anxiety and each is handled differently. Some people might be taking medication for it already. They might already be seeing a therapist or doing their own type of therapies for their anxiety. They might already be praying to get over it. You don't know their circumstances. Be patient.
                         Low Self- Esteem- For me, this is passive. Sometimes I really feel this hurt, especially when I'm dieting. On nights when I'm most especially upset by my weight or how I look, I have this dream where an ex-boyfriend or some high school friends walk into the same room that I'm in. The moment he or they do, I feel ashamed. I've let myself go and all I want to do in this dream/nightmare is escape. When I wake up, I can feel angry with myself, most definitely disgusted. Sometimes I find myself almost depressed for a lot of the day after that happens. It doesn't make sense to me because I haven't seen this boyfriend in years  and my friends have always been accepting.Then those dreams happen and they're there, judging me with looks of disgust.
    My husband has always been very good to me and has never complained to me about my weight or how I don't put make-up on anymore. My feelings all have to do with myself. My case is only minor, but there are women and even men out there who have eating disorders and exercise until they are physically ill just to reach their desired image. Sometimes, your interference can hurt more than help. If you must help, compliment instead of give advice. 

                        Depression- Some people are just depressed because that is what their body and mind tells them to be. Others have had some sort of tragedy or bad event that can trigger their depression. It's better to be patient with them and tell them that you love them and care for them. Ask them if you can help, but otherwise, don't give advice. Chances are, they've already heard what you have to say.


    When you tell someone to "Get over it" or anything else that seems more sensitive, you sometimes come off as judgy. We know that you care and we appreciate it, but honestly, it can make us feel worse. Your intentions were probably good, but if it were in reverse, if someone were trying to tell you to pray about it, to get over it, I'm sure that you'd get annoyed or mad too. 

    Things aren't always easy to get over. Sometimes it takes medication. Others it takes understanding and love. Most importantly, these circumstances just need time.