I'm Terrified.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Nella, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. Nella

    Nella New Member

    This is my first post. I'm three weeks into a ODD diagnosis for my son. He turned five on Wednesday. I can barely wrap my head around what is happening. I struggle between trying to learn everything possible and sticking my head under a rock and pretending this isn't happening. I wonder if I'm ont overreacting. I wonder if maybe i'm not just patient enough. I wonder how my marriage will survive. I wonder if it's my fault. I'm sure it is. I'm bipolar. I promised myself that i would never have a child so that i would never ever pass on to another human being the misery of a mental health issue. I have failed myself and my son. I feel like the worst parent. I continually catch myself thinking "I gave my son a therapist for his 5th birthday." I wonder if Karate would help, or just make it worse. I worry that he will be the bully. I worry that he will be the weird kid. I worry that he wont make friends. i worry that he will get suspended. i worry that no one will see the awesome kid he can be. I'm grieving the loss of my perfect son. I am over whelmed. I need help.
  2. KateM

    KateM Member

    Welcome, Nella!

    It is overwhelming when you first get a diagnosis and have to come to terms with it. We have all been there. Feelings can range from despair, to anger, to numbness. But your son is the same little boy as he was before the diagnosis. Now, you have a starting point for care and interventions. Reading is a good start. Coming to this forum is also a godsend for us - we can share our stories and experiences and find was has worked( and what hasn't) for others in the same situation.

    I understand your worry -- but try not to expend your energy in that way. Arm yourself with information and support and know that you are not alone!

    As a side note, karate was one of the best activities for my son when he was younger. He took lessons from 3rd grade until he earned his Black Belt in 8 th grade. ( He had some karate as a first grader, but really got into it by age 8).

    Again, welcome!!
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome to our corner of the world. You are not alone and will find much support here. As Kate said your little one is the same child he was before his diagnosis. Please be gentle with yourself. As for thinking you gave your son a therapist for his 5th birthday, at least you are giving him what he needs and seeking the help for him that he should have. Many wouldn't want to do that-it takes strength to do that.

    Try to put aside some of your worries and I know that's hard. Read up, seek out information, post here often, and enjoy your son. You know what an awesome child he is!

    Sending gentle hugs to you today-know that we are here for you.
  4. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Welcome to the board!

    Here's a cup of coffee and a chair. Come join us.

    You are not alone. And you found a very soft, safe place to land. Please be gentle with yourself.

    Hugs to you.
  5. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good Morning and welcome Nella,

    I must tell you that, while I don't have a mental illness, I did feel some of the same guilt and disappointment. You are early in this game of raising a difficult child. I absolutley promise you that an acceptance of his diagnosis and treatment and a realization of his strengths and joys will be there.

    Let's get off the medical side of this dicussion for a molment. I could ask you who diagnosis'd your son with odd, or what you've tried, or what you've noticed, etc., etc.

    But is sounds like it's your heart that feels the pressure right now and I will share a personal history with you.

    When my son began having "real" issues (I say real meaning not just some of his adhd stuff but some real dark stuff) I was at first shocked and saddened. It didn't stop me for pursuing the help I believed he needed. But in the quiet molments, the times I layed in bed at night I cried. I cried for the lost dream of soccor trophies, acadeic acolades, theatre camp, baseball games, birthday parties, sleep overs with buddies, and on and on.

    The things I knew my son would not have. When I went to my easy child's school to pick her up (about an hour before my difficult child got out of school) I would look with longing at the little boys happily running out of school with their friends - wishing that were my son.

    But then I came back to myself. I accepted my son for who he was. Life is what it is. Acceptance is the only way to move forward.

    I took the joy in the small things. His laughter with his sister or a tv program (his laughter was few and far between in the dark time), on the mornings he ran out of the car and called "loved you mom", my heart burst with pride. I saw his joy when jumping over a wave or running in the yard with the dog. Coming home with a note from one of his teachers about what a great day he had or his smile when he brought home and art project for me were all the things I found joy in.

    I realized my son is who is was and it was my responsibility to give him the best chance I could. Docs, medications, therapies, meeting with teachers, IEPs, and on. Folks who allowed themselves to see my son knew how great he was, what a kind heart he had, how smart he was.

    That's all that mattered. That I did my best to give him a chance and celebrated the joy he found in life.

    Things are much, much, much better now (5.5 years later).

    I tell you all this so that you know it's kinda like the death of a loved one for some of us. The process of grief is different for everyone.

    Acceptance of the loss of a dream is that way as well. Guilt needs to be shoved away forever. It will get you nowhere fast. It will block the path you and your son need to move forward.

    Forget the dreams of the perfect child - they don't exist. Ask any of us that have both difficult children and pcs. The line is very grey sometimes. Who the heck wants perfection anyway? I will take my son's wierd sense of humor, quirky personality, genuine smile, honest friendship, unabashed love for family any day.

    I could not conceive my life without my son. He's a challenge - he's a handful - he can exasperate and frustrate, he can cause a casual situation to become stressful in no time at all. It takes more time, more thought, more energy, more everything to parent this son of mine.

    But life is what it is. What is done is done.

    Today is a new day for both you and your son. You have found a place here of great support. You will become stronger for having been given this challenge in your life.

    Your son is very young. You are fortunate that you have begun the diagnosis process now. Early intervention is really important. Research, research, research. Things have changed since you were a young child struggling with your issues. Docs know more about childhood mental illness than they did even 6 or 7 years ago. New medications have provided help for thousands of young children. New therapy interventions are being used. Schools are becomming more aware of the mods and accoms needed to provide equal and fair education to all children.

    Hang in there.

  6. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi Nella! Welcome to the crowd!

    Don't waste your time "blaming" yourself, we have no official diagnosis's in our family, but I've got 2 kids with Aspergers, 1 with anxiety disorders, 1 nephew definately and aspie and one sister who has 2 kids with issues that she won't get diagnosed.

    Try looking at it from the perspective of: maybe our kids are the next evolutionary step!

    In the meantime, try reading "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene and have a neuropsychologist exam done to make sure that you don't have underlying issues with the ODD diagnosis. It's not impossible, but ODD rarely stands alone.

    I know it sounds stupid to say "don't worry about the future" or "don't blame yourself" but you know, worrying doesn't solve anything - it just keys you up more and you end up burning out. With your own bipolar diagnosis, the last thing you need to do is to set yourself up with problems! Be kind and gentle to yourself - everyone on here will tell you that!!

    We're here for you - sometimes we get some really good laughs, cry together and give each other some really great advise! Join in, everyone's input is valuable!

    Again, welcome to the crowd - you'll soon see that you're in really great company!

  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and welcome. Do you know that ODD rarely stands alone? I would want to schedule a neuropsychologist appointment as their evaluations are far more detailed and intensive than what other professionals do. I wouldn't trust the diagnosis. of a therapist. You may want to do a signature, like I did below, to give us an overview.
    I have a few questions:
    1/ How was his early development? Speech? Eye contact? Cuddling? Does he play appropriately with toys? Can he interact correctly with his peers? Does he have issues with foods, fabrics, loud noise, etc...
    2/Any OTHER psychiatric problems on either side of the family tree? I had a child too after a bipolar diagnosis. He's 30 now and did get lots of my issues, but I don't dwell on it. I didn't mean to pass them on to him and he is certainly glad to be alive--has a wife and a beautiful child now. DO NOT FEEL GUILTY!!! My son does NOT want ME to feel guilty and yours won't want you feeling guilty either!!!!
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008
  8. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    It's pretty terrifying from where you sit looking into the future. From where I sit looking back I learned that all those things happened and it wasn't the end of the world. It's ok. There is room in our world for a wide spectrum of personalities.

    I have to believe that any parent who passes on some of their genetic characteristics feels guilt. My difficult child got the worst of both sides of the family. There is no blame. I told difficult child's dr. that I don't care if it was something I did as long as I can help him. Tell me what I did wrong and how to fix it. I'll do anything. There was no one to blame but it feels like everyone is looking to point a finger at someone. It's just not that simple.

    Your job as a parent is to raise a child who will be an independent, law abiding, tax paying, good person. His idiosyncracies are not your fault or your responsibilities. Keep your parenting goal clear and don't worry as much about him being average. Chances are good that your son will never be average. That isn't bad and it sure isn't easier but he is yours and you will do what it takes to get to your parenting goal. I think it's a mistake to want to make a child be just like everyone else. It's stuffing a square peg into a round hole.

    I hope that someday the stigma you felt as a person with bipolar will diminish. It will if we stop hiding it and not allow people to dismiss people who have this diagnosis as "crazy".

    I love my son. He could have easily been a brilliant person who contributed great things to world or he can be a street person with little ability to function. My goal is still the same for difficult child as it is with easy child. Their outcomes will be different but my goal is the same.

    Take a deep breath. Decide what is important in parenting your son. Get your husband on the same page. Research, get second opinions, educate yourself and then go out and advocate for your son. Implement some of what you learned, evaluate how tools are working, adjust things to help difficult child find success, build yourself a team who are there to support you and your son. Include the school in this team. You are about to become a warrior mom and you sure aren't alone. Welcome to our world.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008
  9. Kjs

    Kjs Guest


    I had the same diagnosis 10 years ago. I also was terrified. At times I tried to just pretend things were fine. Try to force him to be like other kids (which turned into a big struggle). finally accepting that it is OK to be who he is. It is OK that he isn't like the others.
    So many times I am the one falling apart. Overwhelmed. I get much support from this place.
    We have good days and bad days. More good than bad recently.
    School is a struggle. Very bright. Skipped a grade. School thought if he were challenged he would behave. Would not recommend that. Maturity has now played a big role.
    I stand up for difficult child every school day. I think I am there 3 out of 5 days a week. If I don't stand up for him....who will? He knows how to push buttons. He has a reputation. Often starts off on the wrong foot.
    And LittleDudesMom said it best of all below.

    Take a deep breath. It will be alright. One day at a time.
  10. Calgon_Take_Me_Away

    Calgon_Take_Me_Away New Member

    Everyone before me has said great things to remember.

    I was raised an only child until 6 months before I moved out at 20 .... then my parents had a planned baby. I didn't do a lot of things that others say is "normal" childhood behaviors so for the longest time I chalked it up as I was ignorant on the issues between siblings and raising boys. I have done what I can to help my child. I've read books, changed discipline approaches, researched, researched, researched. Because I left my exH when the kids were young (almost 3 and 1 1/2 ~ no one should "have" to put up with- emotional abuse "for the sake of the kids") I maintained the stable environment to help them feel secure, I tried keeping exH involved, unfortunately he had other plans and has taken himself completely out of the kids' lives for 3 yrs now. Fortunately, I met husband after 3 months of separation so the kids have had a father figure a majority of their lives.

    My difficult child's kindy teacher said it best, "It was one thing to deal with other people's kids with- ADHD, but now it's my own and I'm having a hard time dealing" .... that was after running into her at the psychiatric's office shortly after her child was diagnosis'ed.

    I haven't been here long (not even a week) and so far the support and insights are rewarding and empowering.

    (((((((((((Hugs))))))))))) and Warrior Mom vibes as you start your journey.
  11. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I can't add to what's already been said so eloquently above.

    The grieving process is a tough place to be in the journey, and you never know when it's going to overwhelm you once again on down the road. There's a thread in one of the Archives entitled something like Loss of a Dream which discusses this subject and might give you some further insight.

    Big hug
  12. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Hello and welcome, you have found a wonderful place to connect with people who truly know what your life is like. You will love it here.

    The beginning of this journey is always the hardest. You said it best, you are grieving the loss of your perfect son. That is exactly how I felt many years ago at the start of all of this chaos. This life is very difficult and heartbreaking. You are not alone, we all have felt or still feel the same emotions that are consuming you right now. I too feel horrible guilt for my difficult child's illness. I dont have mental illness myself, but somehow feel responsible for my daughters. That will get much easier to deal with. It will subside with time. I promise. I used to be suffocated by the guilt, I have learned to detach more and free myself of some of the guilt (not all of it). Even though none of us are at fault, I think it is natural for moms to feel badly about not being able to "fix" our sick children.

    I think all moms sacrifice alot for their children, however moms like us have had to give up alot more than the average mom!! I too have lost so much in my life due to my daughters behaviors. I still dread going out in public with her, the looks of strangers as she is cursing me out in the mall because I wont buy her hundred dollar jeans or the rage she goes into because someone across the street is looking at her. After many years of dealing with this I still feel the need to tell the world not to hate my poor child, not to judge her because she is sick. I have trouble letting that go. I mean I cant walk around with her forever and cushion the blow. I feel like you, people will never get to see the wonderful person she really is and that hurts. You know what - it takes a special kind of mom to raise a child with mental illness and for some reason we were the chosen ones. We are warrior moms!!

    Glad you found this site, you are in good company. Hang in there and God bless.:)
  13. SaraT

    SaraT New Member

    Welcome. I am sorry you are feeling so guilty. Please try not to. I also felt guilty that my difficult child wasn't "normal", but in time I realized it wasn't my fault, and to put my energy into helping her rather then feeling guilty.(Easier said then done I know.)

    I would have the diagnosis redone as others have suggested. I had the experience of an ODD diagnosis for difficult child about 6 years ago, and now her diagnosis is completely different. It turned out her ODD behaviors were really effects of mood disorder and Aspergers. The diagnosis'ing of a child is not an exact science and more is known now then even 6 years ago, but sometimes they(professionals) still get it wrong. Keep researching and reading. That will be your best "weapon" to help your child.

    Welcome again and remember you are not alone. Sending hugs and support as you start your journey with difficult child.
  14. Just wanted to offer a welcome and a hug!

  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hello and Welcome.

    I am sorry you are grieving so much. It is part of the process of parenting our kids. Others have been very eloquent, so I will only add this:

    what an awesome and loving gift you are giving your son - someone to help him NOT feel the stigma you felt, to help him understand himself, and someone to help him work through things. A therapist for his birthday may not be as exciting as a Wii, but it is amazingly loving!

    A teacher told me this, and then I found the author - it is a helpful way to look at what you are going through: http://www.our-kids.org/Archives/Holland.html . It is called Welcome to Holland.

    Please work on forgiving yourself. You did not set out to mess up your child, and you are doing the best you can. You are not being an ostrich and pretending nothing is wrong. That is what Warrior Moms do. YOU are a Warrior Mom!!

    Gentle Hugs!
  16. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Susiestar: I have read "Welcome to Holland" Great suggestion, that is our lives to the tee and very inspiring. :)
  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Nella.

    I still go through the grieving process, but it comes and goes with-much less frequency and intensity now.

    Actually, I like your comment, "I gave my son a therapist for his 5th birthday." The fact that you recognize that he needs one, may have inherited your BiP, and that you can take your son to the therapist on a consistent basis IS a gift!

    I have a close friend who is BiP and neither of his kids has it. It's a cr*pshoot. You just never know.

    You didn't ask for suggestions, but I am going to suggest that you calm down and take an hr a day to do things just for yourself. Don't even think about your son during that time. It will calm you down, which will translate into better parenting for him.

    I recall reading that Xanax works for BiP folks. Can you take that for yourself? Maybe just bite it in half?

    Also, if you could create a profile at the bottom of the page, it would be helpful. Just take a look at ours and you'll get an idea of what to put there. That way we won't have to ask you the same Qs over and over.

    Nice to meet you!
  18. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Welcome to the board. :flowers:

    You've landed in a truely wonderful place. So take deep breaths. You're not alone. We've all been there done that.

    Oh, and it's not your fault.

    Learning all you can is a good thing. But you can't learn everything all at once so don't be so hard on yourself. As most parents here, when I was first starting out I was overwhelmed, drowning in questions, and confused as heck. But as you learn, it does get less confusing.

  19. SRL

    SRL Active Member

  20. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Nella!