Ready to get diagnosis

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by elisem, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. elisem

    elisem New Member


    I've been on these forums before and have always found it reassuring to read what others have had to say. But things have been improving, and I haven't been here for a while.

    Except that, quite suddenly, things have gotten dramaticly worse. difficult child is a smart, sweet, funny seven year old who has suffered from what we call Jekyll and Hyde disorder since birth. The year he was 4, he was Hyde pretty much all the time and husband and I SERIOUSLY considered getting professional help (it was like that year was one non stop temper tantrum, but other friends of sons told me that they also felt like their kids had been invaded by body snatchers when they were four), but we put it off, and things slowly started getting better. When he was five he punched a teacher and when his principal told me that his behavior was all my fault because obviously my husband and I didn't discipline him, we pulled him out of school and began homeschooling. (At that time we had a psychologist evaluate him, but her response was that he was probably ADHD but that he was too young to tell for sure, and she also criticized us for homeschooling--she said that we must be doing something wrong because he was so bright that there was no excuse for him not to be reading fluently AT FIVE. He's performing at grade level in reading and math, by the way, and is way ahead in science and history, which really interest him. So we stopped seeing that psychologist.) And his behavior continued to improve, although he has remained subject to fluxuating periods of complete out of control hyperness and sudden, inexplicable rages (usually at least one episode of each every day). But between these periods, he's developed into a rational, caring, interesting little boy who can be great fun to have around. So we figured we must be doing something right and have kept on with more of the same.

    Unfortunately, his behavior has begun worsening again. He has become terribly disrespectful, not only to us but now to other adults, including strangers and those whom he has just met. Getting him to do anything has become a huge (and largely unsuccessful) battle. We have started implementing LLLOOONNNGGG walks and forced calisthenics as behavioral modification tools. So he's getting in great shape but his behavior is still getting worse. And now he's also starting to be out of control ALL day--for the past several days, the rational periods have become brief and infrequent, and none of our techniques for pulling him back are working.

    I also wonder if difficult child might not be bipolar. His aunt has recently been hospitalized with the condition, and my mother in law has always said, right from difficult child's babyhood, "He's just like Penny. You're raising Penny all over again." So I got a book on childhood bipolar, and he certainly fits most of the categories, except that I haven't seen any of the signs of sadness or self loathing that goers along with the depression side of it. Anger, yes, but not sadness.

    But the last straw in the "now it's time to seek psychiatric help" is the fact that the behavior of our easy child, a dear, darling almost 4 year old, who has NONE of his brother's issues, has abruptly tanked. All of a sudden (as in, in the last couple of weeks, just as difficult child's behavior has taken a turn for the worse), he's acting out of control, screaming, and irrational. (I realize that 3 yo's are not known for being rational, but this one has always been a very reasonable little soul, not to mention a very cuddly one ;)). The brothers are extremely close--they have been each other's best friends and biggest fans since easy child was a very small baby. difficult child has taught easy child to count, and loves reading stories to easy child. But easy child is old enough now to be aware of the fact that his fun is being curtailed because of difficult child's behavior. (The other day, which started well, I told the boys we were going to go to the playground. Before we were able to leave, difficult child got completely, jumping on the ceiling out of control, so we couldn't go. easy child was terribly disappointed and asked if maybe we couldn't leave difficult child at home?) When my sweet little easy child starts imitating the worst of difficult child (hitting, kicking, and biting) it's time for more help.

    But I'm quite frankly scared. I've read so much about endless rounds of doctor after doctor, this therapy and that, this medication and that one, hospitalization--it seems as if all there is to such a child is his illness and the (frequently futile) attempts of everyone around him to control it. I don't want that for my family; I don't want that for my son. We'll continue to homeschool for a while longer at least, so we can avoid the school labels and all that mess; but I'm still worried.

    I'm also a bit mad. Having a easy child makes me able to imagine what life would be like if I had two easy child's. I confess I'm a bit resentful at having to deal with this. My mom couldn't handle me when I was small and dragged me to 6 different doctors until she finally found one willing to put me on ritalin. She told me to my face that since I refused to behave, I had to take this pill to control me. She only wanted a quiet, tidy child, which I was not. When I refused to take ritalin anymore at 14, I didn't notice any changes in either my behavior or others' attitudes towards me. While as an adult, I can see the characteristics of ADD (not serious, but they're there), I can't tell that the medications did anything for me at all, and I always blamed my mom's problems with me on bad parenting. So what does it say about me as a parent that I can no longer work with my child?

    There have always been bad days when it's been very hard to cope with difficult child, but there have also been good days where I felt like I was doing everything right, even as he was doing everything wrong. But now, it seems like there's nothing going right anymore.

    Sorry this has been so long.


    ps. I haven't mentioned husband much --he's a bright wonderful man; sometimes suffers from depression and occasional anger management issues, not on medications right now. Usually he can handle difficult child better than any of us, sometimes he loses it and his anger makes things worse.
  2. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    First of all Welcome! :flower:
    I believe you will find a lot of comfort and wisdom from everyone here.

    I think the best thing you can do now is get a neuropsychologist evaluation done. This will enable the psychiatrist to conclude a more accurate diagnosis about your son from diagnostic testing, rather than just taking random guesses as to what the problem is.

    One of the biggest hurdles that most of us face with our difficult children is blame. Everyone needs to blame someone, and the fact that our child is acting out causes us, as parents, to be likely targets. 99% of the time it is not bad parenting, or bad disciplining, but rather the problem is the wiring within our child. I would suggest you read the book Explosive Child by Ross Greene. This book offers amazing insights into how to manage our difficult child kids, and understand them on a deeper level.

    I can hear the fear in your email. Fear about the future, medications, therapy, schools, labels, etc. And those are fears that are completely valid, and ones that we all have. However, you might try to not think of the future as one big melding pot of potential worries, but rather a puzzle that you need to find the pieces to - just one at a time.

    I can see how you might be overwhelmed by hearing us vent on this board about all of our trials and tribulations, and on the endless battles with medications, psychiatric hospital, therapy, etc. But we are all trying to help our little guys - just like you - and I do not think that we ever feel as if our kids have become personified as simply an illness. They are our sweet little babies. If your child ends up needing one of the above mentioned therapies, you will feel the same way about your child as you do now. I promise.

    As far as feeling angry, and resentful - we have all been there done that! It is completely normal! We all have dreams and hopes of what we want for our kids - and when they are not only unhappy, but making us unhappy, it is normal to be frustrated.

    Again, welcome to the board. More will be along soon to share their wisdom.
  3. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    I would also like to welcome you to the board.

    Sequoia has written a very well thought out post to you, and I echo her sentiments. I especially would like to second her nomination for "The Explosive Child". I found it very instrumental in dealing with my, erm, explosive child.

    This is a safe place to vent, you will not be judged here. Very glad you found us, but sorry that you had to.

    If you do not get many responses this weekend, do not worry, the warrior moms will be coming out of the woodwork come Monday.