call from social worker

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Kjs, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    It is actually the school social worker. He called this morning to tell me that he was in the office at difficult child's school (he works in several) and he over heard a conversation that has him concerned.

    First he said difficult child was in the office, taking a cool off time. He said apparently he isn't a big fan of World History class. I told him difficult child's not a fan of any class.

    Then he said the office secretary asked difficult child what the marks were from all over his arm. He said, "I was attacked by a squirrel" Then this guy said he asked difficult child to see his arm. He had pulled down his sleeves and wouldn't show him. He told him if it was a squirrel they need to look into rabies. difficult child then said it was from putting his arm under the table where nails were. He reluctantly showed his arm. Then he told me they are marks, scabs like all over his arm. a dozen or so. He said it is not from any animal, there are no scratches. I asked if they were marks like him hurting himself. He said he didn't know. difficult child wouldn't say anything.

    Well, I knew nothing about being out of class or his arm. I did tell him that if difficult child didn't know what it was from, like a rash or something he would show us. He has a lot of anxiety and worries if anything was wrong. He said at first he thought of scabies or something. But he said it is not. We talked quite a while and he will check back on Monday.

    When I saw difficult child I asked to see his squirrel attack. He laughed and said the saddest part is that school believed him. They didn't..But it looks like chicken pox that have scabbed over. All over the top of his forearm. I asked what it was and he said he is picking at himself. He showed me. He takes his fingernail and picks until it bleeds, then moves to a new spot. He was suppose to have the nurse look at it but he refused. He said it is nobodies business. He said people need to stay out of his business. OMG...why is he doing this. He said he is stressed.

    Lets see...his Special Education teacher passed away before xmas. His uncle on new years, I am losing my job, quarter is ending and has a ton of missing work, finals coming up. All these new diagnosis's.

    Before I talked to him I was worried wondering what it could be. So I logged onto his laptop. First it didn't boot up. Then I found out hsi virus protection was not even ON the laptop. He removed it when he loaded Windows 7 about a month ago. Then I looked at his history. PORN HUB
    I went into the site to see. OMG...

    So tonight I told him he needs to stay out in the livingroom. If he goes in his room the door has to be open. He is really down in the dumps. tired and said he needs some "alone time".

    I am telling him we need to put some antibiotic on his arm, but he is refusing. I mentioned to him about cutting and why some people do that. I understand he has had a lot to deal with. He said I am crazy he's not cutting.

    But he is making himself bleed. Picking holes in his arms.
  2. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    Hello kjs,

    I can relate. As a matter of fact I just got off the phone with the on-call psychiatrist who prescribed a small dose of Ativan to get us through the weekend (gfgB). He is super-anxious and unstable right now, but that's another story.

    A year ago (6th grade) he had sores on his arms from picking at them. He only stopped when a teacher took him to the guidance office and asked him if he was being abused (she was a substitute -- we were well-known to the school system by that time).

    This year , like for your son, circumstances have conspired to make gfgB extremely anxious. For one, he has developed encopresis (about nine months now). This is consuming so much mental and emotional energy that he is failing all his classes. This is a medical condition but kids with performance anxiety (like mine) are vulnerable to it. Other bad stuff has happened too. He and his brother got in a fight and his brother called 911, and the cops took them both to juvie.

    Anyway, I had noticed many round, uniformly circular bruises on his arms.
    He said it was from roughhousing with our dog (I let myself believe him kind of). Then the teacher wrote and said that she had noticed him taking the eraser end of his pencils and pushing them hard into his arms, leaving bruises.

    He is angry and anxious. Right on the edge I think.

    Good luck with your son -- wanted you to know he's not the only one who does this, not that it's any less heartbreaking or worrisome for you. In a weird way and unhealthy I think they're trying to regulate themselves. I think the porn may be about regulation too. I think the picking is a different type of self-injury than cutting -- different motivation. JMO and 2 cents.

    Good luck my friend, you'll do a great job for your boy, and take care of yourself too.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  3. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I would call the new psychiatrist and let her/him know. I would be concerned too.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Definitely call the psychiatrist.

    Is he still on a stimulant? Stimulants can exacerbate pre-existing anxiety and cause the kind of picking you're describing.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Call the psychiatrist. It may not be cutting, but it comes under the same umbrella and needs the same level of alert to the therapist also.

    We went through this with easy child 2/difficult child 2 and difficult child 1. It is very hard to get them to talk about it but you are further down that path than we ever really got.

    difficult child 3 also picks at his skin. Not as much as he used to, he has left the same sort of marks though.

  6. ML

    ML Guest

    Our kids are prone to that, K. I agree to call the psychiatrist. Hugs to you and difficult child xxoo
    Lasted edited by : Jan 23, 2010
  7. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I did talk to difficult child's pediatrician. I wanted his opinion on all I was told. he is a very good doctor. He will take me in a room and talk to me alone for 30 minutes if I stop by. He called and we spoke for about 30 minutes yesterday. I told him all that the new psychiatrist told me. He said psychiatry is not his field but he will look up the information that he is not familiar with. He does have patients that deal with some of these diagnosis's. He is taking his time to look this information up and get back to me. He talked about bipolar. He said there is distinctive characteristics with bipolar. difficult child doesn't show that. He is not up and down for no reason. He is fine until I mention school..then he gets angry with me. But he may be struggling to control this, then takes it out on me when I mention school.

    difficult child had appointment with therapist last night. I showed his arm there. He got really angry at me. Then I showed husband when we got home. difficult child told me to leave him alone it is nobodies business. Angry at school because it is not their business...etc.

    He has been taking vyvanse. He only takes it at the end of the quarter when he realizes he hasn't done any work all quarter. He'll take it next week for finals. then he won't take it again until the end of next quarter. He doesn't take it on weekends. It makes him very tired. And with the new medication of intuniv, it makes him very tired. He sounds very depressed. sits in his room with nothing now that I said computer only in living room.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry you are all going through this.

    The first thing I thought of was fingernail marks, from your description. Then I read farther down the paragraph and sure enough, he's picking scabs.

    I'd do a medication adjustment. Something more along the lines of Xanax and less stimulating.

    Is he in any sports? Just thinking about things that will wear him out so he doesn't have time to sit and think, and think, and overthink everything.

    Your pediatrician sounds wonderful.
  9. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    When we first got difficult child he had two areas that he picked at. One was his head and one was his earlobe. Both areas were scabbed over and he would pick until he had the scab off and bleeding. In difficult child's case I firmly believe it was anxiety related. At the time he had come out of two back to back failed pre -adoptive placements, then to a foster mom for 4 months and then to us. It had been a very rough year or so for him and his anxiety was through the roof even if he didn't tell anyone. Granted, his medications were not where they needed to be also but I think while that didn't help, it was more anxiety for him that caused the picking. He too would make up stories if someone asked him about it but with him it was because he was embarrassed about it. Otherwise, he preferred to pretend there was nothing wrong.

    If difficult child won't let you put anything on the spots, I wouldn't push but keep an eye on them. If he's taking regular showers I wouldn't think it should be too much of a problem unless he's rolling in the mud or something, Know what I mean?? But, I would talk to the doctor about it. With everything going on recently, he may need a boost in his medications or even just another outlet.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    No advice- unless you think it would be helpful to take him to a therapist that will work with him on techniques for stress and anxiety. I've been there with both issues you mentioned- porn and self-harming- on more than one occassion. ((HUGS)) It's tough to get them away from it- even then, it seems there is a tendency to go back and start it up again at a later date.
  11. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    No advice but just want to let you know we're still dealing with picking here, too and haven't yet worked out a solution. It's not as bas as it was, but my difficult child 1 is still doing it as I see that he has small scabs on his upper arms again, and a bump on his elbow that he was complaining about because it hurt (well duh! You keep messing with it with your dirty fingernails and no wonder it's infected!) For him it's anxiety-related. He's not intentionally harming himself, just doing it because it's a self-soothing activity I believe. We're working on finding a solution.

    And my Gf1 is about the same age and drawn to porn like a magnet. He is not allowed internet access unless I am in the room with him -- not on a easy child and not on a cell phone. He's proven time and again that he cannot resist it or stop himself.
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    For some reason boys do not seem to be able to avoid porn. You are going to have to do a LOT more than just make him use the computer in the living room to keep him away from it.

    Wiz used to take a stick and jab it into his arms and legs until he bled. Then he would pick at the scabs until they bled. It was at his worst when he was on zoloft. It did get better when we increased his risperdal. For a while.

    I did not allow Wiz to refuse antibiotic ointment - and he HATES "strange unguents" coming into contact with his body. I didn't want him to pick. He did. He did not want ointment. I did. It was goop or have dad hold you down and get goop. Period. He was very strong when angry, scary strong. I offered to get hospital restraints if he fought it. I found them online and told him the price - and that they would come out of HIS birthday/holiday/allowance $$. He allowed the ointment.

    He also had to go tp the pediatrician to discuss the disease aspect. Sticks are NOT clean and neither were his fingernails. doctor was displeased. Showed us enlarged pics of various bacteria that live on sticks. doctor thought Wiz would be grossed out. Wiz thought they looked "Cool, kinda like evil Pokemon!". He expressed desire to go and get a new stick because he wanted to "catch them all!"

    Then the doctor started talking about treating these "evil pokemon". Spoke of cleansers that hurt, disinfectants that burned. Strange goops that would burn "for a couple of minutes" at every scab/wound. Also talked about shots. Lots of them.

    The doctor scared him but not much. He did NOT like the cleansers and creams the doctor rx'd. But he did slow down.

    Then he graduated to cutting. For a very short while he and a few friends would cut and then suck on each other's blood - to become "family". He really was angry when I found out. I was TERRIFIED that he would get a disease. He, of course, thought I was just over-reacting. (So did my dad, the idiot. He believed they were not really doing it and I should ignore it. HAH!)

    I made Wiz pay for a doctor visit and tell the doctor what he was doing. doctor hit the ROOF. Demanded the other kids' names, explained disease risks, and prescribed a series of medications to help boost his immune system so that maybe he would not get sick.

    The doctor made little impact, but paying for it AND the prescriptions and recommended products out of his own $$ that he was saving for a laptop was a big motivator. He was told to expect to do this after every time he spent time out of my sight with one of his "friends".

    Where logic, fear, and anger did not sway him, coughing up the cash to pay for his choices and their consequences DID. The boy makes his money scream for help because he is SO FRUGAL.

    I do not know what will help your son stop. It is an anxiety release for most kids. Like cutting it releases endorphins.

    The psychiatrist NEEDS to know. I would also tell him that it IS your business because he is your child and you are the mother. Period. Wiz had to adjust to me not budging on that.

    I eventually got a box of alcohol wipes. Told him if he liked pain I would help him. EVERY time I saw a new scab I would take the alcohol wipes and make him wipe off all the sores and scabs with it. No sense using peroxide, it doesn't hurt.

    The alcohol wipes are cheap, about $1.25 for 100 in the pharmacy. They are also great for taking sharpie and ballpoint ink off of things and cleaning glasses.

    This all stopped when he and my mom made a deal to both stop cutting. It was very hard for both of them. When stressed they fall back into wanting to do it and support each other to keep themselves from cutting.

    It IS anxiety/depression related. I am sorry that your son is hurting this much.