Hello to Shellee,
I don't think I have even had time to look at the ODD site for at least a fortnight, and today I was finally back at work and just zoomed through all the titles to see what I had been missing (It really pains me that I haven't got time to read through everything, but I just haven't!). And I saw the posting on encopresis. How could I not reply?!
I don't really remember what I have written in the past about it. I can only re-write my own experience, which in my opinion is pretty dismal. I will try and be concise (hard for me!!!).
After being potty trained and completely clean and dry for a couple of years, at the age of four and a half Oriel suddenly started to soil (not to wet, only to soil). We thought at the time that it was emotional trauma resulting from the Gulf War and being closed up in the sealed rooms. With hindsight I would say that it was a result of maybe becoming slightly constipated as a result of being closed up in the sealed room. What a difference.
We went through eight years of pure hell. My pediatrician GP, the few times I asked her about it, said with a wave of her hand "Oh Esther, you don't want to put him through all those dreadful tests, he will surely grow out of it." LIke hell he did. It took him eight years. We went to psychologists, physiotherapists, and more psychologists. All of them pointed a finger of guilt at me and my husband, saying quite definitely it was an emotional problem, it was a problem of my husbands and my relationship with one another and with Oriel, and in particular the result of my symbiotic relationship with Oriel (he is my youngest, the youngest of eight children, and of course I love him. What's wrong with that?).
About 18 months ago we got Internet here at work, and I fed in the word encopresis. I spent three days weeping at the computer and everyone here at work just tiptoed around me as I cried, and shouted "Oh!", as I realised there was a reason for it.
The great discovery for me was that it is almost always a PHYSICAL problem caused actually by constipation. I discovered a small intimate and wonderfully supportive support group, based in the UK, set up by a wonderful man called Tony. It is called the Encopresis Information Exchange
My best news is that as I calmed down (well, calm is a relative word, isn't it, how can one be calm with an ODD child?), he just grew out of it. Yes, just like that. They say that very very many children grow out of it in puberty. I don't know how. I just know that it happened for us, and that for over a year now he has been clean.
I myself had been in very bad depression from dealing with all the crap (in ALL senses of the word). I evolved my own way of dealing with it, which was very simple and this is how it goes:
I made sure I had a very ample, more than ample, supply of underwear and pants in the cupboard. All I asked of Oriel was that when he was dirty, he would go and shower off, and change his clothes. Put on clean ones, and put the dirty ones on the porch behind the bathroom next to the washing machine. Other than that, having discovered this wonderful ODD support group and learning a thing or two from all the wonderful people here, I started to give him hugs, and to tell him that I love him. Today I can do it with no problem. That was the only thing I knew one hundred percent that I was doing the right thing, telling my child that I love him and hugging him. He reciprocated, and to this day, despite all the rotten ODD stuff, we still have hugs (and he is now 14, no easy age for sure!).
I didn't have any set-to's with him about washing out his clothes or anything like that. I just couldn't cope with any extra tension.
I wish you the best of luck.
I am here at work this week, and then next week will be away the whole week (more Jewish holidays -- the last ones for now) and after that we should be back into a normal routine (whatever "normal" is in this country these days!!! Oh, how depressing everything is!).
I hope this has been some use to you. I think it is a subject that should be brought up and aired and discussed just about as often as possible, since apparently about 3 percent of children suffer from it, that is one in each classroom, and that is a hell of a lot of children, and everyone tries to keep it a secret (we certainly did) and it is important to know that a lot of children and their families suffer from this, and suffer a lot. I could tell you stores about how awful it was to deal with and dreadful situations, I could make your hair stand on end! But I won't for now.
Keep your cool, and try and keep smiling. The child really and truly can't help it. I did describe the physical side of it ages ago, I remember now, and if you want me to do so again, please write. I shall be here tomorrow and the day after.
All the best, and love to everyone on the board,
PS. One of the reasons I haven't been able to look at the board is a very good one (well two, really). Two new grandchildren have been born to us, a boy seven weeks ago from one of our sons, and a girl two weeks ago from one of our daughters. That has taken some time out of my life too. I now have 10 grandchildren (and one on the way in two months time). I define myself as "overburdened with blessings"!!