Introducing myself

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Blue Nude, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. Blue Nude

    Blue Nude Guest

    I didn't see a new member / introduction thread. So I'll just say hello this way.

    I have a 13-year-old daughter with generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and tics (motor only right now, but she has had vocal in the past). First diagnosed with anxiety disorder at age 6. She currently takes Cymbalta (90 mg/day) Abilify (5 mg/day) and Vyvanse (20 mg/day). She has been identified as intellectually and creatively gifted. She's in 8th grade and takes advanced content Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science classes.

    She is not doing well in school this year. She can do the work, but she doesn't want to, so she just doesn't. If she does do the work, she doesn't turn it in or she loses it. She received her first in-school suspension a couple of weeks ago because she slapped two boys on the bus who were teasing her.

    I found this forum when I was looking for information about cutting. She started cutting this week. She showed me within minutes of cutting herself, so I'm not sure what to think about that.

    Dealing with all this has put a big strain on my 16-year marriage.
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome Blue Nude. I see you're a Matisse fan!

    Your difficult child has some similarities to mine.

    I think it's great that she showed you the cutting. How did you react?
    She clearly needs some antianxiety medications. Others here may have some suggestions or ideas on that.

    I know what you mean about the strain on your marriage. No marriage goes unscathed throughout this.

    I don't know how to motivate my son, either. He's just been kicked out of private school and I just enrolled him in public school. I haven't told him yet.

    So if you come up with-any ideas, let me know!

    Just wanted to say hello and offer a soft shoulder.
  3. Blue Nude

    Blue Nude Guest

    I tried to be matter-of-fact about the cutting. I handed her a wet paper towel to wipe the blood off her arm. I tried to talk to her about why she did it and did the cutting help relieve the stress. Then husband came in the room. He was not so matter-of-fact. He told her she was just being manipulative and trying to get attention, etc. It was an ugly scene in the house.

    The next morning I called our psychologist, and she fit us in that evening. I don't think she'll cut anymore because she said it didn't make her feel better or bring her relief.

    The combination of the high-dose Cymbalta and low-dose Abilify are supposed to be working on the anxiety. My mother suggested we ask for some Xanex too, but I don't think so. I don't want to give her straight sedatives.

    It's all just feeling like a confusing mess right now.
  4. Welcome to this board Blue is full of support at times when you most need it. I want to tell you that I was a cutter in my teens, too. It was a way to release tension and pain that I otherwise could not get out. My parents discovered it after a few months and I was immediately put into inpatient therapy for several weeks. It did wonders for my life. I have not been a cutter since and my medications finally brought me some relief with the right combination.

    Now, I also have a child with his own difficulties which is what brings me to this forum. He is ADHD with ODD. Many people here recommended that I read The Explosive Child, to help my son. Amazingly, it also showed me that I was explosive, too, characterized by many things I could relate to including being a cutter. I hope you can find some answers there that you are seeking there and here as well.
  5. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    I was a cutter, too. So was difficult child for a short amount of time. I think I did it for attention to be honest...difficult child's reasoning could be the same. I know it was a short phase and she has not done it in a very, very long time. It seemed to be a fad down here for a while, as sick as that is.
  6. AlParedes

    AlParedes Guest

    Blue Nude, I can understanding having such an obviously gifted and intelligent child just give up on herself. It is no doubt frustrating for you as a parent. My 14 went from taking college classes for college and high shcool credits, advanced music (guitar and piano) and being ranked nationally in a competitive sport to flunking out of school by the end of eight grade. By that time she had met "risky" new friends (never had one friend last longer than a week since she was a toddler) and ended up in juvenile Hall for bringing a knife to school and has not stopped since.

    How I realized she was cutting was all of the blades from my BIC started going missing. Even then I thought I was going crazy till her arm shone in the light and tiny slices and scars were all down her arm. She had began dressing what she calls emo in black hoodies and band tees everyday. Shed even keep the hood on to sleep so I almost never had the chance to see her skin.

    Please get her to see someone she can vent to. My daughters inability to communicate effectively despite being so darn bright was what I think led to cut. She just couldn't talk the pain out on a friends shoulders like you or I. It must be monitered or those feeling could lead suicidal like my childs and led to her being medicated (Abilify) try to get her to talk to you as much as possible and its so great that she showed you and trusted you to know her pain.

    My heart goes out to you because I also understand feeling helpless as your marriage crumbles under the weight of a difficult child and it is a difficult balance. I hope there is a way to get her to a therapist and much more because it may be much more than hormones out of whack.
  7. Blue Nude

    Blue Nude Guest

    Thank you for your support. This is all becoming so scary and overwhelming. I've been dealing with her mental health issues for years, and we have our ups and downs and cycles. We're in a bad spot now.

    Oh yes, she's in therapy. Psychologist and psychiatrist -- not to mention school counselors. We saw her psychologist last night and have another appointment next week. We see her psychiatrist again in 2 weeks.

    I'm on the verge of asking husband to move out for a while. He's in this angry-all-the-time place right now. He's doing more harm than good. He used to be the calm, rational one in the home -- but not anymore. I told him today that I don't like being around him anymore. ugh.
  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just adding in my welcome. I'm sorry things are so rough right now. You will find much support here. Hugs.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I'm on the verge of asking husband to move out for a while. He's in this angry-all-the-time place right now. He's doing more harm than good. He used to be the calm, rational one in the home -- but not anymore. I told him today that I don't like being around him anymore. ugh. _____________That's not a bad idea. Now that you've already told him that you don't like being around him any more, if you can set up a meeting with him to discuss the issues, tell him that life has thrown you a curveball that neither one of you expected, and in a loving way, tell him that he needs a break, and that you know he loves both of you but it isn't working out right now, maybe he'll take it the right way.
  10. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    Welcome Blue Nude. Awesome username and avatar. My gfg17 cut for awhile -- I read a lot about it, mostly here, and it didn't scare me so much, because the reasons actually make a lot of sense, even though the act itself can be terrifying. Sounds like you have already found your own approach. Regarding the husband thing --- it's so hard, isn't it? Could your husband be depressed? I've had plenty of opportunities to read about depression in male children and adults, lol. If there is even a tiny kernel of some kind of mental health issue in our genetics, this kind of stress can call it to the forefront. Or it can be situational depression. Has your husband had a chance to talk about how he's feeling (I realize that's often an oxymoron). It's bad news when one partner escalates the situation. been there done that. And sometimes it's me. I hate it when that happens. Jo Sorry about this long paragraph -- so hard to read -- can't fix it.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
  11. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    odd&adhd-family, Wow that is beautiful that you had that revelation about yourself while reading Ross Greene's book to help your son. I am explosive in some ways too but I never really thought about it. I'm going to re-read that book, especially now that I'm farther along in my own personal journey, helping myself while helping my sons. Thanks, Jo
  12. Blue Nude

    Blue Nude Guest

    Sorry for big paragraph -- I can't figure out how to insert paragraph breaks or the smilies. Hrumph. Thanks for the compliments on my avatar. I do love Matisse. I had the opportunity to go to Difficult Child earlier this year and saw some of his work in person. I was amazed at how large the cutouts are. They're huge! I'll have to get the Explosive Child book. Sounds like an appropriate read for me and my husband. As for the hubby -- I don't think he's depressed in the clinical sense, but he probably does have some situation depression going on. As do all of us . He went away for a week earlier this year and came back the man that I had fallen in love with. It only lasted for about a week, however. I gave him a tennis clinic weekend gift for his birthday, but he hasn't booked it or gone yet. difficult child -- all was pretty calm yesterday. She was napping when I got home from work (she sleeps a lot, I don't know if it's teenager, medications, or depression). She got up and I saw that she hadn't washed her hair in days. She wanted to go with me to son's taekwondo class. I wouldn't let her out in public with her greasy hair. Lo and Behold, she didn't launch a battle. She just asked me to wash it for her under the bathtub faucet!
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Blue Nude, has she ever been assessed for Asperger's? A lo of what you describe would fit; it does sound very familiar. Although I must emphasise - we can't diagnose on this site. Nobody can diagnose long distance anyway.

  14. AlParedes

    AlParedes Guest

    I agree on looking into Aspergers. My daughter's disinterest in showers and cleanliness and teethbrushing n all that jazz is a characteristic that took me for a loop, and If I insist there is a battle of wills. CHEERS to your calm difficult child day and many more.
  15. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    Good sign with the hair washing!
  16. Blue Nude

    Blue Nude Guest

    Marguerite and AlParedes,

    She has never been assessed for Aspergers. My husband thinks she could have something along the autism spectrum. I would like to think that one of the 5 psychologists or 2 psychiatrists we've seen over the years would have picked up on it or suggested it, but I may be thinking too highly of them :)

    She does have extreme focus / obsession over her artwork and drawing. She can draw for hours: 50-60 drawings a day. She has an aversion to hygiene and getting wet. She has very poor social skills. I don't know.

    Things have been surprisingly calm this weekend. My husband and son went to an Anime Convention. Daughter lost the privilege of going because of continued 0s on her homework. That's when she started cutting -- when she got a 0 after the final warning and lost the privilege. I thought she would make my life hell all weekend since she is home with me instead of at the convention. But she's been fine. Granted, I'm letting her do pretty much what she wants. She spent about 12 hours on her computer yesterday chatting with people on her art websites and using her drawing programs. I think I'm going to have to make her do some laundry today.
  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I would like to think that one of the 5 psychologists or 2 psychiatrists we've seen over the years would have picked up on it or suggested it, but I may be thinking too highly of them :)

    Ahhh, yes. Welcome to the club. So sad.
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    HI and welcome! Don't expect that the poeple you have seen will pick up Aspergers (an autism spectrum disorder). It is missed in girl a huge amount of the time. Girls do NOT show it as clearly and and typically as boys, largely because they mimic what other kids are doing even when they don't know what the social rules are (at least that is the big reason in my opinion). The hair washing could be another symptom. She may have sensory integration disorder, where her brain does not handle sensory input appropriately. Most of us with Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) cannot handle certain things and seek out other sensations. Years ago I attended a very large Aspie support group in the city where we lived. Many of the parents said that hair washing was a big sensory problem for one reason or another. One mother had a 30+ yo daughter and she just washed her daughter's hair for her. The woman simply could not handle either the slimy feel of shampoo or the feel of wet hair on her hands and back. For them it simply was not something the daughter could overcome or handle, so the parents accepted that she needed help.

    You will likely have the best luck finding someone familiar with Aspergers to evaluate her. Many of us recommend evaluation by a neuropsychologist. They are psychologists specially trained in how the brain works. You can find htem at Chidlren's and major university hospitals.

    It sounds like she may need more than 1 antidepressant (ad). My son is on 3, and needs them all. Strattera is used for adhd, but still is an ad. Trazodone is generally used for sleep problems, and is an older ad. He takes these with luvox - until he was on all three the depression still had a pretty good grip on him. You might ask your psychiatrist about adding a different kind of ad.

    Cutting is not something to encourage. It causes a release of endorphins and is addictive. yes, it is not a medication, but it is still addictive just like taking a drug because it causes the same release of endorphins. It is also a sign of deep emotional pain. I don't know the best way to handle it. For some, xanax is VERY effective. It isn't the benzo most docs reach for first for a teen, but benzos can be very very useful. They are more than just straight sedatives. Sedatives just make you go to sleep. Benzos also relax muscles, and they work on anxiety. I don't know if your daughter needs one, but you want to address cutting ASAP with ALL of the people working with her. My mother cuts and has done it since her teens. She hid it until I found signs of it that she couldn't explain away. I wasn't angry, just very worried. Amazingly, she and my son made a pact that neither of them would cut. When they see that the other one is hurting, the reminder that "if you cut then I can cut too" seems to work for both of them.

    I am not sure that allowing the hoodies all the time is helpful to your daughter. Forcing her to dress a certain way isn't helpful, but you don't have to allow everything either. For us, the emo look fed into the problems. If the weather is warm and all she will wear are long pants and hoodies, it is a real sign of problems. Often kids dress this way to hide serious cuts. IF they don't have them, it can let them think of those covered parts as areas they can cut if and when they want to. We finally allowed Wiz to wear all the black he wanted, as long as the shirts were not disgusting and the sayings were funny rather than dark or gross or used bad language. In summer he had to wear shorts and short sleeves. In winter he could wear shorts if he wanted to, but he had to wear long sleeves (He is perpetually hot, NEVER wore a winter coat with-o a fight.) If your daughter is hiding in hoodies and tshirts in the summer it is a sign of problems, in my opinion.

    My position on the clothes came about because the clothing seemed to feed the depression and cutting and other ways of self harming. I never wanted to battle over clothes. As long as they "cover your Bs" (cover all body parts that can be expressed with a word starting with B), I never wanted to care. With Wiz I HAD to get involved because it became very clear that certain ways that he dressed fed the negativity and self harming. Other than that, I would never have said much. With my daughter the only times I comment are when it doesn't adequately cover her "B's" or when she asks.

    As for turning in assignments, it seems to be a problem for a LOT of parents. My dad taught jr high for over 35 yrs, and the last five or ten it seemed like not turning in assignments was the "cool" thing to do. It was something a whole lot of kids did, even if they had worked hard to finish the work!!! Communication between you and the school is important. Many of us have had to take a different approach. For us the school problems and battles over school problems took over life out of school. It seemed all the family time was spent punishing or yelling or following through with consequences for things that happened at school. So we told school, and our child, that school issues were to be handled by the school. If homework wasn't done we would NOT fight zeros and other consequences that were given AT SCHOOL. As parents, nothing we did was making a difference and we had to step out of the problem because our family time was as important as school time. We didn't ask if homework was done. If help was asked for by our child, we gave it of course. but we didn't look to see if assignments were turned in or done at all. We didn't fuss if our kids flunked, or passed. It was up to the child. Some kids realized they wanted to pass and that the refusal wasn't as satisfying if there was no battle, so they started doing the work. Others got in school suspensions and other consequences for not turning in assignments. But our homes stopped being a homeowrk war zone, and we became a family again.

    I hope something I have said helps. I am happy to meet you, and sorry you needed to find us.
  19. Blue Nude

    Blue Nude Guest

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply Susiestar.

    My daughter does have an oversized hoodie that she wears to school most days. She doesn't usually wear it around the house.

    I'm not sure about the antidepressants. The Cymbalta is an SSRI / SNRI and then she's taking the Abilify to boost the action of the Cymbalta. If I could just get her to take her medications regularly, I think we'd be better off. I checked her pill case this morning and saw that she'd only taken 1 dose since Friday. Even when I remind her to take her medications, she says "OK" but doesn't actually take them. I don't want to have to watch her take her pills twice a day. It's especially hard in the mornings when I leave for work while she's still in the shower (I'm not sure what she does in there since she won't actually use soap or wash her hair).

    I am definitely leaning in the direction you took with your son regarding turning in assignments. I'm ready to just turn the responsibility completely over to her. Do or don't do it, it's not my concern anymore.
  20. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member

    Hi, Blue Nude, and welcome.

    Sorry you're going through all of this. The others have given you lots of good insight and advice. I just wanted to add that I have been there done that with homework issues. I finally decided to let the teachers and school administrators be the ones to impose the consequences. My difficult child knew exactly where I stood on the issue (I made it more than clear -- lol!), and going through the daily battles just wasn't worth it. It didn't accomplish anything, and it created a lot more tension, which we didn't need. I would encourage you to focus on some of your daughter's other, more urgent issues. It sounds as if she's still willing to communicate with you on some level (telling you about the cutting, having you wash her hair) and that can end up being really helpful.

    I also would encourage you to take care of yourself and your marriage. difficult child issues can really drive a wedge between parents, as many here can tell you. But doing it alone is really, really hard.

    Keep us posted.