Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by somerset, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. somerset

    somerset Member

    I've posted here a few times, but I have never introduced myself and my situation because I am in so much pain right now that everytime I start to think about the situation as a whole, I get so depressed I can't do it. Rehashing everything that has happened is just too much. So I'm forcing myself to just jump into a post and give at least enough info so I can start asking the questions I have, and the rest of the story will come out gradually.

    My difficult child is 14 and has been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. She also has some chronic health issues, like migraines. She hasn't functioned normally in a long time. In 8th grade, she started having a lot of school absences, and was unable/unwilling to make up the work. In 9th grade, I tried twice to get her a 504 plan. It just made the teachers even more unsympathetic, and was completely humilating for me because of the teacher's attitudes. She was in a gifted program and there was a ton of homework. She would miss school, and then be unable to make up the missed work and do the current homework as well. A big part of the problem is that she has both physical and emotional issues. She has genuine, doctor-diagnosed medical issues, but when people hear she gets headaches and stomachaches, they brush all her problems off as emotional, and then it's my fault because I just have to "make" her go to school. I think this forum is the only place where there are parents who understand that sometimes you can't "make" a 14 yr old do anything. And when the emotional issues are interspersed with actual medical problems, I am the one who has to make the call as to whether she is really physically sick that day, or feeling sick due to anxiety. Sometimes I can't even tell. Add to this that she's incredibly stubborn.

    We managed to get her into the charter school she wanted to go to because it's arts-oriented. But the fact that teachers and counselor are really nice, she really likes the general atmosphere, and the homework is minimal, hasn't kept her from failing the whole first semester of high school due to absences and missing too much work. SHe's got a new therapist she started with in September, who I have mixed feelings about, and a Kaiser psychiatrist who's almost impossible to get an appointment with. She's been trying different medications, which is a long story in itself. We're finally getting to see a gastroenterologist next week so we can either get her diagnosed or rule out a physical issue there. It's all so enormously complicated, how the problems feed into each other, and it's almost impossible to make anyone understand that.

    She rarely sees friends outside of school, spent the whole summer in bed, and is always exhausted. My own depression started at 14, so this is really pushing my guilt buttons. I can barely handle my own anxiety. I'm horrified about the school situation, but feel helpless because nothing I try helps. Even her therapist rants to me about "how will she ever be able to keep a job if she can't even get to school, and it's my fault for not making her go." I really don't think this is the kind of attitude that will help difficult child, and I told the therapist that. She really doesn't need to worry about the rest of her life right now. It's not helpful for a child who already feels completely overwhelmed.
  2. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Welcome to the board.

    Why is the therapist blaming you for the fact that she won't get out of bed instead of trying to work with difficult child to get to the bottom of whatever is really bothering her? If she is feeling overwhlemed, add that to the depression and you can have all kinds of physical symptoms. I would try to see if you can find a new therapist.
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    HELLO! You are right, you are in a place here where we do get it. There are times you just cant "make" a kid do anything. Once they figure out that you really can't do much if they just refuse to move then short of calling the police (and there are folks here who have done that) what can you do? Other people here decide to do online school or home school. I wont do home school becasue I dont think my son would listen to me at all and nothing would get done in terms of normal academics, but we would be able to do therapeutic activities, I can take him places no problem. I will consider home-bound instruction if needed. (the teacher comes to you or library or other public place to teach when there is a medical condition for a child needing to not be in school. Mental health is medical.

    My son has health issues too. I struggle with times when I think he SHOULD stay home and he wants to go to school, but I wonder if his behaviors are medically influenced and do I risk his going and having a horrible day when I have to go get him anyway. My sister has the same issue as you do, her daughter has a lot of stomach issues and avoidance of school too. Sometimes real stomach issues, sometimes trying to escape school. She usually makes her go now and doesn't get a call from the nurse to come and get her so??? but it is a struggle. I personally had TONS of very very REAL stomach aches as a kid. Maybe they were emotionally triggered, but the pain was the same if they were. I hated people ignoring my pain. I can totally see how it would be so hard for you to decide what to do in that case.

    I also think your gut is saying this therapist is not great. I agree, it is great to talk about goals when a person is in that place, and for now, seems like that would be way too overwhelming. It seems like therapist is treating this as behavior with no underlying cause...what is he/she doing about the underlying anxiety and depression?

    I am sorry you are feeing such pain and strain over this. Of course you do! It is your duaghter... How is your therapy going? do you feel like she feeds off your anxiety over this? (my kid does when he sees me worry about a specific issue, and my other sister's kids do for sure...I have a sister with severe general anxiety and her son is on a 504 and at times does not want to leave the house, he says sometimes the same words she says). doesn't make us bad people, just means we have to work even harder to set an example of how to deal with anxiety.

    I have always felt that just because a child is gifted it does not mean they must be in gifted programming. I love that she chose a school matched to interests. What support is there for her there? I didn't fully understand if this is the school where the teachers are not understanding? Was that the school before the charter school? I think if a chlld is gifted, and if the school is good, then you can't stop a child from learning. If it is totally canned and they can't let a kid read off the required list to higher level books etc..then you can end up with a bored kid with behavior issues, doesn't sound like your issue, sounds like she needs to not be overwhelmed. So, if this is a different school,will they help you with a 504 plan or even better, if this is interfering with school so much, she may need an IEp and have special education support from teachers who specialize in working with kids with emotional and behavioral conditions. If she had a resource room to go to it could make a world of difference. They can help kids to work on problems in the moment. In a charter school they may need to have more of a consult model with someone from the disrict coming over... but certainly accomodations and a lead person can be a sanctuary for her.

    You are truly not alone and let your story come out as you feel ready. Dont answer any questions that you feel are hurtful or hard right now, I am just asking to share and converse, not to judge in any way. I hope you find this supportive group as amazing as I have. HUGS to you and difficult child! love, buddy
  4. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Welcome and good for you for making the first move to post. I hope you will find comfort and help here as I have. You are not alone. While my daughter's issues are different, we went through many similar issues starting at 14. She too is gifted. She had all kinds of stomach issues (actually diagnosed with IBS) and migraines. Now that she has her GED and is out of school and residential treatments-we seldom are having these issues. I actually do think our bodies are very connected to our brains. I do think that they play off of each other. I also believe that the brain is a human organ and it gets sick. What is the difference between mental illness and a diagnosed stomach ailment? The school's argument was bunk! Depression can be debilitating and for some hard to treat. Our daughter acted more like a male with depression-anger, acting out, so she didn't spend a lot of time in bed. She did not want to go to school-it was too much, too boring and the social games wre too tough.

    I do remember a girl at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) my daughter went to that said she was addicted to her depression. It offended me when the group therapist said it is common. In this program we brought 2 girls home every night with our daughter once she was an old comer. This girl came to our home several times and talked to me about this. She said she got to stay home and sleep and not take responsibility for school and pretend the pressure was off. She knew her mother couldn't control her. They did find the right medications. for her and they kicked her bum every day in this program and made her face her issues, she is doing great today. But the pressure of school was big for her and my daughter. For my girl not worth the fight-thus the GED and she is done a year and a half early. Not what I dreamed for her-but the new GED is tough and colleges know it. She has a scholarship to the local community college and with her high scores she can get into a university should she choose to.

    You moved her to a charter school, so you are really trying to find the right place (we did that too-didn't work). Get a new therapist-just how the heck does she expect you to get your girl to school? Bribery? Wheel barrow? Violence? Humiliation? (We tried all but the wheel barrow-none felt good, none were right, and none worked). If she can't help your daughter be accountable and begin to move through her depression (that is if she has had enough time and if the right medications. are in place) and give you some solutions, she isn't your person. Would a stay at a good psychiatric hospital. be helpful? Sometime those guys get right on it. (Sometimes they don't-we have had both things happen). I think failing an entire quarter is a big deal esp. when the load is so much less. Just wondering?

    I don't know what to say about the psychiatric. There are so few out there and I personally think only a few that get the medication thing. Most of the good medication. guys here are actually at the psychiatric hospital. at the university here.

    As for the teachers-I am one but, I got to tell you, I have little respect for many. My kids both got the short stick-even here in the district where I teach. A 504 plan became an enforcement nighmare-noone made the accomodations . My daughter was singled out and held to higher standards because I taught in her school. I get it. Our system is not for all the kids. Kids with medical issues (I include mental health), are very affected by the rigidity and the protection of the funds. I could write a book about this, I will shut up.

    Please ask questions and keep us posted. A big hug to you both!
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Just have time for a very quick "welcome". I'm sorry you are going through so much. Even though our problems are different...most of totally "get it" even when the issues are different. Sending hugs. DDD

    PS: I have you explored the online school option for her? Many teens use that to supplement their education and often times the fact that schoolwork can be done in the safe environment of home makes it doable.
  6. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Welcome Somerset. You HAVE come to the right place. difficult child 1 had SEVERE depression issues caused by the school mishandling the anxiety and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) issues. Because of the stress, he had headaches and stomach aches too. School staff just don't get it and it is VERY frustrating. My difficult child 1 is only 4 ft tall and weighed only 65 pounds and there was NO way I was able to get him to school if he didn't want to go for any reason.

    Since she does okay with the work but stresses over catching up and keeping up at the same time, do you think the school would be willing to work with you on getting it done but not immediately? My advocate and I pushed really hard for the school to allow difficult child 1 to turn in missed work "late without penalty" because it was more important to get it done than WHEN it got done (within reason of course). We also pushed for them to prioritize assignments. If it wasn't a "core" requirement, but more of an "enrichment" assignment, we wanted them to drop that assignment for difficult child 1. That sounds like something you might want to talk to them about. If they aren't willing to work with you, send a formal "request for her to be evaluated for special education services as dictated by IDEA".

    As Buddy said, let the story unfold as you're ready. We are a very patient bunch (we have difficult child's so have no choice). I ditto the change of therapist. That one is NOT being helpful. Yes, you need to help difficult child prepare for adulthood but in BABY STEPS. Definitely look into all medical avenues for the physical stuff. Stress can cause all kinds of physical problems and physical problems cause a lot of stress. Poor kid.

    {{{{(((HUGS)))}}}} to you AND her.
  7. somerset

    somerset Member

    Thank you all so much! I don't really have any other support system, so it means a lot to me to be accepted here. In answer to some of your questions: I'm planning to post separately about finding a therapist and 504/IEP possibilities. The school that gave us a hard time was the middle school, which she's out of now. difficult child begged me not to take her out of the gifted program there and put her in the regular program there. The kids in each program looked down on each other, and she felt it would be humiliating and she would be separated from her friends. Since she'd already gone through a major problem with her best friends, and they had finally made up, I didn't want to put her through that. I didn't want to take away one of the positive things in her life. By the time she was ready to accept such a change, school was almost over.
    We tried home schooling during the summer, and it was a disaster. She just wouldn't do the work, got sick every time we were supposed to go see the teacher, which was only twice a week and the work was actually harder! Lots of projects. She has told me she has trouble doing work at home, but not at school. I know she has social fears, but she is underneath such a social person, and seeing her friends was important. Maybe an online school would be better, since she loves her laptop. The home school we used had booklets. I don't know any more. I don't think we'll get anywhere til we find the medications that works for her and won't make her sick.

    My therapy - I have Kaiser and can't afford to go out of the system, esp since I've had to do that for difficult child. I have a great therapist and have been seeing her for a long time, which is unheard of at Kaiser. However, I'm lucky if I see her every two weeks. Usually I have to wait 6 weeks between appts. This time, I saw her in November and won't see her again til mid-January. I really need a higher dose of my medications, but can't tolerate the side effects.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I'm glad you decided to post. I can not tell you about angry I get when anyone says "You like your depression" or "you are addicted to your depression." That is just a nutty statement. It is not within your control.

    To me, it sounds like your precious girl is really depressed, not willfully trying to get out of doing anything, like some other difficult children. I had a similar depression at was terrible. I didn't feel good doing anything and wanted to just cry all the time. Nothing made me happy, not even things that once had.

    It is good that she is getting help. Very often depression seems to trigger some physical problems too. I hope she gets better soon. Sounds like you are trying your very best.
  9. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Hugs. My dtr suffers from depression, anxiety and PTSD (from s2bx and difficult child). It is hard to piece apart the type of "sick" they are. I so get that. I think all you can do is keep trying, and keep insisting that her physical problems are not caused by her depression, but from what I have seen from my own kiddos and myself? Depression can certainly worsen a physical problem. You have to deal with the physical problem and then work on the emotional/mental health issue, in my humble opinion.