newbie here- need help / support

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gamijo, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. gamijo

    gamijo Guest

    Hi everyone. I just found this site as I feel like I'm losing it with my daughter and have nowhere else to turn. I'm sorry if this jumps around, but my mind is a jumbled mess!

    My daughter is 11 and is turning our home into a living nightmare. I am a single mother of her and I have a 4 year old who has his own special needs. My daughter has almost always been a handful, but nothing that I couldn't deal with until recently. When I had my son, my daughter was 1 month shy of turning 7 and was used to it just being me and her.

    Not only did she have to deal with a new baby to take mommy away emotionally, he also took me away physically. He started having seizures at 10 days old and we spent alot of time in the hospital. I saw that it wasn't good for her and started her in counseling- that didn't work because she wouldn't really talk about anything.

    So... fastforward to the summer that she was 9 years old. Towards the end of 4th grade she finally told me that she had been being bullied by 5 boys in school- both emotionally, verbally, and physically. since her 'father' isn't around, grandfathers are both deceased, and no males in her life, she thrived on the attention they gave her and kept coming back for more, so to speak. I went up to the school and flipped out! how could the teacher not notice this???

    Well, 1 month later she attempted suicide and was placed in a child psychiatric ward for 6 days. I thought this would help with her depression. She has extremely low self- esteem, apparently hates everything about herself. But, being in there didn't help at all! She was 9 and was in groups with teenagers who were sexually active, into drugs, etc...

    She came home and felt entitled like she didn't have to do any chores, listen to me, or anything. I let it go at first because I was so scared she would do something else if she got upset. Her psychiatric and counselor were not supportive at all. Towards the end of 5th grade I found out that she had been hurting 2 boys in particular- scratching, pinching, kicking... and that she would go into the bathroom at school and punch herself in the head and chest when other kids would make fun of her.

    This was so disheartening! I called her counselor and made an emergency appointment that Monday. They said the didn't feel that she was 'hurting herself' and that it was progress (she never talks or tells me anything). However, how is it progress when the only reason she told me this stuff because I found out about what she was doing to those boys- she felt trapped. I found a new psychiatric and counselor who basically don't put up with her **** and seemed like they wanted to help! I was so relieved I actually cried in the office on the first visit!!!

    My daughter is one who keeps it all together in school and at other people's houses, but explodes when she gets home. The school never believes me when I tell her what she's like at home- drives me crazy! on the first visit with the new counselor she threw a car at her brother- I was upset at first, but glad they got to see a snippet. Just last week I went to her counselor in tears. She went into a fit of rage and literally tore my house upside down, tried to throw me down the steps, and pushed her brother to the floor (aside from epilepsy, he is a stroke survivor and is developmentally delayed).

    I ended up having to drag her out the door, locked it, and we both sat on the porch for almost an hour until she was able to gain control of herself. Life is insane anymore. Our lives end up being controlled by the way she feels for the day. I feel trapped. I"m alone in this struggle. I don't tell friends what life is like for us because I don't want her to be judged.

    Like I said, and some of you can probably relate, she's a perfect angel (for the most part) when she's not at home. She's not a 'bad' kid, I just don't know what to do. Right now I"m at the point of sending her somewhere. I"m so tired of the fights- every single thing is a huge battle. I can't get her to do any chores, get out of bed in the morning, do anything. She is so defiant towards me it makes me want to rip all of my hair out!

    The counselor's only suggestion was to keep trying to get her to talk. I don't have a support system, can't find a support group that meets locally, and don't know what to do or where to turn. She's on Prozac, which neither of us think is working, she's on adderall for ADHD but I don't think that's helping much either. We tried Strattera, but that made her beyond mean- she actually kicked her brother across the room!

    I know our life isn't nearly as bad as it could be, but I just don't know what to do... HELP! please...
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It's late, but I wanted to welcome you and say I'm sorry things are tough.

    If this were my daughter, I would take her to a neuropsychologist for a complete evaluation. I believe it is far more than ADHD and I would want everything looked at. NeuroPsychs are psychologists with special extra training in the brain and they test for everything...takes 6-10 hours and tends to be the best diagnosis you can get. You can't get help if you don't know what you are dealing with. I'm appalled she was sexually abused in school and maybe that's why she strikes out at the boys, but if she won't (or CAN'T) discuss her feelings in therapy, you really won't know why she does it.

    Answering a few questions would help us: What was her biological father like? Any issues? Substance abuse? Psychiatric? Although he's no longer around, shes carries 50% of his genes and he is relevant in her life as far as heredity goes. If he has a psychiatric problem or if there are psychiatric or neurological issues in his family, your daughter could have inherited them.

    How was her early development. Did she speak on time, make good eye contact with starngers, play with toys appropriately, and could she transition from one activity to another without freaking out? What about now? Does she do well with her same age peers? Can she have a give-and-take conversation? Any quirks or obsessive interests? Can she stand crowds, bright lights, loud noise, textured clothing...?

    The suicide attempt alone should be enough to get her a private neuropsychologist evaluation. You can find NeuroPsychs at Children's and University hospitals.

    Good luck, whatevr you decide to do and keep posting!
  3. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    I am soooooo sorry for what you are going through. You found a great place to land and there are a lot of great people here who can give you some good advice. Hang in there.

    PS. Try to do a signature at the bottom like others have done - it helps keep things straight.
  4. gamijo

    gamijo Guest

    thank you so much for responding! And thank you for asking the questions that I left out.

    My daughter wasn't sexually bullied in school- it was teasing, hitting, kicking, pushing, and saying the meanest nastiest things they could say. They somehow knew what were her biggest weaknesses and played on it. Some of the things were saying about she's too tall, ugly, a freak...

    She's had 2 psychiatric evaluations done- neither came back with great results. It's like I'm fighting a losing battle...

    Her bio 'father' was insane. I was 19 when I met him and he told me he was 25. I knew he had one child but found out after I filed for support that he was actually 32, had about 8 other kids, and that I was calling him by his last name!!! He held my in his apartment by gunpoint and shot at me when I finally got away (because I did not want to be with him... don't know why! lol) He was obviously a habitual liar and had some issues that I don't know about. I have PTSD from him, I also have depression, anxiety, and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD). I am adopted so I don't know my own family history.
    Her development was fine as a young child, walked early, talked and everything else on time. I don't exactly remember eye contact, but it apparently wasn't something that caught my, or anyone else's attention as a problem. She is VERY quirky. She loves to act like animals and recently told me that she's told kids at school that she's part dog! She has this amazing ability to run like a tiger- hands and feet... lol

    friends... she really believes that everyone she sees/ knows is her friend. She has let 'friends' be extremely mean to her, but refuses to stick up for herself for fear of hurting their feelings. she has one friend who has always been good to her, but pulled her hair one day last year. She does have sensory and auditory processing disorder. She hates personal hygiene! Getting her to take a shower, brush teeth, wash face, wear deodorant, etc is a huge battle everyday. She has breath issues from her gastric issues and getting her to use mouthwash on top of brushing is another battle. She says she doesn't mind being the 'smelly kid'.
    She does have a 504 at school, but we're in middle school this year and none of the teachers seem to be following it. The guidance counselor is not very helpful though I've been trying to get a meeting together. Since her behaviors are mainly at home, behind closed doors it is so hard to get anyone to believe what goes on. She acts so hateful towards me and her brother that it really bothers me. I don't know how I could have made this little monster. I love her so much, but am just at a loss of what to do. My heart is broken...

    I've brought up the idea of bi-polar to her psychs but it's pretty much just gone by the wayside. I know she has ADHD and I know ODD too, but there just has to be more going on. I feel bad yelling all the time, and I know it's not helpful at all, but when my son is in the line of danger all the time- what do I do??? It's so frustrating!

    oh, and how do I do a signature line?
  5. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Go to the top and click on settings, then click on edit signature. I have to run, but hopefully others will be along soon.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi gamijo, welcome.

    That poor thing! No boundaries, no self respect. No therapy, either.

    I am glad you found another therapist. That will really help.

    Your explanation of her smelliness and gastric disorder made me think she may be on the autism spectrum. That would explain a lot. It will also change the type of medications she's on.

    Bipolar is possible, too. She may have more than one thing. It does appear to be genetic, since her biodad is so crazy, but once you get a good diagnosis, you will be able to see that your daughter is not "crazy," per se, but as you said, quirky and needy. And those things are much easier to work with.

    My son can hold it together at school, too, and then I'm the one who gets it when he gets home. I guess they feel safe with-us and can unload. Gee, what an honor. :tongue:
    Keep looking for doctors who can give her a better diagnosis. Look for a neurologist with-a speciality in psychology or psychiatry. A regular psychiatrist is often not trained in neurological disorders, just chemical imbalances or psychiatric dxes.

    I'm glad you found us!
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    P.S. Pick up a few books, while you're at it. Here are some recommendations:

    The Defiant Child: A Parent's Guide to Oppositional Defiant Disorder by Douglas Riley (Paperback - Jan 25, 1997)

    Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals by Tony Attwood and Lorna Wing (Paperback - Jan 1998)

    The AD/HD Handbook: A Guide for Parents and Professionals by Alison Munden and Jon Arcelus (Paperback - Mar 1, 1999)

    The Bipolar Child: The Definitive and Reassuring Guide to Childhood's Most Misunderstood Disorder -- Third Edition by Demitri F. Papolos and Janice Papolos

    I realize these books deal with-different topics, but frankly, a lot of the tools they offer are identical: consistency, calm, routine, that sort of thing.
  8. gamijo

    gamijo Guest

    I can't thank you all enough! I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle! I just keep telling myself, she's only 11!
    I"ve never heard of gastric and odor being related to autism... Although I've thought that before, I had her assessed at the child development center at our local children's hospital and they said nope. But, I'm still leery.
    This morning I went up to the school to see the guidance counselor since I called 2 weeks ago and still have not heard back from her, but of course she wasn't in. Apparently they cut middle school counselors down to 1 for the entire school! We have an appointment with her counselor this afternoon and I'm going to tell her point blank, we need a new, better plan right now! Something has to be better than just 'waiting for her to talk'... because she's never going to if we don't do something now. My son just adores everyone- but he will tell you in an instant that he doesn't even like his sister let alone love her. It's so sad and I hate that he's going through this too. I already know he's going to need counseling to deal with all of her aggression towards him and just sitting and having to be here for all the fighting. :(
    oh, she forgot to take her medications to school this morning (surprise) so I ran them up there. She saw me on her way down to take them and smiled, then said hi mom! that's the most she's talked to me all day! But it kills me how she's so pleasant at school and I know the second she walks in this door it's going to be *** again...
    Anywho, thank you so much for the support. I don't have $$ to buy those books, but I can see if our library has them!
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Have you ever researched Aspergers Syndrome? It would explain a lot. I'm going to send you a link because she has some traits. These kids are quirky and don't know how to get along with other kids. My son, who is an Aspie, also has sensory issues and getting him into the shower is a real trick...he's seventeen and sometimes smells really ripe, but he doesn't care. Often the kids just don't care about social norms. Here is the link and see what you think. These kids often develop behavior problems because they get so frustrated at their lack of understanding of their world and because of how others view them...and also Aspergers kids have short fuses and are very sensitive.
  10. Bluemoon

    Bluemoon Guest

    Wow, I am so sorry you are having such a struggle and I can really feel the frustration. I've been there to some degree.
    I'm surprised at the lacksiadisical attitude of the professionals who are supposed to be help you both...but not entirely. I faced alot of that, too.
    What I did was a took a video of one of my son's meltdowns/tantrums. Viewing that changed alot of attitudes in a hurry.

    However, I must stress that I am by no means qualified to make any kind of diagnoses. I just have known someone who has this disorder and when reading your post I kept being reminded of her. It certainly seems that if this really was the problem, one of her doctors. would have thought of it by now.

    I hope you can get some real help and some peace back in your life very soon.

    Also, if it ends up that you do have to put her in a residential care facility, do not beat yourself up about it. You have a right to personal safety and your son certainly does also. It also sounds like your daughter is potentially dangerous to herself, as well.
  11. gamijo

    gamijo Guest

    ok wow... both Aspergers and Borderline (BPD) seem possible...
    We went to her counseling appointment and I laid it all out for her. I told the counselor exactly what is going on and that I am at my wits end! She actually got her talking a little bit- actually it was the most she's ever heard her talk although it was mainly about her guinea pig. lol but, it showed the counselor how strongly she feels attached to animals over people. After the session I talked with the counselor and told her ALL of the issues that I'm concerned with and she agrees that there is definitely something more going on than just ADHD and ODD (along with depression and anxiety...) but of course it will take time. One thing that my daughter said that threw us for a loop was that when she wakes up she feels like her feelings aren't her own. Strange and I don't know what to make of it. The counselor said it was interesting and that she was glad that my daughter was able to articulate that. I'm just so worried about my daughter and would like a diagnosis soon so we can help her with whatever is the real problem...
    Thank you guys so much for the support. I know I keep saying it but I've been living in this lonely bubble for so long it feels so good to be able to get it out and have others who understand be on the other end! :D
  12. gamijo

    gamijo Guest

    oh- almost forgot! I talked to the guidance counselor and will be meeting with all of her teachers next Wed! Apparently she already has a C in one class (not even a month into school!). I don't know if her 504 will need to be tweaked to meet the needs of the middle school or what is going to go on, but atleast I feel like I"m making a litle headway...
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'd take her to a private neuropsychologist. Sadly, school professionals, even with the right titles, and therapists of all sorts are not very good diagnosticians. Something is up and the birthfather was a piece of would be helpful for both you in my opinion if he got a bang up job evaluation. Many of us here feel Neuropsychs do that the best. Therapists are not even taught how to diagnose so they really can't. And schools don't run the right tests and have an agenda of their own ($$$). You really do need to go private and to see the right kind of diagnostician.
    Good luck! ;)
  14. gamijo

    gamijo Guest

    She's had two psychiatric evaluations done by private neuropsychs (one at Children's hospital) and she has a new psychiatric now. The only thing this new psychiatric has done so far is to increase her Adderall to 5mg twice a day. But we've only seen him twice now and we go back in 3 weeks I believe. The only thing I'm counting on her school to do is make sure she's getting her work done and bringing home what needs to be brought home. I've already learned that they can't be counted on for help... unfortunately. Her counselor seems pretty good- she's done home-based therapy, worked for DCFS, and in the juvenile detention centers. Although she did say today that she's not well- versed in behavioral therapies so I don't know exactly what that means... lol
    nonetheless, I see my counselor tomorrow! I hope she blocked out the entire day for me because I"m going to need it! lol
  15. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just adding in my welcome. Glad you found us but sorry you needed to. You really will find much support here!
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hi! and Welcome!!

    Others have given you great info/ideas. I will add some things, but first I have a question: Who's feelings are they? Your daughter said when she wakes up she feels like her feelings are not hers, so who's are they?

    Her answer to that might be interesting. Or helpful.

    It is very important to video her rages. At least one of them. If you don't have access to a video camera, try using your cell phone camera if you have one that will do videos. Otherwise try to borrow one. The docs cannot really treat what they cannot really see. Sort of like the doctor looking at your toes to diagnosis strep throat, Know what I mean??

    Check the library for What Your Explosive Child Is Trying To Tell You by Douglas Riley. It was just released this year or last year and can be very helpful.

    Write a Parent Report. Years ago some parents here created an outline to use to write a report all about your difficult child (one for your other child would be good too) - it includes everything about your child. Including your hopes and dreams for her/him. then when you go to the various docs you have all the info at your fingertips and can give them copies to keep. Don't give everyone all the info. The docs likely need all the info, but school doesn't. there are some discussions on this in the Sp Ed 101 forum archives. There is a link to the report in my signature.

    I hope this helps. It sounds like you have a very difficult child, but one with a lot of potential too!
  17. gamijo

    gamijo Guest

    when she had that rage last week, by the time I got my camera she was already in the manic mode- just walking through the house breathing heavy and seemingly looking for something. The damage had been done for the most part, but I also have to make sure my son is out of harm's way, which is difficult because he doesn't understand to get away from her and is always in the middle trying to protect me from her, her from me, or just trying to be near me because he's scared. Even when I got her outside he kept opening the door to see if we were still there and to make sure we didn't leave her. I really wish I had an extra person here to video tape or keep her or my son safe. It's so tiring...
    and as for who's feelings they are- I have no clue! lol She just said it didn't feel like it was her own, like it wasn't the way she 'should' have been feeling... didn't really make much sense, but if I would have questioned her more she would have shut down. Prime example- tonight I went up to her room to talk to her. she said earlier that she wanted to run for homeroom class president. i was excited but didn't want to make too much out of it so I didn't scare her out of it... well, just about an hour later she had already changed her mind. She says she doesn't want to stand up and talk in front of her class. So, I asked her some pretty safe questions about school and since I didn't understand this one little detail she blew up and shut down. Conversation over! She said- you were in middle school before, you know! yeah... that was 20 years ago!!! lol
    I will definitely check out the parent report! I've learned to be a bit candid with school, but not 100% sure of what all the should know as opposed to what they need to know. If I had a better feel or a full diagnosis for her I would feel more confident in getting a advocate to be with me, but it's so hard to explain everything in a way that other people understand- or atleast that's how I feel.
    I have her in softball (fallball) now, this season ends in 2 weeks and basketball starts up next week. she takes band and is really good at the trumpet, but feels she's so good she doesn't need to practice! I'm just trying to find her an outlet to get that energy/ agression out but she's so passive on the field/ court that you'd swear she doesn't want to be there even though she says she loves it. UGH!!!
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    In autism (and related conditions) you can also get, in about 30% of cases, some gastric sensitivity or other problem. Also, hygiene is often a problem because the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in them as well as the dislike of change means they actually prefer the feel and the smell of their own old, dirty clothes. I would raid difficult child 1's room while he was at school and wash his pyjamas and bedding, and he would get angry with me because his bed now felt wrong and didn't smell like it should.

    When we mention autism, often we also include Asperger's Syndrome and related issues. It usually is lumped together as Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or Pervasive Developmental Disorder. You can run your own unofficial Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) test on her by looking for the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on Whatever result you get, print it out and keep a copy, show it to anyone you feel needs to see it (such as the doctor).

    A lot of what you describe could still fit with Asperger's. It could also fit with other conditions which is why we don't diagnose here. But so many of us have seen so many conditions, we can get big clues as to possibilities, based on our own "nose" for it.

    You've been given some good advice and some great reading references. It should keep you busy! As if you needed to be kept busy!

    Anyway, welcome.