I'm going to try to briefly give you the rundown on my family situation, partly in the hopes that some of you may reply because you recognize yourself in it and can re-assure me things can get better. Also to hopefully offer some comfort to those people who may see in our history some similarities. Hilariously enough, when we met 14 years ago, my husband and I were both therapists. We had a great deal of experience in working with kids and families, substance abuse, assessment, and the like. When we met in our late 20's, we were both already burnt out and wound up switching careers. But having a "special" kid has shown us that no amount of book knowledge prepares you for being a parent. During my pregnancy with my darling V ten years ago, he was CRAZY active. I mean, the kid never stopped moving. As an "older mom" i had to do periodic stress tests where they hook you up to monitors to make sure the baby's activity is good. The idea is that if you get 20 movements in 20 minutes, you are on track. Well, we'b be out of there in about three minutes, because he never stopped moving. This continued as he was in the nursery after birth in the hospital. An overnight nurse brought him to me to feed at 5am one morning and said "THIS is a FUSSY baby." I should have snuck into the nursury and changed arm tags then. VERY tight swaddling was the only thing that helped. He woke up every 1.5 hours for months. He had a sensitive gag reflex so if we let him cry for more than 3 minutes he'd throw up. This continued until he was over two years old. Picky eater, sensitive to textures, loud noises. Once while watching a superbowl my loud husband cheered, my little 1 year old cutie sobbed and threw up on me. I've been thrown up on at Disney world, in bermuda, in paris. When he would get just a little bit overtired he would screech for 20-30 minutes with nothing that could console him until he either threw up or passed out. If we tried to pick up and comfort he would punch and kick. this is at like 2-3 years old. Every couple of months he'd wake up in the middle of the night confused and crying, and just scream and scream for 45 minutes without opening his eyes. We couldn't make him wake up or stop until he exhausted himself. Was always rather fearful, never wanted to be in any room by himself. Hated sleeping in his own room and would bring his belongings to our bedroom door and sleep outside the door every night. Because of the bears that might come in his room. Finally we got a bunk bed and he became convinced that bears could not climb the ladder, so at three years old he finally started sleeping through the night in his own bed. Also always shy in new situations, in preschool with other kids. NEVER had any behavior problems at school whether preschool or elementary. Still doesn't. He is a model child outside our house. He comes in the house though, and blows a gasket. Around 4.5 years old he was having problems with incopresis, which led to medical tests with a pediatric gastro, then referral to a behavioral psychologist who helped us understand his blow ups at home are about anxiety, and that he probably had sensory processing disorder. This would explain his weird unexplained extreme meltdowns. Took him to Occupational Therapist (OT), yes, diagnosis confirmed. Six months of treatment. Our understanding was that with this treatment, combined with a maturing neurological system, that his moods, temper would even out as he grew older. Well, he's now in third grade, is on the A/B honor role. Gets straight a's in reading and spelling. is an avid reader. So yes, he has matured cognitively, but what this means is now he can verbally express his rage and hurt in extremely creative and descriptive ways. to daddy: " I HATE you and I will always hate you. Don't you understand that every time you talk to me it's like a dagger going straight through my heart?!" My husband is not perfect and has unfortunatly stuck to a "consequenses" model of discipline with has completely NOT worked. I've always used more of a "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" approach and try to shape his behavior by working with it rather than butting heads. this kid is really smart and even more stubborn. Recently, in the past six months I've become more concerned because the general irritability has gotten more frequent, and the intensity of his anger and hurt feelings have been expressed quite openly. Everything is extreme. Everything is our fault, especially my husband's fault. I've also noticed he's more withdrawn from friends, playing the xbox rather than outside like he always used to. When he does go outside to play, he hangs back, fearful to join the group until just the right moment. Anyway, we've always know he was different since the day he was born, but it's kind of gone from "fussy baby" to "sensory processing disorder" to "oppositional defiant disorder." My husband and I are both very very sensitive to the genetic risk he faces - alcoholism on both sides of the family, I was an undiagnosed child with depression who didn't get treatment until I was 25. I've been on Paxil for 19 years and it changed my life. A few things came together in the past three months to smack me on the head and make me realize what had been in front of me the whole time: depression. Again, I know enough to be dangerous, so I got hold of a self report child depression inventory and had V fill it out for me last week. I was SHOCKED, because I try REALLy hard to let him know i'm a safe person to talk to, he can talk to me about anything; and he always says "you KNOW I don't LIKE to talk about my feelings." He seems to have answered the questions honestly, and it broke my heart but validated things as well. Poor boy feels ugly all the time, thinks about killing himself, feels he's not good enough. Scored in the 95th percentile for depression and specifically low self esteem. We have an appointment with a neuropsychologist clinic on April 9th, and I'm counting the days. I've joked with my husband that I should just start splitting my paxil and sharing it with him. (kidding!!!!) I don't want to sound like I'm some crazy mom with a big ego, but I really do believe this is 95% biological for him. Not to say that we are perfect parents, but because my husband and I were raised by VERy imperfect parents we have tried our best to be mindful non-reactive, proactive parents. Our second son is pretty typical, and makes us fell like "****, we've got this parenting thing DOWN." Again, he still has temper tantrums and is a normal kid, but all of the regular boundary setting, proactive parenting stuff you read about actually has worked quite well with him. I am PRAYING that we can quickly find a medication that will help him. I'm perfectly thrilled to do other interventions, my experience with my own recovery from depression is that once you have a medication that works, it's like someone has taken a brown paper bag off of your head and you experience the real world for the first time. Okay, just wanted to get all that out there - totally open to your opinions, advice, and experience.