Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More anxiety

Cherub 2 is having the most difficult time ever right now! I swear, he's in a constant state of dysregulation. It's becoming quite exhausting for the family.

I can't figure out what the trigger is. At first I thought it might have been going back to school last week. But he said no. I thought it might have been court with Pumpkin. But he said no. I've asked him if it's because we've got family coming for a visit. He still says no.

But it's ugly in our house right now. Very, very ugly.

The other day I grounded him to the house because he was so dysregulated. He wanted to fight about everything. He chose to stay close to me and things calmed down. I don't really like grounding him if it's no longer necessary so I did my test**. He passed by telling me a joke and dancing all silly like.

However, not more than 5 minutes later he got into a physical altercation with his brother outside. So...Cherub 2 came back in again. It was almost like he wanted to be grounded. Not because he really wanted to be close to me. But so he could keep on arguing with me.

I can't figure out the trigger. He says he doesn't know what the trigger is. But my little guy is suffering so bad. He's upset all the time. His anxiety is off the charts. And if something starts to freak him out, he completely overreacts.

Yesterday we talked about him buying something online. I went ahead and made the purchase without him by my side. Honestly, I figured if he changed his mind about buying it, I still wanted the toy anyway. So this morning, Cherub 2 said something about buying the toy again. I smiled and told him I already got it and he could pay me back.

He flipped out!

There was NO WAY I could explain how I did things so that he would understand. I tried explaining that when you buy something online you have to use a credit or debit card. He doesn't have one of those so I used mine and he could pay me back. I tried explaining that if he had changed his mind he didn't have to give me any money. We would just share the toy as a family.

Somehow he mixed things up in his mind and kept insisting that I wouldn't let him buy it.

It's really hard to explain in a blog. Personally, I think only a "trauma mamma" could understand this level of anxiety. I've seen it described in other attachment blogs. Christine Moers had a video she posted where her little girl "forgot" how to turn on and off a vacuum.

My Cherub 2 gets like this. He "forgets" how to walk. He "forgets" how to sit. He'll trip. He'll fall. It looks so much like it's on purpose. Oh...it makes me so mad.

But I HAVE to respond with calm and patience.

And oh...that's so hard.

I've actually scheduled some time this week with Christine Moers. She's got a Parent Coaching service that she's offering. And while I don't believe my little guy is suffering from the same level of anxiety that stems from RAD, ODD, PTSD, etc. – he is suffering. And I'm losing my patience. And we are stuck. I don't trust a single psychiatrist in the area of the country we live in. And I'm not comfortable trying to find a decent therapist either. I don't want just any therapist and quite honestly, I'm not sure how I'd find one that understands adoption and attachment in a healthy way.

If anyone has advice, I'm all ears.

**Our dysregulation test...

When you're working with a kid that is all dysregulated, they are functioning in the fight, flight or freeze part of their brain. (There are wonderful books out there that can explain this in a much more scientific way. Let me know if you'd like to know the resources I've used.) Anyway...when they are stuck, they can't think logically. They also struggle with being creative.

When I'm dealing with Cherub 2 and he's all very visibly dysregulated, he will often try and convince me that he is "just fine". We could go back and forth forever. I'll tell him he needs to stay by me because he's dysregulated. He'll scream at me that he's totally fine and that he should be allowed to go play with his friends.

So I look at Cherub 2 and tell him that he's free to go when he's regulated. I tell him I'll know he's regulated when he can do one or more of the following:
* dance for me
* tell me a joke
* sing me a song
* do math problems

This way of "testing" his has proved to be pretty accurate. He truly isn't capable of doing those things when he's all freaked out. Also, when he really does want to calm himself down, he can focus on one of those tasks and do it. Math works well when he's actually trying to regulate himself.


Meg0422 said...

Is he trying to make sure you "really" want him and won't give him back? That's all I could come up with, but I don't have experience with adoption and fostering issues.

Acceptance with Joy said...


Lame, I know.

BUT we live this reality at our house and all I can say is sorry, it will get better again.... for awhile, anyway :-)

Anonymous said...

Your test is genius! I know these periods suck eggs. I truly hope you guys work through and get feet back on the ground FAST!!!


CherubMamma said...

I take no credit for the dysregulation "test". I give credit to Christine Moers for almost everything I've learned about parenting trauma. :)