Thursday, December 11, 2014

anxiety issues

TT's story really does belong to him.

But I also think that his story can be used to help other people.

Until I started reading blogs, I had NO IDEA what mental illness really looked like. It is only because other families shared with brutal honesty that I had a clue of what it means to parent a child from the hurt places. And it is because of that honesty and sharing that I was able to do some things as a foster parent that otherwise might have been impossible. I learned from those stories and it helped me.

That is why I share what I do about my kids.

It's also why my blog is reasonably anonymous. TT doesn't need the whole world knowing about his issues and being able to relate his story directly back to him. I trust the people that I know in real life that read this blog to respect his privacy and I don't "advertise" to most that I even write.

Anyway...I'm going to share what it's been like since TT started the Prozac one week ago for his significant anxiety issues.

First, and I know I've said it before but it's worth repeating, TT doesn't have normal levels of anxiety. TT also doesn't look to most like he suffers from anxiety at all. He will hold it together in public or when he's with friends. But behind closed doors, there are many things that come easily to most kids that are nearly impossible for TT.

It is because of this that I decided all of our OTC methods, if you will, were no longer working well enough.

I have taught TT every calming technique in the book. I'm acutely aware of his sensory needs and he is as well. We also pay crazy close attention to TT's blood sugar levels. Where most kids would be fine eating a "healthy" protein bar and a container of yogurt for breakfast in the morning, TT is most definitely not. He HAS to have food in as close to a natural state as possible and he has to have protein. Processed food spikes his blood sugar and the resulting crash is never pretty!!

But all the measures we have in place to help TT with his anxiety haven't been enough. He can't sleep through the night at home. He also wants (desperately) to stay overnight at friend's houses but he simply can't. He gets too nervous. And any mistake he makes while doing school sends him down the road of horrible frustration and shame. Any new situation spikes a level of anxiety that he can't escape. And really, life shouldn't be that hard for an 11 year old.

One week ago today TT started on Prozac.

It takes 2-3 weeks for the effects of Prozac to really kick in. By this morning though, I put together some changes I've noticed, connected them to the Prozac, and called his psychiatrist.

For the past couple days, TT has not been able to sit still. He has been twisting and turning and rolling all over the furniture and floor during school time. He also seems much more agitated and restless in general. And, sleeping through the night (something he has always struggled with) is more problematic again. (He had been sleeping through the night in his own bed for about two weeks prior to starting the Prozac.) The change in personality started around 2-4 days ago. Looking back, it was gradual at first. But yesterday was perfectly horrid. And today, when I was reading out loud for literature, he started wiggling again. This behavior is so unlike him that I sent a text to my favorite doctor, My Genius Brother.

My Genius Brother told me to call the psych because these "symptoms" weren't going to go away.

Thank God the psych handles stuff like this over the phone. We didn't have to kill another 3.5 hours waiting in her office for a visit. She went ahead and switched his med immediately. Starting tonight, TT will be on Lexapro.


Anonymous said...

Thank you to your brother! So glad you watch closely and then THINK about the whys. Crossed fingers that the change in meds helps TT. Tough road for him to walk.
I believe your sharing will help other children as well because other people will read and recognize their own situations. Thank you for making this gift even though you may never know the outcomes.
I admire your integrity.
I also appreciate your making anon possible in comments. Wish it were possible on Fbook but the decision makers there never walked in my shoes....

Anonymous said...

I love lexpro

Emily said...

I am so thankful that you share. It helps others (like me) to feel not so alone on this journey.

Lila Blu said...

I took Lexapro for several years starting at age 18. Looking back, I should have been medicated much earlier. By addressing this now you are saving your son a lot of pain because being an anxious/depressed teenager is awful- working on finding the right medication and dosage now gives him the chance to enter the teen years better prepared.

Annie said...

I think sharing on blogs is really important, it was the beginning of my ability to become the mom I needed to be for my kids. As far as people's stories "being their own"; I can imagine how that became a by-word, because there are some mighty insensitive people out there - but they are equally insensitive about their husband's health issues, and their bio kid's issues, too. I don't think it ought to be, or is, particularly an adoption thing.

If we are respectful, and share for appropriate reasons in the right setting, I think all of our stories are really everyone's. That's how we make it through this world.

I appreciate your sharing this; I am thinking that a couple of my older boys might have benefited mightily from some anxiety meds - and might even now.

Are you familiar with the ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences)? Some of the related research points out the association between ACEs and development of diabetes.

Jojo said...

Don't give up hope!! I've been on anxiety/depression meds since I was 8 years old. I don't remember, but my mom says I had a suicide plan at 8 years old, and I had no traumatic background, wasn't adopted, nothing like that.
It can take a while to find what dose and type of meds work, but odds are you will find one that manages symptoms without changing personality or bad having side effects.
It takes patience though.
Also know that what works now may not in a few years, especially as he grows. I've been on several different meds over the years as some stopped working over time. The doses changed often as I grew also.

But I am so thankful for the meds and the life that they have given me. I'm one year away from my doctorate and happy most of the time. I know this wouldn't be possible if I hadn't had meds.

Like TT I struggled with intense anxiety about school and grades and was such a perfectionist that if I made a mistake on a paper I would have to completely start over or I would get "stuck"
The meds helped me work past it and making a mistake didn't become the end of the world.

I've written a novel here, but I hope this helps hearing from someone who's been there.
I love your blog, and as I plan to be a foster parent, hearing real stories from the trenches is so helpful.
A few months ago I went back to the very beginning and read all the way through, and it's such a great, horrible, beautiful, unfair, "foster care sucks" but foster care is amazing kind of story. So thanks so much for sharing!