Educating the world about Reactive Attachment Disorder through experience, hope, humor and love.
(Warning: nothing here should be taken as medical advice)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Yeah, you so funny...

So yesterday I received another call from the DTC.  After being off on Spring Break for a week and then returning to school this week, I'm actually surprised it took until Thursday for something to happen.  My daughter doesn't handle change well.

There were a couple of small incidents yesterday that the staff felt were inappropriate.  But they were relatively minor things.  What wasn't minor was my daughters reaction to them.  Every day she gets her "goal sheet", where they give her either a 1 or a 0 based on how well she met her goals for the day.  Yesterday she got 2 zeros.  We don't make a big deal out of them at home, but in her head it's a HUGE deal.

So anyway, she saw the zeros and flipped out.  It began escalating and they attempted to remove her from the classroom so they could speak to her without an audience.  So of course she went ballistic.  Thankfully, she's not a physically violent person (although she could be - she's no wilting flower) but she told them all she was going to call the police and fill a report that the male teacher touched her inappropriately "and raped her".

For obvious reasons, this didn't go over so well.

But when I got home last night, the wife had been talking to our daughter about her day at school.  Of course her story made her out to be the victim in all of that and she conveniently forgot about the allegation that really ramped things up.

Or was it convenience?  When I asked her about it, her response was "oh yeah, I forgot about that!"

I think she really DID forget.  I know these kids love drama.  It's what they're used to.  Their lives were so chaotic and dramatic at such a young age, that it's what they find comfort in.  It's "safe" because it's what they know.  They don't realize what an impact it has on the people around them - and I get that too.  They had to focus on their own survival for so long that it's hard for them to empathize with others - after all, how others feel doesn't really have any bearing on their survival (it does, but they don't see it that way - it's them against the world).  Even this morning when I brought it up and reminded her she is meeting with the school director and that teacher this morning, she smiled and thought it was funny.

Well it isn't to me!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Break Confusion

Day two of spring break and something strange is happening.  We decided this week would be a good time to give our daughter the freedom to show how responsible she can be.  We agreed that she could go hang out at the teen center (my wife would even drive her there) and spend time with her friends.  We weren't going to let her take her insulin, but we definitely wanted to work towards that.  We figured she would jump at the chance to be free.  To be a "regular" teen that can just go hang out and do stuff.  She IS 16 after all.

But we were wrong.

For two days now, she has shown no interest in hanging out with her friends, or going anywhere.  She actually prefers to hang out with her step mom.  Yes, the very step mom she claims doesn't give her any freedom.  The evil step mom that is so mean and horrible.  The step mom that just a year ago she had detailed plans on how to kill. 

They really do get along great when it's just the two of them.  They usually do.  But I figured she would be all over our offer to let her go prove her independence.  After all, she keeps telling us she's ready.  So why wouldn't she take advantage of the situation?

Could it be that deep down she doesn't feel she's ready?  Or is it a more conscious decision to keep herself out of temptations way?  She had applied for a few jobs and was hoping to start working this week, but none of those have panned out.  So she hangs out with step mom, helping with the bills and the budget, planning meals, helping with the shopping.  All by choice.

I sometimes wonder if I'll EVER understand women!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Time to Sink or Swim?

Next week is Spring Break.  In the past we have always kept our daughter close at hand when she didn't have school.  Primarily because if we cut her loose, we'd have to allow her to carry her insulin with her and she doesn't have a good history with that.  In fact, her history with that has been to eat a ton of carbs, inject large amounts of insulin, and then not tell us about it so we end up giving her more insulin and then spending all night long stressing on keeping her blood sugars up so she doesn't die.  It doesn't make for a fun time, I can tell you that.  So her last diabetes doctor agreed with us and we took her insulin away.  It has been a year or so now and we still keep the insulin in a lock box at home and school.

But we're in a new place and she has shown signs of healing, so we're thinking perhaps it's time to see what happens.

Of course, this could go either way, and I can't tell you how much I'm stressing over it.  I'm pretty sure she's ready to handle the responsibility, but there is a part of me that keeps reminding myself "well, you thought that last time, and the time before, the the time before that...".  Times which resulting in CPS investigations and sleepless nights, times which were wrapped in lies and half-truths and resulted in potentially life-or-death situations that required adult intervention to make sure they ended up on the 'life' side of things.

But she's 16.

Going on 12.

We don't ask for perfection.  We expect things to be rocky.  Really all we ask is that she be honest about things and do her best to manage her blood sugars.  She does know how to do it, she has ever since she was little.  She chooses not to, and that's what frustrates everybody.  More than a few people have told us to "let it go".  But had we followed their advice, she would be dead.  Literally.  So thank you for the advice, but we're going to continue to stress over it until we know she "gets it".

And I'm praying she gets it before next week....

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Triggers and Chairs...

Lately it seems we have come a long way towards healing.  Things are much better than they used to be for sure.  But every once in a while I catch a glimpse of things that make me realize there is still a long way to go.  The other night was one of those times.  It wasn't a big thing, but it really set off alarms in my oldest daughter.  On the positive side, she was able to express her discomfort and the fact that it was really hard for her to deal with it.  That's huge.  It means we really are making progress.  But on the other hand, she actually froze up when she found out about it.  Literally.  Her body froze and she got that frightened/overwhelmed look in her eyes that we are all so familiar with.  It was just for a moment, but it was there. 

So what was this thing that caused such an intense reaction?  We changed where we sit at the dinner table.

Research shows that RAD is very much like PTSD.  Like sufferers of PTSD, these children are constantly living in a state of hyper arousal.  Any little push can (and does!) send them over the edge. Picture a toy race car track where the cars are speeding around the track as fast as they can.  Now put a pebble on the track and watch the car derail.  That's pretty much what seems to be happening in these kids' heads when you change things up on them.  The trick is to put up a wall to prevent the crash before you toss that pebble on there.

Easier said than done though - I suck at carpentry :) ... but this time my daughter was able to catch herself and help me flip that car back onto the track.  It still threw her for a loop, and I don't think we'll be changing seats around again any time soon, but we're getting there... slowly, but we're getting there.