Tuesday, March 13, 2012

At a Loss...

I spent last night (early morning) in the emergency room with M.

Last night she had a full blown anxiety attack and I couldn't calm her down.  My usual tricks didn't work.  She was complaining of a pain in her side, but my gut feeling was that this was one of her fake illnesses/injuries.  At one point she was pulling her hair and moaning "I want to go home."  Other sad, strange statements...

"KT is happy right?  She was playing with Liam on Sunday and looked happy...right?"

"It's not my feelings...it's really my side...I can control my feelings."

"Help me, help me, help me...nobody can help me."

"I can't tell you what's wrong...nobody understands."

It was awful.  I didn't know what to do.  I called the pediatrician and they agreed that going to the ER was the best course of action to rule out a real physical problem.  I didn't want to be that parent that ignored their kid and then their appendix burst.  But I knew. I knew nothing was wrong physically, but that this was a mental issue.  Unfortunately (fortunately?), I was right.  We had the nicest, most understanding nurses and ER doctor who were able to assure M that we all believed she was hurting, but that going home and getting rest was the best course of action.

She is home today.  I'm trying to act like this is a normal day for her and the rest of the kids.  I did all the right things I think.  Contacted her therapist.  Called the pediatrician back (we increased her Concerta dose and I want to make sure that is not playing a part).  Paying attention to her, but trying not to overdue it.  In all honesty, I have absolutely no idea what to do and am just going with instinct.

My family is sorta freaking out.  From the ER, I texted the only person I knew would be up, my brother-in-law DG (husband of sister C).  He was great and made me feel not so alone.  Of course he called his wife this morning and the news quickly spread throughout the family.  I reassured them that we are fine and that making more drama out of this isn't going to help (of course I'm typing this as she is rolling on the couch moaning and baby talking).  I have to consider the other kids. The boys have no patience for her faker faker episodes, but this was different.  It scared them.  It scared E.  Frankly, it scared me.

This is just another example of how on the surface everything seems fine with our family and the girls.  It's not that simple.  Yes, we are all better than a year ago.  The fact of the matter is that we have adopted two grieving children.  One of those has been diagnosed with ADHD and an anxiety disorder.  Nothing in this situation is normal and it's a lot more complicated than people think.

I am exhausted.  Physically.  Mentally.  We had a really busy weekend with me on single parent duty with four of them since K was at a soccer tournament with D.  E had a bad swim weekend and refused to swim in her meet on Sunday (a huge issue and separate post in itself).  CA had a four year old birthday party for KT at a bar/restaurant on Friday night in which only the big girls, my parents and KM's mom were invited (yes, another full post).  This put E and M off all weekend.  This all created the perfect storm for last night.  Who knows why it happened.  Regardless, it completely sucked.

I don't know exactly what to do.  I cannot make this hurt go away for her.  I guess moving forward (one step in front of the other and all that) and trying to get to normal.  Whatever that normal might be.


  1. New reader here, Thrift Store Mama.

    While letting M know that you love her won't fix the anxiety, the surety of your love will help in the long term.

    So, last weekend (or a couple weeks ago) I read through all the archives. I've done some qualitative analysis in my work and while reading, there were three themes that emerged for me:
    1. The kids sports puts a tremendous strain on you and them. I know that it's very popular in your area, but is it essential for the kids health ? It seems like even some of your boys are on travel teams ? Maybe they could just play in local leagues to ease some of the time constraints.

    2. Your extended family baffles me. The near constant judgement and criticism of which you write is really upsetting particularly when coupled with their reluctance to mess up their lives and help out. Perhaps some of that is resolved by now, but it really stuck out for me.

    3. Another thing that baffles me is the way that CA and her partner parent the little girls (calling one a brat in front of E almost haunted me for a couple days). I'm not sure what you could do about that since they are also defensive, but making yourself in to the "fun aunt" for the little girls might help. Letting them know that you love them (often and out loud) will also help them in the long run. You can be their rock - always on an emotional even keel.

    4. The last thing isn't so much of a theme, but something you've mentioned a couple times that things aren't the way Jeanne and her husband would have wanted them. This will sound harsh (and it is) but here goes: too bad. They left their children without adequate life insurance and other provisions to provide for their care and well-being. Shame on them. Their carelessness has negatively affected all of your family. YOU ARE DOING THE BEST YOU CAN !

    More than anything, I'm just so glad that these girls have you. You seem thoughtful and resourceful and you love them. They are lucky that you are/were their mother's sister.

    1. TSM-
      Thanks so much for reading and such a thoughtful comment. In terms of the sports, yes, we have a lot going on. The problem is, that if we backed down on the sports for the kids (the boys especially) it would be taking away something they love and something that was an enjoyable, easy part of our family before the accident and before the girls. A, D and M all play on travel soccer teams. Going back to rec for them really isn't an option given their abilities...frankly, they'd be bored. All E does is swim albeit at a pretty intense level. Yes, it's stressful and hard, but keeping up with their school and sports is a way to keep things "normal" and not letting the accident define us even more, if that makes sense. I do a lot of venting here about how hard it is (and it is) but push comes to shove I'd rather being cheering from the sidelines and being "normal" than anything.

      And yes, Jeanne and Mike were not prepared. It has definitely made things a lot harder. I find myself still getting pretty angry about it, however, in terms of the little girls, I can't look at them and not see Jeanne's babies and wanting for them what my sister would have wanted. It's a tricky balance...honoring their memory but accepting the fact that they didn't make any plans to help us in our decision making. It's emotionally very complicated. I love Jeanne and Mike and that usually overrides the difficulties caused by their decisions.

      Thanks again for reading. You're insight and support totally rocks.

  2. I wonder if M's anxieties are manifesting themselves in physical conditions? I guess I mean in a rather psychosomatic way?

    Fifth grade a was really a hard year for me (I have NO idea why, truly) and I had severe anxiety issues and needed counseling for it. My anxiety would in fact have physical manifestations and it was awful for the entire family.

    I feel so sorry for the girls. Grieving is unbelievably hard as an adult. I can't imagine trying to do it as an adolescent. :o( Not to mention how hard things are for you as you have little time to grieve while dealing with trying to keep your family together.

    My prayers are with you.

    1. Rach-
      I talked to M's therapist for a long time yesterday afternoon and she explained that our minds can't hold the memories for trauma and those are stored in our bodies. This may be what is happening with M. We had another episode like this in the fall which didn't result in an ER visit but involved her screaming about her hip when it was obviously not what was really hurting. It's all just so sad. Thank God for Beth M's therapist. She is a good resource and reassured me that I did the right thing both on Monday and the following day in dealing with M.

  3. How frightening. Poor M. She's lucky to have you, she truly is.