Getting Ready For School

We have been out school clothes/shoe shopping over the past couple of days. It’s so strange to be doing this for the first time in 6-7 years. We had planned on unschooling this year, but my son’s medical condition changed our plans.

Hypothyroidism doesn’t always lead to the mental conditions my son developed, but since it’s what we’re dealing with we have had to make some big changes. My son really craves socialization, and with two brothers so much younger than him it can be tricky to find opportunities that work for our family’s needs. School will give him an opportunity to be around kids his own age, and give him a break from the babies.

My husband and I feel that he has a good grasp of our family values and beliefs. We hope he won’t just go along with the crowd when he is surrounded by beliefs that go against ours. He has been given the opportunity to know about other beliefs and make his own decisions about what he personally feels. We’ll see what actual exposure to other’s beliefs/teachings will do.

We meet with his guidance counselor on August 8th, and we’ll go on a tour of the school then. I am thankful that my son has an appointment with his mental health counselor later that day. I don’t want to anticipate there being concerns, but in case there are he can tackle them right away. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We had planned on his last session actually being his last, but the morning of his appointment he had some troubling thoughts. In that session we also realized that he’s counting “normal” thoughts of frustration as “bad thoughts”, so his idea of having a bad day may not be as bad as we think. For example, if he has a “what the #@$%” thought, he counts that as a bad thought. I explained that it is unfortunate that swear words have become part of everyday language for many people, but having that frustrated thought is totally normal. We want to avoid saying and thinking the swear words, and try to work through frustrations in a better way but that’s all. We can’t eliminate thoughts of frustration over things such as people doing things in a way that cause us inconvenience, or other irritations but we can work on having them affect our moods and behaviors less.

I do worry that he will have issues in the classroom. I worry he will interrupt his teacher or classmates, get annoyed if they teach things he already knows, and get frustrated if he has questions that can’t be answered when he wants them to be. I know there are many more possible situations that could arise and lead to stress on my son, but I have to think positively and not bring up potential problems in front of my son. He will stress himself out over those possibilities and not even think about the potential good experiences. Right now he is looking forward to going to school. Hopefully the good will outweigh the bad. None of us are looking forward to new sleep habits, but I know we’ll get used to it. We’ll see how bad homework is….he’s never had to do school plus more.


A Quick Update

I just wanted to pop on here to say things are going much better with my son. We are still hitting some bumps in the road, but overall things are very good. ๐Ÿ˜Š

We really feel the thyroid medication has helped significantly. He hasn’t learned many coping skills at therapy yet, but his thoughts have gone from violent to mostly just negative words. He said he hasn’t been having any thoughts of harming himself. The thoughts he is still dealing with are happening less and less and they go away quickly. 

He tends to dwell on things, question his motives and he gets pretty anxious when he’s being questioned.  That last one us completely understandable. Nobody likes being questioned about “bad” things going on.

That’s all I have time for now, but I’ll try to write more often. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Mental Health Update

I should have posted this before my post titled Starting our Journey. Oops.

My son was admitted to the state psychiatric hospital on Friday 5/26, which just happened to be a Holiday weekend. That meant he only met the doctor who would be treating him briefly and had to wait until the following Tuesday to actually meet his team of providers and start treatment. He spent the weekend being what I would consider babysat. He was asked how he was feeling,  but had no therapy or group counseling all weekend. He did spend time with the other kids in his unit. They used the playground, played in the gym and watched movies. He didn’t like the way the other kids behaved, and did not feel like he belonged there. 

When Tuesday finally arrived he met with his doctor briefly and participated in 2 group sessions. His assigned social worker called me at 11am that day saying they were ready to discharge him. I was a bit surprised, since the people we were dealing with from the other hospital were so convinced he was a suffering child who needed intense in-patient treatment. The actual professionals in the field felt how my husband and I had started to feel, which was that although the thoughts my son is having are disturbing,  he doesn’t seem likely to act on them.

The hospital contacted a therapist who works with children in our area, and made an appointment for us. This was the appointment I discussed in my previous post. 

So, my son is home, and still dealing with his bad thoughts but heading in the right direction to get better.๐Ÿ˜Š

He’s struggling with the chaos that is life with 2 young children in a small house, but I’m no longer worried he’ll let his frustration lead to harming his brothers. He still tries to parent, but my husband and I are stepping in to keep him from taking on that role. He likes to be in a position of authority over them, but if it’s going to lead to him being angry/frustrated he needs to know when to leave parenting to us parents. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Starting our Journeyย 

Today was a busy day of appointments. Our first of the day was to meet with a therapist for my 12 year old son. He had been hospitalized this month for mental health reasons. He has been having thoughts of hurting himself or others, and thoughts of swears/gestures that he would never say or do. While hospitalized, we discovered he has a thyroid condition which may have contributed to his sudden change in personality and thoughts. We have to give his medication a few more weeks to see if it helps.

In the meantime we will be going to therapy about once a week. Today was a two hour appointment, to gather information. My son was a bit stressed by it all, but being honest and sharing everything is the best way to get the help needed to get back on track. During the appointment he said he wanted to be fixed, but the therapist stopped him right away to say he has to make this work and want it. Nobody can just “fix” him. They can give him the tools to help him change the way his mind is working right now. She explained that right now his thoughts are stuck on a path in his brain, and he needs to train his mind to follow a new healthier path. โ˜บ

I think we both liked the therapist we met, but unfortunately her availability is pretty limited. ๐Ÿ˜ž She’ll refer us to another therapist in the practice and we’ll meet them next week. She comforted me by saying she didn’t see my son as being an imminent risk, in need of immediate intense treatment. My husband and I agree. We know he needs help to cope with his bad thoughts and to hopefully stop having them but we don’t see him acting on them.

Our next appointment was to see his endocrinologist. She explained that we will never know what caused the autoimmune response that destroyed his thyroid, because there just isn’t a test to determine that. It’s hard not knowing what caused his condition,  but we’ll just moved forward and treat it. We are very thankful that his condition was caught, since she said his thyroid doesn’t feel like one she’d normally be concerned about. She said his thyroid level needs to be checked in about 4-5 weeks, and if his level is normal we do another check in 6 months. If the level is still high they will increase his medication and check his level in another 6-8 weeks.

I don’t have anything else to share right now. I think my stress levels will be dropping some with my son home again,  but we’re still going through  a lot. ๐Ÿ˜›

Mental Health

I’ve been absent for a while due to a family crisis.

My son turned 12, and our lives turned upside down. I had a blog started about how life with a twelve year old was going to be an adventure, but decided to trash it when things got serious in an instant.

Here’s how it started… my boy started questioning the words he was using, and whether he was telling lies by not choosing the “right” words for the situation. I explained that so many of the words we use can have different meanings and interpretations, and that he had nothing to be concerned about. He was concerned, since God sees all sins as equal. ย So, this was all my original blog was really going to be about. Then things got serious. He confessed to hurting his brothers. He said he had squeezed and bitten the two year old, and that he had shaken the baby. I was in shock! I knew he would get frustrated with them from time to time, but I had no idea he hurt them. The two year old is very difficult when it comes to diaper changes, and the baby gets distracted during bottle feeding so those get difficult too. Of course the two year old interrupts and requires a lot of entertaining and the baby crys when he needs things. That’s all to be expected.

My son’s personality completely changed. After he confessed about hurting his brothers, ย my husband came home from work to talk about it with him. My husband was obviously upset that the babies had been hurt, and he was as shocked as I was that our 12 year old had been doing it. My husband asked how he felt about hurting his brothers, ย and how serious shaking a baby could be. My son had no emotional response to those questions. His only concern was of his punishment. He also seemed to be ignoring my husband during this talk.

My son confessed to having thoughts of hurting his brothers the next day, and they were for minor things like chewing loudly, ย or for just sharing space. We were concerned that he might act on these thoughts so we brought him to an emergency room.

They were prepared to send him home with us, with the plan to find out patient therapy. We chose to keep him there and requested in patient care. We had to protect the babies who couldn’t protect themselves. ๐Ÿ˜ž

He was in an emergency room, just waiting for a bed to open up in one of the psychiatric hospitals. They did no testing while he was there, and he didn’t even have a functioning nurse call button in his room. He had security guards stationed right outside his room too. They were there to monitor the whole floor. The staff didn’t even remind my son to order his meals on time. It was very frustrating. We saw some improvements in his personality during our visits, so after 2 nights we decided to bring him home. He was home from Thursday night to Monday evening without many issues. If he had a bad thought he left the room, or I would take the other kids away from him and quiet them down or whatever was needed. We were doing ok, and just waiting for calls back from local therapists.

The two year old was napping on the floor Monday while my son and I were playing a video game, and when it was time for us to stop to get chores done he stepped over the 2 year old to put a controller away. After doing that, he confessed to having a thought of stepping on the 2 year old. We discussed how hard, where on his body and what damage it could have done. It was scary! After that he did his chore of cleaning a litter box, then took a shower. After his shower he told me he had suicidal thoughts while in the shower. He told me those thoughts became homicidal too.

I messaged my husband, and we decided we had to bring him back to the hospital. We chose a different hospital this time though. They were much more thorough, and the care seemed to be better.

They actually ran some blood tests, and discovered my son has a thyroid condition. It can be linked to mood changes and psychological changes. He was started on medication and had a “sitter” in his room 24/7. He wasn’t allowed utensils or sharp objects. We visited him every day, and were waiting for a bed in a psychiatric hospital again. ๐Ÿ˜ž

We had heard that strep infections can cause psychological changes in children too, but his strep test was negative. Since we were all very sick during the whole month of April we thought there might be a hidden infection. We were able to get him treated with an antibiotic just in case. He was in that hospital from 5/15-5/26. They wanted him transferred sooner, but there are only so many beds available in our state. My husband and I had hoped the thyroid medication and antibiotics would have made a difference before the transfer happened, ย but sadly they haven’t done enough. He says he has thoughts less frequently though. ๐Ÿ˜Œ

He was transferred yesterday. He had to ride in a sheriff’s vehicle with 3 officers.๐Ÿ˜ž It was not due to his threat level, it’s just protocol.

We met with some of the staff, saw his room/unit and had a short visit with him. We called him to say goodnight and left it at that. My phone was charging after our call, so when my husband when to check on it he saw I had a missed call from an hour before and a voicemail. It was after the time my son was supposed to be in his room for the night. The voicemail was my son, saying he didn’t like it there. It was heartbreaking to know I missed that call and chance to comfort him. I called the nurse’s station right away to make sure he wasn’t still upset. ย I wasn’t allowed to talk to him since it was after bedtime, but they left him a note to say I did return his call.

He called me at 8:30 this morning, ย and again at 9:30. Both times he asked to talk to his 2 year old brother. ๐Ÿ˜Š

The plan was for us all to visit tonight after my husband got home from work, but it would only be for an hour. My son requested that I go this afternoon with his brothers so he can visit longer. It is awful to have him away from home, and know he doesn’t like it. He says the other kids are crazy and he’s the only normal one. He said they swear, and one girl has cut marks all over her arms. ๐Ÿ˜ž I wish I could just wave a wand and take away his bad thoughts. He needs to learn how to get through this, and I don’t know how to help him. He has to be there.

I know this is a lot to share on a blog, ย and I left some things out too. This has been such a stress filled month. I just want my life and son back!