Thursday, June 6, 2013

When You're Hoping Something is Wrong

I know the rules of blog posts.  Short paragraphs.  Pictures. I'm not good at those.  I'm not a blogger, I guess.  I'm more of a writer, maybe, so I'll beg indulgence.  For years (almost his whole life) we have wondered what was different about Nicky.  The frustration.  The anger.  The FRUSTRATION (his and ours).  It definitely got to the point where we were hoping something was wrong.  I wanted a label because a label would give me a course of action.  I didn't have a course of action or a label, so I didn't feel that I could legitimately call my son "special needs." I felt that would cheating.  I didn't want to take anything away from the parents who had children with real special needs - autism, Downs, etc.  After all, my son was healthy (as a horse!), super intelligent, and to all outward appearances just fine.  What right did I have to complain?

The problem was that my husband and I didn't know how to deal with him.  We couldn't parent him like our other children.  He pushed every button we had.  He raised specters of my nuclear family that terrified me.  I just wanted to know what was wrong with him so that I could fix it!

In 2010, I thought we were finally getting somewhere when we sought therapy for his anger and he was diagnosed with ADHD.  The symptoms fit.  I was happy to have a label, even though it didn't necessarily buy me anything, as we weren't planning to medicate him for it.  I knew that my anger issues were causing problems, so I tried very hard to moderate my response to him, and I think that helped some.

Fast forward 2 years.  We had stopped seeing his therapist for a year and a half, mainly because his anger (shaking with rage) had subsided.  All of a sudden, though, he developed very worrisome habits.  He started asking "Is anything bad going to happen?" every single night.  The only acceptable answer was "No." He started wanting me to do nighttime rituals with him that couldn't be varied.  Kissing him three times. Answering the question, "Are you mad, frustrated, or irritated?" He had to be the last kid to touch me (called, appropriately enough "last touch"). We went back to his therapist, but we already knew the diagnosis.  Any guesses?