My Observations of Aj Without Medication – Mood Disorder & Anxiety Child

If you are not familiar with this child of mine, please read more on site at the Mood Disorder category to get yourself familiar with some of the back story, or just read along here if you wish! The gist? My son Aj is 7 years old and he long ago ended up being diagnosed with Mood Disorder – NOS as well as Anxiety – NOS. This is my update regarding the fact that he has not been on medications since January 20, 2014. I use these blog posts as a way to document my observations while we wait for him to see a new psychiatrist and to possibly help others in their own lives.

Raising My Son - Mood Disorder and Anxiety HappilyBlended

It has been 8 days since my last update regarding Aj not being on medication and how frustrated I was starting to get with some of my observations, I will tell you this – raising a child that has all of these symptoms and is not a text book label for a diagnosis really is draining physically as well as emotionally on his whole family. Having a child that needs extra extra attention does take away from the other children and can create this domino effect of spiraling downhill, but we are a strong united family and work hard every day to ensure we keep our happy during these challenging times.

We have met with the counselor since my last update and it was decided that Aj, while he does have an underlying mood disorder, has also picked back up with some learned behaviors. This was of no surprise to me when Aj’s counselor stated this because after months and months of Aj being off kilter, it has been difficult to be consistent as a parent. When Aj is not on proper medication, or not any medication at all, his reasoning and logic skills go out the window. This is a child who seriously believes that he did/does no wrong and he also truly cannot remember when he did something only moments ago. It’s difficult, sometimes near impossible, to get through to your child when he is like this. I admit that I am only one person so when my level is full, I will let some things slide. This is my bad and something I made a clear conscious effort to work on since our last counseling session.

Raising My Son - Mood Disorder and Anxiety HappilyBlended

Aj came home from school after a weekend with his Dad acting absolutely out of his mind. I could not get a handle on him and had to restrain him in a basket hold multiple times. Mind you, my son is 53″ tall and 99lbs, I am 66″ tall and 220lbs. My strength is gone because I haven’t been working out and I am not quite tall enough to get the proper grip on his legs with my legs during these restraints, it literally takes every ounce of my energy to keep this child restrained properly until he has moved to a calm state of mind. Later on that day I found out that Aj hadn’t gone to bed the night before at his Dads home until 9pm, which is too late for my son to be sleeping on a school night. Without sleep, this is what happens — Aj is irritable, out of control and has to be restrained frequently. It’s a nightmare to say the least.

Tuesday came along and Aj didn’t sleep very well the night before, I was starting to get nervous, but there was a snow day and other kids were getting sick so we stayed home for the half day of school that was called. I had a great day with Aj on this particular day. Very minimal issues and he even served a time out without having to be restrained. Progress!

Raising My Son - Mood Disorder and Anxiety HappilyBlended

As of this date I am typing this, February 20th, Aj is now taking to time outs without restraining, he has reluctantly accepted a time out and I have not had to restrain him since the Monday prior to this date. The home front is doing better as far as symptoms of Aj, he is having a hyper manic style bipolar episode these past couple of days but I will take it, it’s better than irritability.  I did, however, receive a phone call from the school nurse at end of school about Aj’s behavior in school that day. Apparently Aj was irritable, having odd body movements, very itchy and fidgety all day long. Aj was unable to focus and was rather bouncy. I replied to the nurse, “welcome to what I live with. This is Aj not on medication and this is the real Aj”.  I am not trying to make light of how my son is but in all reality there is little that can be done until we start seeing the new psychiatrist, the prior one was an intern and has left that facility, since Aj is seeing a new pysch in the beginning of March there is no point in setting him up at the old facility with a new person. So we wait. We watch. We communicate with the school and we make sure to stay strong to keep those learned behaviors nipped in the butt!

Oh … and we love Aj with all of our hearts, that goes a long way to make a kid struggling feel more secure!

When Certain Things are Out of your Control

I lead a very happy life, there is a lot of situations that occur and I just shake my head, realize I can’t control it and to just roll with the punches. The area that truly sucks for me, as a mother, that I have zero control over is getting a psychiatrist to realize what the counselor and my own self realize about my middle child. We have gone through so much with Aj, he is such a bright sweet caring compassionate child but he suffers from something that is, also, out of his control. This something is called a mood disorder that is reminiscent of bipolar disorder, not fun at all.

Seven Year old Son Proud of his PizzaWith getting a diagnosis of ADHD and then finally the pysch realized he has a mood disorder, Aj has tested out a variety of medications for the past few years. As of January 20th, the current psychiatrist has had him on no medications. I will say I have been having fun observing my child but right now is time for some medication plan to be in effect, but the psychiatrist is not calling me back. I have left three messages as of February 10th to this woman, who by the way is a “fellow” in a fellowship, not an actual full time pediatric psychiatrist which is frustrating in itself. There are many things I have noted with my son that just made me realize he does need medication, sadly, my sons condition is not something I, nor he, can control.

As a way to journal my experiences with Aj no longer on medications, I wanted to write a blog post, so that anyone out there dealing with a special needs child can know they are not alone and maybe there are some who can lend me more tips on coping and relieving the tension that comes from parenting a child who has special needs.

Week One – January 20th Starts No Medication

Aj gets a bug going around, not sure what virus it is but the rest of us (aside from my fiance) ended up with strep. Aj happened to get on antibiotics due to fluid leaking from his ears, two days before the rest of us got diagnosed with strep throat. Aj spent time missing school and sleeping 13-14 hours at a time. This was a decent week, no real situations to report because he was sick so that meant he was pretty laid back and easy going.

Week Two – No medications and No Sickies

There were some days of no school due to the scheduling of our school administration unit so Aj wasn’t having too many demands placed on him just yet. Aj did okay and seemed to really only have adverse moods that were ignited by something not going “as he had planned it go to”. One thing about Aj is that he is an extremely, over the top, routine driven child. Everything in Aj’s world must go exactly the same way every day or as he has it planned to go in his mind, if one thing doesn’t go that route, even if he is given enough insight that things are going to happen this way, he just cannot handle it and is thrown into a fit of frustration, anger, or tears. The response of Aj used to be of pure rage but these days you can see anything from a 2 year old style tantrum on the floor to running off to cry in his bedroom or a secluded area of the home when frustrated. This particular week, myself and his father at his home really saw the side of Aj that doesn’t do well with things not going as he planned.

iGami Cheap FunWeek Three – No Medications and Hello Bipolar

This week was rough, not only were we seeing Aj exhibit his normal frustrations with things not going as he had planned in his mind but his mood disorder really started to shine through. This made me sad, disappointed and just so out of control of my own child. I am blessed to have worked and currently work with an amazing counselor who has given us the tools to parent Aj, not to mention I am really good with instinctively parenting my children. One thing that I was reminded of this week is that I have to remain in control of my tone, Aj is sensitive to what tone you use. I am not kidding. It is extremely bad, for example if you say “what” to him when he says your name and that “what” wasn’t in an approved tone type of Aj he will not say what he has to say until you get the tone right. I played that game until I realized there was no way my tone would be approved by Aj this week, he simply was beyond irritable and there was no getting him to act normal. I use the term normal lightly. Most of this week Three and the weekend was spent trying to keep my own frustration down while still ensuring rules were followed with the up and down moods of my son. This week was not only rough, but more so a nightmare that spiraled downward.

Week Four – No Medications and Trying to Reach Pyshiatrist

As I write this, we are now in week four which is this current week we are in. I cannot give much of an update because it’s only Monday that I am writing to schedule this for later publication on site. I can say this; I left a voice-mail for his current pysch and left a message for his upcoming new pysch. The new pysch called me back as of the time I am writing this and has penciled Aj in for an earlier appointment, earlier as in 20 days before the one they had previously schedule his new patient visit for. That’s 20 less days of watching my son fall apart uncontrollably, it’s better than nothing.

A mother and her two sonsMy Wish for Aj and His World He Lives In

I wish for more people to have compassion for bipolar people. Sadly I see far too often that many tell me “well it’s just behavioral, you aren’t strict enough” or “he doesn’t need medication, he needs a firm slap on the butt”. I mean, seriously, I am so sick of everyone who doesn’t live this telling me what to do. I don’t mind those who deal with similar instances who want to lend me tips on how they survive parenting a child like this; one who has anxiety, a mood disorder and some ways that fall under the autism spectrum. I am not talking to other people, sharing stuff on Facebook or on my blog post to have people give me answers or tell me how to parent, I am sharing because this is my community that I reach out to for support, advice and love. I do that for others and only expect that in return. I hope that Aj can get moving forward soon, before it messes with his schooling, right now I am simply thankful that the situation is not affecting Aj’s grades. I just hope he doesn’t have to suffer for much longer and can get on proper medication to lead his happy life that he had many years ago when they placed him on a drug that worked awesome but sadly made him gain too much weight so it’s not an option for him to take that anymore for health reasons.

I just want my son live … freely, happily and steadily.

 

Updates – Aj without Medications #bipolar #mooddisorder

So we have survived one week with Aj off of medications. The medication he was on wasn’t really helping anything anyways but sadly he does need some form of mediation to keep his mood disorder straight. We have had some really great moments with Aj, the first part of the week was decent but Aj was also having the stomach bug that is going around. I think the stomach bug kept Aj at bay and kept his moods somewhat level or at least low key. While Aj still exhibited the mood disorder symptoms, they were mild and easily managed. I couldn’t really gauge school level situations because of the stomach bug he wasn’t in school but one day last week, it was only a three day school week to begin with.

I have noticed that Aj is more vocal at age 7 without medications than obviously he was from age birth to four years. This is to be expected, children don’t usually start to realize their feelings nor know how to express them at such a young age. I always say my first born, and only daughter, was my first experiment in whether my parenting style really works to help children be confident, independent and well rounded. My second born, first son, Aj, is my second experiment with working on a different parenting style as he thinks differently than my other two children. Aj is a very literal child who sees the world in black and white.

As adults we learn life isn’t always black and white, it isn’t clean cut. Sometimes people ruin experiences for others, sometimes we have to pay for mistakes other people make or have made. Aj doesn’t see life that way, to Aj if he did no wrong then he shouldn’t have a consequence. While Aj is also famous, at home, for saying he didn’t do something that he did, you can immediately tell that he is fibbing you. Aj is much like me in that we are incapable of lying, it’s not something we are very good at. Usually we smirk or have this avoidance of eye contact so extreme that it’s blatantly obvious that we are lying. I am thankful Aj picked up that gene from me, because it make it easier to work with him.

I had a meeting last week with Aj’s counselor who still insists yes Aj has a mood disorder, but since he has not been on correct medications for going on about six months now, his learned or enabled behaviors are starting to come back. I won’t lie, that is my fault completely. I am the parent but I do my best, as do all parents, and with a mood disorder child it’s sometimes easier to deter a total mood fluctuation by allowing some behaviors to go unnoticed, rather without consequence. This isn’t a good way to parent but I am not perfect and now am able to see what I have to work on with Aj again, but it’s minimal issues and will be easily worked through.

I cannot say if I feel Aj needs mood disorder medications or not just yet. It has only been a week without medications, he stopped medications on January 20th. So we will see how this plays out, on February 5th he sees his current psych and I am sure by then I will have more feedback about my experiences and observations regarding Aj without medications. For now, I am simply staying strong and moving forward.

 

Living with a Child who has a Mood Disorder #bipolar #mentalhealth #happilyblended

Today my heart broke yet again. Watching my seven year old son struggle through life while being on the wrong medication. The medication that worked the best for our son was risking his health. Aj had to be removed from one medication because he gained far too much weight and it was time to change, even though the medication was helping a lot and an increase in dose wouldn’t have capped him at the limit, it would have enabled him to gain more weight and in turn create health risks.

Sadly that is the case with our seven year old son, he is constantly out growing his medication. Aj metabolizes medication in such a quick way, doesn’t matter what it is. As a baby, he had severe ear infections and antibiotics never touched them. It was ridiculous. Then there was medications to assist in helping Aj sleep, both natural and prescribed in the past five years, that would only work for a few days up to possibly a week time before he couldn’t sleep again.

Here we are today, with a son who has a mood disorder – nos and his medication is not proper. Capped out on the current medication there is no room to move and quite frankly this isn’t the right medication anyways. There are few other options for a child with a mood disorder – nos, at least as far as I’ve been told. The counselor mentioned a medication a couple of weeks ago and was going to discuss options with Aj’s psychiatrist – we shall see how that went.

In the meantime, I spent a good hour listening to my seven year old son cry and cry and cry. Aj has learned to express some of his feelings through words, but usually he expresses through rage and anger. Today was a day that after a rageful angry situation from him, I was able to talk in a calm voice and keep talking until he broke down in tears. Aj expressed that he is sick of not caring about anyone or anything, he hates that he cries all of the time, he hates feeling the way he is feeling. Sadly he has heard me say one too many times that his medication is wrong so he did mention that, but I think that’s more him repeating something I had said. All of the other feelings and concerns he was telling me as he balled his eyes out sitting on my lap, broke my heart. They were from his heart. He is struggling and it’s nothing he can control without proper medication.

Therapy only helps so far with a mood disorder – nos. Therapy aka counseling is a very important tool to utilize when one has a mood disorder – nos, but it needs to be combined with the proper medication. At this point I feel I am just watching my son slip away, back into the person he was before we ever even started down this path of figuring out what was up with him. I fear that if it’s not resolved soon Aj is going to keep going downhill and let me tell you what, I will be damned if I let my son struggle like this anymore. It has been about four months of a roller coaster ride of emotions and we cannot take it any longer; Aj hates it, I hate it, his Dad hates it, his siblings are moving further away from him. The youngest boy is starting to act like his brother, and it’s just so detrimental to the well being of our happy home and my kind hearted compassionate son.

I keep praying that the counselor can get through to the current psychiatrist, because we cannot see a new one until March of 2014. I do have an appointment scheduled but we have to wait …

Sometimes The Battle is Harder than You Ever Dreamed #bipolar #mooddisorder #parents

My son has a mood disorder, I can honestly say Bipolar but the clinical diagnosis is one of two things; his counselor says “Mood Disorder – NOS” meaning he has a mood disorder not otherwise specified, his new psychiatrist is trying to diagnose him with “Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder”. Either way, he clearly has a mood thing going on and since bipolar is what runs heavily in the gene pool as well as what I grew up watching my younger sister (and only sibling) have; I will tell you he is by far bipolar. At age 7 and even younger though, they won’t diagnose such a mood disorder because he is so young. On average it seems bipolar doesn’t get diagnosed until closer to age 12, that’s just based on my own personal research.

Based on working with a counselor then a psychiatrist and now back to dealing with both, it’s clear my son has an issue with moods; they switch off and on like a light switch when not properly medicated, he’s easily irritated, he has some sensory sensitivities, he also has irritability and other symptoms that put altogether make it difficult for me to parent him as his primary caregiver and him lead a normal seven year old boy life. Don’t get me wrong ,he’s a fighter and since he also has anxiety, he is able to play sports, do well in school and function in society. The thing is that when his medication is off, his anxiety comes out more, he is more easily provoked, he melts down more and his routine driven and very serious can’t take “sayings” as just saying’s personality comes into play more. It’s difficult because we all use metaphors in our world but Aj can’t really deal with metaphors, when it comes to Aj, what you say is what you mean and what you get is what you get. There is no grey area, it’s black or white only.

When Aj is really having issues with medications or things are going a bit off kilter, I usually text my friend Dwan, because she is the one person who has been in my life for many moons and knows all too well most of what I’m dealing with. Dwan is who can easily help me in some ways when it comes to Aj because maybe she has tried something I haven’t with her own child or maybe she has learned something from a professional that I haven’t yet. It’s all about my online community of friends and I have a pretty good mix of them that can assist when times like yesterday happen.

Recently the psychiatrist added Prozac to Aj’s abilify treatment for medication. This was meant to help with his anxiety that he still sort of has in school situations, but his anxiety wasn’t anything major, he is just a bit more reluctant to act out aggressively in school because it’s not his “comfort zone”. At home, Aj is who he truly is and honestly isn’t that normal for most people? So we went along with the Prozac idea because, well we didn’t know what other option to try at this point because the abilify wasn’t working the way it should. I will be honest, I am insanely angry about putting him on Prozac. His moods are worse, he is more irritable and he is not happy at all.

Yesterday …. he had a dentist appointment so I took him there and we had a decent morning, he had a mini meltdown of anxiety when he had to go alone (which is the norm) back with the hygenist to get ready for his silver cap to be placed on his molar. I was able to be strong and be brave for him and encouraged him to go with the lady and he did so with a bit of tears in his eyes, but he did it. Then on our way home he decided he was angrily hungry, like OMG the world is going to fall apart if he didn’t eat right in that moment. We were in the middle of a city I am not going to drive around in to find food. I had to have him wait, he had eaten a great breakfast and snack earlier, he was fine. I also had a drink in car for him so he could drink that while he waited for me to happen upon a food place closer to home.

Then it happened, we got to the school to wait to pick up his brother and it was rainy outside. Aj decided he could no longer wait in the van, he had to get out. I told him that he could get out of the van if he wanted to, I could see him from where I sat in my van and I had an umbrella he could use. The next thing that happened took me by complete shock; my son jumped from his back seat and wrapped both arms around me, had me pinned to my driver seat in a fit of rage/anger and I could barely get his arms off of me. (yes I was parked with van off at this time, he didn’t do this while vehicle running) I nearly broke. The thing is when parenting a child with a mood disorder you have to be the stronger one, the smarter one, the patient one and when I say these words, you have to be those things both mentally and physically. Which is why I need to start working out again, my seven year old is and has always been one BUFF boy. He is starting to get stronger than me.

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