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Healing PTSD with Child and Me

Discussion in 'General' started by becvan, Sep 8, 2006.

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  1. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Hi.

    I thought I would start a thread, in this forum, about how my son and I are both dealing with our own PTSD and how we are dealing with each other.

    I suspect my son's PTSD started three years ago. His therapist has just diagnosed him (within the last month) and is still working on building the trusting relationship with him.

    I have been in counselling with my therapist since July for Complex PTSD (see thread in PTSD information section if you do not understand this term or my understanding of it) and am just learning about it myself. (Despite the fact that I have been diagnosised with this three times.)

    The last three years have been really tough. I went into super hypervigilence four years ago, after leaving an abusive partner. The same partner had abused my son. I stayed in that mode until now (it's just starting to get better now) and won't even go there about my anxiety! My son was also anxious and vigilante, although I did not recognize it. In fact, other than recognizing that he was acting different, acting out, and seemed to completely withdraw, I did not know what was going on.

    Children and adults express PTSD differently!

    So now we are both trying to learn!!

    Slowly, I have been recognizing when I try to "lecture" him or give him crap, he just shudders and withdraws even more. I knew this before but did not understand it. Now, I'm catching myself when I start and his reaction to it and stopping myself before I get started. Then I sit down and have a chat with him. We talk about the issue, what is my responsiblity and what is his, how to break down what needs to be done in baby steps, and ensure that he still feels loved, wanted, appreciated, and above all WORTHY!! This is working, but it's frustrating as all h*ll. My PTSD wants me to go into supermode everytime I get upset and I have to fight it to reach my son in a way that doesn't further traumatize him. (Oh what I would give for a calm partner to help out here!!)

    Also, I've started using the Depression and Anxiety Inventories (See Anxiety and Depression information for these.) I asked my therapist if I could get Matt to do them too, to help him recognize what is going on. She immediatly handed me tons of copies and felt this was a great idea. (I just love my therapist!) So I've started him on them, as of last night. I explained how it worked and had him fill it out himself. Then I went through each question and explained what it meant and we had to modify some of the numbers. We then added it all up. I could tell he felt great. He had a big smile on his face and was joking with me about our scores!! (Boy did this make me feel good. I actually feel like I'm helping him!) So, we are going to do our inventories nightly. It's our family time!:smile:

    We have a lot of work to do and both of us need to learn about this. This is going to be so hard! My son is worth every second of it!!

    Bec
     
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  3. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Bec,

    You are in a bit of a rock and a hard place with the both of you and PTSD. Like anything to do with children there really isn't any scope to be self-indulgent and put our own needs first. Its a tough journey that you have ahead of you because I stand by my statements that those with PTSD can be extremely self-indulgent. That option is not really available to you. It must be hard to overcome but its good that you are making the effort to explain things to your son as he needs to hear them. I suspect that both of you will be a lot better off for your efforts. I hope that you both heal well but I would really like to hear that in a couple of years time, the PTSD is having minimal impact on your son. You can and should be well proud of your efforts.
     
  4. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Thanks Kerri-Ann.

    I've never had the luxury of being self-indulgent. The only person on this earth who would describe me as selfish is my mother, and that's because I will close my door and shut off the phones if I can't deal with it anymore. However, with kids, that isn't a possiblity. You have to deal with it whether you want to or not! I'm actually known as the "fixer." I used to be the one that was called to come and listen or come and fix or whatever. It gets sickening after awhile. I realized that I was always listening to everyone else's problems or being asked to do them favors because of it. Yet, when I opened my mouth, I was cut off or told to get over it. Needless to say, I have very few people in my life now (my mother is definately not considered in my life.) I cut those people off. They were just users. It's a two-way street! Anyways, I'm getting way off track here!

    I, too, am hoping that with therapy, education, and a change in how I do things around home, that my son will have a managable case of PTSD instead of like mine (which I manage but still you know how it goes...) His therapist thinks this is possible! Our anxiety and depression inventories are soo different. Each one has a maximum of 72. Mine are like 60's for anxiety and 40's for depression (that's my normal zone.) Matt's are 20's for anxiety and 20's for depression (this is after some extreme work from the therapist and I to make Matt feel safe again.) Huge difference. So if we can keep this down, along with all the changes, it just might make a difference in how it's managed. Hopefully.

    Bec
     
  5. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Bec... don't forget about you though... thats not selfish, that is smart. If your unwell, then Matt will become unwell as a consequence. So please remember, you need to get your scores down just as much as he does. As a parent of a teenager myself, I can say with experience, we do need to take care of ourselves a little, to ensure we do whats best by our children.
     
  6. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Thanks for that reminder. I tend to forget me and focus on Matt. It's hard to juggle the two. Right now, I'm couching it to get over my poor lungs! Gotta start somewhere!

    Bec
     
  7. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Well, its been quiet around here with Matt's PTSD. Mine is just full-blown lately and taking over the house. Matt's is so much quieter than mine.

    However, I noticed an odd footnote in my son's agenda from his teacher at school. It was referring to Matt ignoring the teacher while reading. I asked him about it and it was just him not hearing her while reading. Nothing big at that time, so I just tucked it away until it matched something else. Well, for the past two weeks, he's been coming home complaining about how noisy it is in class due to an unruly group of boys (so not suprised, it's the privleged better than you crowd). The teacher has threatened to quit because she can't handle it (way to hand them all the power there lady). So while we were doing dishes tonight, I asked him about school and how's it going. He likes his sub because the sub keeps the class under control. So we started talking about the noise (I guess they are throwing things, wacking my kid in the head etc.. on top of running around the classroom, talking) and his reading. (I suspected this was an important tidbit and I was right.) Turns out Matt is using the reading to escape the class. It's just getting to be too much for him and he is getting really anxious in class. We discussed our options and what would work for him. For now, I am going to meet with the teacher and ask that A) Matt is moved closer to her and away from these boys B) that she tap Matt on the shoulder and call his name until he answers when reading instead of barking at him and C) that if the disruptive classroom is not resolved soon that Matt be moved to another classroom. The poor kid is rushing through his school work so that he can read and tune them out. He doesn't want to meet with the teacher over it ( I think he's embarrassed and that's fine, that's what Mom's are for)

    I'm not expecting too much from this teacher. So far I'm not very impressed with her. So I will keep you guys posted on how this goes. Wish me luck!!

    Bec
     
  8. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    Good luck Bec! I wish I had a mum like you when I was at school! I hope that the teacher understands - she bloody well should if she wants to call herself "teacher", otherwise she may as well quit before she does any more damage!

    Hope it goes ok
     
  9. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    All the luck in the world, Bec! I bet it is hard sitting in a room of noisy people all day. And don't forget what you were told earlier, take care of you too.
     
  10. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Best of luck bec... and way to go with the mum stuff... nice work I must say. I hope to be such a good parent myself... fingers crossed, as I messed up a bit with the first and the whole marriage thing, but trying to get that under control nowadays.
     
  11. reallydown

    reallydown I'm a VIP

    Hi Bec,

    I know a little bit about school and PTSD...and not just at the post-secondary level...although back in highschool I had no idea what was goign on and it certainly wasn't as intense...I am just now making osme of the connections. Anyway...it can be very tough. I used to always put up my hand if I knew the answers or just participate...but now, and now that I think of it, it started happening around grade 12, I never participate in class unless I absolutely have to (ie presentations etc.)...

    I also have a negative experience from highschool...At the beginning of the year (gr 12) we had to write an essay on "change" or how "change affected us" etc...and I remember vaguley mentioning the war...Anyway, at some point later in the year, we were doing some informal group presentations and at the end we were taking questions and this guy starts asking me all these questions about where I'm from and mentioning politicians from there and the war and all this...at which point I get very (I thought clearly) uncomfortable ...it was almost as if he was interrogating me...and the teacher (normally a nice lady) just let him go on and at some point even proceeded to tell the class about some of the things I wrote about in that early essay...Anyway after it was over there was still about 30 minutes left til next class...I asked her to go to the washroom but instead found a staircase and sat down and just freaked out...didn't go back until the end of class (to pick up my stuff) at which point the teacher asked "was it something I said?"....hahaha The next day, in my history class, the teacher showed a WWII movie that (I now know) trigerred the heck out of me and I left that one in a similar fashion...

    So anyway, that was my very long-winded way of saying that school can be very tough with this, especially if you have insensitive or slightly deranged teachers (though i almost never blame the teachers because their job i soooo stressful...but some do deserve the criticism though)...ok I'm rambling...There was another point I was trying to make...I promise it was half-intelligent...I just can't remember it...
     
  12. reallydown

    reallydown I'm a VIP

    Oh and good luck! :)
     
  13. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Thanks everyone!

    I called the school today and spoke with the vice-principal (who had spoken with Matt's teacher earlier). They are on the same page with me. They have arranged for Matt to work in the hallway (which is common for students to do so Matt won't be singled out here) when he is getting to anxious, they are looking at moving his desk away from the noise makers. I am encouraged by this. I am also going to speak with Matt's therapist next week about this and the school will use any suggestions he has, also, to manage this.

    I'm hoping the therapist can help with teaching Matt some techinques to handle his anxiety in a way that isn't tuning out his teacher so dramatically.

    I'm impressed with how accomodating the school is and that they are willing to work with myself and therapist on all fronts to manage this. They know that I am looking into more effective techniques for Matt's anxiety management at the same time.

    Attack it from all fronts!! I'll let you guys know how this goes!!

    Again thanks for the support!!

    Bec
     
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