Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Full disclosure...

Alright, time to get deep and painful.... and come out somewhat coherent. I am blessed to know most of my readers and that's kind of comforting as this post demands to be written, needs to be written, and must now finally be written.

So in the last post I rambled. Continuing on.....

When Beth was approximately 6 months old I discovered I was pregnant with Jolie. Literally days after we moved back here from Texas. The timing could not have possibly been worse. To say I was horrified was a serious understatement. We had just moved almost 3,000 miles with Beth who was still an infant. We had a little money saved but no job yet. I cried every single day... until I hit about 29 weeks and landed in the hospital for pre-term labor. And then I begged and pleaded with whatever universal power would listen to save my baby. True hypocrisy, I know. Labor did stop and Jolie hung on for 10 more weeks... life was good.

Only something was wrong. As I suffered through bedrest and 3 OB appointments a week Beth started regressing. She lost all her words, she refused to play with me, and holding her was likely to get a person hit, bit, and kicked. Initially I believed the regression was coming from my pregnancy. After spending the day with extended family, I learned that my aunt, who is a teacher, believed something was very wrong.

Fast forwarding again.... Jolie was born and not long after Beth gets diagnosed autistic. Early Intervention came in and prescribed 25 hours a week of one on one therapy. Two sessions a day. I was working 50+ hours a week, husband was there but exhausted, Jolie was confined to a playpen during the therapy because they asked that she not be a distraction. Jolie had a MASSIVE problem with... well.... anyone who wasn't me. She tolerated her daddy because she had to when I was working. Aside from that she screamed non-stop unless she was right up on top of me. I couldn't leave her sight. Beth developed a nasty habit of fecal smearing. Yes, its not pretty but there's a very real reason I'm including this. Early Intervention told me they had NO idea how to make this stop, no clue why she would be doing it, but I had better figure it out. Jolie's social anxiety went from bad to worse as all of my attention was on Beth and her behaviors.

Early Intervention decided that what I needed was DCF and we were reported for neglecting Jolie's development around Jolie's first birthday. That day I truly wanted to give up. I told no one... I was horribly embarrassed. DCF came in and referred Jolie to Early Intervention for developmental testing. Imagine my surprise when Jolie scored ahead of her age group. Did you read that? She scored ahead of her age group. But it was EI that said I was neglecting her development. DCF decided we could benefit from free daycare. They had nothing else. They did, however, remind me on a regular basis that they could take my children if I didn't fix the fecal smearing, the behaviors, and Jolie's anxiety. They asked me to get my own counselor and I did but she was so stunned by my situation that she admitted she couldn't help.

That, folks, was the help offered to me. Around the age of 3, as Beth was aging out of EI, hallucinations started to appear. EI and the pediatrician assured me it was pretend play. Only EI's evals kept coming back saying she lacked pretend play skills. The one psychiatric facility that would see a child that young (pedi's referral) wanted to start Beth on psych meds. I knew nothing of the great med debate but I knew that it was going to be over my cold dead body that someone gave my 3 year old psych meds without a diagnosis.

Can you guess where I was emotionally by this point? My 3-4 year old had no concept of reality, had hours long meltdowns screaming about voices trying to kill her, self injured like nothing I had ever seen in a toddler,  wandered off any chance she got and at one point jumped off my dryer with the cord from the window blinds wrapped around her neck. My 2-3 year old was violent, aggressive, destructive, mean, hateful and could only stand me for the most part. I was working full time overnights... and I had a newborn. I wasn't there emotionally. I checked out emotionally back when EI called DCF and reported me for neglect. I was emotionally stunted and felt numb and dead inside.

The years didn't get any kinder. No mental health provider would see Beth, my insurance didn't cover autism treatments, and Jolie threw fits that last 3-4 hours on a regular basis. UMass couldn't decide if Jolie was a 4 year old bipolar or ADHD but they said something was terribly wrong and they would help us find ongoing help... only the ongoing help never came. She grew to be violent, she destroyed everything she touched whether it was hers or not, she lied, she cheated, she stole, and she obeyed nothing. There was no amount of consistency or consequences that changed anything. And I got pregnant again. This time Mama was as gone as any one person could be possibly be. I was addicted to Xanax, losing my job, and Peter was starting to show signs of autism. Then my gall bladder went, the baby I was carrying was in danger, working wasn't possible, and I couldn't correctly parent my children. I wasn't able to emotionally or physically.The pediatrician kept telling me Peter couldn't be autistic... I was clearly seeing things because I had a child on the spectrum already. The pediatrician told me they were sure Beth was schizophrenic but none of the specialists would see her.

I changed pediatricians. (Oh, I quit the Xanax too... that wasn't easy and wouldn't have been possible without two people who refused to give up on me and to this day still haven't given up. I love you!) Changing pediatricians was the first step to real change (I didn't recognize it then, I see it now). The new pedi wasn't at all impressed with how much had been overlooked and started the eval process for Peter, the UMass mental health eval for Jolie, and real and true support for Beth.

Then I lost my job. I was given the option to resign instead of being fired but it was made clear I couldn't stay there. The cable company wasn't prepared to deal with my health issues and the time off I needed for the kids. This was step number two to a real change (Nope, still didn't recognize it). I had a TON of time now to dedicate to finding help, only there was none out there. I was finally starting to warm up to being a real parent (not a shell of a parent) but I wasn't all the way there yet.

We stumbled upon (with the help of the insurance agency who actually worked HARD at finding me help) a therapist who wasn't intimidated. She also wasn't fooled by feeble attempts to be an adult. She saw me for what I was.... a girl who got stuck developmentally during the teen years. I wasn't very cooperative for quite a while. I really didn't expect her to stick around. She earned my trust slowly and without judgement. She encouraged parental growth in small ways (mostly by making me think it was my


  1. Huge hugs and you know I love you. You continue to amaze me.

    1. <3... you aren't signed in so I'm just assuming I know who this is. Pretty sure I'm right though and I love you too!