School daze

It’s back to school time, which always brings a certain amount of angst to my household. This year, though, we have an extra something hanging over our heads.

As last school year rounded toward its close, Princess had a significant downward spiral.  She began to have thoughts of self-harm and a rising number of anxiety attacks. I got a call from the school nurse on a Thursday afternoon in late May telling me that Princess had tried to choke herself.  Twenty-four hours later, she and I were both sitting in a hospital room as we waited for a placement in a pediatric psychiatric facility.  She checked in on Saturday and checked out the following Friday, but did not return to school until mid-week, and only for the non-pressure events of the end of year carnival and final school day Mass.

We enrolled Princess in an intensive outpatient program over the summer, to deal with her anxiety and further develop both her coping skills and her socialization with her peers.  Upon the advice of the medical staff at the hospital, we took her off of her ADHD medication (stimulants often exacerbate anxiety disorders) and increased the dosage of her anxiety medication. While the journey is far from over, she did learn to identify the anxiety-provoking situations and ways to keep them in proper perspective and cope with them in the best way she can.  Much of what she has learned hasn’t been put to the test yet, but she has been more cooperative at home and less likely to freak out on her brothers (which is no small feat, given Hoss’ potential for anger outbursts as a result of his mood disorder).

I remain nervous.  While the elimination of the stimulants for the ADHD is likely a good idea (the hospital staff noted Princess’ ability to focus on her work without the meds, leading to a conclusion that her previous issues may have been driven by anxiety instead of inattention), it has been close to impossible to address the anxiety created by being in middle school and dealing with the school day.  Middle school kind of sucks, even for a “normal” twelve year old.  Kids can be cruel, either by intent or by ignorance.  Add an anxiety disorder and some established socialization issues to that mix, and it’s going to be a hard road for my baby to face.  And I am once again helpless to make it OK.

Posted by MamaKaren on August 9th, 2010
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1 Comment a “School daze”

  1. leahpeah says:

    Wishing you the best. It’s so hard to watch your kids go through tough things like this. xoxo

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