Saturday, March 31, 2018

Buckle Up and Hang On

Jordan came downstairs and spoke to us so eloquently about wanting to try out for the school musical. Being the extremely thorough child that she was, she said everything somewhat-overprotective parents (the understatement of the year?) would want to hear. She would give up one day of choir to help free up her schedule, put her "health first", which was, and still is, a highly repetitive Adam-quote, and she would  "make sure that she got a part."     Wait.    What?


I was panicking slightly, because what if she did not get a part?  Regardless, the three of us were able to have a calm, productive conversation. We explained that even if she does the very best she can, and nails the tryout, the ultimate decision is not up to her. Welcome to the world of drama. It appeared this wasn't a surprise, because she said she would still participate even if she got a part in the ensemble.  Phew...

So everything was good... for literally less than two minutes.  Then, right before our eyes, she began to freak out and spiral downward.

  • "You should have told me earlier in the week so I could have memorized the parts."
  • "You took too long to decide tonight."
  • "I have no time to practice."
  • "We're having family visit, and I can't do any of this."

What the hell?  As calmly as I could I explained to her that this whole situation was a positive one. We gave you permission to do what you wanted to do. Please don't make us regret our decision. I didn't verbalize my next thought, but if just thinking about being in the musical is giving her this much anxiety, how the hell are we all going to survive the actual show? So yes, I was immediately regretting our decision...

But only for five short minutes. Within those five minutes Jordan ran up to her room, slammed the door, and then proceeded to sit on the floor, wrap her arms around her knees and rock back and forth until she was able to calm down. Then she apologized.  So cool.  That's my girl.

We still had a long way to go, but if I've realized one thing, it's that small steps are huge when it comes to mental illness.

Thank you.

Us Too

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Say Cheese

Patience wasn't always (and still isn't) one of my strong points, although Zoloft has certainly helped in this department. :-)  During this time in our lives, when Jordan was almost 14, there were times when I was really being pushed to my limits. 

One particular day we had planned to take our annual holiday-card picture.  All five of us painstakingly color-coordinated our outfits, we put the matching bandannas on the dogs, and four of us were making our way towards the fall foliage. This is about the time when Jordan refused to join us. She didn't like the way she looked. My written reaction to this might possibly be the best mom quote of the (2011) year. Are you ready for it?   Boo Hoo.  

Cringe. At least I didn't say it out loud.

I felt badly that she perceived herself in this way, I really did, but there were other people involved. News flash, there are other people in this world besides YOU.  I patiently asked her if she would please do it for meit would only take a few minutes...  Did she?  No. 

So my sister-in-law's family, who were staying with us, got their holiday picture in front of our beautiful tree.


Jordan said she was overwhelmed, and having her cousins staying with us was too chaotic. Believe me, I totally got that, especially when there were four adults, five kids and five dogs all squished up in our house. But it was only a picture.

So we didn't get our picture taken for our card that day.  The final thought written in this entry was:  If medication would help with things like this, I would give it to her in a minute.

Thank you.

Us Too

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Unrealistic Expectations

Does anyone really know what to expect on the first psych appointment? On the one hand, I was pissed that this highly educated doctor didn't have a solution for Jordan. It's not as if getting to this point was easy. This was the culmination of years of fear, anger, frustration, and finally hope.  We took a huge step in the right direction, and I guess naively, I anticipated more answers.

On the other hand, this doctor who we just met, was willing to prescribe medication to Jordan after an hour long evaluation.  So you think your daughter needs to be medicated. Sure. Here are the drugs that may potentiality alter her personality and her life. It was that easy, and this scared me. 

Adam wanted us to keep trying at home.  If we were to react in a less angry, less combative way, he believed things had the potential to get better for all of us.  I agreed, but I also felt as if we were trying for so long, and look where it got us. Time after time we made a plan, tried to stick with it, she didn't (or wasn't able to) follow through with her part, and we would let it slide. Then the sh*t would hit the fan again.

I wanted someone to help us to be more consistent, help us find a plan that worked, and give us support. I didn't think this psychiatrist was that person. Maybe Jordan's current therapist was.

I wrote these confusing words in my journal: I came to the conclusion that in my mind- if Jordan needed meds one day, that it would give us a reason for all of her impossible behaviors throughout the years. Like she couldn't help it.  It's chemical, clinical... If not, it just seems like she's a pain (cringe). Always was, always will be. Ugh.  And worse, she will always be IN PAIN. That's too tough for me to accept. 

I'm not sure, but I think at this point I may have already decided that she should be medicated. I just didn't realize it yet.

Thank you.

Us Too

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The (Inevitable) First Psych Appointment

In November of 2011 we finally took Jordan to see a psychiatrist!  The visit went wonderfully well.  We all left the office feeling more positive about Jordan's future than we had felt in a long time.

Psych!   (How's that for a language throw-back from the early 80's? :) )

Unbelievably, I think this is what I had expected. As if after an hour long appointment, this miracle man would have Jordan's entire life figured out.  He would know exactly what our next steps should be, he would reassure us that everything was going to be fine, and we would leave satisfied; confident that his foolproof plan was going to cascade our beautiful daughter into a life of health and happiness.

But it didn't play out this way.  First of all, the doctor had a very thick accent, and I could see Jordan was having a hard time understanding him. Then he suggested maybe we wait to put her on medication, until she had more therapy sessions under her belt... unless we wanted to begin medicating her right now.  Um, you're the one with the PhD. I have no idea what we should do next.

Thank you.

Us Too

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Still Our Jordan

So now we're dealing with OCD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and OCPD. How do you treat one of these, or do you have to treat all three?  Maybe you don't treat any of them.  But then what? Continue to watch her suffer? The fact that lately she hasn't been hanging out with any friends fits right into the definition of OCPD.  Her way or no way.  It's been like this for as long as I can remember.

I just want her to be happy.

It took her from 3:00-8:00 to write a 150 word paper for LA.  It was as if on Friday night she decided the entire weekend would suck, no matter what.  Notice how I said she "decided"?  None of this was her choice or her decision. I know that now, but back then I didn't understand.

I used to naively assume that kids were messed up and struggled basically, because their parents failed them.  I certainly don't think that anymore.

I realize if she were to lose us emotionally at this time in her life, if we couldn't handle all of this, she would be in big trouble. She has no one else to rely on. But it's so hard to support someone who is unwilling to help herself, and defy's everything you try to implement, just so she can maintain some semblance of control.

And afterwards, when she apologizes and morphs back into the most remorseful, sweetest child anyone could ask for, it's rough. It's definitely taking it's toll on me. I'm fortunate that I can run again or I would be in trouble. I'm also very thankful that I have Adam. :)

Thank you.

Us Too

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Diagnosis Tres?

A few posts back I mentioned that Jordan's therapist said Jordan showed textbook signs of having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The national Institute of Mental Health defines OCD as:
  • A common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over. 
In retrospect, I guess I should have titled this entry Diagnosis Dos.

After that therapy session, Adam took it upon himself to do some research. For those of you who don't know Adam, he is very thorough when it comes to research. Beyond thorough. He found information describing Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD).  Wikipedia defines this as:  (Ready for this?)
  • A personality disorder characterized by a general pattern of concern with orderliness, perfectionism, excessive attention to details, mental and interpersonal control, and a need for control over one's environment, at the expense of flexibility, openness to experience, and efficiency. Workaholism and miserliness are also seen often in those with this personality disorder. Persons affected with this disorder may find it hard to relax, always feeling that time is running out for their activities, and that more effort is needed to achieve their goals. They may plan their activities down to the minute—a manifestation of the compulsive tendency to keep control over their environment and to dislike unpredictable events as elements beyond their control.
What the hell?  Talk about textbook. Here's how my mind interpreted this: Some people will be miserable, bitchy and alone, and because a doctor gave it a name, it's now a mental illness.  Wonderful.

I realize this may be strange, but I actually felt a small sense of relief. Think about it. If this had a name, that meant other people must be afflicted with similar behaviors and tendencies. So we weren't alone. Jordan wasn't alone. It also indicated that perhaps we weren't the cause of her suffering. Typically we didn't blame ourselves or feel responsible, but it was still nice to have some reassurance.

So now Jordan was diagnosed with OCD, GAD, and possibly OCPD??  And how can someone have a personality disorder anyway? It's a personality. It's a person's entire being. How can that be a mental illness?  It was all crap.

Thank you.

Us Too

Thursday, March 8, 2018

This Sh*ts Starting to Get Heavy

My next entry began with:

Someday I may write a book about this. Maybe help other parents who are going through similar situations. This week sucked. Jordan basically melted down from Friday night until Sunday morning (except when she went to school for a fall fest, because she had no choice but to go). She was truly impossible and argued everything. She refused to go to sleep and we couldn't make her. So we watched her make the situation worse for herself. We watched her hurt herself again and again. 

I guess because things were getting so rough, it makes more sense to continue taking the words straight from my journal. It went on:

I lost it on Friday night after the kids went to bed. Like lost hope- for Adam's job, for Jordan, for my running (my back was hurting). Everything felt like it was caving in on me. Adam was SO great about it. He told me I can't lose hope for Jordan. He said we have no control over anything, but that's okay and it's normal... I know he's right, but I hate thinking that way. NO control? Then what the hell are we supposed to do?  Seeing one of my kids hurting-- it is killing me.

Keep in mind, to the outside world everything about the Beck family appeared to be going perfectly. All of this, all the struggles and pain, were hidden. I was going to work.  Jordan continued to be a stellar student at school.  No one knew.  I know I've said this before, but you never know what's going on behind closed doors.

I wrote how I wished I could speak to my grandmother, who was no longer with us, and ask her for support and advice.

See.  Heavy.

Thank you.

Us Too

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Reacting and Responding

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and eventually, yes.

This was my reaction to that last therapy session (which actually turned out to not be our last) word for word:

So I'm going to call the psychiatrist that was recommended, make an appointment to see if she needs meds. and see where this all leads us.  If medicine can help, then I'm all for it. Jordan was actually relieved to hear that there are others out there who are "like her", and that she can be helped.  She is very nervous about the actual treatment.  

So am I... This is a lot!!  She's my baby.  I just want her to be happy.

Thank you.

Us Too


Thursday, March 1, 2018

I Ease Her Pain. I Don't Cause It

The following Friday night Jordan crashed hard. She was convinced she wasn't good at anything, especially singing and making friends. All the compliments in the world, especially those given by your parents, when you're feeling this low, tend to fall on deaf, hopeless ears.

So she went back to therapy.  It's funny because we both assumed this was going to be her last session.  I felt she needed more help and should be seeing a psychiatrist, not a therapist. Deep down in my bones I realized this wasn't going away with weekly conversations.  According to Jordan, this was her last appointment for one reason, and for one reason only: She didn't like going.

Because this was our "break-up" session, and Jordan was super anxious about it, I also attended. Ironically, this was one of the most informative hours of my entire life.  Here's what we learned:
  • Jordan has textbook OCD, which is a symptom of anxiety.  What??
  • Many people with OCD pick at their scalps.  Really??
  • Scalp picking is very similar to cutting (This one really got to Jordan.)
  • The moaning through potty training and months of crying without her pacifiers; these are  textbook behaviors for people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).   Damn.
  • This could be a chemical imbalance and she may need meds.  Hearing this said aloud, it was something.
  • The fact that Jordan is uncomfortable at therapy is actually a good sign. It means they are making progress. Great. And we're leaving.
  • It's common for people with GAD to change therapists often, because they want to avoid feeling uncomfortable. So, we shouldn't be leaving??
And she saved the best for last.   
  • It was our job to help Jordan get better.  We needed to set timers and restrict her from completing her compulsive behaviors.   I'm sorry, You wan't us to do what?
  • Jordan will be in pain. She may have sweaty palms, have trouble breathing, and feel like she's going to die.  WTF?
  • While all this is going on, Adam and I are to ask Jordan how she's feeling, and clearly chart each one of her answers.
Are you fricking kidding me?

Thank you.

Us Too