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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Filled with Hope and Fear, part three...

So if you have ever been in a car with an upset child, any upset child, you know the stress it causes. A screaming kid who wants out of their car seat, a baby who just wants to be held, a toddler who hates being strapped in, it is all the same, horrid. Teale has been in rages that have broken the windshield at least two times, she has broken controls, cracked car radios, torn off pieces of consoles. Mind you, she has never done this in another persons car, basically never rages with anyone like she does with Mark or I. Her understanding of abstract things, like how far away MA is, just isn't possible. She seems to get it partially, but not well enough to sit back and enjoy the ride. There have been many abandoned car trips, times that we have had to pull over and "wait it out." Times we have had to turn around and get home, where it is safe. We have switched drivers so Mark could hold her until we are somewhere safe. If one of us is alone when one of these rages hits in a car, the outcome is often disastrous. Mark was bitten once, bleeding, driving and literally holding Teale off on a long bridge where there wasn't anywhere to pull off. An older woman pulled up next to him, thinking he was hurting Teale, she mouthed to him, showing her cell, that she was calling the police on him. I can understand how it looked to a stranger, Teale looked like the innocent child, maybe being abused or kidnapped, but how wrong that woman was. The police came to our house, Teale's psychiatrist was able to intervene and we were cleared, but it was terrifying. I was in a similar position once, but luckily I was close to home at the time. I got home, but I was badly shaken, hurt and had a broken windshield. Times like those are tough to "let go" when you are on a long car ride. Stories about Teale's fits in the car are endless, we have experienced more than our fair share. There are many things we have tried, but basically the only thing that works is waiting out her rages. This seems easy enough, but an hour on the side of a busy highway with a raging child out of the car is terrifying, frustrating and exhausting. Often our life is completely out of our control, yes, I realize everyone's is. I realize none of us has control over our children in many situations. I also recognize Mark and I have risen above our lack of control because our love is so deep and our faith is strong. I also have times when I want to run away, times I wish Teale was never born, times I wish I could die. I never really dwell on those thoughts, there really is no use. I believe recognizing feelings, saying the unspeakable out loud helps keep us sane though. There have been times Mark or I have told each other we hate Teale, we know we still love her and the feeling will pass, but we are are human and worn. I believe that acceptance helps both Mark and I in bad times.  He is good at reading my need for a break and I would hope he would say the same about my reading him. We step in for each other when we are feeling too angry to be dealing well to help calm her. We can feel rage and a desire to hurt her but knowing we would deeply regret such an act keeps us both able to step away when these feelings take hold. I pray my way through her rages, telling myself this is not her or her fault. I ask God to keep me strong and to not do anything I would regret. I remind myself constantly that she is Gods child and He would not want me to hurt her. If you have ever had a child with no filter come after you, you understand the strength it takes to not let your protective instincts kick in and hurt the child back. Somehow over the countless rages I have experienced with Teale, I have reacted in a way I was ashamed of only a few times. Don't get me wrong though, I have wanted to way more times. I have been threatened by her strength and wit, I have bleed, bruised and even lost vision for short periods of time. We have what her psychiatrist would call post traumatic stress, as we live in unpredictable stress often. We never know when a rage will strike. I flinch in her reach, as she physically goes after me often, even her kind touches are rough and hard. The cycles of Teale are generally predictable, often a bad cycle comes in both fall and in spring, very classic for a bi polar person. Often her best time is summer, making me often dream of moving south. Fall and spring cycles are when the behavior can be the most brutal, but they pass and then we have good cycles of relative calm. Right now we are in a bad cycle, hopefully caused by high thyroid function that was recently diagnosed and is not yet solved. If we solve this latest medical issue, my hope is we will get the calmer Teale back. Traveling during a bad cycle was either incredibly brave or just plain dumb! The good times generally outweigh the bad, that is how we keep going. The running joke in my house is that "we are Gods entertainment." He is watching us and knows when we are at our wits end, bringing "Teale" back to us in the nick of time. He knows just how much we can take and then the cycle switches. I don't really believe God acts like this. Somehow joking about our life, humor in horrid situations is what Mark and I cling to. We often laugh when it is all said and done, reflecting on our pain with humor makes it so much more bearable.  We hurt for Teale, we work to make her moods more even and hope she gets better as the years pass. There are gains and losses every year. Her being bigger than me at this point was a huge loss this past year. But she has also gained much in abstract thinking, understanding things that in the past would have thrown her into fits. Much like a large toddler, she wants what she wants. Our biggest worry and reason Teale will probably never leave our care is that anyone else would hurt her if faced with what we face daily. So we continue driving toward the vacation she so loves, filled with hope and fear.  She sleeps sporadically, as the emergency medication we gave her to calm down knocks her out. The fatigue she feels can cause worse behavior, she may come off the medicine hard and rage again. For now I enjoy the calm as she sleeps, talking with Mark and trying hard to stay positive. We discuss the experiences of what we have been going through, laughing as we relive what sometimes feels unbelievable. ~to be continued~

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