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Monday, February 3, 2014

Rough Weekend

There are still times that Teale is violent. Times that she melts down and there is no getting her back until the adrenaline drops again. There are also times she can start to fall apart, we see it coming and somehow miraculously, we/she can calm before the rage takes on a life of it's own. Those times are still such a blessing to both Mark and I. Her maturity really shows and we can see how far she has come. Unfortunately, her abilities to calm herself are not perfected and she still rages on a fairly regular bases. The triggers are often frustration or miscommunication, but as she ages, we have pinpointed many triggers.
Her being hungry, having low sugar can cause a rage, so we try to be conscientious about keeping her fed on a regular basis throughout a day, but there are times we don't notice until it's too late. Teale is often very independent about getting herself food, she's a big girl too, so I'm often not worried about her eating, if anything I'm thankful when she is not engulfing food. Her medicines increase her hunger and her weight is high because of both medications and her often sedentary life.
Illness that she is not displaying or sharing with us causes her to be more difficult. She gets swimmers ear easily from her hearing aids but her pain threshold is so high that she often doesn't tell us she hurts or is getting sick, she just becomes more angry. Many times I have taken her to the pediatrician after days of edgy or difficult behavior to have her checked over for a physical reason. Other times I just treat her for swimmers ear or give her Tylenol to see if it changes things.
Staying on schedule is key to many children's happiness, for Teale a change in schedule can completely throw her. Extra days off from school, makes Teale edgy. Vacation weeks can be a total nightmare for me as her caregiver. The routine of school is a savior in our life now that she is in Holy Childhood and happy in her program. Before Holy Childhood we had rages every morning getting ready for school. Also, her anxiety at the end of a school break and every Sunday was high, in anticipation of going back to school. Now she is happy going to school and she is more even mentally when she has school.
Teale needs much more sleep than the average person, usually going to bed between 7pm and 8PM, waking between 6AM and 7AM on average. She has sleep apnea and wakes often. We have never been able to train her on the sleep apnea mask, so I guess spending more time in bed has been the solution. As a ten year old she was going to sleep much later, averaging 8:30pm or 9pm, but as we saw the correlation between sleep and rages, somehow we discovered an earlier sleep time helped her immensely. Of course, life gets in the way of this sometimes and then we pay the price the day after a late night.
This weekend was a mix of the perfect storm, Teale had an extra day off from school and she went to bed later than usual. Yesterday was really rough. Two full fledged rages that my husband had to "hold" her through. Teale is about three or four inches taller than me at this point and also outweighs me. Her strength when she is in the adrenaline of a rage is terrifying. She hurts herself, biting her arm until bleeding and also goes after anyone who stands in her way. We have at least three framed pictures in the house that no longer have glass on them from her either chucking something or pulling them from the wall. Our remotes get thrown on a regular bases, but you'd be surprised how well I can fix a remote. We don't decorate the house like I would like to, it is sparse for fear of things being thrown in rages.  Mark and I have had times in our life with Teale that all you see are the bruises on us. She pinches, hits, kicks and bites when raging. Teale has no logical thought when a rage hits, she is out for blood. Our only protection for ourselves, our other two children and the house, is to hold her. We actually have to keep her restrained until it passes. For my husband, who is about a foot taller, outweighs Teale and has the advantage of using both his arms, he is barely even a step above her in strength when she is raging.The advantage we have is that we both can often outwit her. For me, it's all about winning the advantage over her. She is bigger and stronger, but if I have to, I can get her to the ground and sit on her, restraining her  one"good arm"with ALL the strength of my two arms. When Teale rages there is no filter, she will break anything and hurt anyone she can. She goes for my eyes, which scares me more than words could say. If I'm home alone these days when Teale gets violent, I feel very vulnerable, I fear the day she is able to get me before I see it coming. Recently I was in such a possiton. I didn't see it coming and suddenly we were in a knock down drag out, Teale out for blood and no one home to help me. My cell is my lifeline. I keep it on me at all times, whether I'm with Teale and need the security of needing to call for help or when I'm not with her and school or babysitters need to reach me. But this day, as I said, I didn't see it coming at all and my cell, was not on me. If my cell had been on me that day, I may have called for help. I may have tried to reach a neighbor or a friend, I may have even called the police for help as Teale's psychiatrist has directed me to do. The fear I experienced would be tough for others to understand. I had to use ALL I had in me to keep her from hurting me or breaking something. I tried to keep her own arm away from her so that she would not bite it until it looked like hamburger. That I barely succeeded at and when it was all done, we were both a mess, bruises, blood everywhere and deep bite marks up her arm. The rages have to stop on their own, there is no hurrying the process. Her body has to relax before you can release her or she will go right back at you. This is tough, my method is to pray during it. I try to concentrate on God entering her and calming her raging soul. My prayers are always the same, fill my daughter with peace, take away whatever pain inside her causes this, help me to not hurt her and stay calm. I repeat phrases in my mind over and over until I feel some sense of release or until she calms. It can take her fifteen minutes or two hours, average timeframe I would put at forty five minutes. Restraining her is like wrestling a bull for me, by the time she calms, I'm an emotionally worn mess. My mind races and I often wonder how I will survive this moment or the next time she has an episode. My adrenaline is high and my heart rate is fast. My mind spins and I feel scared as I watch her carefully, hoping it has really passed. I think about the next time, if I'll be able to keep staying one step ahead of her? Yesterday there were two rages, both times my husband held her. Both times took away a piece of us, our souls partly broken, our spirit hurt. It is difficult to find joy in the day after such an experience, but we have each other and we both understand the immense pain. That understanding keeps us strong and connects us, we are the only two people in the world who truly get our life. We are the only two people who know what the journey has been and continue to hope for a brighter future for our daughter. Yesterday was a rough day, we went to bed a little bit broken, but today is a new day and our resilience gets us through....

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