I just have to tell you that anxiety really sucks! We finally got in to see the psychiatrist and I took the following list of concerning behvaiors to share with him so that I wouldn't have to tell him all these "bad" things in front of my son and make him feel even worse about himself.
- Meltdowns when he doesn’t get his way. This can happen over the smallest of things. Little things get blown way out of proportion.
- Impulsivity – no control over his actions when upset, will say inappropriate things or act out.
- Lack of focus – has a hard time starting a task and staying on task – easily bored with school work.
- Poor self image and lack of self confidence – will often feel like everyone hates him at school and when he gets in trouble at home, he immediately says we hate him when he receives consequences for his actions. Many times when he starts to get out of control, we ask him to take some time in his room to calm down, he refuses and then when we insist he go calm down, he escalates and yells and stomps up the stairs saying we hate him. Sometimes when he is really upset, he says he wishes he was never born or that he would just die.
- Aggressive – He either tries to hurt a classmate or his brother or makes threats to hurt them. He has been suspended twice this school year 2010-2011 – first time for choking another child who was picking on him, second time for threatening to hit another child that was annoying him.
- Homework is a daily battle – he doesn’t want to do it, takes forever to get it done, and requires a significant amount of redirection to get it done. It is often a source of frustration and meltdowns at home.
I also received feedback from his teacher with what they were seeing as his biggest challenges at school... "We tend to see cycles of highs and lows. Days of extremes…a day in which he is respectful and on task, and then other days he is defiant and hyper-sensitive to others. So, we’re seeing emotional swings at the extreme ends of the spectrum. Academic frustrations don’t seem to be the root cause of the behaviors. We’re specifically concerned about interpersonal relationships and being accepting of consequences."
The psychiatrist took one look at the long list of behaviors and said "sounds like he has relapsed into an anxiety condition". He suggested trying the same med that we used before for anxiety since it seemed to work well and it has little to no side effects. It was hard as a parent to accept the fact that he needed to take medication again, but we are so desparate to help him, we just had to do something! Anxiety sucks and I feel so bad for my son when it seems no matter what we try and do to help him, it just doesn't help.
I realized how bad the anxiety really was when we (the Special Ed teacher, his teacher and I) were all trying to be encouraging to him and tell him he can do it... it back fired and caused him to have an awful day after almost a week of really good days. It was like the pressure was too much and when one little thing went wrong, it just went downhill from there and he couldn't bring it around. The school has been fabulous at trying different things to help him and working with the teacher and supporting her as well.
Things are turning around now that he has been on the medication for a little over 3 weeks now. At home we are seeing less meltdowns and they are not as intense when they do happen. I also received a wonderful note from his teacher this week when I checked in with her... "These past couple of days have been markedly better overall…he just seems more compliant and, overall, is following through on assigned task certainly much better than before. To me, he seems to be getting a general look of calmness in his demeanor…like he doesn’t look so aggravated to have to be sitting in school."
I am so relieved that the medication is working and helping him. He even told his teacher that he feels more focused and it is easier to stay on track. Anxiety has a way of making everything you do more difficult... who can focus and stay on task when you are worried all the time? Have you ever lost your keys and been fractically looking for them, feeling anxious about finding them, and you can't think about anything else? That is what it is like all the time when you have anxiety, you just can't focus on anything else than what you are worried about... anxiety sucks!