Thursday, February 28, 2013

Feb 28

L is crying in his bed. It makes me feel sick to my stomach. I don't know whether to go to him or not. I know if I do go to him, it will turn into a big crying/whining fest along with lamenting and self-hatred I'm sure.
I'm trying to get him to bed early(ish) for once. My goal was 7:30, but that time went past quickly and there was much stalling going on, so when the light finally got turned out, it was about 8:10 or so. I put some quiet piano music on on his iPod dock, but as soon as I left the room, he ripped his iPod off the dock. I don't know why. Maybe it was an act of defiance, maybe it annoyed him, who knows, I didn't ask.
I know he is tired. He MUST be! 11:00 bedtime last night, nearly 10:30 the night before, and late nights of past 9 before that, all with rising around 7 in the morning. He was yawning away this evening, and was suffering from a bad headache late this afternoon. The headache worries me, as headaches always do with the kids. Likely the cause was fatigue, as well as some dehydration (he doesn't drink enough) and also part hunger too. But then there's the worried part of me that wonders if it's a side effect of the St. John's Wort, and the even more worried part that immediately thinks the worst. I can't even type it out.
So I don't know if I should go in. I knew it was going to be a difficult bedtime. DH is out for the evening at a work function. Well, he didn't even come home, so L hasn't seen him at all today. His behaviour was starting to ramp up already at dinner time, and escalated to annoying behaviours from there, like refusing to do as he was told and generally acting like a two year old. Part of me is cursing myself for letting him stay home today, but I'm sure I took the lesser of the two evils. He would have been in a real funk if he'd gone to school and had to endure a sad movie as well as teasing.
I hate though that I'm leaving him to his misery. I don't want him to feel alone in this, I want to be supportive. But I also REALLY want him to go to sleep. He needs that so badly.
I'm sitting on the stairs, to be able to hear him more easily, to decipher, I suppose, what's going on. It's quiet now, but that doesn't mean he's asleep. He could be playing on his iPod. Maybe I should check....
Miracle of miracles, he's asleep! I think....he seems to be a good faker at times, but at the very least, he's lying quietly.
I pray he wakes in a good mood for tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Feb 27

Last night and this morning haven't been too bad. Not sure if its the incentive thing, or what. He's also not sick, which helps a huge amount as well. Last night he went to bed fairly nicely, although he's still pulling a lot of stalls so we still can't get him to bed early enough. However, I don't want to ruin the pleasant (ish) vibe of these bedtimes just to get angry at him for stalling. The improvement of not having whining and screaming is all I can ask for right now. Expeditious bedtimes are not in the immediate future, I'm sure.
I have started him on St. John's Wort. I can't find a whole lot of info about using it for children, although there is a bit. It's like that with most holistic things, I find. No one wants to say anything, because nothing has been "scientifically proven", although there at least has been more research on St. John's Wort than there has been on other types of natural remedies. That being said, I'm watching him as best I can for side effects or allergic reactions, and I am giving him less than half the adult dose. Of course now I wonder if that's even enough, but I can up it to half once I know if his body is ok with it or not (you never know with my family). I also bought some herbal tea with all kinds of good things like cinnamon and chamomile in it for him. It's actually called "happy tea" which made me think it would have cannabis or something in it! As well, I stocked up on Rescue Remedy for the really anxious times, and I also found Rescue Remedy in a pastille form in black currant flavour. I had to point out to L they ARE NOT CANDY and showed him the price tag to prove it ($8!) since he's quite old enough to understand that.
So last night, even though he went to bed ok, he still came downstairs a bit later to have a conversation with me about school. He expressed a huge dislike for this extra help group he goes to during the day for reading and writing. A SERT runs it, and she's one of the ones I like. I know that he just doesn't like work in general, especially reading and writing, so he's looking for excuses why he shouldn't go. Last night it was that some of the kids in the group are bragging about having their work finished first and making him feel bad. We actually managed last night to avoid tears and expressions of self-hatred and somehow I managed to get him back to bed. He sucked on one of his pastilles, and we put a movie on his iPod on, playing through the dock with the sleep timer set for a half hour.
This morning he told me that he was awake for when it shut off, which means another bedtime of past ten. This kid's sleep debt must be racking up something fierce.
This morning I was lucky to not have any problems with him, other than his usual daydreaming and slowness. He even let me hug him goodbye! Perhaps it was because I told both boys they could stay home tomorrow if they wanted, as its some kind of play day with the theme of bullying awareness. Basically, they play some kinds of games outside for the morning, and in the afternoon they watch a movie. The older grades (4-8) are watching The Odd Life of TimothyGreen. I heard this movie was sad, and L is very sensitive to sad movies. The last thing he needs is to watch an emotional movie at school and then get teased for crying. So he's staying home. So much for a full week.
Oh well. ************************************************ Feb 28*************

Bedtime was very late again. We try to get things going before 8:30 normally, but last night we were finishing off a movie we had started the night before. So it was about 9 before we sent them up to bed (they were all ready)but still, L was anxious again about the extra help class and so we talked for a bit and he had a pastille and I set up the iPod for a half hour of him listening to a movie.
I don't think the movie thing is working out too well. He is too tempted to watch it, and so he ends up taking it off the dock like last night. When I went to bed at 10:30, he was still awake. And then at 11, I heard him get up to go to the bathroom, so he still wasn't sleeping yet. This is getting ridiculous and I really hope this isn't turning into a nightly insomnia thing. Lack of sleep just makes him worse, as does hunger. I'm really going to try hard for an earlier bedtime tonight, like 8:00.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Feb 25

This morning was extremely difficult. Or maybe I just felt like it was, and it wasn't much more than other times when I've given in and yelled at L.
I tried really hard not to yell, and reminded myself many times that this isn't my child, that this is his illness, but it's hard. Again, where do I draw the line between acceptance that he can't help this, and realization of bad behaviour? I struggle so with this, and can't wait to talk to a psychologist to have a professional opinion.
As a side note, I'm sitting in the OB/GYN office waiting for my appointment. I'm watching all these pregnant ladies go in and out with their husbands, and sometimes toddler as well. I look at their faces and see all the excitement and anticipation they have for this new life. This is the very office I was in when I was pregnant with L. The same dr, the same excitement and anticipation. Wow, that was nearly ten years ago, and never did I imagine this is how that small precious life would play out.
Anyhow, last night wasn't too bad. I know there were feelings there for him, anxiety, and despair as well for the looming school day to come. But with the promise of earning a puzzle piece (he's decided his prize is work gloves, safety goggles and a hammer for "mining" rocks) he went to bed fairly well.
Again, I'm not sure if this is right, this bribery. Am I bribing him to behave so I have an easier time, and is that fair to him? Am I bribing him to suppress those feelings, to stifle the urge to tell me all of them? Yes, that's easier for me, but not necessarily easier for him.
He didn't speak to me in the morning, and gave me a hard time about doing anything I asked. He even sat down in a snow bank on the way to school so that I had to physically hoist him up and push him along. Once at school, he didn't acknowledge me but went to his lineup and sat down. I waited, spying on him until the bell rang and he went in, because I honestly didn't know if he would try to skip off.
After school, he was speaking again, although still disgruntled about having to go to school, and he told me that some kids were picking on him. When I asked about what, it was a story I'd heard before. Apparently, one day L let it be known that he didn't believe in God or organized religion. I had warned him that if he threw that in people's faces, that there would be repercussions. Some people will take great offence to that, no matter where you are. So he told me that there are a few kids that just won't leave it alone, and keep asking him why he doesn't believe, or that he's wrong, or stupid for not believing. He did tell me he told the teacher, but ever-helpful that she is, she just told him to ignore them. I don't know how many times I need to spell it out for this woman, but once more apparently. What seems trivial and like a childish argument (and it would be for a "normal" child) is NOT trivial to L!! He needs the teachers to help him out. If one kid or two are "picking" on him, to L, it's EVERYONE hates him! And while I know that's not true, I think he believes it at times, just as an anorexic believes they are fat.
Sigh. When he was in a more positive frame of mind, I discussed it more with him, and talked to him about how this kid is just trying to get a rise out of him, and how he's actually REALLY good at ignoring people, like he did to me that morning. Hopefully he'll give that a try tomorrow, or whenever it happens again.
He went to bed well tonight, which was surprising. He was asking me if he gets a puzzle piece, so he wants to earn them. He also ended up staying up late reading a graphic novel-type book I got for him from the library. The times he reads voluntarily are few and far between, so it pains me greatly to have to tell him to stop and go to sleep, like I would to R. Plus we had said to him before that if his mind is worried at bedtime, to try reading, so I can't exactly tell him to stop. I guess he'll be tired tomorrow.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Feb 23

I guess I had this naive idea that weekend nights would be better than week nights. Generally, they are, and I suppose I'd come to expect that they just should be.
But tonight wasn't great. The day had been good, but ended when DH got angry at L for whining. Actually, it started with L repeating over and over again a line from an annoying song. While it was nice that he was happy enough to sing, the song was less than desirable to have in my head, and he was asked to stop several times. So after about the third time, DH told him to stop. L said, "Sooooorrrreeeeee" in a very whiny voice which led to DH telling him to stop whining, more whining, and so on. He stormed off upstairs. After about twenty minutes, DH went up to see how he was, but he wouldn't speak to him or make eye contact.
Eventually,I went up and we had a conversation. I tried to explain to him that he shouldn't have been whining, that all he needed to do was stop, take a breath, maybe count to ten and proceed in a calm normal voice to say he was sorry.
He tried to tell me that daddy ruined his perfectly happy day (uh-huh, yeah) and it went from there. I can't recount everything we said, because our conversations seem to go in circles. Me saying something logical, him twisting it and being far too literal, me reiterating and trying to fine-tune my message, him interrupting me with a completely far-fetched and loosely connected scenario trying to prove me wrong, and so on....
Somehow we came around to going out to pick a "prize", to try this incentive program. He started crying saying he'll never be able to earn it. I don't know if he's feeling overwhelmed and defeated before he starts,or if he's just setting himself and me up for his failure, so he doesn't really have to even try. I laid down some rules for earning a piece of puzzle towards this prize, hoping that would ease his mind and show him that it's achievable. But he was in just too negative a frame of mind.
The evening ended with him trying to tape his bedroom doorknob up so it couldn't be turned, then me leaving without really saying a proper goodnight, because apparently he hates himself and (said screaming because I started to walk away at this point) he HATES HIS FAMILY!!
I just long for those days when we'd get a hug and kiss (soooooo long ago) and an "I love you Mommy, night-night."

Friday, February 22, 2013

Feb 22

Once again, L was home from school today (another 2- day school week, sigh). Last night at around 11:30, he woke up and puked, then felt very nauseous for the rest of the night until he finally gave in to the Gravol and slept. In the morning he was in better spirits than yesterday,(go figure he was staying home from school) but he continued to have an upset stomach for the day and ate only small amounts of bland food. By this evening, I'm sure he was feeling ok since he REALLY wanted to have some pizza, but under the advisement not to, he decided it was better to wait until tomorrow instead of pushing it.
Then came bedtime. At 8:25 I turned off the tv and announced time for bed, at which point he protested and whined. Then, suddenly and magically he was feeling nauseous again.
Now I know he isn't making it up, but I'm pretty convinced that he's making himself nauseous with stress or worry or whatever.
Over what, though?
He's not going to school tomorrow as it's Saturday, and he doesn't have homework for the weekend, so I can only think that he is worrying himself sick over being sick.
Ridiculous, eh?
I gave him some more Gravol to hopefully relax him and induce sleep and we put a movie on in his room with the timer set for 40 mins.
He was fine then, for forty mins.
Then he came downstairs, crying that he felt nauseous again. So the thing that was taking his mind off feeling sick was off and now he had nothing to distract him. The movie thing is great, only he won't fall asleep to it, which would be ideal. He just stays awake watching it, then starts the pattern all over again.
I told DH that I'm worried now this is something else to add to his list, and now instead of crying and/or screaming and/or lamenting, we'll have to endure increasing hours of nausea.
Well, he will, and I'll have to endure sitting there rubbing his back and wishing I could take it away, and both of us not getting all the sleep we need.
I don't doubt that L's sleep debt is racking up, but it seems like no matter what, lately we can't seem to get him more sleep. Earlier bedtimes get stretched to late ones, late ones become later, telling him to sleep in is like telling your newborn to sleep in. He wants to sleep in on school days of course, but on days he doesn't need to be up, he's ALWAYS awake before 7. I even tried to get him to nap today. We both lied down on the couch, the tv off, fireplace on, blankets on all cozy, and who slept?
Yes, me.
When I cracked my eyes open, I could see he had retrieved his iPod and was playing that. He said he slept a bit, but I don't believe it.
So as of now, it's 10:15 and I'm wishing I could go to bed, and I will soon. But I need him to be asleep first, because honestly, I'd rather stay awake all night than be woken an hour after drifting off to "MOOOOMMMEEEEEEEE!"
Fingers crossed he's asleep now.
Please, please be asleep.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Feb 21

Today I had every intention of sending L to school for the morning and having his dad pick him up before his appt with the lady at home and then his paed. appt.
However, just before six this morning, he was in the bathroom with an upset tummy. I don't know if this is a bit of a bug, leftover tummy upset from his antibiotics, or stress. It could be a combo of all for all I know.
So, feeling sorry for him, I let him stay home. And while he didn't have to run to the toilet again, he did seem in discomfort during the day, didn't want to eat much, and I could actually hear his tummy gurgling away sometimes.
We had our appt with the lady from the children's mental health place at 1:00, but she didn't ask much and only stayed a half hour. I'm starting to wonder what she is even coming for. She asked if he'd tried any of her previous suggestions, which he hadn't much, and gave us a few more such as: to try picking an incentive to work towards for good behaviour at bedtime, try using music or some sound on his iPod to listen to when he can't fall asleep, and write down his worries at night to help them "be off his mind".
Here's why I don't think any of this will work; she seems to be treating this as some sort of choice for him. Like, I'm all for an incentive program, but his bedtime issues aren't really all behaviour. I don't think he can help what's happening. If I could reward him for not being sad or anxious at bedtime, that would be great, but to me, that just seems like I'm asking him to pretend everything is ok for my sake and for the sake of getting the prize at the end.
However, since I'm not a professional, and I'm desperate to try many things, I'll give it a whirl.
The iPod trick could work, as it works for many adults I know, so we'll see about that.
The writing down part likely won't happen because first of all, he HATES writing, and second of all, I'm not sure he'll be so inclined to turn the light on and put pen to paper at 9:30 at night. I just don't see it happening.
After that, he went to his paed appt with his dad and from what DH told me what the dr said is that: A) psychiatrists are covered under OHIP, which I didn't know. There are three child ones where we live, and he said two he wouldn't send us to, and the other is likely booked for a year or more (Oy, vey)
B) we can put him on medication if we wish, either Prozac or Zoloft I believe. It's up to us, and we can wait until we see a psychiatrist, psychologist, or whatever or do it now. He said (and I agree) that its like his mind is stuck in a rut, and he won't get better if we just ignore it. The rut will become deeper, and could lead to him actually harming himself. Medication could give his rut time to heal....we need to think on it and do some research obviously.
C) the HSC in Toronto has some sort of Internet based psychiatry, but from what I understood from DH, we have to do it at our hospital. DH asked to be referred to that, but again, another wait there, hopefully not too long.
I think that was about it. Oh, and his ears are clear again, although one eardrum has a small hole that is healing and there could be some scarring there.
I've come to realize over the last few weeks that when L isn't feeling well, his mental symptoms are magnified. So I'm really not looking forward to tonight. Right now he's upstairs playing Lego with DH and R. It's kind of a nice break for me right now, as I had a trying day today all around. I can hear him giggling and laughing, which is nice to hear, but as soon as he gets into that bed I just know there will be tears and more self-depreciating talk and likely some screaming when I leave. I never used to dread bedtimes, but I do now. I used to count the hours and minutes until adult evening time, but now I'm willing the clock to slow down.
At least tomorrow is Friday.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feb 19

Ignore the spelling, it's not his strong suit.
This is the message I found in L's room waiting for me. He did it this morning, when he was supposed to be getting dressed for school. He didn't want to go to school this morning, of course, but it wasn't as bad this morning as some others mornings. I wasn't great either. My plan to wake him earlier and hopefully schedule in that delay/stall time of his worked, but only just. I need to schedule in more I think. I woke him around 7:10, got out his clothes (it's just one less step for him to use as an excuse to go slower if I do it) and he still wasn't dressed and downstairs before 8. At that point I was getting very annoyed, and ended up yelling, just a little though. And he did get fair warning too, like, "You are starting to make me very angry!" and the like, stated MANY times! 
Well, I did get him off to school, and after school he seemed fairly happy. We had a weird altercation with a friend who was supposed to come over to play, but never did, but to avoid a long story, L ended up having a different friend over to play, one whom I like much better anyway. 
Bedtime wasn't too bad, he kept delaying it by stalling, but I'll take that over the crying and lamenting of late. 

FEB 20

This morning was more stalling to get dressed, but I tempted him downstairs with fresh mango. He wasn't too bad with going off to school, but I never got a goodbye as usual. I don't know whether to make a big deal about that or not. It bugs me, of course. I've gotten used to no longer getting a goodbye hug (sadly), but lately, this ignoring me when I say goodbye to him really annoys me. It's rude, quite frankly, and I've always tried to teach my kids manners as best I can. I understand that he's annoyed about having to go to school, and that I'm the scapegoat, and I've come to terms with that. He has to be angry with someone, and I'd rather he be angry with me than himself, or his brother, or another kid. But should I make him say goodbye? It's another battle I just don't think I've got it in me to fight. I want to stick to my principles, to my guns, and tell him that's extremely rude to not acknowledge someone when they talk to you. But is it worth it? If I do fight this fight, I think all I'm going to get is a sour look and maybe a mumbled "bye"anyway. And that's not what I want. 
I want a happy bye. Or at least a goodbye with a resigned look or something. 
So tonight was a late night. It seems bedtime is getting later, instead of earlier. He's had some homework these past few nights, so I felt like it would ease some of the pain of it if I let him have his playtime afterwards. Well,playtime led to tv time, which always becomes, "But I just wanna watch thiiisssssss......" and I end up letting them stay up to see the end of whatever they're watching. 
Then came the in-bed lamenting. Tonight it was something to do with how he wants to invent stuff, but no one will understand him, and he can't do it in this body, and why can't no one be famous and everyone be the same, and when I finally realized the stall tactics and left, it was a screamed out "IM STUPID!!!" which I ignored. 
All I can say is that I'm just glad I didn't have to endure the "I hate my life, I have no friends, I want to die, I wish someone could understand and I can't take this anymore" tonight. That's harder to take, and especially hard leaving your son to cry himself to sleep. 
Tomorrow we have another appt with the lady from the children's mental health place, and he also has an appt with his paediatrician. I'm curious to know what he'll say. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

The End of a Nice Break

So tonight was the night I'd been dreading. I'd been anxious about it most of the weekend. It was an extra long weekend here, with Friday being the day we skipped school and went skiing, and Monday was a holiday called Family Day.
Tomorrow, it's back to work and of course, back to school and anxiety for L.
We went to the movies this afternoon, and so when we were on our way home I guess it hit L that this was it - the end of the weekend. He started groaning and saying oh no. DH and I both knew why without asking him. We managed to maintain through distraction and subject changes a fairly pleasant evening though, up until bedtime. L started to cry, and after some discussion this weekend, DH and I have decided to revert somewhat back to the way we used to handle his bedtime upsets; by not giving them as much attention. I hate to abandon him to his depression though, but I really don't know how much of his crying is the depression, and how much of it is for attention. Definitely tonight I can say that at least 70% of it was for attention. He had such a good day and a not so bad evening even, he was just disappointed for it to end.
And we all are, aren't we? I mean, who doesn't want the weekend to last forever? It's a very lucky few of us that actually look forward to their work week. I just wish I could get him to understand that we're all understanding of that feeling, and that you need to look for the small joys throughout your day and week to look forwards to.
But he won't. It's like he is just in hell. And all he can do is endure it and live through the torture.
I did end up going back to his room. He said he was crying because he misses our old dog, Vader. He said there is only one kid at school who could understand that. I think he feels worried, anxious and sad, and he looks for reasons why he should feel that way to justify it to himself. This time it was Vader, other times it's things like, "I don't have any friends at school."
That's a theory of mine anyway.
I'm nervous about the morning. It's making me sick, actually. I'm almost as much of a wreck as he is at this point. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Feb 17

So far, so good. Today and yesterday haven't been bad at all. Of course, it's the weekend - a long weekend at that - and therefore not many stress triggers.
Yesterday R and L bought themselves a pet fish each for their rooms. Of course I'm thinking the novelty will wear off quickly and we'll be back to where we were when we owned our guinea pigs: me, fighting with them on a regular basis about cleaning them out!
Ah well, at least fish are pretty cheap. And L is quite enamoured for now, with Richard (his fish). That's Richard after Richard Hammond from Top Gear.
So, not much to report right now, although I'm sure tomorrow night will tell a different story. Every time I think about it my stomach twists.
His stress has me so stressed out. I'm dreading tomorrow night. I can't wait for Thursday. That's his paediatrician appointment, and I'm hoping we can get some more answers. At least some tests done anyway. I want to rule out anything physical that may be in his head.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Feb 16

I knew I wouldn't be able to keep it up, the daily updates thing. Well, I'm trying.
So I left off at Wednesday night. That was a tough night emotionally. Funny how things look brighter in the morning.
I awoke Thursday after less than ample hours of sleep with a heavy heart. I was facing the daunting task of getting L off to school for the whole day today. The first whole day in a week.
Strangely, he got himself up early (for a school day) and I found him in the bathroom playing with his new toy he'd purchased for himself the night before. It's a gun that shoots these gelatin-like beads. Messy, I know,but I gave up long ago fighting that innate male need for weapons in this house. But that's another story...
I think that he had remembered what I'd said Wednesday night, BEFORE his meltdown. We had discussed him playing with it in the morning, after he was ready for school. I'd also given him warnings that he wasn't to give me a hard time when it was time to come inside (yes, it's an outdoor toy!) or he would lose it for a day.
But that was the night before. It didn't necessarily mean that he would adhere to it that day. But he got up,got dressed,had breakfast and got his bag ready for school. Then, when I said it was time to leave for school, get this -
he said........
He came and got his school bag, and off we went to school like I had the most normal child ever. He even said goodbye to me at school.
I don't get it. Was it the new toy? Was it because it was Valentine's Day, and therefore not much work? Was it because we were taking the day off Friday for skiing?
Whatever it was, it was a nicer day.
After school, he had a friend over, someone he hadn't had over for quite awhile. They were BFFs in JK/SK but seemed to have grown apart lately, perhaps because his mom had taken a new job and therefore their schedules didn't work so well for play dates anymore. I'm glad they reconnected.
Friday we went skiing with my sister N and her two. The day was...well, not as great as I had hoped. I guess my expectation was that L would enjoy the day, would want to hang with his little cousins, maybe even take on a bit of a teaching role.
Mostly, he skied with his brother, going up ahead on the chairlift with him, and waiting at the bottom of the hill for us. He started to get somewhat grumpy throughout the morning, and I wondered aloud to my sis if maybe it was jealousy. I was spending more time with my sis, niece and nephew than him. At one point L and I got some one-on-one time, that didn't go well. He was grumpy, and easily frustrated, and getting angry with me for really no reason at all. His typical lead-up to a meltdown. I was getting annoyed too, because I don't know where this was coming from. He wasn't hungry, he hadn't fallen down, yet he was getting moody and accusing me of stuff I wasn't doing, like "yelling" at him, getting angry at him, and the final straw:
           -when we finally got onto the chairlift (the lineup was long) he changed his mind at the last second the position we would take on the chair, which led to much hurried shifting and scuffling. I chastised him then, telling him he couldn't change his mind at the last minute like that. As we were seated, he accused me of kicking him. Kicking him?! What?! Why would I do that? That was it, I lost my temper.
You know that moment when the word are coming out of your mouth, and you're hearing yourself say them, but it's like you're having an out-of-body experience? One part of you is ranting, while the other part is saying, "Shut up! Shut up now! What are you saying?"
It was like that. I started saying that I was tired of his attitude, I didn't want to hear it anymore, I didn't want to be around him anymore (yikes,I know) and that he would go straight to the chalet to get out of his ski stuff and wait until we were finished skiing. He was done.
The horrified other part of me was thinking,"Here we go, meltdown coming. He's going to get off this lift,ski away from me and won't speak for the rest of the day."
Oddly enough, much to my shock, he said he would stop, that he wanted to ski more. I was stunned!
But then we went back to meet the others to decide on the next run, and he apparently fell over. While we were standing still. I didn't see it,but I did see him freak out on his skis, and he started to hit them with his poles. I told him to stop, and he said he was done. I think he was tired, which was fine, because his cousin M was tired too.
So it was a good and not great day all at the same time. No big meltdowns, but minor freak-outs that I didn't really expect.
I'm glad my sis was all up to date on L and his issues,because its hard not to feel embarrassed when someone else is witnessing your 9 year old have a spaz attack on his skis for absolutely no reason.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

SEVERE anxiety

Tonight did not end well. Oh boy, did it not.
I thought we were in the clear. I said goodnight and went downstairs, only to be summoned up again. Here's what he said:

  • He didn't like the woman, she gave him "homework" (really,no writing or anything, just some things to try to follow through on)
  • He thought she would fix him
  • He wants a man therapist
  • I'm not trying hard enough to help him
  • He's in pain
  • He wants a new life
  • He HATES his life (screamed at the top of his lungs after I left)
  • It's all my fault for giving birth to him
I know he doesn't hate me really, it's just his desire to be fixed and fast. I tried to explain that these things take time. Even medicine for an ear infection doesn't work instantly. I told him he has a mental illness, he's sick, and we will make him well again we just need to find the cure.
I'm sick right now. I came downstairs feeling so overwhelmed that I didn't even want to try to deal with it. Now my muscles are just shaking and my stomach is upset as it gets when I'm extremely stressed. The title of this post isn't just for L. I feel it too. What if we can't find help for him in time? What kind of mother am I to let my son continue to be in such pain each and every day? What if we run out of money long before we can even get close to "curing" him? I'm feeling so desperate right now, but helpless at the same time.
Right now, I get how L is feeling. I so get it. I get the anger, the frustration, the wanting to hide under a blanket, squeeze something hard, hit something or scream at the top of my lungs. Because I want to do that. I want to sob my heart out.
dH just looked at me, saw the tears rolling down my face and said, "Great, what are you reading now?"
I said, "Why do you always say that?" with exasperation and a little bit of pissed-off-ness.
Can you blame me?
He went upstairs to go to bed.
I think I'll just sit here and cry for awhile.

Feb 13

This morning we had a visitor, a crisis response worker from the local children's mental health place run by the government, I suppose. I just know that this is the free thing, the thing that we have been waiting forever for.
I'm not sure what her qualifications were, other than that she deals with kids and behaviours all the time. It was and it wasn't what I expected. I assume that she had some background from speaking with DH over the phone, but she didn't really ask me too many questions. Granted, I was busy at the time, going up and down the stairs to make sure things were cool with the daycare kids, and trying to entertain the youngest one at the same time.
L was happy in the morning, and didn't give me a hard time about anything like taking vitamins, brushing teeth or getting dressed. Of course, he knew he didn't have to go to school that morning, although he was told he would be going to school after. Perhaps he didn't really believe me, or maybe he was just hoping that I would change my mind and decide it was too much work to truck everybody to the school and back for the second time that morning.
Anyway, when the worker arrived, she sat with L on the couch and asked him various questions like, what does he like to do? Does he like school? Does he have friends? etc...She led the questions to asking about how he was at bedtime and stuff. She indicated some things that we could do to make life a little less stressful. Like, she mentioned friends. Now, L told her that he only has two friends. One boy, his BFF at school, and another boy that used to come to the daycare here and doesn't go to his school, but we still see because his younger brother comes to my daycare. It's not entirely true though, because he has other friends. One boy that we just went skiing with on the weekend. They don't play a lot outside of school, but I'd say at least once a month or so. He has another friend in another class that he's always liked, and once in awhile plays with him. He has playdates every week for sure with one kid or another, usually he's playing with a friend at least two school nights a week. So the crisis lady thinks he's a loner. But he's not, not really. It's L perception that he has no friends, but to me I see him with friends all the time. She said that we should arrange more "playdates" with more friends so that he has relationships outside of school. And yes, I can see her point, but it's not like he is always at home alone. We just never tend to have friends over on the weekend because we're busy, we like our family time, and I guess it's me too, I'm selfish. I like my peace and quiet and I have other peoples' kids here all week long. But for Logan's sake, I will make more of an effort to help him connect with friends more. One friend in particular, who I think he's grown apart from due to the fact that they don't play outside school anymore because his mother got a new job. I will have to contact his mother and arrange something.
She gave him some worksheets with exercises to help relieve stress, and one that has something to do with breathing, and one that has something to do with rating his stress. I don't really understand how rating his stress is going to help, but then, I'm not the professional, am I?
Literally as soon as she left and I said it's time to go to school, he had a fit. First, he broke his airplane that he had made and stuffed it into the garbage. I know he'll be upset with himself about that later. Next, he sat on the floor and refused to move. No matter what I said, he kept saying he didn't care, and that I didn't care about him, blah, blah, blah.
Now, I don't doubt that he was feeling anxious and stressed about returning to school after having almost a week off, but he was just plain acting like a two year old. And again, I'm now never sure if he's acting out to try to get away with it and because it is getting him attention, or if he's really unable to help this behaviour. Maybe his mind is freezing and he can't cope. I don't know.
But today, today I just didn't have as much patience. I NEEDED him to go to school. In the end, I barely  restrained myself from shouting at him. Just barely. I told him very firmly that I was trying my best to be patient and caring, but he had better get his butt in gear and put his coat and boots on, because he WAS going to school! I also threatened him with not going skiing Friday and dropping him off at school instead while I took R with me. That was a mistake, I regret saying that, but sometimes I feel like I have no leverage. How many times can I say, "I'm taking your iPod away then"? It gets monotonous, and at some point, he's just going to say fine, take it.
I really shouldn't be threatening him with the thing he hates most, I'm probably really hurting things here by doing that. School is supposed to be a safe, happy place, not a threat. It's not jail.
And here's where I say that I'm the stupid idiot now. Why do I let my temper do the talking? I'm at least happy with myself that I didn't resort to shouting. I am glad for that. And believe me, that is an improvement I'm ashamed to say.
So he got dressed, faster than the rest of us and took off out the door. I had to shout (ok, yes, then I did shout, but mostly because he was some distance away, like a couple of houses plus his hearing right now is impaired a bit) for him to stop and wait. While he could walk to school alone, I A) don't trust him to go there and not stop on the way, B) am afraid he'll carry out his threat to run away and C) he has to be signed in at the office anyway.
He wasn't speaking to me (big effing surprise there) but I said goodbye to him anyway and told him to try and have a good day. We'll see how he is when he gets home......More later....

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Feb 12

I forgot to write last night, as I was so tired. I'm not used to getting up in the night with my boys anymore.
So Sunday night/early Monday morning had L screaming in pain. Literally. It was his ears. At about 7 DH took him to the ER to get checked out. I have to admit that I was very worried, and not about his diagnosis,because L has always had problems with his ears. But I was very worried that he was screaming when he really wasn't in THAT much pain. I was afraid that they'd come back home and DH would tell me the doc said that there wasn't much redness in there or something. I was very worried that it would all turn out to be in his head.
Thankfully (I guess in a weird sort of way) it wasn't. His screaming was actually warranted. Not that I'm happy about this, but he actually had a double ear infection, with one eardrum perforated, the other about to be. Yikes. So he spent most of Monday sleeping. He was very tired and worn out poor guy.
So today is another story. I don't want him to miss so much school, as its becoming ever harder for him to go back. But he was still in pain this morning, and worried that I'd get a call during the day to pick him up, I kept him home. I did go in to the school in the morning, had a quick chat with his teacher and picked up a bit of homework. But I fear every day spent home is another step deeper into his anxiety cesspool (for lack of a better term).
He worried Sunday night (before the ear pain hit) about going back to school the next day. He has this idea that everyone at school hates him. His mind has created this idea, and everyday away from school it gets worse, I think, because he's not seeing proof otherwise. It's very real to him, and I can't contradict him. I wish he would believe me when I say it's just not true, but why would he? His mind tells him it's real, and I'm not there during the day, so how would I know? I can only imagine how scary it must feel to know you have to go to a place for the day where you believe you are hated. The thought makes me sick.
This morning he was fine with the fact that I told him we would be doing work. He understood the necessity. But once I told him it was time to get down to business it started with A) a bit of a tantrum (as in, refusal, saying no, crossing his arms, stating he didn't want to) then moved on to B) the anger stage. He stated again, he hates his life, he has a terrible life, no one cares about him, he hates his family (yeah, that hurt a little but I'm trying not to take it to heart) and everyone hates him at school. When I questioned why he hated us, he said we're mean to him. I asked how he felt we were mean, and after some prompting, he said we call him names. I was surprised, as I try my best to NEVER call him any sort of name now, not even "silly", like I might say to the other kids ("You're so silly!") He is just too sensitive, and I thought that DH was aware of this too, I know he is. R, on the other hand, not so much. They tease each other as brothers do, but most brothers don't have one of the parties holding a grudge against the other for YEARS!! L holds onto things forever. If you ever think he isn't listening, he is, and he'll remember what you said long past when you will.
So he wouldn't tell me what we said. He kept saying that I should figure it out for myself. I told him I couldn't, I can't read his mind, and if I knew, I wouldn't be asking. I told him to write it down if he didn't want to say, so he did. It said "idiot, dumb, bad sport,spoiled brat (yes,I may have been guilty of that one, but honestly, not within the past two years!) sore loser and loser." I'm pretty sure no one has called him a loser here, but I guess maybe someone, meaning R, may have a LONG time ago. That's a big no-no, but it's in the past now.
We had another lengthy discussion. More of me telling him about forgiveness, about how we love him so much, and care for him and how I would give anything in this world to see him feel happy again, to see him have joy for life.
Eventually, he started on his homework, but in a sour mood, in his "shut-down" mode, which basically means he glares at me like I'm the anti-Christ and stops speaking. I went back to the neglected children downstairs, and came back to him about 20 minutes later. He had written basically nothing. He was wandering around the main floor level. He said to me he was stupid, because he hadn't done anything. I didn't refute the stupid comment, because I've learned that it does nothing. I ignored it. I don't know if that's the right thing to do, because I hope he doesn't take my non-opposition to his comments as acceptance and therefore confirmation of these negative thoughts.
Anyhow,instead I suggested that he bring the homework downstairs so we could sit on the couch together and work on it. I said I'd keep him on track, and I couldn't stay upstairs with him. I'd ignored the babies enough for one day.
Eventually, he came down to me, and it was the flipped switch again. He was nicer, happier and more receptive to my help.
The rest of the day went by ok. I got him to do his math without too much trouble,even though he was in his room "inventing". He came to school with me and went home from there with his BFF, who is finally back from Florida.
The evening was strange. I'm starting to think he's manic almost. He was happy, and listening, and even went to bed without tears. He was laughing and joking with DH. Of course, we did tell him that he was going to school late, as a counsellor from the local children's mental health place is coming to our house in the morning to talk with him. Not sure if its the fact that he gets ANOTHER morning off, or if its the fact that someone is coming to talk to him. Is enough to make you think, "Oh, he's ok now," but of course I know it will be short-lived. It's a relief for the evening, but at the same time, I'm just sitting here wondering when the next "episode" will be. It's so stressful.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Feb 10

Tonight L wrote us a note. He's getting good at writing these little notes. I was remembering when he hated writing, and I couldn't get him to write anything ever. I have a few notes from the past saved in my night stand: a letter to Santa, a note pleading with us for a bird (as a pet), a small booklet simply written with the words, Mommy, I love you.
What I wouldn't give now to have the contents of these new notes be similar to those other ones. A simpler, sweeter time, it seems.
Now, the notes are often saying, I hate my life, I want to die, I'm going to run away, I want a new life.  
Today, I took L skiing. I wanted the whole family to go, but R had too much homework to finish, and L said he wanted it to be just me and him. So, we went. We actually met up with a friend there, a good friend of mine and her son who is in L's class. They had a good time skiing a few runs together. Nothing went wrong, thank god, like L or I falling, aside from one chairlift entry being a bit rough and L banging his head back against the seat as a consequence. After about an hour and a half, I suggested a break, and promised L a beaver tail. He was also thirsty. So we bought the pastry, went inside to the cafeteria, and upon sitting down, L was disappointed to see that the apple and cinnamon one he requested was topped with what looked to be apple pie filling. At this point, he went into one of his funks. Totally, over the top reaction, complete with breath-holding (this is anew one!), head down, fists clenched, and refusal to answer my question of would he like me to get something else to eat (it was dinner time and I was going to get some fries). After I stated that he'd get nothing if he didn't speak up, he said he wanted a drink.
When I came back and he'd had a few sips of drink, I told him he could have a different one and we'd buy one for R too on the way home. After that, he was still kind of grumpy, and he decided that skiing was done for the night.
Once we got home, I think reality crashed in again. He realized that the dreaded school was now only a night's sleep away, and so he had a few tantrums before bed. He refused to take a bath, but then about a half hour later he was happily playing in the bath. When I went to check on him, he had a smile on his face. He told me he was going to write me a note. Since he was smiling, I naively thought it might be a happy note, perhaps one telling me he had a good time with me today.
I managed to get out of his bedroom tonight without a big scene, which might have been partly due to the fact that he was just about to write the note. I was just happy to escape without a meltdown happening.
About 10 minutes later, he came downstairs to where DH and I were watching tv, and handed me the note. He was sort of smiling, or at least didn't look morose, and he gave it to me and ran away.
Alas, it said something to the effect of "Dear mommy, I'm sorry that I keep telling you my feelings but I hate school and I want a new life so I'm just warning you that next time I get mad I'm going to run away. You probably think I'm stupid and I am. I HATE MY LIFE!! "
I wanted to cry. I set myself up for disappointment here, thinking he wasn't too unhappy tonight. So, so wrong.
So I thought, talking isn't getting through, perhaps I'll write a note too. Sometimes that makes things more real when they're written down, doesn't it? I wrote back about how I don't care how many times he tells me his feelings, he can keep telling me, that I love him so much and that I'd be very sad if he ran away. I wrote that I'd rather hear how he hates school a million times over rather than have him go away. I also wrote that I thought he was brave to tell me his feelings, and lastly, that I had fun with him tonight.
I gave him my note, left him to read it, and when I went to check on him at my bedtime, it was torn up and crumpled on the floor.
I guess I'd been hoping that he'd read it and take it to heart, perhaps fold it up to read another time.
I'm nervous for tomorrow morning. It's going to be hell. I just wish DH could be home to help me out. I think I'm going to wake L at 7 instead of waiting until 7:30. Maybe the extra time will help. And I'm worried about his threat to run away. I'm going to call the principal again in the morning, and tell him this. I'm worried he would try it at school. What if he takes off at recess? Not all the kids are supervised 100% of the time. And there are no gates on the fences. They could just leave, easily.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturday, Feb 9

Yesterday was an at-home day. It was a snow day here, and even though my kids don't take the bus, they stayed home because a)L was still sick with a bad cold and b)I didn't have any other kids to look after and so considered it a nice family day.
Not much happened around here. L was ok, the boys mostly played their iPods, watched tv and later played outside. We even had to make a trip to the school anyway to pick up a daycare kid, and they all played outside together ok without incident.
Today wasn't as good.
The first half of the day went by normally. We took it easy in the morning, R and DH went to R's ballhockey game (and R scored his first goal in a long time!YAY!) and I even got L to do a page of spelling homework without too much fuss. And in not too much fuss I mean there was complaining and whining, but I didn't have to threaten him or nag him over and over again, so I consider that a win.
After homework time, the two boys went outside to play in their fort. They were outside for at least an hour, and then R came in crying. He said the L hit him with this thing we call a snow rake, which is a wooden pole with an orange solid foam end to it used for cleaning off the top of your car and whatnot. I asked him if it was an accident, and R said he wasn't sure, which pretty much means that it likely was an accident. When I questioned him more, he said that he got angry (R did), called L stupid (a HUGE NO-NO!!) and came inside. I think he said that L did try to call out an apology.
After that, I went outside to look for L. I was worried that he would take off, because I knew this would upset him. At first, I couldn't see him, and I was starting to get that panicky feeling, but then I followed some footprints in the snow and found him around the side of the house lying reclined in the snowy window well. I asked him to come in, to which he shouted at me, "NO!" and so I came inside. About five minutes later, I told R to go outside to apologize for calling him stupid and to ask him to come in. He didn't come in then either, but did about five more minutes later.
At this point, L came into the family room and wouldn't talk to either his dad or I when asked if he was cold, or if he'd like a hot chocolate, normal sort of questions. I was trying to pretend not to notice that he wasn't speaking, hoping (vainly) that it would snap him out of it. But he wouldn't speak and just went upstairs.
At this point, I turned to DH and said that I wish I knew what to do. If this were a normal situation, I would be yelling at him not to be so rude and to ignore someone when they asked you a question. I'm used to this sort of behaviour, when he's upset with ME. But this not talking business when he's mad at someone else, this is new. I don't understand it. What did I do? I didn't tell him off, I didn't get mad at him, I didn't make him do something he didn't want to do. I don't get why he shuts down and gives us dirty looks when other things upset him.
So despite maybe what I should have done (honestly, I really don't know what to do in this situation) I went upstairs to find him. I asked him why he wasn't talking to me, and what did I do. He pulled away, tried to walk away, but I persisted. I followed him into his room, and he pulled the blanket off the bed and covered his head with it. I didn't try to take it off, I let him have the separation. At first, he kept saying he was stupid, he didn't know why he did these things, he's an idiot. I asked him if he did it on purpose, and he said no, so I tried to explain that it was an accident, and that maybe R was upset at first but he's fine now and it doesn't matter anymore. He said he felt guilty. I asked if he meant sorry, and he said no. I am not sure he entirely understands guilt, I don't think even some adults do, since moms will say they feel guilty for leaving their children while they go to work. It's a misunderstood emotion, I think. I tried to echo back his feeling, asking him if he felt badly for what happened, and saying then that maybe he felt sorry. He was still hiding at this point. Somehow, the conversation turned to what his idea of a good parent is. He said, i wasn't a good parent because I wasn't there when he needed me. I asked him when wasn't I there. Now, he's got a good memory for any time someone has "wronged" him. He can remember stuff that happened years ago. He said I wasn't there for him when he got hurt outside one time, to which I didn't respond but asked if there were other times. He said yes, one time when he slipped in his room and got hurt and apparently DH and I were downstairs watching tv. He said when he came down, daddy said, "You'll be fine." I didn't point out, even though I was thinking it, that well, he is fine. When I prompted him, he also said that I wasn't there for him when he got cut at a friend's house with a pocketknife. To this, i asked him how he expected me to be there for him when he was at another person's house. He didn't really have a response.
He was coming around at this point, not crying anymore. I did say that I was sorry that I wasn't there for him before, and that I would always try to be there for him if possible. I emphasize that I couldn't always be there, and he did say that he didn't expect me to go everywhere with him.
And that was it. I asked him if he wanted to come down and watch a movie, and he said yes. The funk was over. Like someone flipped a light switch. It's so weird.
I forgot to write that when I first approached him upstairs, he was in the bathroom and when I asked him what was wrong, he said he was stupid, he didn't know why he did what he did (as I wrote above) and then he started to bang his head rather hard on the bathroom countertop. Then during the conversation in the bedroom, he also kept saying, as he often does now, that he wants a different life. He said, "people think I'm lucky, but I'm not. They're the lucky ones". I suppose he means that they are because they don't have to deal with these oppressive feelings all the time. And I suppose they are. I look at other parents myself and think, "They're so lucky their kids are happy and normal." I even think back to a year or two ago, and remember how he was then and think that I wish we could have that back.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Feb 7

Today was an off day. Off from school, I mean. Last night, as I described yesterday, didn't go too well. L kept waking from his cough, and every time he woke, he'd be upset all over again about, well, whatever he gets upset about. School, mostly. Finally around 12:00 or so, I couldn't take it anymore. I told him that he wouldn't have to go to school for the rest of the week. Immediately, I could sense his relief and he settled into sleep for the rest of the night despite his cough.
Turns out, I probably would have kept him home anyway. So he's definitely sick with a virus of some sort. When he woke this morning, he was kind of "barky" and said his throat/chest hurt when he coughed. He seemed tired too, and reportedly took a small nap in the morning.
During the afternoon, I tried to get him to do some homework (French and spelling) and that was painful. I got him to the table finally, by threatening him with taking away his iPod, and he was still playing with a toy he'd brought downstairs. I kept saying,"Ok, let's get to this, I'll help you," but it's like talking to a wall,or at least a child who doesn't hear or who can't understand English. He continued to ignore me, playing with this toy he had.
 I just don't get it. He was never a great listener (unlike his brother) but, it's getting worse and worse. Is it this depression? The apathy? Maybe it's because he no longer cares about consequences. Or is it because I've stopped yelling at him? I've changed my approach with him, because I hated all the yelling I was doing, and I'm sure he did too. I just don't know what to do to get him to listen.
I was telling DH tonight that sometimes I will give him a logical choice, and he'll make the right decision n his own. Which is good, but not always do-able. Like the other day, with school. How can I make him go, give him a choice there? There ISN'T a choice.
Like,the homework today. We finally got the French done, and I asked him to start the spelling (simple copying of a word list, not much thinking). He refused. Flat out. And I couldn't stand around arguing, the babies were waking up, the older kids' movie was done, I needed to go "to work". So I took his toy and iPod, and already having made the promise of playing multi-player on Minecraft with him when he was finished, I told him he could choose not to do it, but he wouldn't be getting the objects back until he had finished. Even if it took a week. I left, and when I came back upstairs about 20 mins later,he had completed the work and was ready to play with me.
For most of the day, he seemed tired and not too energetic or happy. Of course, he's sick, so it's perfectly normal for him to act this way,but I can't help keep wondering if this is the depression talking (getting worse) or just a normal childhood illness. I can catch a small glimpse this way of my sister's world here. She constantly has to wonder if my niece is acting out like a normal six year old, or if its her tumour doing the acting out.
Around eight, I got him to go to bed, today without tears, I suppose because he knows already that he's staying home again tomorrow. But he awoke coughing not an hour and a half later, and I tried to get him to take some cold medication. Now, I know he was tired and half asleep,but he was "weird" again. At first he wouldn't take the pills I offered. He doesn't like taking medicine normally, so I asked if he'd prefer the liquid. He said yes, and I returned the pills and got the liquid stuff prepared. When I arrived back in his bedroom, he started hitting himself in the forehead,which is something he does when he's frustrated, anxious, angry, and/or annoyed with himself or schoolwork. But I didn't get this. So I asked what he was doing and asked him to stop, at which point he turned away from me and hmphed and kicked his legs as if in irritation.
I don't get it. Why the switch? What happened? What did I do? He was acting the way he does when he starts to shut down and refuse to talk or look at me.
So weird. So bewildering. So frustrating.
It's two-year-old behaviour. And it makes me want to shout at him as I would a two-year-old,to stop this nonsense immediately or you're going into time-out! But he's not two, he's nine. And he's hurting inside, which puts me on eggshells.
At least he didn't spiral into the non-speaking mode this time. I'm thankful for that, but he refused to take the medicine, claiming he was too tired. So, again,I gave him the choice, stating that he could decide to take it, I wouldn't force him,but if he decided not to, he would likely not sleep well and be coughing most of the night. Again, he made the right decision, and took it. I said goodnight, and left. I'm hoping for some peaceful sleep tonight, for us all, and for a brighter morning, physically and emotionally.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

February 6 - p.m.

This afternoon started off with L coming out of school fairly happy. Fairly. At first, he still wasn't talking to me, but after awhile, on the way home he opened up a bit and told me they had had a math test that day. He also had one half a page of math homework. That's not so bad, but I was hoping for NO homework. As the afternoon/evening went on, we got along quite well. I had to drive R to ball hockey, but promised L that when we got back he could bake something of his own creation in his easy-bake oven. He really enjoyed that, and ate dinner while we bonded over his favourite game, Minecraft. He has been wanting me to install it on my iPad for some time, telling me how much fun it was. I wasn't interested before, but since things have started to go downhill, I thought it might not hurt for me to take an active interest in something that he loves so much.
So the evening went well, and only one point in the afternoon did he say to me that, "he has no friends at school" and that he just stands alone all recess. The other kids apparently play a lot of soccer, and he doesn't like soccer. He's told me that he has tried to play before, and got told that "he sucks". Why are kids so cruel?
Tonight, though, became a different story. It's like the act of going to bed creates a feeling of impending doom. Another night of lying in the dark with his lonely thoughts, another day of the dreaded school coming soon. And I get it. I'm starting to dread bedtime myself now. Will it be another night of listening to him cry? Will it be acting out? Will it be the cold shoulder? And then, there's morning to come, which I hate most. Getting him up for school is horrible, making him go is worse.
Tonight he went into bed ok, but once there started to say, "Oh no" and banging his head on the side of the bed. There were some expressions of, "I want a new brain" and, "I want to run away." After a point, he just stopped speaking to me altogether and turned his back on me. I went to get ready for bed, and I returned to see if he was ok. I asked him if he wanted me I lie down with him, to which he didn't  reply, and instead got up, turned on the light, retrieved a notebook and wrote, "I'm not talking to anyone". I tried to ignore that and thought I'd try to show him some love and support, but when I laid beside him, he got up and left the room to go curl up on the chair in the spare room.
This is the behaviour I don't know how to handle. The ECE and mother in me tells me that he's doing it to act out, for attention, and to not stand for it. "Send him right back to bed!" my inner voice says. "This isn't acceptable, you can't let him away with it!" But now, I don't know what to do. I don't want to get angry at him if it's the depression talking here. That won't help him feel loved, will it? So I said to him, I'm here for him, he can tell me anything, no matter what, and that I was very tired and going to bed, but if he needed me, he knew where I was. At that, I turned off the light and left the room. A minute later, I heard him get up and go back to his room.
Now, I'm thinking maybe I followed the advice of the childhood depression websites, but I'm not sure if I did, or did it right. Am I doing the right thing? What if that was some sort of test, to see if the rules still apply? In that case, I FAILED! If it was for attention, then I failed that test too. I gave him attention with a loving tone, and perhaps next time the behaviour will be worse. I've never second-guessed myself so much as I do these days. I'm afraid of f$&king up and making things worse. I'm afraid of all the things I did wrong before, of inadvertently doing them again.
So that was the night. I feel ill with stress now. And exhausted.

It's Been Awhile

I'm going to try to write more often, every day or every other if I can. I know, that's ambitious, but there's a reason behind it.
L has been struggling lately. Like, a lot. I'm now sure that he suffers from depression and anxiety, and it's breaking my heart. The reason I hope to be able to write more often is twofold:
One, I want to try to journal what's happening with him each day. I think it may be helpful when we start going to therapy.
Two, I hope that it may help someone else. Reading about another's journey with something difficult can always be helpful, especially for parents. We need to know that we're not alone.
I am putting this out there, making it public because mental illness isn't something to hide. I didn't want to think or accept at first that my son could be mentally ill. And with kids, it's so overlooked. It's brushed off as bad behaviour, bad moods, or something they'll "grow out of."
This isn't easy to write, trust me. My hands are shaking, I have had trouble all day keeping my emotions even, and the lump in my throat is painful.
I'll back up a bit, to a few weeks ago. L, as usual, was fighting with me about homework. He hates it, it stresses him out (even though he can easily do it, it's not an understanding-the-work thing) and I really have to push him to do it. He had a blow up, right before dinner, and ran to his room. When I went to seek him out about 10 minutes later, he had written a note and was about to tape it to his door. It said that he felt like a terrible person. That he should die. That basically, he felt worthless and didn't deserve to live.
God, I still can't think of this note without crying. I understand those feelings. I've felt them myself. Mostly as a teen, but I DO remember that feeling. It's awful. We spent the rest of the night crying, cuddling, and talking a bit. It came out that he had had an altercation with another child in his class. One who apparently called him "a bad friend" (and isn't actually his friend at all) and who went to all of L's friends to ask them why they were friends with him and that they shouldn't be friends with him.
I can certainly understand why this would be upsetting. To a child whose self-esteem is already low, who struggles with friendships at school, this was devastating. Even though his BFF told the other kid to basically take a hike, L didn't hear that, or didn't want to.  He just heard the negative.
I let him stay home the next day, as a mental health day, and the day after, I had a meeting with the principal and teacher. I made them aware that he is struggling with anxiety, and that the work load needed to be lightened, since he couldn't deal with it.
Not a lot has been done on the workload front, but the teacher did have a threeway meeting with L and this other kid. She also involved L's BFF as a support for L, and witness too, I'm sure.
Since then, we've had good days and bad day. But Sundays are when the shit hits the fan and L starts to become despondent as the evening wears on. It means Monday is coming, and the start of a whole other week of torture and misery for him. He cries himself to sleep those nights, worried and anxious about the next week at school.
Now, this week has been the worst one yet. Sunday night - he cried himself to sleep. Monday morning - he went to school with a stomachache. I told him to call me if it got worse. Around one, I had to retrieve him from school. Tuesday- he stayed home from school, we did some homework together after lunch, and his stomach didn't seem to be bothering him much. Tuesday evening, he got upset again. Right before dinner he retreated to his room and wouldn't tell me what he was upset about. I still don't know what set him off now. Tuesday night- he cried himself to sleep again with words of "I don't want to live this life anymore, I can't live my life like this, I want a new life, no one understands me, no one can help me, I don't have any friends at school, everyone thinks I'm an idiot because I was crying..." I should mention that his BFF is on vacation this week. I'm thinking this a part of the additional stress he's experiencing.
I myself, am feeling depressed now. I feel terrible for him. My mind starts to race with all the things I've ever done wrong, and I try desperately to shut that down. The past is the past, and I must not make those mistakes again. Through some reading a bit on the Web, I've learned a little better how to listen to L. I think it has helped somewhat and I don't seem to have to try as hard to get him to open up to me. This morning though, was the worst. I really didn't know what to do. I still don't know if I did the right thing. I woke him up, and got his clothes out, as usual. Instead of pestering him constantly to get up and get dressed as usual, I just left him to it. I couldn't do the fight thing this morning. I just couldn't. So I left him, until about 8:25 when I said we were leaving in about five minutes for school. He did get dressed and come downstairs, but went back up when I asked him to brush his teeth. He hadn't even had breakfast yet. But time was running out. Five minutes later, I went to see where he was, and he was in the spare room just sitting there. He wouldn't talk to me, wouldn't look at me, wouldn't let me touch him. He also wouldn't get up to come get his coat on for school. I told him I was going to call his dad, and I really was, because I was at my wit's end. I didn't want to start yelling at him, or threatening him this morning, I really didn't want the fight. So I didn't. He came down then, and got ready and walked to school, but he didn't talk to me, didn't acknowledge my presence, didn't say goodbye at school.
I called the principal later from home, and had him check on him and inform the teacher. He is also putting him on a list for the school social worker, but who knows how long that will take.
DH and I talked again to our family doctor on the weekend. L has another appt with the pediatrician at the end of Feb, and we are looking for a psychologist. I've contacted one, but she's a bit out of town, so if we can find one in town that would be better. I'm waiting for a response to a voicemail I left with another. I hope she calls back soon. It feels more and more urgent to me. Like a clock is winding down. To hear my boy cry at night, and tell me these feelings, it's so hard. I just want to make it go away, like any parent wants their child's pain to go away magically. I'm so scared now that he's going to give up, that he's going to hurt himself. We're not quite there yet, but with how fast things seem to have escalated lately, I'm very scared that the breaking point could be sooner than I think.