Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Living on the Border and Finding the Reset Button

How are “things”?
Ya’ll doin’ O.K. out there?
I figure so much of our conversations are you reading my rambling…and me not telling you, thanking you, interacting with you and throwing out my love into your corners…your drivers seats, the chair you sit in and read my drama…So there, I have sent it…my LOVE, my GRATITUDE, my Thoughts, prayers and HOPE that today is a better day for you. You…the beautiful person sitting, reading this right NOW.

Soooo where were we?
I know Paps aka Papillion, was in her new glorious RTC, but she’s not now.
What the…..?!?!?!
 I know, tell me about it.
 She dropped her basket.
This is her 8th hospital since June 20th.

What happened? Yeah, not sharing.
But, it was dangerous enough for her to be transported, and sent to a high alert facility.
That is where she is now. I talk to her everyday, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day.
This time, there were major natural and emotional consequences that sent us all reeling, afraid, shocked and terrified.
We again, are back in the land of “What the hell do we do now”.
I hate this Land.

This last burn-out was in cahoots with an outburst over not being allowed (for therapeutic reasons) to call her 50 something year old boyfriend, she met at the State Hospital. Sigh.

The “new plan”, after so much new heart ache, miscommunications and crazy…is stabilization at this new hospital, a transfer to a very specific wing of a Psych hospital, for Women’s PTSD, after months of work there, a re-transfer to the original RTC for more Trauma/Socialization/Structure/Educational and Occupational work.
I am not holding my breath…trauma makes its own rules and plans.

I have been able to talk to a very present Papillion. After the anxiety is released we have a rest period from the crazy, when I get to see the girl I love. The funny, smart, witty, kind girl I love with all of my heart…she is still there under all of the trauma and crazy, there she is…I miss my girl.

Papillion has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. We all knew it was coming. Still hurt like the Dickens that it is here. It was like this race I was trying to run against time…but for her, time was a race car, and I was a one legged turtle trying as hard as I could, but only going in circles.

So we are at the “if help and healing” doesn’t happen in time bench mark. Unbelievably
 We are O.K. with it, this will never be easy, and it will never not hurt or not be dysfunctional. After watching the actual fugue the mental break, I get how very real trauma’s effect on the brain is.

The other day while on the phone with her I finally blurted “Has anyone stopped to tell you what is wrong with you?”

…pause, “No Mom, is there a name for it.”


And so I sat on the phone with her for two hours, I googled and read symptoms, answered questions, broke things down for her, honestly and boy was it raw, and cleansing, and…HARD, but GOOD.
And we both cried, a lot.

….her RELIEF, her UNDERSTANDING that others struggled with this, others fought the difficult battle everyday of not wanting to live, of being angry all of the time, of feeling alone, misunderstood, invalidated, unable to keep relationships…was NOT JUST HER. This was HUGE for her. BIG, BIG stuff.

I think sometimes we tip-toe around our kids stuff, so they won’t feel bad, so they won’t feel sub-normal…but the truth is ..THEY KNOW~! They know they have it harder, deep down that things aren’t O.K. for them, when unfairly it is for other people and that it SUCKS!… saying it OUT LOUD …needs to be done…it validates them, their fears, and how they alienate and punish themselves.

In other news…..

We are hitting the reset button with the other kiddo’s.

You know, before you go on a trip..and you look down at your mile- counter (aparently it is called an "odometer", whatever) and can see the ultimate mileage you had on your car, but you can “reset” the button thinger that counts the miles on your trip…yeah, that’s the thing we have to hit now and then.
We get so far…and then…it was too far, too fast, too hard, farther than we have ever gotten….and now we need to back all the way up. We  Re-route and hit reset…
We start again, close in and begin again. It is miles, thousands of miles backward.
It can feel depressing and frustrating that we are zapped back to zero. BUT, what I have to remember to look at is how FAR we got before we had to reset…each and every time it IS FARTHER…and we tend to pass the last time and keep going…before we have to reset again, gather resources, and get that engine running again. What matters is that we keep going, finding better fuel, mechanics, maps, and routes to healing.

Diva, Cookie, and Scoobs needed their reset button hit. Things have been getting dangerous with Scoobs diabetes, his impulsive control stuff has been through the roof and well, he has been in a downward spiral…we are not sure he can stay in school.

Cookie and Diva started a Pre-School specific for children with Trauma. Diva has had a few minor blow-ups and manic crazies, but as her attachment comes along, so does her coping tools and capability to function outside of our tiny little world.

Cookie on the other hand, poor beautiful lil’ man needs help. His anxiety is tangible. He is so very beautiful, he knows it, it is one of his survival skills…Due to Cookies past abuse his shame is amplified by physical touch from people outside of our home….yet that is the attention he seeks, pushes for and manipulates to get…just last Sunday, he ended up on a Sunday School teachers lap, they asked him and he of course obliged. “No biggie” right? WRONG….he has not slept in two days…

Just this morning, after he had preschool yesterday, I spoke with his Therapist, whom works with his Therapist/Pre-school teacher…he didn’t sleep during naptime (yup) and ran and hugged the teacher, as well as manipulated extra snacks…

I didn’t say anything to him about it, though through his hyper vigilance I know he knew who I was talking to.
After breakfast this morning, he peed, I mean stood up from the breakfast table, stood flat footed on my kitchen floor and peed. Through his big boys, and shorts…stood there, looking terrified and peed. It. Broke. My. Heart.
I calmly told him, its O.K. buddy, it’s going to be O.K….and then he threw up. Twice.
This is Trauma, this is deep seated shame, and anxiety…spewing out, literally.

We calmly cleaned him up, ran a warm bubble bath, and soaked…sang and snuggled afterward.
Our world is small today, VERY small…as in one room (my bedroom) five kids, jammie day, floor picnic in my room, reading books, snuggling to shows on netflix, small…while the world rages out side, we are hitting our reset button…


Wednesday, September 14, 2011


School Started and well, we went from the “Land-o-Crazy” to the “Land-o-Insanity” via transitions. Transitions for my kids SUCK.

School ending, school starting, the wind changing directions, different brand of toilet paper, eh you pick…new, different, unexpected = terrifying and scary…and new grounds for breeding chaos….YAY for me….

Chatter is in school, mainly to protect the other children from some of her other more traumatic behaviors. Also, she triggers very much by the sight, smell, or thought of me, so she activates that frontal lobe way more often when she is less tempted to battle with Mama. Breaks my heart, but is what it is, as we work for a majority of our interactions to be therapeutic, fun and healing ….not that, that has happened since August 15th, 2011.
Because school started and we again are in the boundary testing, chaos creating, triangulation attempting zone until dust can settle, and we feel safe once again in our new environment….poor little thing. ( I can say that right now, she’s not home, raging)

We have rages, like 3 hours everyday, the works… while this transition resets itself, while her little brain once again gathers that Mom WILL pick her up everyday, she will have food at every meal, and all of the adults in her life are on the same team.

Much like a toddler learning safety rules, what “no” and “hot” and “Ouch” means…my sweeties, didn’t have that modeling. They often don’t KNOW HOW to process thoughts or feelings, and simply have reactions, and in hindsight have very little understanding of what or why the reaction was..because 90% of the time it is a trauma reaction, their hearts are beating 1000 X a minute and they are in “fight,/flight and lie” mode.

P.S.I HATE this mode.

My kids steal. They steal EVERYTHING. Food, Money, Cash, my toothbrush ,phone chargers, each others toys, random and necessary crap…All. Of. The. Time.
It is a tangible way for them to feel like they are controlling their worlds. I know that.
It makes me Crazy.
Some days I just want to scream…you are holding onto that TWO FOOT ROPE for dear life (their survival behaviors)…and granted you deeply believe that the two footer  is the only way to keep you alive, it has for this long..


I have this AMAZING life long rope, that will never fringe or break…if you will just let go of that death grip on the one that is really not working for you and try this one out.


SO baby steps forward and Monster steps back…we try on new tools.
One of Sophs past favorites for stealing was the visual of “STOP (put your hand flat out in front of you) and THINK” (point to your brain)….sounds simple…but we practiced this …over and over again, me leaving something out…acting like I was busy…and she would employee this tool. She really has done an amazing job with this little tool….My other kids didn’t even want it in their belts…they are not ready.

Our latest tool came on a rough Saturday Morning…Diva and Chatter were given “Shoe Duty”…to take all of the shoes out of the “Shoe Basket” that lives by my front door and , make them friends (match up the pairs) , and take them home, put them outside of the owners bedroom door. (we don’t enter rooms, or closets for safety and stealing triggers).

Chatter had been weepy all day, some days you can see she is carrying a couple bricks of Trauma in the invisible backpack on her little shoulders.

I loved one of the visuals a conference that Heather Forbes gave…that our children are a proverbial FULL glass of STRESS all of the time.

 Where we have the ability to wake Empty (no Stress) or half way full (Pretty Stressed), they are toting a full glass ALL of the time, so it takes VERY little for that glass to over flow….and Over flow it did on that beautiful Saturday Morning. Diva, accidentally matched shoes up WRONG.

The weeping turned into Sobs, and Screaming and lashing out, and I had to intervene before it got physical. To help her regulate I pushed down on her shoulders…and simulated deep breaths and the saying “It was Too Much “, wasn’t it little darlin’ “Too much”….and that was when our new tool was born and it has been used everyday since for all of my kiddo’s…heck I have used it.

How often is that Straw that broke the Camels back…IT.
 YOU. HAVE. HAD. IT….and you take “it’ out on “the one final IT that send everything else collapsing”…..just the other day..I had a CRAP filled day, and my husband came home and he had forgot to bring home Soy Milk….and the Grand Total of my Crappy day unleashed on him.
I had “TOO MUCH”!

We say that at our house now.


When our anxiety level gets to high and we have had it. Not towards anyone, though, someone taking a pencil, or knocking down the blocks may trigger it, the truth is …the over flow happened, and the last thing was not responsible for the over flow…It just is…


We SCREAM IT….we Paper Punch it..we jump and hoop and run and cry the

Try it…it is quite validating as a 32 year old woman today, as my strap on my grocery bag broke and out fell a jar of Artichoke hearts on my sandaled foot..and there in my drive way I Stomped my ever lovin’ foot and SCREAMED ….

“TOO MUCH”….and felt much, much better.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Update:Wish it was better,is what it is.

I know….I have abandoned blogging …for a looooonnnggg time. It’s not that things haven’t been happening, they have….so much so, that I haven’t been taking many breaths in between..and I wanted  to update, when things looked better," hope was on the way"…er sumthin’….sigh, well this wasn't my "plan"...not much is these

But. Well. Uhhh.

Then summer was over, and we are all still reeling.

While Papillion has been gone, we have danced; we have yard saled , walked a mile every morning, hula-hooped our fannies off, maintained once a week therapy, bought instruments, gone on day trips every weekend, just to keep feet from touching the ground…that is how HARD we have danced.

Then there was Papillion.
She got caught up in the wind storm, that now it is a raging tornado, she can’t even control, though she *thinks* she can.
My heart aches for the girl, my child, the hope and glimpses at healing we had, that she has completely forgotten, and or lost in the last 12 weeks.
It destroys me, to see where she is at, the belief systems and pathologies she has created to justify and protect herself in her own little world of constant chaotic control. It is so depressing to know what we had built, and as if it was made out of nothing but dandelions watch it blow away….it hurts.

Papillion was released for “good behavior” (i.e. No self harming or suicide attempts) while in the State Hospital, and legally committed.

What people don’t tell you about at these facilities…is there is NOTHING for people to do, bead a little, play bingo, Frisbee, maybe go on walks and occasionally go to “group therapy” and talk about coping and feelings…ummm for my specific child, this is where the fun begins, where she can tell huge stories, and gain lots of attention, sympathy and meet 40 year old boyfriends….what the staff at the State failed to realize, she didn’t STOP self harming, she just chose new means….in the way of older men, oh and some lovely little eating disorders we had put to bed showing right back up.
Did you gag a little….imagine, living 4 weeks of it.

Oh, and then there is the phone “thing”.They can call LONG DISTANCE, whenever, however, WHOMEVER, they please….I guess those phone bills are a whole lot cheaper than actual therapy.

Sweet Nectar.

When Papillion lived in our home, the phone, any. phone. Cell phones, home phone, other peoples phones… caused HUGE entitlement issues…massive, like GINORMOUS! To the tune of costing us over 2 grand in the last year, just in phone issues…did your jaw drop? Yeah, our home phone was discontinued last January…She finally earned a cell phone last spring, two weeks $550, later, phone was revoked….so, when her original out burst in June was over a stolen cell phone, and inappropriate images…I was thinking maybe the Hospitals would “work with us” in helping her keep some boundaries, because you know in the “real” world….you can’t be on the phone all day long , long distance, and there not be consequences…but wait, if you are in a State facility, or Psych ward….why yes, yes you can….and you can call people that hurt you, your supposed Birth Father you have never met ( a level of pain and complete suckiness I have yet to write about), have people send you money..and much, much more….cause you know “she’s an adult now”.

Why would you need parents, or contact with people that know the truth and cramp your style?

Regardless of that hell, and the lack of communication from our daughter or her clinicians “she is an adult and revoked your information release”….so we were never able to be updated on her status, and what was going on with her. Unless she liked us that day and would allow a release of information….pure awesomeness.
Soooo once it was time to be “released “ ….then they wanted to talk with us, since “though, she is an adult, she was far to vulnerable and fragile to be released on the street”, and they wanted us to be part of her release plan….

She now was then coming out of her second hospital, 100 x worse than she ever came in. It was no longer safe to have her in my home, legally…and so while we looked at treatment options for our “adult “, emotionally adolescent daughter, we needed HELP, respite where she could be safe, until the funding and applications for a latent therapeutic adult trauma center could be cemented….dear, DEAR friends, with plenty of experience volunteered, bless them.

48 hours later, and a pair of scissors, she was back in the E.R. My husband left his own counseling group (he runs) and drove the two hours to be with her, and then transfer her with the sheriff and Designated Examination to yet her third Psych ward hospital….

And still we fought, and begged and petitioned and in-between in the privacy in our home, sobbed and cried and felt so. extremely. helpless.

Word came last Friday, we had the funding….WE HAVE THE FUNDING!!!!!!

Sooo, now that we have it, and she has threatened to self harm every day in this new facility…it is a holiday weekend….
But , I pushed and BEGGED, and sweet talked anyway….just to get her out of there…and we have the go…she can come Saturday.

At 6 a.m. I left to pick up my daughter. I had not seen her for 6 weeks, her choice, not mine. 2 ½ hours later, a gaunt, 15 pounds less, shaking 18 year old child is escorted out into the waiting room. I get a “hi”…and that’s it. She is visibly shaking hard, I ask her if she is O.K….and it dawns on me, in 12 weeks, she has only been out side of locked walls, fenced yards for 48 hours, and that did not go well.

They hand me a list of prescriptions, and say, I have to pick them up, before I travel the 4 hours to her new treatment center. Sweet.

I call hubbie for him to google a Walgreens . Once we get there…it’s going to take at least an hour….OH, MY, HOLY….

Deep breath, what the Sam hell am I supposed to do with a beyond triggered kid, that I have 4 hours to drive with and now an hour wait?....hmmmmmmm….
Buy 3  colors of nail polish and do mani’s and pedi’s in the parking lot?


Pull out her favorite CD of High School Musical Songs and Hoop while truckers drive by and honk?

 You bet.....and they.

When they are STILL not finished with the prescription .....  let her burn $60 on cheap birthday presents I let her pick up for her sibs ….UH-HUH…

And then we drove 4 of the longest hours of my life….I was terrified she would trigger.
 Scared she would jump out of the car….scared, terrified, stomach turning…and so very hopeful.

Once we got there and went through the intake..she triggered over, and over again. Again the shaking, again, I had to leave for her safety and mine. I walked out , climbed into my car….drove a parking lot over and screamed and bawled and punched the horn and generally looked like I might need to be committed myself….

then I went to Ross bought 6 awesome insulated lunch bags for $3.99 each.

And that’s all I have to say about that.