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Loss

Published July 2, 2019 by thefamilyof5

At big girls special school the year 11’s left last Friday. Big girl told me Thursday night. (Last year the first I knew of it was an email from school telling me she’s cried the entire day, and then she came home and raged).

A quick e-mail to school and I was assured by the head that big girl would not be involved in the leavers assembly and she could be taken somewhere quiet instead. I explained how the themes of loss would be too much and likely to trigger her own feelings of loss. I also explained that as the day was likely to be tainted by themes of loss they’d need to keep a close eye on her. I asked them to move her to somewhere quiet if she showed any signs of upset during the day. I explained that it was unlikely she would be able to explain how she was feeling and would likely misplace any feelings of sadness to the ‘leavers’. I was assured this would be fine and staff would be made aware to keep a close eye on her.

I got an email late Friday to let me know big girl had been upset most of the day and was still upset when she’d left school. I replied instantly to check they’d moved her to somewhere quiet as agreed, but no reply came.

Shortly after I received the email, big girl burst though the door. Dysregulated and clearly overwhelmed. It wasn’t safe for me to ask her about her day. It wasn’t really safe for me to engage in any communication at all.

Until Sunday.

Big girl told me that on Friday she’d expressed feeling sad to her teacher. So it was then decided that because she was ‘missing out’ on the leavers assembly, they’d make special arrangements for her to attend the leavers party instead!!

So Friday, in an already unregulated state, she was taken the leavers party, for almost 2hours, with music, sugary foods (we have explained to school the issues big girl has with food and why it’s important she isnt given food treats/rewards in school) and dancing, in fact, all of the things that she hates and finds utterly overwhelming, with an extra huge helping of ‘loss’ to go with it.

Explains our difficult weekend!

Mr FO5 and I explained to big girl that we were concerned by the actions of school and as such she wouldn’t able to return. She was instantly a much happier child. Like a huge weight had been lifted. I asked her to grab a pen and paper and write down exactly how she was feeling at that very moment.

So now I await an explanation from school about what happened Friday and why.

I also received a phonecall Friday from our local authority who advised me that they’d reassessed big girls EHCP and decided that the current provision could meet her needs. I can’t repeat my response but I can tell you it’s unlikely they’ll ever telephone me again! In fact, I followed up the conversation with an email and requested they keep all communications in e-mail from now on.

Given the on-going issues over the last 18 months, we’ve requested tuition that takes place outside of the home i.e. local library or some type place. This will mean she isn’t home full time, which we’ve already discovered doesn’t work for her, and it will give her an opportunity to eventually, independently, travel to her place of study which would be a huge step in boosting her self confidence and independence skills, of which at almost 15, she has none. She will be able to attend social activities with us meaning she isn’t constantly overwhelmed by peers. Big girl isn’t really very sociable when it comes to peers. She much prefers adult company or to be with very young children/toddlers.

I received a draft copy of the EHCP yesterday, it makes for difficult reading, it’s very clear that big girl struggles with all aspects of a school environment. I’m not sure what the panel within the LEA read but it can’t have been the same as what I read.

So I now have big girl at home which means she’s super happy but it’s super hard for everyone else, I have to appeal the draft of big girls EHCP and get the LEA to agree a school setting just isn’t right for her, oh and I still haven’t heard a single word about the safeguarding referral that was made 4 weeks ago!

I’m tired of everything being such a huge battle, I’d really like to be able to get on with being a mom to ALL of my children. I just need professionals to take the time to understand my children and their needs.

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More Secrets.

Published June 4, 2019 by thefamilyof5

I don’t really know where to start. Everything is feeling very difficult right now. Even structuring a sentence.

We discovered big girl has been keeping secrets, lots of secrets and for potentially the entire 18months she’s been in school.

It seems the assistant in her taxi has been plying her with money, chocolate bars, cakes and energy drinks and telling big girl to keep it a secret. So she did. Food has historically been an issue/trigger for big girl, one I thought we’d overcome.

The assistant is being dealt with via the formal route via the safeguarding team. Too disgusted to comment more on her.

As a parent, big girl is my responsibility. I’m torn between seeing her as a victim, to seeing her as someone who’s lied to me for 18 months. (I wonder how much of the violence we’ve had was due to sugar overload.) I’m struggling to move on. Big girl moved on a long time ago. We had a long weekend of shame fuelled violence and dangerous behavior, all directed at me as usual, and then she moved on. It’s not that simple for the rest of us.

Big girls relationship with me has always been difficult. I represent the thing she fears most. A mother. Connection. Love. She’s always pushed me away as far as she possibly can whilst simultaneously needing me for everything. She is utterly dependant on me for everything and too terrified of the world to change that. So she avoids ALL connection with me whilst draining me of my emotional, physical and mental energy which allows her to navigate life. I’m trying to follow the advice and not take it personally, but it IS personal. She’s lied to me. Kept secrets from me. Deceived me. Manipulated me.

I just don’t know how to move on from this. I’m hurt, I’m angry and I’m hurt some more. I’m scared for her future and I’m scared for ours. What else has she kept secret. What will be next. What could have been. Why.

I have no positive memories or connection with big girl to draw from. It’s just this. It’s just an empty black hole and I don’t know how to get us out of it, together. Or even apart.

Of course baby girl and middle girl sense my brokenness, despite my best outwardly efforts to be ‘ok’. So they’re understandably pushing those boundaries and buttons in search of safety too. I’m exhausted.

I’m feeling very alone and broken right now.

Downtime…..

Published March 17, 2019 by thefamilyof5

We had a great half term. Despite all of us feeling apprehensive about how big girl would be, she was lovely. She played with her sisters, helped out around the house, was kind, respectful, happy and slept better. Just like Christmas break.

She returned to school after a weeks break, by the Tuesday of the first week of school she was already rude, angry, defiant and tired.

Things got progressively worse, my kind gentle big girl was making threats by the weekend. By the following week she was hostile and refusing medication.

With no help from Post Adoption Support, the SEND team or CAMH’s (aside from medication) and school unable to really grasp how school effects her, we were left with little choice but to pull her out of school for a few days.

We told her Tuesday night. She was furious. We were ruining her education and taking her away from her friends she said.

She woke up Wednesday morning and said ‘good morning’ to me for the first time in 2 weeks. She’s had a great few days again. Slept better, enjoyed being with her family, been happy. She tells me she’s had a lovely time, hasn’t missed her friends and isn’t worried about her learning after all because she knows she can do more than school ask of her she tells me.

Baby girl and Middle girl were understandably upset about the prospect of their angry volatile sister staying home from school. I talked it through with them before speaking to Big girl. Baby girl said ‘I’ll support your decision mommy but I can’t promise I will want to play with her, she makes me feel scared’. Baby girl and Middle girl have made me super proud this week, they’ve been respectful and kind and Baby girl did play with Big girl after all. They’re in the playroom as I type in fact, playing with Baby girls new teddy.

Sisters enjoying Comic Relief together!

She’s going back to school tomorrow with a plan for additional down time throughout the day to hopefully stop things building and overspilling when she gets home. Hopefully school will support this. The anxiety has already started to build, she hasn’t slept as much and tells me she’s feeling anxious about going back to school. I’m not sure how many days she will last this time or how many days the rest of us will last either.

We have a reassessment of her EHCP taking place but as no one in the SEND team ever returns my calls or emails it’s difficult for me to know what this will mean. I’ve requested an alternative education provision for her, something that looks like 1:1 tuition that takes place locally but outside of our home.

Without the support of Post Adoption (who tell me it’s an education issue) CAMHS (who only provide medication) and schools inability to see what she can and can’t manage, I’m not sure big girl will get what she needs from the SEND team, which leaves our family in a very fragile position.

I wonder what will need to happen before all of the services start working together and taking proper steps to support my family.

It’s always my fault.

Published March 7, 2019 by thefamilyof5

Let me tell you about big girl, those of you that read regular you will know she started at a special school last year, after a rough few years of home education, that came after an even rougher few years of mainstream schooling.

So here we are, she’s back in school and it’s hard for her.

Big girl finds relationships really difficult to manage. In particular her relationship with me. She needs me and yet pushes me away in equal measures. She finds the mother relationship far too scary, yet knows I’m her biggest advocate and the only one that ‘knows’ her. I suspect I might be the only person she trusts too. In fact, me ‘knowing her’ scares her the most I’m sure.

Living with big girl is hard for everyone, she’s contrary and oppositional and a source of regular negativity, she does however share lots of lovely positive moments with her sisters and dad. She can be kind and thoughtful and caring.

Living with big girl is super hard for me. I don’t get to share in any of those positive moments, she keeps those for other people. I get the rejection, the contempt, the anger. Some days it feels like she goes out of her way to reject me in new and creative ways. Some of the things she does are easy to explain, for example how she only ever hugs me in front of other people, or how she says ‘good night’ to me but ‘good night love you’ to daddy, or how she often waits until I’ve left the room to tell daddy something she wants me to know (she knows he’ll tell me), or how she’ll give people extra big cuddles in front of me.

There are also things that happen that I can’t explain here, things that involve a sequence of events that she’s lined up, or things that she’ll say to other people in ear shot of me knowing it’ll hurt me, or a look, or a smirk, sometimes it feels that her aim in life is to hurt me, mentally, physically and emotionally.

The hardest part though, is trying to go on unconditionally supporting and helping her navigate this life that terrifies her so much whilst she continually tries to pull me down.

School is hard for her, but you wouldn’t guess that if you were a fly on the wall. I’m sure she does a really good job of looking ‘ok’, it’s how she keeps herself safe. Of course it means sadly no one in school has a clue of who she is or how she works meaning she’s constantly bringing home her anxiety. (Which school of course feel is all related to things happening at home because she’s fine in school). Everything somehow, in her head, becomes my fault. For example, a week ago, someone started talking in school about the momo thing. It terrified her. She came home completely overwhelmed. She rampaged for a week because apparently when I asked her about her day it stressed her out, so then it was all my fault. Then a tense weekend, whereby we all walked on egg shells whilst she threatened to ‘kick off’ if we asked her what was the matter. All because she was anxious about a lesson the coming week. Then on Monday in school, some kid managed to Google that stupid momo image in class. She saw it. It terrified her. Of course it’s my fault that she’s been foul all week. Apparently, because I tried to help ease her fears, and it didn’t work, she’s still terrified of the image she saw in school. So she’s punishing me. Not her teachers, the ones who didn’t keep her safe in school, no, they get smiles. I get blame.

Everything is always my fault. There will inevitably be something else next week that will be my fault too, the week after the week after that, there’s always something, it’s never ending, and it’s always me she blames.

I’m tired of being blamed. I’m feeling pretty done in. This toxic cloud of negativity she’s been throwing at me for 9 years is weighing heavy on my shoulders right now.

Who is actually doing their job properly? Are you? I am!

Published February 5, 2019 by thefamilyof5

The last few weeks I have:

Sent various emails informing school of issues

Chased school for a response several times

Sent various emails informing the LEA of issues

Chased the LEA for a response several times

Sent various emails informing Post Adoption of issues

Chased Post adoption for a response several times

Sent various emails informing CAMHS of issues

Chased CAMHS for a response several times

Provided details of tuition that requires payment to LEA

Chased LEA for payment several times

Sent various emails about EHCP’s that are 2+years out of date

Chased LEA for a response several times

( Thank goodness for email I say! )

All whilst carrying out my every day job of being a mom to 3 special needs children which also involves me home educating 2 children because our LEA does not have any suitable provision. Micromanagement of the emotional wellbeing of all 3 traumatised children. Emotionally supporting 1 child because her current educational provision is not meeting her needs. Managing dentist appointments. Occupational therapy referrals. Podiatry referrals. Clubs. Home work projects (pah). A child stressing about work experience, tests and gcse’s. Sibling rivalry. Life story issues. Running a house and being a wife. There’s probably more but my brain is just too sleep deprived to remember them.

I am the only one here doing their job properly!

What about us……

Published January 20, 2019 by thefamilyof5

So big girls struggling again, police, self harm, violence, chaos, dangerous behaviour, but I don’t want to talk about that. She’s moved on, she’s happy listening to the ‘Big top 40’ without a care in the world so long as we don’t make her think about what she did, she won’t.

Instead I want to talk about the rest of us. We’re shell shocked, drowning in the aftermath of her trauma. Baby girl and middle girl sobbed for over 4 hours whilst their sister created chaos and fear. Baby girl begged me through her tears to not let her hurt her mommy and daddy any more. Middle girl felt terrified with a police officer in our home, again, the place she is supposed to be able to feel safe. That’s not to mention the week long build up, we all knew it was coming. The air has been thick with tension, anticipation and fear for a while. Since she returned to school.

Afterwards, when the screaming has stopped, when there’s no hateful words left to say and the hitting and kicking has stopped, when big girl switches it off as quick as she switched it on. We’re left wading through the swamp of trauma. Our achey sleep deprived brains, bruised sore body’s trying to make sense of what the hell happened. Yet big girl has moved on, and with that she has an expectation for everything to be normal.

No one considers the immense amount of stress having secrets about ‘incase of fire’ keys sellotaped behind pictures has on baby girl and middle girls sense of feeling safe. How the knives being kept and hidden in a secret place that they must never tell big girl about, or the fact that everything is locked and alarmed. How mommy and daddy’s pockets now jingle with the sounds of the keys kept safe in there. These are not normal things for kids to have to deal with. It’s impossible for them to feel ‘normal’ when nothing around them feels normal.

And then there’s the huge white elephant in the room, the one we can’t talk about for fear of upsetting big girl, she doesn’t want to think about what she did never mind talk about it, but WE need to talk about it so that WE can heal and move forward.

Then everyone around us starts over compensating in an attempt to make big girl feel better, loved, and included, but without realising, they’re dismissing the trauma experience for the rest of us.

Big girls moved on, we held her, we carried her through it, we held on tight and didn’t let go and that took everything from us but it worked and now she’s happy as Larry eating cake and listening to her favorite ‘Big Top 40’ and that’s all that matters to her. The fact that she was almost arrested for assault, put herself in great danger, was close to being sectioned, now has a huge increase in anti psychotic meds or the fact that she’s had 2 emergency Camhs home visits, is lost on her. But not us.

It’s not over for the rest of us, we somehow have to find the strength to keep an air of normal, pretend that everything is ok, and try not to talk about that huge white elephant! Baby girl and middle girl are smiling at her, talking to her and including her despite the fact that they are emotionally exhausted, sleep deprived, and scared of her, because they know that’s what she needs. I’m so proud of them.

Social workers, police officers, CAMHS workers, out of hours crisis teams all have no idea the level of trauma we are ALL managing here. If they did, they’d be helping us ALL.

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