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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.

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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.

It all just got too much.

Published November 12, 2018 by thefamilyof5

I’ve noticed all of my blog posts lately are about big girl, she’s really still finding life very tricky.

Since starting at the new special school January things have got progressively worse. Sadly because she masks all of her difficulties in school, the staff have found it very difficult to proactively support her. We have had a few meetings, but it’s hard for them to see the big girl I describe when she presents so differently. It’s been the same issue in every school she’s been too.

We’ve had numerous occasions whereby big girl has come home from school in what I can only describe as a manic state, it often quickly turns to anger, more often than not developing in to violent outbursts. Sometimes the police have to be called.

It’s got pretty bad. Not only is she prescribed anti anxiety medication by Camhs but they now prescribe anti psychotic medication for use when she is struggling, or we know there’s something coming up that she will struggle with. My heart aches 😦

This weekend was another of those manic episodes whereby she was talking gibberish and clearly in a state of complete overwhelm. It’s so sad to see her like that.

She is finding all aspects of her school day stressful, everything from traffic in the taxi, music in PE and loud dinner halls to boys behaving oddly (flirting is my guess) and girls putting all of their emotions and worries on her.

Big girl created a fake persona when she started at this school. She made herself out to be socially able, confident, fun, giggly and a capable. She’s none of those things, in fact I’d go as far as to say she is the opposite. She doesn’t even really like people all that much.

I know why she did it, she wanted to fit in, to be liked. And for a few weeks, maybe a month or so, it worked. She made friends, she felt liked and she enjoyed those positive feelings.

But over time, maintaining this fake personality has taken its toll. She’s become somewhat of an agony aunt to the younger girls it seems. This is a girl who doesn’t understand her own feelings, never mind know what to do about them. The girls in her own class are obviously looking up to her also because they’re getting her to help with their boyfriend issues, and asking her for advice on sex and boys and bullying. Big girl doesn’t even know what sex is, let alone have the slightest interest in boys. So many emotions are being offloaded on to her by peers and almost all of them make no sense to her.

She’d rather play Vets with her sisters.

The fake persona doesn’t end on the playground either. The staff have been seeing her as confident and capable, I imagine they’ve spent time wondering why she’s even in their school especially as she is academically pretty average. They’ve been choosing her to represent the school at events, be the nominated speaker when visitors are in school, be the lead role in a group, she even nominates herself sometimes! The list goes on. And of course she’s done all of the things they’ve asked/expected of her, with a fake smile on her face, she’s a people pleaser, it’s what she does to keep herself safe.

Big girl feels overwhelmed by everyone’s ‘feelings’, their ‘expectations’ of her and of course she also feels ashamed that she is unable to be herself in school. She tells me no one in school has ever seen the real her.

So MrFO5 and I made a difficult decision the weekend and decided to put big girl on a reduced timetable. We are awaiting a date for a meeting with various professionals and school. Big girls EHCP hasn’t been updated since she was home educated, despite a review taking place at my request in July, so at the moment, the plan doesn’t even detail the support she needs in a school environment never mind reflect her needs. We hope a meeting will be arranged before Christmas and we can get big girl the support, or alternative provision that she needs.

I’ve tirelessly tried to support school to see big girl for the emotionally and socially 6yr old that she is, but they just can’t see past the facade of the confident 14yr old she’s pretending to be. So for now, she will attend only 2.5 days a week with full support at lunch and break times. The new timetable we’ve devised gives big girl a break between each day, giving her time to calm down and hopefully to stop her anxiety building throughout the week. The support for break and lunch times will mean she isn’t on the playground and can’t get overwhelmed by the other children’s drama’s and expectations of her.

It’s not an ideal situation. Big girl is in school because her attachment difficulties made home education too intense for her to manage so this extra time at home is going to be difficult for all of us to manage.

Today though, my big girl has enjoyed her 1st half Monday and played with her babydoll. We will continue to plod along this path and support big girl as best as we’re able.

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