support

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Tired and Grumpy!

Published September 17, 2019 by thefamilyof5

Big girl had a very poor nights sleep last night, she tossed and turned for many hours, unable to switch off her brain, desperate for sleep, but unable to reach it.

Today she is tired and grumpy, unable to engage in anything, unable to regulate herself.

Can you guess why?

The safe guarding social worker came on a Tuesday, big girl, too scared yesterday to ask the question for fear of what the answer might be, went to bed worrying a social worker might be visiting today.

Again I ask, how is this sort of ‘help’ helpful!?

It isn’t, that’s quite simply the answer. It isn’t helpful at all.

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The trauma response.

Published September 11, 2019 by thefamilyof5

As expected, the girls all struggled to sleep last night. In particular, Big Girl, she had a very poor nights sleep.

I was greeted this morning with anger and irritation. She was tired and anxious. The visit yesterday had triggered a trauma response. She hadn’t been able to regulate herself and had felt increasing levels of anxiety through the night. She was already overwhelmed.

Me: help, she’s gonna blow again!

Post Adoption social worker: oh dear, not much you can do about the assessment though is there, just let the Safeguarding Social worker know.

CAMHS: increase her medication.

So much for help!

I asked for help last time because Big Girl becomes violent and aggressive when she is anxious. They made a safe guarding referral. I thought that would bring help, you know, like a crisis plan, an emergency call button, someone to bring me hot meals in the days after a ‘crisis’!? Ok that was wishful thinking.

But I asked them both for help! What they sent was an almighty shit storm disguised as a ‘Safeguarding Assessment’. The assessment that has triggering yet more anxiety in Big Girl. All the girls are now crippled with worries and anxieties, its left them anxious and insecure and wondering what the hell is happening in their lives.

There are many more appointments to come yet.

Last time, the trigger was the uncertainty around her education provision (we still don’t have answers from the LEA).

This time, the trigger is the ‘help’ they’re forcing upon her. She doesn’t want to talk to strangers and she doesn’t want strangers in her home. She doesn’t want an assessment or for people to ‘know her business’ (her words). She is scared. She doesn’t understand what is happening. She’s frightened. There is the shame, she feels ashamed when she see’s her sisters are also finding the assessment hard, when she see’s them crying and asking me ‘why?’ She feels bad.

How is this helpful exactly.

We’re heading for Rocky waters again I fear.

The first visit….

Published September 10, 2019 by thefamilyof5

So today was the first visit from the safe guarding social worker. I told the girls a short time before she was due to arrive to minimise their anxiety building up.

Big Girl and Middle Girl remained close to me, clearly watching the window anxiously awaiting the arrival. Baby Girl went to a different room, but sat in a position whereby she could also see the window/door, and read (pretended to) a book.

The social worker was pleasant, introduced herself and explained she was there to see how everyone was doing. The girls giggled quite a bit, hid behind their hair, and briefly engaged in conversations about hobbies and books and things like that. The social worker attempted to subtly find out what access to technology they have, how often they see friends and if they get pocket money.

I’m assuming the social worker could sense their anxiety, despite their outward smiles, because she only stayed for 30minutes (she’d told me she’d stay an hour or so when she called). She asked them if they’d be happy for her to come back next week and they all excitedly chirped ‘yes!!’.

I could see the anxiety, I knew that ‘yes’ wasn’t genuine. I reminded them that she was a nice lady here to help and they could say anything they wanted and she wouldn’t mind. Baby Girl piped up defensively that she was saying exactly what she wanted to say! Big Girl looked at me with a desperate look in her eyes and Middle Girls bottom lip was quivering whilst she smiled and nodded.

The social worker left. I asked them how they really felt. 1hr 45minutes later Big Girl and Middle Girl finally stopped crying and Baby Girl assured me she was feeling better also.

When the social worker left Big Girl had become angry, very rude and obnoxious. I can’t deny fearing she was going to blow again. I commented that maybe she wasn’t angry with me, like her behaviour suggested, but perhaps she was sad or anxious. She burst in to tears. She couldn’t tell me how she was feeling so eventually I asked her to try writing it down.

Middle Girl tried to tell me how she felt about the visit but the lump in her throat and the tears streaming down her face left her unable to speak. I also asked her to try and write how she was feeling.

Baby Girl lay on the sofa, peeled a sticker from a parcel besides her and put it across her mouth. I think she said everything she needed to in that moment.

Baby Girl ‘I don’t want to talk to a social worker’

Middle girl wrote that we was worried she would have to talk about what’s been happening with big girl, and she didn’t want to, she wrote it would make her cry.

Middle Girls feelings

Big girl wrote that she was scared she would say the wrong things to the social worker and she would write them in her report still and that scared her. She told me later that taking to the social worker again felt pointless because she wouldn’t tell her the truth. She wasn’t able to tell me why she wouldn’t be able to be truthful, but she did say ‘I never am with people I don’t trust’.

Big Girls feelings

Baby Girl told me later than she is worried the stress of the social worker visits is going to make big girl ‘kick off’ again.

I didn’t tell her of course, but so am I.

Note: Thank you to everyone that’s messaged me, commented, tweeted etc recently, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support. ♥️

Asking for help.

Published September 9, 2019 by thefamilyof5

I asked for help, I begged for it actually. I cried real and genuine tears down the phone to people and asked them to help me keep everyone safe.

No help came. No one came to keep us safe or check we were ok. Ring the police was all they could say.

They did however arrange an appointment some 21 days after big girls episode first started, more than a week after her final violent police incident and only a day after we finally felt we’d come out the other side. Big girls ‘episode’ lasted 21 days in all. That’s 21 days of everyone in our home feeling scared, anxious, stressed to the max and on lock down.

Today is day 26. Day 5 of feeling it’s safe to leave the house. Day 5 of the aftermath. Day 5 of the healing process.

The appointment consisted of 2 safe guarding social workers, 2 post adoption social workers, 2 ‘crisis prevention’ workers and our contact from CAMHS. Oh, and me and MFo5 of course. It was very clear from the outset that every single professional person, around that table, felt that MrFo5 and myself needed ‘parenting classes’. Regardless of the extensive list of training we told them we’d had, that was their only solution. Parental blame. Child to Parent violence is clearly the fault of the parents in their eyes.

No consideration or understanding of early trauma.

No real concept of attachment.

No real appropriate training.

MrFo5 and I were probably the most trained, well researched and experienced in the effects of neglect, abuse and early trauma. Yet we were being told WE needed parenting classes! ‘Introduction to the teen years’ or something like that, and even then, that was only because we’d already completed the NVR they initially suggested. The NVR they explained was ‘new to them’ and they were ‘still learning themselves’.

So tomorrow begins the first visit from a newly appointed safe guarding social worker who will be completing a 40 day child social work assessment. I didn’t have a choice I was told. She’ll be visiting to ensure my children are safe and happy and their needs being met apparently.

Not only does it leave me feeling extremely anxious about what they’ll decide and what experience and knowledge they’ll be basing their assessment from, but when the girls find out tomorrow, there’s the huge potential of their early trauma being triggered by such visits. They were removed from the scary violent birth family home by safe guarding social workers. I’ve spent 9 years working hard to ensure they all know home is a place they can feel safe. A social worker will visit tomorrow (and various other days) and potentially undermine all of that. In the very least it will add to everyones anxiety levels, more worryingly, big girls. Anxiety being the trigger for every single ‘episode’.

I’m unsure how my child attacking me because she is unable to manage the pre-adoption trauma she hides inside, warrants an ‘investigation’ of this nature. It feels like an investigation. Helping me keep her and us safe during her violent episodes, was all I needed help with. That’s why I asked for help. It certainly wasn’t so I could feel vilified and bullied by people who have never met my children and don’t know the first thing about their ‘needs’.

It’s unlikely I’ll ever ask for help again.

This isn’t help.

This is intrusive and blaming.

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.

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!

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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