How do you help a mentally ill child? - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 5 Old 07-20-2007, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know I'm far from perfect, I'm even a bit neurotic.
I'm impatient, and I'm chronically Ill, which makes me less able to cope sometimes.

DD has some problems with reality, we haven't gotten an official diagnosis yet, but the doc has agreed there is cause for concern. We thought she was a compulsive liar for a while, but her bio-mom was delusional and possibly schizoprenic, and we are convinced now that dd is having delusions. She is often angry about imagined slights, and in turn others are angry at her because they feel wrongly accused.

It's a vicious circle at home, school, on the bus...everywhere she goes. She reads bizarre things into movie plots, for example. In a show we watched a mother gave her dcs vitamins and she exclaimed 'she's trying to kill them!' : I have endless who's on first conversations with her where I am trying to get a point across and she is just veering off into lala-land.

I've spent the past 6 months reading books, doing internet research, talking to doctors and mommies, and I'm just baffled. I don't think she has a learning disability, and neither do they. She just doesn't pay attention to the things the rest of us think are important.

All she thinks about is teenaged boys and grown men, who might be looking at her of talking about her, what she looks like, if anyone is noticing her, what someone may have said about her...she spends hours looking in the mirror, changing clothes....there is an obsession with 'boys noticing me, girls talking about me' If she was 13, I'd get it. But she's 9. And this has been going on for 3 years.

For 3 years I have listened to her talk like the only thing that matters in life is to have a boyfriend of a husband. She talks about bizarre scenarios of jealousy and cheating and often asks me if I was seeing her father when he was married to her bio mom. : She has really odd ideas about relationships and what is important in life, and I just feel like she lives in a dream world.

For a long time I was angry, but now I'm just worried and scared. I think her bio mom and the rest of her family were/are disturbed and the examples she was shown in her first 5 years of childhood warped her perception of family life and romance. I don't know how much is hereditary and how much is environmental.

FWIW, dh agrees with me 100%, but he works a lot and I am the primary caretaker, so I have to deal with this 95% of the time. I am still kicking around the idea of homeschooling if I need to do it to protect her, but at this point I don't think it's feasible. For now I'm trying to work through my feelings of anger at what I perceived as lies that may very well have been delusions, and I'm trying to find ways to react with empathy when I feel like shaking her. (FTR, I have NEVER struck her or anything else, but I am working on the yelling thing. I'd like to be a reformed yeller and a GD pro. ) I have never felt the level of frustration like I feel with her, and it really frightens me.

Is there anyone else on earth who has felt this way? Or dealt with anything like this?

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#2 of 5 Old 07-20-2007, 08:05 PM
 
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Wow, this is heavy duty stuff you are dealing with. I have no experience with this but just wanted to let you know I read your post and will be thinking of you all.

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." - Unknown
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#3 of 5 Old 07-20-2007, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks. I've made so many mistakes, as has her father. You don't really think of mental illness in the beginning, and when you do it's just so overwhelming.

I never know what is the result of brainwashing from the crazy aunts, what came from mom's delusions, and what came from mom's suicide.

Can delusions be projected?

I'm having to backpedal now with school officials and the bus people because we're finding out that incidents didn't happen as dd reported them. It's such a mess. The school really stepped up and took care of one bullying incident, though the bus company didn't do anything right away. Now they are guaranteeing that dd will be up front by the driver so any weirdness will be reported. I hate having her observed, but when she comes home with bizarro stories every day and ds (and everyone else)insists they aren't true, it starts to make you wonder. I don't think it's just them being in denial either, there have been too many non-incidents witnessed with dd having the wrong idea about something that was said. We had her hearing checked, so someone telling Lisa 'don't do that' shouldn't translate into someone telling dd 'you're fat,' for example, which was one non-incident that had dd in tears. After speaking to her teacher I had to admit there were too many things at home that didn't add up either. I was ready to file a lawsuit with the school board because I thought they were all ignoring the bullying, but it appears that she was imagining most of the stuff on the bus and at school too. Some of the older children she accused didn't even know who she was.

It's like some weird form of reverse narcissism, instead of 'the world revolves around me,' it's 'the world is mean to me so you need to baby me.'

I don't know what to do for her, and sometimes I have to remind myself that at 9 she really doesn't know how to just 'snap out of it.'

Because of falling behind in school, she feels dumb, and I don't know how to help her with self esteem. When we were kids parents were told to praise, but now I hear that makes things worse, so I don't know what to do to make her feel capable when she really isn't performing at grade level. Obviously I don't want to say 'you aren't doing very well.' So what can I say? The special ed teachers and evaluators told me not to assist with schoolwork this year so they could actually see how she does without any help, so I have to let her do it without any assistance. It seems like anything I could do to help her in any way is 'wrong.'

sigh

and last week one of the unstable aunts died, it may or may not be another suicide. She's taken it well, but for all we know it's been buried like her reaction to her mother's death was.

I don't know how much a child can take without losing it completely.:
I feel so ill equipped to parent this child and I don't always feel like dh is any better at it.

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#4 of 5 Old 07-22-2007, 12:28 AM
 
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Oh I don't even begin to know what you're going through. But I wanted to tell you about this amazing book another woman here recommended to me called the Mood Cure by Julia Ross. It is my new mental health Bible. It addresses so much about mental health issues and how to tackle them from a nutritional approach. Some of the things that stand out to me and make me want to suggest this to you include her mention of something called pyroluria, which she claims is found in up to 40% of Schizophrenics, it has a higher incidence in women and appears to be genetic. It is a disorder that causes a severe deficiency in Zinc and B6, even when the person takes supplements.

Almost everything in mental health appears to have a genetic link, and since she believes diet plays a part, it's not hard to see why: mothers pass on their eating preferences. That and how they eat during pregnancy impacts the baby's developing brain

What I really love is that she talks about the process that makes brain chemicals, and there are readily available dietary supplements to treat just about every issue, and in most cases you can know within 24 hours that the supplements are working. And if they aren't, she lists multiple choices and tells you where to start and when to try something else. It's not a long-term regimen either, in most cases she claims you can see 100% improvement within 6 months (or sooner) and then stop the supplements. She treats teenagers and children, and gives a little bit of information about dealing with them.

I saw a lot of myself in her book, even though I was reading it for my husband, and I just went out today and bought several things to try.

good luck to you!
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#5 of 5 Old 07-22-2007, 02:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you! I will definitely check it out!

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