How do you cope with any mental health issues of your children? How do you talk to your children about your mental health issues or your mental illness? Maybe your child suffers from a mental illness, does that impact your relationship, your sex blogging life? How so?
We all believe that our child/ren are special. They are unique and have their own set of quirks. This is the story of my special and uniquely strange child.
It started at age 3. He was deemed “the biter” at daycare, which really upset me. He has never been a touchy feely kid as allergies and eczema have riddled his short life. Touch and certain clothing caused pain, so he reacted the best way he knew how. At home he was fairly happy and quiet. He would watch mommy or daddy cleaning so he decided to clean too. “I do it” was his favorite phrase.
He loved the vacuum. He would try so hard to handle the machine even though it was twice his size. So for Christmas he received his very own pint sized working vacuum. (We tried to fake one and that was a mistake.) He loved it! He loved it so much that he began having meltdowns whenever we had to leave the house. He had to run his vacuum or I would have to endure a 45 minute drive of a crying almost screaming child. So I gave in.
We thought this was just a phase and decided to wait it out. Next came the mop. His dad would sweep and mop and so he began to focus on the mop. Only this time if his dad didn’t let him mop at the same time another meltdown. When I wiped off the kitchen table he had to wipe of his little table.
Friends just thought it was cute and he would outgrow it. They didn’t have to experience the crying fits. They weren’t just the I’m mad or unhappy cries. These were the I’m in pain and no matter how much consoling you do I’m going to keep crying meltdowns.
His dad is diagnosed OCD and I have GAD, so the obsessions were not completely far fetched. With the biting problem at daycare they decided to bring in a child psychologist to evaluate him and his behavior. This was after every resource possible was exhausted. She watched him for 3 days and gave us her recommendation. He was too young for diagnosable OCD, but she noticed a sensory problem. Everytime a child came near him or touched him he would try to move away. If they kept touching him he would bite. The child would then cry and leave him alone. Problem solved.
So we decided on a cognitive approach. We took him to see an occupational therapist and they worked with him on sensory play. They also gave us a 3 page list of redirectional activities for home too. This helped tremendously in cutting down the amount of time he needed to run his vacuum before we left the house. It took a little over 2 years but we finally got the sensory issues under control. He is now able to be touched, take a shower and wear jeans.
The past year we saw some behaviors resurface and a few new ones. He started with eye blinking. Not just your something in my eye type. Almost an eyelid flutter. He would bite his nails so short they would bleed and would get really upset over the smallest things. His stomach also starting hurting every night. We had recently moved so he was in a new house, new school and new people. His life was turned upside down. For a child requiring control and a rigid schedule this was a nightmare.
He is now 7 so we had a couple good years with minimal fuss. We are back in therapy for some updated coping skills. So far we are on the right track again.
His father and I can actually agree on this method for him, as we don’t hide our mental health struggles from him. It makes it a long process as we have to explain a lot more to him, but it is worth it. If he can see us coping in a healthy way, hopefully he can develop those skills too.
The strain on the relationship with his father and I has decreased since we started his therapy again. Bottom line.. if it is helping him, it is helping us.