Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"I will not become dysregulated!"

So sayeth Roman, when he wanted to play Wii after 7pm tonight & was trying to convince Daddy (with fists clenched and raised voice) that he would be okay. Nice try, bud. We have lots of new terms that we use now like dysregulated, and phrases such as "shrink his world." Our work with a therapist is yielding good results - we're digging deeper with each meeting and Roman is now willing to show where his buttons are. Here's how Tuesday went in our house:

We arrange for Roman to stay in after-school care because I have to take Charlie to the doctor. Doug calls school and arranges it. I pick up Roman and the teacher makes an offhand comment, "he was beginning to get worried." The bells begin to ding a little in my head but I ignore them.
We get home and Roman has a laundry list of impossible things he wants to do - go to Target, play with a friend, have a large snack just before dinner, the list goes on. I continuously have to say no. Roman gets so angry (& dysregulated) I decide a little holding is in order. (please note: we do not ascribe to the traditional "holding" therapy - it's more physical touch & being with him unless he lashes out physically at us).

I spend the next 15 minutes restraining Roman in my arms while he attempts to kick, hit, bite, & head-butt me. Doug comes home and Ro calms enough to eat dinner & go to the therapist's. He has 2 more dysregulation/meltdowns at the therapist's office, one where she has to hold him & then I take over, and one where Doug holds him. In between these two dysregulation times, the therapist has Roman repeat after her. He repeats many things such as "I am a good boy" "It's not my fault" "I can be angry at my birthmom" but when she says "I love my birthmom" he refuses to repeat. He also tears up and almost cries when he repeats things such as "I was in her tummy & she loved me." (hence, the 3rd episode of the day).

It turns out, what set him off this day - when he got the message to go to after-school care they didn't tell him why. His fear-of-abandonment kicked in and he finally admitted to me that he thought I had decided to leave him there and wasn't coming to get him. He was so emotionally upset thinking I had abandoned him, that he couldn't handle the rest of his evening.

Whew! These episodes are worth it at the end though - when he finally truly calms down he cuddles, he looks into our eyes, and he sits still with us. We are listening to Heather Forbes a lot and learning to keep ourselves calm to help show Roman how to calm down when he does get dysregulated. I also joined a support group through the therapist's office - 8 of us moms who are dealing with attachment disturbances (like Roman) or full-blown Reactive Attachment Disorder. It was so great to hear other women's stories & when I explained mine, to have people nodding in empathy. To demonstrate how rare this is, we are 1 of only 2 groups on the east side of the state; the only one in Metro Detroit.

Which leads me to how great God is to make things work out for the best. The therapists' office is just 3 miles away from our house. He certainly allowed things to occur so we're in the right place & time to help Roman.


Wendy said...

Sounds really intense. Certainly a blessing you found the therapist so close to you and at the right time. And the other moms too.

pmfh said...

This makes me tear up, sheesh: "I was in her tummy & she loved me."


Amy said...

Yes, pmfh: I've struggled a few times to keep my own tears in check when working with him.