(note to self: update the blog page! It's not Christmas anymore!)
2012 is bringing interesting changes on the mental health front. At the end of December our weekly therapist, D, and I agreed that we have gone as far as possible in respect to learning strategies to help Roman (both on parental and his own part). there is one big thing left for him to deal with - his story. Roman does not like to talk about his birth or the fact that he was abandoned. He will talk about Russia; occasionally let slip that he thinks about his birthfamily; but when it comes to facing the hard truths, he gets very dysregulated. So that is our goal over the next 2-3 months - he will be creating a physical timeline of his life with ALL the details that we can put together between what we know, what his paperwork said, and what Doug & I gleaned when we were in Russia. It's going to be hard, intensive work for Roman but necessary.
Our visit to D last week brought the introduction of the timeline idea to Roman, as well as the confidential announcement to Doug and I that she has decided to retire effective end of May. This dovetails well with our plan (or was the plan made to dovetail with her announcement?) and so we have decided to not tell Roman that she is retiring; we will "graduate" him instead. I feel strongly that Roman needs to earn his way out of therapy rather than feel like he is being left. This was something Doug and I had worried would happen earlier in therapy, so we actually feel some relief that she stayed until Roman could wrap things up. When April arrives, we will drop to maybe every-other-week appointments, and then do a couple "check in" appointments, and then he will be done.
Does this mean Roman is all healed? Not by a long shot. We have been encouraged to continue with neurofeedback, which we will for another 18 sessions or so (we pay 20 at a time). We have also been encouraged to seek out some Occupational Therapy for Roman regarding some sensory work. There are little things that we've always noticed; he doesn't sense his own pressure (like presses too hard when writing and breaks the pencil lead); he has always had trouble sensing his body functions (whether his stomach or bladder is full or empty, etc). We also are going to request an OT evaluation at school so we have in writing some of the suggestions made and also what strategies his teacher has already put in place. Toward the end of April we want to ask D's coworker, L (school psychologist) to do another, shorter, workup on Roman to see how he stands regarding his ADHD, attachment issues, anxiety, etc.
After all this, will he be healed? No. He will need medication for his bipolar disorder the rest of his life, and we will all need to continue the strategies we've learned to help him stay regulated and successful. As Roman grows older D predicts social issues may bring about the need for therapy again, as well as developmental hormones that could wreak havoc on the bipolar medication. Roman has made some great strides however, and we're proud of the work that he (and us!) have put in to get him mentally healthy.