Thursday, October 30, 2014
Peaks & Valleys- We are in a Valley Right Now
Autism has also taught me about pain,heartache,doubt and what it is like to be overwhelmed by something that is completely out of my control.It has its peaks and valleys. We have been fortunate throughout the last 14 years to have many more peaks than valleys,however,things have changed over the past two months. We are in a valley ,and it is not a pretty one.
As summer ended,Mikey began to appear agitated often. Not the occasional frustration we were used to seeing. His beautiful songs that he used to hum so sweetly in our yard changed to screams and growls. Primal,gutteral growls. Deep,angry growls. A few times, he lashed out at me or my husband in fits of uncontrollable anger. We have had holes kicked in our walls,a cabinet door kicked off in our kitchen, and a bedroom door kicked in. Frightening and heart wrenching to say the least.
We noticed other changes as well. His appetite increased tremendously. He ate like a ravenous person. Yes, teens eat a lot,especially boys, but this was different. His occasional,deep growls and yells became more frequent,and louder by the day. He was now yelling consistently throughout the course of the day,and starting to wake throughout the night yelling as well The growling/yells have become a non-stop habit.
Unable to determine what was wrong, we went to a neurologist. He had a fit while we were there. She suggested a medicine to use acutely,if he ever had a serious episode,or if we needed to get bloodwork or any other type of exam for him. However, as far as the daily routine, we weren't ready to hop on the medicine train just yet. She went on in an attempt to examine him,and he was not cooperative at all. I did notice that he had been playing with his ear,and she thought it looked a bit red. She prescribed drops and an antibiotic. We went home and started the ear meds.
Crazy thing about this is that Mikey usually lets us know in his own way if something is bothering him. He will say "boo-boo" or take my hand and place it on whatever body part is bothering him. He has not done that. I kept wondering if maybe he had swimmer's ear since late summer, and that was the cause? We finished the medicine and he is still yelling. My gut tells me there is something more we are missing.
Typically, Mikey is a cooperative,easy-going boy and we do not have any trouble taking him to the doctor or dentist. Now, or at least for the neurologist visit, he was angry and extremely uncooperative. He is now very big, and very,very strong. More challenges. It isn't easy to make him do something he does not want to do.
We are now going to take him in to our pediatrician's office to have blood work done, and to get a thorough examination to rule out anything else that may be going on in his body. Once that is complete, hopefully we will have a better sense of what is happening with him. Could it all possibly be autism/puberty?Perhaps. Yet, I have to carefully check everything possible before we make any decisions about how to help him and modify these behaviors.
The odd thing about all of this is that throughout the day,most of his screaming is followed by laughter. Unless he is frustrated, he is screaming and happy...I know it doesn't seem to make sense, but it is true. It seems to have become a self-stimulatory, or habitual behavior. Does he enjoy the sound ,the feeling, the attention? I wish I knew.
Our family is running on no sleep, listening to non-stop yelling/growling all day and on some occasions, throughout the night. His yells can be heard throughout our block,and I must thank my incredible neighbors for being patient and understanding. Not one has complained,and believe me, I realize how disturbing the screams are. I will owe each of them a big basket of cookies once we get through this.
My own children are running out of patience. They can never study or do homework in peace,they are not well-rested, and they just want him to stop. The boys fighting over this situation has become ridiculous. We are really unable to take him anywhere because of these behaviors. Our world has been turned upside down. I have a constant stomach ache and my husband's normally happy face is wrought with worry and sadness. We are basically at our wit's end and trying to deal with this as calmly,rationally, and thoroughly as possible. We are currently looking into a variety of therapies and a new school program for him. At this point, autism has consumed us.
That is where we are,in a nutshell, praying each day that we can help him and change things for the better. We are physically healthy, and I am ever so grateful for that, but we are not in a good place. Life has become a daily ritual of trying to maintain peace in our home, and keeping Mikey as busy as possible in an effort to thwart the screaming and aggressive outbursts. I will keep you posted,please keep us in your prayers.