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Thursday, February 2, 2017

When Siblings Are Triggered



What do you do when everyone in the family triggers everyone else? Do we all need intensive therapy or do we just need a break from chaos and trauma? 

Trauma, particularly PTSD from RAD takes the typical sibling rivalry to a whole new level. Throw in mental health issues and FASD and is it any wonder we have evenings where tempers flare, tears are shed, voices are raised and mom just wants to hibernate until spring?

Kiana's PANS is flaring again. I think I am just going to have to accept that PANS is going to make her life and ours as her parents, even harder. Stress creates antibodies which attack her brain causing mental health symptoms. These symptoms scare her as well as make her feel incredibly ornery, which creates stress, which makes more antibodies and round we go. Antibiotics helps lessen the symptoms but we are quickly learning it isn't as "simple" as dumping antibiotics into her. Truthfully, I don't want to have to deal with it, I am still accepting that we have another form of mental illness to work through. I have passed the denial stage and now I just feel angry, why her, why us?

Joseph's teacher is away and due to various things, other teachers are being called in and he is not handling the change very well. I thought he was doing fine until a few days ago his eczema popped up and he now has open, oozing scratches. It is a well known fact that children with FASD do not handle change well but somehow I am still surprised at how strongly he is affected by things that wouldn't even faze a typical child.

These issues make Kiana and Joseph less than pleasant most days. Kiana isn't feeling well so her first reaction is to lash out. Mom and dad can handle it most times, big brother not so much. If you respond in anything but a calm tone of voice, her anger level hits the roof and you have an all out rage on your hands. She also tends to take offense when none was intended and attacks the speaker who meant no harm. As any parent knows, that calls for a fight because, "She hit me when I didn't do/say anything to mean to her!"

When Joseph is under stress he acts even less his age, which annoys his siblings to no end. Dean has tried to explain that Joseph doesn't mean to be irritating. He is not able to process information like you and I which is why he makes faces and says things that don't always sound nice or make sense. What makes it hard though is that there are many times Joseph uses these tactics to annoy his siblings, simply because that is one of the only ways he can get a rise out of them.

A lot of the responses we deal with are directly related to the way we learned to live when B was home. Someone with RAD will use everything they can to keep a wall between himself and the rest of the family. B's favorite tools were irritating others, picking fights and twisting situations to get people in trouble for things they didn't do. As a result, we all became much more in tune to the actions and reactions of the people around us. Our children have this honed to a skill, they can interpret each others actions, before the actor is even aware of why he is doing something. The trouble is, they are sometimes wrong and tempers flare. Other times they are right and the person acting out does not appreciate having a sibling say, "You did that because you were mad about xyz!"

All this chaos reminds mom of days when B was here and we were no longer able to control the chaos. It is scary to know you are no longer in control of a child, it is even worse when he knows it. That sense of helplessness is easily triggered and I have to be careful not to let my fear make the situation worse. 

Maybe we all need spring, or is it snow?
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