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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Triggers

We had a meltdown of a different sort today. This one was based on trauma and while it manifested itself very differently than the one Joseph had on Friday, it was every bit as intense.

It started this morning. Sundays are major trigger days for Kiana for a variety of reasons, one of which is, listening to sermons brings about a barrage of feelings that she cannot handle and I often have a hard time deciphering. She has some major behavioral struggles right now due to Lyme and PANS. Sometimes she is accountable, sometimes not but she usually feels guilty after an episode even though we have explained why she reacts the way she does. Listening to a sermon often sets her off because as she says, "He is preaching about me!!!!" Since her behavioral issues are often so vast, she can usually find something in the message that she feels is directed at her personally.

The other big issue is fear. This morning we had an excellent message on living so that we are ready when Jesus returns and destroys the earth. It was a very timely message, one that spoke loudly to me but I was sure my 9 year old was listening and taking it all in, especially since she was "intently" reading her Bible. I pulled her close and asked how she is feeling. She gave me a wide eyed look and said, "I'm okay," a good sign that she was not okay!

After lunch she was stomping about the house raising chaos and being defiant. I tried talking to her but she refused to co operate so I was about to send her to bed when Dean said, "I wonder if this mornings message is bothering her." She vehemently denied it. Dean and I have a quote, "Me thinketh thou doth protest to much!" Meaning, the more the child protests that something isn't bothering them the more certain we are that it is. Kiana refused to talk about her big feelings, giving all sorts of superficial reasons for why she has them. By this time I was pretty sure I knew what was wrong but I wanted her to tell me versus me telling her what she was feeling. I explained how I learned in therapy that when something feels big and scary talking about it helps the scary feeling get smaller. "That is why I want you to tell me what is bothering you rather than me telling you what is wrong," I explained. Eventually she said, "I don't want my stuff to burn, what about my toys, my clothing...what about Kobi?" This is where it gets tough with children who have experienced complex trauma. Telling her to trust God to meet her needs will not make her feel any better because she has a hard time with trust. Telling her that she will have better things in Heaven doesn't help because in her mind Heaven is an unknown which makes it something to fear. 

Dean told her that just like Mom and Dad make sure she is safe and taken care of, in that we provide food, clothing and shelter, Jesus will do the same in Heaven. The more we talked the safer she felt and eventually we got her talked down from the place of fear and the thought of "losing my stuff" was no longer an issue. She gave me a hug and went cheerfully off for her nap.

Kiana and I spend many Sundays in the basement at church talking through her big feelings. While she despises doing this, it gives her and I an opportunity to work on our bond, which is always a blessing.
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