Friday, August 31, 2018

When Mom's Brain Is MIA -Living With FASD

My blog posts have been few and far between these last months. I was dealing with health problems that had doctor's stumped. I reacted to medication's, spent days with no energy, and as the days and weeks wore on, felt a depression settle over me because no one could help me. As the days passed I was less and less in tune with the world around me... and the children felt it.

Having a mom who's brain was MIA, triggered trauma's that hadn't raised their head in a long time. Everyone know's that trauma can hinder a child's ability to self regulate, but it wasn't until I was floating adrift myself, that I realized how much my children rely on me. As much as I tried to appear strong and in control on the outside, I couldn't hide how torn up I was. For the past ten years, we have worked closely together to overcome the trauma that was doing it's best to undermine the foundation of trust we struggled to lay down and keep in place. That close interaction is absolutely necessary when healing from trauma, but it also means mom can't hide behind a fake smile. My children can read me like a book and even though I reassured them that I was okay, deep inside they knew I wasn't and it shook them to the core.

Old trauma's that I had forgotten about, came back with a vengeance. We had wet spot's on the sofa, eating, eating, and eating to drown the feelings of panic, meltdowns, the lying was through the roof and oh, the tears and manipulation! I pleaded with God for answer's to my health problems, if not for my sake, then for my children's. Dean and I carefully guard the foundation of trust that is being built between us and our children. The little bit of trust we have gained is so precious to us, that we go to great length's to preserve it. Knowing it only takes a few minute's to undermine that foundation,makes us all the more cautious. But here we were, weeks into this ordeal and losing out more each day. I was desperate!

How do you reassure a child who has personal experience with mom leaving? I have been here as mom for ten years, but that doesn't mean I will be here tomorrow. This child guards her heart closely, it was hurt once, and she won't risk having it hurt again. We have been making some progress, but having mom sick did a great deal of damage to the fragile trust that was beginning to form. Someone said, "How she loves you!" It is true she does, but deep underneath where no one but mom and dad could see, was FEAR! And it was driving her to try desperate measure's. 

How does a child who has zero self regulation keep from falling apart when his stabilizing force is no longer there? The answer is simple: he doesn't. Poor Joseph spent more time getting lost in our house, losing his possession's, getting into trouble and hurting himself than he has in a long time. It seemed as though his brain literally couldn't function when he was no longer grounded.

How does a child who is facing the real (to him)  fear of losing another mom react? He become's angry, he starts testing you, he pulls away emotionally. When mom is sick, it is very easy to pull away as well because who has the energy for this kind of drama when you aren't feeling well?

The coming weeks are going to be challenging because a lot of behaviors and attitude's were left slide. Fear gained a foot hold in my children's minds and it isn't going to be easy to send him packing. I would love to hear how you regroup when stability has been rocked, when attachment has been challenged, when fears that were laid to rest rise again. I have to be very careful because just as my children react to a lack of structure, too much "bonding" scares them just as badly.

Here is a quote that sums up how scattered one child felt: "Where am I? I went back and I was right, but now I can't find where I am." 

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