Stressing Out

Sorry I haven’t been posting. I’ve been totally focused on trying to finish that portfolio before my husband gets here. He’s supposed to be arriving this afternoon. I have made arrangements with my parents to be at their house during his entire visit. Hopefully this will reduce any fighting to a minimum. The boys don’t need or deserve that. And like my dad says, it will prevent escalation as much as possible too.

Now that I know for sure that he is coming, the anxiety over the unknown is gone and I’ve been sleeping. Too bad I’m now dealing with the stress of what I know is coming AND dealing with the anxiety and stress of this portfolio mess. My dad is still in favor of putting my oldest back into public school. I’m not buying it. My oldest has done better in this one year than he has in the last three. Yes it wasn’t easy and it was stressful on me, but I have found that anything worthwhile in life has never been the easiest of paths to take. If my oldest hadn’t improved or had gotten worse then I would agree with him. But in one year we have gotten him stable, gotten him to participate in discussions, and gotten him to actually do the work. The first one the school wasn’t willing to help me with and the last two the school has failed to do for three years. So tell me again why public school is better? Oh that’s right, he has social anxiety and avoids people like the plague. The hospital and I have a plan for that for this coming year, regardless of which type of schooling he gets because public school alone won’t fix this. What my dad doesn’t understand is that the public school was breathing down my neck about that very thing the last year he was there. So I followed their advice and put him in Boy Scouts. It didn’t go well. It went great for my Autistic son though! He loves it over there and the boys seem like him.

So the hospital said, “He’s a teenager, you shouldn’t be directing his social life. Make him do it himself.” So I made arrangements with my parents to allow him to have the space for gamer parties (you know board games, video games, card games, etc.) over at their place since they have the HUGE kitchen with the HUGE table. Not once did he ever invite even one friend. Not even on his birthday. Not. Once. So his therapist was like, “Okay… I see what you mean now. Change in tactics! Now we pick social stuff for him and make him be involved.”

So the Special Olympics coach gave me the heads up on the Unified Allies teams that they just started this year and she told me that even though he is homeschooled that next year she will send the paperwork home with my middle son so the two boys can be on the same team together. Both boys seemed pleased with the idea. They both like bowling and Bocci. Social development and phys. ed. rolled into one. Score! Can’t argue with that. But that’s only during the final quarter of the school year. I still need to come up with social activities for him to be doing the rest of the year. At least this is one he WANTS to do. I’m sure I’ll figure something out. Maybe since he enjoys bowling I should see about getting a group together around his age in the area to go bowling with us. I have no idea how well that will go, but it’s at least worth looking into and asking around.

The portfolio is almost done! Only one section left. It’s the Phys.Ed./Health section. It’s the section that we got a lot of support from the mental health hospital in terms of educational resources, direction, etc. They allowed us to treat every appointment like a classroom. It was great. The not so great part? I failed to document just about everything. If I had documented discussions that happened during appointments, about the meds, about the diagnoses, about symptoms, etc. this section would have been the easiest section to complete. We had his mental health goals listed out for the year and whether or not they have been fully met, partially met, or unmet. So I put that in there because his health education was based entirely on those goals. My only option now is to go over the goals and to see what topics I can write up quizzes for and have him complete now to demonstrate that he does in fact understand this material. Yesterday I had him do a quiz over what is Bipolar, it’s symptoms, and the most common methods of treatment. It was the first thing we discussed at the hospital in the beginning of the year. It’s old news now and he griped about it. Yes I know you now it, so prove that you do. There should be nothing wrong with doing at the end of the year exam to prove understanding. I just wish I had been doing this as we went along during the year instead of the last minute so it wasn’t so damn stressful.

Lesson learned!

Things that I want in the portfolio for this section:

  1. What is Bipolar?
  2. Understanding Your Meds
  3. Med Management
  4. Mood Tracker
  5. Sleep Hygiene
  6. What are the Activities of Daily Living and why are they important for Mental Health (in the context of our family, for Bipolar and Autism)?
  7. Conduct Disorder, DMDD, Impulse Control Disorder, and Brittle Affect (what’s happening with Little Bear and how to cope)
  8. Understanding the Family’s Meds (Who is on what and why)
  9. Physical Activity Chart (this is going to be fun to parse out of the day planner…. not.)

Looking at this list, some of these could actually be, or are, separate blog posts. I know I have already posted about the diagnosis of Conduct Disorder and I have discussed the Fear of Harm Phenotype for Juvenile Onset Bipolar. Pretty sure I have touched upon what brittle affect is.

I have promised someone in a support group to post my study unit on mood trackers. I will get to it as soon as I finish this portfolio. I think mood trackers are very helpful for a variety of disorders in determining whether or not medications are working, what triggers are, whether or not there are patterns in symptoms or behaviors, etc. These charts are very handy over time when you can bring them in to the doctor to discuss care plans and treatment options. So yes, I’m still promising to post this study unit. It’s coming and I haven’t forgotten or blown it off!

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