gansje: (Me)
[personal profile] gansje
It has been one hell of a night. And it's just keeping on being a hell of a night.

We put [livejournal.com profile] emmabovary's idea to work (thank you!!! <3) and selected a password with Jo. Jo decided on a pass-phrase (which I should keep to myself in case she ever questions if I told it to anyone else) and then she needed me to use it not two hours later. She also went to the psychologist (the rotten one, but at least there was some therapy of some kind) and reported when she came home that she now thought the psychologist was an alien because while Jo was telling her about her thoughts and beliefs, the psychologist had a "weird look" on her face. I explained that she probably had a look of concern for Jo. Whenever someone makes an unfamiliar face now, Jo immediately suspects them of being an alien.

At bedtime, she lay down in her bed while I started storytime, and then she looked over at the tank that (used to, prior to its unfortunate expiration) hold her gecko. She asked me if I saw "U Pay" written in it. At first I thought she was seeing letters (from the titles of two books behind the tank) magnified in the glass, but when I went to look, I couldn't see anything at all. She was scared of it, and I moved the tank. Then she told me that she'd seen the words, "kill Jo" in her mother's car's rearview mirror on Monday (thank you, Shasta, for not telling us, good lord), and the word, "Die" written in our basement (she said that Lawrence had seen it too and thought that probably another kid she plays with had written it for some reason). She also told me that she'd seen a sign outside SuperCuts when I took Henry and Adam for their haircuts last month. The sign said, "You're Next," and she believed it referred to her imminent demise.

I rubbed my face, thinking, "God, please don't let this be child-onset schizophrenia," whereupon she said I'd never made that face before and demanded the pass-phrase.

She also has a rather juicy cold and is coughing a lot (we just gave her cough medicine, so here's keeping our fingers crossed she sleeps through the night) and she asked me just before I ran downstairs to tell L we have a problem, "If I get scared in the middle of the night, can I wake you up to sit with me?" Which has been a behavior we thought had finally passed last year. What Jo means by sitting with her is sitting in her room while she takes several hours to fall asleep and then several more after she wakes when you tried to tiptoe out. Which, given our current needs for sleep and my current mental state, is very bad. She's already woken once and L sat with her from 10:30 - 11:30.  I know more is coming and I'm taking that shift so he can sleep -- he has a meeting in Princeton tomorrow and needs a lot of solid sleep.

Guys, I'm scared. I'm really scared. Can I wake you up in the middle of the night to sit with me? 

Date: 2013-12-13 08:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flw.livejournal.com
I don't mean to be a dick... but doesn't Shasta let her sleep in bed with her whenever she wants? Isn't she just trying to game you into sleeping with her all night long?

For the record, I am often up all night long. And am willing to sit with you! Because you're the best!

Date: 2013-12-13 01:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gansje.livejournal.com
No, Ron, I don't think so. She might be trying to get us to sleep with her all night long, but that's a separate dynamic. She told Shasta about the mirror saying, "kill Jo" in the middle of the day, and according to Jo, Shasta wiped it off and said, "there, now it's gone." Lawrence and I called Shasta after we got Jo down to sleep and she confirmed the incident had happened, so it's not a matter of making things up at bedtime to stay up or getting us to sleep with her.

Thank you so much for being willing to sit with me! I don't know about being the best; I'm certainly the most frightened!
Edited Date: 2013-12-13 01:34 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-12-13 02:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flw.livejournal.com
I didn't mean to be critical or anything. You know best, better than anyone. Whatever you do will be right. I am just concerned, in general. You know how harmful labels and diagnoses can be. They are misused, in my opinion, in general. I think diagnostic categories should be used as guides for therapists and psychiatrists. And then only at the very beginning of a therapeutic relationship. Most therapists agree with me, I suspect. The fact these criteria and labels have escaped into the general world is regrettable, I think. But that's all abstraction.

This must be so draining. I hope you are taking care of yourself.

Date: 2013-12-13 02:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gansje.livejournal.com
I agree with you in the abstract, absolutely. In the particular, I want to know what the fuck this is and get her the right help fast, though I also know from my research in mental health that the right help is hard to come by and pretty much everyone's in the dark when it comes to anything like this.

I know just enough to be terrified.

It's really, really draining, and it's all coming at my busiest time of year work-wise -- this is the month we all work about 60 hours a week every week -- and of course I have to plow through all that too and not let on to anyone what's going on. I'm a nervous wreck.

Date: 2013-12-13 03:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flw.livejournal.com
It is all very troubling, the lurid imagination, the seeing words stuff, the strange face stuff. Hopefully it's just the result of a fast growing brain that is making millions or billions of new neural connections daily. Kid brains work on overdrive for years on end. You know best. I have complete faith in you.

I do not like how our society burdens women in this way.

Date: 2013-12-13 03:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gansje.livejournal.com
Can you come onto gchat? I'm really terrified and could use a friend.

Date: 2013-12-13 11:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chanaleh.livejournal.com
One way or another, we're all here sitting up with you.

***hugs***

Date: 2013-12-13 01:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gansje.livejournal.com
***hugs right back***

Date: 2013-12-13 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clevermanka.livejournal.com
Oh my god. I can't even imagine what it's like to be going through this.

Date: 2013-12-13 02:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gansje.livejournal.com
I just cannot believe it's happening. This morning I woke up and felt like I was in a nightmare world, and the fact that Jo was acting quite calm and happy and very normal somehow made it weirder.

Date: 2013-12-13 02:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] msmidge.livejournal.com
Was tonight the first time she told you about seeing these things, but she's actually been seeing things (or interpreting existing signs) for a month? Yikes. I'm scared too. I hope you can get her in to see a doctor ASAP.

My sister-in-law had a condition recently where she was terrified that aliens were going to do something and she had some kind of time machine in the house that would keep them away (something like that, anyway). I think it was delusional disorder.

Good luck and strength to you and L as you navigate this. Jo could not be in better hands, even though I know this is super scary. Hugs.

Date: 2013-12-13 02:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gansje.livejournal.com
*hugs back* Thanks, Jen. I just called the psychotherapist for any kind of help, and left a voicemail. Of course. Why would she be in?

Date: 2013-12-13 02:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] msmidge.livejournal.com
Honestly, I don't mean to scare you even more, but I don't think going to the emergency room would be out of order.
Edited Date: 2013-12-13 02:58 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-12-13 03:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gansje.livejournal.com
I was wondering that myself. I just want the psychotherapist to know what's going on first and tell me next steps. And I want to discuss with L. first.
Edited Date: 2013-12-13 03:08 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-12-13 03:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] msmidge.livejournal.com
I just mentioned it to my husband and he said yes, go to the emergency room, based on his sister's experience. Obviously discussing with L. first makes sense, but if you have to wait all day for the psychotherapist to call you back, that's too long.

Date: 2013-12-13 03:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gansje.livejournal.com
Ok, L should be home at 1:30 or so. I will talk with him then. She's not in any imminent danger and has no desire to hurt herself or others, but yes, she needs care ASAP, and the psychotherapist is not returning my call.

Date: 2013-12-13 02:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmabovary.livejournal.com
Oh dear. This is more concerning than I had gleaned from the original post. I'd be scared as well.

Does Jo watch a lot of television? Could she be mirroring behaviors she might see in scary movies/television series? If so, I'd replace TV with another activity, something which doesn't trigger her to imitate what she is seeing on the screen.

What's her therapy situation like, and is she under the care of mental health professionals who are qualified to make an accurate diagnosis regarding schizophrenia or other brain chemistry imbalances?

So sorry you and your family are going through this.

Date: 2013-12-13 03:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gansje.livejournal.com
Thanks, Shelby -- it's really terrifying. And I still cannot believe her mother didn't say anything about it to us. We would have known a whole week sooner if she had.

She doesn't watch a lot of TV, and when she does, it's only cartoons like "My Little Pony" and "Pound Puppies," and shows about cats and dogs on Animal Planet. On Youtube, it's the same thing. Her computer games are only The Sims Pets and things like that.

She's always had a penchant for the morbid. I remember when L and I were dating, she drew me a picture of dogs and when I asked what they were doing, she said they were howling because they were at a funeral for another dog. This, her significant separation anxiety (which only receeded a couple of years ago) and her Asperger's, which featured emotional dysregulation, sensory issues, and social skills problems, led to our getting her into therapy, where she'd been improving markedly.

She has a psychologist and a psychotherapist who is able to refer us to a psychiatrist. Because of her separation anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder, we'd considered putting her on SSRIs last year, but we were all worried about the side effects, and her anxieties improved so much with just talk therapy. Her emotional dysregulation seems to be gone, and she's very capable of modulating her emotions really appropriately. She's generally happy, and while she still occasionally talks about gore, it's in a totally age-appropriate way, if that makes sense. And her separation anxiety was much better too. Everything was so much better.

And then this, suddenly.

I just called the psychotherapist for an immediate referral to a psychiatrist, but I only got her voicemail. I'm going to be calling Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, too. Hopefully their neuropsychiatry unit has availability.

Date: 2013-12-13 03:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] msmidge.livejournal.com
If your insurance has a nurse advice line, you could call and see what they say--but I suspect they will say go to the emergency room. But can you take her and consent to treatment for her if you're not her parent?

Date: 2013-12-13 04:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gansje.livejournal.com
I have no idea.

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