Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Distress Call

I am literally scraping myself off the living room floor to write this post. I've been laying there with my feet on the couch crying in frustration and fear for half an hour and ten minutes ago I said enough. I blew my nose and made a cup of tea and here I am.

Something has been off with The Kid since before christmas. We wrote it off as anxiousness and impatience about the impending holiday. Then he fell apart emotionally on his birthday, which is not like him. He's sensitive, but primarily a happy happy child. Then he was distraught and irritable, angry and emotional and we blamed it on boredom, thinking he was just ready to go back to school. Then he went back to school and every day he's come home angry and upset. Every day there's a new story of him losing his temper at a classmate, or screaming at his best friend. On Friday after a disagreement with a classmate he proclaimed, "and now everybody hates me."

This week has been no better. He's had distressing nightmares two nights in a row and yesterday, my sweet kind child came home from school in what I can only call a state of rage. I sat down with him and explained that he had to tell me why he was so angry, why he's been so angry and he finally burst into tears and said he was "angry at everyone all the time, especially myself. I'm angry with myself all the time and I feel sad all the time – every single day. I'm just sad all the time."

Does this sound like depression to you? It does to me and with depressed people all over both of our family trees, it sent us reeling. It's been ongoing, in retrospect, we can trace this back at least six weeks. We called his pediatrician and are meeting with her this afternoon. (He has been taking Singulair for his allergies and there's a ton of anecdotal evidence of it causing depression in school-age kids. We've stopped giving it to him. )

He's okay and seems happy every once in a while, though it's a muted fragile kind of happiness. If we look back as objectively as we can, he seems to have been unhappy a lot more often in the last few weeks. I feel like an idiot for not tuning into this earlier.

We are hoping to talk to his pediatrician about possible physical causes today and ask about what we should do next.

Send prayers.


  1. That sounds rough. Poor little guy.

    We went through some similar times with Jesse, and I did ask the doc what was going on. But Jesse was younger than The Kid. Our story gets much longer here and takes the detour away from school. You know. I'll email you about that, if you want, but your concern is The Kid and his troubles, not Jesse's story.

    I do remember reading that boys get a pretty strong surge of hormonal activity around 7 or 8, and that can cause changes in behavior.

    He'll be fine, you know, Laura. Hold that image of him as fine, so that he can see that you guys are doing what you need to do, checking what you need to check, but that he will be just fine. He looks to you to know that it will all be okay.

    Sending love. Take care --


  2. Laura is very wise--I like her suggestion of holding the image of him fine inside you. He's a wonderful little boy, and whatever it is, he is and will be fine.

    It could simply be the allergy medicine--it takes a while to build up, and it may take a while to completely leave his system.

    Would The Kid be will to listen to relaxation/meditation tapes? I recently bought Nathan the 3-CD "Indigo Dreams" series (Indigo Dreams, Indigo Ocean Dreams, and Indigo Dreams Garden of Wellness). They are incredibly calming. They use gentle stories and music to teach kids to relax, to feel good about themselves, to deal with their anger, that sort of thing. Nathan really likes them--and I think they've helped him.

    In any case, let us know what's going on. It's very easy to draw back from people in times of stress, but you'd probably feel better if you continue to use your blog as a source of release. Or you can always email.

    Sending thoughts of love, calm, peace and good health your way--

  3. Thank you both for the calm encouragement. I know you're right, Laura. I am much less a shambles than I was an hour or so ago. (At some point it becomes about ME and MY freak out instead of being about The Kid and I do not want that.)And I would be lying if I didn't confess that the words unschooling and homeschooling have been circling around my head, like the little birds in cartoons. When you have the time, I would love to hear Jesse's story.

    Thanks for the suggestion, Karen. Something like that might really help him to relax.

    I am so grateful for your care and concern.

  4. Laura, I'm sending prayers, hugs, and positive energy! I too have heard about these hormone surges at this age, and I myself suffered from terrible allergies and related depression as a child.

    He is luckey to have the two of you in his corner, and please don't be hard on yourself about taking time to get to the doctor. Kids are so complicated and seem to be perpetually "going through a stage"; it's so hard to know what's happening!

    I'm holding the image of that smiling red-headed boy in my head too!

    Good luck today; please keep us posted.

  5. Prayers sent. Honestly, don't jump the gun in thinking he's depressed. It could be any number of things. Whatever you do, don't let him know if any professional gives him a label. I feel so strongly about this. No labels--even depression. I can talk more with you about this if you like. As a teacher I have seen so many kids doubt themselves because they have "this" or have "that"...almost feel like their future has been written.

    Good luck.

  6. Thanks for your kind thoughts Ann!

    And thank you, Mrs. G. You are that level headed friend who comes to the rescue with a reminder of what's really important (like Laura does).

    I will update more fully tomorrow but his pediatrician basically said he is not depressed - not by a long shot. Big sigh of relief.

    Details tomorrow and thank you all again for such generous support.

  7. It is with great interest that I am reading this post...My 10 year-old has some "issues", like anger, that we are helping him to deal with. Originally, I was telling myself that it was just his age...a stage that he was going through...and then, I started looking at his diet and how he spends his free time...we've made some adjustments and now we wait and see if anything is helping.
    Maybe what you are going through will help us and others around us.

    Hang in there...have everything checked out that can be...cover all your bases...don't worry about something until you have to.
    Keep blogging....therapy for the soul just got a whole lot easier!!
    Prayers for you and yours.

  8. Hey Laura -- I just found your blog (followed the picture of bazaar socks from Mrs G's comment -- they are on my list to make one of these days [ok, years] - yours look GREAT)

    Anyway - back on topic - try looking for someone in your area who does craniosacral massage therapy. I have a friend with two boys who sound very much like The Kid, and it has been absolutely AMAZING how much this type of massage therapy has helped them both with understanding and managing their emotions. Like miraculous. Like if I heard it third-hand and didn't know the boys myself I might not even believe it. (If you are in MN by any chance I will share the name of their therapist.)

    I will be following your blog now and sending every ounce of positivity I can!

    Karen in MN

  9. Just dropped by your blog for the first time. Since it started right before Christmas and got worse when school started back, I would look into whether there is a bullying issue going on. It could be either in the school or in the neighborhood. Also maybe talk to him and see if he is afraid of something. I have two boys, and they do have anger issues sometimes. He will be fine I am sure. Just keep thinking--another adventure in parenting.


  10. Thanks Debbie. we are beginning to figure out what's going on. It's playground related and we're working on a solution. Thanks for your kind thoughts.

    And hey there, Debbie and Lee. Thanks for stopping by. You know just when you think you've kind of got parenting figured out something new and unusual appears. We're slowly unraveling what's going on. I hope I have time to blog about it tomorrow.