I've shared a little here and there about the struggles I've had with my 8 year old son (Thing One). For the last two years the struggle has been to try and get some psychiatric assessment for him in the face of a referral based health system.
Finally, I was able to get that. After a long hard road, I took him to be evaluated and here are the results. Thing One has been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). These are companion disorders, and they are wreaking havoc in our home. We now have him taking 25mg of Zoloft (a SSRI to help ease the anxiety), and I am now currently enrolled in a Triple P (positive parenting) class for one on one tutoring in behaviour modification. In theory, these classes should help me to condition him to remove the "unwanted behaviours" and reinforce the positive ones. But - I am warned, this is a long process and behaviours are hard to change.
I can see that the Zoloft helps him (however minimally) to control his anxiety levels. Where he was once the child who needed to hear the fire safety plan every night for 8 months, he now accepts things more easily. He transferred to a new school and before school program this year with ease. Gone were the tell-tale signs of stress and repetitive behaviours (for the most part). But, now we see an increase in the oppositional and defiant behaviours.
It is so very difficult to look at this eight year old boy, right into his baby blue eyes and feel all of the love I have for him at that moment, at every moment, and accept the ugly words coming from his mouth. I've heard it all, been told to shut up, to leave him the "f" alone, that he hates me, wants to live somewhere else. All because I asked him to please brush his teeth. I have experienced his hate, his rage, his fists. Been pinched and slapped and watched him destroy my possessions. All because I told him we couldn't buy two boxes of cereal.
I've seen him walk by Thing Two and push her, slap her, pinch her, just because he's angry and she happens to be there. I've sent him for time outs exhaustingly, taken away his favorite possessions, retracted treats and special outings and gotten absolutely nowhere. I'm at the end of my rope with this kid and I don't know what to do. I fear that his life, social/emotional/home/school will be so deeply affected that he'll never experience true happiness. My heart is heavy and my reserves are empty.
Yesterday, the Aftermath asked me "How much of this are we supposed to take?"
All of it.
Until there is no more.
Because that is the depth of a mother's love.