My son was spinning out of control, he appeared to have too much energy and was very impulsive, taking pleasure out of creating conflict. It looked like he could’ve been experiencing mania.
Then after a major rage and destruction of some of his favorite things in his room, he went into what clearly looked like depression. He was crying saying he felt worthless and shouldn’t exist.
Then the storm passed and he returned to his normal self, eating a snack before bed, like it was any other night.
As a result of this setback, we put him back on his full dose of Tenex. It became obvious that the Tenex was a part of his recent stability. And the next day, he came to me and said, “I feel different inside, I had a moment where I would’ve hit my brother, but I didn’t. I feel a lot better today.”
I’m happy to share that the day finished out pretty good. However, we met with our therapist today and to be honest, I feel disappointed. After all the details and charts I shared, I wish the therapist can be more specific with what’s going on with my son. I desperately need an explanation for what we just went through. I know for some parents, having a diagnosis isn’t needed, but for me it is. Instead, I watched my therapist shake his head saying “oh no...”, “oh that’s too bad...”, “wow!” as he silently read my notes of all the rages we just experienced.
He then lifted his head and said “I admire you for being so courageous and for never giving up and continuing to try.” It was a nice compliment, I guess... this is my son we’re talking about, I’ll go to the ends of the earth to make him better. I think most parents would.
So at the end of the appointment, I felt like I gave him lots of info, but I left with a handshake and his words, “I’m so sorry, hang in there.” Oh this makes me so mad! I need so much more, but I don’t know where to get it. Is my son’s case out of his scope of training? Why is he so surprised about what he sees each month in my charts, but online I read story after story of these same scenarios of other parents going through the exact stuff. I guess for me, his case isn’t that surprising, so why does my therapist act like it is?
I guess there’s this part of me that feels like when I finally bring in enough “evidence” of his illness they’ll be able to give me a complete diagnosis and treatment plan. But that’s not how mental health works. It’s years of watching and treating symptoms and I don’t want to play that way.
Maybe I’m just expecting too much. At the end of the appointment, I was advised to find a horse riding camp, ignore the voices he’s been hearing, help find him a best friend, remove dangerous items from his room, more Daddy one-on-one time and have him do sleepovers at grandparents to give him some stress relief from his brothers. Is this the best we can do? Does therapy really help or is it all about the meds?
I ask this because when my son is stable with his medication, therapy works. But when he’s unstable, we just have to wait for the storm to pass.
What scares me is that my son really seemed sick these last few days and not knowing what’s causing it makes me feel like we may be missing something. How can you treat cancer unless you know which one you’re treating? For me, this is the same thing for mental illness, how can I be sure he’s getting the best treatment when we don’t know which mood disorder we’re dealing with?
This is really tough for me and I’m just plain mad.