trauma

Triggers

The subject of ‘triggers’ has been on my mind a lot today. We all have triggers, things that just ‘push our buttons’, or ‘set us off’. I spend quite a lot of time trying to work out what has triggered certain behaviours in Tickle or Alex, but unusually for me today, it’s not triggers for my children’s behaviour that I have been thinking about – it’s my own. When you’re a parent to a traumatised child, day to day life can be somewhat emotionally fraught. Some days I’m quite good at riding the wave, but other days less so and on those days there are a couple of things that will instantly flip my switch. Borrowing my husband for an example, one of his main triggers is when Tickle goes a bit loopy and starts to chase the cat.

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Reigning in the emotional brain

This morning, as usual, I was woken up by Tickle shouting at Husband. When I heard Husband start to shout back, I thought I’d better get out of bed. Tickle had thrown a toy at Husband’s face (again) – though thankfully this time it was only a small one and didn’t do any actual damage. Tickle came to sit with me in bed for a bit. He didn’t like this much, which he chose to communicate to me by throwing his glasses on the floor, and then shouting at me because he couldn’t see. I got back in to bed and ignored him until he’d calmed down a bit. We had a chat. We talked about what was worrying him – school, as it turned out, or more specifically, one boy at school who he is worried about. This particular boy actually left school at the end of the summer term, and I’ve spent the last few months trying to help Tickle understand that he isn’t coming back ‘for ever and ever’. However, it seems like it hasn’t quite gone in yet, and he’s still pretty anxious about whether this boy will hurt him. This flowed naturally in to a repeat of the conversation we usually have following an incident like this: “It’s OK to be worried, but it’s not OK to hurt people.”

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The Christmas Ratio

Over the Christmas holidays so far, I reckon our ‘nice bits’ to ‘hard bits’ ratio is probably about 70:30. Possibly slightly better, if you take in to account the fact that the hard bits are no where near as hard as they used to be. Last year’s Christmas ratio was about 20:80 at best I reckon, and looking back at the blog from this time last year it seems T was going through a bitey phase as well. The worst we’ve had this holiday is hitting, and even then I think it’s only been once or twice. Gosh, it’s so weird writing that, when I think back to posts I’ve written in the past describing the aggression and violence that was happening multiple times per DAY, for anything up to a couple of hours at a time.

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Reflections on the year

I know it’s a bit early for the traditional ‘looking back over the year’ post, but I’m in a reflective sort of mood this evening, after randomly deciding to re-read a blog post which I wrote just after Christmas last year. Something strange and unprecedented happened this week in our therapy session; the therapist asked us to consider whether we could stop sessions for the moment, because we seem to be – touch wood – doing alright. Unfortunately Tickle hasn’t managed therapy for some weeks now, and it seems that he really isn’t ready for it at the moment, but as his behaviour at home is more or less OK our therapist seems to think that we should just get on with life for a bit, and then maybe come back later when he’s ready. It’s a strange idea, having fought SO hard to get in to therapy, and particularly because we both know that without it our family would have broken apart in a rather spectacular fashion… could we let go of this security blanket?

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A day in the life

My alarm is going off at 6.40am. I’m awake enough already to switch it off; not quite awake enough to hit snooze instead. Luckily, I have anticipated this and set a second alarm for 7am, which is when I absolutely HAVE to get up. I think I only woke once last night, to get up for the loo around 2am. I’m not sure if it’s my sleep apnoea or my age, or just stress, but I don’t often manage to get through the night these days. It’s unusual for me not to have woken again around half five, dragged to consciousness by the shouting in the next room. Perhaps Husband has done well at keeping Tickle quiet this morning, or perhaps I’m so tired I just don’t remember. We have been trying out something new lately, trying to teach Tickle that morning really doesn’t start at 4am, that his bedroom light stays off until 6am whether he likes it or not. We’re having mixed success. Well, I say ‘we’, but I really mean Husband, as he is the one who sleeps on a mattress in Tickle’s room. It’s been almost a year since we regularly slept in the same bed.

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Attachment may not be the big deal we all think it is

I originally wrote this post on my previous blog, but I’ve reproduced it again here (slightly updated) as I was flattered to discover someone had linked to the original blog post (which has now been taken down). ——— I wrote a post about attachment some time ago, mainly because I was fed up with the massive mis-appropriation of the term, and the lack of understanding surrounding it. Unfortunately this sort of stuff is still around everywhere you look, so it’s worth having a quick recap with some of the key points of what attachment is, and what it is not.

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Sleep

Tickle’s Monster has had a severe aversion to sleep for quite some months now. Tickle already has melatonin to get him off to sleep (for which we are eternally grateful) but keeping him asleep is quite a different matter. For most of the summer Tickle’s internal alarm was set to 4.30am, and once he was up, he was up. Some days were better than others. Some days he would play in his room (relatively) quietly, or watch cartoons on my iPad. Other days he would stand by the side of our bed and scream. Or he’d hit us until we woke up and talked to him. Or he’d bang his head against our bedroom wall.

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