Recently, we had the longest stretch of Janey being in a good mood ever. It lasted about six weeks, and it was wonderful. During that time, she had basically no bad days. Almost every day was a happy day, a cheerful day. She cried and yelled and bit herself very, very little. It was one of the most hopeful times I've had since she was three and regressed.
I knew, reasonably, it wouldn't last forever. For any of us, good moods don't last forever, and with Janey's history of cyclical mood swings, it's even more true for her. So even when things were fantastic, I braced myself for them to stop being so. Maybe I shouldn't do that. I try hard to live in the moment, but for an overthinker such as myself, that is terribly hard. I do enjoy the good times, very very much, but I think I find it important not to get unrealistic. And so this current spell is not hitting me as hard as it otherwise would.
For the screaming is back. It snuck back this past weekend, and has been in full force this week. Not all day long---unlike the crying, this kind of screaming would be near impossible to keep up all day, but parts of each day have featured it. It's the screaming that can't really be described, but I'll try. It's the scream of someone in horrible pain, someone in such torment that they are not holding anything back. Janey gets stiff all over, her face gets red and even sort of purple, she shakes, and she looks like her world is ending. And she screams---so loudly it truly can make your ears ring. She screams for periods of up to maybe half an hour, with barely a breathe in between. And then---something makes it stop, and often, she is just fine afterward, cheerful and ready to go on with the day.
We search for reasons, of course. The first thought is always pain---is she in some kind of awful pain? She gets constipated, and at first, we thought that might be part of this spell, but she is no longer at all constipated and that didn't seem to help. She doesn't have a fever, she doesn't show signs of sickness. When we ask her to point to what hurts, she doesn't. I wonder if it's a headache, but the fact that she ends the screaming after a bit and is just fine makes that seem unlikely. So I think it's not really a pain thing, not physical pain, anyway.
Another theory I have is her lack of understanding of toilet training. Earlier this week, she was holding in her urine. I had put her back in underwear for school, after going to back to pullups for a while during another urine holding spell, but right away she started holding in urine again---going up to 14 hours without letting it out, and coming home, asking for a pullup and wetting right through it with a day's worth of held in pee. We have noticed she sometimes seems more upset after peeing---does she think that we are upset with her just in general for needing to pee? I can't imagine it---I know no-one at school would make her feel that way, and I know we don't, but I wonder if her mind just doesn't quite get the concept of toilet training, and someone sees the point as being not supposed to urinate at all. Who knows?
Or maybe the screaming is her realizing her limitations. I often wonder that. Does she want to tell us things she doesn't know how to say? Does she somehow understand what she can't do? Or is she able to do things we don't know she can, and she is sick of us not getting that?
Maybe, the screaming is just an artifact of a brain with differences. Maybe sometimes, the screaming is just triggered by an errant electrical impulse in her brain. It's impossible to say. We look for triggers, but so often, there are none we can see. And so sometimes the best way to handle the screaming is to just accept it. That is what I settled on doing last night. I tried to see it as a part of her---not something I need to fix or figure out, but just what Janey was, right then. I patted her back, I gave her a bath, I talked to her. I didn't refer to the screaming. I tried to assume she had no control over it, and that is would pass when it was ready to pass. And it did. She had a fairly good night, after a long screaming spell. She screamed a little in the night, but not a lot, and is often the case, she is cheerful this morning. We will see what the day holds. But I'm thinking sometimes, part of accepting Janey is accepting that there are going to be behaviors we just don't understand, and maybe never will.