Yesterday was a terrible day with Janey, terrible from start to finish.
Janey slept very badly night before last. She was up at around 2 for good. By bus time in the morning, we were exhausted. The bus aide told Tony before Janey got on the bus that she has been crying a lot the day before. Tony said he hoped today would be better. We all hoped that.
I slept much of the day. At around 1 pm, I got a phone call from the school, from one of the program heads and Janey's teacher. They said Janey's behavior was at a level they had never seen before---frantic crying and screaming. They took her to the nurse, but as is almost always the case with Janey, she was physically healthy. They wondered if anything had been different at home. It hadn't, except that we too had certainly noticed Janey had entered one of her darker periods, after a long stretch of happy behavior. I felt like I had little to offer them in the way of ideas.
Getting Janey off the bus, I heard the driver say to her "Maybe NOW you'll stop crying!" I asked the drive and aide if she had been crying a lot, but they didn't answer---I don't know if they didn't hear me or were just too burnt out to answer. Janey came in and was happy for about 20 minutes. Then all hell broke loose.
Janey asked me for a video. I put it on. She evidently didn't like it. She lunged at me. She grabbed my hands and started bending back the fingers as hard as she could---a behavior that has showed up in the last few days for whatever reason. I pulled away my hand, and she grabbed my hair and pulled it as hard as she could. I pulled away and she lunged again, and tried to bite me. All the while, she was screaming a scream so loud and intense her back was arching. I could feel that her heart was pounding very fast, and she was breathing extremely hard.
I got away from her, feeling for the first time true fear that she was going to badly hurt me. I called Tony, and as we talked, she again lunged at me. I was in tears. Tony said he would get home as quickly as he could.
I gave Janey a dose of her evening medicine early, as her psychiatrist has said we could do in an emergency. As always, she took it willingly. She knows it calms her down, and I think she wanted to calm down. After about 20 minutes of screaming, she was calm enough to eat, and Tony got home a bit after that.
The evening featured off and on incidents, but the worst was over for the time being. Tony and I were drained. Janey was not. She stayed up until 10. Thankfully, she slept until 4---the 6 hour stretch was the best we've had in a while.
The morning from 4 on was tough but somewhat bearable, with the two of us here. When Tony put Janey on the bus, both the driver and aide talked to him. Unfortunately, there is a big language barrier, and with the loud bus engine, Tony was unsure what they were saying, but it involved yesterday being another bad day on the morning bus for her. However, they let her on, and we exhaled and went to try to start today.
The feeling I keep feeling is "What now?" I feel like we have crossed some point---we are ready for more help. But there isn't more help. We did the steps we could. I wrote to her school asking for a meeting next week, to talk about how we are all going to handle Janey, and we will have that meeting. Tony is going to call Janey's psychiatrist today to see how soon we can see him. But except for those two steps, we have no idea what else to do. There is no number to call, no magical number you can call and say "Okay. I'm ready. I'm in need of help. Help me."
There is support. There is a lot of support, and without that, I would be sunk. I thank each and every one of you who reads this blog, and your support and kindness and compassion keep me going. I am grateful so very much to Janey's school---I know she is cared for and loved there, and I know they want the best for her. I am thankful for my family and friends.
But help, help in caring for Janey, help that will give us some respite, help that will make a long-term change in Janey's life, help that I could have called yesterday when I felt physically scared, the kind of help that would be available so easily if what Janey had was a physical ailment---that does not exist.
I thought a lot yesterday about when Freddy had a terrible asthma attack. We knew what to do. We took him to the emergency room. Within seconds, he was being helped, by a large team of professionals. He got top of the line care, which very well might have saved his life. He was admitted to the hospital. He got wonderful followup care.
Yesterday, in the horribly dark moments when Janey was attacking me, I had no idea what to do. If I had taken her to the emergency room, from everything I've ever heard and read, they would have had no idea what to do either. There is no team of professionals rushing in to help with mental health issues.
This is a long entry, a raw one. Maybe an angry one. I am starting to feel anger in a way I usually don't. What happens when you are ready for help? Is there any help?
Janey will get over this very rough patch. But it will come back again. It will keep coming back. And I guess we will keep doing what we are doing, getting by any way we can. What else can we do? I think the answer is----nothing else.