Monday, January 19, 2015

Mood Stablizer or Mood Shortener?

It's been about a month now that Janey has been taking the mood stablizer medication, and I think I'd have to say it's a tentative thumbs up.  Overall, things have been somewhat easier, although of course it's hard to say what is a result of the medication and what is just part of the ebb and flow of Janey's phases.  But after the second fairly good weekend in a row, and this one even a three day weekend, I feel somewhat encouraged.

I don't know if I'd say that Janey's moods are really stablized, though.  I'd call it more a mood shortener.  When Janey's moods got bad in the past, we'd brace ourselves for at least a few days of stormy weather.  She did not recover well from being upset.  Lately, though, even when Janey gets violently upset, she gets over it fairly quickly, and the rest of the day can often be salvaged.

It's taking us a while to adjust to this new reality.  Yesterday, Janey had a very major outburst when waiting in the car with Daddy for Freddy to be ready to go to the store.  I wasn't there, but Tony said it was complete chaos---screaming, kicking, biting---all that.  We both settled into a resigned, depressed mood, thinking the weekend was essentially over.  I think it took us both a little while to notice the reality---Janey had recovered and was perfectly fine.  She went on to have a pretty good day.

This morning was similar.  Janey got upset that her every breakfast demand was not instantly met.  She slapped me, and then grabbed a huge handful of ice cream out of a half gallon container.  She was about to throw it around when we grabbed her hand.  Needless to say, the ice cream all wound up in the trash, and we were ready, again, for a tough day.  But within half an hour or so, she was happy, cheerful.

School has reported similar situations.  Most days, Janey still will act out at some point---hitting or screaming.  But she recovers.  It seems lately like her underlying mood is good, and the bad moments are the exception.  That is a big, big difference from the past.

For me, the weekend had a few great moments.  One was when I was having a nap yesterday.  Janey started asking for me, and I woke up.  I went out to see her, and she immediately stopped fussing and gave me a huge hug, with a giant smile.  I realized I can barely think of a time that she has done that.  She's done it for DADDY, of course, but for me---no.  She looked so thrilled to see me.  It was wonderful.  The other moment, or moments really, was Janey asking to be read to.  I've always read to her all I can, but it was at best something she tolerated.  Lately, she WANTS to be read to.  If you know me, and my love of books, you know how much that means to me.  It means more than almost anything that could happen.

We are still holding our breath here.  So many changes with Janey don't turn out to last.  And the very tough behaviors are still there, mixed in---just as intense as they were, if shorter.  I am feeling hopeful, though, and a little scared of being hopeful.  2014 was the year of being blindsided---first by the change of schools and then by the hospital month.  I realized I don't like to be blindsided---I don't like it at all.  So I guard myself against it by not getting my hopes up, by anticipating the negative.  But I need to celebrate the good moments, and to recognize progress when it occurs.  So---I am recognizing and celebrating---for now.

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