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Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Little Beyond Happy

Janey's wonderful weekend last weekend has been followed by what often follows some of her very best times---a bit of what I can for the lack of a better term "mania".  I know it's not classic mania, probably, and I know that is a loaded term and that it has a clinical meaning and that using it says something specific....but that is a shorthand term I've come to use in my mind for how Janey has been this week.

It's been milder than in the past, as her unhappy periods tend to now be also.  In the past, she often would sleep extremely little during these periods, going to bed very late and waking very early.  We haven't seen that---she seems to be in a teenager style sleep mode a little young, and it's hard to wake her up for school although she goes to bed quite early.  But it's there, and it can be quite something to deal with.

So what does she do when she's "manic" (and I will just call it manic without quotations from here on in!)?  She repeats phrases, over and over and over, far beyond the typical delayed echolalia.  Last night, it was "Okay, all right, I've learned my lesson already!".  Over and over, in the exact same tone, probably 500 times.  I think it might be a phrase from a movie she's watching on Netflix a lot, "Home", or it might be from an episode of a new Scooby Do series on there also, just based on tone of voice.  She eats, huge amounts.  After school yesterday she ate a whole container of feta cheese, a full jar of salsa, a good amount of frozen yogurt and some cookies, and then ate a ton of dinner---homemade chicken nuggets, and still was asking for food at bedtime.  And she laughs---a laugh that is sort of like a laugh track, unvarying and not terribly related to anything going on.  The laugh can turn into almost a shriek, especially out in public.  Sometimes it sounds close to a scream, and it takes looking at her for a minute to figure out it isn't.

One of the toughest things she does when manic is be a little free with her teeth.  It's not biting, but it's pushing her teeth into me, in a way that's hard to explain.  It can hurt, and it's scarily close to a bite.  Last night she also started hugging me in a way that turned into elbowing me.  I don't think she realizes she is doing these things, and telling her to stop and backing away doesn't seem to change much.  She goes right back to doing it as soon as she can, laughing at whatever I say in trying to stop her.  

Usually these manic periods don't last long.  I'm glad they don't, although with their lessened intensity, they are easier to take than they used to be.  But they still make me kind of sad for Janey.  It's like even feeling happy and good turns into something else for her.  It feels like playing a happy song and having it get stuck, repeating the same happy laughter-filled phrase until it loses all meaning and is like a trap.  And the mania seems to often be followed by a plunge into screaming and sadness, from one kind of intensity to another.  I am crossing my fingers and hoping very much that this time, that cycle is broken and she can go back to the amazing relaxed happiness of last week.  Please.

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