It's been a very busy couple of months since I last posted. Lily settled in to her new semester amazingly well. Really. I expected difficulty. Transition is so hard for anyone, and especially Lily. She has a new schedule, new classes, new teachers, new classmates. Just when she finally was functioning well in the old classes.
And she handled it really well. I just can't say that enough. She's become a champ. And the last several weeks have been so interesting! Lily is now completely off the risperidone. She has been for a couple of weeks. We brought her down off of the anti-psychotic under the direction of her psychiatrist.
The truth is that I want this for her, but I've been scared that she would return to a manic, hallucinating, dysfunctional state. She's had a few hallucinations, but otherwise she's still functioning beautifully. Which is confusing for me, but so reassuring. When I feel like freaking out over an episode, Lily's therapist reminds me that Lily is not the same person she was a year ago. She's not sitting on the sofa, scared or doped up, wanting me right next to her, depressed and withdrawn.
What she is, is funny, witty, engaged in the world around her, appropriately angry, apologetic, sincere, and sharing her feelings with us. With her therapist, with me, with her brother. I'm humbled by her strength and desire to be authentic, to tell it like it is, while recognizing a need to be aware of others' feelings, of how she affects others.
She is also acting out occasionally in a developmentally appropriate way. She's fourteen. She sometimes is that kid who knows everything, runs out of patience and picks on her brother. So wonderfully normal.
So, why is she experiencing hallucinations? She's not sleeping enough. Without the sedative effect of the risperidone, she has a harder time going to sleep, and sleeps much less than she was. Sleep deprivation can cause hallucinations. When this all began 2 years ago, Lily was having trouble sleeping. Sometimes I gave her Benadryl to help her get to sleep, but her psychiatrist recently told me there can be issues with cognitive impairment/hallucinations there also. He advocates a more natural approach for sleep regulation. That makes sense to me.
So we're staying the course. Having written that, none of us got any sleep last night. Lily was a bit scared, and asked her brother to keep her company for awhile. They were both tired, and both ended up scared. They both wanted to climb into my bed, and that just wasn't going to work. A queen size bed isn't spacious enough for a fourteen year old girl, a thirteen year old boy and this cranky old mom. So we all camped out in the living room for a bit and struggled through the night. But - both kids went off to school today.
And me? In spite of my gratitude and pleasure about Lily's progress, I'm stressed and overwhelmed by my responsibilities. I'm trying to keep Lily on track, give her brother the attention he finally is demanding, complete my final semester so I can graduate with my BA, and deal with my own mother issues. I'm not taking care of myself, which I think is pretty common in the world of parents of special needs kids. But it's kind of eroding my confidence. Being tired, achy and stressed out isn't healthy. It's not who I want to be.
I want to be poised. Confident. Calm. I want to be fit enough to move with ease. My body is slowing down and any pretense of grace has long ago left the building. I know what I need. Regular walks outdoors. Good music. Less tv. More healthy meals, less junk food.
But I know myself, I won't be able to do all of this right now. An occasional walk would be the best start. A walk resets my stress level. I breath better, I look at the trees, water, scenery. I listen to birdsong or crashing waves. It gives me a mental break. If I can do that, and work on meal choices one at a time, I can move forward. Not perfect, just better.
Then I can be more the mom I want to be. And enjoy life, enjoy my kids. They're pretty damn amzing.