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Hannah Update 1.1

6 months post diagnosis, I thought it was time to give you an update. Hannah has been in weekly therapy in order to help her learn better social skills and the importance of making the right choices. Her therapist is young and enthusiastic, here in Branson and Hannah loves to visit her each week.

Has this been an easy 6 months? NO! When we first started seeing the therapist, Hannah was deliberately belching and farting excessively, thinking it was funny. The way she could let rip so often was quite amazing but she was also able to control it when she wanted to so we knew it was a habit. Thankfully the therapist has really worked with Hannah on this and things are much better. (Hannah still has her moments!)

With that habit under control it was time to work on the next, way more serious, issue: stealing! Whilst we have periodically, over the years, had an issue with stealing, it has never been as bad as these last few months. Hannah started getting up in the night and stealing food from the refrigerator. What’s the big deal you ask? HUGE! Hannah craves carbs and we all suffer when she has too many. Yes, our fridge is filled with healthy food but if she eats all the fruit there is none left for the rest of us. Not uncommon for her to steal and eat 8 small oranges of a night! What to do? We did the only thing we could do – lock up the fridge. We also started providing her a snack before bed (recommended by the psychiatrist) so there was no excuse to get up. Did that work? Not really as Hannah learned she could still open the fridge door a little and reach in with her hand. Now we wrap the bike lock around twice preventing that.

What started with stealing food then moved on to stealing money from us. One day she was caught with $50! She made up a “great” tale of where she had found this money. Of course when I looked in my purse I knew exactly where she had gotten it from! “It’s only three bills”, said she! I started hiding my bag where I thought she did not know where it was. One morning I went upstairs and my bag was lying on the bed. “Rich, did you move my bag this morning?” “No!” Time to search Hannah’s pockets. Yes, we found her with $1.50 so as, according to her, her friend could buy a soda! We then discovered this had been going on all week! AAGH! Time for a new hiding place.

The time before last when we saw the psychiatrist, she was REALLY firm with Hannah telling her that the stealing had to stop. Hannah had told us many times that she could not stop. The psychiatrist made it very clear that Hannah could stop and she was going to stop. Trying was not good enough. Richard and I had high hopes that Hannah would take this to heart but alas, whilst not as bad as before, we have still had some incidences this month plus everything is locked up. Her carb i.e. sugar craving is bad!

There is probably nothing more that winds me up than rude, disrespectful children. Richard and I do not tolerate it in our kids nor do we appreciate it in others. Hannah has become SO disrespectful to us. It is EXTREMELY frustrating as she is SO nice to other people. We can’t count the number of times we have been told what a sweet daughter we have and how delightful she is. Most times we just smile sweetly back and say “Thank You” but there are times now when we have to tell them the truth. Hannah shows absolutely NO remorse when caught stealing, lying, breaking the rules etc. She tells us it is all our fault when she gets grounded. I am learning to ignore her rudeness but it is SO hard. That doesn’t mean that there are no consequences. She is grounded on a frequent basis because as we tell her, “If you cannot be polite inside, we cannot allow you out to be rude to others.” This past week has been rough. She has been extremely wound and was extremely rude and disrespectful to another adult.

Needless to say all this has taken a toll on not just us but also the boys. They feel like they have to be Hannah’s watchdogs. When my aunt from England sent us some British chocolate, Caleb was terrified that Hannah would steal some. She reassured us and the counselor that she would never do that. Guess what? One afternoon when Michelle and I were sat outside watching the kids, she came back into the camper and stole two bars!

Another question that should be asked is about whether the medication has helped? Yes! The first prescription (lowest dose) stopped the melt downs and screaming but over time we are guessing her body got used to it and the meltdowns along with the screaming started again. The dose was upped a little and took a while to take effect but we have not seen any further meltdowns 🙂 Now she hisses like a snarling cat when she doesn’t like what we say to her!

Over the last couple weeks we have noticed the aggression getting worse. She has verbally threatened to harm both Richard and I. With the boys, she raises her fist. One day last week she even stomped on Daniel’s foot and punched him in the stomach. What do we do? Where do we go from here? I honestly have NO clue. We went back to see the psychiatrist again this past week. After a REALLY rough start and many surprises with that set-up we have now built up a very good relationship with her. She is a true blessing to us. I have started documenting each day/incident in a Word document thus keeping a permanent record. Both the therapist and psychiatrist get a copy as I believe this is important and will give us something to look back on in the future. It is also a protection for us all. Once again this week the psychiatrist told Hannah that the stealing has to stop. She has even told Hannah that if she has two months of no stealing, she will do a cartwheel.

Hannah turns 13 in a couple weeks. To say that that is scary is an understatement. We are dealing with a child who, most of the time, acts more like a 6 year old yet has the vocabulary and size of a 12 year old. Like someone said, Hannah has no filters. She tells you exactly what she thinks. That we can live with but her lack of not being able to say “No”, breaking every rule set for her with no care of the consequences is a hard pill to swallow as Richard and I know where that can lead. Hannah is most definitely NOT a normal, rebellious, soon-to-be teenager. I know that we are not the only family dealing with a situation like this so I hope this blog post will be a help to others. You are not on your own.

Blessings,

Liz

2 Responses to “Hannah Update 1.1”

  1. Janet Sisk says:

    I feel you pain! My daughter, Liz, who is now 30 if you can believe it, is also a challenge for us. She had to move back in with us when we moved which she doesn’t like. She sees a psychologist and a psychiatric physician assistant. She swears and yells which is not acceptable in our home. She has severe OCD which causing most of her swearing and anxiety. They have decided that she is most likely on the Autism spectrum. Medication is unfortunately not useful for OCD. That is just part of her disability. We, too, give consequences for her behavior but nothing seems to help. She is in behavioral therapy but it takes a long time to see change. UGH! We are currently trying a new med, but so far not much change. We have to slowly increase the dosage so that she doesn’t have severe reactions to it. She also can control it when she needs to. SO with all that I am just saying that I get it and that I understand what you are going through. I will pray for all of you as you continue on this journey!

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