I'm on a journey to find health and happiness through a more holistic and green lifestyle.

I find the world to be abrasive. =) That is to say, I feel the need to armor myself, physically and emotionally, in order to face life. Don't we all? Maybe. For whatever reason, it has become a priority in my life to rid my immediate environment of irritating things. And I'm sensitive! So there is much work to be done. But. I have thought for a long time that the things I come in contact with every day, and the stuff used to clean and maintain these things, need to be gentle and non-toxic. I have had eczema my entire life. For a long time I just dealt with it, and accepted that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's not, and that it will fluctuate a lot. Gradually over time I have come to find that certain things, fabrics, cleansers, materials, are more irritating to my skin than others. Stress can exacerbate it. In more recent times, I have realized that every aspect of my life improves when I improve conditions for my skin. Hah! What a concept! Thus my (long time) interest in going green, and my more recent desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. (I think I've felt a desire for a long time to live in a harmonious way with myself, my surroundings, and nature, but didn't have a name for it.) Anyhow, this blog is a journal of my trials and errors, and basic crooked path to find a balanced and peaceful existence for myself and my family. Thanks for your interest! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Selective Mutism At My House - Seeking Professional Guidance

Yesterday I sent an email to the Selective Mutism Center in Philadelphia, PA, requesting information on getting an in-person, comprehensive evaluation done for our daughter. I have done a lot of reading on their website, and I'm finding even more reasons to be convinced of this diagnosis for her. The site mentioned such behaviors as bladder problems, (my daughter, when anxious, becomes absolutely fixated on needing to use the bathroom) defiance, (if she feels out of control of a situation she becomes defiant and stubborn, especial with DH,) all sorts of physical symptoms such as headaches, belly aches, and so on. Anyhow, it spurs me on.

Today has been a day! My daughter, after being out of school for two days with a genuine stomach bug, put on such a show this morning that she actually convinced me that she was still sick with it. This was after her being much better the second day out of school, and one day back at school. She was completely fine. But the lengths this little girl goes to to prove that she is not is truly heartbreaking to me. I told my husband on the phone that even though this morning's physical symptoms were due to anxiety and not physical illness, they are still there, and they are real! That doesn't mean that staying home from school is justified - just the opposite. But she had me fooled. The job of making the decision in the morning as to whether she's really feeling awful, or just very nervous, is very, very hard! It sucks, to be quite frank. My husband felt that she had manipulated me. Is it manipulation? I'm not entirely convinced of that. Did she want the day off? Yes indeed. Did she play things up to get that? Yes. But was it manipulative? Maybe. But maybe her anxieties are intense enough that she dupes herself, too. In any event, I do hope the center gets back to me soon! 

So the day continued. A long phone conversation with hubby gave me the opportunity to vent, then to feel better about my decision. Even though it was not the right one, darn it, I make the right one most of the time, and this little girl is upping the ante, improving her act, and works awfully darn hard to be convincing. What she has convinced me of is that what we are doing to help her through this is not nearly enough. I am a person who would rather do most anything than resort to medication, and I think medication might be in order for her. Just long enough to allow us to put some other coping mechanisms into place. In the meantime, I have a hard time blaming her for how she behaves, or the lengths she goes to to protect herself from her fears. How can I? 

So then I had to decide what to do with her while I took DS to his music class. Do I take her, and give the message that she simply needs to go with me to wherever I need to go today? Or do I keep DS home because DD is "sick"? Or do I ask hubby to come home and stay with her while I take him? In the end, DH came home and stayed with DD. She does not like to stay with him, especially if DS is not here. So it was basically a "natural consequence" of her deciding to stay home today. It also allowed me the 40 minutes of peace that I get while he's in class. She put up an argument that she was going with me!! And she would NOT stay with Papa!! And so forth, but finally the idea sunk in. She finds these situations easier if she's allowed to call me on the phone, which I always allow. She called me a couple of times, but was completely calm throughout my absence. For the remainder of the afternoon I just kept reminding her that she needed to keep quiet since she was home sick. This was almost comical, because she was not sick in the slightest, and did not want to remain on the couch! Again, natural consequence. She asked for all sorts of things, in particular a popsicle, which she has wanted for several days. I told her that it was not a good idea to fill her dodgy, healing belly with garbage, and that she would have to wait until she was feeling better. Well, that put her in a spot! She also asked to play outside, and started to run around the house with her brother. No, no, no! said Mama. Funny. Anyhow, she has already started to make protests about going tomorrow, but this woman is prepared to play it tough! Not that I like to be that way, I truly don't. But that's the position I'm in. Alas! So after returning from a trip to the store with both kids, and another reminder that she shouldn't be running around the house if she's sick, I gently pointed out to her (again) that she was experiencing anxiety this morning, and that once the pressure of school was taken away, she was fine. I asked if she understood that. She replied, "Sort of." Well, that's something.