Wednesday 27 April 2016

The Adoption Marathon

Every morning on Chris Evans' on Radio 2 he has someone come in to give their two minute Pause for Thought.  Yesterday, the theme was a marathon, coming a couple of days after the London Marathon.

The speaker talked about how many aspects of life could also be seen as a marathon: teaching his daughter to ride her bike, his wife in labour, seeing his son through their teenage years.   Life with Missy is on my list.

I've trained for and completed four marathons so I speak from experience.  I was in awe of the runners on Sunday as we cheered them on down The Embankment, Missy shouting encouragement at the top of her voice, really enjoying herself.  Listening to the Pause for Thought also got me thinking how life with Missy is also a marathon for us.

Those long slow runs that need to be done each week, slowly increasing in mileage up to about 20 miles, are tough.  You run slow, much slower than race pace, in wind, snow, rain, sun.  Every plod gets you nearer to the start of the main race but every plod, for me, is flipping hard.  It hurts, it's draining, I have no energy left after several hours out there.   I'm feeling a bit like that now as Missy hurls yet another "you're not my proper mummy!" at me (reminds of Zoe & Kat in Eastenders).

When training for a marathon, the idea is to do two to three other runs during the week, each at a different pace.   One of these runs is called a tempo run, running faster at a pace you can keep up for 4-6 miles, faster than you would run a marathon. They are fairly comfortable runs (if you're feeling generally ok), but you are using up lactic acid as you get to a point where you can't sustain that pace.  I get to that point with Missy. We have a good run of positive behaviour (it may be days, but it may hours) but then something triggers Missy and, bam! off she goes and if I've used up all my energy then I find it harder to parent therapeutically.

Another type of training run which can help build speed in the legs is called a 'fartlek' (yes, really).  You run fast for, say, a minute or between two lamposts/roads whatever you want, then you slow it right down for a few minutes, then you go fast again.  Up and down, calm and angry, fast and slow, delightful and, well, not delightful.   It's hard to keep up, not knowing her next move.

Often we have days which are like a 'easy' run, sometimes known as a recovery run.  Easy, comfortable, not too far, slower than marathon pace.  Sometimes in Missyland we have several days together where it's easy, where we can get our breath back and recover.

Our whole life feels like we're in training but I'm not sure where the end is.  Sometimes we run uphill and sometimes we run downhill.  I do know that the experience of taking part in and the finish of a marathon is exhilarating and emotional and I'm glad I did all the training to get to the point.  I also know and am proud of the fact that I have never given up during a race, no matter how tough it is. I feel the same with Missy.

Thursday 7 April 2016

Hello, it's been a while

Well, hello, it's been a while (I'm sure that's a song isn't it?).

The last few months have been rocky ones.   It all ramped up before Christmas, which usually goes ok here, but not last Christmas.   For some reason, Missy had a lot more thoughts about death, she got exhausted by lack of routine and we had too many transitations over the holiday.   And then her anxiety level just continued to rise and rise, which also means her opposition rises and rises.  Its made the previous three years look easy.

In February Missy had a very strange couple of days, very dark and quite scary, lots of regression, didn't want to eat.  If she had a diagnosis of bipolar then this would have been a depressive episode.  
To cut a long story short, things have got worse for Missy in the anxiety stakes.  An illness in the family is probably at the top of the anxiety tree, and it magnifies all her other anxieties, which comes out as fear, intense anger and opposition. Things that Missy sailed through before, or maybe with a few worries, are now unsettling her a lot.  We are back to outlining on a calendar everything she is doing with all the timings etc - although she still asks for clarification over and over.   I've cancelled a few things this holiday and I've seen anxiety written all over her face several times.

Our lovely GP referred us back to CAMHS who this time were understanding and very supportive.  We now have some support in place for Missy and also for Daddy and me.  I've made it clear that the support Missy is getting can only be a starter and I'm sure she will need more as the time goes on.  I hope she doesn't but I suspect she will.

Strangely, with all this going on, I actually feel ok.  I think all the gardening and using the SAD lamp a lot during the winter months really helped, plus the various courses/conferences I attended last November, not to mention the support of other adopters.  To say I'm relieved the longer days are here is an understatement.  I do get exasperated by the behaviour and my therapeutic parenting has been non-existent at times but I can just about cope with it.

School have been brilliant as usual but the wonderful Head has just left so I'm hoping the new one starting in September will be as co-operative.

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