Stigma be damned

A big shout out and thank you to everyone in regards to my last post. The more I admit my weaknesses, the better I feel. The more we talk about mental health, the more normal it will become. Jana is right, stigma be damned. I’m not going to shy away from talking about this or admitting when I fail and I’m hoping that Simon won’t mind that I’ve shared so much about him.

In terms of Simon’s ability to swallow pills, he has gotten much better. It’s not without drama because really, what fun would life be if something came easily or without a fight? But it’s getting better. Our method is to basically drown him with water.

(It is a lot of fun. You should try it.)

(We are also reinforcing positive behavior by giving him one extra chapter of read aloud if he takes his pill without crying.)

Simon also had his second therapy appointment since we began this journey. It’s been a very slow process of getting his needs met at the mental health group here in town. (To say I am frustrated would be an understatement.) After our initial intake, we were put on a waiting list. A month later, we finally had our first appointment with Barb. (Simon and Barb made the paper chain seen here.) We then had to wait three weeks before our next scheduled visit. On Tuesday, we had our second visit and we learned that Barb is moving to Denver and we are on a new waiting list.

Awesome.

It really is unfortunate because I am already seeing a change in Simon after just two appointments. On Tuesday, Barb and Simon made a Worry Box. Anytime Simon is feeling anxious or upset, we pull out some paper and write what he’s feeling down. He then gets to put the worry inside the box. The most fun part is that he gets to report ONE TIME how he is feeling before we put it away.

Such a relief from having to talk over and over and over again about his tummy hurting. Or about how he can’t breathe. Or how his mouth hurts. Or how his chest feels weird. Or who is going to be home tonight.

He gets one chance and then we move on to something else.

If Simon requests, we pull out the Worry Box and discuss his worries before bed. So far, we haven’t opened the box. (It’s only been two days though. I’m sure we’ll open the box.) 

Having a therapist has helped me be a better a mother. It’s almost as if she gave me permission to put my foot down. To say that I have had enough. I’m tired of talking about it. I’m not going to argue with Simon any more about his tummy hurting or why he can’t watch any more TV. It’s done. We put it the box and that is the end of the discussion. And if he stomps off and yells, "Mom is mean," then so what. He can.

And then I can yell back, "Remember what Barb said?"

It’s awesome and totally working in my favor. So many things with Simon have to be discussed and negotiated. We are slowly crossing things off the list- starting with pill swallowing and repeated discussions. We’ll work towards eating in restaurants.

So far, so good.

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