Saturday, July 23, 2011

You're OK

I'm working with a teenage girl right now who's having a hard time.  There's custody issues and anxiety and probably depression and definitely ADD.  I wouldn't be surprised if there were some other mental health diagnoses as well.  Recently her guardian (another family member) decided that she didn't need her ADD medication.  This guardian decided that the girl was just "dramatic" and would be fine without the medication.  She didn't consult the doctor, the therapist, or the child.

When I saw this student, she had been off her meds for a couple of days and was really upset.  She probably was being dramatic - teenagers tend to - but I think she was also going through some withdrawal.  After all, if you're going to go off any medication, it's a good idea to do so in a doctor-prescribed way and not just have it yanked away from you.  She had also been doing really well on this medication and was feeling stable and calm, so to have it taken away very obviously shook her up, which probably compounded any issues she was already having from adjusting physiologically.

At one point, she got really frustrated that her handwriting was worse than usual (the photo is her writing from the week before at the top and her writing from the week she was off her meds at the bottom) and broke her pen in half.  Then she cried because she didn't want to break things.  I didn't know what to say so I just kept saying, "It's OK,; you're OK right now.  I know you feel bad but you're OK and we're going to do this."  It was pretty pathetic but it seemed to calm her down somehow. 

I said that to my third graders a lot too.  Some of them had seen some horrible things and people had left them who shouldn't have left them and they just hated themselves.  Those kids were smaller and I knew them better and I could hug them and say "You're OK.  I'm taking care of you right now and you're OK."  I think the most I could give them was a feeling of being OK just for that one minute.


One year ago: Creativity

Two years ago: Decisions

Three years ago: My Time With the Three-Year Olds

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