Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Meltdowns, Manny Pacquiao and Adam Levine

April is Autism Awareness Month! I'm so sorry that for the past years, I only get to write at this time. I know I always promise to write more but I just can't find time. And maybe because I post updates on my Facebook page anyway. 

The start of this year has been very difficult for us. Patricia got sick a lot. And the meltdowns started..

For more than a month now, Patricia is having screaming fits like we've never witnessed before. In the beginning, we thought that she just wants to go out of the house or ride the car because when we ask her what she wants, she says "slippers" or "car." But the thing is even when we give in to what she wants, she just continues with her meltdowns, maybe even louder. Patricia used to hit herself when she gets frustrated but very seldom. Since she's getting better in communicating what she wants, it even became less. That's why we were so shocked when she started hitting herself again. And now she even hits us too. She never did that before. Not only hitting, but also kicking and banging her head. And she's really strong. We see stars! I got bruises to show. The screamings are just unbearable! She shouts at the the top of her lungs! We're afraid that we might get reported for child abuse. And these last long, it can go from an hour or throughout the whole night. It happens almost every night too. Sometimes, it happens during the day too. It's exhausting and frustrating!

We're trying to figure out what triggers them but it only confuses us more. Could it be that she's hungry? But she can tell us when she wants to eat or drink something. Is it sensory? Could she be experiencing early puberty and hormones are making her behave differently? Is she too tired? Or too idle? She usually starts crying when she gets sleepy. We're wondering if maybe she doesn't want to sleep. Is she having nightmares? Or worse, is she having silent seizures? Is she in pain? Headache? Tummy ache? Is it behavioral? My husband and I are so bothered. We can't sleep, eat well, our work is disrupted, our schedules are messed up. 

We tried various strategies already. The burrito roll (rolled her with a comforter and rolled a vestibular ball on top of her), this worked well but not all the time. I gave her deep pressure massages using scents that should calm her, worked for just a while. I tried distracting her with her favorite videos, this worked for a few nights. We engage her in heavy work, walking, playing in the playground, swimming. This worked in a way that she gets tired easily and just falls asleep. There were nights when she sleeps easily (very few nights) but due to exhaustion I guess. She wakes up in the middle of the night screaming again. We tried restraining her, but it only made it worse. Ignoring her worked sometimes too but is the most difficult thing to do. Then Adam Levine came along, yup, that guy from Maroon 5! =) We don't know what happened but eversince Patricia heard his song "Lost Stars," she just relaxes. She quiets down and soon after she falls asleep. We play it the whole night. It works like magic. It worked for the past week now. She still meltdowns at night but not the whole night. Thank you Adam!

We're still problematic though. Patricia has always been a very happy child, she still is most of the time. But it breaks our heart seeing her hurting herself or us, being so frustrated crying with lots of tears, having a hard time to calm down. It seems like she can't control herself. And she feels sorry for doing it knowing that she's not supposed to. We dread night time, expecting that she'll explode anytime. We shield ourselves for possible hitting. We make sure she's safe. We're afraid that our neighbors will complain. We're scared that she'll hurt herself so much, it could be dangerous. We're just so scared that it won't stop. We pray that this is just a phase. That it will stop and never come back. We're open for suggestions.. and lots of support, love and prayers. 

This is what Autism is for us. A roller coaster ride of emotions. I thought I'd have to share this too, that it's not all good, it's definitely challenging. But we're ready to face them. Our love for Patricia is so big, no meltdown too big we can't face. We might get knocked out, but we'll definitely get up again and win. All heart! =) 

1 comment:

  1. My daughter is 3 years old and she has autism too. Right now she's a happy kid and doing well at therapies but I am dreading the day when she starts hitting herself or anybody else, I am hoping and praying that it will never come. It's 2016 and I am hoping that Patricia has passed that phase with flying colors. Be strong mommy, God is with us :)