Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Stepping Out of my Life

I feel like I have, for the past few weeks, pretty much stepped out of my regular life.  We've had a lot going on around here, most of which doesn't involve Danielle.

I spent almost a week caring for an extended family member after a surgery, actually spending less time there than I'd planned.  While there, when I wasn't working or performing care-giving duties, I spent my time plugging away on the novel I am writing.  In years past, I've thought about joining NaNoWriMo, but the thought of completing a first draft novel in 30 days seemed an impossible goal.

It turns out that writing a first draft in 30 days is not impossible.  I'm to the point in my story where the tale of the bad guy has reached its conclusion, and all that's left is the wrap-up for the two protagonists and the epilogue.  I should be able to easily finish this before Friday, which means I will have completed my first draft in less than 28 days.

Now I will say that getting this done in such a short amount of time has been pretty much all-consuming.  If I haven't been working or sleeping, I've been writing.  In a way, I almost feel like I've been having an affair on my life.  My story has become a mistress who jealously consumes all my free time.

It's been fun, though.

As for Danielle, it appears that the medications are making a positive difference.  She has been on the new anti-depressant for a couple of months now, and the new atypical anti-psychotic for a month.  Although it hasn't fixed all of her problems, it seems the combination of medications have really taken the wind out of her sails when it comes to her simmering, boiling, never-ceasing rage.

Although Danielle's rage has pretty much dissipated, what is left is a child who still has many concerning problems.  Her lack of motivation in life regarding her education and future employment will not serve her well. She also seems to be developing some very unhealthy eating habits (refusing nearly all food prepared at home) and her personal hygiene is sorely lacking.  Although she does shower regularly, she rarely launders her clothes or sheets and fails to brush her teeth and wash her hair.

On Friday, I discovered that she still doesn't use toilet paper, despite the abundance of it in the house.

Now that her anger is gone, she seems to be developing two new problems.  The first merely annoying problem is that she constantly complains about minor physical ailments, especially when she's away spending the night with friends or grandparents.  Almost every time she leaves the house, we will get a phone call from her begging us to take her to the ER or urgent care center.   Her response very much feels like she is demanding an amputation for treatment of a splinter, and we are constantly telling her she needs to do x for the treatment of minor ailment y, but she doesn't want to listen.

The second issue is puzzling.  She will often come home from school and exuberantly throw her arms around one of us and say, "I love you so much!" She'll squeal the way teens are prone to do over a cute stuffed animal or a baby; sometimes she will even try to kiss us.  Although Danielle might be expressing her genuine feelings of the moment, it doesn't feel authentic.  I constantly find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Being on the receiving end of this feels very confusing.  From our perspective, we haven't changed anything in terms of our relationship with her or how we parent.  This behavior has only come up over the last couple of weeks, and I'm having a hard time adjusting to being treated like the greatest thing since sliced bread, when for years I've been told I was the worst thing that had ever happened to Danielle.  Granted, this all may very well be attributed to her new medication regimen, but it's still hard to accept.

I guess neither of these issues are as bad as the rages we saw before, but they still make our house feel very abnormal.


  1. I am glad the medication is working so well. It will take time for you to adjust ot the 'new Danielle' but hopefully it will result in a more relaxed and possibly even enjoyable homelife. Great job the the book BTW.

  2. My two cents? You have had a literally psychotic child on your hands for way-too-long. It sounds that some of the meds may be working but it will be long journey to get them right :(

  3. Anonymous admirer again- AAA- I was wondering, "Why do I find this blog so compelling?" I have no experience (as of yet) with adoption, or parenting adolescents, or being a guy- but I keep returning here, over and over. Maybe it is out of respect- I admire the way you protect the identity of Danielle- some AP trauma mamas plaster their blogs with personal details and photos of their "RADishes". Maybe it is unadulterated literary appreciation- your sentence structure is so plain, it is almost poetic. But I think it is the pure strength of selection- you choose simple words, string them together in a colourful (I am not American), evocative pattern, then hang a bead of straight speaking out on the line of blogosphere.


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