10 Comments

  1. marty
    April 25, 2016 @ 10:00 am

    Saying prayers for you and yours today.

    Reply

  2. Shawna
    April 25, 2016 @ 10:28 am

    Oh my goodness, this. All of this. My son is 13 and goes through cat phases too. It hurts and it is so scary. Thank you for articulating it so well. Praying for you and yours.
    Shawna @ Not The Former Things

    Reply

  3. GP
    April 25, 2016 @ 11:15 am

    I just wanted to say that I understand your pain. Many of the issues that you describe are very familiar to me as well. I found that in my child and perhaps other children, especially in children on the spectrum, depression can manifest as a gradually progressive increase in fight or flight responses. As with most individuals with depression, there is also a loss of interest in activities that used to be fun and fascinating. It becomes harder to interact socially, even with one’s family, and even a smile can become a task. It often takes individuals with depression a massive effort to just keep going every day. Children do not usually know why they are losing interest in doing things that used to be fun or why they do not smile much any more. Please do not take it personally when you hear and see things that Jack does or won’t do because it truly may be a manifestation of depression, which of course is so very common in children who are on the spectrum and in children with severe anxiety. I suspect that Jack does not know why he feels “like a loser”, but it seems that he developed low self-esteem, which is very common in children on the spectrum or anybody who feels “different”. Our children compare themselves to their siblings and peers, and things that come so easy to others, may be truly impossible to figure out for individuals on the spectrum. My daughter often asks, “How do they know that?” when other children, even those much younger than her, managed to interpret social situations with ease and come up with the right response while she could not. I have also noticed that with increased anxiety, the need to do simple, repetetive activities increases (such as jumping, flapping, neologisms-made up words that may have a soothing effect on the individual). Verbal tics may increase as well. Repetitive activities and sorting may become coping mechanisms that provide self-soothing (just like rocking back and forth). Perhaps, in your son’s case, these activities include playlists and watching the same movie trailer. In my experience, these things tend to offer a subconscious sense of control over at least a small part of the world when for individuals on the spectrum, the world may seem so very chaotic and illogical most of the time. Life is messy for most neurotypical individuals, and I can only imagine how difficult and scary it must be for individuals who experience the world with much more intensity and who have a very different way of relating to the world. I do not believe that our children’s personalities are changing when they show increased flight or fight responses, but rather I believe that these behaviors are a reflection of the inner turmoil that they do not understand and that they cannot explain. Hang in there and keep looking for treatable causes of the inner turmoil, such as depression. Last but not least, please try not to worry too much about the playlists and movie trailers. They cause no harm, and I suspect that these behaviors may decrease when treatment for anxiety and possible mood issues is optimized. As another blogger, Jess Wilson, often says, and what has become my mantra: “Now is not forever, and never is a load of ….”

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  4. rocketbotmom
    April 25, 2016 @ 2:27 pm

    Oh Carrie, I am so sorry you are still going through this phase with Jack. I cannot even begin to imagine how painful an difficult it must be to wake up to this every day. I certainly hope the “cat” phase doesn’t last much longer. Hopefully the new medication will help relieve some of his anxiety.
    You are such a great writer and know you help so many others out that are experiencing some of the same things you are.

    Keep your chin up! The dog will return soon!

    Reply

  5. Arlene
    April 26, 2016 @ 12:46 am

    I happened to come across this article today and just wanted to pass it on! Carrie, I have been following your story for about a year now. You are an inspiring writer, a committed mom and a beautiful person. Praying for answers and solutions for this difficult phase Jack is experiencing. God bless you and your lovely family! http://robbwolf.com/2011/05/23/real-life-testimonial-scarlets-turnaround-autism-paleo/

    Reply

  6. RT
    April 26, 2016 @ 11:55 am

    Placing you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

    Reply

  7. cherisaccone
    April 26, 2016 @ 12:29 pm

    I needed this. There is so much sadness and frustration around the A word, and so very few answers and resolutions. Our victories are small and too infrequent. Thanks for giving me your words so I can cry my tears that need to come out some way.

    Reply

  8. SleepyMom
    April 28, 2016 @ 1:41 pm

    I so feel your pain! My daughter is going through an angry, angry phase right now, and it is mostly directed at me and her little brother. She is largely blind to the severity of her behavior and nothing we do helps mitigate it. If we engage her she reacts negatively, if we distance ourselves she picks a fight and bates us with questiions she knows can lead to her being dissappointed or angry with us, giving her an outlet for her rage, sarcasm, and disdain. It is heartwrenching and exhausting and far worse than when she is just super anxious and on sensory overload (her normal). My best guess currently though is – puberty, she’s 11. Adding all those hormonal changes to someone who is already emotionally unbalanced with the psychological effect of knowing the huge change of middle school, bus riding, etc. is looming ever closer is just more than she can handle.
    I hope Jack’s cat phase is over soon and that we all survive adolescence with our sensitive children.

    Reply

  9. autisminquietplaces.wordpress.com
    April 30, 2016 @ 8:58 pm

    I have been where you are. My son has similarly aggressive behavior. I think it is entirely anxiety driven. Get the anxiety under control and the aggression goes away, too, –well mostly it does. For my son, we had to take away all stress for several months to get him out of his downward spiral. It was a big sacrifice, but it worked. We pulled him out of school, took a year off ultimately, and actually now have decided on homeschooling because we have seen so much improvement. We only did things he wanted. We kept the house as quiet as was reasonably possible. We watched a lot of tv together and played video games together. We went on quiet walks with our dog. We watched more TV… You get the picture. We slowed down, way down. After a few months, as Camden got better, happy, and loving again, we introduced a couple challenges, –things he could easily succeed at, like swimming. Our focus was just getting him stable and happy. It took a lot of big changes, especially in our expectations, but it worked. Cam is coming back to us.

    Reply

  10. Beth Brown Johnson
    May 2, 2016 @ 11:23 pm

    My Travis is 15 now. I remember a few years back when he seemed to be angry……all of the time. The psychiatrist put him on Zoloft and later on added Wellbutrin also. For so long we’d tried to address and medicate the focus issue, but truly the anxiety, including sensory issues were the real problem. I believe the hormones that puberty brought along changed things…..a lot. All I know is, once he started meds for anxiety – he started smiling again, and even laughing……I hadn’t even realized how little we’d heard it. And he talks with me more openly. He’s still more rigid and reserved, but he’s more like himself. I hear some similarities in your posts about Jack. I’m praying y’all find what he needs.

    Reply

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