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I'm failing my children. I can't cope

(33 Posts)
88ineedhelp Sat 25-Apr-20 13:43:02

My mental health is fragile and i'm struggling to be a good enough parent to my two children. I have an almost three year old who has autism and a one year old. I have PTSD, postpartum depression and suffer from panic attacks.

DC1 is a lot to handle, he is aggressive to his younger sibling and has meltdowns that last for hours. He can't communicate so he just screams and hits. He screams and damages the property, he has broken my oven door and throws heavy toys around. He pinches and bites. I finally managed to source him a special needs nursery to get him the support he needs but now due to the lockdown we just don't know when he'll be able to start.

I'm not sleeping well most nights due to my PTSD and when i do manage to get some sleep i'm plagued with nightmares and wake up every hour rendering me exhausted and sickly during the day. I feel very unwell today.

I was having therapy but that came to an end a fortnight ago and i'm now slipping again. My therapist thought i was doing well now, but clearly i'm not.

DH works alot so the majority of childcare falls to me and i'm not coping.

I lost my patience with my eldest this morning and shouted for him to just stop, which of course set him off more.

DH comes through to see what the problem is to find me in tears and DS throwing a plate of food around the room screaming having a tantrum, that in turn makes the youngest cry.

Please somebody tell me what to do, i can't manage. I'm having thoughts that they're better off without me.

I've namechanged for this post, im embarrassed

OP’s posts: |
NoMoreDickheads Sat 25-Apr-20 13:55:23

I was having therapy but that came to an end a fortnight ago and i'm now slipping again. My therapist thought i was doing well now, but clearly i'm not

Could you get back to them again, or speak to a new one? They'll still be doing video sessions.

You could also phone your GP/consultant, explain how you're feeling and they could consider meds, upping the dose or changing what you're on.

Boredbumhead Sat 25-Apr-20 13:58:44

Couldn't read and run but I don't know how anyone could cope in the situation you describe. I don't have answers but hope you get some respite care soon. flowers. You are doing amazing ❣️

88ineedhelp Sat 25-Apr-20 14:01:16

The therapy I was receiving was through IAPT and once treatment comes to an end there is a "cool down" period of 6 months before you can re-refer yourself.

I'm not currently medicated apart from Propanolol. My therapist felt I would be more responsive to the EMDR if I wasn't medicated.

I need to speak to my GP but I'm frightened to incase they involve social services. Whilst I do need support I think their involvement would cause additional stress which I wouldn't be able to manage on top of everything else.

OP’s posts: |
88ineedhelp Sat 25-Apr-20 14:02:07

Thank you I feel like such a failure sad

I'm sat on the sofa sobbing trying to compose myself before DS kicks off again, which he will.

OP’s posts: |
88ineedhelp Sat 25-Apr-20 14:04:05

I also feel judged by DH. He got wound up this morning because he had to get out of bed and come to see what the matter was because I couldn't console the kids and was getting overwhelmed.

He works nights so that isn't ideal.

I was doing semi okay until he returned to work last week. It's easier to share the load but when it all falls to me I don't feel capable

OP’s posts: |
Teaandbiscuitsallday Sat 25-Apr-20 14:20:08

Hang on in there! I think that proprananol alone is not enough meds. I think you need antidepressants as well asap. I think this comes before your emdr. Especially when you are so low. You can ask for a family support worker , which isn't as heavy as a social worker. You need to ask for help , what's the alternative? Everything gets worse. Your going to give yourself a nervous breakdown. Ptsd is heavy. I'm surprised your not getting more support. I'm not sure how to private message or if you can on mumsnet. I have ocd , single mum and have two boys. 1 is autistic. You do feel judged when you have anxiety. I've had panic attacks also , so I know what there like. You need support. Keep reaching out. Xx

NoMoreDickheads Sat 25-Apr-20 14:20:38

I need to speak to my GP but I'm frightened to incase they involve social services

They wouldn't do that in your circumstances, depression and anxiety are very common.

Your therapist was wrong not to encourage you to get evidence-based help. I've had EMDR and been on meds at the same time.

Either way, you could start meds now- there are loads of different thngs they can try, and it'll make you feel more hopeful that something might/eventually will work. Have a phone consultation with your doctor/consultant.

Every service has its own arbitrary rules- if you can afford it you could see another therapist now. Some are doing EMDR via a video link- my psychologist is.

Your DS is a separate matter. You could call whoever's in charge of his care (GP or consultant) and see what they suggest. I don't know how early they're prepared to give meds, but it's worth looking into what they can offer to calm him down- he's not happy and he's endangering his baby brother. Meds can really help people with autism

I finally managed to source him a special needs nursery to get him the support he needs but now due to the lockdown we just don't know when he'll be able to start

Could you get back in touch with them and beg? Say you're really struggling. xxx

88ineedhelp Sat 25-Apr-20 14:22:50

Well the quiet didn't last long long he's just attacked his sister again then came and headbutted me before turning back and smacking her on the head.

The trigger? Her eating a piece of toast that he didn't want himself.

I don't have a safe room I can put him in alone to calm down without him damaging something or hurting himself.

OP’s posts: |
88ineedhelp Sat 25-Apr-20 14:25:21

I'm going to ring my GP in the morning, ive missed my chance today as you have to call by 1pm if you want a call back

I do need medication without a doubt, life has become unbearable. I never knew mental health could make you feel physically sick sad

OP’s posts: |
KellyHall Sat 25-Apr-20 14:38:44

Mental health and physical health aren't mutually exclusive.

Call your GP in the morning. Even if they do cal SS, that could result in specialist restbite which it sounds would definitely benefit you all.

It's not ideal for your dh to have to get up shortly after finishing work but you are his wife, they are his children and you all needed his help. So don't beat yourself about it. Plenty of women have years of sleepless nights with children as well as holding jobs.

You aren't doing that badly. You will be ok. Everyone needs help sometimes, now is your turn.

Astertix Sat 25-Apr-20 15:07:34

Hi, I'm sorry things are so difficult for you. Please please please continue to pursue therapy. If you can't get access to your own therapist some videos on Youtube are quite good in an emergency phone your local crisis team, don't hesitate, don't doubt yourself help is there. I really empathise with you, I have bipolar disorder and the shame after an episode can be unbearable but it does pass eventually. I understand the struggle of PTSD and anxiety, it can be all consuming. Please know you are not alone. With regards to your eldest, I hope you don't feel I'm being patronising but I'm wondering if you have been provided with adequate info on ASD. I'm a teacher in a Special Ed school and my class all have ASD and can be very aggressive. Its very tough on all our parent's. I'm sure you're doing a great job in overwhelming circumstances. Your local services are there to support you, try not to feel judged, they can be really helpful. The National Autistic Society are fantastic for information. We use "ABC" to identify the source of our children's behaviour, it's a bit jargon I know but it basically means A=antecedent.. What was happening directly before the outburst/B=behaviour... Is the behaviour sensory, what is the child avoiding or seeking, they may be getting too much sensory information that they can't process or too little /C=consequence.. What happens as a direct immediate result of the unwanted behaviour... eg gets attention, gets picked up, gets taken out of a situation they can't cope with. We use pictures to communicate with because the children can't process language. If you want to get any info on that, Speech and Language Therapy NHS websites are great I don't know how to send personal messages but I could send you links to really helpful parents website. This sounds ridiculous but even if you don't have a separate calm room a big cardboard box works wonders let him "own" it by putting things in it, making a little den with a blanket and toy behind couch, mini tent.. As long as you can see him obviously! Sensory processing is a massive issue for Autistic children and really contributes to meltdowns. It's tricky to identify which sense is being over/under processed. I'm sure you know all this already apologies, I really feel for you and want to help. You've got a real handful going on and you need some bits of time for yourself... Even if it's a 5 minute guided relaxation on your phone. Headspace app is good, so is Calm app. Things will get better for you, you are Not failing your children. Take care xx

88ineedhelp Sat 25-Apr-20 16:40:44

Thank you for replying, I do apologise for the self pitying rant. It has been a hellish day.

DS is recently diagnosed and it took a long time to get to this point. I've known something was different since he was a baby, he would never sleep, always screamed and began stimming at 7 months and was always massively behind on milestones. Since a year old he has been aggressive and hard to handle.

He has alot of sensory issues and our paed referred us to occupational therapy for his head banging (and SALT for his communication) but heaven knows when they'll be able to see him, given everything that is going on in the world at the moment.

His little sister is a huge trigger for him, he barely tolerates her in his space and the physical attacks are happening several times a day. I'm worried about the impact that will have on her too, she's such a loving little girl but she's terrified of him.

In regards to myself, my biggest triggers are stress and a lack of sleep. I've been relying on OTC Nytol to allow me some quality because it's impossible without. I ran out the other day and forgot to replace so last night was always going to be problematic.

I've been sick today and feel physically ill which isn't uncommon when I haven't slept and am overwhelmed with stress.

I've not long got in from taking the children for a walk and he's kicking off again already and smacking me. Throwing his beaker at my head because he wants more juice, he's just had one.

I used up what energy I had to tidy the mess he's made and he's now trashing the room again.

My mum was a huge help to me pre-lockdown and I'm feeling the impact of not having her around for sure.

OP’s posts: |
Elmer83 Sat 25-Apr-20 16:53:02

Couldn’t read and run but just want to give you some hope. I’ve been where your are now. It’s so hard. My eldest is 10 soon and he has autism. He had the same meltdowns at your DC’s age and they were horrendous. My only advice is stay calm (even though you’re dying inside) and change the subject as soon as a meltdown starts. I still use this tactic....he can still get angry but they occur once a week tops. So for example if he was 3 and was having a meltdown and I’ll suddenly shout “ Oh wow look!!! A fairy!” Now I know a fairy is obviously not there but you can pretend it was and go a hunt for one! Another thing we’d do is if he’d hit or hurt me my husband would make a big fuss of me and cuddle saying “Oh mummy, it’s ok. Are you ok?” Etc and we’d ignore his meltdown. This would calm him slowly. A lot is trial and error. What works for one child may not work for another.
If also like to tell you that even when he does meltdown now they are short and sweet and quickly resolved. I promise it will get better. You are not failing. You are coping...I promise! Even if it feels like you’re failing you’re not.
Keep going xxx

midwestsummer Sat 25-Apr-20 16:54:08

If your dm isn't in a vulnerable category I would consider getting her to help.
You are allowed carers help and it sounds as understandably you need support.

Elmer83 Sat 25-Apr-20 16:56:55

Also just like to add the public meltdowns are horrendous and much harder. Try to ignore ignorant people’s stares and just concentrate on removing yourselves from the situation. We used to try and perceiver with a trip out but we soon learnt the best thing to do was scoop him (kicking and screaming) and get home. In time these will also settle down...he now enjoys going to the supermarket (although he obviously can’t during lockdown) and we have successful trips out. Xx

newstarting Sat 25-Apr-20 16:59:37

You’ve had some very good advice here. I would also suggest thinking about moving in with your mother until lockdown is over. In this situation it’s an emergency. Could you go there? I had a friend in a very similar situation to you. Can I gently suggest that you make sure your birth control is sorted too. My friend didn’t, was in a similar situation to you and then got pregnant with her third and it made a terrible situation even more hellish. I hope you don’t mind me stressing it but as I’ve seen what happened I feel I should mention it as in the haze of medications etc birth control can get forgotten easily. I hope you have better days to come

88ineedhelp Sat 25-Apr-20 17:11:06

Alot of good advice here, I really appreciate it - both in regards to DS and my own mental health.

I'm so glad it gets better because i couldn't handle it being any worse, I feel as though I'm on the brink of a total mental collapse. The older he gets the stronger he is and the more he hurts us. My DD has a big red mark on her head from where he's bashed her with a heavy plastic train and my upper arm is bruised and sore from him repeatedly headbutting me.

I never hold it against him but it breaks my heart. My PTSD is complex in that there are many contributing factors but one is an abusive relationship I was in before DH. Violence frightens me and although DS is only little, I'm embarrassed to say it brings back memories.

He's trying to hit me with a brush as I write this.

I cuddled him and calmed him down then put him in his play pen when he had settled, because he's tired, 2 minutes later he's out attacking me again.

He gets plenty of attention, 1 on 1 games, I read to him, I'm trying to work on his communication. All he ever wants is juice and to hurt us.

OP’s posts: |
88ineedhelp Sat 25-Apr-20 17:14:48

I don't mind birth control being suggested at all, It has been a priority of mine since DD was born. I don't ever want more children.

I wish I were able to move in with mum or vice versa but it's not possible unfortunately.

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88ineedhelp Sat 25-Apr-20 17:25:08

For mum to support me as she were before it would mean her flitting between our house and hers, she has high blood pressure which I believe puts her in the vulnerable category.

I don't suppose the stress of how bad DS is being at the moment will be good for her health either so I'm reluctant to lean on her too much at the moment. If I were to call her she would come without hesitation but I think it's best I don't.

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newstarting Sat 25-Apr-20 18:39:13

Is your DH a keyworker? Could you put your DS in nursery just to get yourself some breathing space? My DS didn’t sleep. It was horrific and by the time he was 2 I was so broken my hair started falling out. I put him in nursery 3 days a week just so I could catch up on sleep. Are you sleeping? You’ll be amazed at what a difference 8 hours uninterrupted sleep for a few weeks can do to your mood. Also look at your diet. Start taking a daily vitamin tablet. Ditch the caffeine. It heightens anxiety/palpitations. Start drink water. Lots of it. Ditch the choc/crisps. Make sure you’re eating a big healthy breakfast. You could do microwave porridge. I know it sounds silly but healthy food, reduce sugar/caffeine, get uninterrupted sleep and you’ll feel more resilient and able to maybe deal with your DS. If you’re unhealthy/low then you’re resilience is zero

88ineedhelp Sat 25-Apr-20 19:07:47

DH is a key worker yes

DS has just been enrolled in a special needs nursery but that isn't reopening for the foreseeable. I'm not sure I could get him in a different nursery in the interim? If it was possible then I would definitely do it.

Sleep, not really and not enough. I have no doubt the lack of sleep has contributed to me feeling this rubbish. I have thrown up four times today and am incredibly nauseous. I recognise it as stress related because the same thing happened a few months ago in response to heightened stress levels.

I definitely need to look at my diet. I've been skipping breakfast often so I'm going to force myself to have porridge tomorrow.

You're correct in what you say about sleep and good food making a difference. I'm never this bad when I'm able to maintain sleep and eat properly combined with exercise.

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Fmlgirl Sat 25-Apr-20 22:44:03

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funnylittlefloozie Sat 25-Apr-20 23:29:32

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funnylittlefloozie Sat 25-Apr-20 23:32:46

Sorry, i meant to add, OP, you are NOT failing your children. You are caring for them virtually alone in horrible circumstances, and you are doing ok. Does your DH get a week off after a week of nights? Can he take the kids so that you can at least get some sleep?

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