Three medications for the win!

Having had Nicole on Sertraline or Zoloft 100 mg for about 6 weeks now I can say we have found a way to beat her anxiety, but as soon as she skips a dose the thoughts will creep right back in.

She missed yesterday mornings dose and by bedtime she was feeling anxious again. “I feel scared mom, and don’t know why” Asking when her sister would be home, until I told her she was safe at her boyfriends place for the night. I gave her one pill last night and in an hour she was doing OK again, but she wasn’t back to her perky self until this morning after her morning dose. It is fantastic seeing such an improvement with the medication. She is definitely a more confident person. Braver, more likely to speak up when she needs to. For example she got her hair cute last week and was able to tell the hair dresser that she wanted it shorter. Didn’t need to hang off of me or be comforted by my side.  She has been to two sleepovers this summer and she is more comfortable doing things on her own. HUGE improvements with regard to anxiety.

As well we started her on Trazadone for insomnia. This too has helped. She is now able to fall asleep without the aid of melatonin, which I know seems like switching one aid for another. But the melatonin she could beat, push against it until she was past the I’m tired point, and it was not working any longer. With Trazadone she is not able to fight the effects of this medication. She falls asleep within 30 minutes. I feel once we get back into a school routine she will be able to fall asleep at the appointed time. Ending morning struggles. The best thing is that she is able to get up in the morning with out much argument. Which is something we HUGELY struggle with. There have been some mornings when she has gotten up without me asking her too, before 9 am!

Next week is the third part of the medication trial. In this part we are adding a medication to treat the ADHD.  We will be adding Vyvanse 10 mg in the morning and slowly increasing it until we get a desired effect. Both the Psychiatrist and the family doctor both rate it highly. Have seen many people take to it right away. It is still a stimulant but it works differently in the brain. It doesn’t affect serotonin levels just norepinephrine and dopamine. The body breaks it down differently as well. I have read reviews and did the necessary research, and I am hopefully and enthusiastic. The only thing we can do is give it to her and hope for the best. I am positive that she can do better this year in school. With some help from medication, and hopefully patient teachers.

I am hoping for a change in teachers this year, and am very much looking forward to grade 9 when she will go to a new school, with new technology and new teachers.

Overall this summer has been a more upbeat one. We have done some day trips, we have been doing spelling tests with her and she has started working on her first book report on Wonder…Little bugger just remembered the whole thing from when someone read it to her in grade 6. Making her read a new book this month! Gosh she HATES to read!

Anyone have experience with Vyvanse? Good or bad we would love to hear about it.

Chill mom Julia

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Sorry, it’s Summer!

I really have to apologize to all my followers. I tend to get active in the summer, keeping Nicole busy so that she doesn’t get too bored. This summer so far has been a beauty for us. Hardly any rain, so we have been out side…A LOT! I have been learning to use my new camera and we have been adventuring in new and old places.

But without rain comes forest fires.

Forest Fire
Too Close for comfort

The first one was very close and it was 27 Hectares in size. We were out when the call came through, Mr being a volunteer fire fighter got the call. Luckily we were on our way home and he was able to get to the station and help. He battled this fire for 9 hours the first night, then about 12 the next day, with about 70 other fire fighters. They were able to get it under control before any homes were lost or damaged. And no one was hurt.  There was two other forest fires last week in Halifax. Mr was on call at his station for the evening. Once again they were able to get them under control, unfortunately one fire fighter was injured, but is recovering now!

We have had a heat wave and hardly any rain. So what is bad for the forest is excellent for us, we love our summers. We have been to the lake numerous times:

Jumping in the lake at sunset
A large jump into the lake

I have taken her on hikes around our trails for frog catching and exploring.

Today we are hitting the Hartlen Point area where I found tidal pools yesterday:

Tidal Pools
Great places to explore

Medication and anxiety update

All of this has been happening while we have been changing her pills and doing some summer school work. Mr. and I decided that we would help her achieve better marks next year by doing some home schooling over the summer. We give her spelling tests every week. She has to do two book reports by the end of the summer and do some math once or twice a week. We know she has the potential but with everything going on within her mind she struggled at the end of the year, and it showed on her report card.

The good news is that by treating her anxiety and insomnia we are seeing huge improvements in her daily life. A less anxious child means a happy child. She finally got a hold of one of her friends that had disappeared from school just around Christmas time. Come to find out he was struggling just as much as Nicole, so they home schooled him for the year.  So his mom and I talked and we are getting them back into the same class this year and together they should make an excellent team. He LOVES to learn, and keeps her on track. She stands up to bullies, when it is other people she is defending!

So that is why I have not been posting as much! I do apologize for I know some of you enjoy reading about Nicole’s improvements and this summer has been great.

She is currently taking sertraline 100mg to help with the anxiety. We have seen improvements, she has been to two sleepovers, HUGE improvement. She says she does not have any negative thoughts any more and she has not been asking about the doors being locked. She seems more at peace.

Her insomnia is still a bit of an issue, but it is getting better, part of that problem is the screen time.

In August we are starting her on Vyvanse 10 mg and slowly increasing it. This is for the ADHD so that hopefully she can focus better in school this year. I know she wants to do better but her mind lacks that focus and motivation.

Our biggest hurdle is reading with her. She HATES to read but we know she has to learn to do it, especially in high school where they basically hand out sheets and tell you to read it. Or assign chapters in textbooks. So we have her reading nightly and of course with the two book reports it is forcing her to remember what she reads so she can report back to us. She is currently rereading Wonder, which is a fantastic book for children with ADHD because it has smaller chapters. If anyone knows of other books that are short chapters and might intrigue someone with ADHD please let us know.

So that has been our summer so far. Keeping her active and encouraging time outside and in nature has been our goal. So far it is working. We still have six weeks before back to school and I hope we have her meds sorted out by then. She wants to go back to school and start fresh and surprise the heck out of her teachers.

How has your summer been? We love to hear from everyone!

Chill Mom Julia

Electronics too distracting? Addiction to phone?

Sometimes I feel I need two different blogs to keep up with the different aspects of our life. The good and the bad.

Nicole had a bad week last week with her negative thoughts, and the weekend was looking up. Today she can not get herself up and out of bed. We had a great day yesterday, out at the dog park and then canoeing in the evening, but then she got home and was instantly onto her phone and stayed up way past her bedtime.

I’m going to have to take her phone completely away from her this week. It is just distracting her to much and she has become too dependent on it. She literally can not pull herself away from her phone to do anything. The doctor told us that this was a sign of addiction to the phone. This does not help her mental health I’m sure of it. She also got another warning of almost failing again in science and healthy living. She is behind in most of her classes, after just catching up two weeks ago. She literally can not get ahead.

I worry about this because our nephew had the same problem, staying up too late because he couldn’t fall asleep, then literally could not drag himself out of bed on time in the morning.

Really looking forward to her appointment next week with the psychiatrist. Hopefully he can help us a little more. Or change her medication.  Something needs to change before she hits high school. Missing this amount of school will ever be good in high school.

Thoughts on addiction to phones?

Chill mom

Five Ways to Help Deal with Anxiety, OCD, ADHD, or any other mental health.

How do you deal with your mental health? Is it deep breathing, meditation and yoga? Is it physical activities such as biking, soccer or swimming? Is it through going out with friends or hitting the gym?

This week Nicole has spiraled down into a depressive state. Having negative thoughts, overwhelming sense of sadness and worthlessness. We have made more appointments and have finally received an appointment with a psychiatrist. I have a phone number for a mobile mental health crisis hotline, if needed we could have people here within half an hour. I feel more support within the community.

Nicole meanwhile is beating her demons her own way. She has discovered photography.

hyper child chill mom
Learning the basics of photography

While getting her out of the house last week she wanted to try my camera out, and walked around the board walk for an hour just taking photos, zooming in and out, taking her time and focusing. For someone with ADHD I am surprised she has taken to it. But she has seen me with a camera in my hand for most of her life, and this last year I have been exposing her more, and it was her idea to put my photos on Instagram and that is doing really well.

HUGE TIP If you want your Instagram to do well, never leave it alone for more than a few days!

Also she knows that I sell my photos online Only Stock Photos and she wanted to try that as well. My slime photos sell really well. So she wanted to try to take her own photos and see if she can make a little side hustle mula!

This little photographic journey is helping distract her from her negative thoughts. I realized that photography has a similar effect on myself. I feel relaxed and calm when I am in nature shooting away, with no other distractions around. Focusing on the plants, the trees or the spider webs…

Silvery Web
Web of pearls

So here is a list of

Five ways to Distract from Negative thoughts

Five things that Help Nicole and Myself Distract ourselves from negative thoughts:

1-Find something you love and immerse yourself! For me its photography or reading. Both have similar effects that can distract my brain from any thoughts going through it. Nicole LOVES her Youtube or Instagram and has been going to that this week. She also loves her animals and cuddling with her guinea pig and playing with the birds helps as well.

2- Try something new. Anything that takes your focus and shifts it from the negative thoughts. This week Nicole picked up a camera and really gave it a try, and LOVED it. For me it was this Blog, then Instagram. Learning the ins and outs of something new takes the attention from the cycle of thoughts in your head.

3- Physical Activity– I LOVE to bike, or Hike, or swim. Anything that gets me outside. We have a canoe and a paddle boat and through the summer it is rare to find us home. I find the winter is much harder on our whole family in regards to Anxiety. Nicole is a swimmer, and this spring she was at the gym at least twice a week. The summer we go to the lake EVERYDAY! We are excited for summer to get here!

4- Draw or write– Get the thoughts out of your head by putting them on paper. Create a story that relates to your anxiety or what is causing it and change the outcome that you THINK is going to happen to something cheerful and happy. A Happily ever after if you will! Nicole draws, all the time. Unless she is making slime. But she doodles at school to help her focus in class as well.

5- RELAX– Take a few deep breathes and reassure yourself that you are in a safe and secure environment. If you aren’t call someone and get to a secure and safe place. Call a friend, a relative, a coworker. And then ask them to go for coffee and TALK IT OUT. It always feels better to get something off your chest. Nicole had two panic attacks this week and both times she told me what was happening and we discussed it and it helped her calm down and then she was able to draw and begin to change those negative thoughts.

 

So that is our five ways to help anxiety. I hope this helps someone and please let us know what your favorite way is to change your negative thoughts! Nicole is always willing to try something new.

 

 

Chill Mom Julia

Seeing Improvements

As our journey progressing I see Nicole growing up more and more. She has finally started sleeping in her own bed! The past 3 nights she feel asleep on her own in her room, with no help from me. She has grown in the past few months and I am loving what I am seeing.

I must include a cute story here. Last Friday when she came home from school, I asked her what she wanted as her reward for attempting to sleep in her bed by herself; all last week she made attempts, feel asleep once and had to come in with me the rest of the times. So she said to me ” You know I have been thinking about that, I think you should clean my room for me!” I just laughed at her, but then I started thinking, this is an excellent idea. She HATES cleaning her room, even to keep it tidy is a HUGE chore for her. She said “You will save money, because you won’t have to buy anything for me, I will not stress out about my room so much, Everyone wins” And she is correct.

I think we as parents may put too much emphasis on keeping a room clean and tidy. Its not that they don’t know how to clean, its just extremely boring, especially for a child with ADHD. So I cleaned her room. And I will continue to keep it tidy. She of course will pick up after herself but I think this is a better arrangement for her as I want her to focus on beating her anxiety and focusing more on school work.

And now she has slept in her bed, by herself, 3 days this week. She has woken up once and been able to put herself back to sleep. In her own room. This is HUGE for her. So not only will I keep her room clean, she will get another reward. This seems to work better for her, rewarding her for jobs done well and accomplishing things. And as she continues to sleep in her bed and beat this anxiety I will reward her. Until I think she has it completely under control. Then we move on to something else. She has an FTX for cadets coming up again and I know she will be able to go and have a great time. Her anxiety has its waves but she understands better than ever that everyone deals with it, and that she can’t let it control her life.

As always it is baby steps that will help her!

Chill Mom

 

A little more progress

Nicole has been up and down the last few weeks. We have been keeping busy with the gym and the return of spring, but she also had to get her immunization shots and had two doctor appointments, the most recent one on Saturday. This was a counselling session with our new family doctor. Both Hubby and I went as well. Sort of a mini family therapy session.

Man what a difference. That day we discussed what the doctor had said, which was that I had to be less of a “security blanket” and I had to be firmer with her. She absolutely has to get out of bed in the morning, and the less time I spend in her room with her the better. And last night, she did it. She went to bed by herself and fell asleep in her own bed, with out me with her.

If you have been following along you will understand how HUGE this is for Nicole. She is soooooo proud of herself and I am SUPER proud of her. There were no tears, there was no, “please mom, I can’t do this” It was like a switch in her had been turned to let her fall asleep without me.

I think the doctor telling us that I had to “cut the cord” so to speak really hit home. She realizes that she is almost 13 years old and needs to start growing up. We have to just soldier through our anxiety and keep reminding ourselves that none of us are in harm when our anxiety is acting up. It is in our heads. It helped that Hubby expressed his own anxieties and that our doctor has anxiety herself. By the end of the appointment we could see the difference in Nicole and how relaxed she had become around the Doctor.

So hopefully we can keep it going in the right direction. Hubby is away this week for work so we are hoping to surprise him when he comes home to her sleeping in her own bed! He would be astonished!

We have parent teacher this week as well, so I’m looking forward to that, just because it is the last one of the year and I am having the principal sit in with both teachers, so that we can formulate a plan for getting her more organized first thing in the morning. She is still misplacing work and struggling along, but i feel that she has come a long way since September.

Have a great week

Chill mom Julia

Returning to the grind to finish of three more months of school!

First day back after eleven days away from school and I’m beat. Nicole was off her routine, so we were sleeping in late, which means we were up late, almost every night. We were forgetting medication, sometimes she didn’t take it until midnight. It is my own fault, I let her sleep in because I feel like she needs the rest, but now that we had to get back into the routine it takes a few days to reset. She was so bored all week, with hardly anything to do and the weather was no help. No one wanted to hang out, either they already had plans all week, or it just didn’t work out. So she was feeling down about that as well.

Plus her worrying was bad this week, her sister being away all week was probably a lot of that, but she had a panic attack Wednesday because of her eating habits, she thinks she isn’t eating enough. Next week she will probably think she is eating too much. When she gets like that it really doesn’t matter what I say, she has to calm herself down. I feel like the fact that she wasn’t going to the gym and getting some exercise was part of it too. On top of that she felt her heart racing once or twice and when we did go to the gym one day she was walking on the treadmill, not really doing much and her heart rate was 147 beats per minute. So thankfully we have a doctors appointment tomorrow and I will be asking her if that is a normal thing, I looked it up, and it isn’t but she is on medication that does raise heart rate.

I know I said I have been seeing an improvement, but I’m not 100% sure it is the medication. And I don’t know if it is worth the side effects. She does seem calmer, but she doesn’t seem happier. We watched the documentary Take Your Pills last night and although the medication she is on now is not a stimulant and I am glad she is no longer on Adderall, I am concerned that she is falling into a stigma because she is on medication. The documentary showcased how many high school and college students take Adderall to help with school work. Young adults that have high expectations are abusing this medication. And doing it legally, for the most part. It is why it is being over prescribed. It is a legal form of speed and it helps them focus and concentrate better. So why not. It is a legal medication.

On the other hand I have seen what it does to my daughter and I can see why many people turn to it. It certainly did calm her down and help her focus, but she got so angry on it, I just couldn’t keep her on it when her anger and depression would have gotten out of control.

Her Strattera does seem to be helping her. As she gets older it will fall more on her shoulders if she wants to take pills. My main goal for medication was to help her in school, and that does seem to be improving. But it does not help her at night to get to sleep. I have a feeling that if she got a better nights sleep, she would do better overall.

Oh this wonderful world of ADHD and anxiety. It is a constant roller coaster for both of us. One day she is doing wonderful, the next it is a day of anxiety and concern.

But the good news is that she went to school today no problem, out the door early and that is always a good day! It might have something to do with the fact that she has a new boyfriend at school (HA HA)

Have a great day everyone

Chill Mom Julia