Today I hand the blog over to RB who is a 16 year old adoptee. She has recently started writing her own blog about her life and living with attachment disorder. I asked RB if she would like to write for the Life with Katie readers as well because I'm positive you will find her insight into living with AD as insightful, emotional and helpful as I do. She starts with a very topical piece for the time of year about leaving school. Endings are something we talk a lot about as adoptive parents and this time of year can be fraught with tension as the waft of change floats in the air.
RB has also agreed to continue to write some pieces for us too which I am delighted about. It would be wonderful if you could leave her comments below and share how you feel about her writing.......
I think the whole concept of growing up is scary and I don't want it to happen, however I'm very excited to move on and see what the future holds. I'm worried of how my AD may change me and how I'll respond to situations. This blog has gotten a lot of response and I'm so happy to see it helping many of you with children or friends that struggle with it.
As a part of AD my sister will have regressive panic attacks or meltdowns (you may recognise this in your child) Around 2 years ago I started getting panic attacks and while they aren't as full on as my sisters, I can empathise and describe the feeling. As parents reading this you may not have much understanding of it, or you may know a lot!
There are different ways of comforting a child with AD if they are having a panic attack or regressive one. When I get panic attacks I often look at my brain as one big room with lots of filing cabinets in. Now a normal brain has grey filing cabinets in. All of the files in order, maybe a few disordered files and a couple of draws in the wrong cabinet. However this is fine. I see my brain as filing cabinets, they're grey, with attachment disorder there's always at least 2-3 cabinets which are muddled and wrong and messy. This is a normal AD brain. When children with AD experience regressive panic attacks their brains filing cabinets are always open, the draws are mixed and the files are constantly flying around out of the boxes, when this is happening they are panicking and trying to re-order every filing cabinet and put the files back in however this doesn't always work and they panic even more. It can create a feeling of chaos and unsettling nerves and constant high alert or vigilance or sometimes the feeling of suffocation (I feel this, you can breathe! You just feel a very heavy weight) I use this idea to help me express what it's like and it often works.
Now, comforting a child or anyone when they're having one of these is hard as they can't always tell you what they want. It's confusing and can sometimes leave them empty, numb, tired, sad or angry and confused. They cannot communicate straight away, don't assume anything, sit next to them and stay quiet until they speak or move. If they move away or closer they may need comfort or just time alone and some quiet space to re order their brain.
When I have a panic attack I sometimes feel better if I'm left alone but the majority of the time having someone hugging me tightly works well as the feeling of closeness is comforting. It's important that you try not to display any negative emotion after they've had a regressive panic attack as it can make them feel like they're in the wrong. Give them chance to calm down and become neutral again before talking things over, it can be frustrating but is best as it assures the child feels happy and the environment can feel calm and safe again.
You can find RB's blog at http://rhiannonbeth.blogspot.co.uk/
Definitely one to bookmark!