For a little over a year my daughter has been experiencing the longest period of stability in her 10 year old life. Her father and I couldn't be happier.
A question I hear over and over is, "Is stability possible?" Some people believe "Stable is a place where horses live." When Princess was so unstable due to her mood disorder, I knew that stability was possible but it sure seemed a long way off. I also believed that stable was more than just a place where horses live.
Before stability came to live at our home, things were pretty chaotic. Even though we tried really hard to set limits and keep a structured environment, the littlest thing could trigger a meltdown of epic proportions. Sometimes we knew what the triggers were but other times we walked on eggshells. It was not very fun to live at my house.
Then Dr. Wonderful prescribed Amantadine. About the same time, Princess started at a Therapeutic Day School. Those two things combined have helped my daughter achieve the level of stability she has today. There is still the occasional day where Princess will have a meltdown but those days are less frequent. Additionally the duration and frequency of the rages have diminished.
When I ask my child to pick up her clothes, she does so. When I ask her to help with dishes or laundry, I may have to ask a second time but she will complete the tasks. When it is time for homework, Princess gets right to work with very little assistance from me. When it is time to stop a preferred activity, my daughter stops. If my daughter makes a poor choice that requires a consequence, she accepts the consequence. Recently Princess got upset about something my knight was telling her. She didn't like what she was hearing but she willingly took a cool out in her room until she was calm enough to rejoin the family. On that same day she recognized what she was doing and said, "That was an outburst. I'm sorry." Tonight as she and I were running errands for Christmas, Princess asked me if we could go home. She's learning to listen to her body. She knows how important it is for her to rest when she gets tired or overstimulated. That's a big step towards maturity. Finally Princess has shown no aggression towards my husband or I in a very long time.
Before stability all of the above was not possible. Homework and chores were not expectations because they required too much effort on Princess' part. No matter what sticker charts or behavior modifications we used, battles ensued at the mere mention of homework or chores. We believe that just going to school and performing simple tasks really took their toll on Princess.
There are a few things I learned a long the path to stability. One was that stability is not achieved over night. We spent three years looking for it. Princess went through many many medication trials. She's had a number of hospitalizations. Another thing I learned is just as a child with Autism or Downs Syndrome has that condition but they learn to function in society with it, so does Princess still have her alphabet soup of diagnoses. Lastly we see that all of the things that were making her act out have calmed down quite a bit. However, I do find them lurking in the shadows. We are ever mindful of them.
I have no idea how long this period of stability will last but for now I am enjoying it. My knight and I are living in the present. When and if Princess becomes unstable again, we have hope that it will end because we've seen stability and we know how wonderful it is.
Additionally, do not stop or start any medication without the advice of a licensed doctor.