Mental Health:Something to Learn

I am not a mental health professional by any means. I do have my college degrees in the areas of special education, and administration. It was not until I was receiving help at our domestic violence center, that I started learning about personality disorders…

I was a bit irritated with myself for not knowing about them. In all of my education, I learned about disabilities that are dealt with through special education. They did not include personality disorders at the time I was in college. I am learning now, that special education is evolving to meet more needs of students. We are always learning.

I have so much more to learn… my 12 year old was just diagnosed with Schizotypal Personality Disorder. I have been deep into research since this diagnosis came into our lives. I am going through some stages of grief, as this is not what I hoped for my child. It fits…and I have been watching it unfold since he was very young. I always knew it was something, but it looked like pieces of other disorders.

I have been seeking others who are living with or parenting someone who has this disorder. I have found many online therapists, students, and educators discussing it from a purely clinical and diagnostic standpoint. I have found a few people with the diagnosis who are sharing their lives and experiences. It is difficult to admit, as there is a stigma with just the label. Also, this is usually not diagnosed in people under 18 years old, so parents who are dealing with it may not even know what it is.

The only reason it was diagnosed for Brother, is that we have so much therapy, testing, and documentation. I must add that Brother was 7 years old when he entered therapy, and that was just planned to be for a short time during the transition due to divorce. Brother did not adjust as a typical child would adjust. He was becoming more and more paranoid and anxious. I kept documentation of the things that were happening- strange behaviors mostly, like dissociating for very long periods of time. I had a feeling that something was going on during visits with the dad, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. All I could do was document the behaviors…for three years.

I will share an experience from last night as an example of “a day in the life”…

Brother emerged from his room, slightly on edge, and informed me that he had been “doxed”. We reviewed some safety, and talked about blocking and reporting to the server. This was fine…for a while. Within about 15 minutes, he emerged again, certain that this scammer was going to have our whole family killed that night by a SWAT team!

Brother was crying and hyperventilating. He asked me to take him to the hospital so he would be safe. He wanted to call 911. I managed to help him calm down a little by calling our local non-emergency sheriff number. They assured us it was a scam, and that if anyone came to our home to do harm, we could call them. This reassured Brother a little more. Over the next 30 minutes or so, Brother continued to cry, insisting that I immediately hire a guard for our house. Eventually, he settled down, but was afraid to go to his room, or even go to sleep.

While all this was happening, I had to send Little AoA into another room with the grandparents. She knows that Brother has anxiety and is difficult to deal with sometimes. It can be a little scary watching him slip into this severe state of fear.

I will continue to share my experiences with this journey to healing and learning to navigate these unpredictable waters…

~AoA

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