Crisis Mode: Rapid Cycling

Gavin was up past 1 am this morning. He wakes up this morning and eats his oatmeal for breakfast without a single complaint. It’s like nothing ever happened.This is perhaps one of the most frustrating parts for me. The rapid mood shifts are killing me. He was so out of control last night that I was up with Elliott about 6 times during the night. Elliott was freaked out and scared. Gavin finally goes to sleep and wakes up as though nothing had ever happened. I’m still in a rough mood from last night. The rapid mood changes are probably related to the bipolar disorder. He gets like this when he is shifting to a manic phase. It’s very frustrating for me because he can freak out for hours and then shut if off as though someone flipped a switch. My body can’t just shut it off that fast. It’s like when I was a medic. We would get a call in the middle of the night for an unresponsive newborn. You cannot imagine the pressure you feel on the way. Every decision you make literally means life or death. Then shortly before you arrive they come over the radio and say to disregard and return to station. While very different from last night it’s the same principle. Your adrenaline floods your system and you never get to work it out because your called off or in the case of last night he just shuts it off.

To make things even more frustrating he may have been playing us last night. At one point (in the second video I think) he is screaming and hitting himself. Then he stops and in a normal voice he tells us he is going to move Elliott’s shoes so he doesn’t kick them at us. Then goes right back to throwing a fit. That tells me that he has control over at least some of this behavior if not all of it. What do we do with that?

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Beth

One thing that I try to remember when my students are cycling like this and I can't make sense of it and I'm feeling "played", I try to remember that it has to be more difficult to be him than to be around him. When I can step back and be objective, I find it hard to believe that a child would put himself through that just to mess with the grownups. I think that the mention of the shoes was just a little moment of clarity that lasted long enough for him to show you that he really loves you and doesn't want to hurt you. Control would have been throwing them at you but just missing you….that is just my opinion….

Lost and Tired

Honestly, not many people have experience with a child like Gavin. Gavin is extremely minipulative. You have to experience him first hand to truly appreciate his complexity. With most kmids I would say you were right but not with Gavin. There is an element of control in much of what he does. The thing with the shoe is just an example. While he appeared completey out of control last night I would bet you that if I offered him something he would like (ice cream, candy ect) he would shut it off in an instant. We have done that in the past to test the theory and each time it worked.

That's why it's so exhausting and frutrating because we never know where he is coming from and what's within his control. We need an instruction manual. All of his doctors havetold us that they would never believe what we tell them if they hadn't witnessed it themselves.

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