My heart hurts for Elliott

This is a long overdue post about something that I have put off sharing.  I’m always writing about Gavin and the challenges associated with him, not because he’s a bad kid but because he takes up so much of our lives.

You can’t have a child like Gavin, without investing a significant amount of time and energy into him, every single day.

Emmett has been another topic because he’s got his fair share of challenges as well.  When Emmett was little, he had no language ability and he appeared to be deaf as well.  As a result of major communication issues and frustration from not being able to express himself, he was very aggressive. 


Lizze and I poured ourselves into him, in an attempt to intervene and try to give him the best chance at life possible.  It paid off.

Then there is Elliott.  I’m ashamed to say that Elliott sometimes got lost in the shuffle.

While Elliott was diagnosed with Aspergers, he was as close to a typical child as we were ever going to get.  Elliott was very social, sweet, loving and kind.  We didn’t have any of the challenges his brothers did.  In fact, Elliott was almost benefiting from being on the Autism Spectrum.

Lizze and I did everything we possibly could to find some sort of balance between all the boys. 

We were very aware of all the time that Emmett and Gavin were requiring from us and we were worried that Elliott would slip through the cracks. 

The sad truth is that when your facing the unimaginable challenge of raising three boys with special needs, you have to employ some sort of triage.  There has to be a priority system in place so that you can figure out who gets what.

In Elliott’s case, he was doing so well and the other two weren’t. Despite our continuous efforts to ensure that everyone got from us what they needed, I fear that in some ways, Elliott slipped through the cracks.

Elliott’s gone from the quiet, sweet, gentle, loving little boy to someone that’s become very angry and volatile.  Don’t get me wrong, Elliott still possess all those amazing qualities and more.  The problem is that he’s become very, very anxious.  He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. 

He can be emotionally explosive.

If you met Elliott in real life, you wouldn’t believe he’s only 7 years old.  He’s so intelligent and wise, well beyond his years. 

Despite all that, he’s still a little kid on the inside and sometimes our lives are simply too much for him.  I mean, Lizze and I struggle to cope and we’re both adults.

Elliott’s doing really well at school but when he’s at home, he’s become very defiant and standoffish. He won’t do what you ask without freaking out and he cries at the drop of a hat. 

He’s in therapy every week and Dr. Pattie has known him since birth, son that helps.

It’s really hard for me to talk about this because what further complicates this for me is that fact that I’m so close to Elliott, as he’s my first born.

Lizze’s pregnancy with Elliott was not good.  She was on bed rest almost the entire time and in preterm labor for many, many months.

When Elliott was finally born, it was early and he came very close to dying.

Watching him be delivered and cutting the cord, was the most amazing experience of my life, up to that point.  The elation quickly turned to terror, heartbreak and fear as both of his tiny lungs burst and he fought pneumonia, while spending almost the first two weeks of his life in the NICU.

A bond was forged in the moments we shared, as fought for his life. 

Elliott and I have a very close relationship and always have.  I don’t love him more than the other boys, it’s just a bit different and it makes what he’s going through right now, very difficult for me. 

My heart is breaking because he’s struggling so much. We’re doing everything we possibly can to help him through this. 

I feel like Elliott needs as much control over his life as possible because so much of his life has been out of his control. He doesn’t strike me as wanting to be difficult, it’s just that he’s so overwhelmed and anxious that he just can’t take it sometimes and he freaks out. 

There are time that he’s being difficult and digging his heels in, just to be difficult. 

In many ways right now, Elliott is the most emotionally exhausting child in our house.  When he’s upset, it just sucks the life out of the room. 

He has plenty of really good days but most days include at least several meltdowns.  Our last appointment with Dr. Pattie had us discussing oppositional defiance in regards to Elliott.

At this point, all I can really do is be there for him and to guide him through this darker time in his life.  Lizze and I both are working really hard to help him out in every possible way. We’ve tried medications for anxiety but so far, he hasn’t handled them well and they had to be discontinued. 

I will try to keep you all informed as to how we are managing with this. 

Thank you all for listening.  I really appreciate it. 

This site is managed almost exclusively from my Galaxy S4. Please forgive any typos as autocorrect HATES me. 😉

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Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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Lost and Tired

Meaghan1985 that’s very interesting.  I love your reference to the snowflake.  You’re absolutely right.  As for Vistaril, I’ll have to check into that at gist next appointment. Thanks again 🙂

Lost and Tired

upliftingfam you may be absolutely right.  It could so be that middle child syndrome that people always talk about.  Very well said.  Also, please remember that everyone’s experience is relative, so don’t sell yourself short.  😉

Lost and Tired

upliftingfam you may be absolutely right.  It could so be that middle child syndrome that people always talk about.  Very well said.  Also, please remember that everyone’s experience is relative, so don’t sell yourself short.  😉


It is possible that Elliot is acting out for attention, even the wrong kind of attention.  I have special needs kids but I couldn’t handle what you and Lizzie go through every day.


Have you tried Vistaril with Elliott? It’s actually an anti-histamine but it’s used off label for anxiety. That’s what my psychiatrist gave me. My diagnoses are:
Bipolar Disorder Type II (used to be severe depression, but he changed it)
Pervasive Developmental Disorder aka Asperger’s aka Autism Spectrum Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder with panic attacks
Personality Disorder, Unspecified (which imho is ridiculous; that diagnosis could be applied to just about anybody)
Right now my moods are more or less under control and me and my treatment team are working on the autism and the anxiety. Last month I had a major meltdown at the psychiatric clinic where I go. I was curled up into a fetal position, sobbing, rocking back and forth so hard I kept slamming the chair into the wall, and sort of screaming with my mouth closed. They had heard me describe such meltdowns but had never actually SEEN one happen to me before. They asked me what had caused it, but it’s like trying to find the one snowflake responsible for the avalanche — it was just a lot of little things that happened that overwhelmed me. After it was over I felt incredibly embarrassed at my behavior. I’d been acting like a two-year-old.

Lost and Tired

I will share whatever I learn. I wish you the very best. 🙂


SpiritOfAutism your welcome?


SeanNorris5 Thanks for the RT!

Shelly Garet

I understand the difficulty of going from a sweet child to an angry one. We are looking at therapy for ours and I am worried about ODD. I hope it isn't that. What is interesting is that our son didn't really express anger until we started a sort of occupational therapy to help his right brain get working. I was excited when he first expressed anger but, he has become pretty volatile. I am hoping that if you get any recommendations from your therapist, that you might share them here.

Lost and Tired

JenniferWhynott Holy Cow…. That’s Elliott. He sleeps in his room but he carries around little items that make him feel safe. He also pushes buttons and then breaks down into tears when someone says something to him.
It’s a really tough situation and I just wish there was an easy fix. My hope is that we can walk him through this and be better for it. Best of luck my friend. 🙂

Raynette Jones

Rob, here i am putting my 2 cents in. You know you have a complicated caotic household that like you said is hard for you and lizzie to handle. It is hard for him too. We all keep at it because we are a family no matter how hard it is. You love them all you are doing the best you can. I wouldnt throw the oppositional difiance in yet (just me) because it seems he is reacting to a situation. I am not there but I don't think he is being "bad". u no he has anxiety, could be wanting attention, or it is just a real reaction to the stress at home that you can't do anything to make better. Good news you recognize there is a problem. Positive encouragement loads of it. an extra squeeze on th shoulder (if he can stand it), when caos is going, bring him into the "team" What I mean is you know when kids learn about santa and you don't want them to ruin it for the other kids and go tell them etc. so you let them be in on "secret" which is great to see because they get to be part of "we know what is going on" and he gets to help with the "fun" He is going to be your helper in the family anyway so give him that respect since he has the responsibility.keep tellling him you understand, and then use AND (not BUT) daddy needs your to help to get us thru this together i know he is young, but this is his situation with great parents and brothers that all have issues and/or traumatised and there is love. i hope any of this makes sense. i wish you all the best


Oh Rob. I can relate in some ways. What you are experiencing with Elliott is more dire than in our home but it is tough as a parent. Shelby is our third and youngest of 3 girls. She suffers from anxiety and my heart aches for her too. Most days I can see the anxiety from the child but some days I am dealing with so much that I can’t take it. Her anxiety is not severe for the most part so meds and therapy don’t seem to help. She always thinks the kids are picking on her at school for the clothes she wears or because she brings toys, (they are her comfort items). Sometimes the whole bullying issue bothers me because I feel like the schools have brainwashed our children to believe that even regular childhood teasing is bullying. To a kid like her when someone looks at them differently, they feel bullied. It is the constant badgering about bullying that gets stuck in her head. Most of her issues come at bedtime. She is terrified to go to sleep by herself. She is 7 1/2 and has only slept in her own room in her own bed for about 3 months now. She is so afraid that someone is going to break into the house and kidnap her or kill us all. I don’t EVER let my kids watch, listen to, or read about stuff like that. She has been this way since she was about 3. She even used to sleep with an old training wheel from a bike in her bed to beat the bad guys with. We have seen a therapist, read books, and give her melatonin at night. We talk before she goes to bed and then say a prayer. She has a figure of God’s hands holding Mary, Joseph, and Jesus and I tell her that God holds her too.
   She suffers horribly from middle child syndrome as well. Her older sister(aspie) runs hot and cold with her. My oldest is too old for her to play with. My son our youngest and her play well together 50/50. She wants to play and he doesn’t or vice versa. When she is in a mood she will go around pushing everyone’s buttons until we are all in a nasty mood. Then she falls apart when everyone is short with her. She is also my wall Picasso. She literally drew on every wall in this house and was a mischief maker until she was about 6. Her Kinder teacher used to call her Junie B. Jones. I won’t even go into the details about her scissor habits. I guess all this was to say, these kiddos who have anxiety and middle child syndrome really got the short end of the stick. Throw special needs into the mix and Wow just Wow.