As for Elliott, he’s lived through many traumatic experiences in his young life, beginning with simply living in the same house as Gavin for the first 8 years of his life.
Gavin’s behaviors prior to 2015 were bad, we were desperately seeking out residential placement. He was violent, incredibly disruptive and aggressive. Gavin rarely directed these behaviors at anyone other than himself but the screaming, violent tantrums and self-injury were bad.
We did our best to shield the boys from this but aside from removing Gavin from the house, which we did for a 6 month period of time, there was no way to completely shield them from the emotional damage.
Elliott has been traumatized by Gavin’s behavior growing up, violent occurrences in our neighborhood (including a drive by shooting we were involved in, a teenager being gutted in front of our house, our van being stolen as we were preparing to leave for school and countless instances of gunfire), our separation in 2014, a hostage crisis a few doors down from us that resulted in us being evacuated from our home late at night, and probably other things that we’ve not yet discussed. These are the things we know for sure about.
Anyway, anxiety can have such a complete impact on a person’s life. It can heavily influence, if not dictate behaviors and reactions to stimuli. It can impact sleep patterns, education and generally be incredibly disruptive..
Anxiety can be especially disruptive for a child on the Autism Spectrum.
At this point in time, we’re going to focus on treating the anxiety. As this was only the first appointment, there were no major medication changes but we did bump up one of his medications to help with the anxiety. If that doesn’t have a positive impact, we’ll look at other options at his appointment in November.
The person that we are seeing at Akron Children’s Hospital is perfect for Elliott. It also turns out that he was working in the psych unit during one of the many times Gavin was admitted. He worked with Gavin and is personally aware of the behaviors Gavin used to exhibit. That’s very helpful because it gives him insight into what Elliott experienced.
While Gavin’s behaviors have improved exponentially, that doesn’t undo the damage that has already occurred.
It’s important to understand that this isn’t about blaming Gavin. Gavin was very much a child dealing with serious mental health issues and struggling with life on his own. He never meant to hurt or traumatize Elliott. He was basically collateral damage. Does that make sense?
This is where we stand right now. As for the concern over Bipolar Disorder, it’s going to take more than one session to get a better idea of what’s going on there.
We know that anxiety, ADHD and Autism are present and accounted for. Time will tell if there is anything else going on.