The Assessment: Munch and Therapy

This is a continuation of my post yesterday The Therapy Session

The therapist turns to me and says “I have to tell you that your son is so adorable.” “Thank you” I replied. He says, “Okay, so from what I’m seeing your son has anxiety. He worries about a lot of different things. Most people have anxiety so it’s not unusual, but if it interferes in your daily life we want to try to help.”

He asked whether or not Munch has always been anxious. “Yes” I told him. “When he was a baby about 8 months old he started freaking out any time I got on an elevator or escalator. He would start crying and trying to get out of his stroller or holding me tighter if I was carrying him. I told his pediatrician. I thought it was weird, but I didn’t know because he was my first child and she just dismissed it. He would always worry about everything. What if the kids at school don’t like me? What if no one at church wants to be my friend? What if people laugh at me? What if people boo me?

Last month when we had that tornado warning, he freaked out and had to be next to me. He was so afraid that something was going to happen to me that he couldn’t concentrate on his upcoming program. One of the adults supervising brought him to me because he started crying and saying that he needed to check on his mommy.  He needed to make sure that I was okay because he was afraid that I would die in the tornado. Sometimes his anxious thoughts cloud his mind and make him sad or depressed. Like he will bring up the dog dying even if there are no animals around and then begin to cry. We created a memory box regarding our dog Bailey but it’s like his mind remembers the death and it upsets him” I said.

He listened and responded “His mind doesn’t seem to work in a linear fashion. It’s like his mind is all over the place, which is why I did the memory test to see if he can focus enough to retain information. He did good. Two out of three is very good.  Maybe his mind is working faster than his mouth. Is that possible?”

“Yes” I responded. “It happens to me all the time.   That’s how my mind works. I thought it was different, but I can focus when I need to so I just thought it was a  special ability I had. My mom does the same thing. Munch doing it seemed natural. However, I know it frustrates and confuses people who are close to me. They’ve just accepted it though.” “Okay” he said. “It may be fine. But, I want to tell you that I think he has anxiety. He was worried about numerous things in our short conversation.

I’m hesitant to diagnosis anything beyond that without psychological testing.  The thing about therapy is that many people can give you their professional opinions about what they believe may be the issue, but the psychological testing will give us an actual picture for present behavioral/emotional issues. It’s covered under your medical insurance and I don’t want to do it through the school. I don’t want that testing to track or follow him throughout his educational years. Plus, I’ve seen were they will try to code anxiety as ADHD and that’s not always the case.

Once we get the results back, I want you to make a follow-up so we can see what we can do to help your son. Now, keep in mind that my therapy with children is more play. We may play a board game, Jenga or go outside and toss a baseball. Anything that is play oriented that will allow him to relax and talk to me. It’s shorter than the average adult therapy session to” he said.

“Okay, I’ll get the testing” I replied. Munch opened the door at that moment and asked “Mommy, are you okay?” “Yes, baby. I’m fine” I replied. “Can we go eat now? I’m hungry.” We all laughed.

I did some research and found out more about psychological testing/assessments from Inova Fairfax where I’ll take him for testing and found out that there are four different types of assessments that they do depending on the patients.

As far as emotional/behavioral disorders, my Munch has experienced the following things:

  • Sadness/crying
  • Low frustration tolerance, difficulty coping
  • Sleep problems, sleeps too much or has difficulty sleeping (varies when he’s worried)
  • Negative thoughts, pessimistic thinking, hopelessness
  • Worrying
  • Anxiety

So, I agree with the need for testing. My concerns have been somewhat subsided. We have a plan. I’ve found a responsible adult who wants to treat my son that I find trustworthy. I called the hospital testing center and I’m waiting to hear back.

Until the testing happens I will continue to love, nurture and support the child that God gave me. Be understanding. Be encouraging. I will continue to shower him with hugs and kisses and tell him that I will always be here for him. I will wipe his tears and understand that there are things that I may not know that are worrying my baby’s mind and spirit.

I’ll keep you posted.

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31 thoughts on “The Assessment: Munch and Therapy

  1. I’m so proud of you. I’m sure that this has been a stressful process, but you’ve both handled it so beautifully. I’m so proud of this clinician, too, who I think is very correct about trying to do this through school (schools take forever, too. But he’s right about all the rest of it–the tracking, the using it to call it something else, and they can get really aggressive about medication, too, so keep that in mind). I think it’s interesting that Munch’s anxiety is so very focused on YOU in particular. I hope your clinician works on that with you and Munch as you go along.

    But mostly I’m just proud of you. So many difficult, yet crucial decisions. You’re such an incredible mother. I hope you’re giving yourself all the credit you deserve.

    Hugs to you and little Munch. Are the Cherry Blossoms out yet? Seems like the perfect weekend to head out and see them. I’m so jealous. I cry every year when they show them on tv. They are the biggest thing I miss about being home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. i liked his approach and I am against any medication for him at this point. I am not about the schools labeling ADHD when it could be something else. Thankfully, I have great insurance. Others may not be as fortunate.

      I feel like I’m struggling most days with this motherhood thing which I think a lot of moms feel like. I want him to be okay and I support therapy. Now, it’s just getting the testing done and giving him more happy things to not stress him out. I haven’t been to DC this last week, so I’m not sure. The weather has been good so they may be. I will be going out tomorrow night and take some photos. Don’t cry. It’s just the start of the Spring here.

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  2. It sounds like you’ve found a good therapist for Munch. That’s wonderful! Good for you for helping him get help — so many kids need to talk about their worries or problems but their parents hesitate to take them. Munch is a lucky guy! Good luck!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Aw. I have ADHD and anxiety. It was a process for my mom too as I was getting diagnosed- but I’m extremely successful now and I owe it to her encouragement and support. I know you and your son will get through this!!! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Give him daily fish oil. It helped me with my depression. I will pray for him -he sounds like a child full of wonderful giving love and compassion. Nothing to worry about that -but no one wants their child to suffer from this gift.
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  5. I applaud your therapist for putting your son’s needs to the forefront. Sometimes it seems too easy to diagnose children (especially boys) with ADHD and then put them on medication. When my 3 sons were small I listened to the psychiatrist who said all 3 had ADHD. After all they were placed on Ritalin and I saw the effects of the medicine on my oldest and youngest, it was then I went back to the doctor and told her she was wrong. Even though it was determined (after extensive testing) that my middle son did in fact have ADHD, in our situation what was happening was that the other two were mimicking the negative behaviors to get attention.

    I wish you and your son success on your journey to diagnosis and working through his anxiety. You sound like a great mom!!

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    1. Thank you so much. I’m not against medicine I just don’t think he needs it now. Even his pediatrician was against it which made me feel better. It’s a process and I’m just thankful for the outpouring of support that everyone as given me. It truly warms my heart to know that I’m not alone and other parents are offering encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are most welcome and are definitely not alone. To give or not give medicine is a personal choice and you’ll know what you need to do if and when that time comes. My middle son was on medication for a time but he was so uncontrollable that it was best for him to stay with his grandma during the weekdays and come home with me and his brothers on the weekends. Because of some of the side effects and the fact that his grandma hated the medicine I agreed to let him go off his meds since she had him for the majority of time. It was tough though because I was constantly working with school officials to ensure his needs were being met.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yep, I’m trying to fight with his teachers now on grading. I am wondering what it will be like when I get the official diagnosis. How did you do it with 3? I’m overwhelmed with 1.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Haha, I don’t know. Sometimes I think I was on auto pilot. The middle child really was the handful and kept me on my toes all the time. I had to do daily report cards, and if I was emailing or calling the school I was there in person. It was hard because I was a single parent working a full time job but I had to be his advocate and I can’t tell you how many times I went head to head with teachers, principles, etc. and I held them accountable. To this day I still have the 4 inch binder with all of his IEPs (Individualized Education Program paperwork) along with emails, letters and other documentation. Every time I had a meeting with the school I followed up with a letter to summarize what we discussed. Even though we worked together as a team I had to let them know that my son’s interests was critical to me and I had no problem disagreeing with them and going back to the drawing board when necessary.

        Once you get your son’s diagnosis you’ll then be able to come up with a game plan to do what’s best for him. Trust your gut and if need be look for advocates who can assist in whatever needs may be required. I had to educate myself on the special education program so that I could be more effective in helping my son.

        It can be overwhelming but again, once you have a diagnosis in hand then you can determine next steps.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Thank you so much. That’s what I’m working on now because I’m having trouble with some of his teachers and I feel like I have to fight for my baby even though I don’t have a diagnosis because of the way they are doing things. He’s in the second grade and he had a classwork assignment that he got a 0 on. Really? When I inquired about it because I saw the grade on line his reading teacher was like the other teacher graded and she couldn’t read it and what she could read was ineligible. So you gave him a zero and didn’t send the paperwork home to let me know? Why didn’t you make him do it over? Let me see what was submitted so that I can work with him. A zero for a 7 year old when 35 % of his grade is classwork? He might as well not have done a darn thing. I started thinking that once we get a diagnosis I will be on their butts again. This is already starting to stress me out. I’m a single parent and work a full-time job too and I’m like…how much more? how much more can I endure? I guess the answer is as much as required because I’m going to have to fight for my baby.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. That’s insane!! You’re on the right track. My son never finished kindergarten and was kicked out of several day care programs. He was diagnosed when he was in first grade after he attacked the principle.

        It can be overwhelming but as you say he is your baby and you got this!!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Tikeetha:

    I have only recently discovered your blog so I am playing a bit of ‘catch up.’
    I just wanted you and Munch to know that I am rooting for both of you.

    I have two friends who have already walked in your shoes. Like you, both friends took a very proactive approach which I am convinced made all the difference in the world.

    Trust and believe that things will get much better as your son gets the support that he needs. I wouldn’t tell you that if I hadn’t been a witness to it myself.

    Your daily ‘medication’ of love, support, and affection will sustain Munch for the rest of his life.

    Best wishes,
    Gwin

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thank you so much. I’m overwhelmed by the out pour of support and I am just thankful for all the kind words. It helps to know that we are not alone and that others have walked through my shoes and have survived. Sometimes when you’re in the midst of a situation you feel as though you are the only one it. But, God! Thanks again sis!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am so glad that you shared with us and that can’t be easy! It is so hard to raise kids and know what to do! You are a caring, loving mother who is doing the very best and that is what counts! I hope all is well with you and your sweet little son!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good for you! I know this process isn’t easy, I have a child who suffers from anxiety disorder, is bi-polar, has clinical depression and has harmed herself in the past so I know of what you speak. Hang in there, you are doing the right thing for that beautiful little boy!! I watched his talent show video, so freaking cute!!!! loved it 🙂 My daughter suffered from severe separation anxiety when she was going though all this stuff, she felt I was her lifeline and she would be lost without me, I’m sure your boy feels that way too… You are a wonderful mom, so don’t do any of that second guessing of yourself as a mom, we all do the best we can… much love and peace to you and Munch! I will keep checking your blog to see how he and you are doing. Michelle

    Liked by 1 person

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