Archive for the ‘2014’ Category


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 This story is about my daughter, Desi. 

She is very articulate, got great grades in school until high school, is gorgeous so the boys want to know her. She has plans to work in criminal justice after school, which means college.

We all are behind her. Every one of us. We think she can do this. UNTIL she hit high school and began to decline year by year.

We didn’t know her issue to the full extent until she was a Freshman in high school. Somewhere along the way we discovered FASD.

Birth papers told the story already but we didn’t realize the damage that alcohol could do to a child. We knew she was born crack positive, already an addict at birth, but we didn’t know she had a brain injury that was about to rear it’s ugly head, big time.

My beautiful baby, landed in my arms at about three days old and she seemed so normal. The papers said crack addiction, but I had been praying for her. We noticed no withdrawal. In truth looking back, we think she was probably too sick to “speak”.

She writhed alot. She was wrestles, but she didn’t cry much. Was she already learning how to be tough and not allow the pain of this world get her? Was her brain injury such that she couldn’t even feel that pain?  All possibilities since kids with FASD often have a really high pain threshold.

My little girl was the apple of my eye. She was a blessing from God. She was an answered prayer.  She grew up and no one noticed anything wrong. She was emotionally labile frequently, but we had read crack babies were often emotionally fragile.

We thought she was smart, talented and had her whole world ahead of her. 

Every night after dinner my kids all had energy hour. Desi used to do acrobatics each evening. One night, I could not believe my eyes. She ran and flipped with no hands. AT TWO!!!  What the heck????  

We put her in gymnastics at age 5 and cheer leading at age 7. Our little one had talent! We needed to foster it.

The years went on and honestly Jon was the one that gave me the most cause for concern. He was having school issues, failing, and teachers that didn’t understand him. It was a long haul getting Jonny through school.  We suspected FASD, but we didn’t understand it well.  

 Desi went on in middle school to get the top grades in her class. She was doing so well and she was brokenhearted if she got a C.

We were sailing. Desi was just going to be, what she wanted to be. Everyone was proud of her and cheering her on.

All of a sudden in high school, the lights dimmed. Her grades began to  drop and she began to struggle. Behavior was showing up. She began cutting on her arms and life wasn’t high any more. 

She went through some counseling from Directions for Youth, and the counselor told me that my daughter had a mood disorder, and she needed professional help.

Thus began the decent into medication trials and failures. More cutting, grades dropping further, anxiety attacks at school, and on.

By her senior year she had an IEP and we understood FASD. We advocated for her in school and tried to get teachers to understand. However none of her teachers  really got it. She still looked so good and articulate. Surely there was nothing wrong, and I was an over protective mom.

Well when she almost failed her senior year and the IEP was failing her too, I went to school with her for a month to help her get caught up, so she could pass. This is when I truly began to get Desi’s disability. She failed every test she took. She failed due to memory issues.

She could not organize anything. She would do papers for teachers and lose them or forget to turn them in.  Her little dream was crumbling. How could she go to college and be in criminal justice, when she couldn’t pass a test, or be organized. She had no self motivation.  

 We were falling into the darkness. We could all feel it. Our Desi had some serious issues. She started with rages in high school too. This was horrible for all of us to deal with, and sometimes family members were in bodily danger.

Police were beginning to get involved in Desi’s life.  She ran out with knives one night and the police helicopter was out there looking for her.

We were spiraling down and the darkness was getting so thick that we almost felt blinded. How could we help our daughter? One day at a time, I would pray. Each situation presented new challenges to face and figure out.  Of course it wasn’t just Desi now, it was both Desi and Jon and this was really stressful for us parents.

 Now we are up to date. Desi is 19. She has now suffered the loss of her dream to go to college and be in criminal justice, but not only that dream, she had a simple job this year running a cash register and she lost that too, due to behavior on the job.

She makes friends really easily, but I honestly lost count of how many friends have rejected her, after they got to know her. When they found out that she can’t control her anger, they often just blocked her or stopped accepting her calls.  Rejection after rejection, over and over. I could not have handled that, and here my daughter is with a brain injury, and she is being required to handle this.

 Her whole life revolves around social stuff. She can’t stand to be alone, but she is now standing almost alone. No friends, even siblings are losing patience with her. 

 So she tells herself in her thoughts, one day I am going to have to die. I have no hope. I am a failure. I can’t manage my anger. I can’t keep a job. I can’t remember things that are important. I can’t even take care of myself. I AM A FAILURE!!!!!!

 The lights went out. Desi attempted suicide. Where once she could see, all her dreams crashed and now she feels blind. She is adjusting to a world that looks hopless to her and she doesn’t feel she has the tools to make it. She cannot see. In just a short few years she feels like she got a disability that is like going from sight to blindness.

 Now how does she cope? How can she get around? Who is going to be in her circle? Who will understand her? Who will guide her entire life?  She feels less then less.  She can do nothing about this and the very fact that she has a mood disorder while trying to adjust to this blindness compounds this totally.

 Where do we go from here?  

I think this is the hardest time for a kid with FASD to find out that their dreams are crashed and they are injured in the womb. They now have a very scary future ahead and don’t feel that they can make it on their own. or at all.

 Their very injury or disability pushes away all the ones that they need the most in their lives. Except her parents. Her parents are not leaving, but sadly her parents are the ones she blames right now. Her parents made her face her disability. Her parents are the ones who could handle her rages and anger and they are the only safe ones, so her parents get the brunt of it. They get to ride the roller coaster with her.

She is not only angry because her brain injury causes her to be, she is angry because she has lost her dream and is recognizing that she now has nothing left. Or so she feels that way, whether or not it is true.

Her parents don’t know if they can even hang in there forever either. It is wearing them out.  Where do we go from here?

One day at a time, God says and sometimes one minute at a time. It is all we have.

We need you God. We need miracles now. Desi needs another dream. One that she can reach. One that inspires her and brings her out of the darkness.

Send that dream God and send helper angels to bring her to that dream.

Send strength to her parents God. Send understanding to her siblings and friends. Send her some friends who will stick by her no matter what. We need you Lord.

We need a new dream to break out of this darkness and into the light once again. Hope! 

Thank you Lord, for we know YOU will not fail us!

Terry Quinn

http://www.parentingfasdkids.com

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