Susan's Blog

Sunday, September 6, 2015

I miss his stimming

What am I to conclude, now that we have very likely nailed Nat’s additional diagnosis — not catatonia, but mild bipolar/mood disorder? Now that he is most of the time serene, attentive, communicative, rather than high-strung, pacing, self-talking? He is rarely giddy now, rarely quick-moving, on-the-go. Rarely just sitting in a stony stupor, either. Maybe never.

We found after many doctor’s visits and a normal EEG and much observation that Nat has not been exhibiting autism catatonia after all. That the straight arms he makes are a sign that he is trying to be still and quiet almost as if he’s trying to be “good.” I don’t ask that of him, it is wrong and patronizing, but someone else in his life may have. Or he’s simply trying to fit in? I don’t know. But we have not seen any more freezing up like the day at Special Olympics in June. So we are now interpreting those hesitations differently.

We, along with a highly-repected psychiatrist, have concluded that Nat has been having mood swings. The still silence is a manifestation of depression. The giddy out-of-control laughter is a sign of hypomania (not full-blown hearing-voices psychotic mania. Hypomania for me is more about phases of high energy, almost too-much initiative, taking on too much, being almost overly happy, and then it leads to a crash, a too-quiet, hide-in-my-house/bed mode). He has deep mood swings, just like me and other members of my family may have. But I have that diagnosis and the medication I take is in the same category as Nat’s new medication. It is an anti-seizure med that works for bipolar, too. My own psychiatrist explained it thus — or this is my lame-man’s understanding: around the neurons are this structures that take nutrients from the outside of the cell and turn with them inside the cell and deposit them there. But my little structures on my neurons move too quickly, they swing too much.  It is easy for me to visualize how this kind of dynamic can translate to a mood-swinging personality. So the Lamictal stabilizes them. I can also imagine how this is related somehow to what seizures are.

Nat is on Tegretol, which our doctor says is a cleaner medication for bipolar. And he has shown a lot of stabilization, calmness, serenity. He has not become a sleepwalking zombie or anything like that. It’s just that he has slowed down and become more of a listener. He sits with us more often. He answers questions readily.

It is a new Nat. I always thought the highly-active, chattering, stimmy guy was the guy. What if it isn’t? What if that excessive motoric activity was simply a way for him to cope with anxiety and mood swings — leading to the shutting down and then the giddy hysteria?

Yes, he seems a lot more mature and “there.” And yet where is my old Nat? Is it okay if I miss all the stims?



— added by Dawn on Sunday, September 6, 2015 at 8:55 am

Understand completely. Although, I tune a large amount of the stim out, it’s still there.. like a hum… when it’s gone (school) it’s almost too quiet.

Glad he’s feeling better. We are still waiting for the Rilise (scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link) to finish (a year late, we got the placebo). If it “worked” the Child Psych we use has offered to find the results and discuss them with us and help us decide whether to try it or not.

Thanks for the info. Will tuck it away just in case I need it someday.

Glad he’s feeling better.

— added by farmwifetwo on Sunday, September 6, 2015 at 2:43 pm

%d bloggers like this: