Getting through my Son’s Crisis by Anonymous

Getting through my Son’s Crisis by Anonymous

I am an average Mom – not one of those highly together women you meet in the street and think, “If only I was that calm, patient, holy, PERFECT…” Not me! But while I’m still definitely NOT perfect, over this past year, life and Hashem sent me a crisis, the most traumatic and difficult experience of my life, and that forced me to work on myself. It forced me to grow in calmness, consistency, patience, confidence. I had to work very hard, it didn’t come easy!

Here’s my story…

What happened was that we were sort of coasting though life.

My husband and I were trying our best, but as many parenting classes as I took, or parenting books I read, I just couldn’t internalize the messages. So G-d, it seems, kind of decided that we were done coasting. And the waves started crashing.

It would take several articles to fill you in on all the details of what took place to our son, but, in short, over the course of a week, our somewhat anxious but generally happy, healthy, and functional 9-year-old became a different person.

He started having 3-hour-long tantrums, crying himself to sleep, breaking his glasses, and refusing to go to school. It got to the point where I couldn’t drop him off at school because I wasn’t strong enough to drag him out of the car. My husband had to drive him and literally carry him up to his classroom at which point the teacher would take our son by the hand and walk him to his desk.

As a result of all the stress surrounding our son, I was crying multiple times a day, and sometimes I had to leave the supermarket because hysterical tears were taking me over.

The situation was really bad and we didn’t see an end or a salvation in sight. We went to 2 therapists who were highly recommended and one of them told us that when our son is bashing toys all over the room or terrorizing his siblings, we should penalize him by making him wash the dishes (how on earth could we get him to do that? we asked this “top” therapist and he didn’t have an answer for us). Clearly we needed a different messenger. And fast.

So, the salvation started coming when my husband’s learning partner “happened” to mention that he had heard of this syndrome called PANDAS and its side effects include anxiety. So, a bell went off in my husband’s head and he started researching it. Low and behold, the PANDAS’ cause is strep, and our son had had strep 3 weeks before, which we had treated with a regimen of antibiotics.

We made a mad dash for the pediatrician only to discover that our son still had strep. And the blood tests showed that he indeed had PANDAS. So the doctor put him on a different antibiotic for 3 months.

At almost that exact same time I signed up for Rabbi Nivin’s Child in Crisis chabura, and we found an amazing therapist for our son. All the while we were giving charity, getting blessings from Rabbis, and I signed up for “Daven For Me.”

Through Rabbi Nivin I learned to have vitality, transcendence and powerful joy at all times (even when my son was going through his struggles). He is an amazing teacher who speaks from the heart and has years of experience. He has his finger on the pulse of today’s Jewish woman, and he has transformed my life!

Through our child’s therapist I learned so many lessons, but mainly how to say what I mean and mean what I say no matter what. She also helped us make the distinction between what we are responsible for as parents and when our child has to take responsibility or suffer the consequences. I literally have an entire notebook filled with all that she has taught us!

I can’t say which one of these efforts brought about the miracle cure and I also can’t say that my son’s 100% cured yet or if he ever will be. But I can say that our family is so much happier and stronger now. I enjoy and have fun with my children most of the time. I even LOVED having them home for summer vacation!

I have become a much more confident mom as a result of my experiences. I am even hoping to become a parenting coach – to use all the lessons I’ve learned to help other moms who are struggling.

It’s so amazing and empowering and I wish and pray that all parents will be able to attain a sense of happiness and fulfilment with their children through hard work and NOT through crisis.

Please, never give up on your child. There is someone out there who can help. Just keep trying! IY”H you will find your true shaliach.

Happy Mothering!

The author can be reached through JewishMOM.com

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8 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience. We also had what was apparently PANDAS episode, as did a nephew. It is such a mitzvah to publicize this as it is not that rare, and is pretty much not known. For those reading this, besides sudden erratic behavior / extreme anxiety, sudden onset of tics can be a symptom of PANDAS.

    May you look back on this as a blessing in disguise!

  2. Ditto to SARA’s comment about being a MITZVAH TO PUBLISH THIS! PANDAS is pretty common

  3. We suffered from PANDAS too after my daughter’s bout with Kawasaki (which was written up here). While dealing with therapists one suggested PANDAS because Kawasaki and strep both deal with some sort of swelling. I don’t think we ever officially named it PANDAS until I read this article. It was HORRIBLE!! My child was do afraid, she wouldn’t let my husband or I sleep, daven or use the bathroom, for fear of being alone. That was 5 years ago. She still suffers from irrational fears but definitely not as bad as then.

    • Sara, if her fears/behaviors become beyond reason, there is ANTIBIOTIC treatment for PANDAS which manages the symptoms well

  4. “I can’t say which one of these efforts brought about the miracle cure and I also can’t say that my son’s 100% cured yet or if he ever will be”-i just want to encourage you here. P in PANDAS stands for PEDIATRIC. Many children outgrow this once they are well into adolescence

  5. I would like to know what the author did to make her more confident, and love being at home with her kids over the summer.
    I know you can’t explain Rabbi Nivin’s chabura and your therapist’s sessions in just a few lines. But can you give us some kind of idea what works for you?
    Like you wrote – I say what I mean and I mean what I say.

  6. Hmm… How do I condense a year’s worth of lessons into a few short sentences??? 1. Only pay attention and praise effusively behavior you want to see-pretend you don’t see the bad behavior unless it’s unsafe or hurting your other kids, 2.never feel scared of your child-you’re in charge! 3.love him, trust his goodness and show him how much you care, 4.forgive and forget easily (yourself, your child, everyone), 5. Daven all day!!! Please feel free to contact me. I’m happy to discuss with you on the phone-(free!) I have so many more tips and ideas! Hatzlacha!!!

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