We've been dealing with a lot of rage lately, an issue that faces so many TS families. I've mentioned before that Monster Man's anger goes far beyond just 'having a temper' or even pre-teen hormonal attitude. Those who have experienced the rage that often goes along with Tourette Syndrome, rather it be Monster Man's rage or their own family member or friend with TS, know exactly what I am talking about. Without having lived it, it is hard to grasp just how bad a rage episode can really be.
Another issue that seems to go hand-in-hand sometimes is negative thoughts. Usually, these negative thoughts intrude in our lives when we least expect them. Our happy-go-lucky loved ones can suddenly become depressed, thinking (and sometimes vocalizing) negative thoughts. For Monster Man, we usually hear things like "I'm stupid", "I'm a horrible person", "You don't love me", and "I make everyone miserable". It's heartbreaking to hear him say these things, and even worse when I see that now-familiar haze wash over his normally shiny eyes. Now matter how much I reassure him that we love him, that he's smart and wonderful, and that we love having him around, I can't quite seem to break him out of the invisible chains that seem to be holding him back.
Another TS mom posted on her blog, Howdy Fence Neighbor, about a suggestion she got from another mom that can help remind our children of the positive things during periods of negative intrusive thoughts. Her idea is a 'Positive Box'. Whenever something positive happens, you write it down on a strip of paper and put it in the Positive Box. Whenever the negative thoughts start filling their heads, you pull out the box and read through the strips with them, helping to remind them of the positives that have happened. By getting their minds off of the negatives and focusing on the positives, you can work to break through those invisible chains.
We'll be making our own Positive Box this week so we can start filling it right away.