This is an email I sent to Yelena's teachers and therapists this week:
I wanted to give you an update on Yelena as she seems to be struggling right now and any help you can give her on this issues would be appreciated. My husband and I have noticed that she is throwing her meds in the toilet. We have been trying to have her swallow them in our presence but mostly she refuses. When questioned about it, she says that she doesn’t want to talk about it. We have told her that if they make her feel odd or bad in any kind of way, she needs to let the doctor know and we can change dosages, etc. We are going to talk to her meds provider about the med situation. I know she hasn’t been taking the Concerta but I am not entirely sure about the others.
Last week, she stole $40. from my wallet which was in my locked car in the drive way. She took my keys which I found in the kitchen. I asked her for the money back and she didn’t deny she had taken it. I spent quite a long time with her and she finally said she would write down what happened. She gave me $7. change and said she had the other $20 in her pocket. I asked her what she had bought and she told me she had bought a sprite. I told her that was a very expensive drink and she admitted buying a box of cookies at the gas station down the street. I don’t know if she spent the rest of the money or still had it. I asked her to go through her room with me and we could take out other items that did not belong to her and return them. We found several of my husband’s shirts, a nice set of headphones and a leather binder.
She has decided that she will only wear my husband’s shirts and her black jeans. Unfortunately, this means that my husband doesn’t have any shirts because every time I take them out of her room, she just steals them back again. The other day I said something like: “I notice you really like those black jeans. Do you want to go shopping and get another pair? “ She responded that she didn’t want to talk about it. She has not washed the jeans in weeks. Every once in awhile when I insist, she takes them downstairs and then brings them back upstairs about 1/2 hour later (not possibly long enough to wash and dry them) and she shows me they are warm and smell like the dryer sheets (but they haven’t been washed.)
Her personal hygiene has been deteriorating as well. When I do get her to take a shower, I am not sure that she is using soap or shampoo. I put the shampoo in the bathroom in a particular way and it hasn’t been moved in weeks although she does wet her hair and use conditioner. She puts the same dirty clothes back on after her shower.
Sometimes, we use taking a shower or changing her clothes as a prerequisite to a privilege such as watching her DVD player or Netflix. The other night, her DVD player (which I had bough 2 weeks ago) didn’t work and she threw a full blown tantrum. She tore up her books, punched her hand through the wall in several places and told me she wanted to kill herself. She also said that she wanted to go back to her birth parents who were the only people who had ever cared about her (that’s not the first time I have heard that but it is so patently ridiculous that I don’t react at all to it.) She said: “OK, now send me away again. All you do is send me away.” I told her that I would rather have her stay with us. She was really looking for a fight from both my husband and I but we kept our cool and she finally went to bed and woke up fine in the morning. This looking for a fight and trying to provoke us has been going on for several days.
She still goes to the library every day after school but has been good about returning home before 7 pm which I praise her profusely about. She is obsessed with the TV show: “Once Upon a Time” which has the characters Anna and Elsa from “Frozen”. She watches it constantly and things seem to escalate each week before Sunday (when the show airs) because she seems sure that she is going to do something which would impact on her ability to watch the show. She is very anxious about any possibly of not being able to watch the show on Sunday night.