In a word: Better.
He's doing much better.
Honestly things started improving once we got him off the Zoloft. That stuff took him to a whole new level of anxiety. I caught a glimpse of what depression looks like in a 9 year old when he was on that medicine. He stopped smiling and laughing. He wouldn't go outside. He cried. He refused to eat. He threw up. It was truly a nightmare. It may be one of the hardest seasons I have gone through with him.
We are miles away from that now. He has been going to a counselor since November and that has also helped. She is teaching him how to talk through his anxiety and how to get control of it when it starts to flare up. He often couldn't tell us why he was anxious about something, he just couldn't put it into words but he is learning to. It's a process for sure.
Caleb is a picker. He picks at his skin and rips his fingernails off. The counselor recommended Silly Putty. I was able to find it in the Dollar section at Target. I bought several containers and we have strategically placed them throughout the house, in my purse, and in the car. It's worked! Caleb plays with it constantly and he knows to get it when he is feeling fidgety. We've actually had to cut his fingernails recently because he actually had fingernails to cut!
The counselor is also working with Caleb on what I would call grief. I think Caleb's grieves the fact that he has Spina Bifida....but doesn't realize that is what he is feeling. I think he feels sad sometimes but can't really figure out why. I've been unsuccessful at helping him talk through it. She is helping him put a voice to those feelings. I'm curious to see how that plays out in the weeks to come.
Caleb does really well with the counselor. He talks with her privately for about 30 minutes and then I come into the room to catch up. He talks openly with her and she is able to ask the right questions. She also challenges him.
Caleb still has anxiety but I feel like he is managing it better. I suspect he will always have to battle anxiety to some extent, I think it is just part of his personality. But, I think he can learn to deal with it. He has already made great progress.
So yes, Caleb is doing better. We are seeing more and more of this:
That is a beautiful thing.
(Thank you to all of you that have commented and sent messages to me. So many of you have asked about Caleb and I know you have prayed for him as well. That means a lot to me.)