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Ask The Band: Mad, Angry, Mad Son

My oldest son is truly in a bad bad place.

He’s a very angry child. We sought help from his therapist and psychiatrist, and finally, after weeks and weeks of fighting we got diagnoses.

He was diagnosed with co-morbid bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, depression, and anxiety.

It finally felt like we were getting somewhere.

Until…. that deep dark place got worse.  Now we’re fighting every day to keep him out of inpatient hospital stays.

I walk on eggshells when we talk because I don’t know what is going to upset him. I’ve had a continuous migraine for the past five days because just thinking about him makes my own anxiety sky high.

He’s a good kid and has such a good heart  – I just don’t know how to help him.

Does anyone have any ideas?  I am all out of ideas myself and  I’m mentally worn out..

He’s just so angry and mad at the world.

I just want my happy kid back.

Ask The Band: Mad, Mad, Angry Son…

I posted a while ago anonymously about my oldest son. He is truly in a bad, bad place.  He’s a very angry child. We sought help from his therapist and psychiatrist.  Finally, after weeks and weeks of fighting, we got somewhere. He was diagnosed with co-morbid bipolar disorder along with his autism, ADHD, ODD, depression, and anxiety.

It finally felt like we were getting somewhere. Until…that deep dark place got worse.

We are fighting daily to keep him out of inpatient hospital stays. I walk on egg shells talking to him because I don’t know what is going to upset him.

I’ve had a continuous migraine for the past 5 days because just thinking about him makes my anxiety sky high.  He’s a good kid and has such a good heart, I just don’t know how to help him.

Does anyone have any ideas?

I am all out of ideas. I’m completely mentally worn the eff out. He’s just so angry and mad at the world.  I just want my happy kid back

Protecting The Innocent

I don’t remember when reporting of suspected abuse and threat assessments (e.g., suicide risk identifications) became mandatory for educators and counselors. It was before I became a parent, I know that much, and it dawned on me a long time ago that there were probably plenty of reports that resulted from misunderstandings.

About a month ago, while we were in the middle of Princess’ most troubling days, while we struggled to identify and treat her emerging bipolar tendencies, our son, Hoss, ran away from his school and was brought back by the county police. It’s been a long time since he ran away like that, but it brought back memories of the tough times before he was diagnosed with his mood disorder.

One of these elopement incidents was the final thing that sent him to the psychiatric hospital back in the day, and that he’d gone all of last school year without ever feeling the need to escape like that made me feel like we’d made serious progress. Last month’s bolting was not as serious as what we used to see, but he did leave the property.

When the police officer brought him back to the school, they said he’d expressed that he’d wanted to die. As a result, despite the assurances of the school staff with whom Hoss has a history (principal, counselor, psychologist) that he was not actually a danger to himself or others, the police informed us that they would be taking him to the ER for a psychiatric consult. I was told that I would not be allowed to go along until I had spoken with the Mobile Crisis Team.

I spent time with the MCT explaining all of the steps I go through to care for my children and myself (outpatient therapies for the children, family therapy with a social worker with whom all of the family members are comfortable, open lines of communication with the schools, medication monitoring all around) with a response that roughly translated to:

“Okay. That’s exactly what we were going to recommend, so keep on keeping on.”

My husband went to the ER to stay with Hoss, and the evaluation indicated that Hoss’ “I wish someone would just kill me,” was not actually a cry for help, but rather a misstated outburst that is not all that unusual for a nine-year-old boy with ADHD. During the next therapy session, Hoss got an opportunity to talk about how upset he was that he’d been forced to go to the ER when he’d wanted to stay with his sister and I.

While Princess was in the day hospital program a few weeks ago in preparation for the transition back to school (now that we’ve gotten her medication properly titrated), she spoke of her brother’s boundary issues, and how he’s gotten in trouble the weekend before for not keeping his hands to himself.

Part of that boundary crossing included trying to tickle her all over, and missing her stomach by hitting a bit further south. Because we are working with Hoss on respecting personal space as well as just plain leaving his sister alone sometimes, he had to process what he’d done and he had consequences for not acting as he was supposed to.

Princess accepted his apology, since he’d properly identified what he’d done wrong and what he should have done instead. I didn’t hear about the incident until days later, since it happened while I was out of the house and it was no longer on everyone’s mind by the time I got home that evening.

However, the hospital reported the incident to the county, who interviewed all three of my children.

The end result of the interviews (from the point of view of the police and social worker) was that there was no criminal activity or additional cause for concern.

The end result from the point of view of my children was slightly different- Princess feels bad that she got her brother in trouble, Hoss is irritated and slightly grossed out that he “…had to look at pictures of private parts! Even girl ones!” and Little Joe doesn’t understand why he had to answer a whole bunch of questions about body parts and our family and stuff.

I know that mandatory reporting has resulted in abuse being caught before more damage can be done. I know that conducting threat assessments in elementary school may mean that we have fewer young children reacting to their stress by harming or killing themselves.

I understand this, and of course I want those bad things prevented.

I’m just struggling with how this has put me under a microscope when, according to the mental health and educational professionals who know me and my family, I’m one of the good guys

Ask The Band: Angry Child

What am I supposed to do about an extremely angry child who has ADHD?

We’re in counseling but it’s not helping; the shrink can’t even figure out what to do with him.

Where do we go from here? Should we send him to an inpatient psychiatric unit to deal with rage problems? Or try outpatient anger management?

He’s punched walls and made his brothers cry; they would not tell us because they are scared of him.

What should I do?

I Just Wish Someone Understood…

A wise woman told me to write up my story and tell the hell out of it.  So, here I am.

Sometimes, I feel like I have the only kid like mine. My son was diagnosed between 3 and 4. He is one of 3 I have, with special needs. For the time being, I’m focusing on my oldest.

We knew something was not right with him. He threw an 80 lb. mattress across the room at me. How does a 3 year old do that? He never slept. He would have meltdowns and throw things at me. I have gotten black eyes from everything from a book to an army boot to the back of the head.

Thankfully, I had a wonderful doctor tell me how to deal with the meltdowns and those came less and less often. However, he would wander. We had two incredibly scary events where he wandered off when he was 5, but he had angels and off duty police officers watching out for him.

When we got the Autism diagnosis, I knew nothing about Autism. Most people equate it to the movie Rain Man. I had never seen the movie so I had no clue. All I knew was Doug Flutie, an NFL football player, had a cereal that’s proceeds went to autism awareness. The only reason I knew that is because I saw the commercial once while my husband was watching a game. That’s all I knew.  Nothing else.

So, the journey was rocky and hard.  The first year my husband was stationed in Korea, so he was not around to learn what I did.

I relied on “friends” I thought that I had to help. Instead, I got investigated by CPS (child protective services) for making everything up. The only thing that was founded was that I was stressed. (Gee no idea why???)

My son’s first year in school was horrible. Open classroom and he would have meltdowns. They did not want to deal with him, so 5 out of 5 days he went to school, he was sent home early. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing or how the school should have been handling him.

Thankfully, the school he was moved to had a wonderful Spec Ed teacher that knew what she was doing, to this day, I will still kiss the ground that she walks on.

He improved and stayed in school. Had messy moods and lack of sleeping so we had to join the medicine bus. So many doctors and specialists, “you should do this” and “don’t do that and this and that.”

The kid is a loving, sweet amazing kid. He has a hard time showing that. He has many co-morbidities along with his autism. ADHD, ODD, Anxiety, depression, hypermobility, OCD, etc.

In our journey with him, we realized he wasn’t like most kids with autism. So many can use an iPad and it’s nothing. A phone and no problem. With my son, he can not tell the difference between reality and what’s on the iPad or phone. We tried. We tried so many times, so he could be like his friends or brothers. But it ultimately turned out so, so, so, so bad.

When he was 11 a child that bullied him at school told him that triple x rated stuff on the internet was bad and if you looked at it you were super special because not everyone’s computer can look at it. Ever since that day, my son has been fixated on it. At 11 he had no idea what it was, just that it was special and not everyone could see it. As he grew into puberty it got worse and worse. I still don’t think he knows exactly what its supposed to mean to a person, because his thinking age is around 10, but he knows its bad, he’s told his therapist it’s bad. He’s tried to look at it on the internet at school.

We had everything on our cable blocked so that he could not watch it or order it and somehow he got around it and we had a $900 bill.  (I’m still drinking coffee to cope with that one)

Now he’s in a dark, dark place. He’s obsessed with death. He writes and writes and writes about death scenes. Then he tears them up. He talked to his therapist, but he sees no problem. We can not even let this child watch cop TV shows it’s that bad. Nothing to do with magic, or death.

My husband and I have been watching his behavior as of the last 2-3 months and I’m not liking what I see. Neither does my husband.

His moods are very erratic. One minute he’s happy, the next he’s angry and ready to fight. Then he’s happy. (Note: he has not touched a soul, just has gotten angry with words) These mood changes make me think he’s bipolar. We were warned that he probably was a few years ago. We knew it was coming.

Now we’re questioning the doctor, because my husband and I are so completely and mentally drained from dealing with his moods and trying to keep his brothers from upsetting him. The doctor is trying to tell us that he’s making it all up and that we just have to deal with it. My first thought, no lie, was, “The fuck you mean deal with it? I’ve BEEN living with it! We came to you for help on how to KEEP dealing with it, asshole!”  I, of course, did not say that, because I was too tired.

This kid has been in-patient 7, lost count after that, times for being bullied and being suicidal. I’m scared to death something is going to set him off. Granted all sharp instruments are kept under lock and key. We continue to try and understand what is going on, but our son can not tell us because he does not remember the mood swings.

His doctor said, because he does not feel bad for being angry and mean, he is not bipolar. DUDE, he’s autistic, he’s not going to feel bad.

I had 2 major surgeries and he bumped what I had surgery on, I started crying and he didn’t give two craps. That does not mean he’s not bipolar!

It’s hard to keep him busy. He gets bored with puzzles and crosswords and TV, because we have seriously toned down everything that he can watch. I’m just at a loss on where I should go from here. There’s probably a lot I left out of his story, I’m sorry for that.

Here’s another twist on his story. He legit thinks he’s from another dimension. He thinks he is a female from another dimension, that he will leave to find when he is 18 years old. There are artifacts all over the world that he has to collect in order to remain safe in this other dimension. He thinks that the here and now is just temporary. Because of his beliefs with this, he can not watch or read anything that involves fantasy. Because he can not and will not be able to tell the difference between what is real and what is not.

His therapist and I had a long talk today about it. I had to stop from bursting into tears, because I have never heard of another child like mine. I explained that to him and asked what do I do. He said I do what I’m doing… Be mom.

It did not help when he said that in the 13 years that he had been doing what he does, he had never met another kid like my son.

Sometimes, being a mom is rough as hell when it feels like no matter what you do, it’s out of control. You know all those books you read before you have kids?  I never read any chapters on Autism or special needs and I sure as hell never read any on how to deal with this kind of life for your child.

I guess I should add that I am dealing with my own depression and anxiety right now. My anxiety is off the charts and my shrink threw me into counseling. Didn’t even ask just threw me in. I also have a chronic illness and it flares up in the form of pain when I’m extremely stressed out, the last 3 months I’ve gotten little relief.

It’s sad to say at this point, I’ll deal with me as it comes. I just want my son to be okay. I know I need to worry about me, too. If he is okay, then I can be okay.

Basically, I’m writing this because I just need to know I’m not alone. I’m so tired. My gut instinct with this kid is never wrong. My gut says he needs help with this anger thing and his doctor is being stupid.

Supermom or Stepford Wife

Today I contemplate everything I thought I knew.

  1. I have three amazing kids
  2. My husband is my best friend
  3. He will always have my back
  4. When I’m struggling he will be the rock I can depend on

It’s funny how circumstances in life change and put things in perspective. It was just 7 short years ago that I went through a truly nasty divorce from a truly abusive person. Something that seemed impossible to overcome. But I did and I came out stronger then ever. Through that I had my rock, my best friend and now my husband. But, I guess happiness is all relative to the situations at hand.

I have three children. Two from my first marriage and one from my second. They are all great kids. Each has their strengths and, like every other human, they have their weaknesses. My daughter she is incredibly smart and athletic but she is extremely over dramatic and some what self centered. My youngest son is the sweetest thing you will every meet and hilariously funny but we have had struggles with some medical problems with him. Recently we found out he isn’t being defiant about using the potty but is instead struggling with an issues that doesn’t allow him to have control over it. Imagine how guilty I felt after yelling for a year about the accidents.  Then, there’s my middle son, part of the reason I’m really here.  He so incredibly affectionate, he craves attention and seeks approval.  But, we just found out he has ADHD. Which now makes the issues in school, the tempter tantrums, the lack of impulse control all make sense. Again, imagine my guilt when I realized he’s not trying to drive Mommy crazy today, he just can’t control some of these things.

So, I need to change. I have to learn to be the support system he needs to deal with the issues in front of him and those he will face in the future. I need to understand he may not do things or react to things the same way his siblings do. I need to accept that it is OK to handle things differently with each child because people are different and we all need different things in life. All of this I can accept. I can adjust and move forward with my children’s best interests in mind. But, what about everyone else.

My mother, who I personally think struggles with her own un-diagnosed disorder. It’s like her and my son fuel each others anger. Other parents who may not understand that he isn’t a “bad” kid. Other kids who  won’t understand why he reacts to things the way he does. But, what about my husband, the rock that is supposed to be there for me.  What do I do when he doesn’t get it. I think that’s the hardest part.

I know what I need to do and it my choice to take steps to do it. I choose to put my children first and do everything in my power to help them. But, I can’t make someone else’s choice for them. Today I feel like I have a new choice, my husband or my child. But, that is no choice. My husband is a grown man who should have the capacity to act like an adult and my child is, well, a child who needs his mom.

My son had a bad day yesterday. He was as his grandparents to eat dinner with them and was lashing out and very argumentative. My husband went to get him and bring him home. As soon as they walked in my husband was yelling. I don’t know what happened but I couldn’t have asked if I wanted to over the yelling. So I raised my voice and yell that’s enough. Next thing I know dinner is thrown across the floor and my husband storms out of the house and slams the door. I call him and the only response I get is don’t call me. I send him a message about how we need to handle things differently and yelling is not the answer because it only make him more angry and agitated. I explain ADHD is a neurological disorder not just a kid who doesn’t feel like listening today. And, the reply back is “if this behavior is going to be tolerated I can’t be with you I need a DIVORCE because I can’t do this anymore. I wont tolerate disrespect from you or him.”  My first thought, who is this person???  My second thought, there’s the fucking door we don’t need you.

This is my best friend, my rock, my support system and here I stand feeling abandoned. He didn’t come home last night. And I feel like I should care, but I don’t.  I am angry and hurt and disappointed. I have a child that needs me. I don’t have time to waste on an adult who wants to act like a child.

I think when is comes to wives he doesn’t have it so bad. I will be honest I am not a great cook. I barely cook at all and I’m not a huge fan of house work. But, I go to work every day. Up until recently, I was supporting the family financially. I don’t nag him about money. I don’t really fight with him about anything. I personally think we have a good sex life. Things have been good, for me at least. And then this. The line that keeps playing in my head, I won’t tolerate your disrespect. Me? The wife who supported you through job after job. The one who stood by your side through all the struggles the past 2 years without arguing or nagging or resenting you. Disrespect? For standing up for my child? This is where we throw out divorce? What response is he expecting from that? Am I supposed to be a Stepford Wife. A “a servile, compliant, submissive, spineless wife who happily does her husband’s bidding and serves his every whim dutifully.” If that’s the expectation then he lives in a fantasy world.

Everything I have been through in life has made me stronger. Maybe it was preparing me for this. For the challenge I was going to have to face alone without the support of those who I thought would always be there for me.

All I know is right now I need to put on my cape and play Supermom as best I can. Will I fail? Most definitely. I’m human, but I need to be the adult and try my best everyday to do everything in my power to give my children everything they need. Everyone else can either get on board or get out of my way.