Hero to zero in a day

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by katya02, Oct 31, 2008.

  1. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    After things went so well (relatively) yesterday, they crashed and burned today. difficult child got up in a surly mood and made eggs, leaving a mess in the kitchen (he puts his plate in the dishwasher and leaves everything else). I gave him fifteen minutes, thinking he might be getting dressed ... when I knocked on his door, nope, he was in pj's playing WoW.

    I told him a) not to play WoW after breakfast when there's work to do outside (he played all night); b) that husband knows I've told him about the tobacco policy, so he has the daylight hours today to clean up tobacco items outside and he must get all tobacco and containers, even empties, out of his room; c) he needed to clean up the kitchen after his breakfast. He responded, 'Well, if you weren't such a b***h, and gave me some g**d***ed space, maybe I'd do something! And I have all day to do it!'

    He asked me if I have any idea HOW MUCH money he's saving us this year (I assume because he's not in college this year) ... I said, how about the $22,000 we lost last year, and oh yes, the $6000 we've spent so far on your legal defense? And he snarled, 'I never asked you to do that.' I said, 'Fine, I'll call the attorney and tell him to bill every dollar from today directly to you, and another time you can use a public defender.' Basically things deteriorated, with him standing too close and me telling him to back up, him calling me a b***h three more times, and him screaming in my face and jabbing his finger. When he did that I told him to stop NOW or I'd call the police. He turned and went slamming down to his room and spent twenty minutes slamming around.

    I checked later and there's no damage, nothing I can charge him with. All the chew cans are gone so he may have been slamming the desk drawers to make lots of noise.

    While he was calling me names, I told him he'd better call the housing people that the counselor gave him info on yesterday because he's not living here and calling me those names. I told him that more than once, which sparked the screaming in my face.

    I didn't call the police because he backed off each time I told him to and he didn't destroy anything, so there would be nothing for them to do. But I've felt awful all day. He's never called me names (to my face, easy child 2 says he's called me plenty behind my back) before, never crossed that line. It may sounds strange given his history of violence but while he's screamed names at husband when angry, he's just screamed at me minus the names.

    I'm sad because he's making such a stupid mess of his life when he has endless opportunity and plenty of ability; and I'm sad that despite everything husband and I do that shows we love and support him, he finds us intolerable. I'm not thinking of how to change him or save him or anything like that; just shaking my head, depressed.

    And I feel like such an idiot sitting here trying to decide what to do as a consequence for the name-calling. We've already linked his laptop to the tobacco and clearly he fears that consequence, because he's actually done everything he's required to do. But if I take the laptop away for calling me names then the tobacco rule will go out the window ... I don't know. I don't want to drive him anywhere for awhile, but he doesn't need to go anywhere until Monday. I could let him walk 2 miles to his new job. But Monday is a long time away. I could charge him $25 for every bad name he called me and he'd probably hit the roof, but I don't want him to decide it might be worth the $25 ... I don't want to ask husband to decide because he's worked 48 hours straight making decisions constantly and he's not up for that when he comes home. And how can I not know what to do? I want difficult child to leave but the assisted housing isn't available instantly and I worry about whether husband will cave.

    I had to be out all afternoon and came home to find difficult child sleeping on the basement sofa with the big TV on. So he'll be all rested to stay up all night again. And not a lick of outside work done.

    I guess I do better with more cut-and-dried situations like the car yesterday.
  2. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Honestly, I'd let it go. Name calling is not pleasant to hear but there's far worse things. I give hm credit for backing when you threatened to call the police. At least he showed some control.

    However, I wouldn't do anything for him until he started treating me a lot better. That means no rides regardless of the weather. No motherly pats or hair ruffling. No special dinners. No friends allowed over. Talk to him in a monotone whenever possible. Leave him notes about what he needs to do and by when it needs to be done. Be civil but not warm. If/when he asks why you're treating him like this you can simply explain that you don't have to accept being treated badly by anyone, not even your children, and you won't. Hopefully, he'll miss having his mother enough to treat you with the love and kindness you deserve.
  3. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I know it's not physical violence, but they are words of violence. You are as upset and frazzled as you would be if he assaulted you, without the bruises.

    From the outside looking in, it sounds an awful lot like he is asking for an eviction notice. Is it possible that is why he is pushing you?
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I was wondering the same thing. That way you get to be the bad guy and he gets to be the "victim".

    (((hugs))) Sorry the calm didn't last long.
  5. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    You're exactly right. I spent all of yesterday upset and traumatized even though he didn't touch me.

    I agree with both of you that he seems to be asking to be evicted. He loves the victim role, it's how he sees himself in the world, and when he leaves he wants it to be 'our fault' for sure. Yet from previous times like this I think he's scared to death of leaving and it'll be a real struggle to get him to go, even in a peaceful, prearranged way.

    I get the feeling his ideal life is to play WoW all night, sleep all day, and have no one ever 'bug' him.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry. It is never fun to be assaulted with that kind of language. I think he probably is trying to force you into evicting him, or some other action that will let him think of himself as a martyr. I do think you need to evict him. Keep the laptop when you do, as it will only get stolen or sold to fund some habit you don't want to know about.

    I think Marcie has a very good idea. I know it worked fairly well with her daughter, and at the least it would help take the fireworks out of your interactions with him.


    ps. a couple of days at a homeless shelter while waiting for assisted housing to come through probably will not hurt him, and might even wake him up. But I am not sure that i could do it, so whatever you decide I totally understand and support you.
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    It seems that peaceful is probably out of the question. Didn't you guys give him an ultimatum last month? (I might be thinking of the wrong mom, though.) Maybe the verbal violence is rearing it's ugly head because he broke the agreement and you didn't tell him to leave?

    husband and M have both had that problem. When M left, got to keep the PS2 he bought for himself, but none of the games we bought him. That was it. No computer, no nothing. Just clothes and his PS2. For husband, I told him I thought it was pitiful that he would rather sit in front of the computer than have sex. Of course, having watched the SouthPark where the boys had to save the World of Warcraft (and in the process turned into fat zitty blobs sitting in a daze in front of their computers, only able to talk to each other over the computer game even though they were in the same room with each other) did a lot to help drive the "I can't believe you would rather play that game than have sex" home a lot more succinctly. ;)
  8. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Well, difficult child threw another twist into the works this morning ... he came to me very quietly and apologized - without any qualifications or trying to put the responsibility on me - just apologized for 'freaking out' yesterday and told me he has restarted all his medications. He said that when he saw the counselor two days ago (right after he left the car door open in traffic) she told him he'd better go back on his medications. He started them that night but they hadn't taken effect yesterday morning. This morning, and all day today when I've talked to him, I'd say they're having a noticeable effect. He's quiet, being affectionate toward the animals, making jokes and telling stories, and he read husband's note with a list of work to do and did it all. It's such a change that it feels sort of weird.

    This is what keeps me scratching my head. Is he bipolar and in need of mood stabilizers after all? His personality off and on medications is like night and day. I go in circles about this. Off medications he's so irritable, nasty and violent; on medications he's quiet and a bit blunted, and his cognition seems affected. (For example he thinks he's supposed to go to a job orientation tomorrow for a job he interviewed for but did NOT get a call-back. They told him the orientation was Sunday, but he didn't get the call - yet he absolutely thinks he's supposed to show up tomorrow. What a setup for embarrassment! I feel so bad for him but can't convince him - at least I was able to convince him to call first. So they can tell him on the phone that he's not supposed to come ... he'll still be crushed but at least not embarrassed in front of others.)

    Maybe he's playing me here but the confusion is real. If he's really bipolar and needs medications (he'd been off them since age 14 and only back on this summer with lots of trial and error) then maybe I should be calling the crisis team if he gets violent. When he was on mood stabilizers prior to age 14 they never seemed to help.

    Oh, the other weird thing - when I left him to walk home two days ago, he got lost in our small town. Walked completely the wrong way. It's not our home town but he spent two years in high school here, he drove a car around here, he should know how to get from point A to point B! That, combined with his confusion about the job, makes me think I need to get some tests on him to see what's going on with his brain.
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    My thought about his getting lost is that he could have been dissociative, but he also could have just plain been so mad he kept going in a straight line, and when he calmed down he didn't know how he got where he was.

    As far as the questions about bi-polar? It seems reasonable to wait a week and see what happens. You'll know whether he was contrite or just trying to snow you.
  10. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    You're right, witz, he's never kept up a contrite facade for an entire week. When he was on Depakote for the two weeks I felt the changes in his mood and irritability were genuine. He was so sedated, though, and had such severe abdominal pain that it wasn't feasible to continue it.

    Last night difficult child brought up the subject of his recent WoW spending. He was shaking his head, saying he 'doesn't know where that came from' and it won't happen again. He said,'It was impulsive, you know? I can't believe I did it.' It turns out he did spend a lot of money on WoW 'gold', something he's never done before.

    Mood stabilizers never helped when he was young ... this is the first trial with them since he's been an adult. I think that, regardless of whether he ends up with a diagnosis of adult bipolar, he still has personality disorder issues, but if some of it is bipolar and can be controlled with medications, he would have much brighter prospects.
  11. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for both of you, Katya.
  12. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Oh, man. difficult child had an acute dystonic reaction to his Geodon today, two days after restarting it. It was a bad one. It started with his jaw pulling sideways, then his neck and tongue muscles got involved, and the poor kid had his head wrenched around as far as it could go with his tongue sticking out and his jaw askew, and he was just crying with the pain. We gave him 100 mg of Benadryl as fast as we could, but he continued to get worse. He got a couple of minutes' respite at one point and we thought the Benadryl had kicked in, and then boom, it all happened to the other side! We took him in to the ER and husband called ahead to have the nurses pull Cogentin from the pharmacy and he got his shot asap on arrival. By then the Benadryl WAS kicking in, so within ten minutes of the shot he was significantly better; twenty minutes and it was gone.

    difficult child is SO sensitive to medications; he's been unable to take almost everything the psychiatrist has tried him on this summer. Now this. He swears he won't take this medication again (who can blame him?) and the trouble is, the newer mood stabilizers are pretty much all second generation antipsychotics with the same risk of dystonic reaction. He won't want to touch them. Just as it was starting to look like a mood stabilizer would make a positive difference he's going to be afraid to take almost all of them. I've seen dystonic reactions on the ward and they were all pretty mild and responded quickly. This was bad.

    Soooo frustrated.
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    OMG, that is really disturbing! I have to admit, it seems hopeless to send him out on his own if the medications are such a danger to him. Is there any chance he would agree to a hospitalization to try to find a safe and helpful medication combination?
  14. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    He's really against any inpatient time. However, today he said that he wants to see the psychiatrist asap to get started on something else, because he notices his thinking is different - 'off, weird sorts of thoughts and impulses' when he's off the Depakote or Geodon. He's afraid to try Geodon again but willing to try something else with some Cogentin coverage, so I see that as very positive. He still had muscle spasms and twitches last night and through today, so he needed the Cogentin regularly.

    You're right, he really shouldn't be on his own with reactions like this to medications. He just had a successful job interview today too, in spite of the muscle spasms; just has to pass a drug screen tomorrow morning and he'll have the job. I'm willing to work with him at home as long as he's making an effort, and I'm seeing that now. He does want to save money and get his own place - it would be nice if we could see him get established in a job, save his money over a few months and then move into something he can afford.
  15. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I hope it will go well, Katya.
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I know sometimes they use antiseizure medications for mood stabilizers. topomax is an antiseizure medication that is also used for mood stabilizing. Would one of the mood stabilizers of that line work for him? If he needs an antipsychotic, maybe a much smaller dose of one, esp to start? Whatever the normal starting dose, start him at 1/2 or 1/4 of it, and then go up very slooooooowly? We had to do this with my daughter's Keppra (for epilepsy) because each medication we tried made her so sick. We started very very low, and it took almost a full year to get her to a therapeautic dose. And when we need to increase it we do it very slowly, but not as slowly as the first few increases.

    It is just a thought.

  17. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Yes, I think that's what we'll have to do. Now difficult child is describing a number of symptoms that I think are mainly anxiety - short term memory loss, thought and speech blocking - plus he's having some anticholinergic side effects from the benztropine (dry mucous membranes, some blurred vision etc.). He really wants to be sure I know how much the dystonic reaction affected him, to the point where he's not doing much of anything. Just sitting with a tension headache from fear of the reaction returning, and telling me of every single thing he's feeling. He'll be anxious no matter what he tries next, so very slow and gentle will have to be the rule.

    At least the new job should, hopefully, start within a few days and that will get him out and active. He doesn't do well with an unstructured day!
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    I just can't help remembering my Wiz' reaction to abilify. He had what looked like a seizure, but it didn't go away for about 30 mins. Freaked at the thought of the ER, so we went to the urgent care clinic. Urgent care told us he was fine and was faking it, but i KNOW he wasn't. It is why we stopped abilify with a call to the psychiatrist. I remember how scared he was for quite a while after (weeks, or so it seemed) that ANY medication could and would cause something similar.

    I think that your difficult child probably had a very traumatic experience (as did you and husband, it is really HARD to watch your child go through that!) and for a while it will take more patience than normal. I am glad you realize this, though it can be so difficult to be that patient.

    Hugs to all of you.