How do you calm down?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by howlongto18, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. howlongto18

    howlongto18 New Member

    Carlos has been mostly stable for two years from Seroquel, but yesterday he lost it. It's my fault. Seroquel was helping, but he was unable to feel guilt apparently when he took it. We started weaning him down and trying some natural treatments (which of course did NOT help) and as he got to zero he confessed everything under the sun he ever did wrong. I thought it was a good sign. He was controlling himself well, feeling guilt, I started to feel safe... and then...

    Yesterday he became very dangerously violent (he's only seven, by the way). I tried to restrain him the way our psychiatrist showed me, but he's getting strong now and it was very difficult. Somehow he injured my arm. I didn't know it was injured until my adrenaline finally leveled out last night. He punched me more times than I could count, destroyed everything he could get his hands on, and eventually escaped out his window.

    I called my husband to come home from work to help me and he picked Carlos up half a mile from our home. My nerves are shot completely.

    I know that I am to blame for a lot of this, but I feel like an abused spouse or something. If you have an abusive spouse you pack your bags and never look back, but when it's your child, what do you do?

    How do all of you calm down after something like this, and how do you mentally come to terms with it? The anger I feel is as intense this morning as it was yesterday and I just can't seem to get a grip today.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I have gone thru that and in a different way, have been going thru those mixed emotions this year. I wish I had an answer, other than time, but I don't. Try to talk to someone, pamper yourself and do something that helps relax you- whether that is time alone doing or going out with someone else.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Sending hugs. I lived with a violent child for years. At seven my difficult child was already assaulting his sister regularly (hiding it from us by threatening her more) and trying to kill himself and husband and I. He was scary.

    I found it near impossible to physically restrain him.

    Right now, TODAY, you need to call his docs and tell them that your son is a danger to others (you, esp) AND to himself (the running off and being found 1/2 mile away). You son sounds very unstable and likely may need to be hospitalized to get medications adjusted and figure this out as best it can be done.

    For the anger and fear, find a physical outlet. Run, walk, take kickboxing, whatever. Or take us something that calms you. I did a LOT of cross stitch. It helped calm me.

    vent here. Often. Also look for ideas here.
  4. red

    red New Member

    When my son tried to kill himself, he ended up in the hospital for almost a week. They said we could take him home or he could go to a psychiatric unit for a week. We said, no, he can't come home. He has to be stable and calm. You can't have a violent child in the house because you don't know what he'll do to himself or you. I was only able to relax and get calm because I knew my son was in a safe place and getting help.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yes- respite in any form can be a big help. Also, try to eat right and get plenty of rest- I know that's a hard one.
  6. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I agree that you need to call your son's psychiatrist ASAP to get him back on medications to stabilize him so he won't be a danger to himself or others.

    I suffer from PTSD from my son's violent behavior that began when he had a bad reaction to an SSRI antidepressant. In the aftermath, I began to see a therapist for myself, started an antidepressant and began an intensive exercise program. It's important to take care of yourself while you're taking care of others.

    Hang in there. We're here for you.
  7. howlongto18

    howlongto18 New Member

    Thanks everyone. I'm having an internal debate about all of this. Seroquel does eliminate the raging, but I'm telling you the kid has no sense of guilt on it. But we can't live with the raging so I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't right now.

    My anger is giving way to sadness. Not yet calm, but I'm getting ready to go make myself something loaded with cheese and sour cream so that will help for a minute. It will blow my diet, but who cares. When I feel calm my diet can continue again.

    I'm trying to motivate myself to do some sewing as a distraction, but can't seem to pull it together yet. I'm not sure why this time is bothering me so much, it certainly isn't any new thing, nor did it break any previous records. Shattered hope, maybe because I truly thought we were seeing progress with him by eliminating artificial things, using supplements, etc.

    We are watching him very closely, and I have some support lined up. Hubby is canceling some obligations and my mother is on call.
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, not to be facetious (sp) but I think I'd consider whether or not it's a good thing to leave him iin a position where he's going to do more "wrong" things and have more to feel guilty about and do battle over. Maybe there are other options- a lower dose of seroquel, for instance, or another medication either with or without the seroquel.
  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Why do you need him to feel guilty for actions committed as part of a brain disorder over which he may have no control? Would you feel the same if he took medication for cancer or diabetes?
  10. howlongto18

    howlongto18 New Member

    I'm talking about while stable on seroquel he doesn't seem to feel guilt. I think the ability to feel guilt when you are stable is essential to life. I don't want to choose between violent and dangerous or non violent but non-remorseful. I don't accept that future for him. No life, no trusting loving relationships? I want option 3, I just haven't found it. Maybe I just haven't completely accepted the diagnosis.
  11. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Can you give an example of what you're talking about?

    Is there any chance you might consider a mood stabilizer (Lithium, Lamictal, Depakote, Trileptal, Tegretol) instead of or in addition to a lower dose of Seroquel? How much Seroquel was he taking?
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Keep in mind his age too- at 7 they don't always feel guilt over everything they do wrong but that doesn't mean they never will. For instance, a lot of kids that age go thru a stage of not admitting they did something or fibbing about things. They get punished but act like it'ss no big deal. Usually, these are phases. And I've noticced with my son that he doesn't always show remorse like I, as a woman, would.
  13. howlongto18

    howlongto18 New Member

    We tried depakote in the past and it did not eliminate the raging. He was up to 100 mg of seroquel at first (25 mg 4x a day).

    What I'm talking about are things like stealing and lying which he concealed from us (the lying we realized but the stealing was a complete shock) until he was weaned down and confessed everything to us. He also confessed things like throwing away favorite things which belonged to his brother, damaging other people's property, etc.
  14. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I'm no expert, but the lying, stealing and damaging property may be related to deeper issues (such as attachment/adoption issues) that need to be addressed in therapy rather than getting him to feel remorse. Are you working with a therapist who has significant experience with adopted kids?

    To my way of thinking, safety comes first. And then I would address the other issues in therapy. But I don't walk in your shoes. You might want to start a new thread asking for advice from some of the adoptive parents on the board to get their take on the situation.

  15. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    It sounds to me like the lying and stealing are caused by underlying condition that needs to be addressed. These are not normal things for a kid to do--at least not on a regular basis. I would be more worried about that than whether he feels guilty/remorseful about doing it.
  16. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I may be completely wrong. Also, be forwarned, I am not my "usual" self lately since I'm quitting smoking. BUT...that it possible that you may be going through a period of adjustment yourself. Most of us have
    had times where we "sought normalcy" with great dedication as the idea of our beautiful children being seriously ill or messed up became overwhelming. Maybe by reducing medication and seeking "markers of normalcy" (honesty, guilt etc.) you are in crisis mode.

    There is an old book that was written by parents of special needs children. I don't recall the name...I do vividly recall the theme and concept. It sounds simplistic but as parents we envision a wonderful life
    with our children like a vacation in France. Instead our children are not perfect and we realize that wonderful life will never happen. have to adapt and find the good aspects of finding yourself in Belgium for example.

    Consider finding a therapist that you can turn to for support. Feel free to share your concerns here. All of us have experienced the peaks and valleys and the darn valleys are only understood by others who have been there. I'll keep you and yours in my thoughts and prayers. DDD
  17. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Howlongto18 - (well that in itself - lol----years)

    You know if they have Narcissistic tendencies - they will never feel guilt or remorse. It's not in their makeup or DNA. It's also not so easy to tell in a young child if they are narcissistic because (in my humble opinion) a lot of children can appear for a number of reasons which may or may not be their fault.

    Another thing I can tell you which may save you some heartache is the medications. They are like a splint on a finger - they help, not cure. The cure, if there was one comes with YEARS of interventions. Some here will tell you that is therapy, family therapy, individual therapy. Some would say - therapy is a waste. Some would tell you without medications your son won't make it. My personal opinion with my own child? If I had it to do over again? I'd never give him pill one. My son is 19. Nothing he took, no combination of medications ever made even the slightest difference. He seemed to fight everything. He cheeked 1/2 of them and the rest were like a human guinea pig experiment. One medication made him gain weight, one made him so lethargic he couldn't tell you his name, and one made him suicidal and caused him to actually attempt suicide twice. Others in the beginning made me think - "AH HA THIS PILL....THIS PILL WILL MAKE HIM XYZ and he will do 123." and each time? It was a bigger let down for me than anyone...everyone, but my son who admitted to me recently that the only other person MORE depressed that the medications didn't work each time? Was him." I never knew.

    If I listed the number of interventions, placements, books, classes, and medications (65 plus) that we had tried? It would just be staggering. Recently I was asked to do this for a panel and I was asked to do it with dates, names, doctors, counselors, therapists, residents, and it just made me literally ill to review all the time, effort and energies that we put into trying to make a difference. The saving grace in all of it was the one statement my fiance made "Imagine what he would be like now if we had NOT done these things." In retrospect - I think dead or in prison. Either to me feels about the same.

    As far as feeling safe in your home? That is a right. The longer you allow your son to rage and be out of control in your home, sadly and as hard as it is to face and even for me to tell you or anyone? The worse it will be when you finally do make a stand to have him committed for being a danger to himself or others. The only good thing in taking him to the ER when he is raging or out of control and dangerous is that it gets him an evaluation, a potential medications tweak, and gives you a small window of time to have respite and learn to like your child again. It's not much, but it's a break. He needs it as much as you do. Trying to accomplish anything when you are frustrated (either you or him) is NOT GOING TO WORK. Taking a break whether it is with a respite foster family for a weekend or in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for a weekend break where someone qualified to deal with kids like ours can HELP YOU AND HIM??? IS GOLD. Not just for you - but for him. He gets to be around kids - that "GET HIM" and YOU? Get to go be a human for 24-48 hours.

    You wanted to know how do I calm down? I have something to look forward to. I have a goal. I have plans. I have something that gives ME (THE HUMAN, THE WOMAN, THE NOT MOM FOR 24 hours) A LIFE OUTSIDE OF YELLING, AND RAGING, and STRESS.....and if it includes prayer, church, bible study, or riding on a horse, a harley, or a snowmobile, or dancing, or a beer, or a box of wine, or dancing naked in the moonlight with chicken livers taped to my elbows and doing the I am FREE for a weekend dance....or planting flowers, or doing laundry (bite your tongue), or shopping, or going to the rifle range, bowling, weaving hair, getting my body pierced, shampooing the dog......getting a tattoo....laying.....carpet. :tongue:.....repenting....;)whatver it is? DO IT. But do it without saying the words......MY SON....MY KID....I WISH HE......I CAN'T..

    DO it with every intention of pretending you are not for 24 hours in any way related to - mental health issues......and wear a rubber band around your wrist and every time you even THINK about saying MY SON - snap that bugger - hard.....and go back to enjoying your weekend....
    THAT is how YOU calm down.....

    As far as calming down when they are there? Well - my best suggestion for that after the fact? (ahem) would be to tell you to get in with a family therapist that you really REALLY like, and go once a week. The best thing I did -really. I found I was :censored2: to my fiance, my Mom, what friends I had left, the friends I had here -which are the best in the world BUT still - I mean WHO wants to hear that all day every day 24/7? ESH. So I hired him. And once a week - I would go for 1 hour and take my little journal of all the really BIG things that bugged me about difficult child. Then I would sit in his office and for 30 minutes or better just BLAB and BLAH and cry and yickity yickity yack...and then the next 30 minutes? Solution time. We'd work on WHAT WOULD WORK BETTER than ME......SCREAMING....or YELLING or THROWING....(I used to be a slammer/thrower) and I actually started progressing as a parent. And the interesting thing was - that while my son didn't necessarily improve....I did. My stress levels and MY coping skills got better and better and my calming techniques became 2nd nature and my fighting skills became fair.....(yup fighting fair is very important to learn) VERY.

    So in calming down - first I would have to ask you - if you even know how to fight fair. Do you know when to walk away. Do you know when to level a punishment? I didn't. Not then anyway. I was all JUMP IN NOW and punish NOW....and do it NOW. But until you learn those things? The alphabet in 10 languages....good start. THen numbers. SCreaming into your pillow. NEVER let them see you angry. - and I'll tell ya something funny - Trees fear me - grass hates me....but not where the kids could EVER see me. (lol)

    Hope this helps - seriously - can't afford a therapist? All Mental Health places do free therapy ona sliding scale fee....or free. Basically even if they are :confused: - it's someone to :sad-very: at every week and get it out of your system and they can help get you some WEEKEND respite for your son.
    Sounds like you could use it. BOTH of you.

  18. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    DDD, I believe you're thinking of the essay, "Welcome to Holland." Chelsea may be able to find it on the internet through Google.
  19. howlongto18

    howlongto18 New Member

    I definitely have problems coming to terms with a future for my child which doesn't involve him having a stable family situation. And I do struggle with wanting a sense of normalcy. I'm naturally a very peaceful person and life with my difficult child is uncomfortable to say the least. My husband and I had seven years without kids and there was never ever yelling in our home. With that said, the problems have come to a head and are definitely there and real and worse than they have been.

    I guess I'll need time to think about the future for him and which direction we want to go with him. I can't even hear my own gut these days, I'm so confused.
  20. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    You are so right about that. I've also heard a version of that story presented as a poem. The lesson is that you are supposed to try to enjoy the child you have instead of constantly mourning the child you didn't get.

    I find that reminding myself that helps a LOT.

    Too much of my emotion has been spent wondering why? and how did things get so bad?

    It's easier to let go of that expectation--which is really unrealistic in the first place--and concentrate on what you have and how you will deal with it. NOT how you will "fix" it or make it more like what you thought you wanted.