Antidote for stress and exhaustion? (long)


Well-Known Member
Hello everyone. I'm still very new at this, but already I've found so much support on this site...I'm grateful every day that I found this forum.

Right now, I've just about had it and I need advice. Maybe I just need to rant...I'm really not sure anymore. Maybe you can tell me.

difficult child has been in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) summer placement for the last 2 months. Centre staff said that he's been doing well. We worked with them to make sure that our home program and the one they were using at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) were in sync, and everything was ticking along. But the placement was set to end last week. My nerves were stretched thin, anticipating difficult child's return.

Now difficult child has been back since Saturday afternoon, and I'm just about at the breaking point. He's been defiant, uncooperative and impulsive. Nothing new there, but I was hoping to see even a tiny little improvement. After all these years, I guess I should have learned not to be so darned optimistic, but I can't seem to give up hoping...

Adding to the stress...because of impulse control issues, difficult child needs total supervision. SO has a very intense work schedule and his workplace is very crowded, step-D is travelling right now, so difficult child has been at work with me every day since he's been home. My office is fairly quiet, and I'm in the far corner, so it's less disruptive to the other workers to have him here. However, it's totally disruptive to my work and my productivity has tanked, but there's nowhere else he can go.

At home, all bedroom doors are once again locked, my little one's toys are secured in a locked cupboard (or difficult child will take and break them), "forbidden" foods (difficult child has severe reactions to foods, but can't keep his mitts off the ones that are bad for him) removed from the house, I walk around with a pocket full of keys, so that I can go from room to room unimpeded.

We're in the process of arranging another Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement for the fall, but difficult child will be home with us in the intervening 6 weeks.

And the icing on the cake...the pressure has set off all sorts of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and ADHD symptoms in me that I can normally keep under fairly good control, well, to the point where I'm considered merely eccentric, rather than a full-blown Aspie. I haven't slept since difficult child came home. I can't bear to be touched...flinch and jump a mile straight into the air if anyone so much as touches my arm. Can't eat, can't sit still, rocking, flapping, wandering in small circles...It's strange...difficult child and I are both on the autism spectrum. But where I tend toward quiet and solitude, order and routines, difficult child needs mess and chaos and lots of loud noises and flashing lights. difficult child has grown about a foot in the last year (he's now 6 ft 4, compared to my 5 ft not-quite-3). He's not violent or anything, but when he loses it I used to be able to just bundle him up and carry him wherever I needed to put him. With his never-ending arms and legs it's a much harder proposition these days.

Right now I have difficult child locked in the conference room at my office, with a stack of DVDs and a giant bucket of lego. It's an ungodly mess in there, but at least I know where he is (and he's not ripping through my desk or file cabinets, or those of my co-workers).

We all missed him terribly while he was away, but right now I just want him to go back (or maybe check into the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) myself).

I feel like such a whiny baby and a bad mommy for even complaining about it. I know a lot of you on this forum have far worse issues to deal with. Maybe it's just stress and exhaustion talking, but any suggestions about how to get through the next several weeks without losing my mind would be greatly appreciated.



New Member
Um, many here may have kids with bigger rages, etc. but when you have to take a kid to work, your stress level goes off the charts! You know your boss is watching to see if you're doing your work, your co-workers are praying they don't have to do your job and theirs and you're just hoping your kid doesn't do too much damage. been there done that

Honestly, I don't know of any Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that is going to make a difference if it is just for a short time. Maybe one for drug rehab, but not major behaviorial issues. I hope the next one is much longer and gives him some serious tools.

For now, just hugs.


New Member
I'm sorry things are so difficult right now. husband has had to take youngest difficult child to work before. Last summer we paid for him to go to an in home daycare for 2 weeks because I was so stressed out I couldn't deal with him another second. I felt so guilty that we spent $ on daycare when I was home with the rest of the kids, but I don't think I would have made it if it weren't for the break.

We too have to lock all the doors and wander around with keys because all my difficult children steal and my youngest difficult child steals and destroys. My youngest difficult child also has food sensitivities, he breaks out in hives or his face swells and this is so recent, we're not even sure what does it. He has been on a restricted diet for a year now after being diagnosed reactive hypoglycemic, but he too can't keep his hands off forbidden foods. On his birthday we let him cheat and this caused the rash reaction. On vacation he snuck forbidden foods and this caused the swollen face.

I can't tell you how relieved I am to read posts like this. To know another family is going through what we are going through. It just makes me not feel like such a failure. I know I can't control the conduct disorders, especially on the autism spectrum, but sometimes I forget that these are problems outside of my control. Somedays I feel like its my fault and I could do better. Then I come here and realize I'm not alone and it's not my fault, I'm doing the best I can with what I've got.

Reading posts like this help me not feel so alone in this struggle. Thanks!


Well-Known Member
Lordy I feel for you!

I dont think I could have handled having to take my kid to work with me everyday. Is there some friend or family member that could take him to their house every day and let him hang out? Maybe in a calm environment he would be peaceful. I can hope...wish...delude

Could you pay someone to stay home with him? Maybe an older person.

Just throwing out ideas.


Well-Known Member
Thanks for the words of support. It is good to know that I'm not the only one facing this issue.

difficult child is 17 and 6 ft 4, but he functions at about the level of a 5 to 6 year old. As in, when we're in the grocery store, I make him hang onto the cart, otherwise he will wander off and get into trouble.

He can also be very manipulative. He has the best puppy-dog sad face I've ever seen, and it's enough to break your heart. I've (finally) stopped falling for it, and started recognizing it for the sign of trouble on the horizon.

None of our friends can handle difficult child for more than couple of hours. My mother in law would be happy to pitch in, but she's 83 and just finished chemotherapy. She looked after difficult child for about 6 months for us, until she got sick, and I can't bear to ask her now that she's on the mend at last.

I think I could manage things better, if only I could get some sleep. This is the fifth night in a doubt I'll drift off around 5 am, just before the alarm goes off. Being tired stinks. It seems to make everything harder. I'm so tired I could cry.

Any suggestions about something I can take to help me sleep that won't make me groggy in the morning? I've tried ativan, but it lasts too long and I'm sleepy all the next day. I'm afraid of the hangover I might get from other sleep medications. I've heard others mention melatonin. Does anyone have experience with it? Any side effects or other things to consider.

At this point I wish someone would tap me between the eyes with a hammer...anything to get some sleep.

Hanging in there for now...