Chilling conversation with-Matt - breakthrough?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Steely, May 22, 2011.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yesterday I went over to Matt's to say hi. We had a good shallow conversation, and went to the store. I was looking at the puppies for adoption (of course) and absentmindedly grabbed a cart that was empty but apparently "already claimed" for. The guy was rude to me, but no big deal on my part. Well Matt popped off some comment to him about how there were plenty of carts, whats the big deal.

    Matt and I kinda separately shopped for our own things, got to the check out, and I paid for my stuff. Then Matt slid his stuff up there and then just wandered off. I was like Matt - you have to pay - he looked at me completely blank and said "I don't have any money". I said yes you do. He then, kinda in this daze shoved the money he had into my hand, and said I can't pay you have to.

    We get to the car and I am like what on earth is going on? By then he was hyperventilating and shaking. He said I don't know. I was standing in line and all of the sudden I felt extreme anger, the world started closing in on me. He said my vision was all wavy and I couldn't think, and I just had violent images flashing in front of me over and over.

    Instantly I knew he had a classic panic attack - but here is the interesting part - it was triggered by the man with the cart. He started ranting about if that guy had touched him he would have pounded him to the ground, and that he followed him all over the store to make sure he didn't try to take a punch at a him. Frankly I had no idea what the guy even looked like - Matt knew every detail of this man down to the color of his socks. (Hyper vigilance)

    Matt's anxiety kept going up and up, to the point of where he couldn't breathe or talk. (I know most of us have had these, and they are not fun.) We went back to my house to try and talk through it - and it suddenly dawned on me that this rage, this extreme anger, that is targeted at total strangers is PTSD. These strangers are triggering other people that have hurt him in his past, or victimized him, and are causing him to have flashbacks and revenge like feelings.. I asked him who the man in the grocery store reminded him in his past, and he knew immediately.

    So, I said, look you have to see a Dr and get help. He said "I KNOW" - yep! Unbelievable. I said right now we are going to urgent care because your panic attack won't stop, and I want you to tell them about the violent feelings and images. And then Monday, you will start seeing a counselor for this??? And he said yes - I will Mom, as long as when we talk about the people that 'F'd; me over, I can break something. I said, I am sure something can be worked out.

    So we went to Urgent Care, and he ended up spending 2 hours talking to the nurse about his life, struggles, and feelings. Matt walked out of Urgent Care smiling. He said I have never in life, ever, had such an intense connection with another person. Matt said this man talked to him for 2 hours on how to turn his life around in a way no one else has ever talked to him. At the end Matt said that this man gave him a hug, and told him he was a good person, with a pure heart, and that he knew he would be very successful. Matt was just shaking from pure goodwill finally poured into his spirit.

    Then late last night he called me to confess something that he had never told anyone. He was sexually abused by his babysitter when he was little. I won't go into the details, but the encounter has haunted him ever since, and he doesn't know what to do with the feelings. He had actually told me about this about 6 years, ago, but I guess he had forgotten. Again I said, this and the apparent PTSD you can talk to a therapist about - will you? And he said yes.

    Pretty unbelievable that he has been broken wide open to such pure vulnerability that he is now actually asking for help. I hope he does not rationalize himself out of it by the time he gets to the psychiatrist. I was really surprised though that he told urgent care the truth about his feelings, even the violent ones. Maybe he is scared enough to finally move forward.

    So that is the update. There is only one psychiatrist here in this small town, but I like him - and I am hoping if Matt will get connected with him he can also help him get a mentor, and maybe get involved in some of the other help this town offers. Please keep your fingers crossed, that all of this goes forward as I know it can, as long as Matt does not start digging in his heels again. All of this past pain seems to be exploding in him like a volcano - and he is on a slippery slope.
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Any way you can get the name of the guy at urgent care and a way to contact him if Matt needs that kind of talk again?
  3. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yes, I was thinking about that too and my Mom suggested the same thing. I think that is a great idea, since they connected so well - better, than anyone, ever Matt said - which is amazing since he has had 20 years of counselors.
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    With was the unbridled rage too.

    It would sneak up on her when she least expected it, as she put it......come out of nowhere and overwhelm her. Scared her to death, although it was many years before she would admit it. Actually was several years before she would admit either one, the rage or the fear of the rage and what she might do with it. She knew that others weren't comsumed by such rage......and to have it, be unable to control it......made her feel "less than" other people. I'm not sure I worded that right, but it's as close as I can come.

    Nichole's rage came from Katie's abandonment of the family a decade ago. I'd know that it had affected her greatly, as she'd been on a slippery slope into gfgdom since katie had left......but I had never dreamed it had affected her to such an extreme. Other factors were there as other things happened during that time to fuel the rage (that might not have bothered her under more normal circumstances) .......but katie's abandonment was the root source.

    It was Nichole's turn around point. Bff's death last year brought it to a head.

    I don't see the rage simmering below the surface ready to spring to life anymore. I'm not saying she never gets mad, but it's a different sort of mad, appropriate to the situation......not the consuming rage that took over and blinded her to reality. Gone is the 5-10 switches in moods in the course of an hour or two. Gone is the walking on egg shells fear of setting her off. It's so nice.

    I hope this is Matt's turn around point. He's got a lot of work ahead of him.

  5. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    Wow Steely that was a breakthrough. I was also thinking about the Urgent Care staff and maybe you can contact them and let them know just HOW MUCH they helped your son.

    I am so glad they were on staff at the time. It was meant to be that it happened that way, I am sure of it.

    As far as the babysitter, that sent chills up my spine. Poor Matt has alot to get off his chest and with the proper help and kind, caring people I am sure he will make great progress.

    Thanks for the update. Shelly
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    WOW. This is very powerful. Stunning really. I am so sorry about the abuse. When you posted that he was so angry at the man with the cart my immediate thought was that some man who looked or sounded like him had abused him at some point. The fact that he opened up to you is incredible and shows how much deep down he truly trusts you. I know one of your fears when you put him into the rtcs and programs was the he would hate you forever, or never truly forgive you deep down. This trust means that he still feels very close to you.

    Taking him to urgent care was an excellent call. I am glad such a wonderful man was on call and he spent so much time and put so much care into helping Matt. Is there any way to maybe arrange to have that man as a mentor for Matt, if other things about him are right? It might be a good relationship to foster. on the other hand, it might be that seeing him regularly would be too much too soon. You would know best on that.

    I hope he is willing to go to therapy and work on this. Assure him that it doesn't have to be for the rest of his life. Now many therapists will put a goal to reach fairly soon, and they do not plan to have you seeing them for decades unless new problems come up. So this is somehting that will take time to work through but won't always be such a problem if he is willing to do the work. Getting my gfgbro to realize that psychiatric help does NOT have to be forever is one of the things that let him embrace the help he has gotten. It isn't enough, clearly, but it is a lot better than it would be otherwise. He thought that if you got into therapy then you were in it for life because they didn't really want anything other than your $$ week after week so they did things to mess you up more so you kept coming. So setting an end date for the therapy, no matter if it was weeks or months is the main thing that got him to talk to someone professional. I think this might also be true for Matt - knowing it isn't forever will make it easier to truly accept the help, Know what I mean??

    My heart is saddened for his pain and rage, but thrilled to see that he is letting the poison out with his words about what happened and about what he is feeling. Even if he backs out on therapy for a while this was a HUGE step!
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    The nurse did a lovely job with him. It's unfortunate that the only setting that Matt can see that nurse is in the urgent care. I think that it's important to remember that the nurse was doing exactly what the nurse is meant to be doing - facilitating treatment for an urgent situation. In this case, calming Matt down enough to get his medications straightened out and help him to decide to keep it under control and hopefully make and keep an appointment with a therapist. The job of the therapist is more long term and a good therapist has to be able to first gain that trust that the nurse was able to grab onto, then take the difficult steps with Matt. The nurse redirected Matt onto the right path, and Matt has to stay on the path. It's difficult, but a good therapist has to balance that comfort and sense of ease that Matt felt with the discomfort that Matt must face in order to move past his anger. A good therapist is like a warrior mom. They suit up for the battle and fight alongside to face the demons. It's painful and difficult but everyone must be ready to let that happen and let Matt be angry and hurt in order to defeat these emotions that are twisting him so. He can't be protected from them. He can only face and overcome them.

    I hope that Matt will find a good therapist, and that he understands from the outset that the only way to feel strong about himself is to know that he is stronger than the demons.
  8. Steely

    Steely Active Member


    Witz, that is exactly what the nurse told him - "you are stronger than those demons inside you". It was powerful for him.

    Do these symptoms sounds like PTSD to you guys? I don't want to assume that just because he has anger issues, that he also has PTSD. Yet you should have seen him at the store. His physical reaction was really intense. He even told me that sometimes when he gets this mad he smells things that aren't there.

    Now to find the right therapist. I will see if the nurse or Matt is interested in keeping the relationship - but if not - he has to forge on to find someone he can talk to. At least now, for the first time ever, he is realizing he needs the help. Keeping every finger crossed that he will not back away from what he knows is right.
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911

    As far as the relationship continuation? Leave that up to Matt. I would gently suggest that Matt ask the guy if maybe he knows someone that he could suggest for continued therapy and let whatever will happen from there? Happen.

    PTST yes. The smells? Absolutely. It has to do with memory recall. All of our senses are stored chemically. It makes very logical sense.

    I will say I'm incredibly proud of Matt for walking away - that took INCREDIBLE, ASTRONOMICAL restraint and maturity.
  10. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    Steely, although I don't write on your posts, the reason is that I haven't been through anything like you are going through with my difficult child, and so I don't want to just write any old thing. I do however read all your stuff, and I feel for you and with you.

    This time I truly felt that it is a real breakthrough and I just wanted to send you love and hugs, and lots of strength to help you through this new development.

    Love, Esther
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    It does sound good!
    Perhaps if you ask around for the name (s) of a therapist who has really good listening skills...not judgmental and able to build good rapport with his or her patients. This is the way it really is suppose to be, anyway. And your son should be comfortable with meeting with a therapist once or twice and then declining to go back if he doesn't feel comfortable. However, get right back on the horse and look again for someone else. A wise therapist will take his or her time before jumping into the hard work.
    I know this might sound counterintuitive, but just like the nurse was helpful to your son, a person with a doctorate may or may not be "the one." I have personally had this experience...and ended up seeing an MSW regarding difficult child for a little while. I have heard through the grapevine some bigwigs in the city have seen her too.
    Ironically, I had the same experience with difficult child. She was seeing a Ph.D. for many years. She helped a little. Was very bright.
    She saw a mental health counselor (MS degree) for 4 months and this woman was amazing. She helped difficult child realize the guy she was seeing (an abusive alcoholic) was not someone that was in her best interest to continue seeing. Honestly, I kinda thought THAT was a lost cause since difficult child never had a boyfriend before and I thought she would cling to him regardless of how BAD the situation was. To make matters more interesting, he was very handsome.
    To my JOY, after a few sessions with this therapist, difficult child came home and said she was dumping him and more importantly she DID. It helped difficult child in a REAL, actual way.
    But sadly, difficult child does not have good reasoning skills, good logic and worse than anything....little self discipline. The therapist moved to an office that would require several busses for difficult child to get to...many obstacles...and difficult child doesn't go anymore. Perhaps in the future (she mentions it from time to time). Overall, this woman helped her a LOT in four months!
    The point of my story is that I strongly feel that rapport and abilities combined with a degree/license is what really matters and even trumps a doctorate.
    So glad to hear that things are moving in the right direction!!!! :)
    Lasted edited by : May 23, 2011
  12. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Maybe he does not remember he told you because he pushed that down, too. Perhaps shame. Sounds like speaking about his issues will be the best thing for him. Now that he is old enough to understand the consequences of NOT speaking up maybe he will be able to.

  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Steely, you know, something about this whole thing with the whole anxiety and ptsd and anger and not being able to label emotions etc screams borderline to me. Just call it a gut feeling to me because it is me. In the beginning, I only knew or could describe two emotions...or maybe three. It took probably at least a year to get me to let down my walls halfway. 5 and a half years in and I am doing much better. It will be a long time though before I want to give up therapy I think.

    I knew anger/rage and apathy. I could fake happiness but I really didnt know what everyone else meant by it. I would laugh when others did and I would smile when they did but I really didnt get it. I was just there...a blob. I did know that anger came from different fear or hurt or jealousy or manipulation or a host of other emotions.

    I have also lived through abuse and all that other lovely stuff. One thing that I did to drive me to stay in therapy at first was I had read that borderline people have a reputation for not being compliant with therapy so I was going to disprove that Hey...showed them! ODD to the max!
  14. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Thank you Esther...I appreciate your thoughts.

    Janet, yes, I agree. I have felt that way about him for awhile, actually. He also researched it, and felt it aligned with a lot of what he felt.

    Last night he walked himself to the ER at midnight because he was having severe depression and anxiety again. He called me at 11:00 and asked if I would take him, and I said no, that he could walk, which he did. (It is only a mile from his home vs 12 from mine). I was REALLY impressed. Again hard for me to say no, but you guys are helping me with this.

    He met with a social worker, who is trying to get everything expedited to the counseling center here within a week. The social worker was nice enough to even drive him home at 3:00am.

    The crummy part of my city is that we have one psychiatrist that visits once a month and is booked until August, and a pharm nurse. So he will have to originally meet with the pharm nurse. Plus the LPC's here are all in "training" - which I have seen one of them and they are really not that good, well, at all. So I asked today for who was supervising their training, because by law the supervisor has to actually BE an LPC (I think?) and I am going to have Matt ask for him as his counselor. Otherwise we will have to drive 4 hours every week for a counselor in another city.
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I hate the whole issue of trying to find a therapist. My old therapist was a LPC and she was awesome. My problem was medicare wont pay for LPC's. Medicaid will. We held on for as long as we could but then finally we ran out of ways to bill and I had to leave her. Now I am seeing a LSW who they do pay for. He is nice but still not my old therapist...but maybe change is Thats what I keep telling myself.

    Ya know...if Matt would ever like to talk to someone who has been around the block a time or two, I wouldnt mind doing it. Just a thought.
  16. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Thanks Janet - I will definitely mention that to are probably better than any old LPC anyway:)
    I wouldn't mind him seeing a SW either. It is just this "girl in training" I spoke to was the worst counselor I had ever encountered. She tried, but she was just so dead of anything helpful to say.

    Grrrr. And now I just found out it will be at least 2 weeks before he can even see a psychiatrist here, and the ER gave him 4 days worth of medications and told him that is all the ER could give ever again, so don't come back with another psychiatric emergency. Ohhhh....helpful! WTH.
    However, the SW who helped him last night said he could come into the doctors office she works at for an emergency. But of course they are open 8-5 M-F. Good grief. I am tired and it is only noon.
  17. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Steely, I am so glad that Matt had this breakthrough. It is sad that help isn't readily available now that he is willing to get it. So very frustrating. I hope Matt continues to improve and open up and that he finally gets to put some of his deamons to bed for good. -RM
  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Excellent insights, Steely. Wonderful. Scary, yes, but great breakthroughs.
    I am so sorry that Matt was molested (not just that he was so young, but that makes it so much more confusing) but I am so glad he brought it up again. That alone can cause a lot of repressed rage that he has to learn to cope with.
    Someday, when he's healed a bit more, maybe he can work in an advocacy group, become a news reporter, or some other field where he can use his anger in a well-directed way. I know people who have devoted their lives to that sort of thing and it is an excellent way to direct their issues. (Safer, too.)
    In the meantime, he's got a lot of work to do and I know that you are proud of him.
    And I love that he met such a wonderful person at the ER!!! What are the chances?
  19. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Thanks Terry, I can only pray and hope he gets lead into that direction.

    The saga continues today - although he has broken through and wants help - now it cannot come fast enough. He is still crawling out of his skin, severely depressed, with no way to get help with medications until next Thursday and he is losing it.

    He is on his way now to talk to a crisis counselor. I am feeling really overwhelmed. He is scared to be alone and so he is feeling like he cannot be away from me for long periods of time. But I don't want him with me for long periods of time. Yet, he doesn't have any friends here, and he is severely depressed, so in some ways I feel like I should the one who is present while he is this sick. It borders on me rescuing him - yet when you are this sick - you need people around so you don't get sicker. So confusing.

    Plus he has a pretty serious medical condition that has just arisen, and we are going to have to jump through hoops to find out what is going on. He went to the Dr today, and that was like 100.00 down the drain. He is going to need a couple of procedure and specialists to really pin down what is going on, which with-out insurance sounds brutal. Plus you know this condition has to be sending him over the edge too.

    Stick a fork in me, I am done.
  20. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I can understand his desperation, and the frustration that now that he wants the help it's still a slow process. But it IS a slow process, even once he's sitting there in their office and on medications. He's going to have to learn that it's just not a quick fix. I had to remind Nichole of that often for quite a while.

    As for the medical side of things, most hospitals can't refuse treatment. The bills won't go anywhere. Get done what you can, then check out welfare and see if he can use medicaid. Heck if they'll give it to M I dunno why Matt wouldn't qualify. And certain diseases/conditions are instant qualifiers.

    I totally get the wanting to be there to support him. But be careful not to let him svck you dry. This is still very much his journey.