I need counsel

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Well, I am not really sure what to ask, but I know I need advice, guidance, or suggestions.

    As I mentioned in another post or 2 Matt has started seeing a counselor - finally. His anxiety, and PTSD are so severe that he is now suicidal and almost completely home bound. However, this counselor is amazing, and has really just gotten to the root of his issues in only several sessions. Matt loves her - but I think the fact that he now feels so exposed, honest, and open about his emotions have left him even more volatile, moody, and vulnerable. In a nutshell having this sudden breakthrough of sorts, has left him even more of a mess.

    He doesn't have any friends, except one that lives in Idaho, and me. So lately he calls me all of the time melting down. Not just mad, but crying; hysterical, and dramatically over the slightest things. Truthfully this is should of what have happened in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) where he had people there to process with 24/7....but it is happening now....when there is really no one to talk to. (And there is no way he would go to phosph).

    So what can or should I do? I know she is giving him tools to address these overwhelming feelings....so when he calls hysterical, do I say "use the tools D. gave you?" That seems too motherly, and besides when I push things, he eventually rejects them. Or do I just listen non-judgmentally and without comment? Or do I give it a time limit? I do suggest that he call her, but truthfully if he called every time he wanted to talk he would be calling her twice a day - which won't work. Or does he just need to manage his own feelings without always running to me - and if that is the case - how do I tell him that?

    I feel really stuck, and overwhelmed myself. His pain is so palpable and deep he reminds of a 6'3 baby bird. I am having a very hard time knowing what to say or what to do.

  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Just want you to know that I read your post and sure wish I felt qualified to provide advice. Your situation is different than any I have experienced and I am sure it is heartbreaking and stressful. I'm glad that he has a good connection going but am curious if he is on anti anxiety medications to help him thru the transitions. Meanwhile all I can do is send supportive thoughts and hugs your way. DDD
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I guess Matt does need to manage his own feelings but that would obviously feel overwhelming to him right now. You need both to care for him and to care for yourself - what would that consist of? I am sure it helps and heals him to hear "I love you". I don't know that you need be or are called to be a second counsellor. My own sense of it would be that you could redirect him to his own resources without fobbing him off or rejecting him. Maybe only a mom can do that for a child, I don't know.
    I hope that his counsellor will help him find what he needs within himself to stand and walk. Hugs.
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Perhaps his counselor could give you some guidance as to what to do when he calls that could be helpful to him.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I'd start with these two, first... just listen - he has to do the processing, but he needs an ear. And then - for your own sanity - set a time limit.

    Explain the timelimit when he isn't having a melt-down... you are dealing with your own issues too, and need to manage your own thoughts and feelings.

    Beyond that... I liked the suggestion of finding out - if possible - what his counsellor would suggest is best in supporting him.
  6. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I thought about contacting his counselor too, but I know she won't talk to me without his consent, which she would have to ask him for, therefore he would know I am once again involved in his mental therapy. I really want him to "own" this journey. He has never done anything that has been completely his own. I have always been in the sidelines saying, well, the counselor "said". You know? I will definitely talk to my own counselor about it, but she is on my poo list right now, and I can barely work out my own issues with her.

    Yes, this is definitely not what I was expecting in the journey of my difficult child. He has always been hateful, aggressive, a bully, etc. His counselor believes that perhaps he is not BiPolar, but the repeated abuse when he was young, set him up for a lifetime of acting in a fight or flight mode - which has caused so many of the issues. This is all so revolutionary to me. Deep - and life changing. Yet, it makes sense. I have told doctors this repeatedly, that his anxiety is the root of a lot of his behavior problems, along with dietary allergies. The older he has gotten the more he has figured all of this out on his own. Like he has a very short list of things he can eat, that don't give him a headache - he figured this out. When he was little, he would eat those same things and become even more agitated and more likely to act out.

    He talked to his counselor about how the anti-anxiety make him crazy (literally) - and she has a theory that it is not so much the chemicals that adversely affect him, but the attempt to smolder an emotion that is demanding to be released. Hmmmm..... Not sure. But regardless - he really, really can't take anything in that benzo class without flipping his lid - so he is going to have to do this the hard way.

    The only plus is that his best friend M., was in the same Residential Treatment Center (RTC) as Matt. So they call each other a lot and act as counselors to one another. He will call M. before me, but M., works and goes to school, so he is not always available.

    I don't know, I can say it is exhausting for me - and probably for him too.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Steely...I have an idea. It is something that worked well for me and my therapist when I was in my "purging" times when I was first going through all the junk sort of like Matt. I would be at home and all my junk would be bubbling all over the place and everything would be happening with me, Tony, the kids...just life and I didnt have anyone to talk to and I wanted to talk to her constantly and of course I couldnt and even if she booked me twice a week that really wasnt enough for me.

    I did two things. I got an account at livejournal and made it a private account that was just for me. I gave her my id and password so she could read it if she wanted to. I wanted her to be able to see what I was feeling. But matt could make one just for him and not give anyone else the keys to his inner feelings.

    I also emailed my therapist as much as I wanted. She gave me her email and didnt mind if I emailed her 50 times a day. I think I have saved all those old emails and boy some of them were wild. At times I hated her and some I loved her...lol. But we honestly worked out a ton of stuff through email. Then when we saw each other in person, we had our face time to really talk about specifics.
  8. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Janet - this is a really good idea!!!! You nailed it. Matt just wants to talk about all his stuff all the time. LiveJournal is a fantastic idea or emailing his therapist. I hope he will go for it.

    In a very weird twist of events, Matt just asked me if he burdened me too much with his feelings. I looked all around, trying to see if he read my post, haha. But nope. He just intrinsically "knew". So we talked about "times we could talk" and "for how long", etc. Then his psychiatrist called and he is starting doxapine for sleep as he d/cs the Depakote (per his request)? I am hoping it also helps with the anxiety.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I found writing in livejournal was good for me because I could go back and see over time how things had changed.
  10. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Maybe he's holding it together for the rest of the day, maybe. And you're the only one he can melt down to, so he does, and it's very upsetting to you. Maybe he just needs to get it out while he's talking to you and is doing ok the rest of the day. I'm just thinking about what I know I have done to husband at times when I was in the hospital, freaking out and crying, but then after the call.......I was fine.

  11. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Would he call an anonymous suicide line, mental health line etc? There are crisis lines, prayer lines etc... where people do just listen. If he is so socially isolated, this would be anonymous and he wouldnt' have to worry about what anyone thought of him. You could present it as you just want to make sure someone is available IF you can't answer sometime, so he doesn't think you are not wanting to talk to him (unless you are ready to set that boundary???)

    I know some people (me included ) hate phone calls. I have to really work to talk on the phone sometimes. Not with good friends and family usually, but sometimes.

    I feel terrible for him. I wonder if he is (temporarily I would think) actually feeling emotionally/developmentally the age he was when he had his main issues. If so it would be overwhelming....more than as an adult. The ptsd could really put him in that place couldn't it? I know nothing about that, It just made me wonder.
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sorry he is such a mess, but it is actually wonderful that he is dealing with all of this. It just feels so very far from wonderful when you are both going through it.

    You CAN talk to or mail a letter to his therapist. She CAN listen and she CAN offer insights as to general ways to handle a patient who is showing a, b, and q symptoms outside of the office.

    There needs to be some boundary - he can complain about something X times and then you will change the subject every time he brings it up, or he can rant/cry/fuss/whatever for z amt of time and then you will change the subject or stop listening. If you don't start putting some limits like this into your relationship, then nether of you will really respect you. You will be an extension of himself - one he has the right to rant at as much, as long, and as loud as he wants too.

    Let the therapist know how bad it is. Ask her how to help him the most effective way possible. Ask her when he should be calling her and not you. Ask her and then Matt if maybe a session with all three of you could help you figure out the best way to help him with-o tearing up you even more.
  13. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Janet's idea is an excellent one. I did a journal........the old fashion write it down kind.

    But I also unloaded some junk on my mom, no where near all of it, but she'd say the wrong thing or ask the wrong question and it would just come pouring out of my mouth until I ran out of gas.

    I remember one time in particular. I did the diarrhea of the mouth thing for a good 45 mins while she just watched me in utter horror. I think it made it worse that I didn't even raise my voice. Then when I paused she said OMG you must hate me so much! I answered the poor woman honestly. I told her I spent my entire childhood hating her, despising her. Poor woman nearly crumpled to the floor. But it was within that moment that I realized part of the reason she couldn't protect me from the sexual abuse was that I'd kept my mouth shut about it. My child self's expectations of what she should've done didn't match up with an adult / mother's experience told me. She couldn't read my mind. She couldn't be everywhere at once. Yes she certainly made mistakes......but it wasn't her intention not to protect me from sexual abuse. One of my major Aha! moments. (she was still guilty of her own abuse and neglect but they weren't one and the same) Because I realized then how much I'd clung to that hatred and rage at her for not protecting me.......I'd never realized it until then that I'd done it to that extreme.

    So, I'd set a time limit (you can't stay on the phone or in a chair all day and it's not good for him either) and let him talk. Some of it is that he honestly needs you to hear it and to be assured it doesn't change your opinion of him. If his emotions get out of control while you're talking you can tell him he needs to stop and take a break, you can talk later once the emotions are back under control.

    Most is that it just has to come pouring out because he's held it in so long. But some he most likely does, like I said, need you to hear.

    I only had a couple of such talks with my Mom. After that, I got that it was just too much for her, and stuck to the therapist and journal.

  14. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I understand that this therapist is getting to the root of the problem and she's the first person to do so. However, you mentioned that he's only had a few session. When dealing with trauma, first you have to teach coping skills and you have to back off when it gets to be too much to cope with. Not stop - but slow down, and reinforce coping skills.

    I wonder if therapist isn't aware how strongly he is reacting to this? I don't think she needs permission to listen to you - she just can't divulge anything. I'd be tempted to call her and tell her that you know she can't say anything, but that you want to let her know how strongly he's responding and that you're not sure he has the right tools to cope at this time.
  15. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yes, when he is triggered by something right now he really regresses, and one time disassociated slightly.

    He did tell the therapist after the first session things were going too fast, and she slowed down, and is working with him on tools to cope with his panic attacks. He has a tool each week that he is supposed to be practicing.

    Part of this is Matt's personality. He is all or nothing. Apparently the counselor even told him to stop talking for a minute, and take a breath.

    I agree, susie, that the last thing I want for him to do is to see me as an extension of himself. Actually, he already fights that, as we have struggled with a co-dependent relationship.

    I will think about talking to his counselor. I just do not want it ever to get back to Matt - because he will perceive it as me interfering and shut down.

    Thanks for all the advice. I will keep it all in my mind, and suggest it to him at different times when he is overwhelmed.
  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I was going to throw out, 1) First just listen to him for a bit, then 2) ask what his therapist suggests and ask if he's discussed with therapist yet, then 3) suggest that he write it down. Apparently, there's something about writing PTSD issues that halp a person process it, then when they read it later, they kind of process it on a better level and can get that 'specific' out of the way....

    But then I read DJ's idea and that seems even better, especially if his therapist would read it occasionally.