If It's Friday and Trouble is Starting

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by WSM, May 15, 2009.

  1. WSM

    WSM New Member

    So he gets home from school today at 4 and goes into his room. The pizza comes at 5:30 and he's sitting at the table eating two pieces. He eats the crust which the orthondontist told him not to eat and we have a braces poster on the frig of what can't be eaten, and crust is one of them. Braces are expensive and fixing them bit by bit on top of that is more so.

    So I say don't eat the crust. He says he's hungry, but doesn't want another piece of pizza and gives the rest of the crust to the dog.

    I take him upstairs and he goes back in his room. A few minutes later daughter and I heard weird thumping sounds. I go up and he's just standing in the middle of his room, everything looks fine.

    "What's going on."

    "I'm angry."

    "WHat do you have to be angry about?"

    "I'll eat too much and my stomache will rip." His voice breaks in desperation and his face turns red and tears start falling. "It'll rip and I'll die. I don't want to die."

    "Two pieces of pizza aren't going to make your stomache rip."

    "It will, it will."

    "I thought you said you were hungry."

    "I am but if you feed me too much my stomache will rip."

    Suddenly I notice on his bed a stack of fan blades. I look up. The ceiling fan is spinning without any fan blades.

    "Did you do that."

    "Yes because I'm angry. Those pills don't make me depressed they make me go straight to angry."

    (the week before last difficult child said he doesn't want to take them, they make him feel weird. Last week he asked to take more of them.)

    "What is you dad going to say."

    "I don't care. Awesome for him. Awesome for him. Awesome for him."

    I shut the door.

    I'm shaking. I hope husband is on his way home. I can't call him on the cell phone because difficult child destroyed it. I hope he doesn't go shopping like he sometimes does after work.

    I'm shaking and not sure why. It's all quiet upstairs. I wish husband would come home. I wish he'd take difficult child to the hospital. But difficult child's not out of control. So they won't do anything. What can they do? There's not to do.

    He has both a psychiatrist and therapist appointment next week. I'll insist husband tell them both.

    When difficult child said, "I'm angry", his face was scary.

    I wish husband would come home.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Is there anyone who can come sit with you until husband gets home? Hang in there... I don't think he should be on the Lexapro anymore, but you don't want to stop that cold turkey if he's been on it any length of time. They need to get him on something like Risperdal, and QUICK. Do you have the psychiatrist's number? I would call and just give him your update. He can take it for what it's worth, but someone needs to hear what's going on NOW and not wait for the appointment. Our psychiatrist has a message line specifically for updates... maybe yours does too.

    Stay safe. Keep your car keys and cell phone on you and don't hesitate to call 911 if things get worse.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't even know your psychiatrist and I"m running out of patience with him :tongue:.

    First of all, Lexapro CAN and DOES often make kids angrier and MORE out of control. If husband expects this to cure him, he's in for a rude awakening. It could make him worse. In fact, it sounds like it is. I would never give an antidepressant to a violent child. I take them--they are very potent and can cause all sorts of scary behaviors.

    As for your psychiatrist, jeesh!!! He should be calling hospitals to ask them to take him. Why does he think this child goes for sharp objects? Well, let me guess. To hurt either himself or others. To me, that spells that he's dangerous to at least others and needs to be out of the home and in treatment, although this kid is so sick I'm not sure what will help. He needs an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), but the psychiatrist doesn't seem to be on the ball.

    Do you like his doctor? Do you feel he "gets" your stepson?

    What was this child going to do with those sharp blades?

    I call that being too dangerous to be at home.
  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    WSM-I do agree he should be in the hospital. He doesn't seem safe right now. Hugs.
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    He is out-of-control. If you are seeing anger/danger in his eyes and feeling afraid, take him to the hospital. The docs should also pick up on that behavior. Our kids do not have to be throwing physical tantrums to be out-of-control. He is fighting this so hard.

    Have you ever tried to work with him while he is like this? I think he hates this as much as you do. If you feel comfortable, you can start with, "Honey, I can see you do not want to feel angry. You are doing a good job trying to control it. We need to let psychiatrist know that the medications are making you feel like this. Can you help me write up a note about what is going on? Let's start with supper - why do you think eating will make your stomache rip? Let's write everything down to give to the psychiatrist. I know you hate the way you feel right now. I want to help you."

    Then go onto what happened when he took the fan apart. Stay very calm.

    If talking does not help, ask him what he needs to help the anger go away. Assure him it is a good thing that he has identified this feeling because now he can face it. Suggest some self relaxation techniques such as closing your eyes and slowly breathing in and out.

    If you are feeling fear within yourself, that is your mommy bear instincts telling you that baby bear is in danger. Follow your guts.

    Did husband get home? What is happening now?
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I had a thought. Get a small voice recorder and slip it into your pocket and keep it there where he cant see it. You can get voice activated ones. When he says some of these bizarre things only in front of you or his sister, you can get them memorialized on tape.
  7. WSM

    WSM New Member

    husband came home. I told him. He did his best to reassure me. He said he's not going to deal with difficult child now, let him think about his behavior. We are in so florida and it's hot and our upstairs air conditioner isn't working. So difficult child will be hot. He may be regretting not having a fan about now.

    We have wood floors upstairs so we know he's not moving around much, if at all. I would bet he fell asleep.

    I was wrong, the therapist is monday, the psychiatrist appointment is a week from wednesday. husband invited me to go to the therapist meeting. I think I will. With his picture and list.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I worry when I read posts like tis, then hear of parents saying things like, "I won't deal with him nnow, just let him think about his behaviour."

    He CAN'T think about his behaviour, tat is why he is such a mess and such a worry. He has already told you that the pills make him feel 'weird', he is NOT in control and therefore shouldn't be punished for takingthe fan apart. Consequences - yes, he has to help fix it. But he is asking for help, he isn't choosing to be naughty.

    I worry that husband doesn't fully get it. This is a lad who has obsessive (and disturbing) thoughts, who can't get them out of his head, who is anxious, worrying, angry and knows he is hanging onto control by his fingernails. He wants help and is frightening himself, at least as muchas he is frightening you (which is a lot, I know).

    We went through problems like with when difficult child 3 was put on Strattera. It was scary. If I had taken him to the hospital like we were told to, I do wonder what they would have diagnosed. ONLY in his case it was medication-caused, he is generally very stable. But the Strattera (in our case) was making difficult child 3 seem very psychotic. And he'd only been on it 3 days!

    I hope you can get some answers quickly, before any further worries.

  9. WSM

    WSM New Member

    husband is over his head and I don't want to criticize him, but he's so over his head (like I).

    husband believes that because he dealt with his truly psychotic bipolar ex for 10 years and her two brothers, he is an expert in mental illness. And his theory is there's nothing you can do until it gets so bad that society/medical profession HAS to take notice and do something, and when that something is done, it's only going to be the bare minimum. And nobody cares if your family member's problems make your life miserable as long as the misery isn't extended to strangers. He thinks in the meantime you manage the problem the best you can, as with therapy, medication, alarms, schools, supervision, etc...

    I think he's right... but I think his approach falls far short. They say early intervention is the key for preventing/ameliorating mental illness and behavior disorders. And I bet that's true, and we've tried, but we can't seem to acquire much help. The list of doctors and schools and tests and psychologists and social workers and counselor and so on goes back to 2000 when difficult child was 3 years old. There's just so little help for disturbed children unless they fall into a clear specific catagory that has a proven treatment regimen.

    I can't fix difficult child or even improve him. I'm just the stepmother. Unlike a bio mom I can't say 'I think my kid has schizophrenia and a budding personality disorder possibility antisocial. Look at the 'callous unemotional traits', look at the violent ideation and tentative acting out. Look at the distorted hypchondriac fears. Whatever your impression of him is, he's both miserable and terrified, and cold and enraged. He's polite and friendly because he lives with polite and friendly people. He's also a predator. He's not merely 'having trouble adjusting to his father's remarriage' and 'needs more positive attention', he's profoundly disturbed."

    A bio mom can say that, a stepmother just sounds hateful.

    husband is willing to follow any treatment protocol, he's not insisting on forcing his ideas on anyone. He will try anything that might work. But nothing's worked yet, and he's wanting to give this psychiatrist/therapist team a chance along with the lexapro. He's already said that if nothing improves by the end of the summer, he'll try something else.

    husband also struggles with leftovers from his childhood (like we all do). He was raised to be codependent and to save people from themselves. He's getting better on this, but it clouds his judgment.

    He's also been dealing with severe mental illness of someone in his immediate family since abt 1994 and is EXHAUSTED by it.

    We feel helpless.
  10. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    medications can cause this, but you have said he was like this before this medication.

    He is just crying out for help. Imagine living in a body and mind you can not control and it feels like nobody is listening for finding the answers for you. He needs intervention quickly. This can not wait until end of summer. Just my opinion.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Something you COULD do perhaps? Suggest to husband that you keep a detailed diary of your observations (and as stepmother, your detached observations should be acceptable) and KEEP THE psychiatrist INFORMED throughout the summer.

    This should be normal practice and shouldn't require any value judgements from you or husband. It puts the onus back on the docs to either accept what is happening as within acceptable bounds, or to step in and say, "These medications are causing trouble."

    It puts the responsibility where it belongs and should take the heat off you guys.

    Fingers crossed. I hear you - it's not easy for either of you, husband has a long way to go but is also coming from a long way back.

  12. WSM

    WSM New Member

    I think what disturbs me about him breaking the ceiling fan because he was 'so angry' is that it was NOT a passionate outburst.

    He was in his room and if his anger welled up and was bursting out of his so that he had to lash out, he had more immediate targets: He could have swept everything off his dresser or his desk--that would have made a loud noise and been very distructive (lamps, books, etc...). He has a plastic bin (about the size of what you store a Xmas tree in) that is used as a toy box--he could have thrown or upset that and made a lot of mess and noise. He could have yanked off the curtains, or upset his laundry hamper or pulled out and emptied his dresser drawers or thrown his desk chair across the room (we have wood floors so all this would have been dramatic). He didn't run out of the room, or kick his door or bang on the walls.

    Instead he got his desk chair, quietly positioned it up the ceiling fan, stopped the fan, then one by one bent/broke off the blades, put the blades on the bed (did not throw or drop them to the floor), turned the fan back on with just little stubby arms, and replaced the chair. And then the rest of the day he stood in the middle of the room facing the door (I could go outside and see the back of his head through the window). It got dark, he stood there. Around 8 pm my husband talked to him, when husband left, he resumed his position standing. It got dark.

    The next morning at 6:50 I got up and checked on him. He was sitting in the same clothes on the edge of his bed.

    I understand everyone handles anger differently, and have no doubt that he is an angry person, I find it disturbing that he was so controlled and deliberate about expressing it. And I'm having trouble putting my finger on what about it upset me sooo much. I think it was the oddness. He was neither out of control anger or in control angry, but ended up being very destructive in a really meaningless way.
  13. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Totally agree with you on this observation.

    It's unnerving because it is so atypical. He is a severely disturbed child. The sooner you get the professionals involved to pay attention to your observations, the sooner he can be on his way to treatment that will 1) hopefully help him and 2) keep your family safe.

    Keeping you both in my prayers...
  14. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I hope the therapist listens to you today.
    If you need to be pushy I would.
    When I read some of the notes from when I was being the pushy hysterical Mom trying to get K help... well they said that and much more.

    But these are our kids, regardless of if he is your Step-Son, you are in the house and taking care of him.
    I pushed, I called, I bugged anyone I could.
    I pleaded.
    I cried
    I tried not to get angry, but i let them know how scared I was for my daughter and for our family.
    Eventually someone listened. Sometimes this is the only way we can get help for our kids, and right now he is your kid.
    I was calling our pediatrician and our psychiatrist sometimes multiple times a week when K was having hallucinations and suicidal ideations that were not under control.
    Waiting for this child to fail is unacceptable, he needs pro-active help now.

    I am sorry this seems to be on you, but until you walk away you seem to be his best bet.
    Let his Father know how serious his stability is. He needs to be stabilized.

    Take care of yourself.
  15. WSM

    WSM New Member

    I think what bothers me is if you have enough self control to carefully move a desk chair and think ahead to turning off the fan, and to carefully snap off each blade rather than yanking them off which would have torn the fan from the ceiling, and to pile them on the bed, awkward and heavy as they are without dropping any on the wood floor, and then to turn the fan back on and replace the chair and a minute later speak coolly and detachedly about what you just did...then you have enough self control not to destroy the fan to begin with.

    If you are so angry you can't contain yourself that you have to act out, then don't you lash out at what's easiest and handiest. Even if he didn't want to cause a lot of damage and noise, he could have knocked all the stuff off his dresser onto his bed. He could have emptied his hamper, he could have thrown all the clothes out of his drawers.

    It's like it was a statement. But of what? Did he think everything in the room was his, and he didn't want to hurt anything of his own (which would be new), and was destroying something of ours hoping to hurt us through it? Then why not break the lamp which I'd clearly expressed doubt letting him have since it was half of a set and I didn't want it broken? Why not gouge the walls or draw on the door?

    And the only time throughout the whole deal was when he talked about his stomache being ripped, then he got passionate and his face red and almost cried. When he talked about being angry and breaking the fan he was detached and remote.

    Help me understand.
  16. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    What medications is he on? I'm sorry I don't know your whole story but this would concern me and I would be questioning the medications right now.

  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    WSM, there is no such person as somebody who has NO control 100% of the time. He can walk and put one foot in front of the other. He can have periods of time when he can behave normally. But he wigs out badly and I'm not sure (or unsure) that it IS within his control. Because of how calculated the action was, perhaps he just has so much anger inside of him that he acts out...HAS to act out. Perhaps not. I doubt anyone can explain it to you--but I personally don't think this kid is 100% "all there." At the same time, I do think he is very dangerous, detached, possibly heading toward psychopathy. I'd also be concerned about the medications. Lexapro can cause all sorts of aggression.
  18. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Nancy, I believe he is only on Lexapro, and that has only been for a short time.
  19. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Yes, he's been taking 5 mg Lexapro for about a month or so.

    As I've said before, one of the only ways to get even an inkling about what's going on in your difficult child's head is to do projective testing. Except for cost and for putting your difficult child through more testing, I have no idea why you wouldn't pursue this avenue.
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This in many ways reminds me of the behavior one sees of a person or child that can sit and rip the wings and legs off of insects. Slow, deliberate, meticulous. No shame or empathy.