Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by witzend, Oct 18, 2008.
How's it going? Just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you and your family.
Hey Witz, thanks for asking. I appreciate it. We've been in quiet mode the past two weeks since difficult child's been started on Depakote and taken off Paxil and Elavil (way too fast, in my opinion). He's felt awful and hasn't been up to much in the way of outbursts or temper. Outwardly he's much more peaceful and doesn't argue at times he normally would, but he says that inside he's far more irritable than usual. Also he has nasty abdominal pain with the Depakote. He sees the psychiatrist Monday so will probably get switched to something else because of the abdo pain. He can switch after Tuesday, which is his omnibus hearing in his college town re pot and paraphernalia possession charges. If he loses and is put on probation, I really hope they give him a PO here in town and not in his college town. It would **** to drive all that way every time he had to check in.
We're working on another contract with the two counselors from outpatient rehab, but it's going slowly because the counselors have been away for ten days. The idea is, we'll put everything on the table, the counselors will put things out there too like paying room and board, difficult child will know everything ahead of time, and he'll have to make a Plan B for if/when he breaks the contract. That means he'll have to look into housing with mental health services in town, other transitional housing, etc., as well as skills training programs and other services. It'll be good for him.
I've really been enjoying the peace in the household. difficult child hasn't had ANY initiative until the last day or two, i.e. sleeps and watches TV all day, but the past two days he worked for hours outside putting wire and plastic around all my roses (about thirty of them) for winter. He also worked in our woods making paths, which allowed him to chop away at grape vines and dead logs, and tired him out. I hope the next mood stabilizer will keep him as calm as the Depakote does, without the side effects.
As for me, I fell down the garage steps this am while taking daughter to write the PSAT and tore the ligaments in my left ankle! Arrgh. At least it didn't break. I'll hobble around on crutches for a while and hopefully get back up to speed soon. With this ankle I can't weave (can't use both feet on the treadles)!
How are you doing?
I'm glad to hear that things are quieting down at your house. I hope that the psychiatrist will be able to help your difficult child feel a little better "on the inside". That's awful about your ankle! Tearing or pulling ligaments is such a long thing to recover from, and when you think you're better it's easy to go overdo it and put yourself right back towards where you started from.
I really like the idea that your difficult child has to come up with a plan b for if the contract doesn't work out. That puts the onus of failure on him, and makes him really think about what happens if he does some silly thing to mess up. I don't think that I have heard of that being done that way before.
We are doing well. Things are pretty quiet around here. We have been working on remodeling the kitchen since late May, and we are probably 16 hours from finishing, if we could just get motivated to get it done. It's harder to do the finish work when the appliances all work and you're not doing dishes in the bathroom sink anymore!
Keep up the good work! It's good for all of us to hear when things are progressing well.
I know what you mean about it being hard to finish up a long remodeling job. It takes so much time and effort and everything else takes a back seat, and then once the basics are in place, the rest of your life needs attending to and the finish details slow right down. But 16 hours sounds like a couple weekends' worth (assuming not everything can be done instantly, like tile cement having to cure) so it sounds hopeful!
I really liked the Plan B thing too - it was the counselors' recommendation and they do it with all the contracts they write with clients and families. Not having a Plan B is what led husband and me to cave the first time. Now I know there is one shelter in town, plus transitional housing, plus help from the mental illness program here ... I didn't have that info before and it makes all the difference. difficult child has to get the info and let the counselors know he understands it and can/will act on it - in fact they work with clients who break their contracts and keep track of them while they get services arranged. This relieves my mind so much in terms of Plan B happening! difficult child would still be responsible but wouldn't have the street as his only option (he doesn't have any local friends so no place to crash).
Got to go put this ankle back up on ice. Grr.
That's a really good counseling group you got into. I hope that some of our other members with older teens who are acting out will see this idea. It's really excellent.
Sixteen hours would be two weekends if I could get husband started earlier than 3 in the afternoon...
Had some major frustration this morning. Picked up Saturday's mail and there was a letter from the attorney saying difficult child's hearing/trial that was set for tomorrow has been 'continued' until Dec. 4. Arrgh! husband took time off work specifically for this, and it wasn't easy to get. Nice of them to give us some notice. It seems the police officer who botched the search initially and has to testify, will be away tomorrow. How convenient. The trouble with December is, the drive to difficult child's college town goes along a highway that can be a deathtrap in bad weather. We usually have a good winter storm right around Thanksgiving. So if WE can't get to court due to weather, difficult child suffers for it, while the police officer gets to delay the whole thing at her convenience.
This also takes the trial more than six months since filing the charges. On the 'application for continuation' there's a paragraph that the defendant is supposed to sign, waiving his right to a speedy trial, and obviously there's no signature there. I don't know how they can just blow that off. So now, after difficult child not sleeping for a week as the 'day' approached, it's a big letdown.
Dear PA Court System,
Enclosed please find my bill for one days wages that I lost due to having to jump through literal hoops to get the day off from a job where I am reminded on a daily - nae HOURLY basis how lucky I am to still HAVE a job. My work day is a nine hour day times my wage less an hour for lunch and comes out to about $XX dollars. My second charge is for pain and suffering. Since I really can't put a tag on what your lack of committment to this case has caused in my house with my emotionally disturbed son and myself for having to not only suffer the parental upset of GOING through this - but NOW having to GO through it AGAIN at yet another future date (was hoping to ahve this all behind me for the holidays but you screwed THAT up) and so I'm charging you $1000.00 per person involved, for a total of $2000.00 . My third charge regards the fact that You said October 20th, I was there - gas; although it has gone down in recent days was figured at XX miles to and from the courthouse at $XX a gallon.
And now each of those charges will be doubled - SINCE you are making this court date a potential MID-WINTER storm date with hazzards of snow, ice and another day off, more upset I feel this is fair. I've also enclosed my receipts for 1 box of generic alkaseltzer from Walmart @ @2.39 a box, 1 roll of Rolaids @ 1.89 a roll, 1 bottle of Squirt on sale at the local Kroger for $1.10 a bottle and the economy size 1/2 gallon of Tangurey Gin - at nearly $50.00.
This, carry the one.....over to the 4......add that.......(put receipts in) and my total invoice for YOUR screw up to my schedule is a pittance at $5,297.64 tax included.
cc: MY SON, MY ATTY, THE SOLICITOR
enclosures: receipts for medicine ie: alkaseltzer, rolaids, gin & Squirt.
It sounds like a rock and a hard place. If it were for me (rather than difficult child), I would not sign away my right to a speedy trial. That's a walk, a freebie. It would be their problem that the police officer couldn't show. Did difficult child see this? What did he say?
difficult child wants to know if the charges can be thrown out because they let it go past six months (technically the six months are up Nov. 5 so they could still conceivably hold it before then ... but assuming they don't ... ) and he didn't sign away his right to a speedy trial. On the form it says they 'tried' to contact difficult child's attorney and at the time of filing the attorney hadn't gotten back to them. I suppose their defence would be that they tried to contact difficult child's counsel. But there's nothing to show how long they waited, or if they tried more than once ... if they gave the attorney two hours to call back that's not ok. If they gave him two weeks and he didn't get back to them, then he's the problem. I don't know yet what the story is; waiting for a phone conference tomorrow. But I would think the bottom line would be that difficult child MUST sign away his right for it to be waived, don't you think? Just not getting a return phone call sounds like way too flimsy a reason to waive someone's rights.
If they have until 11/5, and difficult child received the notice now, there's no extension unless he signs it. It would be in his best legal interest (I'm leaving out the moral and social interests) to send a letter saying that he does not waive his speedy trial. It puts the onus back on them to get their stuff together before 11/5.
I found out more from difficult child's attorney today (finally reached him by phone). Apparently the 180 day rule is only for people who are incarcerated and waiting for trial; if they're out on bond it's a year. So there's no November deadline as difficult child is on unsecured bond. The attorney didn't oppose the application to continue because he said the judge was going to grant it regardless, and he didn't want to antagonize the guy ahead of time ... he wants to just show up and hopefully suppress the evidence. So I guess difficult child won't be sending any letters for now ... at least the attorney said that if there's a winter storm around the December date, that difficult child won't be penalized if we can't make it across I-80 and the mountains. Thank goodness.
On the downside, difficult child has been taken off the Depakote due to constant abdo pain, and started on Geodon ... and within 24 hours of stopping Depakote he got angry during a conversation today and showed no more insight into his situation than he had the day he came home in May. He'd been getting worked up about how badly he felt the police treated him in May, started talking about suing everyone again, and then was angry that now they've got his pictures and prints on file. I think he wants to sue them for that too! Anyway, I told him people get printed etc. when they're arrested, they don't have to be convicted ... and I looked at him and suggested he not be quite so indignant about everything because the fact is he DID have pot and paraphernalia in his dorm. He got furious and went back to the old 'We've already talked this to death! I will NOT go through this again! I am NOT discussing this any more!!!' and stomped out of the room down to his bedroom and slammed the door. He didn't come up for supper and husband had to go get him to take him to his outpatient rehab group this evening.
Not an iota of insight despite all these weeks of rehab. Not a dot. I'm shaking my head. I guess the past two weeks were just two weeks of sedated peace, not real progress.
Just a thought: When he's not angry or otherwise emotional, is he able to be rational and logical? Are you able to reason with him?
I know my daughter is much younger, but when she's in the emotional side of her brain, she can't access the thinking side and vice versa. She often does not remember her outbursts/meltdowns/rages or does not remember the extent once she has switched back to the thinking side. I often threaten to record her so she can see it for herself, but I haven't yet. The neuropsychologist and therapist both noted that. They called it emotional dysregulation, but it seems to be an Executive Function issue. They also recommended Depakote for her, but I refused it at that time. She was 10 (I think) and I wasn't prepared to put her on that powerful of a drug at that age.
Of course, his behavior also sounds like Borderline traits, too, but I thought I'd throw it out there.
Yes, when he's not angry difficult child is perfectly rational. Even when he's angry I'm not convinced he completely loses his ability to think logically; he's told his younger brother about times where he got really emotional (tearful) to the point where he was 'sort of into it' but it was done to get out of a punishment. I think he can also control the anger, he just doesn't always choose to. He's always had the ability to switch off, once he's got everyone else in an uproar, and become calm and even cheerful.
I used to think he didn't really remember his rages, or didn't understand how intense they were. I now think he just doesn't care. He probably doesn't see them as intense or harmful to others, but it's more a lack of empathy than a lack of executive brain function (unless empathy can be classed as an executive function!).
I think he does show borderline traits; but I'm beginning to be unsure whether he's more antisocial. He's not a classic violent criminal antisocial personality, but he fits some of the noncriminal/petty criminal subtypes that are more lazy and manipulative, but still have no conscience. I suppose it's not critical which it is.
He started therapy with a local therapist who sees dual diagnosis and borderline patients, and is now refusing to go, saying the guy only talks to him about water sports and his wine collection. I rather doubt that, but I can't force him to go. I can, however, make up another contract in collaboration with the rehab counselors, and that's the plan for tomorrow. husband and I are supposed to meet with them and work out some ideas, then we'll have another family meeting and go over everything with difficult child. That's where he'll be told he has to investigate his Plan B options. Should be a joyful meeting, not!!
Meanwhile he had one job 'interview' at a local gas bar, where he had to take a computer personality/morals test that asked questions like, 'Is it ok to come in to work hung over?' and 'If an employee steals $10 from the till and it's a first offense, what should be done: a) nothing, b) reprimand, c) suspend without pay, d) fire the employee.' He's so sure he'll get this job that he's stopped looking for anything else. We'll see ... it will be interesting to see whether he passes or fails the test. It provides information either way.
I'm sorry to hear that he is not feeling well. The deal with the delay makes sense, I guess. Hopefully he's thankful that he isn't in jail 180 days waiting for his trial! I'll keep my fingers crossed that when the date finally comes you have nice clear weather to get to and from and get it over with. Hopefully he wasn't counting on the "speedy trial" rule? That way he won't be disappointed.
I would guess it would depend on how he looked at the question. Did he look at it as it would pertain to him or someone else? Our manipulative kids are very good at holding everyone else *but* themselves accountable.
I have spent a lot of time with my daughter trying to determine what is EFD, what is manipulation, what is this, what is that and I've come to a similar place as you. The result is the same. My child, while only 13, is completely resistant to helping herself. As my mother has said for years, "She is so headstrong in her own self-defeat." If she refuses to use the tools she's been taught and refuses to hold herself accountable, the result will always be the same.
I'm tired of trying to determine what is what and how to address this. I am still learning about different techniques and understandings, but the bottom line is that she has to be able to function in society and in order to do that she has to be a willing participant in changing her behavior. Whether that's through interventions for EFD or behavior mod, it's not going to matter if she's not participating. Until she gets to the point where she is willing to help herself and to accept the help and tools provided, I'm addressing the behaviors and not considering where they are coming from. Anything else is an exercise in futility. Good, bad, or otherwise that's where I'm at right now. I am no longer willing to tolerate the entire family suffering because she refuses to help herself and unleashes her fury on us all.
Sorry to hijack your thread, but your post really got me thinking. Good luck with your meeting tomorrow. Sounds like you're going to need the rhino skin.
The frustrating thing is, he doesn't even think about that. I don't think it's entered his consciousness that he could be in jail right now, or that, if he violates the terms of his bond, he not only goes to jail but faces a fine of $1800. When anything to do with this enters the conversation he gets angry, as he did yesterday when I reminded him that after all, he DID have drugs in his room and had been using. Just storms off. If he'd show a little humility or thankfulness I'd be more encouraged but it's the opposite. And if he does anything that results in him going to jail etc., he'll see it as all my fault (or husband's and mine) and be furious with us. That's what's discouraging.
How true! That is exactly the question, because my difficult child has a fully-developed sense of right and wrong as they pertain to *others* - but for him the rules don't apply. Unfortunately my books on antisocial personality disorder point out that it's not quite true that Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) people have no conscience or sense of right and wrong; they usually have no problem distinguishing them for others or in theory, but for themselves they selectively ignore the inconvenient parts of the moral code.
That's where I am, too. I've spent so many years trying to address his behaviors clinically, keeping in mind his EFD and various diagnoses, but in the end it's pretty simple. He has to behave in socially acceptable ways. The etiology is not the main thing. His employers haven't cared about his diagnoses or EFD, they just care that he was setting his lunch bag on fire at work, or that he was throwing garbage or boasting about being strong enough to crush apples in one hand. He doesn't HAVE to do this stuff. So I'm strictly behavioral in my approach now. I read my notes from years ago and they're horrible - we lived under such abuse from him. I just want to make up something of the lost time and attention to my other kids, now.
These are very difficult growing pangs for all of your family.
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