Tuesday, October 23, 2007

An Odd Evening

Yesterday was an evening like any evening we might have had in the first month.

Frankie asked me if I wanted a CD of his poetry that he has read into his MP3 player. I asked if he knew how to burn it onto a disk. He said yes, so I said yes -- because it seemed like the polite thing to do.

Then he was frustrated because he could not find the disk that came with the MP3 player that would let him do that. I said that I thought the program was on the kids' computer. He said NOT THAT program, the OTHER program. And I said, "Well, you can usually download those sorts of things from the Internet."

And he looked at me and said in a loud and how-can-she-be-so-stupid tone, "My poetry isn't ON the Internet! It is in my MP3 player!" And I decided he was far too worked up for me to try to explain that I meant downloading the software.

Hubby suggested that they not worry about that right now and just put the music that Frankie wants onto the player. "But there isn't enough room! I can't put it on because my poetry is on there and it takes up too much room and the music won't fit!" He's got that annoying, whiny, I'm-working-up-to-crying-and-rolling-on-the-floor sound in his voice.

So I said, "You know Frankie, I would rather have your poetry written down anyway."

Frankie said, "I don't have time to write it down! That would take forever!"

"Well, why don't you just make a copy? We have a scanner. We can scan and print it."

So he ran to his room to find it and came back up and said it was gone. I must have thrown it away and now he would never have his poetry ever again.

"Did you look in the big plastic box of papers in your cupboard?"

"Yeees! I look eeeverywhere!"

"Is it okay if I look?"

"Yes. But you won't find it. It is gone and now I won't ever have any of my poetry and I worked hard on it!"

And I went down to his room and pulled out the big clear box full of papers and started to look at it. He walked in, saw it and said, "Oh, I didn't know you meant THAT box." He snatched it out of my hand and started going through it while I wondered what other box he could have possibly thought I meant.

And he found it and smiled at me and told me about all the fake names he had used when he signed it, "because that way the people at the center wouldn't know I wrote it. They don't like for you to write poetry, you know. Did you ever use any fake names for anything?" "Um...probably...once or twice." He took it to Hubby and Hubby scanned it and Frankie was happy. He deleted his poetry from his MP3 player and added some music and all was well.

And I watched him on the floor listening to his MP3 player, I thought about how emotionally young he really is, how little he seems to be aware of the needs or emotions of others. And I don't mean that in a "he's such a jerk" sort of way -- I mean that in that in some ways he is three years old, not the ten I have been claiming. Maybe it is the Asperger's that he may or may not have.

And I know that a month ago I would have thought it was sort of cute that he carried around a book in which he wrote poetry but signed with a variety of fake names so that other people would think someone else wrote it. Now though, after this week, I think "He's serious. It's not so much cute as paranoid."

Still, last night I could tell the Hubby and I were both trying to walk a fine line between allowing ourselves to be held hostage to his demands and a desire to keep him calm so that we would not have to call the police or take him to the hospital. The option of saying just giving him the problem back with sympathy, "Golly, sweetie. I don't know what you are going to do, but I am sure you can figure it out" did not seem to be an option, or at least not a safe and wise one.

I think he needs psychiatric treatment. He has been getting worse and with every fiber of my being I know he cannot control himself and he needs help -- and I cannot get him help in this backwater unless he is an immediate danger to himself or others, because the one and only adolescent psych unit is full.

I think the counselor did a good thing for him yesterday. The counselor got him closer to reality. He left understanding that he liked us, that the loss of his possessions was his responsibility, or at least not ours, that the only thing that he really, objectively disliked about this placement was the school. I don't think the counselor intended to make Frankie think he was in control of what would happen, but the counselor is not a magician and only had one hour. He brought Frankie back to a place which is both more emotionally stable and connected with reality. And I do of course mean relative to where he was the night before.

But I thought about the possibility of trying to tell him that the social worker could not change his school and he was going back to the group home. I cannot imagine how that conversation would go -- or I can, but none of them "work."

I can imagine him getting agitated and not believing me, insisting that HE was the one who spoke to the social worker and to the counselor and so HE knew what was happening. I think if I told him that I had also spoke to them he would either conclude that I had not understood them, or else the paranoia would kick in. I can so easily see him getting really angry because we were all talking behind his back and lying to him.

I don't like not telling him the truth, but I am afraid that trying to convince him of the truth is likely to succeed only in provoking him.

I wonder how what will happen next. Will he be told that it just isn't possible for him to change schools so, consistent with his proposal, he is going back to The Town From Whence He Came? Will he perceive it to be what he wanted? Or will he be angry and feel that he is being pushed around without being consulted?

And who is going to pack his things? Will they ask me to do it while he is at school and send someone to get them and him when he gets off the bus? Will they give him some notice and a chance to pack? And if they do, will he pack carefully, or will he throw a fit?

And how honest should I be with him? Should I let him go believing that it is all about what he wants and the terrible school, or is there anyway I can communicate to him that I think he needs a higher level of care than I can provide?

I don't know. I wish I did.

I'm okay...I am not as anxious as I might sound. I'm...apprehensive, and sad.


  1. It sounds like a tough, tough, time. Do you know when the social worker will move him?

    What do the workers say about what you should and should not tell him?

  2. Thoughts are prayers are with you during these days of introspection and waiting. {Hugs}

  3. So far all I know is that the state worker is going to try to get here before the end of the week and the exhausted* agency worker says not to argue with him.

    I know nothing else.

    *Diane, has been careful not to tell me things she shouldn't, but it a small community and I know one of her kids is in the hospital with severe injuries from an automobile accident, and another has run away. There was a hint that she has at least one other kid in crisis. So, if you count Frankie, that's four.

  4. Now he's starting to sound more like schizoaffective disorder...with the paranoia.

    Look at this website...http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx4.htm

    (and yes, my nephew was originally diagnosed bi-p, then schizoaff, then eventually chronic schizo over the course of several years. He was a YOUNG teenager when the diagnosis roller coaster started...

    I think the manic & mixed episodes are what you might be experiencing now...but note the "grossly disorganized" & "flat" expression descriptions.

    The counselor once told us that paranoia is part of this, although I don't see it detailed on this particular listing.

  5. I think you should look into the autism thing. I know that he's moving but I really think there might be something there now that I reflect on it. Plus it could be something that was looked over really easily while living on a ranch with a million different outlets at his disposal without interacting with people.

    Just his overall awkward social interaction. It would be interesting to know.


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