Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Part III: Decisions in the morning

The social worker emailed me early to let me know that she got the message and an hour later to say that the TTFM had agreed to do respite for me this weekend. She will call me and we will work out details. It is always tempting the bring a kid over Saturday morning and pick them up Sunday evening thereby getting two days off and using just one credit. However the Tiny, Terrifying Foster Mother fightens me far too much to try a stunt like that. I have to talk to her before I can work out the details, but I am hoping to take him over Friday evening and get him back 48 hours later.

The original plan for respite was that it was going to be the sort of thing that we arrange in advance. All the boys were going to go somewhere so that mommy and daddy could have grown up time. That is not what this is going to be. This is we just need to get some rest, and Frankie needs to think about what he wants.

I don't know how much of what was going on yesterday has to do with his school and his perhaps correct impression that the only way out of it is to leave us. The problem of course is that the more he tries to force us to move him, the more convinced everyone is that this school is exactly what he needs.

I don't know how much of the problem is WoW or with things that frustrate him in general, or with his unwillingness to accept limits from us. WoW is the first thing that we have got firm over, that we have suggested we might take away from him entirely. It doesn't really frustrate him more than anything else. He does however have a unique relationship to it in that it both frustrates him to tears and compells him. There is something about it that makes him want to come back. I think it is sense of really being in another world, being another person. On one hand, he does know it is fantasy and not reality. On the other hand, he wants to escape into it. He wants it to be real.

I don't know how much, if any, of what is going on has to do with attachment anxiety. Maybe this is really about testing to see if we will love him even if we see how bad he can be. If that is it, we can ride it out.

I don't know how much, if any, of what is going on has to do with recent experiment with letting him take a lower dose of medication. That possibility really worries me because though I remember that week as being really difficult, he reports that he could think more clearly. He believes that his medications make him mentally slow and forgetful. He has been compiant about taking them (I don't think he is palming them), but he does not really believe he needs them.

In any case, Diane has said that she thinks it is important for her and the state worker to be very clear with Frankie about what the agency can offer him.

What crossed the line for us was saying that if he couldn't vent his feelings in WoW his anger would build up and he would hurt some one. Threats are out of bounds in our house. We have not confronted him with that, because it does not make sense to confront someone who is as out of control as he was last night, but it is important to understand that not threatening others' safety is a very basic rule for us.

To be clear, it is basic in a way that shredding your clothes, stomping around and yelling, and breaking things (even some of my things) is not. You cannot threaten the safety of others. If you do, you can't live here.

Now, he has only done it once and I am no where near to thinking about asking him to leave. Not even close. I do need to make him understand however that that is out of bounds. Everyone in this family has the right to feel safe. Everyone.

In any case, I am not sure what is going to happen next. In many ways the ball is in his court. If he wants to be here, we want him. Even if it is difficult for him, even if his behavior is extreme, we think we can manage -- particularly if we get the sorts of supports the worker agrees we need.

On the other hand if he is determined to leave, he will eventually leave.

I've been doing this long enough to know that I can't change that.

But I do know what is going to happen right now: I am going to take a nap.


  1. Naps are good. So is respite. Scary people are not, but hopefully you won't have much interaction with TTFM.


  2. Interestingly enough, is it possible that he was undergoing DT for the meds? If he's over-diagnosed with contrary and overlapping issues, then perhaps his meds are the same way?

    I know our nephew went through a similar situation when they diagnosed both Schiz & Bi-P (?!). They prescribed over 5 drugs at one time, and would have done more if family hadn't intervened.

    For example, there was one drug for the psychosis symptoms, but it caused anxiety. So they added Paxil to fix that. Then the other med wasn't effective enough, and they added an anti-tremor drug and Adderal to combat the sudden restlessness and inattention. Then the pschotropics didn't work and they used a combo Lithium and another to...blah blah.

    You get the picture.

    Eventually, they had to hospitalize him for about 6 mos to detox him, and monitor his real, unaffected symptoms. Then they approached the med solution again.

    Too many dr's not talking, imo.

    Anyway, the family tried to reduce some of his meds at home first, and it caused major chaos. He was raging like a man on meth, or drunk, or 'roid rage. Hard to describe, but it would cycle up and down with very little provocation.

    The good news is, once he was DT'd, and they were able to re-diagnose and medicate a lot less, it was a lot better.

    The dr's gave no explanation, FYI, other than "the meds were a precarious balance of false sanity, and to adjust one without adjusting for the others was catastrophic".

    Yeah. Understatement.

    Good luck.

  3. You amaze me. Firm, yet so loving. Allowing him the room to choose, yet providing guidance. Do you want our 17 yr old? We are feeling quite done with him!


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