Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Brian and Frankie

I do find myself wondering about Brian and the level of anxiety he has over Frankie.

They got along really well in the beginning.

Things went down hill when Frankie decided to tell Brian all about his past on an evening when Brian had forgot to take his pills two days in a row.

Now long time readers know that Brian has some anxiety issues. (You can click the label "anxiety" at the end of this post if you want to read about it). Medication makes a huge difference in his case. If he forgets to take his meds we notice. Like last week when he just sat in the chair and started crying. He has progressed far enough to be able to recognize that that is what it is. When I saw he was crying I told him that he could cuddle with me. He climbed almost into my lap. I asked him if he had forgot his pills; he nodded. I asked if there was anything else wrong; he shook his head. So I did a visualization exercise to help him relax and he went to bed.

He had only forgot them one day.

But it turns out he had missed his pills two days in a row when Frankie started sharing his history. I only came in part way through. It was a thrilling tale of adventure and survival. I have no doubt that much of it was true, and that much of it was false. I imagine that in the real version Frankie did a little less heroic defending of himself and his father with home-made knives and a little more fantasizing about doing so. I also doubt that being homeless was as exciting (in good and bad ways) as he made it sound.

Anyway, I don't know how much I missed, but by the time I got there and attempted damage control, Brian was fairly convinced that Frankie was capable of murder and was his present engaging self only because Frankie's pills kept his homocidal impulses in check. I did try to convince Brian that it wasn't true, but I just didn't have good answers to the questions.

Brian understands that when he, Brian, does not take his pills he very quickly goes from a cheerful capable guy to an anxiety-ridden, tearful guy. It is very plausible to him that Frankie would go from a child-like kid who never stopped talking and rolled on the floor crying in frustration to someone who might murder us in our sleep.

I think one of Frankie's stories must have included knifing someone in his sleep. It was such a common theme in Brian's anxieties.

Anyway, when Frankie had to go to the hospital because he slashed and stabbed his stuffed animal, with a homemade knife no less, and was afraid of what he would do next ..

OH! Something JUST hit me. It was obvious to me that the thing that Frankie was afraid of was that he might go from slashing his clothes and his toy to cutting HIMself. It was so obvious in fact that I did not ever explain that. I think I just said that Frankie "did not feel safe." I did not intend to be unclear. Given Brian's pre-existing anxieties though, he probably thought that Frankie was on the verge of becoming violent towards others.

Well, maybe I just answered the question I wrote this post to address: why is Brian THIS afraid of Frankie coming back even to visit.

1. Frankie told vivid stories of himself hurting other people and behaving in ways that Brian cannot understand.
2. Brian was in a psychological state that made him uncritical of the stories and highly anxious. He formed the opinion that Frankie was capable of doing physical harm to others without warning or provocation.
3. Frankie then used a home-made knife on a stuffed animal; acting out the sort of story that he told Brian.
4. The Frankie went on a rage in his room, destroying his possessions and slamming his fist into the floor until it was bloody and the police (for the first time ever) were called to the house.

And now Brian gets anxious at the thought that Frankie might come back even for a visit.

And I wonder why.

Sometimes I am a bit slow.


  1. Can you message me privately about what Brian takes for Anxiety?? My son has pretty severe anxiety, and we have yet to find a medication that helps it.


  2. Anxiety is a heavy burden to carry. It turns the ordinary into disasters. I don't think you are slow at all, I am always impressed at your ability to think things through and gain such insight.

  3. Well it all makes sense when you lay it out like that. Poor kiddo. He must have been under so much stress when Frankie was there if he believed Frankie was capable of harming anyone in the family.

  4. I totally know that feeling of missing a few pills,a nd suddenly everything just seems so INTENSE! Sometimes I forget to take my pills, other times I have trouble renewing the prescription. either way, its a sucky feeling!

  5. I'm getting anxious just READING about Frankie's behavior. Don't Brian's rights as a member of the household - to have his home be a safe haven - supercede those of Frankie to visit?


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