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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Crazy Train

The things that are going on behind our doors makes me feel like a complete failure as a mother.  I know I am doing and have done a lot for these boys, but nothing is ever enough. 

This status I posted on Facebook may give you some idea of what’s going on. 

3 a.m.  -My mom calls my cell phone from her downstairs bedroom. 
"Are you o.k.? I heard you ask Red to leave your room. Do you need me to come up there?" 
She was dreaming or rather having a nightmare. We live in a war zone. We suffer from PTSD. 
Feel me? 
Red is so miserable, worrying about every detail of his transition into adulthood. Both boys generously spread around their every emotion for all of us to bathe in. They seem to have no interest in self-regulation, or using the coping skills that they’ve been taught in therapy.  They want  to express every emotion that they are going through, loudly, over and over again. Years of therapy, and social skills classes sometimes feel like a waste of time and money.  

When Red is in a decent mood, he puts a lot of energy into annoying the hell out of all of us.  Recently, he actually said, “When I’m being annoying that means I’m happy.” His repertoire of annoying behaviors includes singing, loud heavy metal music as soon as he wakes up in the morning.  It doesn’t matter that the rest of us are sleeping or perhaps trying to watch the news or whatever.
This makes me laugh! Reminds me of I Love Lucy
He has also been ranting and raging and perseverating on religion.  Sometimes, following me around the house, refusing to leave me alone.  He reminds me of those people you see out on street corners screaming, “If you haven’t accepted Christ as your personal savior, you're going to hell! Get saved today!” I’ve even put on headphones to drown him out because he just won’t stop talking! He seems to be in and out of mania. He’s driving the crazy train and he’s taking me along for the ride. 

Blue has absolutely zero patience and tolerance for his brother.  He is impulsive, and like a moth to a flame when it comes to Red’s behaviors.  He wants to control him.  He has to chastise him and constantly tell him what he should an should not be doing.  He calls Red all of the names in the book, except for the one that we gave him (stupid, idiot, fat, ugly, worthless).  Of course, I’ve tried everything to curb this behavior, but they are both out of control!  The fighting between them is pure madness right now.  

I would say that our family is in crisis.  We can not keep living this way.  We need to make some major changes with a quickness.  I believe we need family rehab, intense therapy, something! And fast or somebody is going to end up getting hurt. I may be the smallest one in the house, but it ain’t gonna be me!

I have a plan ...it may or may not involve finding someone another place to live.  I am also open to suggestion. Suggestion! I said! Not judgement. You know what...go ahead judge me.  I'm too tired and crazy to give a ...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Graduation

At the end of every week for the past several weeks, I have thought ...Boy! That was the week from hell! I think I deserve a prize for surviving.

Last week before Red's graduation, was the epitome of a week from hell. I thought nothing could top the previous week when I had come home from the hospital with my mother.  He went completely ballistic, as we were coming through the door.  You read that right ...coming through the door after her being in the hospital, for 5 days.

"Why didn't you take me to church!?" he asked incredulously. "Why do you have to have Blue's therapy appointment on Wednesdays when you know I need to get to church?"  He went on and on and on from there. ranting, making all kinds of threats.  This ended with a phone call to the Crisis hotline. A call that miraculously got him to pull his shit together.

I have told him numerous times, "You know I have his appointment on Wednesdays, YOU need to find another way to get to church. And don't wait until the last minute!" Sometimes he pulls it off, getting someone from church to pick him up.   Sometimes, he waits and there is no one available.

On that particular day, not only did I have to be across town for therapy with Blue, I also needed to be back on this side of town,  immediately following because suddenly, they decided to release my mother from the hospital. (Even though, she wasn't much better than when she got there). My husband was out of town, of course.  I don't have the superpower of being 3 places at once, so something had to give.

The person who was dialing my phone over and over again, being rude and demanding, was the person who lost out on a ride from me.

Back to this last week before graduation ...Red had completed his high school credits in January of this year.  So, when he arrived on campus for graduation rehearsal, he had not been submerged in the high school cesspool for over 4 months.  Being in the gym, surrounded by hundreds of seniors, brought back all kinds of insecurities, old wounds, thoughts and feelings about every single bad thing that ever happened during high school.  It sent him over the edge.

I got a phone call from him during rehearsal, "I'm not doing it! I am not walking the stage with these people. I feel uncomfortable here."

Later I received a text, "I want the girls to scream my name when I walk across that stage.  Since that's not going to happen...it's pretty much going to be a disaster."

I didn't push.  I told him it was his life ...his decision.

Well, he came home and jumped head first into the deep end.  He ranted he raved.  He blamed all of us and everyone else in the world, for all of his problems.  He said some of the most god awful things to all of us ...my mother included.  Some of the things he said  quite frankly, were unforgivable, certainly unforgettable. Rage or no rage, Aspergers or not. I was done! I really didn't want him to walk if we had to see more of this behavior.

I was trying to pull off a little reception for the following day after graduation,  here at the house, so that his friends and our friends could stop by, have a bite and acknowledge his accomplishment.  Plans for that came to a screeching halt after he said all of the horrible things that you just can't take back.

After saying everything he could to our family, then he took to Facebook to let everyone in the world know how he was feeling.

"I don't want to go to graduation. I'm going to be embarassed and people are going to make fun of me on stage. They're going to say "Look its the angry guy!" and I will not be embarassed in front of the whole school!! I wish I could make a speech in front of the whole entire school and prove them wrong that I am not the person they think I am!!! I am way nicer than you think and I will not be humiliated!! But I guess that none of my classmates actually care about me especially the girls."

This post rallied a lot of attention.  He received encouraging words and thoughts from so many people. He got phone calls from family members with words of encouragement.  I tried to explain what graduation is really about.  It's a celebration of accomplishment.  It's not a popularity contest.  It's an opportunity to put the past behind you and move forward.

He made it through the second rehearsal the following day without incident. He became determined to walk.  In the past, he has volunteered in the classroom with kids with autism and other disabilities who have much more to overcome than he does.  Some of them would be walking the stage on graduation day.  He was determined that if they could do it, so could he.
He Made IT! 

When that graduation march song played, my heart filled with pride.  My eyes filled with tears.  I thought about every meeting that I went through to fight for what he needed.  I thought about every phone call I received from school when he was falling apart.  I thought about all of my worries and fears that this day would never come.  That his anger would someday get him into trouble that I couldn't get him out of.  In that moment, I believe that his walking across that stage meant more to me than any other parent in that stadium.

While all of the kids were standing to receive accolades, awards and recognition, I was thinking, He made it! And he never got arrested or ended up in the hospital! That's my boy!

One of his peers that he started kindergarten with was in the top 10 students graduating.  He has already received a scholarship to the University of Texas.  I am so happy and proud of him. This young man would periodically come over to tutor with Blue on high school projects.  I am equally  happy that Red made it to graduation...period.  He has a job that he loves. Many students don't have that yet.  He has a passion for video editing and has taught himself, more than many other students will ever know.
Red & friend since day 1 kindergarten
He's going to make it.  His path has not been easy.  There will continue to be bumps, curves, and setbacks.  He may need more support than your average adult, but he will get there.   I am hoping that getting there, means that soon he will get out of my house!

By the way, he did not take one picture with his family after the ceremony.  He was too busy taking pictures with all of the friends and hot girls, whom he accuses of ignoring him all throughout high school. You all will have to see me in my hot dress another time.
Girls he wanted to scream his name
He settled for this picture...thrilled in fact

Monday, June 2, 2014

Purchasing Sanity

How does one go about purchasing sanity?  Well, wine helps.  Margaritas and martinis are also good.  I've heard wonders about this drug called Xanax, but my doctor seems to think I don't need it.  I should have her spend a day in my house.

The best possible way for me to gain a little sanity is to take a break from my children.  Respite.  Rest and relaxation are vital components to my sanity.  In order to make this happen, sometimes I need  help.
For months now I've been thinking ...I need to hire some help so that I can schedule designated time to get away.  I also really just want to do less, and be less available to my children who demand so much of me and who do so much performing for my benefit. I am really sick of driving Red's ungrateful ass everywhere.  We have some of the toughest moments in the car (especially on the way to therapy).  It can be pure torture.  I need a way to resolve some transportation issues for him.

Then again, wouldn't it be a little ironic to hire some one to help me watch my newly adult son, who now works as a Child Watch Counselor?  Child Watch counselor or not, he still has a lot of growing and maturing to do.  Also, the sibling fighting issue seems to be getting worse by the day, if that is even possible.

I may be good at a lot of things.  I think outside the box to solve problems.  I can be pushy as hell when it comes to getting the things that my children need, and lately what my mother needs as well. I'm the kind of person who doesn't accept no, and what you can not do.  Anything is possible, if you push the envelope.  I don't live by the rules.  Rules are made to be broken ...by me.

For example, in the hospital with my mom a week ago with the nurses.  Please don't try to get away with sitting on your ass and not take care of my mother.  Just because I'm here doesn't mean I'm going to do the job you're getting paid for.  
And ...Mom, that's what the nurse is for.  I can help you with somethings, but you're not inconveniencing the nurse to have her do what she is paid for. 
Doctors?  Um ...what are you doing? I need details.  And I'm keeping track of these details and conferring with her private doctor, (who by the way, ended up giving me her personal cell number) to make sure you're not screwing us just trying to collect the money for this hospital stay.  
(By the way, they did totally screw us.  I'm trying to figure out how to get that resolved, but that's a whole other story.)  

When it comes to asking for help for myself ...it is definitely not a strength.  Part of it is relinquishing control.  The other part is, I don't like to feel like I'm infringing on people.  We have an awesome village that usually helps us, but friends are not always available and I really just hate asking.  Even though I am the kind of person that will help anyone and everyone in whatever way I can.  Sometimes, I don't even let them ask.  I see a need.  I fill it.  Everyone doesn't operate that way.  I guess other people are smart. They don't have time to be helping everybody and their mother.

My husband and I had a trip planned to New York for over a year for our 20th wedding anniversary. I knew I needed help in order to make it happen.  I waited until the last minute to ask my sister and my sister in-law, because honestly, I didn't want to.  I didn't want to be pissed if they couldn't do it.  My kids are such a handful.  Did I want to welcome them into my crazy world so they could see up close and personal what I deal with day to day? Or the other scenario, the boys would act like little angels, which brings about the question ...what the hell are you doing? They were fine with me!

When I finally did ask, there were issues in their own lives that would not allow either of them to come and help.  Then my mom started to have issues with her health. That had me going back and forth to the doctor.  She ended up in the hospital as I mentioned above, which complicated matters even more.  How could I leave not knowing what her health status would be?  Life got crazier than usual with her hospitalization and me spending so much time at the hospital.  The boys were pissed because I was unavailable, so when I did come home, they were acting out.  I was exhausted! I could hardly think and problem solve how I would get the help that I needed.

How could I hire a total stranger to come into my crazy life and replace me for a few days?  Again, there we go with the control issues.  Can I trust hired help in my home? How do I vet someone, get references and all of that crap when I already have my hands full? 

We ended up postponing our trip, because of my mom's health issues.  We didn't know when she would leave the hospital and what her condition would be.  However, we still wanted to salvage some way to spend some time alone together, away from these demanding children and my mother.

I sent out an e-mail to a group of teachers and administrators in the school district asking if anybody, knew anybody who could help.  I got a few replies, but the very best possible scenario just came together today!

A special education teacher who has worked with both of the boys and is EXCELLENT with them, agreed to come in to help me out.  She could use a few extra dollars.  Summer is coming up so she won't be working at the school.  It is a bonus and a gift from God, that she is also an expert in my children.  How awesome is that!?

Honey and I will be able to salvage our anniversary after all.  And I conquered my fear of asking for help!

That my friends is how you purchase a little sanity.  Not everyone can afford to pay for help, but if you can get a friend or a family member to help you out on regular basis, even if you're trading favors do it! Don't wuss out like me until you end up been driven insane.  Of course, your local mental health agency often offers these services for free if you qualify.  However you can, try to find a way buy yourself a little sanity.  Because you're worth it!