Thursday, April 18, 2013

Saturday Night #1

Relapse was just part of the cycle that we found ourselves in.  

We were about to have two weekends in a row disrupted by big blow-ups.  


Saturday night number one:  We were getting ready to go to bed and told our son that it was time to stop playing Starcraft in the office so that we could lock up.  

Ever since I caught him in the basement smoking pot--when he was supposedly in the office playing Starcraft--we have instituted a rule that he has to go upstairs to his room at night when we do.  And, we lock the office, garage, and basement doors, as well as having the alarm chimes set on the outside doors so that he can't sneak around while we are asleep.  It is too bad that we have to do that, but the trust that we had built up over the last year was gone because of what he chose to do. 

This time, he informed us that he intended to stay up late playing the game since he didn't have very much time to play it that day.  At first, we said no, but when we saw that he was going to "lose it" over that decision, my husband said he would give him another half an hour while he stayed up to watch the local Saturday night outdoor television show.  

But, our son had already fixated on the “no” and went into battle mode, ready to fight to the death to get what he wanted.  He kept pushing the issue about how he should be allowed to stay up late and he shouldn't have to follow any stupid rules that we made just because we didn't trust him.  By the time he figured out that we weren’t going to change our minds, the half hour of game time that we were going to give him was over. 

I was amazed that he gave up his campaign and felt myself sigh with relief when he stormed up the stairs and slammed the door to his room.  

I thought we had dodged a bullet that night, but a few minutes later, he knocked on the bedroom door and said that he needed help with his guitar.  It was a little bit frustrating that the problems he had been having with his strings and tuners suddenly had to be fixed in the middle of the night.  But, we wanted to do our part to keep the peace and my husband tried everything that he could think of to help--even though he doesn't have any particular skills in that area--and nothing worked.  We told him that we would have to find a day during the coming week when we could take the guitar back to the guitar shop to find out what could be done to get it working again. 

However, since that didn’t solve his problem immediately, he acted as if it was another life or death situation.  He became more irrational and yelled that if he couldn’t fix his guitar right then, that night, he was just going to quit playing the guitar forever and then he would have NOTHING in his life anymore because we had already taken away everything else that he loves. 

Well, the only things we had "taken away" were the X-Box and marijuana.  

We found ourselves right in the middle of the big underlying issue.  He wanted his X-Box privileges back and since we had "unjustly" taken them away from him—we had taken away everything else that he loves.

We reminded him that he could have had the X-Box back by then, if he had only done the things he needed to do to earn it back.  He said wasn't going to do anything that we told him to do.  So, we asked him to tell us what HE would be willing to do to have the privilege back.  He answered that he couldn’t think of a single thing he should have to do to get something back that we had no right to take away in the first place. 

I said, “Oh, come on.  You know what we want you to do.  Why can’t you just say that you’ll be nice, stop swearing at us about everything, clean your room, go to school and pass your classes, go to AA, get a job, help out around here, and stay clean and sober?”

His response was, “Because I am not going to do any of those things.  I don’t want to live here anymore.  I can’t stand it here.  I would rather live behind a dumpster than live here for one more minute.  So, what I want YOU to do is tell me what I have to do to get you to kick me out!”

One minute we were being as helpful and supportive as we could be with his guitar needs and the next minute, he would rather live behind a dumpster than live with us.

We replied that we loved him and didn't have any desire to kick him out and that we just wanted him to stop fighting against everything, do what he was supposed to do, and get on with life in the best way possible.  But, he just said that we don’t love him, don’t do anything to make him happy, and needed to just tell him what to do to get thrown out of the house.

Even though it broke my heart to do this, I pointed to his shoes and coat and said, “Leave if you want to.” 

He proceeded to rage at me about how I would just call the police and tell them that he ran away and that I needed to kick him out so that it would be my fault if he was caught out on the streets.  He screamed, "If I burn this f***-n house down, will you kick me out?  Maybe that is what I should do.  If I do that, you’ll have to kick me out!”

We just calmly stated that if he did that, he wouldn’t have a house anymore, anyway, and that he would probably end up in jail.

He said, “If that is what it takes, then I will do it.  I want to go to Juvie.  That would be better than living here.  If I have to be here for the next 18 months, I am going to be a total a**hole and I won't do one thing that you want me to do.  So, kick me out or I am going to burn this house down.”

We did not feel safe at that point.  What would happen if we ever even tried to go to sleep that night? 

This situation was just spiraling out of control and I decided that I should call and ask my older son to come over in case we needed him to help us. 

Then, I called the Mobile Crisis Helpline to see if someone could be sent to our house to help us through this.    

I learned that the “mobile” part of their helpline doesn’t mean that they will come to your house, and the “help” part doesn't mean much either.  When I explained the situation, I was told that if he wasn’t already in a program there wasn’t anything that they could do.  I said, “If he was in a program, I wouldn’t be talking to you.  I have contacted so many agencies and programs trying to get him some help or get him into a program and all I get is put on waiting lists, or told that he doesn’t qualify, or that I can’t afford the costs because it is impossible to get a kid in a private program anymore unless you are a millionaire.  I need help and I don’t know what to do.  I was told by Youth Services that I should call you if we got into a crisis situation and that YOU would help me and now you are just like everyone else that tells me there is nothing you can do!”

I probably sounded like I was crazy, but I was tired of being told that there was nothing anyone could do to get my son the mental health help that he needed. 

The only advice she gave me was to call the police and have them come to take him to the hospital for a psych intake.

Well, thanks for that idea.  I never would have thought to call the police.  I was really trying to avoid having to call the police!  

And then I told my husband to call the police. 

When they came, our son was still belligerent and angry, but tried to act as if he didn't know why they were there.  He even had the nerve to say that he had been joking about burning the house down.  Just joking?  I swear I need to have an F-bomb activated recording device so that people can really see and hear what goes on and how it really does get as bad as we say it does around here. 

After speaking with us and trying to get our son to talk to them about what was going on, they determined that because he hadn’t made any threats to himself, they couldn’t take him to the hospital. 

Apparently, Freaking out and threatening to burn the house down did not meet the criteria for the police to help us either.  What a surprise.  As usual, we plea for help and there is nothing that anyone will do or can do to help us. 

The officers did suggest that WE take him to the hospital ourselves and volunteered to escort him into the back seat of our older son’s car, which has child-safe doors that can't be opened from the inside.  I was glad that he was able to come.

We felt that we had no other choice, but to take him to the hospital.  We didn’t know what was going on in his head and we didn’t know if he really was a threat to himself, or to us, or not.  We hoped that maybe we could get what we needed for him through the emergency room route. 

At the hospital, he had blood drawn, vitals taken, and a talk with a doctor, and a crisis worker.  After speaking with my husband and I, the crisis worker indicated that he was leaning toward recommending that our son be taken to one of two hospital psych units for evaluation and mood stabilization.

He spoke with our son at length.  At first he was very defiant and unwilling to talk about anything.  But, as soon as the crisis worker mentioned going to the psych unit, our son changed his tune.  He became apologetic and emotional.  He had tears streaming down his face and promised the moon and the stars that he would change and do whatever he had to just as long as he didn’t have to be hospitalized.

We all had to talk together about what would happen if our son came back home that night/morning.  The crisis worker pointed out the stark realities that might happen to our son if he continued on the path he was on (like prison, dying, etc.).  Our son half-heartedly admitted that he needed to change his ways and be a better person.  It sounded to me like he was just saying what he thought the crisis worker wanted to hear and whatever he had to say to be able to go home. 

And then the decision about what to do with our son changed.  He was getting another chance to straighten up and get his act together.  We did not feel good about this.  After all that had been happening over the course of the last few weeks, I didn’t believe that he was really going to commit to any serious long lasting willingness to change.  He was just playing a game and he was betting that he could win with this sorrowful change of heart act.  

The crisis worker sensed our ambivalence and reassured us that we could bring our son back to the hospital if he blew up again in the next few days and then he would be admitted to a psych unit.

But for now it was the same old story—"We are sorry that you are having struggles with your son, but we can’t help you. Good luck."

We were exhausted, discouraged, and apprehensive as we arrived home in that pre-dawn hour.

We crawled into our beds.  

And we slept.

No comments:

Post a Comment