Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It Takes a Village

Today my oldest son became threatening, I tried to offer him support to help him calm down, a new technique that has proven to be successful, but today it wasn’t working and things were escalating. So I did something I’ve never done before, I called for back up.

While holding my son’s door shut, as he tried to throw stuff at me from the other side, I called a friend to come to my house, I told her it was an emergency. Knowing our family situation, she dropped everything and quickly came to our house. She even left her son’s ABA therapist (for autism) waiting outside her house while she went to mine since the law doesn’t allow her son’s therapist to be alone with her child.

I have to admit, this was a big step for me. Though I’ve had plenty of people offer this kind of support, I’ve never had the guts to use it. Why not? Because of pride, because I don’t want to be a burden on others. I hate having to ask for help and I think a part of me believes that this is my child, my responsibility, so I should be able to do this all on my own. Foolish huh? The thing is, I do know better, I understand that I can’t do this alone, but somewhere along the way of thinking and doing I fall short.

So how did it go? I’m happy to share that it went better than I ever imagined. My friend showed up while I had my son in a hold on his bed. As predicted, just her appearance jolted him out of his flight or fight response. It still took about 10 minutes to get him calm enough to get in the shower, which is the first step of bringing him back to normal, but we got there.

Afterwards my friend who knows my son well, shared how different he seemed during this episode. It was her first experience seeing him like this. She was quick to point out that even his body language was different than normal, I think it kind of disturbed her a little, as she said, “All I could think as I watched him was, what voices is he hearing in his head that he’s not telling you about? It’s like he was being coached by a voice in his head to act out against you.” She also noted that his behavior was “animalistic”.

I found this interesting since we’re so accustom to this behavior that I forget that most people who know him very well have never seen this side of his illness.

After my son was in the shower and I felt things were back under control my friend headed back home to her son’s therapy. Moments later I got a text asking me to give her the thumbs up if my son came out of the shower normal so she could make sure we were ok. After thanking her, she responded with, “No problem, it takes a village.”

Thank you God for my village, and thank you God for letting me have the courage to ask for help when I need it—I wish I had done it sooner.

* * *

I thought it was worth sharing that after it was all over my son said that he was glad our friend came over because it helped him calm down. He shared that our upcoming vacation may be bringing stress on and like last year before our vacation, he’s having trouble staying under control. Thankfully he’s able to recognize this, I call this progress.


  1. Thanks for sharing this Mama Bear. I'm proud of you for asking for help- that's a big step! And I completely relate to your description of how hard it was to do. I feel the same way, like I don't want to be a burden to others.

  2. Oh I am so relieved your friend was able to help you. And Yes Yes Yes it does take a village to raise a child especially one with mental illness. What a good friend you have also.
    As far as the tension building in your son before vacations....I get that way too. But it has never set me off that badly where someone had to hold me down. Poor kiddo. I wish you guys all the best as always.

  3. KEEP asking for help! Good job Mama Bear!! Love you all.

  4. So sorry this happened, but so glad you took a chance at diffusing it...and it worked!

  5. It does take a village and I commend you for reaching out for support. I just put together a list of friends that I thought could call upon eachother if necessary. I am so grateful for your blog, advice, and candid style. - PAR.

    1. That’s awesome PAR, so glad it helped you too!