Sunday, April 27, 2014

I Admit It, I’m Weak.

Lately we’ve been working hard on restricting electronics for all kids to help our youngest try new things and experience life beyond a screen. It’s been going pretty well, but I have to admit that I cheated today.

After spending all day Saturday breaking up fights, even forcing my oldest to “go for a walk” after his escalating behavior, and putting my youngest in his room for a long extended reading time after he trashed his room in anger. I needed a break from the constant bickering and stress.

I had deadlines I needed to get done in my home office and I needed to work in an environment that was peaceful and stress free. Plus the husband was out of town so I was on my own.

I admit it, I was weak.

So today I lifted the ban on electronics for the entire day.

And it was pure bliss.

Sometimes you have to do what works.

Even if there’s shame involved.



Monday, April 14, 2014

Return of the Rage

It’s been over 4 months, but last week my oldest son went into a rage again.

As a result, he now faced our new consequence for the first time:
He lost his bed, all forms of electronics and the privilege of riding in the front seat of the car for the entire week.

My son has been doing exceptionally well lately, like REALLY good, so this came as somewhat of a surprise. But over the years I’ve learned that a person is never cured by their medication, there will always be breakthrough symptoms from time-to-time.

This rage came after two days of increasing intensity in him. He explained it like this to me, “For the past two days I have a feeling inside that I want to fight someone. Yesterday I was getting into an argument with my brothers but Dad resolved it, but I still came back at them, just because I wanted to fight someone.”

I noticed that as his behavior escalated, he was doing everything he could to provoke me. For 45 minutes he attempted to escalate the situation, but I ignored his behavior or I tried to redirect him, but it seemed even then that no matter what I did, he was going to go into a rage.

It’s that Dr. Jeykell, Mr. Hyde syndrome. Mr. Hyde was in the house and he was grinning at me as he tipped furniture over, taunted his brothers and threatened to break things. His opposition was at an all time high, but I wasn’t going to bite his bait. Unfortunately that just encouraged him to up the ante.

The tipping point for me was when he grabbed a glass bottle and was threatening to throw it over the balcony onto the tile floor below. The last thing I needed in this situation was broken glass all over, so I grabbed the bottle from him as I wrestled him to the ground.

Then the battle began.

He swung punches at me, bit me, and scratched my arms up pretty bad as I tried to keep him on the ground.

I really wanted to avoid going here, but as my son later explained, “The rage was going to happen and there was nothing you could do to stop it.”

As we wrestled on the ground, my middle son called an adult friend to come to the house as well as my husband (who works 45 minutes away). I knew that I probably only had 10-15 minutes in me to hold him down, he’s taller than me now and much stronger. Plus I was already bleeding a little a few minutes in, so I knew we needed to get this under control quickly.

At one point he dug his fingernails into my forearm and was grinding them deeper into my skin. It felt like an animal had my arm in it’s teeth and was refusing to let go. I started to cry over him, begging him to let go of my arm, explaining that it was hurting me, but he only dug in deeper.

After a few minutes of trying to hold him down, my middle son came into the room, grabbed his brother’s legs and helped hold him down. As he held him he calmly said, “This is not you right now, this is your illness. Please stop hurting mom.”

Thankfully, as predicted, having my husband’s friend stop by de-escalated the situation quickly.

What followed when my husband got home was the removal of my son’s bed from his room to the garage, signally the beginning of his week long of consequences. This is our effort to teach our son that violence is never acceptable and won’t be tolerated. We explained that he’s managed to learn to “keep it together” at school, he’ll have to learn that skill at home too.

As usual, our son seemed renewed after the rage. The chemicals released in his brain during the rage seemed to “reset” his brain. He was handling his consequence well, even made a makeshift bed in his room and borrowed books since he’ll have a lot more free time without electronics.

The true test will be if he remembers this long week of consequences and chooses therapy steps over a rage the next time he feels like he needs to fight someone.

Only time will tell.

* * *

Today marks the end of the week long consequences. The bed has been returned and life is continuing as usual. I thought it was worth sharing that our son never once complained about his consequences. I find this surprising, in fact, I was prepared for a rough week. But instead, he was great. He seemed to accept his consequences and made a good effort to earn it all back. I’m pretty proud of him.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Praising God

The last time I wrote here I was in a pretty bad place. I was facing a lot of fear regarding the future of my family. We were facing the uncertainty of my husband’s job along with the concern that he had an incurable cancer.

It all started when my husband’s routine blood work came back with markers for a possible blood cancer. As his primary care doctor put it, “I’m concerned about Multiple Myeloma—a cancerous situation.”

Over the past month my husband went through further testing all while we faced the uncertainty about his future employment. This period brought me to my knees to say the least. It felt like my foundation was falling apart, forcing me to lean on my true and only foundation, God.

I prayed through tears, fighting my mind as it imagined the horrible. One day I was so overwhelmed with all we had been through and was angry that we were facing the possibility of so much more that I attacked our kickboxing bag with a vengeance, letting my anger out with intense screams (something I picked up from my boys’ therapy sessions). I have to admit that it felt damn good! The only downfall was the embarrassment I felt when I realized that my neighbor was standing on the side of the house, next to my room and probably heard the entire thing.

I wish I could say that I was strong and was able to put my worries aside, but honestly, I felt like I was holding on for dear life. I was sicker than I’d hoped to be during this period of uncertainty. I think it had been too much stress for too long over the years. In my weakness, I leaned on God.

Then we got the results of another lab test for my husband and our concerns for cancer were heightened. But in God’s faithfulness, we got a call from my husband’s company securing his position the very same day. It was perfect timing, God knew that we were drowning under the weight of it all and He took that concern from us.

Flash forward to the weekend before my husband’s oncologist appointment and our home was filled with dread and anticipation. You could feel the heaviness in the air. Then I got a call from my biggest client telling me that she was quitting her business, thus I’d be losing the work. Follow that with my son’s staph leg infection from the Molluscum Contagious virus he acquired and you end up with my last post “Stop the Pain.”

So tonight I can share that our trip to the oncologist turned out better than expected. After reviewing all the lab results, the doctor was able to determine that my husband did not have cancer. In fact, he’s a pretty healthy guy. It was a false alarm.

PRAISE GOD!

Then later that evening I got a call to learn that my former client’s business was being bought out by another person and I would be getting my work back.

PRAISE GOD AGAIN!!

So you may be wondering, did I learn anything by going through this expereince?

YES! This experience gave me great perspective. I was able to see first hand how much my family is loved by family and friends. It made me appreciate the simplest things, it clarified the things that I love most. It made me realize how much I depend on my man, how much I need him, how deeply I love him. It also made me realize that I can lose everything in an instant and though I may remain broken in pieces, God is there to help me. He is always by my side.

It also reminded me that even though I’ve been through a lot of challenges over the years, I live a very blessed life.