Luke and the Living Hell

Today was a difficult day with Luke. He didn’t take his medicine Saturday or today so his behavior was completely out of control. He screamed. He insulted. He blamed. He shouted. He stomped around, broke things, and slammed doors. It wasn’t just one tantrum, he behaved this way the entire day.

By the time he went to bed, he had 4 shouting fits and 3 screaming, crying, hitting, meltdowns. The difference between shouting fits and meltdowns is that Luke retains the ability to speak coherently, albeit horribly, during a shouting fit. During a meltdown Luke vomits nastiness incoherently while screaming, crying, and behaving violently.

I’m taking him to counseling. I’m getting him meds. I’m doing everything in my power to try to help him but it seems his behavior continues to worsen as he gets older. I don’t know what else to do.

The counselor suggested sending Luke to residential treatment – a group home, basically. Jonathan absolutely won’t allow it.

For the time being, I have no choice but to suck it up and manage through the constant insults, berating, screaming, shouting, and violent fits of rage which occur on a daily basis. Luke says his “life is a living hell”, but it’s Luke who is making our lives a living hell in actuality.

Luke’s Behavior “is [my] fault”

I should be sleeping yet I’m wide awake again. Normally when I’m wide awake this late, I’m having painsomnia (pain so severe you can’t sleep).

Things have gone smoother with Luke recently…until tonight, that is. Luke called Oliver a “bastard”. I told Luke to go to bed for the night for calling his brother names. Luke was defiant and determined to test boundaries so he earned an additional consequence: losing his tablet for the evening. Instead of turning in his tablet, Luke completely. flipped. out.

Luke screamed and shouted and kicked the wall beside his bed. He positioned the tablet so that I’d have to physically wrestle it out from under his body. He called Jonathan and I unfair, the worst parents, fuckers…every adjective he could think of at the time. He threw things at Jonathan and told me that he hopes I die and rot in hell.

This HUGE outburst lead to him losing his tablet, computer, and cell phone. These things were not taken away all at once. He lost them progressively during the course of his massive, manipulative, tantrum.

Jonathan blamed me for Luke’s behavior as Jonathan typically does. If I require a consequence of Luke for his behavior (ie go to bed a little early because he called his brother a bastard), Jonathan blames me for Luke’s ensuing defiant behavior. It’s difficult not to roll my eyes at Jonathan for enabling Luke’s nastiness by refusing to intervene until the situation is completely out of control.  Jonathan thinks that I escalate Luke’s behavior by actually enforcing the consequences for breaking a given rule. The family therapist and I disagree. Inconsistent consequences escalate Luke’s behavior. Jonathan tends to enforce consequences inconsistently.

I’m sure it’s no surprised that after all of the shouting, screaming, insulting, name calling, and generally stressful behavior, I don’t feel like sleeping.

Luke: The Breakthrough

I was sitting in bed working. Luke came into the bedroom, flopped on the bed, and sobbed.

“What’s wrong, honey?” (Yes, I’ve turned into an old southern lady who calls everyone honey)

“I’m sorry I keep yelling at you. I’m not mad at you. I thought you were going to leave or move to Colorado or find a boyfriend like Mommy but you didn’t leave.”, he sobbed. “Even when I called you names and yelled at you, you didn’t leave.”

“No, honey. I’m not going to leave you. Even when you’re having a hard time, I’m not going to leave you.”

Then we compared me to Luke’s mom. What do we have in common? We’re female, approximately the same age, attended the same high school, and dated/married Jonathan. That’s it. That’s really it.

Money, FatherInLaw, And Kids

The washing machine is dying. The motor is dying, specifically. The manufacturer doesn’t make the motor for that model anymore. A replacement is required. I don’t have money for a replacement. I don’t have money to go to the laundromat either at $30 a week and a 40min drive each way.

One cat and one dog fell ill last week. The cat couldn’t keep food down and the dog had bronchitis so I took them both to the vet. The bill came to $700 in total. At least I have 2 living pets on the way to wellness even though I had to charge the bill to a credit card. I requested Revolution for the cat we took to the vet but used it on a 3rd cat who has ear mites. Although I feel guilty for conning the vet, I literally can’t afford to take 3 animals to the vet especially for a minor problem like ear mites.

My father in law is dying. He’s 64. For the past few months he hasn’t been feeling well. Kidney infections, difficulty passing stool, difficulty sleeping because of the pain… Much like my family, Jonathan’s family doesn’t believe in modern medicine and FatherInLaw wouldn’t go to the doctor. After FatherInLaw’s uncle died last week, he finally went to the hospital. His body is riddled with malignant tumors.  FatherInLaw may come home tomorrow so Jonathan and his family have been cleaning FatherInLaw’s house – it was filled with mold and mildew from running the gas heater without a humidifier.

The situation with the Oliver and Luke is better. After several weeks of having Jonathan as the “primary parent” – the one who assigns chores, plans meals, disciplines, and makes plans – the kids decided that I should resume “primary parent” duties. They said Jonathan’s parenting method leaves them confused and they don’t like it when Jonathan gets frustrated and shouts.

The kids also decided they want to move in with their mother and her boyfriend. Well, Luke wants to move in with his mother and her boyfriend so Oliver wants to move into the same house as Luke. Luke wants to get away from Oliver and Luke also feels that his mother and her boyfriend won’t enforce any rules. Luke has clearly forgotten what it’s like to live with his mother. Also, his mother and her boyfriend moved in together as soon as they started dating 2-3 months ago. This whole situation is a real face-palm-er.

Still Here. Things are Changing.

I’m still around. I’ve been sick, then slightly less sick, then sick again. The only thing that has changed is that I’m tired of talking about feeling awful all the time. Feeling awful is tiring. Sometimes talking about feeling awful is tiring as well.

The rheumatologist is retiring. Soon I’ll be without the pain medicine I need to function on a day to day basis. No other rheumatologists in my area prescribe pain medication. I’ve been diagnosed with Sjogren’s recently which helps explains why my eye lids stick together and my tongue breaks out in blisters.

TheJob is still working on their bizarre social media policies. While they can’t ask for anyone’s account, they’re kinda asking for everyone to follow, friend, or otherwise allow a corporate account to access their information. Ridiculous. Restructuring continues. Covering up information about the restructuring with the artful guise of “complete transparency” continues as well. It’s frustrating.

Luke has hard times; probably bipolar disorder. Oliver has been bursting into tears for no reason since his mother’s boyfriend moved in with her. After a long discussion with Jonathan, I’m taking a less active role in parenting. The children resent me. They resent me for parenting because I’m not their parent. I’m not anyone’s parent.

Less parenting means more time to devote to artistic pursuits. Perhaps I’ll make something of myself as an artist yet. Frida Kahlo managed to paint in a body cast. I’ll somehow manage to create art with a full body disease. I purchased a sketch book for planning photoshoots and have scheduled several friends to model for photographs. I’ve also been considering a series of self portraits – possibly portraits expressing how it feels to live with chronic illness. Strangely, when I tried to order a Prismacolor pencil set, I found out there was a shortage of colored pencils because adult coloring books have surged in popularity.

School Shanigans II, Luke, and DeeDee

It’s been a busy few weeks and I haven’t had time to write.

School Shenanigans: II

Luke’s school issue has been resolved. First, the school tried to re-use an education plan Luke had 6yrs ago (when he was in 2nd grade; he’s now in 7th). Then, when I requested a 504 meeting, to my surprise the school scheduled a meeting…only to cancel it a day later because I’m not Luke’s biological parent. After that, the school demanded a power of attorney. After that, the school demanded that I go to court and request legal guardianship of the children to have any involvement in their education.

At that point, I rolled my eyes – hard – and called my lawyer. My lawyer called the school’s lawyer which sorted out that issue rapidly. I contacted the school to schedule another 504 meeting making sure to reference the conversation between the lawyers. I gave the school two options. First, they scheduled the first option. Then the school canceled and rescheduled for the second option.

Surprisingly, the kids’ BioMom declared she plans to attend the 504 meeting as well. Interesting because BioMom chooses to be involved with, well, nothing related to the kids which might require effort, follow-up, or money. Hopefully involving BioMom in the meeting won’t turn into a huge disaster.


Suicidal Thoughts…Again

Luke is struggling with suicidal thoughts again. The majority of my waking hours have been spent preventing him from harming himself. Pills, knives, lighters, candles, and any other implements of destruction are locked in cabinets, filing cabinets, and my upstairs office. Neither Luke’s nor Oliver’s shoes have shoe laces by design. Luke’s belts are locked away too. Granted, a determined person can always find a way to commit suicide, but I’ve taken away as many obvious avenues as I can find.

Luke keeps “forgetting” to take his meds when he goes to BioMom’s house. Sometimes he claims to take his meds when he hasn’t. About 3 days without meds and he’s ready to die. If he can’t take pills and hang himself, he tries to stab himself with a kitchen knife. Without a kitchen knife, he’ll throw himself on the floor or slam his head into the walls. It’s like a storm. It lasts for half an hour or so then you clean up the aftermath.

The next psychiatric appointment is 8 days from today.


 DeeDee

Dee has been struggling. She too suffers with severe mental illness and constant suicidal thoughts. She can’t pay her bills. She’s getting evicted soon. A guy she was dating stole her last $100 bill. DeeDee called me sobbing indecipherably. I was at work at the time.

I don’t know what to do for her. I loaned her a small amount of money…very small. Dee is such a needy person. All the help you offer Dee is absorbed so quickly it’s like it was no help at all. DeeDee is one of those people who make you wonder why they’re in your life – to teach you something, test your boundaries, or because life is random? Only time will tell.

 

School BS / Suicidal Thoughts

The Long Bullshit Story of Luke’s School: The Condensed Version

Luke’s school is refusing to speak with me. I attended a parent-teacher conference because Luke is failing math and social studies. I requested a modified education plan (504) since Luke has been diagnosed with ADD and GAD. The school tried to implement a 6 year old study plan (RtI) which is not legally enforceable like a 504. When I requested a copy of the RtI, the school decided I am not a “guardian”, cancelled the meeting, and is refusing to speak with me.

The school sent an email with paragraphs of legal-ese about my lack of guardianship. I sent the school officials a single line in response: “This is most unfortunate.” (By “most unfortunate” I mean: “I’ll have my lawyer call your lawyer. Prepare for the mess you’ve created for yourselves. Talk to you soon. Buh-bye.”)

I don’t threaten. I also don’t mess around.


Luke’s Suicidal Thoughts

Tonight Luke confessed he’s been struggling with suicidal thoughts for days now. He can’t get the thought of hanging himself out of his head. For several days, Luke has been wrapping belts around his neck and pulling tight only to tell me he was “just joking”. I know better.

We talked for an hour before bed about how much I love him, how I would cry for him every day if he were gone, how his mom and dad would cry for him too and their lives would never be the same. It seemed to make an impact…I hope it made an impact. Luke seemed to cheer up some as he went to bed.

Worst. Timing. Ever.

Jonathan got paid today! Well, he got mostly paid. His boss still owes him some money because the bank won’t just full on cash such a large check.

Unfortunately, Jonathan’s payday came too late. The bank made a mistake and over drafted my account by $400. I called today to get the bank to sort out the issue however the bank “can’t” because the electronic payment has already been accepted by the payee. I’m just hoping I can get the bank to refund the $40 fee they charged when my account was mistakenly overdrawn. What a mess. What horrible timing for such a mess too. Ugh.

At least grocery shopping will happen this weekend. For that I’m grateful. Jonathan set aside money for the kids to pick out pumpkins for Halloween too, so we’ll get to have fun. It’s boring to be stuck in the house all the time because your parents are too poor to do anything fun.

I spent the amazon gift card

I spent the Amazon gift card on things we need. As much as I would have liked to keep saving it for boots, Jonathan hasn’t been paid and it makes more sense to spend it on things we need. Toothpaste, tooth brushes, soap, shampoo, deodorant…  I bought a huge pack of guaifenesin and some hair product for myself. I’m almost out of hair product so I hope the stuff I bought works. comes highly recommended.

This evening I made a  list of things I would buy if I had extra money: A rug for the bedroom floor because the tile is freezing cold in the winter, a light winter coat since the one I have now is unraveling, a cheese grater for the kitchen to replace the one that came apart in the dishwasher, a new pair of shoes…

I stopped because the list just made me feel annoyed I can’t afford anything. I didn’t even put anything extravagant on the list; just things I need or would make good sense to have.

Jonathan’s “boss” (the guy who is contracting Jonathan and paying him right now) drove 6hrs to pick up the missing $21k check today. Perhaps tomorrow Jonathan will get paid so I can get paid. None of the money Jonathan gives me goes to shopping for things like winter coats and cheese graters, but instead to bills. Medical bills, utilities, grocery shopping…

If Jonathan gets paid, I can go grocery shopping this weekend. Since I coupon we have a stockpile and I can skip a week or 2 of grocery shopping if needed. We won’t starve, but the kids would miss some of the regular items they pack for lunch. The kids would discover just now little money we have if I skipped a grocery trip, so I’m really hoping not to skip a grocery trip.

Math Tears and Suicide Swords

Well…I was going to write about my new fitness/sleep/activity tracking Jawbone UP, but that is just not in the cards for tonight.

I’ve worked an irregular schedule and I only slept 3hrs last night. I took a nap when I got home because I might be called into work tonight. While I was napping, Luke and Oliver knocked on the bedroom door. I tried to ignore them since Jonathan knew I was sleeping, but they woke me up 3 times.

Neither Luke nor Oliver did their homework or chore after they had been home more than 3hrs so I didn’t grant internet access. For three weeks, I’ve explained that chores and homework need to be done between 4-6P to get internet at 6P. And, for three weeks, neither child has done their homework and chore without being reminded incessantly. Yet, Luke and Oliver were mystified when the internet wasn’t available at 6P and, rather than asking Jonathan WHY the internet wasn’t available, decided to wake me up…3x… to “fix” the internet.

Fast forward to dinner. Oliver brings me his math homework in tears. He’s learning order of operation and is confused if multiplication or division comes first so he has two possible answers – both wrong. Hours before, Oliver asked Jonathan for homework help, but I wasn’t aware this had happened. I started explaining order of operations to Oliver and Jonathan comes upstairs shouting because Oliver saved his homework after Jonathan checked it originally and was asking me to re-check it in the middle of cooking dinner, hours after Jonathan first checked the homework.

At bedtime, Luke started putting the sheets on his bed, which he should have done much earlier in the evening. Luke got frustrated after trying to stretch the short side of the sheet across the long side of the bed and asked for a gun to kill himself. Instead of ignoring Luke, I took his suicide threat seriously. Jonathan got irritated because he thought Luke was being hyperbolic and that, by discussing it, I made the situation worse. Luke admitted he considered killing himself with the sword in his bedroom so I took the sword.

I try to handle Luke’s suicide threats calmly and take his threats seriously. Sometimes I wonder if Luke is suicidal or if he’s using suicide threats to manipulate the situation. Whatever Luke’s motivation, I feel ignoring the suicide threats sends the wrong message.  Some days, I don’t know what to do. Some days, Jonathan doesn’t know what to do so he shouts out of frustration. Since I don’t shout, I guess writing about my problems anonymously on the internet is my coping mechanism.