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.

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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 Stopped Eating

Luke has stopped eating. He is convinced he’s fat. So, now, he only eats dinner so Jonathan doesn’t know he’s not eating. I am in recovery from an eating disorder (ED) myself and it takes one to know one. Luke is heading down the slippery slope to ED Hell and I feel there is nothing I can do to stop him.

The results of the learning assessment showed Luke’s IQ to be in the intellectually disabled range. Is he *really* intellectually disabled? Can anything I say get through to him and help him understand how horrible EDs are? How EDs steal your identity, zap your energy, ruin your health and life? I just don’t know.

*I’m having a very hard time typing because I’m in the midst of an RA/fibro flare brought on by working night hours and not getting consistent sleep. Being chronically ill makes sleep critical in a way it wasn’t before you got sick. Pls excuse errors*

Luke’s Diagnosis

The results of Luke’s learning assessment are in. Luke has anxiety disorder and ADD. I expected the anxiety disorder diagnosis. Luke is extremely anxious and prone to anxiety attacks where his heart pounds suddenly. ADD wasn’t expected, but it does explain some things about Luke’s behavior and his complete inability to listen and follow instructions.

The psychologist also mentioned Luke has mild OCD symptoms which may not be OCD, but a coping mechanism for anxiety disorder. OCD symptoms are the reason Luke “collects” my things. Only my belongings bring Luke a sense of comfort which is flattering and supremely annoying.

ADD is normally treated with stimulants since ADD is an issue with brain stimulation. Because Luke has anxiety disorder, we can’t follow the standard ADD protocol without making his anxiety symptoms worse. If we treat the anxiety, the ADD may get worse. It’s a frustrating situation.

One thing is certain: Luke needs meds to function. If Luke doesn’t get meds, he’s going to keep failing school and continue developing negative coping mechanisms or slip into severe depression. Biomom doesn’t want Luke to take meds under any circumstances no matter how necessary or dire. Jonathan has slowly been persuaded to agree that meds are worth a try if they help Luke function better and feel more satisfied with life.  Normal moms can make decisions to medicate a child on their own. I cannot. I have to hire a lawyer.

So it begins.

Luke’s Learning Assessment

Today was the final session of Luke’s learning assessment (learning disability testing). The session was scheduled for 3hrs, but Luke only lasted 1hr 19min. Not a good sign. Preliminary findings were things I already knew about Luke: he’s impulsive, struggles with anxiety, is a polite and helpful young man, and Luke has a tendency to shut down with little provocation.  Luke has been known to stop talking and stare if he feels even slightly uncomfortable about a topic of conversation. Although Luke doesn’t shut down in my presence, he shuts down with Jonathan all the time. Jonathan lectures and is prone to shouting when he’s frustrated. I sound unreasonably calm all the time – even when I’m intensely frustrated and angry.

The final results of the learning assessment will be revealed the week before Luke starts summer school. Hopefully there will be enough time to start the IEP process. Jonathan has shown little interest in participating in the learning assessment and IEP process. I’ve taken Luke to all three learning assessment sessions. That’s no small feat considering we live on MiddleOfNowhere Mountain. It’s a 30min drive to the school to pick Luke up, a lengthy check out process because I’m not Luke’s bio-parent,  an hour drive to the psychologist’s office, 3-5hrs of waiting in an office (which doesn’t have wifi so I have to take the day off work), and a 30+min drive home after testing is complete.

I hope Jonathan is just weirded out by the process since Jonathan is weirded out by doctors in general. I really hope Jonathan participates once we get results from the assessment. I think Luke really needs Jonathan to change the way he deals with Luke’s studies and grades so Luke can rebuild confidence.

I’m All Still Here: ISP, Fibro, & Luke, Oh my!

ISP: Irritating Service Provider

After several days, I’m back on the internet. Our ISP has suddenly implemented a 300GB per month bandwidth limit without warning, so I can look forward to losing internet service for the last few days of every month or continue using the internet and pay twice the monthly bill in fines. Not cool, ISP. Not cool.

Jonathan watches Netflix all night and Luke and Oliver would spend the entire day watching youtube if given the chance. The bandwidth restriction is going to be extremely difficult this summer with both kids out of school with nothing better to do than watch Netflix and Youtube while I’m at work. I guess I’ll have to start shutting down the router while I’m at work to ensure we conserve our data allowance so I can work from home when needed.


 

Fibro Update

Health wise, I’m doing pretty well. I did have a back ache and take a muscle relaxer today, but I’m not too concerned since I spent over an hour sitting in a really uncomfortable chair yesterday. Sitting in uncomfortable, hard, old chairs typically gives me a a back ache.

A likely contributor to my current good health: For the past few weeks, I’ve only worked 4 days or less per week. I had time off that needed to be used up before it expired so I took a series of long weekends. The extra rest (and the time I’ve spent NOT sitting in an office chair) are probably a factor in my current wellness. Unfortunately, I won’t have any time off until the end of June. Here’s hoping I don’t start feeling ill upon my return to constantly working.

Guaifenesin has been acquired and I plan to start taking it this week. The unexpected expenses in April and March prevented me from buying guaifenesin until last week. I tried several salicylate free shampoos, but they all made my scalp peel and itch like mad so I’ve had to switch back to a shampoo that contains salicylates. Hopefully this won’t interfere with treatment since I have coarse curly hair and wash my hair infrequently. Until I have extra money and find a shampoo that is both salicylate and sulfate free, I’m stuck with the shampoo I’m using since I’m not allergic to it. (It’s Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap shampoo and conditioner, if you’re curious)


Kid Update: I’m Still All Here

Photo May 03, 1 41 46 PM

Luke is currently being tested for learning disabilities. He’s completed his 2nd of 3 sessions. So far, Luke has a low frustration tolerance, low impulse control, difficulty paying attention, difficulty finding words, high anxiety, and evidence of other cognitive issues.

Today I had to repeatedly remind Luke to stop shooting himself in the head with toy guns. Luke couldn’t leave Oliver alone. Luke couldn’t stop talking during the movie. Luke also stole more than 10 toys from BioMom’s house. The stolen toys were confiscated and Luke spent several stints in time out. This actually a pretty light day in the land of raising Luke. There were no screaming/crying fits or threats of suicide and Luke didn’t refuse to do every single thing asked of him all day long. Opposition/defiance is extremely common.

Before I had bonus kids, I wondered if I could handle a kid with problems. I wondered if I would gradually descend into mental illness and become my (abusive) mother; completely unable to cope and resort to mega doses of psych meds and spend days in bed un-showered. Yet, here I am, dealing with a child who has behavioral and mental health problems every single day and I’m fine. I work, eat, sleep, and shower regularly. The extra time I spend in bed is the result of RA and fibro, not deep depression or psychosis. Of course living with Luke every single day is challenging. Some days it’s downright hard. But it’s not crushing. It’s not suffocating. It hasn’t changed me. I’m still all here.

 

Run Out of Bandwidth

I’ve run out of bandwidth. I don’t mean that as some metaphor for being busy or tired or frazzled, I mean that my ISP has suddenly and without warning placed a limit on the bandwidth which our connection can use per month. We’ve exceeded the limit, so we have no internet for the rest of the week. I only have the data plan on my phone.

No youtube for the kids. No gaming. No downloading. No Netflix. No Pandora. None of the services we regularly use for news or music are available to us. Today is the first day of internet-less-ness.

This evening, Luke and Oliver played outside with plastic guns and foam swords. Jonathan painted the poop-brown upstairs bathroom with the silvery light blue paint I picked. I did what I usually do in the evenings: cook, clean, feed pets, check homework, provide cash, sign forms, wash a load of laundry, and spend at least 30min training BigDog. None of these things use the internet.

In fact, I typically only use the internet for around 30min-1hr in the evening and even then I use it mostly for reading or writing. Reading and writing use very little bandwidth – especially compared to streaming services. I need to reign in the kids’ youtube and Netflix streaming activities so I’m not kicked off the internet at the end of every month.

So…for the next few days you likely won’t hear from me. Since my mobile/cell is used for the corporate day job, I don’t have the WordPress app installed. Can’t have work finding my anonymous blog. I’ll catch you on the flip side of the internet when I have access again. Stay well.