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I'm Not Sure What to Do

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I'm not really sure where to begin tonight. I can't get my thoughts together, they're melding into one big confusing mess. I am sure that this post will probably be one big, long ramble.

Generally I have an answer, a solution for everything with our kids. I mean, we've been through this 11 times and that doesn't even begin to cover the foster kids.

I've talked to more doctors, specialists, police officers, blah, blah, blah..... than I can count. I think about the situation, get input, make a decision and it's usually solved.

Our 17 yr old son with autism throws me for a loop every single time. Usually he's happy, smiling and full of chatter. This afternoon Jeff and I came home, I went in the house to get ready for a party that we had tonight.

I got in the shower, Jeff didn't show up, I dried my hair, got dressed and Jeff didn't show. I went downstairs into the garage and Jeff was sitting side saddle on his motorcycle. He was facing me as I opened the door. The look on his face was stern but concerned, exasperated, but loving and it also told me to go away.

Me being me, I didn't leave. I walked around so I could see Joshua. Joshua was standing with his arms crossed and his back to me. He didn't turn and look as I walked out into the garage. Something was up. My first thought was that Joshua had done something dumb and was getting a talking to from dad.

I decided to let them finish and went back upstairs to ask the other kids if they knew what was going on.

They freaked on me. All four of them were trying to talk at once. I was being hit by screeching voices coming from all directions.

"OK, ONE at a time!"

Nikki spoke first "You're going to have to get the whole story from Jakob and Jeremiah. All I know was that when I got home the they were running out of the house and Joshua was chasing them yelling."

Jakob chimed in "Jeremiah and I were tickling each other and I grabbed Jeremiah's leg above his knee. Joshua thought I grabbed him somewhere else and he freaked out on me calling me all sorts of names." Jakob proceeded to tell me the names and Joshua, of anyone, shouldn't have been throwing around those names.

About the time Jakob ran out of breath Jeremiah picked up the tale. "Joshua pinned Jakob into the couch, got into his face and was calling him all kinds of bad words and telling him to get out of the house."

Ok. I'm pissed now. Joshua has done this before and I, as well as everyone else, was sick of it.

There was a lot more to it that I just can't go into here. I turned and went back to the garage. Jeff was still talking, Joshua was crying. I asked Jeff if Joshua had mentioned the "problem" in the house.

"No, he didn't say anything about anything happening."

"Well ask him about, blah, blah, blah!" with that I turned around and went back in. About that time Jeff came in. Joshua had been talking to his dad about not wanting to live. Jeff got him calmed down as usual and all was fine.

I mean, Joshua can change on a dime. The child was fine, smiling and happy. He apologized to everyone about his actions earlier and assured me that all was well. Jeff and I had a grad party to attend and we had to leave. Our two oldest, 19 and 20 were home to supervise.

We get home a couple of hours later and all seems well. Joshua was in his room singing to his iPod, some kids were playing video games, some were running around and some were pirates. Pretty typical.

I get in bed and reach for my laptop. Facebook is first on the agenda. I see Joshua's status update first. "Life is crap." Taking a deep breath I expand his comment section. He then told everyone that he wants to hang himself, that everyone hates him, that his family hates him and that there's no reason for him to continue.

Next I log onto his account to check his messages. He's sent out numerous messages stating the same things. I deleted his post and the comments.

Ok, so I know that I have a child that is autistic, but he knows, he feels, the way others feel about the way he acts. It's hard, it's been hard, on everyone.

I know that I'll watch him closely through the weekend, call his doctors on Monday and get the ball rolling. The thing I just don't know how to get through to him is that he is loved, he is special and that he has to learn to work with others. He has to accept responsibility for the way he harms other people, not just physically, but emotionally.

I don't know how to get across to him that he has to work with us. We just can't make it all come together if he's not willing to meet us part way. I don't want him to feel condemned. I don't want him to feel unwanted, but his actions push people away.

How do I get across to an autistic child that the world doesn't revolve around him, that he has to help to make things better?

I'll have a long talk with him tomorrow and let him know how much he means to us. Monday I'll make all of the calls and try to get get a plan together. I just don't know where to go from there. I don't know how to get through to him. I don't know how to help him.  One of his doctors told me that he'd never in 30 years of practice seen a child like Joshua, that he had no other ideas that he could offer. If he doesn't know, how can I?


Kimberly Walker June 6, 2010 at 1:19 AM  

Hope you're enjoying your weekend! Just wanted to stop by and give you an award for being awesome! Keep up the great blogging and looking forward to reading more!

Here's the link:

Kimberly Walker June 6, 2010 at 1:27 AM  

Wow.... sounds like it's been a stressful weekend. I just sent you an award and attatched it to this post before reading... sorry. I hope everything goes okay. I will say a little prayer and hope when Monday comes there will be a more positive update.
All the best,

Nicole June 6, 2010 at 4:36 AM  

I just stumbled upon your blog - and i am hooked. excellent writing, and wow - amazing story telling.

I am living with someone who is bi polar and I can only imagine how difficult it can be for you with 8 children!! WOW! You definitely have a new follower!

Jennifer Kay June 6, 2010 at 5:07 AM  

Wow...I have no idea what you are going through since mine are still babies but WOW. Sounds like you need to take him for a long walk and get him to really open up. My husband is a fire fighter in training and you can't imagine the amount of suicide calls they go on EVERY day; so many think that is the answer and I don't get it.

litanyofbritt June 6, 2010 at 5:14 AM  

Oh man. I hope Joshua can find some peace. Please take his feelings seriously. Even if they appear to be born out of a childish incident, if he is talking about it, he is thinking about it. 1-800-SUICIDE is a good place to start. I recently watched a documentary called Boy Interrupted about a teen boy's struggle with mental illness, (I know Autism is not a mental illness), and various suicide attempts. I bawled through the whole thing. I was a suicidal teen too. I speak from experience. Take him seriously. ((((HUGS!))))

Unknown June 6, 2010 at 6:21 AM  

Can you ask the doctors if there's a specialized Autistic facility in the state or states surrounding you?
I can imagine I would feel a slight panic when the doctor tells me there's nothing more he can do. Is he specialized in autisim?
Is there an autistic group within a 50 km radius around you to join?
While most say they won't carry though if they talk about it, I'm not sure if that applies to autistic people? I'm not versed in it at all.
If you have grave concerns for the weekend, it looks like you and hubby will be taking turns watching him..

This probably won't help and you've probably been through this gambit before.
However, I do understand the 'vaccuum'you feel you're in.
Been there on a different front.

Savira Gupta June 6, 2010 at 6:58 AM  

My heart goes out to Joshua and to you.

Liz Mays June 6, 2010 at 7:12 AM  

I truly wish I had some answers or something I could say that would help, but that's not an area I know. I have dealt with a seriously depressed teenager and I worried if I'd find him alive every morning, but autism is an unknown to me. I so hope you find the right way to handle things!

Gucci Mama June 6, 2010 at 7:36 AM  

((Diva)) I'm working on an email to you right now, so I won't repeat myself here even though my words are AWESOME and could probably use repeating...
I pray you find a way to reach him.

Mama-Face June 6, 2010 at 8:21 AM  

I know the situation is made so much more difficult by autism, but hearing (or reading) your child say that they want to hurt themselves is among the worst of tortures; the second worst is hearing a doctor tell you they don't know what to do. I've had doctors say that about me; but it's a beyond a world of difference when it's YOUR CHILD. If my youngest mentions this feeling I feel like I'm choking. The guilt, the terror...

What a difficult situation. I have nothing helpful to offer... only my heart. I hope I didn't make it worse by turning it around to being about me. I tend to do that. gah.
I will be thinking of you. I hope that helps in some small way.

Unknown June 6, 2010 at 9:54 AM  

You are dealing with the world's problems in microcosm inside your home. And from what I can tell, you are handling your situation with grace. I'm praying for you.

Nolie June 6, 2010 at 10:47 AM  

I have no words of advice but wanted to send you lots of virtual hugs.

Cheryl D. June 6, 2010 at 10:54 AM  

Oh, what a horrible situation! It's so hard for autistic kids to get that the world doesn't revolve around them. Many just don't get that. With my daughter, I set up a scenario like, "How would you feel if I just did such and such to you?" She will "get" it at that moment. I actually think she has pretty good empathy for an autistic girl, but it doesn't come naturally. I have to prompt her through it.

With someone who has less empathy, it can be really hard. It sounds to me that you're handling it the best you can. I'm sure the heart to heart will go well.

Good luck!

Furry Bottoms June 6, 2010 at 11:32 AM  

OH wow, yeah I can see your dilemma. You can't really convince a teenager (austic or not) of somthing he doesn't want to internalize. A teenager will believe whatever she/he wants to believe, because at that age they are so sure that they know more than their parents do. It's hard.

Do you know if there is a counselor out there who specializes in psychology and austism at the same time? Just a thought...

cwitgo June 6, 2010 at 11:58 AM  

I am thinking about your that's for sure. I don't have any experience with autism which gives me no insight at all, but I do have a now 24 year old with ADD. He has had suicidal thoughts and we just kept reminding him we were there for him. He could tell us anything and we would listen and help if we could. I know autism is different but if you keep reminding him how much he is loved, you will have done the best thing you could do for him (except for medical help). Hang in there and I am here if you need to rant or just talk.

Missie June 6, 2010 at 11:58 AM  

Trust your instincts and keep looking for the solution. God bless you!

Green-Eyed Momster June 6, 2010 at 3:01 PM  

Your comment to me left a lump in my throat yesterday.

I sure hope everything works out for the best.

Hugs for you and all of yours!

Anonymous,  June 6, 2010 at 4:28 PM  

Hmm I was sure I commented here but I must not have. I have no help except sending good JuJu but I have linked it in tomorrows post to see if anyof my readers might can offer some help.

Anonymous,  June 6, 2010 at 7:43 PM  

I saw his post and told him to make fertializer. He replied this dirt was dead. I then replied to him if God has his hand in it everything is alive. I also told him I loved him. Then next time I checked his status it was deleted. I feel your pain. I love you and your family, your not far from my thoughts.
Diva's sister

Anonymous,  June 6, 2010 at 10:07 PM  

Honestly there is nothing that you can do that your not already doing. Showing him love and support is all we can do for any of our children. I believe your other children understand that sometimes Joshua will act out differently than the rest. It's teaching them character and tolerance, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
I am not a mother with a child suffering this way, but I believe that all children can have the mentality that he does on whether they wants to live or die. I'm sorry I write how I speak but if I were talking to you one on one I would say the same thing. Life is not easy and you must be a super strong woman to have lived the life you have thus far. You will find a way to interact and react to his personal needs along the way. He is a bright, handsome and beautiful boy who has a whole life ahead of him and your guidance and support along the way. Just love him...

I Wonder Wye June 6, 2010 at 10:08 PM  

Blessings to you and the kids. it sounds beyond frustrating and stressful. They are lucy to have you for a mom.

JoJo June 6, 2010 at 10:29 PM  

I think you're doing a great job! You're giving him so much love and support and as long as he constantly hears that from you and other family members, you can't blame yourself. Keeping up with the therapy and doctors appointments is also important. I don't think that comment by the doctor was warranted. It almost sounded inexperienced of him. It sounds like Joshua acts out a lot and sometimes behaves inappropriately, but I've worked with autistic kids before and from what I've seen that's just what happens sometimes. Some control it better than others and there are various interventions that can be implemented, so please don't give up hope. I may not have as much inexperience being that I've only seen things through the eyes of a nursing student so far. However, the doctors comment irked me and sounded so hopeless, which is not how he or she should have made you feel. My thoughts are with you and your family!
As for the suicide comments, this could be serious, which I'm sure you know and that's why your telling us your concerns. I don't know if you've spoken to him about it, but you might want to ask him if he has a real plan even if that's awkward and uncomfortable. One of the biggest signs that is seen in someone that is more inclined to commit suicide is having a thought out plan and the means to carry it out. I don't want to scare you, but suicide watch may be very important here.
I really wish you all the luck in the world and best wishes to you and your family. I hope you find the answers your looking for and keep us all posted.

Laurie Wallin June 6, 2010 at 11:16 PM  

Wow, what a day. My heart aches to read this. I have two kiddos who have bipolar I and ADHD, and one of them is also diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder. Some days I feel so worn down from the day-after-day vigilance and therapeutic parenting. But I persist. Those little buggers are lucky they have a mom who's more stubborn than they are!

Sounds like you and your dh are doing great with your family. Hang in there, girl!

Laurie Wallin June 6, 2010 at 11:21 PM  

P.S. I put your button on my blog. :)

How did you get that made? DIY?


The Bama Gardener June 7, 2010 at 1:11 PM  

Thank you for stopping by my blog a while back! Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you! I am praying for your family.

Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek June 8, 2010 at 9:13 AM  

Oh wow. I hope you are able to find someone to help you (and Joshua.) I would find a different doctor, stat. There has to be someone out there with a different idea to try.

I have not read (or experienced) a lot about OLDER autistic children, although I have dealt with autistic youngsters at school, and I have an autistic cousin who is 6. I had honestly never thought a lot about their struggles as they get older.

The Bipolar Diva June 8, 2010 at 5:15 PM  

You all are so incredibly awesome! Thank you :)

Anonymous,  June 12, 2010 at 4:08 AM're doing an awesome job with your family...I've been suffering from depression quite a long time now, and about a week ago my therapist told me, that I could be bipolar.

I couldn't take care of children...I can't even take care of myself.
So again...awesome job^^


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