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No Decision Is A Good Decision

Monday, December 31, 2012

I'd like to say that I don't know how it began, but that would be a lie. It's been happening for quite some time now and each incident has been worse than the one before. What used to be containable is no more. Police, paramedics and hospitals have become a part of my life.

I've lived in fear for years, fear of someone that I should fear the least, one of my children. He's attacked me, and other family members, on numerous occasions. In the past I could mostly fend off his aggression, but not now, he's nineteen, extremely muscular and he's on the autism spectrum.

His autism/asperger's has caused many of the problems, his rebellion the rest. He was away at Job Corps for about a year and it was peaceful at my house. I didn't have to sleep with my door locked fearing I would be stabbed, or clubbed to death, in the middle of the night. I've told his psychiatrists, and my therapists, for years of my fear and we've tried to come up with ways to keep everyone safe. Sometimes the plans worked and sometimes they didn't.

Most of the people that know him will tell you he's a sweet, kind soul. He's sociable and extremely polite.  He is all those things, and much, much more. He's a talented guitar player, he's intelligent and can be a very hard worker when he wants to be.

There's also a dark side to him, an aggressive side, a side that comes in a blink of an eye. Sometimes we can see, or sense, it coming and other times it's instantaneous. Usually it happens because he's been told to do something that he doesn't want to do like clean his room, help with the dishes, or it could be as simple as being asked to lower his voice. Sometimes it just happens.

Since he's been home from Job Corps he's refused to take his medication and his threatening behavior and actions have become more frequent and more frightening. He's picked up bottles of wine, tea kettles, anything within his reach that he feels he could use as a weapon, and has advanced on his intended victim. Each time, luckily, we've been able to either diffuse the situation or get away. Sunday afternoon was different, he was serious, and he was ready to make his move.

He erupted because he wanted to watch a movie and was told no. I have a rule with him that he has to be up by a certain time in the morning, help around the house and control his behavior. If he doesn't do those things he doesn't get to play video games, have access to the DVD player, or play pool, etc.

He got up late, he knows the rules, and he wanted to argue the point. He escalated to the point that he was ready to attack. He made a move and we were able to hold him at bay while 911 summoned the sheriff. Security measures have been in place for years but now that he's older and much stronger he's capable of much more damage and his threats have become more than the mere words of a rebellious child, they've become something to be taken seriously, to be feared.  

I was on the phone with the 911 operator when the police arrived. I hung up with her as I went to meet the deputies. A deputy went into the house to speak with my son while two other deputies interviewed each person that had been in the house when his switch was flipped.

When every one's story matched, except my my son's, the deputies decided to take him to a nearby location where he could calm down before returning home. They couldn't make him go to the hospital because now he's an adult. Before they left, one of the officers asked why he's been allowed to live in the house since he's such a danger.

It caught me off guard. Being a mom means helping your kids in every possible way, but the deputy had a point, everyone in the house was in real danger. I had been making phone calls and trying to contact agencies during the past month trying to find housing options for him. So far they've led to nothing but dead ends. He scored right at the cut off line when he was tested for adult disability services with the State of Oregon, so they've been no help. We were on our own and had to make a decision, it had to be made and it had to be made then.

After talking it over with the family, and hearing them voice the same fear I have, and talking to his father, the decision was made to take him to a teen shelter down town. It was the most heart breaking decision I've ever had to make. He's my son, he was adopted at birth, we've loved him, cared for him and tried everything to help him and nothing has worked to quell the aggression. 

As his sister packed him a bag his father drove to pick him up from where the deputies had taken him. His dad brought him home, my son grabbed what he could carry in his backpack, I gave him some money, he then turned and walked to the truck to be taken away from the only family he's ever known. I paced, I cried and I was torn.

I knew it was the best decision for the family, but what about my son? Would he be cold? Would he be assaulted? Would he survive? He's naive, he would be alone and he would be scared.

I called my oldest daughter and asked her to call him. He told her he had been directed to a shelter for kids that are from 13 to 21. I also asked her to plead with him to call us, to work with us, to agree to stay on his medications so he could come home. He would have none of it.

My daughter stayed in contact with him until he had a bed secured for the night and then she reported back to me. That night had to have been the worst night of sleep I've ever had.

Today we had several conversations with a case worker at the shelter. She's going to work with him to find a him job and a place to live. She stressed that since he's over 18 he has to make the effort and whatever decision is made has to be made by him.

Wednesday I'll begin making calls about the possibility of gaining guardianship over him so we can have more control over his future and what happens to him. Had I had guardianship yesterday I could have had him admitted to the hospital. But he's now an adult and I have no power over what he decides to do. But then if I do gain guardianship will that push him over the edge, will it do more harm than good?

All of these questions but no answers, only heartbreak, tears and a different type of fear.


 

23 comments:

angel shrout December 31, 2012 at 10:13 PM  

Sweetie when he is like that you have no choice but to protect yourself. IF that means being able to put him in a place where he will have to take his medication, then so be it. you are not doing it out of trying to control but trying to save him from himself. It is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do, sending you love and hugs.

The Bipolar Diva December 31, 2012 at 10:18 PM  

Thanks Angel. We haven't heard from him tonight so I'm freaking out a little bit. I don't know if he's avoiding his sister's calls, he won't talk to me, or if his phone has been stolen. I don't know if he has a bed to sleep in or if he'll have to wander the streets. I hate this.

Recovering Church Lady December 31, 2012 at 10:26 PM  

I am so sorry you have to figure out how to walk through this horrible situation. Your deep love for your son will give you the strength you need to do what is best for all of you. It is not as if you have to choose between the safety of your family and the freedom of your son. It is actually the freedom and safety for him too.
You are protecting him from actions that may be beyond his control. You are keeping him safe from himself. My prayers are with you dear friend.

The Bipolar Diva December 31, 2012 at 10:30 PM  

RCL:

Thank you so much. I called his birth grandmother today and told her of what happened. She was comforting, the same thing happened with his birth mother. I hope and I pray that this decision is the best for him, that in this he will find direction.

lalalady December 31, 2012 at 11:35 PM  

My daughter Pam has autistic twins, so I understand your struggle, the boys are in their twenties now, and are very heavy and large in stature. They frequently lose their tempers, and I am frightened Pam is going to get seriously hurt during one of the times they lose control. She is trying to get them into housing, a group home for one and a small apartment for the other. They are both pretty high functioning, but do not speak well, and have had constant bowel problems...a real drawback for them being on their own. We just take it one day at a time...one sometime frustrating day at a time.

Carol-Anne December 31, 2012 at 11:44 PM  

Having lived through something similar, I can only imagine what you're feeling. Sometimes the best thing is the hardest. It's hard to find the line between making yourself safe and not turning your back on them.....

The Bipolar Diva December 31, 2012 at 11:46 PM  

lalalady; thank you. yes it is scary. luckily the most serious we've had so far is bruises, knots, a broken rib and sprained wrist. It could have been so much more. and yesterday had the steps that were taken not taken it would have been much, much worse. I'm sorry Pam is having to go through all of that. Autism is definitely a different animal.

The Bipolar Diva December 31, 2012 at 11:56 PM  

Carol-Anne, thank you for your encouragement. The line is hard to find, I only hope it appears soon.

Karyn January 1, 2013 at 12:54 AM  

Love you Teri. Remember- once they are adults, we have no control. Hopefully he will get some control and do the right thing. You guys are in my prayers-

The Bipolar Diva January 1, 2013 at 1:10 AM  

Thanks Karyn., I wish you were here. I could use you, Papa Hadyn's and some wine at the moment. Still haven't heard from Joshua tonight. :(

YeamieWaffles January 1, 2013 at 2:58 AM  

I understand every single reason you have had for keeping onto him and letting him live with you for so long Diva, every ounce of me understands why but it is at the point now where your son has got to go. There's no maybe this is the right decision or possibly a right decision, this is the right decision.

The minute he came back from his Job Corps, supposedly a chance to turn him into a functioning adult and lifted something in an attempt to strike somebody was the minute he had given away any right to still be treated properly and if it wasn't then the next time he did it most certainly was.

You have no reason to beat yourself up or feel bad Diva, he is a threat to the lives and well being of you, Jeff and your family and he had to go. You're an amazing mother and a wonderful person and you have no reason at all to feel guilty, every parent makes mistakes sure but you have done everything in your power and so much more to try and get him to become a normal functioning adult and you haven't failed, he is just too messed up to see any reason.

I hope that the guy's okay Diva and everything and I know that no matter what anybody says this is going to tear you apart because at the end of the day he'll always be your son but you have done nothing wrong in this. The fact that you're still calling to check up on him tells us everything we need to know about how committed and special you are as both a mother and a person.

Kristy January 1, 2013 at 4:06 AM  

I hope you can find peace in any decision you make. I hope you have someone close that you can lean on during this hard time and get the support you need.

jen January 1, 2013 at 7:51 AM  

Teri,
The hardest part of having children is when those children become adults and no longer listen to us. I have no idea what this is like, but I hope you can find peace and resolution.
Hugs.

Red Shoes January 1, 2013 at 8:08 AM  

I am so sorry to read about this having happened, Teri... bless your heart.

I wish I had some words of wisdom for you...

*hugs*

~shoes~

Karen Mortensen January 1, 2013 at 8:29 AM  

I really don't know what to say except I am here for you. I know somewhat of what you are going through. My husband and I had to place our son in a group home. It was very hard but it was the right thing to do. It has been wonderful all the way around. Remember that when your son moves out, he is still your son. It is not like you can never see him again. I think that is a good idea to get guardianship over him. We had to do that with our son. It is just safer all around for everyone. All the best my friend. I am just a mouse click away.

Classic NYer January 1, 2013 at 9:16 AM  

You made the right choice. You know you did.

The Bipolar Diva January 1, 2013 at 10:03 AM  

thank each and every one of you. your support means so much to me, especially now with all that's happening. I can only hope he'll be safe and change his mind to take his medication.

Nolie January 1, 2013 at 11:37 AM  

Oh honey I am in tears reading this. It is so unacceptable that there is no help. He needs help and yet there is none. He deserves so much more. Health professionals should not be allowed to turn their backs and say "Well he is an adult". He is an adult that needs help. I hope an agency or doctor somewhere comes forward soon for him, you and the whole family.

The Bipolar Diva January 1, 2013 at 2:01 PM  

Thanks Nolie, I'm going to continue to make calls and try to find out if there's anything we can do, anyplace he can go. The longer he's on the streets with the hard core street kids the worse it will be for him. I'm so afraid for his safety. I was able to talk to him today and he's still refusing to takes his medication or work with the family for a safe plan for everyone. In his mind we are the problem because he's had the right to take every action he has. We were cleaning his room today and found a club he had made from a tree limb, which scared me to death. There are also holes in the wall were he punched it. He needs help, but since he's "right at the mark" no one is willing to help him. I can't stop crying and worrying.

Furry Bottoms January 2, 2013 at 8:32 AM  

Shit, what a hard situation. I am sorry you and your family had to go through that, but I do think you did the right thing. You have grandbabies to worry about. You have other people to think about too. I do think you should get guardianship to protect his future, and I hope you get it. He doesn't yet understand his responsibilities as an adult, so somebody else needs to do it for him for a while. I think you're awesome, very committed as a mother and will do whatever you can to help him. It is so very apparent here.

MarkD60 January 2, 2013 at 11:18 AM  

The boy has to be responsible for his own actions. You're responsible for yours. If he's endangering you or anyone else, he had to go.

promptpost January 16, 2013 at 10:19 AM  

sharing a news :-

http://www.edvantage.com.sg/edvantage/features/people/1535536/Asperger_s_syndrome_so_what_.html

Big Mama Cass June 19, 2013 at 12:17 PM  

Now I understand. Heart breaking. So very sorry. :(

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