Family in crisis. Ongoing.
There is a patient I just chatted with named Cleopatra. Is that not the most beautiful name ever? She’s gorgeous too…a lovely, young woman with a stunning smile. She suits her name perfectly.
The second person I talked to was a man who came by for his therapy. He was so kind to the front desk folks and made them all smile as he went by. I beamed at him from my office and he took the time to come in and say hello. I thanked him for brightening our morning and he gave the following advice:
“One day a good friend of mine gave me some advice that has always stayed with me. He said that when you wake in the morning, before you put your two feet on the floor, you can tell yourself that its’ going to be a good day, or a bad day. So, every morning when I get up, I put my two feet on the floor, give my little dog a pat, say good morning to my beautiful wife of 50 years, and then I tell myself that today is going to be a good day. You wouldn’t believe how well it works.”
Well. Isn’t that something?
I needed that this morning. Last night I stayed at work until 630 or so, trying to get a jump on … lol …err catch up to where I should be, and when I got home Colt was sitting at his desk writing letters of apology to those kids he swore at yesterday. There were more than a dozen (which I think was a bit much…he didn’t swear at each person individually…they were in a group, but, whatever. It made an impact for sure. He spent the entire night writing those things.) Dayne and Colt talked quite a bit before I got home and he told me that the root of it all was that Colt was feeling ignored and wanted to be the centre of attention. I’m not so sure that’s the entire story…Colt will say just about anything when confronted and if you supply an answer, even if you do so carefully, he will grab it and swear it to be truth. Dayne has a way of asking Colt questions and supplying the answers he’s looking for. He doesn’t mean to do it, but it happens all the time. He likely asked if that’s what happened and Colt went for the easy answer…yes. Once Colt agrees, Dayne hangs everything on that particular answer (which often exonerates Colt entirely – a trick I’ve seen him pull for himself many times). I talked to Colt for a few minutes and then just went to sleep on the couch when he went up to bed. Dayne and I didn’t talk at all. There was too much stress. Dayne hates his job, is stressed to the max about Colt and his situation at school, is stressed about the pain I’m in and the emotional fragility that is showing in my face these days. He’s mad at my doctor for being so dismissive yesterday and he’s worried that his entire world is falling apart. It’s a lot to deal with, I know…I’m dealing with it all too, including having to carry the pain along for the ride. When I get overwhelmed I get anxious, depressed, exhausted and it comes across as bitchy at times. I’ll be the first to admit that. When Dayne gets overwhelmed he gets angry and starts lashing out in all directions. When he goes to that place, every little PTSD light in my brain fires up and I’m even less able to cope.
So. This morning, I woke up and thought to myself, “omfg another day” (see note above from my new friend who starts his day with a smile. It seems ludicrous when I factor in my life but it certainly won’t hurt to try) I had a shower (something was seriously wrong with our water – it smelled like it had been sitting in the pipes for a long, long while. I was worried I’d smell like it but I’m pretty sure it’s just my over stimulated senses picking up on something). I put on a very minimal face of make up because it was hard to hold my arms up long enough to do a decent job and then woke Dayne up, asleep on the couch beside me. He woke and instantly started in on it.
“I don’t care what happened yesterday. The school is going to have to assume some of the responsibility for the way Colt’s acting! They let him get away with everything and it’s caused part of this problem!”
He’s talking about the half a year he had a crappy teacher who didn’t make him do a thing. Just let him play in the back of the classroom when his EA wasn’t there every afternoon. He is clinging to that as if it had some sort of profound affect on Colt’s ability to cope with his school environment. He is constantly looking to shift the blame, even when it’s not being placed on him. *Well* Some of it is placed on him….Colt learned to be aggressive from somewhere and it most certainly echoes his father’s outbursts….but I didn’t go there with him. Just let it drop.
“Oh! I forgot to tell you!” He continued as I walked away, trying not to rise to the bait. “That Cathy you seem to like so much is a liar!”
Cathy is the school board psychometrist and she has been involved in Colt’s education from the very beginning. She is the one who pulls me to the side and gives me info that the school doesn’t, like when the teacher is not following the IEP or there are issues between staff….the real dirt that affects Colt’s education and the way it’s progressing. She is candid, honest, open and I value her help tremendously. That said, I realize she works for the school board and over anything else, has their best interests at heart.
“What are you talking about? How is Cathy suddenly at fault here?” I asked, trying to keep my tone as light as possible.
“Well she told us at that last meeting that the ASD program in the school we wanted to place Colt into was losing the program and was to be closed in the next year. I called up Bob (a principal from a different school that Dayne once did some security/network work for through his job). His two kids are in that school and ADS program and when he heard what Cathy told us he freaked out! He said the program was just given more funding and that he was told his kids placements were safe for several years.”
“Oh god Dayne….” I tried to choose my words carefully. “I didn’t hear her say that at all. Are you sure that’s what she said?”
He was overtaken then by anger and began to yell.
“SHE DID SAY THAT! I HEARD HER WITH MY OWN EARS!” He bellowed.
I was immediately exhausted and felt the life drain out of me. He went on about how she was full of shit and how they were all trying to screw us and now that he found out that the school was not, in fact, losing the ADS program he was going to push this all the way to the top and…and…and…
I interrupted to tell him to please stop. I don’t think Cathy said any such thing and now this principal who is taking Dayne at face value is going to dig into this. It will cause a huge upheaval and everyone will get all involved and at the end of the day it will boil down to an accusation; then everyone who was at that meeting will agree, Cathy didn’t say anything of the sort. At this point, we’ll look like idiots who, once again, made a big deal out of NOTHING. I cannot tell you how many times that has happened and it’s humiliating every single time.
The thing that bothers me the most is that I am the one left to clean all of this up!! I am the one who gets the daily phone calls from the school, the one who attends the meetings and tries to battle for our son in a realistic, mature, advocating way…not by hurling accusations that mean nothing. I’ve busted my ass trying to keep things moving forward between the school, Colt and his father. I try to keep Colt focused and in control of his own behaviour from my fucking OFFICE, for crying out loud. An office where I’m getting in trouble for not being effective enough at my job, mind you.
As he yelled, I shouted over top that I didn’t care anymore. I said that he was welcome to do whatever the hell he wanted from now on. I asked him to remember that I am the one who has to deal with these people, not him, so if he was going to go around burning bridges and slamming doors, HE could start doing all the leg work involved in keeping everything together.
Walked out. Drove away and went to work.
I’m at the end of my rope guys. I wonder if the Tourette’s is causing some of this for Colt…I don’t know enough about the syndrome yet to fully understand. I guess that’s what I’ll spend my awake hours doing this weekend. He is overwhelmed, unhappy and cannot stop swearing at people.
Now, the issue with the grade 8 girls…that seems different to me. They are mean to him and likely deserve the title he gives them. That kind of thing makes sense to me. The fact that he just started going off and screaming “Fuck you! Fuck all of you! You’re all fucking bitches!” at the top of his lungs the moment he got off the bus? I have no clue. Maybe he’s being teased mercilessly? Maybe he’s trying hard to fit in and everyone is ignoring him? But why all the screaming and swearing? I wish he could tell me so I could do something to help. When he and I talked last night I didn’t give him crap about everything.
“Mom? Do you still love me?” He asked in a quiet voice.
“Colt, nothing you ever do will make me stop loving you. Not for one second, no matter what. I promise.” I said. “Do you know what you did today that makes me so sad?”
“Yes. I was mean to Emily.” (the angel daughter of our wonderful sitter who has loved and helped Colt along since they were four years old).
At least he got it. I heard that he apologized to her countless times yesterday, on the bus, at the sitters in front of her mom, as he left for the day with Dayne. I think he realized he’d hurt the one person who is always on his side and always there for him. I’m not sure that it matters to him all that much but he got it.
This is all just so much to deal with at once. I want to help Colt more than anything and I don’t know how. I’ve never known how. I want to shut Dayne up and make everyone do their part so I don’t feel like a lone soldier out here, battling an army and losing ground so fast I can barely stay standing.
My doc looked at me yesterday and said “So…how is your mood?” … my mood? Hahahahaha….who fucking cares about how I feel?? I’m just trying to survive here. I’m in so much pain, my job is stressful and anxiety inducing, my son is turning into a jerk and my husband wants to blame everyone, even when it makes absolutely no sense to do so. Honestly, that I’m not at the bottom of that deep hole of depression is remarkable. I think I’m going on pure adrenaline at this point.
My mood? It’s shit. I’m not allowing that to register though or I’ll completely fall apart.