adoption, family

Could Your Child’s Crisis Please Wait Until Business Hours?

“Our mobile crisis service does not ‘get going’ until 1:00 PM,” says the pleasant, yet detached, voice on the other end of the call. I can’t help but see a tinge of irony in this. In fact, our son’s crisis has been going since 10:00 AM.

“Alright then, will you please send a clinician to our home at 1:00 PM to evaluate the crisis situation? I am certain we will still have a crisis on our hands.”

“Sure!” chirps the operator enthusiastically. She spends a few more minutes asking about our home situation, who lives there, and who is currently keeping the child safe. Thank goodness for my hubby doing the safety thing downstairs while I ineffectually call for help.I cannot fathom how people are able to call for help when they are alone.

The farthest I’ve ever gotten with one of those calls  (while holding a screaming Mary,  frantically clawing at my face) is to say “Hello, we could use assistance–” Before I am abruptly cut of by the crisis worker who says something helpful along the lines of, “Ma’am, we cannot hear you over the screaming of your child. Could you please step away or call back when the situation is more calm?”

Anyhow, starting last night Carl has been experiencing intermittent explosive outbursts about every 3-4 hours. He just started at his intensive outpatient treatment. We are very hopeful that this will help him. However, we’ve changed meds again and the resulting days have been nothing short of disastrous. Almost everything is broken in his room. He’s chucked his air conditioner out of the window. He is repeatedly screaming “F-ck you!” at my husband.

Carl’s forehead is starting a nice yellow bruise from where he picked up the coping skills box and smashed it directly into his head last night. Spoiler alert–that isn’t actually how coping skills boxes work. He would have had better luck actually opening the box and using the tools inside…

His knuckles are raw and red from punching the door and maybe other things (he can’t remember.) His entire room is trashed. One pinky finger looks a bit swollen, but he’s got an ice pack now.  I have the bizarre notion that his brother needs to practice a proper punch with him when they are using the boxer-grade punching bag in the basement. That would be a better way to channel punching, or at least to prevent further injury.

At this point all we can do is wait until the next fit of rage hits. My sweet boy doesn’t actually want to be this way. When he is calm he lets us know that his medication isn’t working and he can’t stop once he starts. Carl is so different from Mary. He doesn’t threaten us or punch us, or at least he hasn’t for several years.

I don’t know what is going on. His puberty hit later than Mary’s so maybe old trauma stuff is coming back up. Maybe this is what hormonal changes look like in our children? Maybe he really does have an underlying mood condition that we haven’t given enough thought to. After all, he isn’t like Mary. He’s so different. He is the most mentally stable child out of the sibling group we adopted.

Some questions remain. Should we bump up his treatment to the partial hospitalization level? Should he go inpatient again to be safe while his meds are changed? Should I join the witness protection program? Should we consider sending SOS smoke signals from our house?

I am not sure about any of this. All I know is that I have Luke by my side. We will just have to tread water in this crisis until the Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Service crisis worker arrives. I hope he/she has some practice dodging air conditioners…

**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.


17 thoughts on “Could Your Child’s Crisis Please Wait Until Business Hours?

  1. silveryew says:

    Poor soul, it must be frightening for everyone involved, including Carl. If this occurs again and they can’t come until 1pm, is there an option to change to a different provider? Or is there even another provider that would be appropriate?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi! Thank you for your kind words. It’s a statewide crisis service so there is only one provider per geographic area. I got a call from staff that he is the only one on so maybe he can make it here by 5:30. Another worker comes on at 5. Yeah that sounds like enough to cover 7 towns…sigh. Our next option is back to the hospital for inpatient treatment


  2. I’ve so been here. I cannot call the Mobile MH Crisis unit for my spouse; she must speak to them on the phone herself. Doesn’t that sound like something someone in crisis would just “love” to do? Our crisis calls are once or twice a year now… wishing for peace for you

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for sharing your struggles, Ashley. I’m sorry about your wife. It makes no sense that she would have to speak. Does it count if she is sobbing or screaming into the phone?? Sheesh. I’m so sorry this happens to you but I’m glad it’s only about twice per year now.


  3. Kathrin says:

    Call back when the situation is more calm??? Great maybe 911 can get in on that!
    Thank god for giving you the strength to pull through!! I love how you love all your children no matter what! You’re wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. C says:

    UGH!!!! Poor kid. It sounds like he just wants control during a time when he can’t get it. You kinda have a perfect storm going on. Puberty new meds and situational changes (Mary being away, Marcus moving in etc.). I have been inpatient a few time just for medication changes. It can be a dangerous time especially if it is more than one medication. It can take weeks sometime for them to work and/or have adverse effects on moods. DISCLAIMER**I am not qualified in any way to make a diagnosis I am just familiar with some parts of the new DSM from school. Have you ever looked into Intermittent explosive disorder? One of my research projects included this disorder. Just a thought. As always sending good thoughts and vibes your way!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi C! It’s always great to hear from you. Interestingly enough the psychiatrist at inpatient mentioned that too, or possible DMDD. Carl is good about knowing his medication isn’t working. Finding a solution is difficult. I’m am very happy to hear that you are back in classes. I’m proud of you! Thanks for sticking with my little blog through this crazy journey.


  5. C says:

    It’s good to see that there are parents who stay on the Journey. I’m not back in classes yet. I dunno what’s gonna happen with that. That was an undergrad project. Thank you though!

    Liked by 1 person

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