The whole house is shaking. My 12-year-old son is making this happen by systematically stomping/slamming whatever he comes into contact with. From the living room I can hear the banging of cabinets, the stomping of feet, the slamming of doors and the smashing of (fill in the blank.)
I know better than to approach him in these moments. His rage is all consuming and needs an outlet. He’s swearing and yelling at me from his room. He stops to brush his teeth and then it continues. Yes, tonight we will discuss this. Later on he might be able to hear me. Right now he’s spoiling for a fight and too dysregulated to remember anything I say. I can’t speak over all the slamming and smashing anyway. It’s too loud.
You see, I’ve woken him up by singing. He was fast asleep on his bed, cuddling his shut-off alarm clocks (he has two!) I burst into my cheeriest “Good Morning Carl!” song and he explodes. Of course, after this he will hopefully decide it’s better to get up with the alarm than mom’s bad singing. Right now he is a ball of fury, breaking everything while he gets ready.
My husband comes downstairs to ensure everyone’s safety. Something about the earth-quaking in our house must have woken him. The upside to Carl’s anger is that it’s really limited to the inanimate objects in his room. He will be verbally aggressive but he doesn’t attack us physically. The downside to Carl’s anger is…well everything else.
We attended his first family session at the intensive outpatient clinic this week. His therapist was very nice and supportive. Apparently the insurance company was already looking to discharge him after three weeks. Thankfully, she can see that he still needs the help. His meds are not right yet. He isn’t safe enough to go back to regular outpatient therapy yet. The program is typically six- to eight-weeks long.
When things go wrong with Carl it really affects me deeply. He’s the most stable child of the sibling group we adopted. He is the one who has some insight into what he’s feeling. Carl is the one who probably trusts us the most and tries to work with us. He wants help with these “big feelings” and we all try our best. When he struggles I start to feel that nothing we have done as parents made any difference. Our children are no better with a family than they were without one.
This isn’t really true. Our kids are certainly better supported now that they have us. They are together, in a sense. Mary is at RTC right now and Marcus is homeless, living out of his car, so they aren’t exactly together. I’d like to think that we are all connected by this crazy place that we call home. I’d like to think we are all connected by this crazy thing that we call family.
I need to believe that Carl will be OK.
**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.