*I wrote this last April, prior to our son beginning a Prozac trial.  I’m wool-gathering, thus putting up old stuff.  (It’s better than writing something rash.)  Also, this post is tangentially related to the piece I’m currently writing.  The title is unchanged.


This photograph is the work of Cecilia Paredes

Sunday was grey and overcast.  We had a babysitter come so that we could go to lunch and a movie.  I’d never been to the restaurant, which was one of those barbeque places that are suddenly in vogue.  After a long look at the menu, I ordered a burger with bacon and honey-mustard sauce; it was inexplicably good.  Sometimes, common ingredients are all that’s necessary.

We’ve been having continuing issues on the home front.  We woke up to our eight-year-old yelling for oatmeal.  I told him he wasn’t going to get oatmeal because he was yelling, and he smacked me in the face.  Recently he’s been getting a lot more aggressive.  After hitting me, he then hit my husband as my husband walked him back to his room.  Recently he’s been more and more anxious and is becoming a tinderbox.  Anything can set him off these days, regardless of time, place, or event.

Even grammar mistakes set him off these days, and he screams at other children for making them, including his siblings.

He’s also taken to regularly yelling at adults and calling them stupid idiots.  Sometimes I agree, but… it’s still not okay.  So, we tell him he’s not allowed to talk that way and it escalates from there.  If we’re lucky, we manage to calm him down before he’s knocked over any chairs, thrown anything, or hit anyone.  He’s also getting pretty rough with his younger siblings; it’s definitely not good for them.

When he was younger, he used to tantrum a lot, and I used to fear that he would end up being one of those autistic kids who lives in a center.  One time he even gave me a bloody nose, but then didn’t notice (or react to the sight of blood).  Then we had a few good years, and I stopped worrying as much.  Now, he’s getting bigger, more oppositional, and hitting again.  I don’t know at what point we acknowledge that what we’re currently doing is simply not working.

Our cognitive behavioral therapist is awesome, but he’s unwilling to move into our house…  And we couldn’t afford it anyway.  I’m starting to think the only option right now is meds.  If not for him, than possibly for me…  I don’t know.  Sometimes I wish we had less toys in our basement, and more options for respite.  And then I feel like a child for not having a more concrete plan, for not being… stronger, more patient, better.

I know that we’re incredibly fortunate to live in an area with strong legislation and good resources, including the Cody Center, but sometimes I don’t feel all that fortunate.  I’m sitting there having this conversation with my husband while eating my hamburger.  And at some point I realize that bacon is absurdly good, and it just seems inappropriate and wrong to be enjoying bacon.  I probably should have switched to alcohol at that point, but instead I stopped eating.  At least then I could feel slightly less guilty.

Again, this post was written prior to the decision to begin Prozac, which has helped our son enormously.

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18 Responses to Defusion

  1. El Guapo says:

    Wow. And yet, you kept on going, and still take care of your son every day.
    So 8 months later, how is it going, and how is it to deal with?

    (and stop dropping hats. Sheesh.)

    • He does amazing on Prozac. His teacher had him last year, and basically says he’s like a different kid. So, it’s only scary when you think about one day when he’s much older and wants to go without, or when the dose stops being effective. Usually changes with size.

  2. I empathise with you. I am a SEN teacher, autism specialist, so I know what a challenge it can be. Do you use a sensory circuits style programme? Does ‘squashing’ help him calm down?

    • He doesn’t really calm down with squashing or with any of the weighted vests and blankets. He does do some lift and carry which helps. Also, he started Prozac, and that has helped tremendously with his anxiety.

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    Raising an autistic child can be such a challenge, and I imagine the effort you expend some days must knock the wind right out of you. There is never enough respite for parents, is there? I know this was written a while ago, but I wish you well as you move to a new environment. I suspect changes in routine are tricky.

    • Yeah, the CBT has spent a lot of time talking to him about it it, but I don’t think the kids are prepared for the reality of moving and changing schools. Currently, they’re mostly just excited for living at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

  4. Lance says:

    I don’t want to be maudlin in my comment to this gut-wrenching, honest piece, so I offer a virtual bug and hop he gets better.

  5. Running from Hell with El says:

    I’m so sorry for the pain you’re in my friend. Things with my son have been like night and day since we put my youngest son on meds–a solution we resisted for the longest time. It’s not the right solution for everyone. Whatever you decide, I pray you find peace soon.

  6. When you look back at things in the past that we have actually written, there are feelings awakened and reasons discovered why we chose to go back. I hope all is well with you. And hope writings in the past help clarify the pieces you are making today. =>

  7. I can only try to imagine how difficult this must have been for you, and for all the parents out there with kids having the same behavioral problems. Kudos to you all for not giving up the fight. That’s really what matters, I guess.

    And as for hamburgers, you just gave me the wonderful idea that they can be therapeutic. Mmm…

  8. iRuniBreathe says:

    Sometimes the simplest things are what we can enjoy, so we should. Perspective is hard to keep when we are so overwhelmed and struggling with things that seem like they are not there for everyone.
    You are kind. And a loving mom.

  9. Having a child with “special needs” is so hard. I don’t know how parents do it. To have your kid be slightly outside of your grasp must be the most frustrating thing in the world.

  10. raeme67 says:

    If I remember right, you went with meds? How is that going, my son, who is an adult now takes a couple, they have made a world of difference. All the best to you.

  11. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been, what with all the stigma attached to giving kids meds, and I’m pleased it helped!

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