When he arrived last evening, Colin noticed the great lengths his aunt went to insure his comfort. He remarked that she went to a lot of trouble, told her it wasn't necessary and made sure to thank her. He seems to like his new room and settled in. Colin found a soft child's flip foam chair to sleep on and fell asleep with the t.v. on. The bedroom has a Murphy Bed which currently is up into the wall and will be brought down if Colin decides he would like to sleep in a bed.
He also has been spending a lot of time playing video games both with and without his cousin. One of the things my sister found interesting is that the gaming system in Colin's room had a noticeable fan noise (which can be a trigger and why he stopped using his own laptop). Our son wore his headphones but didn't seem to mind the sound. When asked if the noise was a problem, he said he was o.k.
It was clear that the joy of playing a game that he was interested in, was worth the discomfort.
Starting to Plan for the Next Few StepsToday we had a meeting with the Cognitive Behavioral Psychologist. My sister pulled into the parking lot of the Behavioral Health Center the same time my husband and I did. We had a chance to chat for a few minutes before our appointment. She had brought Colin's workbooks where I was told he had mentioned some of the sounds that bug him and admitted to getting angry and yelling at his parents.
I was hoping to gather some insights as well as see what progress had been made. What I learned is that we have a young man who is very angry at his parents and felt we put him there to punish him. My sister and I could not help but laugh at what was written on the covers of each book.
One book had the following written in pencil across the cover:
For pages 2 - 10, I am not going to answer them. I am a healthy boy and I can deal with myself, and I can try to deal with my parents. I am fine, and I just want to go home.P.S. - I think my parents put me here just to punish me. They are much more insane and mentally challenged than any person in this building.
The other book had the following message:
For mental suicidal sociopaths who are not the very fine, normal, and ok me that this very adolescent and immature book proclaims I am not.
In my son's defense, the book did seem a bit childish for a teen or preteen. The only revealing pages were:
These are the things that bug me. The center of the page had a round face with six oval shapes to write in answers.
Colin wrote the following: AC, Misc. noises, Refrigerator, Waterheater, Fan
These are some of the reasons I came to the hospital:
I am perfectly healthy and capable of going home. But I came here because, I guess, I totally hate my parents and I scream at them alot.
The rest of the book was used to mostly state that he was fine. For example on the page for different ways kids deal with stress (play sports, listen to music, watch tv or play video games...) he was to circle the ones he wanted to try. Instead he wrote: "I am fine in every possible way. The person who gave me this book obviously does not know that."
From what I can see, we have a young man who is pissed-off at his parents and is not yet ready to admit any problems. I don't see that Colin's time at the hospital has changed much other than perhaps deepening his hatred toward his parents. I am now acutely aware of the deficiencies in our mental health care system. I don't even want to think about how much this adventure in futility has cost us.
In our hour-long meeting with the psychologist, we discussed some of our current concerns such as how to talk to Colin, setting realistic boundaries such as times to settle in for the night and morning routine, and preparation for starting a new school. We will have to sign over guardianship rights to my sister.
It is important to not get too far ahead of ourselves and take it one day at a time. Baby steps.... for a 12 year old baby.
We are a work-in-progress!