Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dancing On My Grave

 This morning I received a comment from a concerned blog-reader that I felt worthy of a post. I often mention my son's "messages of hate" such as "go kill yourself" and "vicious puppy is going to attack and kill you". Recently when I jokingly told my son that he would miss me when I'm gone, he responded that he would be dancing on my grave. While I might make light of this behavior and choose to either ignore or respond with humor, I do take this situation a bit more seriously than it might appear.

My daughter, who is 20 and has suffered with Misophonia since the age of 8 has been reading your blog with me. Your struggle and Colin's has really moved us.
I am also an Emergency Physician with 28 years of experience and I am very concerned about the behaviors you are describing where your son repeats his 'hate messages', especially in a quiet or sing-song voice, through the dog, and that he does it only with you and your husband and doesn't allow it to be public. This does not seem to have any relation to misophonia triggers, but could indicate another condition. I strongly recommend, for you and for your son's safety and well-being, that you talk with his doctor and/or a Behavioral Health Professional about these behaviors.

Marni, I appreciate your concern here. I agree that the messages of hate may not be exactly miso-related. There is much of our lives that are not in my blog.

As a precaution, when we were getting the house ready for Colin to come home, we hid and locked up our large kitchen knives. I also had kept in touch with our behavioral psychologist when our son first came home and we routinely spoke about this behavior. While troubling, it has been important that we don't overreact.

During the time that Colin was hospitalized, he was suspected of a wide range of disorders but none confirmed. Hard as they tried, he refused any and all medication. Our mental heath system is extremely deficient to say the least and the only good our son's stint at the Psych Hospital did was to further cement his hate for us. He blames us for having him locked up as a punishment.

While hospitalized, our son admitted that he would not care if something happened to my husband and I but he personally would not do anything. Upon his release, it was clear that my son was not ready to go home and we were not provided with any real options by the social worker and psychiatrist on our case. They were more interested in making room for another patient and deemed our son clear to leave. I am still very bitter about our experience. I thank God every day that my sister stepped up to help. I shudder to think what might have happened had she not.

Our cognitive behavioral psychologist has admitted that our son was one of his most frustrating cases. The doctor was able to serve as a good sounding board but in the end, my best tool has been my mother's intuition. It has been helpful to have a trained professional to run ideas past and to affirm we are on the right path.

I belong to several online support groups. I have made many friends with parents of difficult cases as well as adults with Misophonia. One of my adult friends has been instrumental in helping me understand what might be going on in my son's head. There were some similarities in her case. My friend had difficulties as a teen living at home and went to live with her aunt for a year. Having a misophone's perspective and coaching was invaluable.

I was advised to proceed slowly and methodically as we were (still are) dealing with a very sensitive individual. Allowing the child to have as much control as possible is also key. Consistency in behavior and words is another important factor. My friend and I strategized, I ran our ideas past our psychologist and then carried them out. I still marvel at our success in getting Colin back home by our deadline. Even more amazing is his progress by leaps and bounds.

I believe there may be a hereditary component to our son's disorder. I see some of my mother in my son. Unfortunately she passed away long before he was born. She was very smart, driven and a bit obsessive. She had an explosive temper and exhibited distorted thinking. While there may have been an element of truth to some of her feuds, they were blown out of proportion and hardly worthy of the decades-long vendettas she held against family and some neighbors.

Much of my childhood was not happy and I did experience some verbal and physical abuse at the hands of my mom. We were able to come to terms with this later in life before her death. She expressed her regrets and we made our peace for which I am thankful. Not everyone gets this chance. This experience helped shape who I am today.

Colin has told his middle-brother that he will never forgive his parents for the past year. I am aware that it may take a very long time until our son will possibly take ownership of his situation. I do believe we will eventually have a reconciliation. Unfortunately this will not happen any time soon.

I want to assure you that not a day goes by that I don't try to gauge where we are with Colin. I'm not proud of this but I have "stalked" him on the Internet, searched his notebooks and other media for any worrisome signs and keep an eye out for any troubling behavior. Much to my relief, I have found nothing of concern.

One of the most curious aspects of Colin's behavior is his ability to hide any signs of distress to former triggers. I doubt he is "cured". I have witnessed on some rare occasions what might be avoidance maneuvers  but have not seen any rages since he has been back. Much of his "hate messages" tend to occur when he is tired or inundated with uninitiated conversation. Some of this might be a form of trigger-induced anger-release. No one except our son can answer this. Unfortunately our teenage master of deflection will not open up to anyone. I so wish I could unlock the "black box" in his head to solve these mysteries.

Right now our hands our tied. While I do have professionals that I can and have called for advice, we need to move with caution. We agreed not to take our son to any more psych-related doctor visits if he was functioning within reason in our home. And he is.

Things have been slowly improving but as always... We are a work-in-progess.

Thank you so much for reaching out and for your concern!

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