Sobbing. Uncontrollable. Raging. Screaming. Senseless Words. Pain so deep you drown. Daily.
I could say my son suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder, but the truth is that the whole family does. He is triggered internally, some sort of flashback, some sort of feeling he is uncomfortable with and we all suffer. I don’t know what today’s trigger was. He spent the day with the Psychiatrist. They discussed all the progress he is making and decided to cut back on some medication. He and his Dad went out to eat and chatted about the Pittsburgh Pirates on the way home. He went downstairs to play some beloved video games and I asked him to burn the papers (we do that around here.) He opened the drawer to the matches and saw that I bought him a new lighter. He ran to me with hugs of thanksgiving and headed out. He completed his task and then headed to the chicken coop and decided to show the birds the flame. He didn’t really do anything, he just put the lighter inside the chicken wire and showed them.
I caught him and yelled for him to stop. He stopped. And, it went all down hill from there. He and his Dad were screaming, his sister & he couldn’t be in the same room, he was sent to his room where his throaty screams echo throughout the whole house. He pounds the walls, pulls the wallpaper off the wall, throws things and screams to us about God. He texts his friends, threatens to call CYS & berates our efforts to help him figure this out.
Reactive Attachment Disorder wins again. It has attacked the one who has attachment issues and it has poisoned the whole family for the evening. I won’t be going to church with my husband, my plans have changed, there’s no fixing this, there’s no consequences. There’s just pain and bitter disappointment for all.
I’d love to say this doesn’t happen often. And, actually, yesterday we complimented him on it happening less frequently, but today it has happened.
He doesn’t have reactive attachment disorder anymore….we all do. We all react. We all have real pain. We have all been traumatized! He has calmed down. He yells down the stairs in a sweet voice, “Mom?” I respond as any other hurt and wounded animal would, “Shut Up!”
I’d like to say that I responded differently and to be honest, I have responded to the same situation differently before…about a gazillion times before. I’ve done everything the professionals tell me to. I’ve attended the workshops, I’ve been in therapy, I’ve read the books, I’ve responded appropriately, but today I reacted instead of responded. Maybe this approach will work. Doubtful. The hope that has gotten me this far is like sands in an hour glass and I’m about on my last grain of hope.
Being Me, I will turn this all around. I know that. I know I will write about flipping the hour glass over and how I will recognize that God renews my hope just like the sands in the glass. How the sand will all be at the top and slowly trickle to the bottom again. God does renew me & I know He will again. But right now I’m just mad. I’m mad at unanswered prayer. I’m mad at the people who didn’t take care of him when he was a baby. I’m mad at the people who think they know what he is like. I’m mad at the agencies who don’t have a clue. I’m mad to know that I am one of many hurting parents trying to deal with this diagnosis. I’m mad at a child welfare system that keeps moving kids around and creates this disorder.
But, mostly, I’m mad about missing church. Instead of church I’ll sit here and sob. I’ll ponder the situation and wonder what I’m to learn from this. I’ll cry out and ask why it has to be like this. I’ll realize that I will never know.
Reactive Attachment Disorder Stinks!
PS – It appears I’m in good company and not the first person to ponder. I googled “Angry David Psalms” –
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. (Psalm 22:1-6)
I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him—may your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn—for he has done it. (Psalm 22:22-31)