Friday, June 5, 2009

Sunbreak


...of sorts.

As I have mentioned previously, we are having issues with our teenager. Above and beyond your average teenager issues. It's been sapping every ounce of strength and energy we have, hence the lack of blog posts. The behaviors have been escalating, resulting in interventions by mental health professionals and the police. It's sort of like watching this dark cloud form over his head, growing darker and angrier, until it erupts in thunder and lightning and a deluge of acid rain.

But I saw a sunbreak yesterday. It was a subtle shift, but it was there.

Without going into detail, one of the hallmarks of Tyler's anger is that it is usually so blind that any attempt to disengage or calm him down usually results in an explosion of rage (and me spackling holes in the wall the next day). Not surprising, considering the trauma he's been through in his short life.

But yesterday, in the midst of conflict, when I was just settling in for the long haul, he applied the brakes, turned the angry car around, and altered his behavior on his own accord, without outside coercion. Now, Tyler has exploded and come back calm before. But this was completely different. It was a conscious decision to disengage from the conflict and re-engage in a totally positive way.

While Raechelle took Kayleigh to her martial arts lesson, Tyler and I walked to the store for supplies, then came home and made spaghetti with meatballs, fresh fruit salad and a mixed green salad with ingredients from our own garden. At one point, Tyler said to me, "I like cooking with you." I told him I liked it too. Dinner was a success, and afterward we watched the freaky storm whip through our neighborhood. Tyler went to bed at the correct time without incident (usually a high-stress time as TFMD and I wonder what form his outburst will take).

As his father, nobody has been burned more by these apparent changes in the past. By all rights, I shouldn't feel as optimistic as I do. But I do. Something changed. It was small, but profound nonetheless. And now he's in a partial day program which provides him with solo and group therapy, anger management, health & wellness support, and follow-up care.

I'm hoping to build on the success of last night. For the first time in several weeks, I saw my son emerge again. It was wonderful.

6 comments:

kylestevensmusic said...

:)

Gavin said...

I'm glad to hear it. And I love you both.

You know I'm here if you need my help, or just someone to talk to, any time.

--Gavin

http://therealali.blogspot.com/ said...

What a wonderful thing normality is when it's been missing.

Michael & I were the respite, and sometimes rescue, people for two separate families who had teens who struggled with all sorts of stuff. They had loving, intact, families, yet their teenage years were dominated by rage, violence, self-loathing and depression. I hope it helps you to keep doing what you're doing, when I tell you that both these kids are now in their early 20's and are self-managing the residual issues they will have for life, are at peace with their families, and live happy lives free of the rage which once enveloped them.

Hugs to both you and Rae.

Ali

TigereyeSal said...

This is good news indeed. I hope he was able to acknowledge and affirm his own growth...

Anonymous said...

Very nice--good for Tyler! That takes a lot of strength to be able to pull back like that.
Jess

Lucy Leadskin said...

HUGS!!11!!one!