This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Letter to Bear's "team"

Hi guys,

I’m pretty concerned right now, and I’m hoping you guys might be able to provide some insight. Bear has been in a real “funk” the last few days, and is not willing to share why with us. From what little he has said, he’s pretty much “given up” on everything. He doesn’t want to go to work, doesn’t want to plan his birthday party, doesn’t want to go to the rec. center with Hubby, won’t talk about it (although that’s nothing new)… and is in a worse mood than usual which makes him hard(er) to live with. Honestly I’m getting concerned that he might do something to hurt himself (physically- although he doesn’t appear suicidal… yet?, running away, shutting down, and/or lashing out).

While writing this e-mail I got the following e-mail from Bear's DARs rep.:

COACHING RE QUITTING: Today is the first day of consumer’s
{originally Bear was only supposed to do this job for 4-6 weeks, but they decided to allow a 30 day extension}. When he arrived 10 minutes late his facial expressions indicate that something was wrong (furrowed brows, not speaking, not smiling). During PSAT he keep his head pointing down with both elbows on the table and his fists on his face. When asked a question his tone was low and inaudible. After class trainer asked consumer what was wrong. He said that “he didn’t want to be here.” He reported he did not like working here. Trainer asked which part, consumer reported “all of it.” He reported his parents want him here and that he could be doing something else. Trainer asked what, consumer reported “getting ready for school and playing football.” Consumer seems to think he can get a better job. Informed VRC.

Here’s some of the possible causes for this recent behavior that Hubby and I came up with:

  1. Job trouble – Bear recently got his 30 day Evaluation – I’m assuming his supervisor discussed it with him, and no matter how nice she might have been, any criticism, implied or otherwise, could have triggered a “life or death response” (fight, flight or freeze – shut down). Bear appears to be giving up at work (doesn’t want to go so he’s late and flat out says he doesn’t want to be there). When asked, he claims he doesn’t want to be there because he’s:
    · not learning anything
    · bored
    · this doesn’t apply to the job he really wants (I’ve tried to explain how the retail part he’s refusing to do applies to the jobs he claims to want, but he’s not in the mood to listen)
    · not going to be any good at it (retail) so he doesn’t want to do it.
    · he’s doing things that “people who make $55/hour can’t do and {he’s} not getting paid enough, and that’s not fair.”
    · He could be doing another job that pays better and he likes (including selling water to cars on the street).

  2. Bear was busted with several of his mood-stabilizer/sleep meds in his backpack coming home from work on Monday.
    · Bear hates getting caught red-handed, it’s effects his self-esteem and I think it triggers that “life or death response.”
    · He claims he doesn’t need the sleep so he didn’t take them, but of course he needs more than 5 hours of sleep a night no matter what he claims.
    · Messing with his meds means he’s messing with his body chemistry.
    · It’s possible he’s selling these meds and is upset that he lost his stock.
    · I searched his room (which he hates) and commented on the disgusting spit all over the carpet and walls (criticism can trigger that “life or death response” in his sister and it wouldn’t surprise me in him too).

  3. Traumaversary- It’s slightly distorted, but Bear remembers getting arrested and spending his birthday in Juvie for stealing when he was 10 years old. He pretty much went straight into foster care after that (Mom dumped him there because he was “out of control.” He feels that this bad choice means he ruined his life, and is really down on himself.

  4. Birthday in a few weeks – Bear has always felt that when he turned 18 he was going to be on his own. We’ve assured him many times that this isn’t the case and in his head he might believe it, but this could still be an issue emotionally. He may also feel that he doesn’t deserve good things to happen to him. Honestly I can’t remember a birthday where he wanted a party, but usually he at least wants one friend over and cares about the kind of cake I make him.

  5. Friend/ family/ girlfriend trouble – He won’t talk about it, but he’s still pretty torn up about breaking up with his ex-girlfriend. He claims that he doesn’t know where his best friend is, “everyone” is out of town, he doesn’t want one of his good friends (who is very well-off) to see his house), but I get the feeling that is all an excuse to continue to feel sorry for himself. Sometimes when he gets like this without an obvious reason we have to wonder if he’s communicated with one of his birthfamily recently and been rejected again (biodad in particular will talk to him for awhile then stop returning his calls).

  6. Driving – I think Bear is worried that he won’t be good at it (although he claims he already knows how). He’s upset about the delays while we wait for testing from the neuropsych (which he might also be nervous about) and I think he’s a little mad at himself for spending all his money (he’s already gone through his first paycheck like water).

  7. Drug use? There’s not a lot of evidence for this, but he went through his paycheck awfully fast.

Frankly I don’t know what to do. I think Bear needs to understand that THIS is his job right now, and if he’s not successful there, we’re certainly not going to be driving him to work anywhere else. I have to admit this is why we were worried about his ability to hold a job to begin with. Suggestions?

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