Jun. 1st, 2010

Losing It

Jun. 1st, 2010 03:51 am
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The Monkey has been struggling with "freak out" attacks for as long as I've known her. These are times when she'll scream, and then start hurting herself, attempting to bite herself, or hitting her leg or her head or some inanimate object. There are weeks our of the month when this is a more likely occurence, mainly before her period starts.

Handling this behavior is somewhat of a challenge to me. I usually do the worst possible thing in response to this: I fight her, or yell at her, or tell her to "shut up". These things don't help, but I can't maintain rational behavior when I have someone screaming in my ear. Sorry. I don't think that's an unreasonable expectation.

Today, she missed a train to go see her girlfriend. And screaming ensued. I told her, in the spur of the moment "okay, now you're not going at all." I said it because I didn't want to feel like I was rewarding this behavior, and because I was angry that such a beyond-her-control thing could cause this.

I tried to take her phone away. She cursed at me (a common one is "fuck you"), she threatened to bite me, and she cried a lot after that. I got out of the car, walked around to her side, wiped her tears, and held her, and we worked out a plan to recover from a missed train.

And within a half hour, she was remorseful, and just felt more terrible about herself for having done and said those things.

I hate this. I hate that there's something inside her so broken that this is the default action. The fact that she screams in her sleep seems to suggest it's a "hardwired" behavior, not something conscious. I hate that the drugs she's been assigned for this basically knock her unconscious for 8 hours. I feel as though it's the action of some spoiled child who can't get their way: except instead of not getting her way from the parent, her unconscious expresses this frustation at someone to whom screaming at will not help. Screaming at me will not make the train stop, it won't help her find the bra you can't find, and it won't fix her back problems. Neither will hitting herself, the interior of my car, or me.

Worse still is that she's been warning me of this. "If I feel the need to smash something, don't worry, it won't be your laptop". The best I can relate it, I suppose, is to Tourettes Syndrome. (I went to a High School that had a program specializing in it). One of my friends who had it explained their tics as "I know it's coming, and I can delay it, or hold it back, but it actually hurts to do it". That is, knowing it's coming doesn't mean you can stop it. Just because it's exploding slowly doesn't mean it's not exploding.

It saddens me that she does this around me because she feels safe enough to do so. Her girlfriend has never seen her like this. She doesn't (generally) do it in public places, or crowds. Just when she's with me. Should I feel privileged?

I think the best/only things I can do here, sadly, are preventative:

  • If you can't make a train with 20-30 minutes TO SPARE, you're not making it. You don't know if I might have to stop for gas or have trouble with the car. You can't predict when you'll lose something and we'll have to go back upstairs for it.

  • Need to develop a better meditative/relaxation technique. Yoga, breathing, stressball you carry everywhere...anything.

  • You can clearly recognize when is the worst time for this. You know when a storm is brewing, how can we work with that? Can you go somewhere, alone, and do it, and get it out? Scream into a pillow? Tear up a phone book?

I've got a pounding headache and it's 2:30 AM. I'm still at work. The monkey is off with her girl. And even despite writing all this, I don't feel totally calmed down.

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