My husband and my daughter have been leaving the house to work while the monkey and I stay home. The monkey has been home since he has a few weeks off before school starts. He’s been doing really good being at home. For the most part, he lets me work. He likes to be outside in the swing, hang out with his dogs, swim a bit, and watch some YouTube videos. For the most part he’s doing good.
But a few days ago, his I-pad died. This may not seem like much, but he was not able to control his frustration. During one of my virtual work meetings, he was trying to get me to assist him. I told him to sit down and patiently wait. It takes a while for the I-pad to charge. He did sit down but only for a bit. After a while, he was losing it. He was trying to control his emotions but he lost. He reached his limit and went from 1 to 10 in a brief second. It is as if he was trying so hard to hold it in that he just exploded.
He was angry at anything and everything. He became angry at the dogs and tried to kick them. He was angry at his I-pad, at me. I tried to hold him down while I was in the conference call. I was trying to help him soothe and decompress. But it was too much. I couldn’t control him and keep up with the meeting. I finally told them we needed to reschedule and I hung up.
By this time, the monkey is just getting worse and worse. I was trying to hold him down, trying not to get him to hurt himself, the dogs, or myself. But this kid is so strong. And when I can’t reach him, when he’s full blow in meltdown mode, he is so much stronger.
This lasted for about 3 hours. I cancelled all of the afternoon meetings I had in my schedule. It was just too much to handle him and to work.
But I did have a 4:30 one that I just couldn’t get out of. By 4 pm I called my husband. He sounded busy, he was running around at work. He had mentioned he was going to have a very long day. When he answered I told him: I need you.
That’s it. That’s all I said.
He could hear the monkey in the background. His response was: I’m on my way.
By this time, I managed to get the monkey’s hands behind him while holding him down. This is such a terrible sight. I always think if someone would walk in right now, what would they think? How does one explain this to outsiders?
The monkey was so upset but he was also scared. He couldn’t use his hands. I’ve noticed this is the best way in making sure we are both safe. I can see the fear in his eyes since he can’t move. But he’s still not reachable. He’s still extremely upset.
When my husband got home, a few minutes before the 4:30 was about to start, he took over. He’s just so much stronger that he is able to hold down the monkey without much effort. His voice is also deeper that it makes the monkey behave better. I went to the laundry room to hide and to have the meeting while my husband took over upstairs.
After the hour had passed, I can hear that the monkey had stopped crying. I hear him coming down the stairs very slowly. He walks up to me and looks me straight in the eyes. He places both of his hands over his heart. His usage of the sign for sorry . He was crying so much and then he hugs me.
He kept asking for my forgiveness. We hugged for a bit. But pulled him away. I showed him my arms, my legs, my neck I showed him the scratches and blood. When he’s that mad, he will use his nails to dig down in an effort to hurt more. I told him that I loved him, but he cannot be hurting people. He kept looking at my injuries and crying and trying so hard to kiss me on the cheek while looking at my eyes. He was begging for me to say it was okay. He wouldn’t let go of me; he was hugging me so hard until I finally said yes. I forgave him.
But my arms, shoulders, neck are full of scratches. And I am so glad that I won’t have to go into the office for a few more weeks. Hopefully by then the scratches won’t be so visible. I struggle explaining to others why I’m injured. But at the same time, I want people to know. I wasn’t aware of the struggles kids and adults on the spectrum go thru until now. Their inner struggles to control their emotions are so difficult. Understanding is part of this journey.
Yesterday the monkey and I went for a drive. He was grabbing my hand and touching very softly my scratches. While he is doing that, he looks at me and signs sorry. And when he does this he looks so intensely at my eyes, he kept needing reassurance that he was forgiven.
These hurting episodes are not as frequently as they used to be, but they are still rough to handle. But we have come a long way from when we started. We struggled so much to make him understand this is wrong. And now he does understand. Our goal is to help him control his emotions when he is this upset. We are successful sometimes, and other times we are not. But that’s life, a learning journey.
I struggle a lot, emotionally, to handle the way he hurts me. I struggle a lot in the fear of when he gets older and stronger. But we have leaps of improvements His understanding is getting better and his understanding of his actions are getting clearer. I have hope we will get better. And I will hold on to this hope.
Of course, I forgive you my monkey.