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Thread: Depression, Anxiety & Anger

  1. #1
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    Depression, Anxiety & Anger

    I don't know if I'm still a 'New SCI' (Son's c-5 incomplete burst fracture Sept.3, '06) parent,
    or if I'd best be posting elsewhere, but all this is new, to me.
    Lately its been impossible to get thru to my son on the subject of his very real improvements in function.
    Its been only a month since he's been out of ICU and at the rehab hospital, and he's regained some upper body movement, but he still cannot use his hands. He was a metal sculptor and welder before the accident and keeps saying if he can't use his hands and has to have his diaper changed (bowel 'training'-no 'accidents') and his urine 'cathed' (no 'accidents') every 4-6 hrs, he
    "doesn't want to live like this." "Get a gun and.....!"
    I keep telling him that the fact
    -he has been able to move one middle finger and thumb (slightly) ,
    -he has moved a toe,
    -he can now move his arms to hug his son,
    -he can eat a cookie placed in his hand (but it falls, sometimes)

    Last nite
    -he managed a Snickers mini-bar, all by himself -

    we brought him Halloween treats and his sister's 5 children dressed in costume, to visit him & cheer him up.

    These are milestones (I'm told) but are
    minor to him
    - he repeats over and over- "he wants his hands back!"
    I try to be enthusiastic, even excited about these accomplishments and tell him that it will be a slow process.
    He's not going for it.
    He's always been impatient, reckless, & quick tempered.
    We havent' t even gotten to the issue of him being wheelchair bound.
    There has been no indication that they want to start him with 'aqua-therapy' in the pool. He says that is because, he has to show signs he can move his legs a bit. He has only managed to move a toe- once.

    He had a huge argument with his sister last night and stormed (rolled) out of the room, down the hall - he was shirtless and had his neck brace off (she was washing his face & neck at the time) .
    He is being unreasonalble & inconsiderate and taking her help for granted.
    She loves her 'baby' brother. She has been by his side for 10-12 hours a day since the first day of this emergency & has nursed him when the nurses coudn't (or wouldn't) be there.

    The argument partially had to do with his discharge in Dec/Jan. (he's going to go to her house, temporarily at first) and her having contractors build entrance ramp(s), widen doorways and modifying the bathroom on the 1st floor. The work is being done now.

    It also partially had to do with his girlfriend (& mother of his son)
    not getting along with his sister (that's a long story invoving a convoluted 'logic' on his part, to maintain the relationship because of his 2 y.o. son)
    and she won't take any initiative to train in his caregiving, because he 'won't be coming home to her' - and she's been 'shut out by the family' (rightfully so- while we were taking shifts at the hospital- she stole his bank accounts thru ATM's and ran his credit up for thousands of $$, by forging 'convenience checks' while he was fighting for his life in CCU)-saying she "needed diapers & day-care money". (She works, and earns over $40K/yr).

    His sister 'cathes' him and does his 'bowel-training' already.
    The girlfriend just brings his son for a 15-30 min visit most every day and then leaves.(She wanted him, and his disability checks, to come home with her, but the lease is up in Dec & she hasn't found a new handicap accessable place.......... he is being discharged Dec-Jan ! So he's 'temporarily' going to his sister's, & she's handling his finances, & S.S, and Ins. forms, for him too)

    So he's showing signs of anger & frustration about the slownes of his progress in recovery and is definitely showing signs of depression. I don't think he is even being evaluated psychologically, aside from a weekly 'coping-group' session.So this type of behavior isn't noticed by anyone else, except by the vigilance of our family.(and we're finding we must be pro-active & vigilant- to protect him from hospital staff errors & theft.(another long thread.......another time).

    I'm becoming anxious & frustrated, not knowing what to say or do to help him. We love him very much. I go every evening after work and on weekends, to see if there is anything I can do to help him, or make him more comfortable. A dink, a pillow, a snack, help holding/turning him while his diaper is changed - anything to help.
    And I don't know what to do about his frame of mind.
    How can I help him?
    Bob B
    SCI - Parent

  2. #2
    hi, my name is rod, I just read your story today, I am a c/5-c/6 incomplete quad. I was injured on 10/25/05 and I also had my therapy at Kernan, I spent 2 1/2 months at Kernan. I am currently going to Kernan for outpatient therapy. is Adam still at Kernan ? I would like to see and talk to him. (my o.t. was Margret-blond hair- ask her about Rod). also Kernan has a spinal cord injury support group that meets the second tues of every month, this is a wonderful resource to meet and talk to former patients. the next meeting is 11/14/06 at 6:00 I will be there. also every fri at 11:30 am to 12:30 pm there is a group that meets in the recreation therapy room (talk to Jenifer the recreation therapist). I sometimes sit in on this meeting if I'm there, send me a private message if you want to talk or have any questions. I was told by many doctors that I would never walk again, however after months of therapy I have went from walking with a walker to forearm crutches to now a cane.

    I posted this on your other thread also
    Last edited by SCI-Nurse; 10-30-2006 at 01:51 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thannks, Rod
    I emailed you.
    I'll show this to Adam, tomorrow
    (won't see him tonite, have a Dr's appt of my own)
    Bob B
    SCI - Parent

  4. #4
    I will be at Kernan tomorrow at 9:00 am for therapy after my session I will try to look Adam up, who is is o.t. ?

  5. #5
    Oh hell, Bob. I'm sorry to see this development. The anxiety/anger/lashing out at his sister isn't surprising. The fact that his girlfriend is robbing him is surprising, horrifying, and I guess I don't need to point out that it is scumbag-behavior-extraordinaire.

    I've seen the lashing out at best supporters a thousand times. It must be an inbred behavior for humans...we lash out at the ones that love us the most. I think it's because we know they can be trusted to not desert us.

    Post-stroke, my mom did it to me, Post-TBI, my stepbrother did it to my stepmom. That one was eerie-he then turned back around and continued conversing with me, sweet as pie. I've seen it many many times in the Caregiver's forum, mainly kids lashing out at their parents.

    I'm no professional, but I would encourage your daughter not to tolerate verbal abuse from him. He's a grown man. He knows better. His body is broken, his brain is not. Yes, he's angry and frustrated, I know that all too well. He also knows it's not her fault. I bet some part of him is deeply ashamed of himself. Maybe the lashing out is inevitable, but he should damned well be apologetic after he's done it.

    His is very very very new to this. I've noted before that you have an unusually keen grasp on what a long road recovery from SCI is. He's not seeing that yet.

    He needs to be using that anger as a motivator. Every time he hangs on to that cookie needs to be a "Take that, stupid SCI!" moment.

    I wish I had a dollar for every pork chop or plate of linguini I dumped down my c-collar. Way irritating, and eventually itchy, stinky, disgusting. But now I drive, run a houshold, cook dinner, do the laundry, do tons of volunteer work. I was always artsy-craftsy and haven't really found a way to channel that but if I had any actual talent I think I would have. Real talent will emerge.

    We have quad welder/scuptors on Carecure, some with less finger control than your son has displayed already. My dentist has a quad friend that uses her disarded dental tools or sculpting...the little loops and metal probes and magnifying glasses etc. When he gets to that point I think he'll find himself a creative outlet.

    Meanwhile, can you redirect the anger to the girlfriend and the financial situation?? God that needs to stop. If he can't see it maybe he IS temporarily mentally disabled and yall need a short-term power-of-attorney? SCI's MUST protect their assets. For example, I'm always telling kids on here-pre-nups are essential for us. We earn less, it costs a fortune to keep us alive.

    Maybe use his son to explain it to him. The old saying "The greatest gift you can give your children is your independence" comes to mind. If he lets that woman rob him now, he is doing his son a disservice long-term. He wants to support his son? The first step to that is to ensure he not become a financial burden on him in the future.

    SCI Nurse can probably recommend some sort of counselling. Many SCI's end up on anti-depressants and I don't see that as a bad thing. It's a rough time, anything to get him over the hump w/o making him apathetic strikes me as a good thing. Tell his doctors about any suicide talk (my advice). High level quads with less function than him have pulled it off. (My OT told me about one that managed to suffocate himself by swallowing his bedsheet in the night.)

    Yeah he's pissed. I hope he can learn to use it. For me, SCI was an opponent and I'm programmed to fight, so I'd be grunting in the gym all the time, straining against it. His injury is incomplete too. If he'll channel the anger he might go further than he's dreamed possible.

    Impatient, reckless, impulsive...you could be describing me LOL.

  6. #6
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    Hi Bob...

    My husband Don had the same thoughts and he's a para.... He collects guns and we had to make them disappear for a while after he got back from rehab. As Bethany says... Don has learned to point his anger into getting his life back... He restored italian cars as a hobby and used to do all the really heavy parts and now has to have someone else do this for him but he has returned to restoration doing as much as he can...

    There is hope Bob...Yep your son is very new to this whole new insanity and you are too... keep posting and venting... it's good for you and when your son is ready... point him towards this list... he will really benefit from the interaction...

    Sieg

  7. #7
    Bob -
    Betheny said it very well (as always).
    I want to add, however - get and keep documentary evidence of the girl"friend's" forging those checks. It may be important later on, depending on how things turn out.
    Also, you mention the slowness of his recovery. This word "recovery" is a dangerous one. Rehabilitation is learning how to live with things the way they are now. That was extremely difficult for me to digest. You cannot count on recovery per se. You can hope for it, pray for it - and it may come, there isn't anyone here on CC who would wish otherwise for your son - but do not count on it. Yes, things will happen slowly, and very likely there will be some improvement - that he has some movement is an excellent sign - and he should NEVER stop trying.
    That's real nice of Rod to offer to talk to him; I hope your son does.
    Best wishes,
    - Richard

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rod1986@verizon.net
    I will be at Kernan tomorrow at 9:00 am for therapy after my session I will try to look Adam up, who is is o.t. ?
    If my notes are right (!?):
    O.T.- Lou Ann
    P.T.- Irene
    Primary- Gwen/Lou Ann
    Rec- Jenny

    He has 3 sessions a day starting at 10:00 (?) or 10:30 (!)
    2 of one and 1 of the other, but I'm not sure which is which.
    I think he needs some positive reinforcement.
    I spoke on the phone to Dr Gorman today, & mentioned his need to be
    given a brighter outlook.
    I hope thay will help.
    Bob B
    SCI - Parent

  9. #9
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    In the matter of the deception................
    All legal and preventive measures have been taken. Sorry I mentioned it -
    I was venting and the words just spilled out.
    We're on top of everything with change of addresses, attorneys, and notary's, and banks, & credit card companies.
    But he wants to continue the relationship to insure his relationship with his son. Only time will tell, if it is the right choice.
    My opinions can't change or get in the way of his personal matters.
    Everything else, we've taken care of - we hope.
    I'm aware that types of paralyzed spousal abuse can occur ......and its as hard to deal with, as healthy people who have the same problems - its emotional, psychological. We'll just have to keep a 'hawks-eye' out for everything.
    He can be hurt even more than he has been. We'll try to not let that happen.
    Bob B
    SCI - Parent

  10. #10
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    Oh, I finally found out that he has an ASIA classification.
    The doc told me today that he is a 'class C' ..... ASIA-C.
    But he is an 'incomplete' sooo.....I'm not sure what that is, but the doc said it means he has some function and sensation below the area of injury. Also that he has shown some slight muscle response/reflex ( ?? I wish I could write as fast as they talk) in his leg(s) other than the movement of the toe. Minimal, but it shows 'something' (?) is there. I just wish he could get behind what all this means, in positive reactions to the Dx.
    Bob B
    SCI - Parent

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