Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Red Alert

We live in a “Red Alert” zone. It is within this zone I can see the subtle signs of trouble building long before it escalates and subtly redirect. It is how we maintain the calm that resembles normal – or normal for us anyway. It has taken us years of practice to get to this generally more peaceful place.

But during the last several weeks I’ve gotten sloppy. Likely because Sam has hit a nice long string of easy, cooperative behavior I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security. I’ve been distracted and less watchful for the subtle little bumps. Though all the signs were probably there, I just missed them.

Distraction can mean disaster when it takes you out of the "Red Alert" zone.

I knew this with certainty the moment I saw Sam's building anxiety tonight; I saw a dark look flit across his face and knew. I hoped I was misreading. I knew I wasn't.  I tried to change the outcome, my efforts too little, too late.

In minutes playing out in slow motion. I felt the familiar surge of adrenalin and myriad of emotions as I watched Sam try repeatedly to hold on to any thread of self control. I heard the trigger words signaling he was loosing. I watched hopefully as he clenched his fist and quickly retracted it a brief show of composure. Hope was replaced with a familiar fear as I heard him say, “Sorry Mommy” as he aggressed. I stood motionless as he lost control and lashed out.

The the peaceful place of good behavior is gone. But the question remains: What series of events rolled us into this mighty crescendo?

I can only guess. In the end I only know with certainty we both tried more than anyone will understand. But in the end we still lost, leaving us to struggle, knowing it is a long way back to that peaceful place.  

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  1. Janet as you know I can completely understand. I'm sorry Sam got to that point but please don't blame yourself. I need to take this advice as well. We are always on Red Alert. There comes a time when we pray that this will end and our kids will be able to self-regulate without intervention. I hope that the rest of the week is better for you.

  2. Thank you. I know you get it. Probably better than most. It is hard when you can see so clearly the signals were there - I just wasn't reading them. I am always looking for a way to provide Sam both the tools and the words to express the problem so he doesn't have to resort to extreme measures. We have come a long way. We have a long way to go. So we pick up the pieces and move forward, I guess.