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A Raging Thanksgiving… :-(

It’s been a rough Thanksgiving Day for the king….and therefore for me…

We’ve been slowly increasing his dose of depakote (anti seizure med) over the past few weeks and last night was his first night at a new higher dose and today we had a flashback to the “summer of rage” Kyle.

Multiple meltdowns/ tantrums. Maybe they were hunger related, or bowel movement related, or maybe tired related, or maybe he just felt like throwing things and hitting me all day.

But boy this kid knows how to push my buttons! When he is in a “rage” I can see him looking around for something to throw or hit and he always seems to go for the most expensive or the most fragile things.

DustBuster, books, toys, hitting the tv, trying to overturn the tv in his room, and then just attacking yours truly. I got the brunt of it today. And this was all before we left for my in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner.

And I didn’t react well at all.

I was just really angry. When I got hit I yelled. And yes I even
 raised my hand once or twice. It’s a knee jerk reaction. And when he was throwing things, I yelled…. Loudly…Big time.

My wife was able to control herself and have more sympathy & understanding of the situation. This is his first day on an increased dose. He’s eating more. So maybe he’s constipated. She took him in the backyard this morning and put him on the trampoline.

I thought all of those things too, but I couldn’t help myself. I was a raging lunatic for most of the morning & afternoon. And once I become a lunatic then very oftenl I make a bad situation worse.

Then we went to my in laws house for Thanksgiving dinner and it didn’t get much better. During the appetizers / antipasto he was starting to rage so the wife took him in the minivan to watch a DVD for 30-45 minutes.

He was a bit better when he came back in but he literally fell asleep at the table during the main course. I put him in their bedroom and napped for about 90 minutes. (he also napped yesterday)

So we got some respite there… but it was somewhat guilt ridden respite.

Then he got up and helped my father in law blow out his birthday candles (the king loves to blow out candles).

After that he wasn’t raging, but he wasn’t all there. He wasn’t easily engaged. He wasn’t really “present”.

He ate a little dinner. And then started raging again. So I took him and Paula home and left my wife there to hang out.

I’m writing this sitting in the dark outside his bedroom leaning against the door. He’s almost asleep. It’s 9:22pm. I can hear him holding his breath as he falls asleep. Oh yeah… The amount of breath holding was absolutely insane today. And again he does that in all awake situations (happy, sad, mad, etc)

Let’s just hope this is a one day anomaly and let’s hope this all has to do with him adjusting to the new dose and he will settle in quickly

They’ve been seeing a lot of these kinds of behaviors at school the past few weeks..but we hadn’t seen them much at all at home…until now…

And the thought of 3 more days off from school makes me shudder.

That’s all folks. The end.


Hope your Thanksgiving was better than ours.

Written by

Frank Campagna

I’m a 48 year old neurotypical dad with a 14 year old son with severe, non-verbal autism & epilepsy. I created this blog to rant about autism & epilepsy while celebrating my son who I affectionately call “the king” :-).

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30 People Replies to “A Raging Thanksgiving… :-(”

  1. Anonymous

    That's why there are two of you, a mom and a dad, to help each other out. When one is weak the other is strong. No bad feelings, years and years of trying to hold it all together tend to grind you down. I challenge anyone to live through hundreds of these scenarios, year in and year out, and still maintain their sanity. I've walked that mile, still am, and find my self-control stronger on some days rather than others. It's a wicked ride.

  2. Praying for better! Our Thanksgiving was better but there was a confrontation between my daughter and my father. My grandson is 5 and he has a cold so he was more stimmy than usual and my dad is 79. So everytime he tried to get behind his chair to look out the window or started lining stuff up my dad spoke sharply to him and that's. What prompted my daughters anger. She left the Jenny Mcarthy book for him so he will hopefully read it and understand more. My grandson is non-verble and still in diapers. It seemed that after the words were spoken then he seemed to calm down and not snap at Doc (my grandson) for everything. Toward the end of the night my dad was starting to get irritated again and Doc was overstimulated, so we packed up and left. My dad tried to give the book back but we left it. I hope he reads it! I know his age is part of it but Doc is his great grandson and should try to understand him. Hoping he will see the light. And again prayers to you and yours!

  3. Anonymous

    Been there a many of times,being hit,kick,slap,spit on @ times I reach my limit have said things I'm proud of have often ask why me ?? when will I reach the point when I love my child being this way because to be honest I hate it,I hate this life and as she get's older it get harder. But yet I expect school staff to deal w/her and not respond in a neg. way but yet @ times I can't they seem so happy to hand her off to me @ 3:15pm and why my family and friends refuse to deal with her on any level since she have got older and as a family member told me I can iep the school to death the fact remains she's my problem 100%. 🙁

  4. Anonymous

    We forget sometimes as parents that we are not supposed to be perfect at it. It is day like this for me that make me appreciate the new beginning of tomorrow. Holidays are stressful and medication makes them worse. I hope today is better than yesterday for you and the King. Meg

  5. Anonymous

    Your honesty is often what keeps me from giving up. My family spent Thanksgiving divided in half. One child and one parent up north with all of the family and fun and bonding. My little king and I stayed home on our own because the stress of having him in a different home for a week and around so many people is just more than I can take. I didn't want his brother to miss out though, so while it was quiet here, it was also lonely with my non-verbal child who has no concept of the day and ate pizza. We do the best we can.

  6. Anonymous

    We had Horrible times on Depakote…every child is different but ASD and depakote did not mix…at all.
    We got our boy back when he got off…but getting off was so hard…worth it…but hard.
    Hope today is better…take some time for you…to breathe…you'll be better for it.

  7. Thanks so much for putting this down in words. I can feel the total frustration. We have a nephew with severe autism and while we have seen similar behavior, it's hard to know what all my sister has to go through (she referred to your blog this morning).

  8. Anonymous

    Medication change in order? You're doing a great job. Try to research other med alternatives.

  9. Been there, done that, felt like a shit. With Nathan it seems like his mood triggers mine. The cool thing is that you, like me, have a significant other to help. So cool when you are falling apart and she isn't. And vice versa. And you know what? When things are better, even just a little bit, they seem SO awesome. We are considering going to my inlaws for Xmas, but we couldn't last year. Even thinking that we could seems amazing. I know my standards are way lowered, but I also know that seeing other people complain about their NT kids makes me laugh and laugh at them.

  10. Anonymous

    If it helps……I KNOW how you feel and what you had to go thru. It sucks, this I know. Let's hope things improve

  11. Anonymous

    Hopefully today will be better. Holidays are rough. We had similar day. My daughter would not go to sleep until very late last night. She was throwing things too. She hits, but she has started hitting herself. I would much rather her hit me than herself. She used to hit and bite me, not so much anymore. Don't feel guilty for the yelling. I have found when Olivia gets like that sometimes yelling is the only way I can get her attention. Praying the meds work and things calm down for you.

  12. We had to take our daughter off depakote. The increased dose made her violent. I ended up in the hospital. Please call the neurologist, even if the office isnt open today. Please try to get a referral to a neuro-psychiatrist. People who have epilepsy are constantly having damages done to their brain. I know, another doctor, I understand. We have more than our share of drs. I know this is very frustrating. I'm sorry that you are having to deal with this and the things that a running down in your mind of what triggered it, what you could have done different, etc. oh, keep track of the barometric readings and the moon cycle phases. Having epilepsy makes him more sensitive. Especially when he's in meltdown.

  13. Anonymous

    Sometimes the guilt of letting yourself react is overwhelming. We all feel that pain at some point and it sucks. I fall to my knees some days with the pain, anger, and frustration. Then I get back up like you do, because they are worth it. Even if it means respite in any way we can find it.

  14. Anonymous

    Try to forgive yourself. You're a terrific dad.

  15. Anonymous

    I love your honesty. So often I read things written by other special need families and their life sounds so perfect and in order all the time. I try to tell myself that they are just hiding the truth and leaving out any imperfections so they can feel better about themselves. In my moments of weakness I do find myself wondering if I'm the one I should be questioning, however. Am I just living this crazy life by the seat of my pants grasping at moments of peace because I'm not as capable as others at keeping my crap together? Then I read from parents like you who are real…at least my kind of real…and I remember that we all just do what we can with the situation we live in. Sure, you may have had a bad day and maybe you did add to the tension by giving in to it. So, what? That was yesterday and it's behind you. Forget about it and move on. We all have days we can look back and wish it had gone different. Even those sunshine and rainbow families that pretend everything is perfect have their moments. They just try not to talk about it. Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone and that even when I have a bad day or a bad moment I am still a good parent overall…just like you.

  16. I know this sounds odd, but I read your post three times. Because I get sooooo angry with Kaden when he rages, I don't know why. I try not to, I hate myself each time I yell at him or one of the other kids when hes ripping one of the damn house walls down during dinner. I feel somewhat desperate and want to stop everything around me Matrix style while I comically figure out how to fix him. How to stop his hurt, his anger, his stemming need or just to make it all better. Thank you for posting, I know your day sucked, but you have helped me remember that I'm human and not perfect. And I will be even more crazy then I am now if I try to make myself be perfect or if I spend my life kicking my own butt for not being perfect. I hope tomorrow is better for your family, but if it's not remember you are only human, don't beat yourself up too much. 🙂 ((hugs))

  17. Anonymous

    It is post like this that truly help me through the day. Happy Thanksgiving (whats left of it).

  18. Anonymous

    Just get through the day keeping he and the family safe and happy as possible. It's our job as a dad to a very special family. Every day is a learning experience. My daughter is 14. Jeff.

  19. Sounds so familiar. Never ever feel bad about being human. It's hard to not react when you're being hit and things are being thrown at you. Forgive yourself Daddy.
    I am so glad that there are other parents out there who know what our world is like. So many things have been broken in our home we decorate with pillows and stuffed animals. LOL

  20. Never feel bad about the knee-jerk reaction after getting hit. I used to feel awful about yelling/defending myself, etc., after an attack, but when you are in a combat situation and somebody is attacking you, even a loved one, it is very hard to remain calm and passive and have patience. It's human instinct. I hope your day is better tomorrow. We had a very hard night tonight too. Lots of meltdowns and tears (for everyone), especially hard to see the impact that it has on my younger son, who was trying to enjoy his Thanksgiving without violent incidence 🙁 Thanks so much for sharing, as always, your honest feelings. It helps very much to know that we aren't alone.

  21. I read your blog often and it is clear to me that you and your wife are great parents who love their son very much. We've all had days like this, when we feel we've made a bad situation worse. Maybe it's because we try to put unrealistic expectations on ourselves, especially around the holidays? Regardless, like everyone else said, tomorrow is a new day.

  22. Anonymous

    You ARE a great Dad! We're human and we cannot have unlimited patience and tolerance every second of every day. This is f'n hard. Tomorrow is another day. Thanks for your honesty. We have two other (NT) boys and my temper with them can be very bad at times. It's just one day at a time bro 🙂

  23. elissa fitz

    So sorry your thanksgiving didnt go smoothly.Your an amazi g dad and you shouldnt be so hard on yourself.You are a parent afterall,and your allowed to get angry if he acts out- I know i do with my son.Just breath…,,watch some good tv and rest your mind.

  24. AD – Have a drink, try to chill, watch a movie or something to take your mind off the crappy day. Sorry things didn't go well — we've all had days that we'd like to forget. Tell yourself tomorrow will be better. It probably will be.

  25. Karen

    Maybe you could have held out on increasing his dose today as you knew you would be with the in laws for a while.Anwyways I think tommorow will be a great suggestion you might want to read "the secret" by Rhonda Byron.It's a great book to help you during such days.

  26. AD – I am so sorry it was a raging day. I wish there was something ai could write to lift your spirits. Here's hoping that tomorrow is a new (and much better) day!

  27. Anonymous

    Oh, those Rough Days truly are rough. I feel you. Thanks for being honest with us about the good and the bad; it's comforting to know we're not alone. I hope tomorrow is much better for the King and for you. – Julie

  28. We have been in your shoes many many times. I hope tomorrow is a better day.

  29. Anonymous

    Hang in there. It will get better, its probably an adjustment to the meds. Try to reboot once he goes to sleep and get some time for yourself! Wishing you guys well.

    1. Anonymous

      I am so sorry your holiday was so difficult. My husband and I have been in your shoes more times than I can count with our son. I'll be keeping all of you in my prayers and hope things get better for you soon.