As I was absorbing the excitement about the potential exposure I’d get, the phone rang. It was the school counselor telling me that Peter had threatened to kill himself with a knife. This was classic Peter. Per the school’s protocol, he wouldn’t be allowed to ride the bus home. “Why do they take what he says as a real threat?” I thought to myself irrationally while stifling my tears as I listened on the phone. I think that I’ve become so used to Peter’s antics that I don’t take his threats seriously. Maybe I should. The counselor said that Peter was upset earlier in the day because he couldn’t buy an ice cream at lunch and didn’t have money for the book fair which was only in its preview days. Damn you school fundraisers for making something optional seem mandatory. Peter doesn’t even read and only wanted to buy a book for the dog tags that came with it. The counselor checked on Peter before dismissal to see if his mood had improved. Not only had his frustration reached a crescendo, but he wanted to die.
Thankfully my husband picked Peter up from school and talked to the administrators. I couldn’t face it. I couldn’t face them--the people who have no idea what it’s like to live with someone you can’t control. A child you love and hate at the same time. The counselor went over a crisis intervention plan and sent home a list of mental health resources--again. The last time Peter had an incident was in late August. Peter came home telling me that he needed to “find a doctor to fix his craziness.” Those words don’t sound like his. He told me that he wanted to be “discharged” from school and that he was going to kill himself in a hole in the backyard. He also talked about how he would get into more trouble at school by saying cuss words and refusing to do his work. I made the mistake of telling him that would be like shooting himself in the foot. Damn my use of idioms.
When Peter calmed down he was upset with himself. He knew that he’d misbehaved, but didn’t have the restraint to stop himself from acting out. He knows he shouldn’t say those things, but his anger gets the best of him. That’s human nature, but his goes too far. I don’t care how many articles I’ve read that refuse to connect autism with violence. I just know what I live. Maybe my son’s anger is caused by a comorbid disorder. And maybe I have to consider using medication to control his moods even though that’s a practice I despise. I don’t know where this path will lead or if I’ll see the end of it. I just want it over.