Friday, December 06, 2013

Broken Glass And Hard Drives

It's interesting how therapy starts as one thing, with one goal in mind, and somehow turns into a whole other thing. This meeting with Thomas' therapist took a turn once again like it did a couple weeks ago and we ended up in different territory. One thing is for sure, his therapist is concerned about his hours at work and felt it was a good idea that we got them cut back. In that session I learned that Thomas doesn't want to work anything beyond 5 hours at a stretch, this being a bit of a surprise since I thought if they tacked early hours on (like starting at 4 instead of 5) that Thomas would be happy to work them. He isn't in the least. He knows his limits too which made me proud of him because it is those limits he needs to protect himself when it comes to this illness. He doesn't want to quit his job (or lose it altogether) but too much at once or too many days in a row, he agrees, takes it's toll on his sanity.

Where we ended up though was tapping into Thomas' reservoir of anger that he holds inside of him. Who can blame him for being angry after all of the bullying, after losing his biological dad to a nasty divorce when he was 5 and then also a horrible break-up with a girlfriend he loved with all of his heart, to name the biggies in his life? Of course he has anger but what's sad is what he does with it. His therapist likened it to doing some shuffling in his brain where when he feels anger from something pop up, he shoves it away somewhere and replaces it with other thoughts or activities. That's all well and good and I think a lot of us do that but my concern for him isn't necessarily that he does that but rather that he feels like he has a lot of anger crammed down inside and he's scared about what might happen if he were to let it go in the fashion that he wants to.

He told us a story and reminded me about when he broke up with a girlfriend a couple of years ago. He had found out that she was cheating on him. Naturally he was angry, in fact he was in a rage, but what was so difficult about the situation was that I could see he needed to put that anger somewhere and all he felt he had was to pace the living room. Then it struck me. I had computer parts in the garage that needed destroying so I took him outside, handed him a big heavy hammer and told him to pulverize it. Needless to say he reduced a hard drive to little pieces and in doing so he was able to release some of that rage and hurt. That is just what he needed then and said yesterday he needs now.

Often when he's struggling with anger I take him over to the big glass recycling bin and I have him throw glass across the bin to the wall on the other side as hard as he can. I find that even for myself that helps. There's a certain kind of release that can only be found in reducing things to nothing, especially pretty bottles, pickle jars and whatever other glass receptacle we have stored in our recycling bin for such an occasion.

Again, that is good, between hard drives and glass there are places for him to release his anger but his therapist brought up a really good idea. It was one I had before but somehow it had fallen by the wayside. A punching bag. A big, life-sized, heavy punching bag that he can wale on to release his anger. I get it, I've been in rages before with nowhere to let it go and often have taken it out on myself most times but since he's deftly packing it all inside of himself and releasing none of it and is scared about what might happen when he does, I think a punching bag is in order for this house.

So, that is our plan. We are going out shopping today for a formidable foe on which Thomas can get some therapy that he can find no place else in his life. I can see the potential for serious destruction in his life elsewhere if he doesn't find a constructive way to let it all go and like the hammer and hard drive, or the glass bottles at the recycling bin, it is my hope that this punching bag will give him what he needs to get through some pretty tough times.

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