Family, Mental Health

Day 1 with Takkin

I arrived at 8:30 this morning and was greeted by my dad and brother at the airport, which w176836317-612x612as somewhat shocking since my dad was supposed to be on a plane to Iran. His flight last night had gotten canceled. He’s leaving tonight, fingers crossed, since Takkin seems to be much worse around him and my mother than he is with just me. In fact, there was a big to-do last night when my dad got back from the airport. Takkin got angry—for god knows what reason—and slammed a glass against the counter; it shattered to pieces. He then hit my mom on the back, all while yelling obscenities at everyone. Today seemed a little calmer though he is always amped up and antsy; he can’t sit still for even half a second.

One of his “tutors” (really just a companion who spends time with him and gives my dad a break for a few hours a day) came and picked him up and they went to play basketball or go on a hike. Takkin called my dad and I approximately 20 times in 1.5 hours to tell us the park was too crowded, the hike was too crowded, the road was too crowded. They came back to the apartment and attempted to play Xbox. But I was pleasantly surprised that Takkin stayed with him as long as he did.

Luckily we immediately had an appointment with his caseworker so he was busy all afternoon. He and I drove to the community services board center where his caseworker and psychiatrist work, and we met with her for about an hour. They talked about feelings, and the incident from the night before. She encouraged him to try and get rid of one of the five phones he is currently carrying around. She went over the agreements they made about him not touching walls, not touching other people, and not acting aggressively. “Things have been going kind of downhill Tak,” she said. “Why do you think that is.” He got up and reenacted last night’s events and said some things about needing to be respectful. He put his head in his hands and said he did a bad thing and was sorry and tried to apologize to mom.

An interesting thing happened. His caseworker did an exercise with him. She asked him to identify his feelings in a given situation. At first he didn’t really understand the prompt but then he caught on when she gave some examples.

“How do you feel when your sister comes to town?”
“How do you feel when you’re with your tutors?”
“How do you feel when you get to eat pizza?”
“How do you feel when Mom comes to visit?”

He backtracked. And changed his answer to “dislike.” But it was already out there. And I could see the years of abandonment had gotten him to this point. And he went on to talk about how much he disliked her husband because he wouldn’t interact and was withdrawn. But I was somewhat disappointed his caseworker didn’t probe further on that subject. She went on to ask one final feelings question: “How does it feel when dad is leaving on a trip?”


She explained that sadness sometimes manifested itself into anger (though she certainly didn’t use the word “manifested”) and that maybe Takkin was acting out because that was the way he was expressing his sadness. I don’t think he understood, though he nodded. Maybe he got it a little. It’s tough to say what gets through and what doesn’t. The thing is, he’s in a rough situation: he’s got his mental illnesses and issues, but he’s got it doubly hard because his IQ is low and he can’t understand how to navigate out of the mental state he’s in. He doesn’t have the cognitive functioning to control his OCD urges or his aggressive behavior. He’s just in a really bad situation and I feel for him every day, even though I want to strangle him sometimes. Again, I truly don’t understand how my dad does it.

My dad is his primary—if not only—source of affection and attention. Takkin hugs and kisses him and holds his hands, no joke—150 times a day. I would go insane. Even when he holds my hand 15 times a day, it gets to be a lot. My dad leaves tonight and Takkin keeps oscillating on whether he is going to take him to the airport with me or not. I know this is a lot for him, but it’s a lot for me too. I can’t believe I’m here for 10 days. I’m already exhausted.

At least we’ve got some plans in the works. We’re going to drive to Charlottesville for a day, a dinner party with my friends one night, two psych appointments, an intake at a respite home, an attempt to go to this life skills and building program. We’ll see what the next two weeks bring. I’ll consider it a success if the cops don’t come, if I don’t have to take him to the hospital, and if I only cry 5 times.

You think I’m kidding. I am not.

***More to come tomorrow***

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