Okay, okay… only one more about Leroy… at least until another major development, I guess. I saw him last night, he came to help me clean out my volunteer office… my desk seems to be the main place people like to dump things when I am not around. Anyway, I digress.
We got a chance to talk more about what happened since we had alone time – when I drove him home from the ED he had had his older sister with him and didn’t care to discuss anything in front of her.
My concerns increased as I found out that when he punched the wall this time, he wasn’t entirely alone. Every other time, up till now, if he got upset enough to punch a wall, he would hold it in until he got back to his house and would do it alone – late at night. I’m also concerned because I had thought the last time he did it was in April when his knuckles bled from repeated hits – right before he reached out for help from me in the first place.
I was wrong. While the frequency had slowed down (from almost every day/every week to once a month), he hasn’t stopped. This time, however; not only is it worse because he legitimately injured himself – he did it at his sister’s house when she was in the next room. Worse still, his girlfriend was on the phone with him at the time – and was immediately aware of what had happened.
He looked so downtrodden as he asked me “Rae, do you think I have an anger issue?”
I paused for a moment to collect my thoughts before I answered.
“Actually… Yes, hun. I think you do. …I had actually started thinking along those lines… and I have to say it concerns me that it has suddenly escalated to not being able to control it when someone else is around. Yeah, so she was only on the phone… but can you honestly tell me right now you’d be able to control yourself next time you fight face to face? …I mean, I don’t expect that you’d hit HER necessarily…”
He cut in saying “No… I feel sick to my stomach at the thought of hurting anyone…”
“I know, hun. I don’t believe you are that kind of guy – obviously it’d be better to hit the wall than to hit her… but if you’ve gotten to this point, can you honestly say to me right now that it won’t escalate further? Will you hit the wall in front of her next time? Where will it escalate to the time after that?”
He was looking down to the side, avoiding my eyes. He nodded and said “I need help, Rae.”
We discussed him going to headspace. He said he had planned to call that day, but didn’t get the chance. I told him to call in the morning… and if I didn’t hear back from him about it within the week – he should expect to find me on his doorstep one day… to drag his ass there myself.
We discussed their relationship and my viewpoint that it is toxic and that I thought he needed to get out and worry about himself first. I told him it had to be his own decision though – only he knows how he really feels and what they may or may not be able to work through.
He said he knew he needed to think, but didn’t want to bring himself down with it all while they were having good days again – apparently she had been really nice to him since he broke his hand and had even brought him cookies.
“So baked goods are the way to your heart?”
He smiled and nodded.
“Still… You can wait a few days to start thinking if you want… but no matter how good those cookies are… you need to think about if the rest is worth it. The next time it’s not a good day, you’ll be in a bad day again. I do not want to see this happen again.”
He sighed, but nodded in agreement again.
I gave him a hug – a proper squeeze – and then we went out and joined some of the other volunteers that were milling around, eating pizza.
One of our wicked smart ex-paramedics asked him what happened to his hand. Leroy was upbeat in his interactions with everyone and just explained which bones had been broken. The ex-para said, with deadpan expression “Those bones get broken by punching something.”
Embarrassed and a little taken aback, Leroy said “Ummm… yeah.”
“So what did you punch, then? A wall, I’d imagine.”
“Err… Yeah, yeah. I hit a brick wall.”
Still deadpan, the response was “Well how’s the wall doing?”
Leroy chuckled and tried a joke “It’s still not talking to me.”
“Mmm hmmm… Mmm hmmm. It was because of a girl, wasn’t it?”
A fresh look of shock crossed Leroy’s face. “Yeeeaah.
“Dude,” I said, “You know he’s always on point. Give him one clue and he will figure the whole thing out. Now there’s no hiding it.”
There’s no hiding it, Leroy, and you need help.