I realize that anyone who reads this blog probably becomes weary of reading the same posts about Kalisha's obsession over something. However, this blog is about a person with autism, and obsession is a way of life that is often consuming. I guess I should be happy that she at least changes obsessions once in a while.
Have you ever heard a 3-year-old who wanted something and wasn't getting it fast enough? Something like this: "Mommy, is it time to go?" "Huh, huh?" Mommy, did you say we were leaving soon?" "Can we leave right now?" "Why not?" "I'm ready now, Mommy." "I don't want to wait until Daddy gets home." "Can we leave now?" "Please, please?" "Why can't we leave now?" " Look. I'm ready." "Let's go no-o-ow." "Why can't we leave now?"
You get the idea.
Kalisha doesn't talk like that, but she cannot put something out of her mind once she is set on it. Last week, a lady became ill during our church service. Kalisha was one of the first ones out of her seat and wanted to help in some way. She was immediately praying for Delores (not her real name), and spent the day very concerned about her. She emailed someone from church to check on her and find out the hospital room number. Once she had it, she wanted to visit her in the hospital (obviously, she was not in critical condition). I did not have the time on Tuesday to take her so she asked her 'community helper' to take her there. The lady had been released and sent home. I had told Kalisha to call first to make certain she was still there. She didn't. She did stop and buy her a card. She wrote all kinds of nice things in the card and then needed a stamp. Later she saw that Delores was on FB so she started sending her messages there. She called her at home once.
All this time, I have been talking to her about 'smothering' Delores and how she was going to relapse due to stress if Kalisha didn't leave her alone. She always tells on herself. I would never know how many times she texted her or messaged her on FB, but she always tells me. I told her that if she didn't stop, her consequence would be to lose her phone...a fate worse than death to her almost.
Kalisha says, "I'm not obsessed with her or anything."
Really???? You could have fooled me. At one point, I told her she was obsessed with being obsessed. That put a really puzzled look on her face.
I ended up taking her phone on Saturday. She was not happy with me. She doesn't yell or anything, she just gets sullen. I drove out to a friend's house to see their new baby. She didn't want to get out of the car. Okay, sit there. On the way home, we stopped to see another friend who had been in an accident. Although Kalisha was very concerned about him, she wouldn't go in to see him either. I think she believes that she is punishing me somehow (for taking the phone) by not participating in anything. It really didn't bother me. If she wanted to be bored and sit in the car, it was okay with me.
When we got home, she didn't want to eat either. Okay. She kept asking me if we could stay for Bible Class on Sunday morning. It is between services and since we always attend the early service and Delores goes to late service, it was her way of possibly being able to see Delores.
On Sunday morning, after a good night's sleep, Kalisha awoke with a whole new attitude. She was ready for the Colts football game on Sunday evening, but was still thinking about seeing Delores. As it happened, she did see her and had a chance to ask her how often she could call her. Now this sweet lady said that she didn't mind Kalisha calling and she could message her on FB any time she wanted.
My first thought was: Damn!! I wish I had been able to speak to her first, so I could have had her set some boundaries. I told Kalisha that, although it was very nice of Delores to say that, she still couldn't call her more than once a week. On Monday, her Behavioral Consultant discussed the whole scenario with her.
Can you see how time and thought consuming it becomes when she gets 'stuck' on someone or something?
The phone consequence works very well and definitely gets her attention. Sometimes, she can self-talk herself out of the obsession, but many times she can't. The strange thing is this: Now that she has seen Delores, talked to her, and has permission to call her once a week, she probably won't.
I don't have the answers to things like this. We just keep on, keeping on.