Originally Posted by Can2K
Wow aquinas - that's something else. Good thing you are able to see it as experimentation!

My DS7 got the after-school staff all worried by his thought experiments with 'nothingness'. For several weeks he kept asking us (and others, I guess) what it would be like to feel nothing. Not just having your eyes closed, because then you would still see black and that wouldn't be nothing. I think the after-care staff thought he was depressed.

Actually, because he's not super talkative, and it's hard to know what's going on in his head, we were a bit worried as well. All we get are these (seemingly) random questions over a period of days, with no explanation.

It sounds like a similar thought process. I have the benefit of being at home with DS 23/7, so I get to witness the global context in which the darker "musings" are taking place: usually preceded and followed by lots of smiling, giggling silliness. It also helps that DS seems to have no internal monologue (;)), so I'm privy to the intermediate steps in logic and DS' reactions to them.

I can easily see outsiders missing the context of DS' statements and thinking he's severely depressed. (Red faced crying, screaming, "Kill me, kill me, I want to DIE!") In reality, it's the natural intersection of emotional OE, inquisitiveness, and hyperbole in the moment. If the downward spiral isn't broken, he has a tendency to get even more disconsolate and act out further. I find the best way to defuse it is to gently acknowledge the underlying feelings and events that are triggering the over-reaction, then let DS sit and snuggle with me and feel those emotions safely as long as he needs. Then we launch into logical discussions and strategize better ways to express frustration or avoid triggering situations. Harsh punishments don't work with DS-- he needs even more gentleness than usual to break the loop. I once saw the line, "My child isn't giving me a hard time, he's having a hard time," and it's a mental touchstone in those moments.

Last night I talked DS down from the "I don't want to exist/I want to die" to "I want what I want when I want it" (don't we all?) and "I'm frustrated that you took away my mask when I hurled it at a mirror." When he arrived at, "I need to stop and think before I throw something indoors", we pretended he had a time machine, and I asked him to act out sharing his findings with his past self in the moment. I give him a LOT of credit for being able to switch over to rationality so quickly.

I LOVE this forum! Thanks Eco and Can2K for sharing similar experiences. smile

What is to give light must endure burning.