He has these outbursts. They are not tantrums -- and he's not necessarily angry. They come out of nowhere & he just seems completely out of control. They've been happening as long as I can remember but the past few weeks the frequency & intensity has substantially increased. He does things like knock down all the furniture, rip trim from the wall, hit, bite, put himself in danger (climb up a 7' high wall, tried to swallow a whole bottle of homeopathic pills, run into the street, jump into a pond)... When he is calm & "normal" he is not like that at all, he is generally very cautious, gentle, can follow rules (with help)... It's like a switch flips inside him and he just goes nuts all of a sudden. Sometimes he is laughing, but not in a happy way, and, sometimes he is screaming or crying, often it is a mix of what looks to be 'false' emotion, like it doesn't match up with what he's saying or doing or really feeling.
I am so torn up about this. I really don't know what to do when he is like that. I can't prevent it and I can't pinpoint a trigger (nothing environmental, nothing he's eating, not a response to anything obvious). I've tried all different ways of responding... rewards, consequences, reasoning, over-reacting, under-reacting, providing extra sensory input, removing as much sensory input as possible... nothing works. I can distract him a tiny bit but it just makes the whole thing last longer. I've resorted to just holding him until his body calms down (and it usually does, in 20-30mins) but he does not enjoy this and he bites, spits, etc. as I'm holding him. If I let him go he will hurt someone or himself or destroy the house. I can't believe I have to figure out how to safely & gently restrain my own son.
Afterwards he is totally back to himself again, just as abruptly as it started. He is very verbal but not so great about describing what is going on with himself physically/mentally/etc. What I've gathered from his is that he does not like these outbursts... he feels they are funny at first but then they aren't but he can't stop it. I think he feels out-of-control and scared. I just want to help him (and hopefully keep myself and my house intact in the process!)
Has anyone dealt with anything like this? I need support. I need someone to understand. I need ideas... both for preventing the outbursts and for dealing with them when they do happen. I am so, so exhausted.