Friday, June 15, 2012

Sunny side down...

I had to press assault charges against my son this week. I had to call the police, tell them I was afraid of my son and have him arrested. Is that 100% accurate? No, I am still bigger than he is and can take him if I needed too, but the fact is, he took it to the next level. He pulled my hair, pushed me against a wall, threw things at me, and threatened to hit me. Knowing that if I let it slide this time, next time would be that much worse, I sent my own child to jail. Hoping against hope that THIS is what it's going to take to get him to "see the light". Praying, praying, praying...

I wish I could say I was in as positive a spot as the last time I posted. I am not. I am tired, worn out and just plain pissed off. Mental illness just sucks. I don't want to offend or take anything away from a parent who's child it physically handicapped or who has a chronic illness, because those things come with their own sets of difficulties, prejudices and pain. But, at some level, I think at least people can see the issue. They may be unkind, but it can be chalked up to insensitivity, stupidity, or not enough education. With a mental illness, you have a person who looks normal, talks normal, walks around interacting normally, and then WHAM, not so normal. I have been told, by people who love my son and me, good caring people, who do not have a clue , that if I just loved on my son a little more, paid him more one on one attention, got him more involved in things,  "focused on the positive", got him "the help that he needs", or was stricter with him; that this would all go away. Like his mental illness is  my fault, that I did not parent this child correctly. That I picked favorites and he is not it. Bullshit.

My neighbor and his son watched my boy being taken away by the cops this week, now the neighbor kids is telling my daughter that my son is a "piece of shit". No knowledge of what happened or anything, just judgement for having to be lead away in handcuffs.

We're that house. The house with all the yelling and door slamming and cops outside...Not the white picket fence I dreamed of, that's for sure. I wanted to be the house that all the kids came too, where everyone liked to hang out and everyone called me "mom". But, we can't because we have a secret, we have a person living in our house that may blow at anytime, for any reason, damn the consequences. So, instead of being the FUN HOUSE (!) that everyone wants to come to, we're the FUN HOUSE like you see at carnivals, where something could jump out at you from around any corner.

If any of my other kids want to have a friend over, it's never a spur of the moment thing. We have to plan it out, have a Plan B in place, and then make sure Mr. has somewhere else he can be. We can't let him have friends spend the night because when he gets up in the morning, and he's embarrassed about taking his meds, so he waits and "forgets" to take them, or I take them too him and we have a whispered (supposedly) fight about how he doesn't need them, he cannot hold himself together and it's a huge uncomfortable mess. The kid leaves kind of wide eyed and wary, and they never stay again.

Last year, my in laws came to visit. I was getting ready to have the baby and they came out to help and spend some time with us and the kids. We had been telling them about what was going on, trying to give them a head's up, I guess. They were on the "well if you'd just spend more time, money, attention, on him he'd be fine" team. And for the first week of their visit, he was fine. But then he got tired of his routine being messed up and anxious because we had extra people in the house and a new baby, so he started acting out. Typical stuff for him, yelling, threatening, slamming doors, stealing, running off, arguing, calling names, bullying the younger kids, etc. My poor MIL was devastated. She and my FIL would try to get into the middle of things between my son and I, to help. Yeah, that went well. Or tell me to just wait until D got home from work and let him handle it, Ha!  Those poor people walked around for the last half of their visited looking shell shocked and walking on eggshells. My MIL even said she "pitied" me. Bless them, we love them and they are very good to our kids and us, but they just had no idea. And the level of tension in the house for the time they were here was palpable.

I'm not sure what we'll do when they come back, in all honesty, Mr. will probably go stay with my parents so his routine won't be as interrupted. Even as I write this, I think, "that's ridiculous!", we all have to deal with our routines being messed up and being inconvenienced some times, that 's life. But, the reality is, if we want to have a peaceful, enjoyable time, Mr. needs a place to go every night and wake up every morning without all the "extra" people and stuff going on.

My marriage isn't even a marriage right now. We are like a triage team at a hospital, just trying to patch up the bleeding and keep everyone moving. We have differing viewpoints and background experience and knowledge  with mental illness, so we are definitely coming at it from different angles. Actually, we just don't talk about it. My husband cringes every time I call him at work, sure it's me about to tell him another "something" has happened. So, we just don't talk. He wants the counselor to just get it through Mr.'s head what needs to be done and how he needs to act. I keep saying that Mr. has all the information, he just chooses not to use it at crucial moments when he should. D goes to work every day and works hard and grinds it out, I stay home and get called a F-ing B and have doors slammed in my face; knowing that the smallest request is going to be a negotiation proportionate to the Treaty of Versailles. So, D and I are not talking, we are existing, for the time being.

Today, my trying to "look on the bright side" and "get my Zen on", is not going so well. I am trying to love my child the way he needs and will accept, all the while being told that he doesn't love me, he doesn't want to live here, he hates me, Satan would be a better parent, and that I am a stupid F-ing B who should die and go to hell because everyone would be happier. And this little "pep" talk gets played on  a daily repeating loop. So, today, I am tired, frustrated and pissed off. Maybe tomorrow will be better...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

On my knees and holding

So, as I started taking a look at what was really going on, how it was affecting my other children, my marriage, and even our home, I began to realize that something had to be done. We started with a counselor. We got lots of tips and techniques, ideas on how, when, why and for how long to punish, reward, interact, react, ignore behaviors. It was an exhausting summer with an end result of us not being any further along and my sweet sweet boy still running the house.

You see, as an aside, he is our 2nd child. Our first child listened to us, didn't need too many punishments and seemed to learn after one go around of a consequence. He would negotiate out of a longer punishment and, at times, we would allow him to since he seemed to "get" it.

So, back to Mr. Second Child. He loves loves loves to negotiate, in fact everything with him is a negotiation. The word "no" is simply not a word he can accept. When it finally came down to him saying he wanted to die and that it would have been better if he had never been born, I decided to take him to the Emergency Room and have him evaluated. It was THE MOST heart wrenching thing I have ever had to do. My son would go from begging me to just take him home to yelling and swearing at me and telling me to just go away. 

The worst sight I have had to endure was my son being wheeled away to the Psychiatric Center for an overnight stay. I took the next day off of work, which incredibly, considering where I was working, my employers were very unkind and not understanding at all about. I had no idea what we were supposed to do, what our next steps I went and sat in the waiting room of the Psych Center until my husband got there and we could see an administrator.

Once we got in and were told about the night our son had had (defiant, argumentative, oppositional) we were asked why we hadn't sought help long before this considering the mental history we gave. Being looked at like, "how did you NOT see that this kid needed help" was the first (maybe second or third) humbling experience we were going to face in the next 18 months. 

Being told, when I finally got to see my boy, that this was all my fault, that I had ruined his life and that he didn't want me to call or come by during any of the visiting hours available was horrible. (makes me cry even now).  The decision was made that my child needed to be closely observed, have some med changes done and be in intensive therapy for a week. He wouldn't let us come see him, then he would call and cry, begging for us to come and take him home.

The sad part was, our home was so much quieter and more peaceful the week he was gone. It was like all the tension had gone out of the place. Having him gone was hard on my daughter though, she was relieved that he was gone (she's one of his favorite targets...still is) but felt sorry for him. She drew him pictures or printed off his favorite football pictures everyday.

At the end of the week, we decided that he still needed more help than a weekly counseling appointment. We looked at group homes, institutional care, and hospitalization. Knowing what I knew about group homes I did not want him going there, but my husband was not willing to let him back in the house unless something was being done. So, we decided on a partial program. That is where he would go to school, individual counseling and group counseling at the psych center everyday, but he could still live at home on nights and weekends. 

For the next 4 months our son got dropped off at the Psych Center every morning and was brought home every afternoon by bus. It was enlightening, a bit of relief to know he really did need the help, terrible because he told us daily that we had "put him in hell" and that "his life was ruined" and a growth opportunity for both my prayer life and my marriage. 

We learned alot about sticking together as a couple, not allowing him to split us, and also how to stick by our consequences not matter how far we had to go. This led to more ER evaluation visits, the police coming to our home 3 times, the sheriff coming to my parents' home, as well as a myriad of other experiences I would not ever wish on anyone.