Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The 4th of July and Freedom

I sent my son to live in a group home yesterday. Actually, I didn't do it, the decision out of my hands. 3 assault charges in a year means a judge is making the decisions now.  He wasn't even able to make it a week into the summer before the anger and anxiety became too much and he assaulted me again. His younger siblings watched, crying and screaming in terror, and my 12 year old daughter had to call the police in order to protect her mom, again. Mr. Man  spent 22 days in jail, 7 days in a "half-way" house so they could open a Medicaid account for him, and he is now living in a house with 4 other boys and 2 girls, as well as, 2-3 staff, 24 hours a day. And all he's worried about is if he will get to go out for his birthday.

They open Medicaid because it's $244 a day for him to live in this house, that's $43,920 for the 6 months he has been initially placed. We will be financially responsible for a portion of the cost, which they figure out through a formula according to the paperwork we are going to have to fill out. $43,920 and no guarantee that he will see this as anything more than another way we have "ruined his life" and cause him to hate us more. 

My in-laws are visiting from PA and we were able to get them in to see him the night before he went to court. They cried and said how gorgeous he is (and he is a good looking kid!) and wondered just HOW this happens. I have wondered the same thing, over and over. I begged for help for years, but it took 3 assaults to get it and still it may or may not be enough.

I have all 3 of my younger children in counseling...yep, the 2 year old too. One of the things that can cause PTSD in toddlers is when they watch their primary care-giver being harmed. We are considering sending my 12 year old to a different middle school, just so she doesn't have to feel like she has to follow behind her brother and his reputation. My 8 year old can't bear to have me out of his sight. He knows what time I get off of work and is calling within 10 minutes to see where I am and when I will be home. My oldest son and I were goofing around and fighting over a Peanut Butter Oreo (YUM, by the way!) and he fell on top of me. Even though we were laughing and goofing around, my 2 year old went into hysterics, crying and screaming. She was barely consolable. My sweet baby can't even watch us play without reliving her trauma.

Why does our system have to run so backward? Why do we have to be so damaged before we can get the help we need? And why do I feel guilty that I am looking forward to time at the cabin this 4th of July weekend and the freedom I feel because I know there won't be any physical assaults or fights or power struggles? How do I explain to my children, who are incredibly angry with their brother, that although I am angry too, he is still my son and I love him with everything in me? How do I convince my husband, who hasn't spoken to his son since that night, to participate in his son's "rehabilitation"? 

The intake worker for the group home commented that their goal will be to help me step out of a "treatment minded" role with my son and into a parental role. How do I do that when it seems to all be tied together? All of my training and education makes me "treatment minded", so I think it's how I parent...who knows. Just another detour down this long and winding road. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A big pile of "should"

I "should" have all my laundry caught up after a 3 day weekend, and I "should" have a clean kitchen, having solved the mystery of  the "weird" refrigerator smell, and I "should" be have gotten my oil changed and my tires rotated (I'm only 2000 miles past due) ~ but alas, I did not do any of these things.

Instead I spent time having breakfast with a dear friend, celebrating my oldest son's graduation, having a bar-b-q with my parents, my grandparents and my brother's family, catching up with a friend who made the 4 hour drive to see my son graduate, and sleeping...lots and lots of sleeping.

I "should" be thrilled to have been offered a full time position in the school where I have been working, and truly, I am thrilled, but there's a big part of me that is worrying already about all the "shoulds" that are to come next year.

Why is it that I can have all these grand plans, plans to paint the house and plans to clean out all the excess crap (which we do have alot of) and plans to get out exercise 3 days a week and in the end all I want to do is sleep? Am I depressed? Anxious? Avoiding things? I think the answer to all of these questions is a resounding yes!

I am depressed, because no matter how many inspirational quotes I read, or how many other people I talk to, I still think I "should" be a super-woman. I "should" be able to work full time, deal with my mentally ill child, along with my other 4 children and the man-child I am married to and still have time and energy and the "want" to deal with the laundry and the kitchen and the tires. Even I am writing this, I am internally guilting myself about not being "super"!

I am anxious because in 3 days it is going to be summer, and summer for my child with mental illness is a huge challenge. And he is that much bigger and stronger and more defiant and angrier than he was last summer and as much as he hates school, the unstructured time of summer is way too much for him. Along with the fact that he will most likely make choices that incur consequences that will make his world shrink even smaller. I am anxious that even with my  plans to paint and clean and exercise, the best I will manage is to drag a comb through my hair and feed my children something unhealthy before we head to the pool, where I will read and play with my baby.

I am avoiding things because they are hard and uncomfortable and are going to lead to big changes in the near future, and although I just read a quote saying "I can do hard things", I don't truly believe that I can.

Maybe the key to avoiding a big stinking pile of "should", is saying I WILL get this one thing accomplished today, and leave the 1001 things I should have done alone. And being ok with the days where all I WILL get done is dragging a comb through my hair and making sure my kids have enough sunscreen on. I think that is the key...maybe I "should" go get a duplicate key made for those days when I lose this original  and am floundering in a pile of "shoulds".

I definitely don't have an answer, or even a question really, just some thoughts. And a long summer stretched out in front of me...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Knock on wood

I look back at my last post and am amazed that it's only been 6 months. It should be longer, when your life gets turned half way around, time should speed up to match your emotions. I have learned in the last 6 months that I am an abused woman, I think, act, and react to situations like a woman who has been abused for years, and in a way, I guess I have.

It starts out in little ways, you know. A suggestion here, a request there, a look on a face, a tone of voice, and all in the name of keeping the peace you find yourself letting go of ideas and beliefs that  you KNOW are right. A comment that is said as a "joke", but is really a veiled put down.  An attitude that says, "if you'd just do it right, everything would be ok.", and you NEVER seem to get it right.  It's weird, how words and actions can make you feel beat up and beat down. The saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me" is an utter lie. Words hurt. They cut and pummel and break and shape you into a person you hardly recognize as who you once were.

And then, then you have a son who sees and hears the comments and reads the looks and his mentally ill mind interprets it just a touch different. Where he hears a joke that seems to demoralize women, he takes it as permission to totally disregard women and see them only as a means to an end. Where he sees a mother bend and negotiate with his father, he interprets that women don't deserve respect and can be pushed into your will. And he grows, until the day he is bigger than his mom and stronger, and that's when you go from being emotionally abused and mentally degraded to actual, physical abuse.

I found myself second guessing all of my choices, because I knew which ones would end up in a physical confrontation. And then it was that everything became a physical confrontation. I was wrestled to the ground with my arm behind my back, kicked in the ribs, spit on in the face, bit and verbally abused for taking my son's phone away. He did all of this in front of his 3 younger siblings. My husband never seemed to believe the lengths to which our son would go, the abuse and physical threats that were a daily occurrence in the house. Just another small abuse, to not be believed and to be told I was over exaggerating what was going on. However, this night, hubby called and heard what was going on as my daughter was on the house phone with 911 and my youngest son begged his brother to leave his mom alone and my baby screamed because she was so scared.

My son went to jail that night, in October, and he did not return home until January 11. Alot of work has gone on between my husband and I, the entire inner workings of our marriage and the way we communicate with and to each other and to our kids has had to change. My son has promised me that he made a promise to himself that he would never let himself "go there" again. So far, so good...knock on wood.