Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tragedy and Fear

The prognosis for my child, coming from his therapists and doctors, is not good.  Words like "sociopath" and "antisocial" are being tossed around with increasing frequency.  Discussions about how "we may not be able to keep him here" are being broached, because he is so incredibly disruptive and provoking to his peers he is interfering with their treatment.  

I remember exactly when I found out he had been having homicidal fantasies.  It was about a month after I found out he had been playing with razor blades and knives while we all were sleeping.  I was sitting in a staff meeting—a meeting that includes everyone who works with him at the facility—and somebody mentioned it, as though I already knew this.  As though I was already aware and had calmly accepted the fact that this mental illness that pervades him had taken him to this dark place.  That I had given a nod and accepted defeat.

In the light of the shootings in Newtown Connecticut, I have lived in a combination of fear, denial, anger, and abject grief and sadness.  Like much of the nation, I cannot begin to imagine how sick an individual would have to be to shoot a class of kindergartners, many of them multiple times.  But from my perspective, any individual who would do such a thing—Dylan Kliebold, Eric Harris, the Aurora shooter—must be mentally ill.  There should have been safeguards in place.  Somebody should have been able to say, "There's something not right."  Or the suspects themselves should have been able to reach out and receive mental health services that were not bogged down with red tape.

My anger stems from my own experiences—two years of beating my head bloody against a thick wall of red tape to get a sick child help—who went from anxiety, depression, and mild self-harm to suicidal and homicidal fantasies that included killing his family.  It is exceptionally easy for me to see myself and my son in this same position ten years from now.  Especially if his facility discharges him and washes their hands clean, as they have mentioned they might do.  

Guns in this country are a huge problem.  I am personally 100% for gun control and always have been. The research and numbers bear it out, as does logic—it's a lot harder to impulsively kill someone without a gun.  Arguments such as bombs, screwdrivers, hammers, and knives being used to kill people are foolish to me.  There will always be ways to kill other people.  But guns make it quick, easy , and thoughtless.  There is very little effort or thought that must go into killing someone with a gun.

However, I strongly believe that the mental health system in our country is broken, and addressing one venue without the other is going to leave a hole in our healing.  We must provide more comprehensive services for those who need them, and make those services available.  The two years the insurance company spent having us prove that our child needed inpatient care caused a decompensation to the extent that I don't know if we'll ever get him back.  Psychological experts may or may not agree with me, but as an early childhood educator and someone who has studied mental health extensively, we all know an earlier intervention is a better intervention.  This kid needed to be hospitalized a good eighteen months before he was...and he was sent home time and again.

So for now I pray for those families who have suffered such loss I cannot begin to comprehend; I pray for their peace and healing.  And I pray that our nation can somehow figure out a way to ensure that this kind of tragedy is no longer a yearly event.  And on a selfish note, I pray that I'm never facing the wrong end of my son's gun.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

To Have or Not To Have

Today has been another difficult day.  Our visit with my son last night did not go well.  Within three minutes he was argumentative and rude, at which point I gave him the letter I had written for him and told him I loved him and would see him later.  It has been ages since I have been able to effectively disengage from his inappropriate behavior.  Usually he follows me around the house, even breaking through locked doors if need be.  There is something very satisfying about being able to walk out the door and know I am not going to be followed, harassed, or threatened.

Life has a funny way of tossing interesting ideas on your lap and the most ironic times.  When I booted up my computer a few minutes ago, there was an article entitled, "35-Year Old Refuses to Have Children".  Okay, besides the absolute melodrama in the title, I seriously began to think about this woman and what she did and didn't want to do.  She does want to live her own life and do things that some parents would consider selfish—travel, go out all hours of the day and night, pursue her own career.  What she doesn't want to do is have to put her own goals aside for a sniveling little tot who is totally dependent on her.

It would be very easy for me at this point—after being literally abused physically and emotionally for months—to wish I had never agreed to take custody of my child.  I have thought before about what my life would have been like had I been childless, or even more intriguing, had my own biological child.  Would my own child love me more?  Would he be interested in music like I was at that age?  Would he be loving and sweet, ethical and strong, and someone I would be proud of?

I have a close friend who has a child with similar behaviors and diagnoses as my own son.  He is her own biological child, and while he is not as severe as my own son, he does cause worry and concern for her.  She has brought up the very valid point that having your own biological child is no guarantee that you will have smooth sailing.

I often find myself making excuses for myself, as in "he is not my biological child; he experienced some early trauma before I got him."  While this information is 100% true and absolutely useful for a therapist, it sounds guiltily like an excuse when I use it to excuse myself for my own child.  In the end it doesn't really matter and people will think what they will.  He is a sick child.  Just as I have written about a strong, special young woman who had CF and a successful double lung transplant, my son is extremely ill.  His reasoning is faulty.  His thinking is convoluted.  He needs help far beyond what I can give him at home.

And in the end, despite the pain I have felt for so long, I honestly don't recall ever wishing I had NOT taken this child.  I have wished he lived elsewhere, I have prayed for his health and healing, I have cried for an answer to my prayers.  But I have never wished he was someone else's child, someone else's "problem".

I don't fault any woman who doesn't want a family.  My God, my best advice is if you don't feel that drive, do NOT do it!  You AND your potential offspring deserve better.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to spend your life exploring the person you are.  In fact, a lot of women would be better off doing just that.

But for those of us who are called, who feel the ache of an empty womb, the thrill of a tiny life in our arms, the dream of watching a child grow under our watchful eye, we commit.  We commit to providing wonderful experiences, to carrying babies safe and snug inside our bodies, or protecting them in the arms of love once they come to us.  I love my son more than I can say.  I kissed his boo boos, watched and cheered when he learned to swim and play ball, helped him with homework, took pictures on the first day of school.  I sent in treats for parties and planned family vacations and holidays.  Every moment we have had has not been completely overshadowed by mental illness.  And for that I am incredibly grateful.

For those of us who feel the calling, we will go as far as we can, and that love is never-ending.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Another day

The most normal day I've had in weeks.

I did wake up in the middle of the night for an hour but fell back asleep.  Got up at 8:45, made some eggs and toast (I NEVER cook breakfast if I don't have to, especially not on the weekend!).  Watched a little tv, took a nap, then took a shower, dressed, and walked to a nearby mexican place for a quick-made burrito.  Yes folks, I ate breakfast AND lunch.  And I even had a snack of organic greek yogurt this afternoon.

If you're wondering why this is so important, it's because this normalcy never happens anymore.  A day without tears, with a shower and breakfast and relaxation—true relaxation—I don't know the last time that happened to me.  It's been a long time for sure.

This afternoon the call came.  This one was from the supervisor of our son's in-home therapist.  She believes he will qualify for residential care, which he desperately needs but which we have been told repeatedly he does not qualify for.  I really wonder what you'd have to do to qualify.  I wish there had been secret cameras in the assessment room the other day at the hospital, because that in itself should be enough evidence of how mentally ill he is.

So now I'm supposed to bust my ass again to try to get him into residential care.  And I will do it because the alternative is he leaves this state to live elsewhere, and I feel residential is his best chance at healing and beginning to live a normal life.

Today as I went about my eggs and toast, my nap, my shower, chatting with friends and making phone calls, I reveled in the normalcy of it all.  This is the kind of day that my nonworking mom friends have, the ones whose kids are in school all day.  This is the kind of day I used to have, before I knew not to take it for granted.  This is the kind of day that makes you realize how special a normal kind of day can be.  And I'm grateful for it.  There may be pressure and stress right around the corner (for sure there will be!) but I have been so blessed to have today, where I feel normal and right and have all that I need.

Thank you God.  And please help me pick up the sword to fight again tomorrow, as I know I need to do.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Losing a limb

So for months, if not years, we have been battling with our son to behave appropriately.  The last three months have not been kind.  At fifteen he has completely refused to go to school, breaks every rule we set, is volatile, verbally abusive, and violent.  I don't want to go into a huge laundry list of what this kid is doing because it's really beside the point.  A decision was made by all adults involved that he should go live with my husband in another state.

Son wailed.  Son screamed.  Son made threats.  And thus we found ourselves back at the psychiatric hospital today.  After eight hours, they finally admitted him.  Eight hours that I got to hear from him what a disgusting, horrible dumbass retard shit of a mom I am (his words, not mine).  Eight hours of verbal abuse.  And then, when it's time for me to go, the kid says-he says for real-"Hey mom, I need a hug...I won't see you til tomorrow..."

I did not want to hug him.  I do not want to see him right now because I'm too angry and tired and hurt, and quite frankly, I want the luxury to lay in my bed by myself and cry my tears.  But I hugged him anyway and will show up tomorrow in time for family therapy, with the clothing he needs.  Because that's what moms do.

Apparently, even disgusting, horrible dumbass retard shit moms like me.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

In Retrospect

So time helps one gain a little clarity...or so that's what I have been led to believe.

I don't know how much clarity I have versus the clarity I had a week ago, but I'm good with it.  I know the right decision was made regarding my job.  I could have hung in a little longer, possibly, but I would have been incredibly ill doing it and in a torturous hell.

The hardest thing I'm struggling with right now (or one of the hardest...God knows there's a long list to choose from) is accepting the fact that this illness is taking a toll on me and limits what I can and cannot do.  Most of my life, I have blamed myself when I couldn't accomplish something.  Too hard to walk a marathon?  My fault for being overweight and out of shape.  Too difficult to complete a job?  My weak mind in telling myself it sucked and I couldn't do it.  Not a big housecleaner?  My fault for being lazy.  It's just been in the last couple of months that I have started to recognize that the limitations i have aren't due to a weak spirit or lazy personality.  They're due to physical limitations that I have.  Normal people—even heavy ones—don't fall asleep at work, or race to the restroom to vomit regularly, or cringe in pain when a child hugs them.  Those are issues having to do with fibromyalgia.  Those are issues having to do with a physical illness.

I believe that I have found a part time babysitting job that would help me at least pay for my healthcare premium.  I'm hoping to begin a training business for child care employees.  I'm also looking at selling an at-home product.  We'll see.  I may end up giving up things I greatly enjoy, like my cell phone.  But we have to do what we have to do.  Cut our coat to fit the cloth, so to speak.

What I do know is that I am not alone in this struggle.  I have been blessed with a wonderful support system of family and friends who will not let me fail.  I also believe with my whole heart that God is looking out for me, and He will help me end up where I need to be.

And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Another one bites the dust.

So sometimes I think if it weren't for the job I had in the last state I lived in, I wouldn't be good at holding on to a job at all.

That's really not true.  I've held on to a couple for several years, which is an accomplishment considering my age, I think.

Today I got canned.  To be fair, it was coming and I should have seen it and predicted it.  I had turned in my resignation yesterday and offered to give them a month.

Back to the beginning...

I started a new job in June.  Full time, excellent pay, health insurance.  All sounds good, right?  Of course.  Except right after I started, my son began acting out again.  Worse than before and in ways that required me to miss work—for appointments with everyone from the shrink to the court system.

As time went on, my fibromyalgia grew increasingly worse.  There wasn't a day that went by that I wasn't in pain.  I'm in pain as I write this.  I saw my doctor at the end of last week, who snapped at me for not seeing her sooner (I couldn't with the schedule I had) and immediately ordered me out of work for several days.  My first day back was yesterday, and I turned in my resignation.  It was coming anyway.  I was fairly certain I was either going to get canned or resign, so I tried to beat them to the punch.

Today, I woke up with a migraine and horrible nausea.  I called in.  A couple hours later I got a call back, informing me they had decided to let me go.  AND they wouldn't be paying me for this week.  At all.  Thankyouverymuchgoodbye.

But would I like to come in tomorrow and meet with everyone to say goodbye?

I had been hanging in desperately for the health insurance this job offered.  Now that isn't an option, and it's my sneaking suspicion this may be the real reason they let me go so quickly, so that I couldn't access it.  But whatever.  I've learned the hard way that there's a limit to everyone's graciousness.  They have tried to be patient to some extent and I couldn't deliver.  The stress has been too much.

To be honest, I'm not sorry about it and it's not like I'm going to miss it.  But my feelings are a bit hurt.  And it's left an unpleasant taste in my mouth.  People that I thought understood what I was going through clearly don't.  People that I thought I could trust, maybe not so much.

So I'm dusting off the resume and sending it back out.  The right one will come along when it should.  At least I pray to God that it will.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

And so it goes.

Often when I write, it helps to put me back into a space where I can focus on the positive.  That can be difficult at times when doing battle with attachment disorder and whatever else is going on for my son.  I need that positive space and for my head to be clear.  I need it badly, and I haven't been as active in blogging as of late.  So perhaps this is exactly where I need to be.

Yesterday I had to file charges against my own child.  He assaulted me on Saturday.  Granted, I wasn't hurt, but I was scared, and it was time to move forward to the next step.  I'm not crazy about filing charges against him.  It opens up a legal can of worms and makes him accountable to another extremely flawed system.  My mother bear instincts go nutty against this, because I know all the things that could go wrong here, but I feel like I have no other choice.  He HAS to be held accountable for his actions, and holding him accountable at home isn't working.

His psychiatrist started him on antidepressants a month ago.  Since then we've seen fewer explosions, but when he gets into that space, boy does he let go.  I can honestly say I'm frightened of him, more than ever before.  I believe very strongly it is not safe for him to be at home and I have reiterated this to countless professionals, all of whom nod their heads but do nothing.  The law in our state says he cannot be placed in a hospital or residential facility without his agreement unless he is an immediate harm to himself or others.  And so we sit and struggle.

He spent the majority of this past weekend with other people because he had assaulted me at home and the police did not want him to stay here.  It is incredibly frustrating to me that because of his age, I am required to bring the person who assaulted me back home to live...with me, his victim.  The escalation of his behavior isn't taken into account.  The fear I feel in my own home isn't considered.  My daughter's safety isn't a priority.  My son's rights win out, above all else.  That is a problem.

He has apologized for his behavior.  I don't know if that was a manipulative tactic or if he truly regrets what he did.  It's impossible to tell any more.  Some days I try to stay focused and convinced that we can make headway before he turns eighteen; other days I feel like I'm counting down until he will no longer be in my custody.  I never, ever thought I would be this tapped out and hopeless.  I have come to realize recently that I have done everything I can possibly do, and at this point it is fully in his hands.  That is incredibly difficult to accept.

So I continue to pray and to try and to follow all of the advice of his many therapists.  Age eighteen is coming faster than he realizes, like it or not, and adult consequences will be put into place at that point.  I'm just praying he learns some impulse control and anger management before then.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Painful Mother's Day

The majority of this blog has always dealt with the struggle of attachment parenting and fibromyalgia, with a bit of other things thrown in to dabble in.  Tonight I'm just going to let it all hang out.  No more lying to myself about the positives and the hopes I hold out.  I have no more hope, or it's very thin.

It is currently 2:54 a.m. on Monday, May 14th.  Yesterday was Mother's Day.  My mother's day "gift", should you call it that, from my son consisted of being thrown a card that hit me in the gut as he screamed, "Happy Mother's Day...there you go!"  When I said "No, I don't want a card that is given to me that way," fast forward fifteen minutes to where he tore it into tiny pieces in front of my, threw it in the trash and said, "There you go, Mom.  Happy Mother's Day."

Backing up, in all fairness, I have his therapist to thank for some of this.  She told my mother, in front of him, that he shouldn't be taking his medication at 3 p.m.  because it's a stimulant and is causing him to stay up at night.  Bullshit.  I live with the kid and I know the "stimulant" has an eight hour life and should wear off by eleven at the latest.  So now I have a manic kid who hasn't been medicated in three days.  Thank you, therapist.

When I started this blog, I was convinced my child's biggest struggle was attachment disorder.  Over time, that has morphed into a very clear struggle with bipolar disorder in addition to attachment disorder.  At 2:30 this morning he decided to get up and fix himself breakfast.  Never mind that his sister was trying to sleep on the couch and I could hear him in the back of the house hustling around.  He was going to do what he was going to do.  This is after multiple "Shut up!s", "Duh!"s, and other disrespectful language he's tossed around to me.  So at 2:45 I found myself engaged in a tug of war over his guitar, which i had told him was going away should he speak to me that way again.  As I type, my hands are bruised from the strings of the guitar, and my soul is bruised from his nastiness.  I am honestly to the point that I really don't want him to live in my house anymore.

Did I say that?  Really?  How did I get to the point where my baby is such a bully that I don't want him in my house?  I had a plan.  He was going to have an evaluation done by the city and have intensive in-home therapy.  If that didn't work, he would go into residential care.  The absolute last stop would be going back into therapeutic foster care or foster care itself.  But I'm so worn down, so scared for myself and my family and even my dog, that I don't want him in the house anymore.  He has lit candles and waved flames in my daughter's face.  He has poked her with silverware.  He has kicked me in the abdomen and twisted my wrist.  But his words fly fast and loose, slapping whoever happens to be in the way, and it's brutal.  I honestly don't know any more if I can raise this child to adulthood.

He refuses to go to school.  He is going to fail the year because of absences and refusal to do his work. He doesn't sleep for days and then can't get up for days.  He is mentally ill beyond anything I am equipped to deal with and I don't know where to turn for help.

The experts all tell me I'm doing the right thing.  This assessment by the city is the next step.  I said I have no hope and beyond this assessment and the in home intensive therapy, I don't.  I don't know how you give a kid back to the system after twelve years.  Do you just show up in court and say, "I'm sorry, judge, but I've given him every chance I know to do, every therapist I've known to take him to, committed him to residential treatment, in home treatment, and nothing helps?  He's tried to light his sister on fire and I'm afraid of him"?  And where does he go?  And do I try not to care?  Do I get to see him?  Or is that it...he's no longer my concern?  And how do I reconcile that with everything I know and believe as a mother?

And how do I pick up the pieces...the child left behind who is bonded to him, perhaps even more strongly than she is bonded to me?  He has been there her entire life, with the exception of two months. She is angry at him, but not scared of him; I am scared AND angry.  How do I take my two children and reconcile them down to one?

I look at this child that I carried home with me twelve years ago, the sad and lonely child that I tried to love completely, and I don't know him any more.  All I see is an explosive, angry young man who is capable of anything.  My heart breaks for what I wanted him to be.  My heart breaks for what I wanted for all of us.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Get Right With Me

Get right with me.

There's a song by Depeche Mode with the above title.  It falls on the album after several darker songs dealing with pain, manipulation, sex, and darkness.  I always envision a gospel choir backing the singer as he sings they lyrics.

I will have faith
In that
That it's hard to
Don't waste your energy
Use your ability
Get right with me.

The last several weeks or months have made me think frequently of this song.  How often I see out answers that are really unimportant; the importance, as one of my more faithful friends would say, is to use your energy and ability to get it right with God.

Is such a sure thing
That I cannot comprehend.
But if this life
Were abhorring
There are things I know we'd bend

How much is beyond my control?  Everything.  I like to think I'm in control of everything.  And to some degree, I'm in control of certain issues.  Whether I get up in the morning, if I get dressed, what I do, the help I reach out and ask for.  But I don't control it all.

Take my advice
Already told you once
Once or twice
Don't waste your energy
You have the ability
Get right with me.

How often does God sit there and think, "Michelle, do you get it yet?"  I wonder if he breaks his pencils when he watches me, or if he just shakes his head and says, well, she's still got some years left...waiting for me to figure it out.

This mother's day I'm reminded of the story of the man who fell into the ocean and was drowning.  A rowboat came by and said, "Here, let us help you!"  The man said, "No, I have faith that God will save me."  A bit later a ship came by and said, "Please, man, let us help you!" The man again declared, "No, I have faith that God will save me!"  The man grew weaker when he saw a helicopter hovering over him, dropping a ladder.  "Here!" yelled a man on the ladder.  "Grab the ladder!  We'll save you!"  Shaking and overcome with weakness the man declared, "No, God will save me!"  Shortly thereafter, the man caved to the cold waters and drowned.

Upon meeting his maker, he said, "God, I don't understand!  You said if I believed in you, you would save me!  I believed beyond belief, and here I am, dead..."

The Lord shook his head sadly.  "Did you not understand?" he asked gently.  "I sent a rowboat, a ship, and a helicopter for you."

I wonder often how many times I turn down the rowboats in my life expecting something grander or more amazing to save me.

Get right with me.

I'm trying.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Monday, Monday

On Monday I start a new job, my first since November.  I'm ready to work again, and more importantly, ready to work with children.  The job I held from August until November did not involve working with children—it involved data collection and (supposed) mentoring of teachers.  I had numerous concerns about the way the research of the study was being conducted and it was being conducted by a major research institution.  If lil ole me could see massive problems in reliability and validity, I could only imagine what was wrong with the entire study.  That experience taught me to question all research I read and consider.

But I digress.  On Monday, I start a position working with kindergartners.  It's an extremely part time position—only fifteen hours a week to start—and very little money.  At this point though, the money is secondary to me.  Most important is the ability to work at something I love.

I have had mixed emotions about many jobs that have been offered to me—that they are not the caliber of job I should be working at this point in my career, that I am being grossly underpaid, that my talents are not being utilized.  Those may all be true, but I have not been disturbed by these issues at this new job.  I have put my faith in God and recognized that the purpose of this job is no longer to support my family; it is to revive my love of teaching and one of my great purposes in living.

I know this job is a stepping stone; in fact, I anticipate it will be a very short stepping stone, as I have a potentially more appropriate job in the works.  But I am grateful to get back in the classroom.  I am grateful to have purpose and to give excitement and learning opportunities to children again.  Thank you God, for that miracle.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


As I went to wake my son up this morning, I noted that his bed was empty.  We had had a huge blowup last night, and at first I thought he had left early for school.  But something in my gut said no, he was here, and I needed to find him.  After a few minutes, I found him curled under the bed, covered with blankets and pillows, his wily hair peeping out.

I tried to wake him gently and at first he responded as angrily as he usually does, grunting and telling me to go away.  Today, for whatever reason, I didn't go away, and after another few minutes he began to cry.  Ten minutes later I persuaded him to come out from under the bed, and he, now bawling, pressed his face against my shirt as I held my grieving, depressed boy on his birthday.

He didn't want to go to school, and his mood quickly flipped from horribly depressed to horribly angry.  "I hate you!" he screamed at me.  "You're pathetic!  You can't even tell when your kid is upset!  You don't even care!" I ignored the words and waited for him to be ready for school.  The ride to school was full of angry words from him, ending with, "Thanks for ruining my birthday, Mom."

For whatever reason, those tears lit a fire under me.  When I got back home, I called to arrange for him to see a different, more competent psychiatrist.  I consulted for intensive in home therapy.  I called his school to insist on a 504 plan, since they denied him an IEP.  For once, I felt powerful again; I felt motivated to improve things for my child.

And we had a good birthday after school.  We got him presents for his hobbies.  He got a gift card and another present from his grandparents.  We all wished him a happy birthday and told him how much he was loved.  And he thanked everyone and smiled before returning to bed.

And a bit later, the doubts returned and I found myself wondering what I could have done to cause this problem.  How did I make it worse?  Did I cause this?  Logically I know he came to me with fetal alcohol effects and attachment disorder.  I know that if he is indeed battling bipolar disorder, it is genetic and I did nothing to cause that.  And yet I feel I failed him.

I hope one day he knows how very much I tried, and how very much I love him.  This disorder, or combination of, is truly bigger than us.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To My Dear Boy

To my dearest son,
Tomorrow you turn fifteen.  It is a birthday we will not be celebrating.  There is a heaviness in my heart that wants to break the decision I have made, feeling I am being cruel to you.  The feeling that a mother should always forgive her child's trespasses, even when they are abusive and ongoing.  Then your words fly up like daggers—hateful things like, "dummy!", "duh!", "you're a pathetic mom", "you're a loser", "I hate you!", "you're the reason our life sucks", and "you can't get a job because you're such a loser".  And I remember why I hurt and ache and must follow through with our family's decision.

I know your days in our house are limited.  You are not functional at home.  You sleep or scream when you are here.  You are failing all your classes in school.  You have broken the law several times.  You are no longer the child I knew.

I pray every night that someone, somewhere, will help me find a way to get you into a psychiatric hospital and on the medication you so desperately need.  If not, I know your time is ticking away before you will be in juvenile detention.  My heart, as a mother, breaks for you as I know you are mentally ill.  But I cannot allow you to continue to hurt everyone in the house, and physically endanger your family.

In my worst moments I am lost in a hell of our own making, of your making, that I willingly enter with you.  I don't know why but I can't let you dive in alone.  I can't let it be your problem.  I am your mother, and some part of me believes if I just argue hard enough I will win the fight.

In our best moments I laugh with you, hug you, remember how much I love you.  I'm not afraid of your explosions.  I want to be with you.  But those times have become so few and far between, I miss them terribly.

Tomorrow you are one year older, and I realize very heavily that you have only three years left in my care.  I miss you already, but I pray that we can work things out together before it is too late.  I pray that one day you will understand why your family has chosen not to celebrate with you, why we cannot manufacture a false joy for you tomorrow when our hearts are so heavy.  I hope that one day you will read this and know that your mother not only laughed with you, not only cried for you, but held you in her heart every moment you breathed a breath.
I love you,
Your mother

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mothers and Daughters

Two years ago, after not enough discussion, we moved cross country to live with my mother and father.  The intent was that we would have our own house, but it hasn't worked out that way.  For nearly two years, we have been living in my parents' condo.  To make matters worse, it has been difficult to find work; in fact, so difficult, my husband has moved to find work in another part of the country.

And so there is my mom.  She recently turned seventy, not that that really matters, because she hasn't changed from when she was sixty-nine.  She hates everything we do.  Sometimes I can feel hostility when I breathe, I swear.  Today she has been ill, and I talked her into staying in bed.  Apparently that meant I was supposed to prepare her meals, despite supervising my father and two children, and having tremendous back pain myself.  Because I didn't make her toast, she is bawling around the house carrying on about how she has to do everything herself.  My father had lost part of the grocery list and forgot to get the stuff my mother needed.  Again, she must do everything for herself.  Keep in mind the old man is brain damaged.  I took her to a convenience store and bought her noodles, which is what she wanted.  She wouldn't let me cook it for her, because she has to "do it all myself".  Well, okay.  Then she burned herself with them.  That was the last straw.

For the first time in my entire life, my mother is sleeping at a friend's house.  I feel like a kid watching her walk out, and the pain is real and palpable.  My kids have asked, "is Mimi really leaving?  Why?"  I wish I knew, other than she's overwhelmed with life.  With us.

Like any kid, I blame myself.  If only I had made toast.  If only I had checked the groceries before we left.  If only I had done the shopping instead of my dad (he offered and wanted to).  Right now I'm furious and sad and feel helpless.  I'm furiously angry and full of regret.  Do you ever get over your mom walking out?

I don't know.  Ask me tomorrow.  As for tonight, I'm done with the blame.  Everyone in the house gets blamed except for Mom.  It's no longer a place I want to be.  It's a place I want to flee.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day I have no idea.

The other night as I was browsing Facebook, I noticed that one of my friends had stated that it had been three years since her disorder had first caused her tremendous pain.  I wanted to reach out and hug her, knowing how much pain she is in and how brave she is to face it every day.  She is a face of bravery, but every once in awhile the facade shows a crack.  There have been many nights she and I, awake at ungodly hours with pain, have comforted one another with fond memories of when I lived near her and of our careers, before there was pain.  Rarely do we speak about what may happen in the future.  We don't know.

Her statement of a three year anniversary though, made me think about how long it has been since I was officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  A year this month, February 2011.

I remember going in to see the rheumatologist.  A young woman, she listened to me for three or four minutes before cutting me off.  "I don't give narcotics," she said firmly, almost snappish.  I had described how my former doctor had been treating me with muscle relaxants and a mild narcotic.  My mother sat in a chair watching us, and I wonder if she knew that I would make a stand.

I did that day.  I had to.  "I'm not here for narcotics," I snapped back.  "I'm here for a diagnosis.  I'm here to get better.  I'm here because I have fibromyalgia and I need a diagnosis if I'm wrong or if I'm right."

She had me stand up, then pressed a few trigger points, all of which I winced or cried out audibly.  Three minutes later I had my diagnosis.

That was a year ago.  In the past year I've suffered pain and I've survived it.  I've fought to work jobs and lost them.  I've fought to attend things when my body was screaming in pain.  Sometimes I've been successful, and sometimes I've given up.  I've felt sorry for myself, I've felt desperate.  But I've also known the loving care of my friends, my family, and my God.  And I've had a lot of time to think about solutions.

Today marks my first day of physical therapy.  Soon I will start therapy again with my second therapist.  I am working on quality sleep at night, and have a good psychiatrist who is helping with the depression and anxiety that often accompany fibro.  So baby steps make it get better.  Nobody learned to be a masterpiece in a day.

So originally I had vowed to write every day and have fallen woefully short.  But this update is positive and good.  And I'm sure there will be more.

Happy one year anniversary to my diagnosis, and to the strength in me that survives.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Good things come from fear

So today the kid lost it.  I mean screaming, throwing things, kicking furniture, call the police lost it.

I got nominated to call the cops.  Lucky me.

Three of them show up, looking at each other like they can't believe they're in the right place (they later confided in the kid that they normally spend their time in the projects with the cockroaches and he has it pretty good).  They talked to him, to me, to everyone in the house (there were five of us) and determined he wasn't in danger of hurting himself or any of us.  I couldn't honestly say "Yes, I fear he will come after me tonight," because I don't think verbal assault is what they're looking for.

In the end he went to my brother's for the night.  Yeah, the same brother he had been screaming about going with in the beginning.

One of my biggest fears has always been calling the cops.  Beyond the embarrassment of saying, "I can't handle my kid", there's the fear of having the police actually believe something this kid says.  Our cops seemed to be on top of it, and one of them actually talked about fetal alcohol syndrome, and that the kid seemed to be suffering from it.  Bingo.  Could I hire you as his psychiatrist?

So all in all the kid goes with his uncle.  The younger one and I get a nice long nap...longer than mine should be or I wouldn't be up at 3 a.m. writing this entry.  But it's the calmest, least depressed I have felt in days.  I actually feel like I can handle my life.

And hence, from the scary things can bloom something good.