Spinning In Circles.

I just looked back at my past posts and realized they ramble. That’s ok. These aren’t planned. They’re not proof-read. They’re just me spewing feelings out. Like right now, my feelings are jumbled, and I’m just rambling. Maybe I’m avoiding saying things that need to be said. Maybe I don’t know what I’m feeling. Maybe, just maybe, saying what I’m thinking isn’t possible yet.

Today seemed like any other. I got up, I had coffee, I ran the vacuum cleaner over the carpet. Then I realized I have not heard one word of update on my kid’s progress since the day after he was admitted to the “crisis facility”. One thing everything I’ve read stresses is this is HIS recovery. HE has to guide it. But, I am mom. I have loved this kid for over 29 years. I have cared for him for most of that time, either completely, or as I pushed him into independence. I WANT him to be independent, but I also will do everything I can to assure he’s safe. I’ve been relying on his own progress reports, but I also know he’s lying to me about some things; namely how he’s feeling. I see people leaving that were admitted after he was. I don’t know their story, it’s THEIR story, but I know beyond a shadow of doubt that my kid is not ready to go, despite what he’s trying to convince others. So this morning I called and left a message for his therapist to call me back. Of course, he called during visiting hours. Honestly that ticked me off. I have been there every day for early visiting. EVERY SINGLE DAY. Did he call then so he could avoid talking to me? Or are they seriously that clueless? Anyway, the message left was that kid was progressing slowly, and they were hoping for a Friday discharge. WAIT. Friday? Home? Alone?

NO. NO> NO> NO>.

One thing that they say is to give your child space. I gave my child space, he almost died. Am I supposed to just let him go back to his life like nothing happened? No real therapy. Just some meds which he’s already complaining make it hard for him to concentrate. For an above average intelligence kid (he tested over 140 as a child) not being able to think is the worst kind of torture.

Do I become “that mom” and call and talk to his psychologist? How much can she know talking to him TEN minutes a day? She’s seen him six days at 10ish minutes, that’s one hour. One hour out of the roughly 260,000 hours he’s been alive.

I hate this. I hate second guessing everything. I hate the idea that my child attempted suicide. I hate the idea that to them he’s just another patient, one of roughly 40 on any given day, with a waiting list to keep the beds full.

I hate the knowledge that my child went out of his way to research signs to look for just to make sure I didn’t see any signs. If he went that far with me, do they not realize he will say or do whatever he has to in order to get out? I hate that in their eyes parents are almost always the cause of strife, and so should not be trusted…

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One Step Forward..

… praying it’s not one step back.

After today’s visit I feel myself breathing. Seriously, feeling each and every breath go in and out, in a rhythm that is somehow comforting.

Comfort. That’s a word I hadn’t really thought about. Comfort. I don’t find it at night in my bed. Yesterday when I came home after a particularly bad session I didn’t feel it after a drink of Jack Daniels dumped into root beer (Hey, we don’t drink much, and never on impulse, so you make do). I didn’t find comfort in curling up on the couch after said drink and losing myself in movies. Sadly, I didn’t even find comfort in the arms of my quasi-husband. Please don’t tell him that. He’s trying so hard to be everything I need right now. I can’t imagine going through this with anyone else by my side. But there’s no relief from all the emotions. There’s no comfort.

Today was the first day I really interacted with other loved ones who are going through this at the same time. Of course, the two gals and I were not in the same situation. Their loved ones are their boyfriend and husband. This is my son. Their guys will go home with them, they will know they’re safe. My son may or may not. I am not privy to plans ‘after” yet. I just have to let him get to the “after”. After.. where I will never know if he’s really safe. Where I will not know if he’s again crossed that parking lot to buy a death blade carefully packaged as a box cutter. Do they not know those things kill? Do they not see the six inch scar on my son’s wrist? After, where if he withdraws from the world I will have no way of knowing, because if he lets on he knows I’ll be all over him to get help. After. There is an after. And after scares the shit out of me.

So right now I realize there is comfort in the fact that they have him behind four locked doors. They have taken all strings away. They have him SAFE. Because I, his mother, can’t.

It’s not fair.

A New Reality

Yesterday was family education day at the facility. It was a large group comprised of both patients and primary supports. There were spouses, parents, children, and friends of all types there to support their loved one who is in crisis. It astounds me daily how many people actually go through this, but how few talk about it. Go online, try to find information. There’s information about preventing suicide, and there’s plenty of stories from those who have survived a suicide attempt, but where are the parents, the loved ones, who have sat on the sidelines and watched helplessly? The ones who are left at home scared to death because you worry it will happen again, and that the next time there won’t be a cry for help at the last minute? Where are those stories?

In the family education they talked about setting boundaries. I am expected to let my child, my baby, go home alone. Home to the place that he tried to kill himself. The place where I have no idea if he’s safe. If he were a teenager there are lots and lots of things you’re supposed to do: lock up pills (he overdosed), keep sharps put away (he cut his wrist), lock up guns (ok, nobody has any) and keep alcohol out of the house (he drank almost a fifth to accelerate the pills effect). He’s an adult. I can clear his apartment of those things, but he got them once, he can get them again just as easily. He’s supposed to reach out for help if he starts to feel the darkness consuming him again. Fine. He was supposed to reach out before the darkness consumed him before. I’ve ALWAYS stressed there is nothing wrong with asking for help. I’ve told my kids over and over your mental health is just as important, if not more important, than your physical health. If you hurt your arm you see a doctor. If your head hurts you see a therapist. There is no shame. After a particularly bad break up his older sibling reached out. This child couldn’t. How can I know he will the next time? How do I know he WANTS to reach out?

I just want to sleep, and I can’t. I’m really starting to hate opening theme of  I Love Lucy. It comes on at 5am.  5am seems to be the hour of the infomercials. I never knew that. I also never knew my child would attempt suicide. Things you never want to learn.

Day Four, Reality Hits

One can never imagine the amount of time having an adult-child with mental illness takes. Here is this child, this man, who has lived his own life for several years now and suddenly he can do NOTHING on his own. Rent is due, sorry, can’t go online to pay it. Car payment is due, sorry, again, no internet. Pet needs to be fed. Mom gets to go deal with seeing the remnants of a failed suicide attempt daily just to make sure the pet is taken care of.

Son was given the choice of signing the papers for voluntary stay or them taking it to a judge for a court order. When he was told that if a judge orders the stay it becomes part of his permanent record he signed. This is a good sign right? He’s worried about having a record. Then you talk to him and you hear him say “I know what I did wrong, I won’t make that mistake again” when referring to a failed attempt. Yea, he’s sick. Yes, he NEEDS to be right where he is.

The hardest part is everyone who has their opinion on what needs to be done. Stepmom actually had the audacity to say that this was because I failed to incorporate God into his life, as if I have somehow failed. She wants to be sure that he is in a God centered facility. Seriously. This woman has no, none, zero, zip, nada, zilch say in anything. She is only involved because she married father.

What she and others who have offered some unsolicited advice, fail to realize is that nobody has any say in his recovery except HIM. I can not change facilities, therapists, drugs, anything. He has to step up and guide his own recovery. It may take him time to figure out what he needs, but he will figure it out, and when he does, our job is to support him however he needs.

And love him. Always. No matter what the demons in his head tell him.

Life Changes

Tuesday I turned 50. Tuesday was officially the worst day of my life.

Tuesday my 29 year old son tried to kill himself. Three days later I cry just typing those words. Three days later my heart aches just thinking about it.

Tuesday afternoon my son called me to wish me happy birthday. He told me about his plans for the evening, which was going to his pool league. I’ve heard often about his performance in league, but just now realized he hadn’t told me in a few weeks how he was doing. Is he still a four? Did he beat another five? For someone who doesn’t play pool these things may mean nothing, but he was quite proud of it. It made me smile listening to how proud of himself he was when he’d tell me. What he didn’t tell me is that he wasn’t going to league. Instead he was walking to the grocery store to buy a bottle of vodka. What he didn’t tell me was he had already swallowed a stack of Oxycontin.  What he didn’t tell me is he had razor blades sitting on his desk at home. What he didn’t tell me is that he planned that as our last conversation.  I’m his mom, I should have heard it in his voice. I should have KNOWN.

So Tuesday evening I texted him and asked him to stop by to help me move some furniture. Wednesday I texted again, then started trying to call. Wednesday night I knew something was terribly wrong, but never in my wildest dreams could I imagine what was going on. Never could I imagine that when I went and pounded on his door there would be no answer, despite his car being parked in its spot. Never could I imagine that when I broke into his apartment I’d see a bathroom and a bedroom covered in blood. Never could I imagine hearing the words, yes, he was admitted Tuesday and discharged Wednesday. Never could I imagine calling the police desperately trying to find my son. Never could I imagine the look on the young police officer’s face as he fought the urge to tell me everything, but was not allowed to because my son is an adult, and I am nobody in the eyes of the government. You can’t imagine how hard it is when the police tell you that yes, they responded to an incident here, and you have to guess what happened, and have to actually ask “did he do it to himself intentionally”, still not able to say the word suicide.

Never can you imagine trying to track down your son who is an adult, and who has not included you on his contact information.  When you finally get that super sweet person who says she can’t tell me if he’s there but if he were is there a message she could give him (I will never forget that voice) you feel like a weight has been lifted. You feel like you can breathe. He’s safe. You know where he is. You also know he’s getting help.

Then imagine telling those who matter. Imagine telling your mother who is dealing with a rapidly failing husband. You debate whether you even should. Your dad’s health is poor. Three years into stage four colon cancer… a year longer than he should have had. Your mother has carried the burden of watching the decline in his health, do you tell her? If you don’t, how do you explain certain things? What happens when she sees the scars on his wrists? What happens when you can’t keep it together that one time she calls? So you tell her, and you hear her sob.

Then imagine calling his father, telling him to pull over as you’ve caught him driving down the freeway. Things have always been rocky between my son and his father. Father knows it. Imagine the guilt he feels.

Then imagine trying to sleep after all of this. It doesn’t happen. And when it finally does your son calls. Your heart lifts for a second. He’s alive. He’s calling. You want to ask why. You want to yell at him, while hugging him, while beating the shit out of him, while stroking his hair and saying you’ll make it all better, while crying, while smiling, but instead all you do is take a moment to listen to his voice. There’s time for everything later, because as of right now there is another day. You can be thankful for that. You hear him admit how he tried to hide from everyone. You hear him admit how shocked he is you found him. You hear relief in his voice because you did find him. You tell him of course you did, you’re mom, you’ll always find him, because you love him. Nothing else matters right now.

Imagine getting a call from his therapist with an update. Imagine hearing how this was well planned, not impulsive. Imagine hearing the therapist say how your son researched effective ways to commit suicide, and not leave a mess. Imagine hearing how he planned ahead and left weeks worth of food and water for his cat, in case nobody found him for awhile. Imagine thinking “Did he really think nobody cared? What about me? I care. I thought he knew..” Imagine hearing the therapist say he would be committed for an extended period, until they could be sure he was safe, and realizing the unsaid words were that he would do this again if given the chance. Imagine it.

Imagine calling his work and trying to arrange for an extended leave.

Imagine seeing his face for the first time after. Imagine reading his suicide note. Imagine trying to get through each day, each minute, without crying or screaming or raging or retreating to bed where sleep eludes you. Imagine realizing that your child, this child you have loved for 30 years wants to kill himself.

I pray you only have to imagine it, because living it is hell.