I have seen my share of ups and downs with mental illness over the years. From battling my own demons with things like anxiety and panic disorders, to more severe forms of mental illness, I have seen and experienced first hand the emotional and mental toll these illnesses can have on a person. Since having children of my own, I can honestly say, even though it’s been a difficult ride in dealing with my own issues, there is absolutely nothing harder or more heart breaking than watching your own child suffer.
I fight a daily battle. My 13 year old first born son, whom I love very much – always have, & always will – is currently, and if I’m being honest, has been for many years now – dealing with a lot of mental illness of his own. I won’t go into specifics, but these things that he is dealing with don’t just affect him. In fact, they don’t seem to have much effect on him at all. It’s the rest of us in the household with him who are forced to suffer and who are affected the most. It’s the people he is forced to be around every day both at home and at school who cry, feel pain, and also, feel fear. And I don’t mean that in any sort of mean way, but it’s the absolute truth. We have tried psychiatrists, therapists, counselors, medications, alternative methods, and nothing is working. Nothing at all can quell the immense amounts of stress we all feel in dealing with these issues. So what do we do? What’s the next step? Where do we go from here?
Is it selfish to say I just want a normal child? Is it mean of me? I don’t know.
Those are some of the pressing questions my husband and I are currently facing. It’s not been an easy couple of weeks.
There are so many good qualities in my son. He’s a very handsome, very talented, and a very sweet boy when he wants to be. He can be so helpful when he wants to. He can light up a room with his smile and make people laugh. He can play the guitar like nobody’s business. But then, there’s that other side of him that literally drives people away from him. The side of him that will hurt, steal, lie, and destroy anything and anyone around him. He claims to have no control over his actions…but I feel like that’s an excuse. He doesn’t even try. At least, not that we’re seeing. We read into it all, believe me. If he were trying, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. But he isn’t trying. He’s only spiraling out of control and getting worse. I have cried a lot lately because of everything going on. My husband has tossed and turned worrying and stressing. Things cannot keep going on like this.
I don’t really know what the future holds but I do know that when I envision my son’s life as an older teen and an adult, I fear for him. I also fear for any woman he chooses to date and or marry. I fear for his children and I fear for my son.
I found out the other day that Florida is ranked 50 out of 50 in terms of mental health help. A police officer told me this. That’s the bottom of the barrel. You just can’t get any worse than that. Maybe that’s why there are such limited resources available in terms of offering help to him. Maybe that’s why we are getting nowhere.
His doctors are all currently on the page of getting him help to the point of placing him in a residential facility for a while. While we have fought tooth and nail to prevent this from happening, and have never agreed up until this point, we feel like now we have no choice with some of his recent behaviors. He is a danger not only to others but to himself. He’s become reckless. And we want to see him do better for himself and for his family. And also, for his future.
So, that’s pretty much what’s consumed my every moment for the past couple of weeks. I am praying I am able to find something that works before it’s too late. I pray it’s not too late. I pray there is still something that can be done. Changes that can be made. But most of all, I pray he opens his eyes and receives the help coming his way rather than forces it away.
I just want my son back.
I am spending much of today looking into some of these residential facilities across the state. I am not looking forward to any of this. It’s going to be a crazy emotional rollercoaster. At this point, however, he leaves us little choice.
Mental illness isn’t easily digested. It’s something you have to take day by day. But the one thing you can never do is just give up. Not on yourself, and not on those you love. Never, ever, ever give up.