Friday, September 23, 2011

Finding Sunshine...

I try to find the bright spots in my darkness.  At times, things can be pretty dark in my world dealing with something that I have no answers for and can not explain. 

Mental Illness and Addiction {Dual Diagnosis} are like two separate gruesome demons.  They mask themselves at times and you have a slight glimmer or glimpse of the person you know is in there.  Other times it rears it's ugly head and sends you reeling. 

Trying to separate your emotions from love, fear, anger and desperation becomes a daunting task that takes you on a roller coaster day by day.  It is a wonder that I have not developed some sort of disorder of my own.  {perhaps I have and don't know it!}

I have to be one person in dealing with Taylor, yet another in my mothering of my other three sons and yet another as a wife to a husband who is too growing weary of this affliction that our son is trapped by.  I then am a business owner and nanny too. 

Honestly when people marvel at my strength, it is all due to my faith.  I know that God is mighty to save.  I know He has my back and without the promise of hope in each new day, I can't say that I would be who I am today. 

I want to run, hide and escape my life. I know the Lord does nothing by accident.  There IS a purpose in all this madness.  I may never know what that is, but wish to pass His test.  I want to hear "Well done, my good and faithful servant".

I look at the blessings that the Lord showers upon me.  People He places in my life to make me laugh and help me to rediscover who He created me to be.  You see, I have been a bit lost.  I have been in survival mode, and still am to a degree. 

For a long time I have held back.  Taken things slow.  Waiting for things to get messed up.  Disorder and chaos has been so rampant in my life that I have come to expect that all good things will end.  I forgot who I was in all of this.  I forgot how to laugh, how to smile and how to believe in ME.

I am digging my way out.  I am learning my limits, learning to say no and be okay with not doing all the things I think I should take on.  I cherish the little things and appreciate the "moments" when they come. 

I treasure the friends that the Lord has brought to come along side me on this path.  As I look back I see different people, some still here, some not; that He has brought into our lives.  Each one plays a role in helping me know that He is sovereign.  He is provisional and unconditional.

Yesterday was a very no good, simply rotten, horrible day.  Today I will find the sunshine and keep holding on to the promise of a better tomorrow.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Something to hold on to...

Life for me is so unpredictable right now.  One day I think things are looking up and the next the world seems to be coming to an end.  I always thought that I was cut out to care for Children with Special Needs.  I do have a lot of patience, but dealing with my son's mental illness is proving to be so much more that I ever imagined.

He started taking a new medication via injection on Wednesday.  So far it is not going very well.  He has angry outbursts, paces around talking to himself, won't go to sleep at night and is ultra obsessive.  It is just completely unexplainable.  I prayed and am still praying that this medication will help his condition.  It just has to.  I do not know what else to do.

I cling to the fact that Jesus loves me more than I will ever know and that he died to know me.  I know this love.  I have it for all of my children.  I would gladly endure anything necessary to make the world right for them.  All I can do is pray for my son, which I do all day long.  When he is angry and yelling, I pray.  When he is confused, I pray.  When he is talking to "invisible people", I pray.  When he refuses his medications, I pray.  When his body is contorting in wild movements, I pray.

The financial challenges we are facing dwarf in comparison.  I can almost handle being evicted over the minute by minute watch I am on with my son.

I need you.  I need you to pray on my behalf.  This problem is so much bigger than I can even explain.

I have no answers.  Only God does.  So, I wait.  I hold on to the hope that there is an answer.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My son...His son.

The Lord blessed me with my first son December 14, 1990.  He will soon be 21.  I longed for this child, and prayed for him.  He entered the world beautiful and happy.  He was the light of our world.  He did everything early, sat up at 5 mo., walked at 8 mo., and talked before he was a year old.  He was perfection.

He grew to be a talented little boy excelling in sports and skateboarding.  He loved people, made lots of friends and had the most caring and compassionate heart.  He loved going to church and loved the Lord.  He accepted Jesus on a cold Halloween night when he was just 7.  He then dressed as a Preacher complete with a Bible and went door to door trick-or-treating asking people if they too had the love of Jesus in their heart.

He was Baptized that Thanksgiving at our little Church in Lee's Summit, MO.  He was so proud, as were we.  He started having a bit of trouble in school with learning.  He was diagnosed with a disability in written and oral language in the third grade.  Although he struggled he still did well in school.

In Middle School he started to clown around in class to divert the attention away from the fact he was not getting the lessons.  He started to get into a bit of trouble and then is when we learned he had been exposed to marijuana.  One Sunday afternoon he broke down before we headed out for Church.  He told me he was a bad person and that he did not belong in our family or belong at Church.  It was then he told us that he had been using marijuana at age 14.

My world was turned upside down.  I never thought or dreamed that one of MY sons would use drugs.  We thought we were doing all the right things as parents.  We went seeking help from family, church and medical professionals on how to "deal" with this situation.

Over the next couple years we were faced with a rebellious teen who skipped school, continued to use drugs and experiment with alcohol.  We enrolled him in youth programs that educated him on the dangers of drugs and alcohol use, took him on tours of the jails and had him report to an Officer twice a month.  We felt we were getting a handle on things and were thrilled when he got a job at age 16.  He did well there and got several promotions.  He had a beautiful girlfriend and life was somewhat normal.  

We by then had 4 sons in all.  Trenton was born when Taylor was 5, then Turner when Taylor was 13 followed by Trevan when he was 14.  We attributed some of Taylor's behavior to the fact that he was crying out for attention.  The "babies" took a lot of our time and perhaps he was needing to feel like he was still important.

Our lives changed forever on a crisp afternoon in January.  I received a frantic phone call from a woman who told me my son was found in the road bleeding from the head unconscious.  She thought he had been hit by a car.  She told me the location and I did not know which son she was referring to at that moment.  Both Taylor and Trenton were out, one on their skateboard and one on their bike.  

I scooped up my little ones and shuffled them to a neighbor's home.  Another neighbor came around the corner and I told her what happened.  She put me in her car and we drove to the scene as quickly as possible.  Arriving there within minutes just behind the ambulance, I see it is Taylor.  His head is wrapped in a baby's security blanket of the woman who found him.  Blood is soaking through the soft pink fabric.  He is still.

A fury of phone calls to my husband, my parents and my Bible Study Leader.  I rode in the front of the ambulance turning my body so I could see my son laying motionless in the back.  I prayed like I have never prayed before.  "Lord, please don't let him die."

As it turned out, my son had been skateboarding too fast down a hill, without a helmet.  He hit a manhole cover and struck his head on it.  He suffered a skull fracture and 3 brain bleeds.  He has never been or will ever be the same.

He become very angry with violent outbursts after the accident.  His short term memory was non-existent.  He could not remember things he learned in school.  He declined rapidly and dropped out of school.  He was forced to quit his job because he could not remember simple tasks asked of him.  This led quickly to a severe deep depression.  We went from doctor to doctor for help - only to have meds thrown at him that he refused to take.  He then started to self medicate with drugs and alcohol.

For three years now we have watched our son live in a hell.  Held captive by the voices in his head.  Our lives have been tormented beyond belief as we have tried to keep him safe and alive.  He has been hospitalized 12 times for either an overdose of drugs and alcohol or for trying to take his life.  He has been arrested, gone to jail and put into 4 rehabs.  He has been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and OCD.  

This a mental disorder characterized by recurring episodes of elevated or depressed mood, or of simultaneously elevated and depressed mood, that alternate with, or occur together with, distortions in perception.  Schizoaffective disorder most commonly affects cognition and emotion. Auditory hallucinations, paranoia, bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking with significant social and occupational dysfunction are typical.

We are faced now with no options for our child.  He functions on a 12-13 year old level.  He requires a lot of care.  There is no where for him to live.  California will not hold anyone without their voluntary consent.  He does not see the severity of his illness.  

He has refused medications because they made him gain nearly 80 pounds and recently he has lost nearly 40 pounds in 2 months.  He has had horrific episodes that required long hospitalizations.  We are now going to start to take him for injections tomorrow so he can not spit out or refuse his pills.   

He is sweet and gentle at times.  He is loving and caring and can become deeply emotional.  Other times if he does not get his way he is quick to anger and things can escalate.  He hears voices, lives in a paranoid state of fear that people are out to kill him.  He constantly tells us to keep our voices at a whisper as he thinks "they" can hear him.  He shuts all the doors, windows and blinds.  He can not go out in public.  He paces constantly and smokes cigarettes one right after the other.  He then coughs all night long.  He refuses to follow simple directions and rules we set for our home.  

He wants to know who I am talking to when I am on the phone, where I am going if I leave.  He wants to see my computer screen and obsesses that I am talking about him to people.  He stands over my husband and myself if we are trying to talk.  He follows me from room to room.  I am locked in my bathroom with the water running so I can write this now.  He has never had longer than an 8 week stretch that he was "functioning somewhat normally".  

My children lost their brother that fateful day and we lost our son.  Although he is still here - the Taylor that once was is gone forever.  I had hope that one day he would heal and come back to us.  I now know that will never be.  He is His Son and I have to surrender him.  I can not explain to my kids the "why", because I do not know.  I can only trust that the Lord has a plan in all of this.  I pray for my strength to carry on when I want to just be done.

People think I am strong.  I guess I am by default.  I go on because I have no other choice.  My heart swells so much that it bursts and tears flood down my face more often than people know.  I cry in the shower, I cry alone in my car.  I cry in my bed at night.  I cry out to Jesus.  "Help me, Oh Lord through this pain...Carry me because I can't walk on anymore!"

My husband and I do not have a marriage any longer.  This has ripped our family apart.  Shortly after my son's accident my husband was also in an accident.  He rolled his truck while driving down the same street.  He suffered a panic attack or a heat stroke while driving.  He nearly lost his arm and suffered a head injury as well.

Shortly thereafter we became homeless.  We lost everything.  We lived in a hotel for nearly 5 months as he recovered.  I changed his dressings, bandaged his wounds.  Drove him to doctors appointments and months of physical therapy.  All the while dealing with Taylor and his unimaginable addiction and mental illness.  

Things such as these either tear people apart or make them grow stronger.  Sadly we are being torn apart.  I know he does not have any answers.  He wants ME to fix everything.  He wants me to make it all better.  After all, that is what wives and mothers do.  Well, this is too big for me.  Only God can fix this.  This problem is all His.  I get that and I CAN surrender.  Sadly, my husband is not there.  He does not know how to ask the Lord to lead him.

I am growing weary and ask that you pray for my son, my marriage, my children and for me.  I feel very worn down, worn out and at a place of desperation.