So today is going to be a bit of a rant and an emptying of many thoughts in my head about what is happening in my family lately. I’m just warning you ahead of time.
Another warning is that this is *MY* story. Yes, it involves my family, especially my son, but even so these are things happening to me that I need to get out and I want to share because I know I am not alone in things like this happening in families. I love my son unconditionally, always have, always will, but that does not mean I like his behavior or actions.
If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that my son, T, suffers from bipolar and anxiety. He was diagnosed at age 6, he is now 21. So for many years I have been dealing with what parents of children with mental health issues deal with. It is okay, it is my job as his mom. I can say with all certainty that I truly have done what I thought was best (at least at the time) for him for his entire life. Was I wrong sometimes? You bet! Just like every other parent on the planet gets things wrong sometimes. We are not perfect and we don’t get a rule book for raising our kids. However, I cannot go back in time and change anything I did, nor can my son, nor can anyone else in our family.
At 17, T decided he no longer would take his medications. At that age we (Hubby and I) cannot force him to take them either. Sadly, T’s behavior and actions deteriorated quickly after that and we told him he had to move out. He did. Then we let him come back with his girlfriend even. Then another event and out he went again. Then, this last time, he came back, again with Caitlan, who was now pregnant with twins. I was hoping this time would be different, we all like to hope for things like that. I was hoping that the fact that he now was going to have a family of his own would help him get the help that he needs.
It did, sort of, for a bit….
T and I talked a lot. He said he wanted to get better. He knew he needed to be on meds. He wanted to take care of his family. I truly think he meant it and truly think that he still does mean it. However, he does not have the tools he needs to do that just now nor the acceptance of his own responsibilities for his actions at this time in his life.
He got a job. Great! Lost a job, got a job, lost a job, got a job. This last job was the best that he has had in a while. It was the first not thru a temp agency and it had the potential to offer him lots of useful benefits including health insurance for him and his new family and tuition reimbursement even. It was also close to home so if no one else could take him or pick him up he could easily walk even. No, he doesn’t drive as his license is currently suspended for the number of tickets he got for expired plates, lack of insurance, etc. Again, those were his mistakes – he knew better.
To say T is not a morning person is a severe understatement. Now a lot of people, including myself, are not morning people. That itself is okay if you are a bit grumpy and don’t want a lot of questions or talking in the morning, etc. But T’s level of “not a morning person” is beyond that. He would scream (literally) and yell (literally) and slam things around (literally) almost every morning. It put everyone else in the family on edge, including the dog and cats, and once the twins arrived in March, you could also tell that they were impacted by all of this. It is not a great way to start your day, trust me.
The evenings sometimes were better, sometimes not. With him you just never know what you are going to get. It has been that way for years, but as he got older he became much more aggressive about all of it. Part of this is due to his mental health issues, other parts are due to his personality, others are due to him just being a jerk at times. By the way, jerk is a very nice word I am using. He has damaged our cars (on purpose by hitting/throwing things at them), put more holes in the walls than I can count, broken many doors in the house, broke a window, kicked in my large TV in the living room, etc. I mean we are at thousands of dollars in damages of items in the home. Now that stuff isn’t nearly as important to me as the people in the home though. I don’t think he can fathom how much he is hurting all of the people at the same time by his words and actions.
Once his daughters were born he struggled even more. I totally understand how much stress he was under, really, but you still have to try and maintain at some level and he wasn’t able. Talking to him about this brought out that he was worried about ruining the twins life because of how he was. I understand that too, but you have to keep trying in my book.
He did find a clinic that he could go to finally to get on some sort of meds. This was temporary, but at least it was something. I paid for the visit even and for the prescriptions. The meds the doctor gave him were not actually exactly what he needed, but they did start to take off a slight edge. Mind you, he was still self medicating with pot and alcohol much of this time as well though.
A couple of weeks ago was a very bad day. He started off in a bad mood before he went to work and he came home in a bad mood. We all tried to give him some space and time to cool off. This is not uncommon and sometimes it really does work. This night it didn’t work enough. There is a longer story about the events of that night, but in the end I told him again to get out immediately. At that point he walked over to me and punched me so hard in the face that it knocked me to the floor and I think even unconscious for a minute or so. Yes, the physical pain was bad, but not nearly as bad as the mental pain from all of this. Caitlan, the twins, and Hubby were all safely in the master bedroom when it happened, luckily. Hubby came out immediately when he heard the thud and then me crying. Caitlan called 911 and got the police on their way.
A side note about Hubby. He has many of his own issues happening but had quit drinking a couple of weeks prior and the change was immediately apparent this night. Instead of getting into it with T himself, he closed the front door and locked it when T went outside and when T was screaming at him and egging him on from outside Hubby closed the window calmly so he couldn’t hear him as much.
The police arrived. T was sitting calmly outside at this point (after trying to kick in the door which I have on our security videos). They came in also and talked to all of us, checked on me, etc. and then took T to jail. They could only hold him for 24 hours unless they got a warrant, which they did, so they were able to hold him until he posted bail or went to court. T’s bail was set at $15,000 cash only so I knew he wasn’t going to be able to come up with that money. The police also said I needed to file a restraining order against him, which I did the next day. I also had to go to the police station and let them take evidence photos of my face where he hit me. This was one of the most humiliating moments in my life. Not because of how the police acted at all, just because of why I was there. It was awful.
He was transferred to our county jail and bad things have happened to him now. I’m not going into detail about this on my blog, but I don’t care what crime anyone has committed or been accused of, you do not deserve to be harmed while in jail. PERIOD. Now, of course, as I learned about all of this from the county (not from T as he was not allowed to contact me at that time) the mommy in me felt so terribly guilty. To be in a place where you are trying to give tough love to your child but still want to protect them is one of the worst feelings in the world.
This past week I had to go to court for the restraining order. They just give you a temporary one to start with when you apply but then you have to go to court. Since he was in custody in the jail he was not at the court date and I was issued the full restraining order by default. Luckily, I think, they only put that he could not be at my home or within 500 feet of me but that he and I could still communicate. This is what I asked for. That communication is not going well so far.
So that brings us up to today, Mother’s Day of all days, that I am sharing this. I have no inclination to celebrate this day as a mom.
I feel like I have failed as a mom.
No matter how much love and support I have tried to give him he still seems to blame so much on me and be so hateful to me right now. None of that though takes away from the fact that I love him so dearly. That makes it all that much harder. So I sit here on the patio typing this, alone (my choice), on Mother’s Day pondering all of this. At times the mommy part in me just tells me I suck at being a mom, at other times the mom part of me, which is much more logical, says you are doing what you are supposed to still to help him.
My brain and my heart are just so back and forth with everything that is happening. I have been such a mess the past few weeks. This is why I am getting it all out here. I’ve been trying to find words the last few weeks but I haven’t been able. Today the words are finally coming out. I’m sharing for myself and I’m sharing for all of you who have ever been in a position like mine. So many of you, especially privately, have sent me messages about how things were with your own kids and how, eventually, the kids appreciated what you did and now you have a great relationship. I’m hanging on to every syllable when people tell me those stories and hoping that I will be able to say the same thing someday soon.
Okay, I’m done rambling. Thank you if you have read this post and can relate in any way. I would appreciate any positive thoughts you can send to not just me, but also T, and my entire family.