View Full Version : To Fight For Life, After Seeing Death In The Eyes Of Your Child

07-08-07, 12:05 PM
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This is a something I shared in my blog space after my son went through a month long stint in an intensive treatment center, due to being in crisis for suicidal tendencies. Some have read it there, but I wanted to share it with all of you. This is for the parents of children with Bipolar/ADD and for the adults who have it as well. My plea to each of you to get help and do whatever you have to , to make yourself well, and your child. My son came home Friday. Another journey begins.


<DL class=body><DT class=post-head>Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. ~Norman Cousins

We understand death for the first time when he puts his hand upon one whom we love. ~Madame de Stael

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To Fight For Life, After Seeing Death In The Eyes Of Your Child

This the story of both my son and my choice to live, and not a minute to soon.

Thirty long days have gone by. And in the last 30days I have felt one of the worst pains a parent can feel short of actually losing a child.

This rocky journey is fast coming to a close, and a new one is beginning. But it was a near miss, and denial and selfishness were it's catalyst. This is the one of the worst case scenerios of what can happen if you refuse to get help for yourself of your child.

I get so tired of people whining about thier mental illnesses. Bragging the wonder and euphoria of mania. While they gripe about the chaos caused by the fall out of it's evil twin, depression. Speaking as a person who has Bipolar, who has lived 36 years without knowing it this is no longer something I want to ignore . I have had almost a year of diagnoses and medication under my belt, and much of that year trying to undo the damage of the previous 36 years of not knowing. Nothing has made me decide faster to really wake up and get it together than the last 30 days. This urgent , desperate drive to "fix" it, was when I faced the reality of watching a child who wanted to die. Mine.

My life and path of destruction were similar to my son's. Except the extremes. Perhaps children of Bipolar parents carry a worse affliction, or perhaps being the child of a parent who was undiagnosed and untreated for years adds to the extremes. Perhaps it's both. But once that ball of yarn begins to unravel and tangle it's almost impossible to catch it and straighten it out.

If there were ever a reason to get better, get help, be shaken out of a selfish slumber, and tell other people there is absolutely no way of getting out of taking medication for Bipolar, the story of my life the last 30 days would be it. The onset of Bipolar in a child is certainly escalated by hormones but lack of facing reality and getting treatment is certain and utter destruction waiting to happen. While I understand now that both my son and I had it all along. Mine some how managed to not go to the extremes his has.

For me, after the years of endless rollercoaster rides, I had to slam on the brakes before it was too late. Not for me. Well not literally for me. For him. In what seemed like forever, but really amounted to about 1 year. I have literally watched my child slowly die without knowing it. In the beginning I told myself it was hormones, the mother's curse, a sign of the times, or perhaps a sign of my poor life choices , bad parenting and the chaotic household in which he lived. I can tell you now I know it was all of them, with a deadly secret that lay waiting and growing right below the surface.

At the height of the episodes, I found myself with a child I barely knew. Who was nothing but a ball of nerves, anger, aggitation, hopelessness, and despair. After finally getting the help I needed, or at least the beginning of the help I needed for my own diagnoses, I begin to see the seriousness of his obvious illness. I did take him to get help, he was diagnosed with the Bipolar just like me. The sad thing is, it would have been so wonderful to have had this years ago. For us both.

When we finally found help from the most unlikely of people, his probation officer, it was almost too late. Services that should have been offered for my family, were put into the 11th hour. I can tell you if it had not been for my incessant need to fill my every waking moment, absorbing informatioin about Bipolar, the juvenile system, mental health statistics, mostly using it to rid myself of guilt, fill the time to avoid everything else, it could have gone very differently. And of course the entire support team who's soul purpose was to help us. That also came with a huge willingness to be willing to continue with my own treatment, be willing to let people in my life who would find out the "secrets" in our lives, and take responsibility for my own actions...without it, know I am certain, all would have been lost.

After we finally received services that started us in the right direction to help him get stabile, stop the self medicating, and growing rebellion, the bottom fell out. Just as it seemed we had talked him into taking his medications and being open to all that help..he went out and commited yet another stupid bone-headed crime. And I can tell you it consisted of 6 felonies. None of them violent, but felonies just the same.

I would learn later it was because he had given up. Thinking that a pending probation violation for "unruly" behavior, would send him away until he was 18, filled him with hopelessness and drove him closer to the edge. But at that time, I just could not wrap my head around why he would sabotage himself from the right path he was on. I understand why now. And looking back can see how many times I did it to myself. See it's much easier to throw a wrench in it all then, rather than cling to the hope that it would work out, and then face the pain of being let down again. This series of events lead to a life altering snow ball effect of consequences and harse discoveries. About him, our family, and myself. Some of them good and some of them so painful, it was almost too much to bear.

And as I read things on this forum about the beginning of parent's stuggles with thier childrens mental illness, I can only hope they don't make the same mistakes I did. And for the adults there, run don't walk to get help now. While you still have time left to do something good with your life. To salvage what is left of your relationships, jobs, and sanity.

What really makes me mad, is the absoulute refusal of some people to get help at all, to blame everyone and everything for what's wrong with them. Which is easier than facing the demons that plague us. Refusing to face the fact that there are some very simple, but still difficult choices and things you can do to correct it. And in many cases, quickly.

Denial and the refusal to deal with the reality that mental illness , untreated, actually rules your life, and controls you, is very dangerous. And for me, it almost cost me one of the most precious things in my life. My son.

Now, I simply refuse to roll over to a disease that has ruled my life for 36 years. Has dulled my abilites to ever have a chance to become the things I wanted to when I was young enough to do them. I refuse to let them rob my son of the same things. I am not saying there are not still many things we need to do and the journey is far from over, but there is hope, and if nothing had been done, there would have been consequences we could never undo.

I want to live my life doing the right things, things that make sense. Logical decisions based on true emotions, and common sense. Not out of the urgings of insane hypomanic episodes that lead me to anger, aggitation, stupid impulsive decisions, and finally exhaustion..that are quickly followed by days of depression that make me hate the world outside of my eyelids.

Depression that leaves me short of anything that resembles a productive human being and nothing close to the mother I want or should be. A mom to three beautiful children. One of which is as sick as me, and 2 that are at the wonderful age of loving thier mommy like no one else in the world. And believe me that time passes too quickly, and the alternative to having the love of your child is not something you want to feel, ever.

I can tell you my path is not one that anyone wants to walk. Not a path you chose because it was easy, and one you took because you won't ask for help. Because you refuse to admit you have a disease that you didn't cause and can't control. One that ironically has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, yet has the highest success rate when treated.

If all it takes is patience, letting go of stupid pride, and humble act of asking for help, then be willing to actually take that help and follow through with it. Then fine. And if the easiest and most effective part of getting my life back, is as simple as the opening my mouth, and the inserting a stupid pill for the rest of my life...then dammit that is what I am doing. Knowing you could face the alternatives I mentioned above should be enough for us all to do it.

I can tell those that love to ride the high manic road, for the love of the euphoria and creativity that comes with it, the price is not worth it, and the end only comes a series of tragic deaths. Death of who you could have been, the death of potentially good relationships , death before birth of relationships that will never be because people can't ride the rollercoaster with you, death of stability and sanity...and often DEATH LITERALLY. Sorry ,that is a price that is entirely too high and not worth the short-lived high that always ends in despair, seclusion, and darkness.

I never touched as closely, the edge of insanity and true despair my son did. In the briefest of minutes, perhaps hours, my thoughts strayed there. However, the knowledge that my helpless children were sleeping in the next room always kept me from staying too long.

Even as miserable as my son has been almost his entire life, I never really knew where he was in his mind. Wheather I just didn't think it was real or as constant, or I was just in denial, I don't know.

But this last month of hell has shoved it in my face so literally there was no ignoring it. The fact I read it and heard it myself while he shared with his peers with no fear or idea I was listening or reading , the fact that he said it so matter of factly drove the knife in deeper, And the reality backed up by a doctor & therapist who specializes in working with these kids who told me he means it and somewhere along the way I finally really HEARD it from my son's own mouth and in his actions. I have no idea when it really hit, but I can tell you, it opened my eyes so far, I could see the dark bottomless pit he was about to jump in...and it became very real, and devastating for me.

This is why we must ask for and get help and why we must take medication. This is why I choose to continue to take my medication. And can't tell you the deep seeded fear I have of not being able to take it. This is why we really need to listen to our kids, and I mean what they are really saying. This is why we need to get help for ourselves and our families preferably before there is so much damage done, we almost lose them.

This is why we don't choose to take the easy way out and ride the high wave, at the expense of everyone and everything. Or because we are afraid ,to proud, want to live in denial, or we think we are in control and can beat it, or especially because we don't want to take a stupid pill .

There is not a parent alive who ever wants to know what I know now, to see what I have seen or hear what I have heard. No one ever wants to realize that the child they love with their whole being, is in so much pain they want to die. Every day of thier lives for months ...or years. There is a endless pang of hurt after you face that truth, there is an endless amount of guilt in that realization . And the sorrow that follows that ,makes you really understand why that dark pit he sought seemed so comforting.

I have little patience for people who want to whine about thier lives with Bipolar, who do nothing about it. Who have a wealth of information out there, people who will listen, offer support, and guide you in the direction to get your life back.

My son wanted to die. He wanted to end his life and be rid of the pain that untreated Bipolar can cause. I have come to terms with the mistakes I have made. I have asked my son to forgive me, so I could forgive myself and move on. And when I wanted to lay in the bed and sleep it all away, I didn't. I got up, I took my meds, I asked for and used the help that had been offered. And I gathered every bit of strength and fight I had left in me, to educate myself and use that to fight for him. I owed him, my family and myself that much.

If I live knowing that just one parent, or person will never have to face what I just went through with anyone they love, who loves them, or especially your own child by me sharing our story. I will have served a purpose so much greater than myself in this world. There is no higher price than letting your life or the life of your child slip away because you refuse to play out the hand that was dealt to you, no matter how crappy they may be. Especially when there is help out there, and entirely too many people who are living proof there is a much better way.

On a side note, my son has been on his medication for well over 2 months now. Over a full month of a theraputic and level dose. He is not the same child that was taken out in hand cuffs and who layed in a crisis bed on 24 hour suicide watch. He is a child who smiles and laughs often, a child who hugs his mom and tell her he loves her. Who understands now what life can be when the extreme emotions that haunt and rule you are calmed with medication. Whose wounds are healing from talking to someone who can help and understand, and whose wounds are being healed by having a mom who is no longer afraid to face her fears. Who now has the strength to face the difficult times ahead with hope we are going to make it. One who can never thank all the people and God for giving me my son back. He comes home in a week. The path is swept clean, looks a lot straighter and is well lit. And I am waiting to hold his hand, and walk down it now.

</DD></DL>Hope _________________
June 30, 2007 My 360 Blog

While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die. ~Leonardo Da Vinci