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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Love, love and more love.

Not really focused on addiction today. Not really wanting to be logical or thought provoking about the way drugs and alcohol took over my family's life and all the repercussions of that. Nor do I want to intellectualise the possible reasons why my son or anyone becomes an addict. Tonight I just want to write. I want the cathartic process to help me purge my emotions and to allow the tears to flow smoothly and with purpose. I want to write about, love.

A range of loves have just came to my head as I write: parental, sibling, romantic, friendship, but also the love of self, the love of drugs and unhealthy love. I believe every human being is born needing to be loved and there is an abundance of research on how the lack of parental love in childhood has negative impact on cognitive, developmental, emotional and social/psychological growth. So from the beginning we need to feel the warmth and fulfilment love gives us the best start in life and if we don't we are more prone to having an onslaught of problems in life!



I have written in previous posts that al I wanted for as long as I can remember is to be a mother and when I discovered I was pregnant with my first child my first reaction was pure joy. It was very unfortunate that the baby's father did not share in my joy and most of my pregnancy was spent arguing. Despite the negativity and arguments, I loved, I mean I really LOVED being pregnant and carry my baby within my womb. I talked to my unborn child and messaged it as it moved about and felt intense happiness within myself at the knowledge that I was indeed going to fulfil one of my most precious dreams of becoming a mother, and nothing, not even the baby's father would take that away from me. It seems, through people I have met and stories I have heard, that sometimes having one "good", loving parent is enough while the other parent may be absent or is emotionally inadequate. However it may not be the case if one parent is emotionally abusive, though I tried to love my children and nurture them and stimulate their development as much as I could, maybe the "energy" of the house as well as the negative behaviour from their father made it so my love was not enough.

My first child was an unplanned pregnancy and caused a lot of conflict in our relationship. We did stay together and tried to make things work. Our little boy could not have been more perfect. He was loving and kind and good natured. He suffered no terrible twos or tantrums. He always held my hand and was a joy to be with. When there were moments when he had to be disciplined, he stood in his time out corner and always listened carefully to my explanations why he was having a time out. He was so full of love and positive energy and lust for life that I felt that his loved deserved to be shared and that he and his sibling would benefit from sharing his love. I always wanted a big family, but I never thought that possible and did not want that with my husband, but I felt that having a little brother or sister would be wonderful for my loving boy.

Our second child was our only planned child. It took a while but we did get pregnant and funnily enough I can not remember the exact moment I discovered I was pregnant like I do with my first. Perhaps that is because the first pregnancy is such a  milestone or perhaps it is because the second pregnancy was somewhat clouded with worry when we discovered she had club feet and were told that that may be a sign of other developmental problems. Luckily there were no other genetic or developmental problems but it did make us worry.


Sibling love. It was there and it was good for a while, then as the years went on it changed and here we are now and those two have not spoken in 18 months now. I tried to love them both, both since I was the primary care giver to my son and the person he spent most of his time with, actually ALL of his time with, there was going to be some changes. Also with the added element of severe club feet to a new born, as well as regular physiotherapy and hospital appointments and surgeries, there was a lot of added stress.

                                    A picture from the internet which resembled our baby's feet.
                                                                                                                                                                           

So for whatever reasons (extra stress, tense relationship between parents, increased resentments, lack of attention) those early days have impacted on all of our relationships with each other; however, in the beginning despite difficulties there was love between brother and sister.

As far as the relationship now, well obviously living with a chaotic drug addict and having mom's attentions being fully consumed by the problems she faced, has taken there toll on the brother sister relationship. That as well as the early stresses and that dad was not a loving and affectionate and involved father have created a sibling relationship which now seems devoid of all love.

The bonds that my two older children have with the youngest seems different again and each seem to have more love for her, yet my son seems to be more interested in pursuing a friendship with her than my middle daughter does.

In http://www.education.com/reference/article/influences-sibling-relationships/ the author discuses a range of sibling issues as well as other relationships influencing sibling relationships, as well as only children. She says:  "In homes where fathers are affectionate and helpful there are more positive sibling interactions. On the other hand, conflict between mother and each child is associated with increased sibling conflict". She goes on to say: "Children's personalities, social and cognitive skills, self concepts, values and sense of self protection from the outside world are influenced by their sibling relationships". So this type of love is different from the love we get from our parents but is very influential in our development and creating how we understand love and relationships and the world to work.

I am a die hard romantic, I have written about my feelings of true love more than once, and believe that much of my inner conflicts and feels of self doubt are due to the fact that I have been unsuccessful in finding true love. True love, romantic love is a very big part of the culture we live it, It is very commercialised and engrained in us from the first fairy tales we hear as small children. We grow up feeling the need to find that one special person out there. We also grow up feeling that is we don't have such love in our live that we are failures. I sometimes go through moments where I feel I have failed myself and also my children by not being able to find true love, yet on a deeper level it is not as simple as failing to find something I want, it is an emptiness that is created by the biological and physical as well as spiritual need to give and receive love. Human beings need love. They flourish in a loving environment and in loving relationships. People are better people when they are loved, it is that simple. When we are not, than we become bitter, self absorbed, negative, self hating and we begin to languish.

                        


Friendship is a key factor to us as children, forming our identities and branching out into the world and leaving the close-knit unit of just our family that we had as infants, toddlers and young children. However, the role that friendship plays in our development in adolescents does not stop there. Friendship is vital to us as adults, especially if we come from less than loving families. Friendships offer us not only a special type of love but because we choose each other as friends, it is unique in its bond. We have similar interests and we like each other and we want to spend time together because friendship often give us a great deal of fun in our lives. On the other hand, we have all experienced the age old saying that you  know who your friends are when the chips are down! When life throws us conflict and struggle from all angles we need the support from friends especially if we are single, in a dysfunctional relationship. and/or have poor family ties.

I often turn to music for comfort and release and I find if we aren't singing about love, then we are singing about friends or if neither than we are singing about getting high or drunk!
There are so many songs about friendship! This song "Lean On Me" popped into my head last night after not hearing it for many years and the lyrics are very poignant:

Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain, we all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on

Please, swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won't let show

You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on

You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load
You have to bear that you can't carry
I'm right up the road, I'll share your load
If you just call me

Writer(s): Bill Withers
Copyright: Interior Music Corp.
 


In times of sorrow, pain or when we are lost and confused, we need a friend to lean on. We need the support of our friends. Our friends will remind us that no matter what,  they will still be there and just as importantly, that a true friend will in turn be there for you despite their own problems. We do not need to feel weak or ashamed that we have "lost face" or are incapable of fixing our own problems, we are not in the least. I think that when we are "brave" enough to go to our friends with our demons then we are showing how much we love and respect our friends that we trust them. We are also opening ourselves to them and showing that we trust the friendship that we can put ourselves in a vulnerable position, "bearing our soul" if you like. I know we all have friends that serve a purpose, friends who are specific to certain situations, acquaintances etc, but while talking about friendship I refer to the real and true, tried and tested friendships that we may have, may only have one of, some of us may have had and lost or some of us are still hoping for. Our friends will not fix our problems, that is not what we want or need, sometimes we do not even ask for advise, we just want and need support, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on or sometimes we just want to go to our friends and let lose and have a bit of fun so that we can feel rejuvenated and refreshed and energised so that we can face our problems as a stronger person. Friendship, reciprocal and supportive friendship is like gold to us. If you are lucky enough to find love AND friendship, then you have found the whole pot of gold!

                  

The irony of love is that sometimes we need to have experienced being loved in a healthy way in a healthy home to be able to find healthy love later in life , but people who grew up in loveless or dysfunctional homes and who need love most, do not have the skills to find or maintain healthy and loving relationships/friendships. That is when we often turn to "things" to make us "happy" or actually to make us forget that we are feeling unhappy and unloved. "Things" such as: drugs, alcohol, food, shopping (retail therapy), money and status, just about anything that makes us feel good temporarily. If we did not experience healthy love, we sometimes are attracted to people who are unhealthy for us, treating us in ways we should not be treated yet because it is a familiar feeling and it helps "prove" our self fulfilling prophesy that we are "unworthy" and do not deserve to find happiness. This is way so many people stay in co dependent relationships, do not seek help if they are suffering from a dysfunctional family relationship or allow people to use them as objects of ridicule rather than including them in peer groups, or to be controlled by others. I can understand when my son says he LOVES drugs because in fact since his childhood he has had very little successful relationships within the family and in school and in friendships and he has never experienced any form of romantic love. So if he takes opiates that give him that "warm, fuzzy hug from inside" then, yes, he would want that again and again. If he has many unpleasant and unhappy memories and taking dissociative and sedative drugs  help blur his reality and impair his memory, then yes, he will want to use them again. The longer he relies on substances, the harder he will be able to create happiness without them, for obvious social and psychological reasons, but also from a brain chemistry point of view because the opiate receptors will rewire his brain so that pleasure will be associated with opiates rather than other "happiness". It will be a long process for my son to find other forms of love, to believe in love, to rewire his pleasure and happiness receptors, to trust others and make himself vulnerable. The reward would be friendship, love and happiness,that is the ultimate goal.
                                                                                                                                                                                        

So the bottom line wont come as a surprise to anyone, we all NEED to be loved from infancy throughout our entire life. Though our needs change and the types of relationships that give us love change, we all ultimately function better and thrive when we are loved and can love in a healthy and open way. We do not need to fear what love and friendship offer us, because it does not make us weaker or insignificant or shamed. We can still be true to ourselves and be responsible for ourselves but gain support and energy and respite from turning to those we love in times of chaos and conflict.

It may sound simple, but like another great song says, "love is all you need " and everything else will fall into place!

                              
                            
                             

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Simple Victories

Yesterday was a good day for my son and so today I will try to focus on the positives, rather than the negatives which is all too easy to do when living with addiction, mental illness and dysfunction.

One of the consequences of both my son's addiction and mental disorientation and anxiety has been the poor management of his limited funds, resulting in escalating bank charges. We all know what a vicious circle this can be: not enough money in the bank, unintentionally being overdrawn, results in bank charges, resulting in less money and so on and so on. This had become so bad for my son that he was being charged £58 a month from the bank and his incoming is only £72 fortnightly. The longer this went on, the more stress and anxiety it created. The initial discussion with the bank did not go well and more confusion and lost letters and hiding from the problem continued. The levels of anxiety were so bad that it created panic attacks and in fact some of my son's delusions during his psychotic episode were around money and banks calling the police on him.

                                            

Since becoming more lucid it is obvious that the two man fears of my son is his poverty and fear of the bank as well as his housing situation and fear of homelessness. It is something we have discussed with the staff at the mental health unit he is in and they have offered to write letters explaining his vulnerability and poor mental health if needed.

On a few occasions when I have taken my son out for a few hours we had planned to go into town and his flat and try to deal with some issues, but it always created such fear, anxiety and anger within him that we could not continue. Yesterday was a different story though. Together we went into the bank and my son said he only wants to go in and tell the bank he has lost his new bank card but still has his old bank card and would like to know if his old one is still active and also what is his balance. Upon investigation it was discovered that my son only ever had one bank card and never received a second one and that the one he has in indeed active and always has been. This confused my son, but I was secretly thinking, this is actually a good thing because it does illustrate his blurred reality. He was happy he had a card that worked and was all set to say thank you and good bye when I spoke up that there is one more thing they could help us with!

I told the woman who was helping us about the bank charges and my son's ongoing problem with managing his money and that he is not in education or employment, lives in supported housing and has mental health issues which has ended him up in our local mental health hospital which he is still in and if there is something that can be done to stop further charges and possibly come to an arrangement where we can pay off the charges in smaller increments rather than taking it all and living him without enough left over. She was very sympathetic and said she would go see if one of their advisors could speak to us. I knew that if we went into the bank with the plan to do this my son would become too anxious and when faced with it in front of others "on the spot" so to speak, it would be easier for him to manage.

We spoke to a lovely and understanding young man, and reading in between the lines of his comments, he has had his own personal experience with mental health issues and straight away got busy on his computer and told us he would explain everything when he finished. While working on my son's account we chatted a little and he was telling my son that his mental well being is priority for him and he does not need to be stressing about bank charges, I was hopeful that he would be able to help but was not expecting the end result when he finished! My son and I were blown away when he explained to us that there was £57 of charges being taken from his account today but he stopped that. If that were not enough he refunded the last two months of charges so in total he refunded £171 into my son's account! He also made a note in his diary to check my son's account weekly to make sure that no more charges are taken and that he stays in credit. He gave my son his direct number and name and told him to call or pop in whenever need be. Most importantly he continued to reassure my son that his emotional well being was paramount and that hopefully without this added worry hanging over his head he can focus more on his recovery. My son was so grateful, I have not seem him smile so big and so genuinely in a very long time! My son shook his hand and told this lovely man, "Thank you. I mean thank you, I am not thanking the bank, I am thanking you!". That made us all smile.

                                  

Earlier that day I encouraged my son to ask staff if he can see the worker from One Support (a floating support service offering help with housing, preventing homelessness and trying to increase life skills). My son said he did not have an appointment, and since this person only comes onto the ward once a week (Wednesdays) he probably couldn't talk to him and he just wants to go out. I gently persisted that he just ask and if he was indeed fully booked, he could ask to see him next week. My son gave me the classic, "yeah, yeah, ok" response. I was not convinced that he would.

As agreed I went to pick him up after lunch and when I got there I was told he will be a while because he was speaking to Brian from One Support. Great! Of course I will wait, well done I thought! So I was kept entertained by one of the other patients having almost the exact conversation I have with her all the time! The conversation usually revolves around cigarettes and will I buy her some. My son came out and we said our hellos and goodbyes and left. Once in the car he told me that Brian had phoned the manager at the supported housing in which my son is being evicted from and put some difficult questions unto the manager! Good, glad to hear it! Brian will also see if he can get a referral made to another supported housing which offers help to people with mental health issues, which is actually very near to my home. Again, good, glad to hear that as well! Brian also told my son not to worry because eviction generally takes 4 weeks and it will go to court and the court may indeed over rule the eviction giving the circumstances and that my son was not actually breaking any rules of his tenancy! Exactly, glad to hear someone is actually up to speed on things and offering my son some support. Let us hope that he gets a place in this housing scheme which offers a  higher level of support and that the eviction does not go forward or get accepted so that my son does not have on his permanent record with the council that he has been evicted from a housing project.

All in all a good day really. Small victories in some ways, but very big ones in other ways.

                        

And for me, well I still feel like I have contributed to having messed up kids with big problems to deal with and we have to deal with them alone (again something I am responsible for) but at the end of the day, I can not change that now. I have tried and failed over and over and over again to help my children and provide for them a happy existence. I have failed myself in providing the lifestyle that I would have liked and have failed to provide a loving and nurturing family that consists of more than just one very over wrought mother. And I have failed in realising my dreams and finding love and friendship with someone who will be there for me when I need them to be. But then sometimes I feel the joy of a small victory! Sometimes I am awestruck by people's random acts of kindness! Sometimes I have a moment in which I do feel loved. And sometimes thanks largely to these other small and infrequent moments, I become more hopeful in the future and believe, even if just briefly, that things will indeed work out for us. I must remember the good times with special friends and of course my children, because there have been good times and I have spent time with good people. Everyone has their battles and as I believe and always have, we have to be there for others while they are suffering even if we are  suffering in our own battles. We can not become consumed in only our problems, we are always capable of giving, that is part of the beauty of being human!

                          


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Broken

Once again my son is struggling with the chaos of the system. Nearly three weeks ago he suffered another psychosis; i.e. a combination of hallucinations and delusional thinking which alters perception, thinking, emotion and behaviour. This again was proceeded by a seizure, but not all of his seizures resulted in a psychotic episode. The seizures themselves have never been investigated or explained and the psychotic episodes of the past have been "explained" as delirium tremens (vary unlikely given the total break with reality he had at that time and the relatively short period of time he was drinking heavily) to possible kidney infection and even epilepsy! These were all possibilities based on nothing other than the attending doctor's theory at the time. Of course whenever any of the seizures or psychotic breaks resulted in hospitalization, once my son gained clarity of thought and discussed his background with any of the nurses or doctors assessing him, the answer to "have you been using or have you used in the past any drugs" stopped any need for more assessments. The word "drugs" and in fact even "alcohol" can stop the medical and mental health professionals in their tracks, because their minds have then been made up that the sole case for every symptom is due to present or previous drug usage.

                                                                                                                                                                                      

On this occasion, as with many of the others, I was the first to notice my son was not quite right and it was the early signs of an episode. Luckily I had no problems getting him into my car to go to the hospital. However, there were a few issues getting him ready; e.g. he thought the salt container was his keys, a piece of paper was his shoe and he was struggling to get it on his foot and so on. During the car journey there I am surprised I could retain my composure and continue to drive as my son tried to stand up from the passenger seat and tried to "walk out" through the back seat.

Those 9 hours of waiting with him in the hospital emergency room, until he was placed on the ward of the mental health unit were very difficult for me. To sit with a loved one, your first born child, watching him have imaginary conversations and trying to fill up an asthma vaporiser with water and at times not knowing where he was, is a heartbreaking and emotionally exhausting experience. The emotional strain is even greater when you are faced with such an ordeal on your own and you are also aware that you have left your other children at home alone for hours on end with no way of knowing when you will be home.  Being alone with only a handful of local friends is difficult and I do not always find it easy to reach out to people for support because the friendships may not be long standing ones or indeed you may want a certain type of comfort or support only certain types of friendships can give. I luckily had two people to txt who lived close by to get some food to my daughters as we had nothing home and no money in the house.  For my own moral support, I took a leap of faith and reached out because I really needed to be comforted, unfortunately I got none. I understand that people are busy and have their plans in progress on a Saturday evening, but the situation with my son would clearly not be a matter of a day, but a lengthy ordeal and I am still very much alone. To make matters worse when I did finally get home, I had to face "normality" and the mess left for mom to clean up and not really being able to talk to my daughters about what happened. Firstly because my youngest is too young and secondly my other daughter still harbours so much resentment towards her brother she can not put that aside for a moment to offer her mother a bit of comfort. So I go home and felt very much alone with no one offering me a hug, a drink or something to eat. How utterly selfish of me I guess, yet, I would offer my help to anyone I loved regardless of my own feelings. Why is this so emotional for me, that it causes tears to flow as I write? It is not as if my life has been any different than now for the past 20 years. It is not as if I have ever been loved deeply by anyone other than those who are blood related to me. It is not as if my life has ever been easy. So why am I so sad, why is it not just the status quo and I can manage to deal with things without the unnecessary complication of sadness and loneliness? I must be damaged or just not meant for this world, this society, this life.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
               

I digress, sorry! So the relatively good news is that my son had no drugs or alcohol in his system upon getting to the hospital and all drug tests came back negative. So that has helped things being looked at a bit more seriously, as to just how seriously, that remains to be seen. We are nearly three weeks into his hospitalization and as yet the weekly reviews with the psychiatrist focuses mainly on medication, but also how my son is feeling. Luckily, because my son has developed such a high tolerance for many substances, the medication doses are not enough to sedate him as perhaps other patients seem to be. Also even though he was fortunate enough not to have any drugs or alcohol in his system, he was still using both as and when he could. If he would not have been in the hospital these past 19 days, there is no way he could have stayed away from alcohol, substances or over doing his prescribed medication for this long because he would have believed he needed it or he would get a seizure! Maybe the longer he stays in there he may just start believing that, in fact, he does't NEED to use or over medicate! However, that is not to say my son is not an addict and he will still need to face his addictive tendencies and find healthier ways to cope with his emotions and stressors. I take my son out of the unit about 4-5 times a week and unfortunately now that he is quite lucid, he often wants and does get a drink while he is out, because the belief is still there that that one beer will somehow help him. I will let him have one small or average bottle of beer, but on a particularly upsetting afternoon when he tried to buy a 750 ml bottle of 6.6% Leffe beer, (mind you we were only going to out of the hospital for an hour) I had to put my foot down and start giving him ultimatums. It worked and he put it back, however his mood towards me was not "good".

                                                      


Unfortunately, my son in this short time of hospitalization has been rejected, once again, by his father, witnessed the resuscitation of another patient when discovered after attempting to hang himself, the confirmation that his only friend and relative is me, as well as being told that in light of this hospitalization he will be indeed evicted from his supported housing scheme because they can not offer him the level of support he needs. Well done! Good support strategies! Though I was at first relieved that he is at least "safe" while on the unit, now I see that they are not really that safe at all from harming themselves. And while I thought that a hospital stay on a mental health unit without any drugs and alcohol in his system would help his housing situation, in fact it has damaged it and now we have the fear of homelessness one again! This kid never seems to get a break! Life does not seem to improve for any of us, and I feel ultimately responsible. A woman who can not support children financially, a woman who has failed in her own life to successfully create a loving and supportive family, a woman who is clearly unwanted, a woman who has children who are addicts and self harmers is one fucked up person and clearly had no right to bring three children into her lonely and messed up life. The world is not lacking in dysfunctional human beings, and it seems that I have added to the global force of messed up individuals.

                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                       

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

"ADDICT"

Sometimes I feel like I am the addict as well as my son. Not because I feel the addictive urges, nor because I vicariously feel how he feels as an addict, because I can not know how he feels. I say this because I feel the stigma. I feel the frustration. I feel people's lack of faith or interest in offering help. I feel the emotional roller-coaster. I share the fear of what tomorrow holds. I feel the pointlessness of it all. I feel the intense isolation. I feel the pain of being misunderstood. I feel the need to make it all go away. I feel the insanity

                        

Despite years of seeking help and being involved in many services, I feel discouraged. Despite having a few friends I can count on one hand, I feel alone. Despite loving my children, I feel I have failed them all as well as myself. Despite trying, I feel like giving up. Despite feeling like giving up, I keep on trying and hoping, then I feel like giving up again. Despite loving a handful of people (which includes my three children) I feel like running away and being alone, then I am sad at feeling alone and want to be loved. I want a fix. I want euphoria. I want love. I want happiness and I want it NOW.

Is there something wrong with me that I believe in giving people a chance and being there for them 100% but I also believe that sometimes those who give also need to be given some love and support and belief? I believe in love and friendship and that we can help each other. So when I sit in a meeting regarding my son's potential eviction because society does not have any room for individuals with tortured souls who can not conform to society, I loose belief and feel like it is not only my son but myself as well who is being punished and ostracised with the throw away label of "druggie" as if that label dehumanizes the human who is suffering. "We do not like to evict young people who have no where else to go and no other housing project will take. We are concerned that you will have no where to sleep since the homeless shelter will not assist you because you are in arrears; however, sometimes we have no alternative. If you can change than we will reconsider". I want to scream while I sit calmly and try to express myself in a civilised manner that they are not "supporting" my son at all because they are judging him on past or current drug and alcohol misuse issues! I feel ostracised and judged and unsupported and betrayed. If I  feel these feelings, how on earth must my "druggie" son feel? How must any addict feel?



I am a parent of a drug addict. What we often hear as parents or loved ones is that the addict must come forward and ask for the help and "engage", and that sometimes the addict must first hit rock bottom. In the meantime everyone seems to turn their backs on the addict who is indeed an addict but is suffering and does not know how to deal with life. Maybe I am a hopeless hippy who truly believes in peace, love and happiness in a non hippy world and maybe that is the reason for my constant cognitive dissonance but I can not change who I am....though I would love to change the world!

I seek support, I seek advise, I seek understanding. To illustrate my dissatisfaction with it all, let me use a little incident that occurred during a large support group meeting. Three separate groups were brought together to listen to the manager of a local drug and alcohol support service to talk to the parents of young people with drug and alcohol misuse issues. While doing a great PR presentation of all that their service provide (mind you, the parents are being sold this wonderful dream of recovery, but we are told we can not force our children to "engage".....talk about dangling the carrot in front of the rabbit!) I made a comment on how my son differs in a certain "typical" behaviour of addicts. This "professional" looked at me and simply said in front of these other parents, "sometimes we just pull the short straw". Thank you, Mrs Drugs Recovery professional. I have pulled the short straw when it comes to one of my children. Excellent. Should we just give up now then? Is that what you are telling me in your professional opinion? What does she tell the addict who comes in frustrated and broken and rejected and desperately wanting change yet suffering relapse after relapse? "Sorry you poor pathetic excuse for a human being, we don't help the short straws here"

                                                           Image result for short straw

Currently my son is in the psychiatric ward, once again. How many times has my son lost sense of reality? How many hospital visits has he had? Does the hospital look at his records and try to work out what has been going on the past year? No they do not. Do they seem concerned that each time it happened there were different interpretations of why it was happening? In the first incident we were written off with the dismissive, "it is alcohol withdrawal", to "it is from his kidneys not working properly due to lack of his self care in eating and drinking sufficiently" (but what led to his inability to look after himself), to "it maybe due to undiagnosed epilepsy", and of course the "its unexplained but more than likely due to his drug usage in the past and or present".

Am I expecting too much for some medical professionalism? When I brought my son into the hospital it took the ER doctor a few minutes to see that me son was not in his right mind and could not follow basic requests and could not answer questions appropriately. Waiting several more hours for a psych evaluation from a "crisis team worker/nurse" he too quickly assessed that my son had lost his grip with reality and experiencing things that we were not. That resulted in finally being admitted to the psych ward, approximately 12 hours after we first arrived to the hospital. In all that time my son's records were not produced, he received no care or medication. In the 72 hours that followed my son saw no doctor. When the appointment with the psychiatrist (and 3 other members of staff) finally took place, which I attended, he knew nothing of my son's past admissions, my son was coherent but anxious yet able to communicate sensibly. So this doctor did not see my son when he was hallucinating and not in our reality. The doctor did not take the time to assess the situation by reviewing the patients notes. The discussion started with, "Do you know why you are here?". I almost retorted with, "Do YOU know why he is here?" It quickly digressed into a discussion about generalised anxiety and also continued questions and remarks regarding drug and alcohol issues. Never was it discussed why he may have lost his sense of reality, nor was it discussed how this has happened on more than one occasion. I sat there feeling smaller and smaller and in the end I could swear I nearly just shut off while looking at the doctor looking like a caricature with a speech bubble saying "blah, blah, blah"So who is crazy? My son, the doctor or me? I think I may be the crazy one! I had a very strong urge to loudly speak out, "This is Bullshit! One does not hallucinate and is unable to identify simple objects and talk to imaginary people simply because one is anxious about things".


                                 


For me it is so difficult to watch, to understand, alone. I never have anyone to hold my hand though I hold my son's hand and care for my daughters as well. I never have anyone to give me an understanding hug when I go home after 9 hours of sitting with my child who can not string a sentence together. At home my son is a taboo subject most times. My middle child looks at me as if I were the bad one if I mention his name, as if I should not support a drug addict regardless of the fact that he is my son. I go home, barely speaking myself and carry on with life as "normal" but I want to cry and I want to be comforted.

So we are back to where I began this post, I feel like I am the addict at times but I do not have a drug to make all the suffering go away, even if only temporarily. I feel agitated, depressed, lost, alone, misunderstood, angry, hurt, labelled, used, pathetic and craving something to make it all better but there is nothing for me except hope and longing for things to change.