Ignorance is NOT bliss

Ya know what, life was easier when I chose to stick my head in the sand and pretended that all the world was made of chocolate streams and all people are good and kind and loving.  In utopia, that may be true. Sometimes life hands you a moment to show you who you are and what you have or have not become…if we are lucky, we rise to the occasion-sometimes we choose-to remain buried.  Today was one such day.

I awoke in a tense mood after having put in a full day of work previously.  Both my boys ended up sleeping in my room, one on my bed, the other on the floor–the weather turned hot and putrid and I believe the my body is part TIN MAN and is in desperate need of oiling–especially on my neck.  In short, I was in a snarky mood to begin.  As rounded the interstate, traveling to my work office I encountered a woman standing by the road with a “NEED HElP” sign.  There she stood in her tie=dyed tank, big ole shades, NIKE swishies, flip flops…and wait for it….Hot pink Pedicured toes.  NICE.

I felt myself angered for the first time.  I pass many of the signs, people stranded on the roadside and I always wonder if I should stop.  Sometimes I don’t because I have my children in the car and I have to think of their safety–sometimes I am alone and I have to consider my safety…when I am in the position, I try to pause, show them my phone, and inquire if they need help. This one made me angry.  I look down at my own toes and see polish that is over a month old and know that it was a gift to me from someone as I embarked on a new adventure in my life.  I do not have the finances to keep up a manicure or a pedicure, so I understand how much of a treat and a gift like that is for me.  Yet, there was this woman asking for my help…NO!

In an interesting movement of opposites another situation presented itself.  As the middle of my town was riddled with anger and confusion and tragedy….a middle aged woman and her 2 children ambled into place we house our office.   Asking for gas money and some sandwiches, we heard her story.  We know her name and her kids’ name–a young lady about 13-14  not in school, flanked by her older brother–16, almost 17 with Asperger’s Syndrome and Bi Polar Disorder.  My heart broke in 2 as I watched some of the same mannerisms of my son…heard him talk about drinking the blood of a raw d to shock someone.  I saw him not able to listen to his mother–i saw her pain, heard the anguish in her voice as she recounted losing her husband of 13 years in April to a massive heart attack ( ps, i have been married 13 years)  I picked up on the frustration on her daughter’s demeanor…the anger, the just under the surface rage.  I worry about her.  I worry about her future, I worry about the lack of education and the chances she may have.

Into a white pick-up with ply wood sides so they have walls while they sleep, they piled amidst what appears all their worldly belongings–including 4 terrier dogs.  From South Carolina to Montana they plan to travel in hopes that she might find a job and someone who will help watch her 2 kids while she works.  She knows that her oldest son cannot be left on his own, I wonder about who he will become.

I had to climb into a car and motor off to a meeting….i watched them leave and i choked back a sob as I entertained where they will sleep tonight.  This was the face of poverty and a complete lack of hope and it left me with no choice….but to SEE.  These were the least, the lost, and the lonely and marginalized.  I wondered about what our Presidential candidates would do in that moment, without the microphones and campaign trails and the throngs of people to entertain.  Would they extend a sandwich, listen to the heartache, would they be impacted by the sight of a truck driving down the road.  Had I not been working in community development, would lI respond in the same manner.  If I did not have an MDIV—-would I do the same?  Would I do the same tomorrow?

My husband asked if I could compartmentalize it, not let it affect me–to do what I can and then let it go.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  In this moment, the experience is about 5 hours old…and yet, I wonder.





Moving Furniture

  Warning:  this one is from the heart, that is all I can say.

I posted before that my eldest son spent some time at Avera Behavioral last year.  I was honored to be able to work along some wonderful people there as Idid my Chaplain hours.  My life was forever changed by the people, patients, and atmosphere….I remain thankful for who they are and what they spoke into my life.–whether they knew it or not.

Every 8 weeks or so, we have to take my oldest son to his psychiatrist for a med check.  This is the first time that we are keeping with the same litany of meds since we started.  It is a roller coaster of emotion and a constant trial and error.  I hate it.  I hate the drain on time, resources, energy, and what it does to us personally.  My son seems rather unaffected….he goes in, happy as a clam and willing to tell his Dr. how he is feeling and thinking.  I am grateful for that.  I am also grateful for the Dr.  He is kind, thorough, intelligent, and responsive.  I do not like having to see him every 8 weeks.

I know that there are some out there that see hospitals and doctors every stinking day….it is not any more fair.  What I had been building in my head as of late was spoken to yesterday.  Now, there will be some that will read this and be instantly angry with me.  I guess that is ok, I cannot control that.  I am writing because this is a way to vent, and rearrange some of the furniture in my head.  My invitation are to those that do feel angry or irritated that I would post such a thing….I invite the exploration as to the anger. ‘Nuf said.

As per last conferences I skipped and danced  down the hall as I saw in black and white the progess my son has made in the last school year.  He has not leaped the 4-4.5 levels in reading—they were always there.  We are just now seeing some resolution to the hyperactivity we see.  When last year he could not even sit still long enough to take a one minute timed reading test, this year he has surpassed it and tripled his scores!  The school is seeing what we always knew to be true; we have an extremely gifted child on our hands. 

Wait….it is not just the ADD that presents an obstacle.  There is also the issue of mood swings, hyper mania, impulsivity, inappropriate conversation, and obsessive thoughts.  Of these he is plagued.  After his initial hospitalization, there was talk of Autism or Bi polar.  As time has progressed, the diagnosis for Autism has diminished as we understand the scope of some of his other challenge areas. 

I asked the Dr to speak boldly and plainly.  He did.  He asked my biological pathology.  He knows I am adopted and as of last April, I know definitively what my biological background entails.  NOTE!!!! this has nothing to do with those that adopted me!!!! This is uncovering the genetic link that may be present, and it is.  Within my family tree is mental retardation, depression, suicidal ideation, anger issues, severe developmental delays, manic depression, and PTSD.    WHAMO!@!!!!!  Note  this is not to describe me!  After many batteries of tests, I present a clean mental profile!  Isn’t that scary!

So, take that pathology and combine it with an ADD male child with an extremely high intelligence, intuitive and perceptive understanding and we have the formula for some difficult moments.  As the Dr talked yesterday and I watched my son fixate on telling the Dr that sometimes the dog likes to have sex with butts, I cringed.  NOOOOOO !  I looked at the Dr, and he confirmed what I already knew.  9 out of t10 times with a pathology such as mine and what my son brings to the table…the diagnosis Bi polar sticks.  He mentioned 90-95% of the time, with this combination, it is unlikely to avoid this type of problem.

DAMN DAMN DAMN.  Makes sense tho.  The blow ups, the changes in mood that come out of nowhere, the high levels of frustration that give way to violence and then berating himself.  I have watched it all. Damn, not my son–not anyone; but LORD, not my son!  Not my baby~

Some out there are cursing me for what I am revealing…ok.  Dear readers, I am a mom, a daughter, sister, friend, confidante, wife, master’s graduate, community leader and advocate, writer, and public speaker and none of it can take away the hurt.  None.  No matter what I achieve, how much I plow ahead and work, it will not alleviate the problem.  It will not take away the hurt I feel at a diagnosis that will likely increase as he ages and matures.  I want to solve it, take it away, and make it mine.  I can’t.  While I hold no diagnosis other than anxiety and a smattering of personal insanity…(that is a joke), it skipped the me generation and landed on my son. DAMN.  I want to find a safe place and bawl like a baby and I want someone with power and authority to tell me it’s gonna be ok– and they can’t.

I have to be the one to watch, listen, pray, and advocate on behalf of my son, and I will.  There is no other option.  However, there are moments, dear readers, when I am so tired and exhausted that I rue this motherhood gig.  There are times I am emotionally tired enough to tune out the world and sleep for a weekend….when my sense of being “on” all the time has to give way to release.  Those are the times I wish I was little and someone else called the shots for a while.  Those are the times I feel vulnerable and small….and yet I know I am always protected and seen.  Yes, that was a faith reference.

Why did I post this?  Who knows.  Will anyone respond?  I know not.  It was a comfort to hear from the Dr that there was nothing I did during my pregnancy that caused this.  There is no other blame that can be laid.  He laughed when I mentioned some of the struggle…thinking that I could have done something to cause this is just bad psychology.  As for any other physical anomalies that would trigger such a diagnosis….they don’t exist.  It is the tendency of our society to find someone or something to pin the blame to when we don’t understand a situation, and mental illness is the number 1 most stereotyped issue present.  We are talking about ADD, and autism and the spectrum of autism for young people, and we should.  The fact is, we are not talking about Bi polar and its links and this leads to isolation, loneliness, and misunderstanding.

So, there it is.  I heard it yesterday….sat with it most of the night and found a moment of quiet as I listen to the fish tank and drink my chai tea.  Be gentle with one another….carry with and for each other those burdens which we know would overwhelm….we are community, let us start to understand what that means.



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