When you first learn that your child has a mental illness, its both somewhat of a relief and a grief at the same time. Relief, that the perplexing symptoms finally have a name and maybe they can be targeted quickly with some type of treatment. Then Grief follows when the reality of this bewildering illness surfaces out of nowhere, swallows the promising child you once knew and spits out a whole new suffering person. The residue of grief is grieving l, which settles in shortly after as you’re forced to bury the hopes and dreams you and your child once had.
Some forms of Mental Illness are definitely like bombs. These disorders are unsuspected and seemingly drop out of the sky only to land explosively destroying every aspect of your lives as you knew them. These Schizoaffective types unfairly sneak in after a normal and happy childhood.
Once mental illness manifests itself. Parents are left to try and pick up the pieces of it’s scattered remnants while staying afloat in their own emotions as they process this new reality. Soon after a drive a diagnosis. guilt emerges shadowed by its friend depression and then accomplice, anger.
Life sucker punched two of my four kids with Schizophrenia + plus. I learned shortly after, that the + plus is now called Schizoaffective because (one illness wasn’t enough), they have a mood disorder to top off and complicate things even exponentially.
Before this news hit us a year and a half ago, I was enjoying watching and raising my “normal” sons flourish from little boys, into young teenagers. That is, until their 17th birthdays approached and then BAM!
There it was…this seemingly sudden PSYCHOSIS, which at the time, I had no idea the Powerful depth of that term. How it would change our lives forever. And so I was Smacked wide awake watching each of my boys Unexpected, Undeniable, and Uninvited Psychotic Episodes. This was not a part of my life plan.
You see, I imagined and envisioned that by this time, (with my sons being 23 years, 18 years, and 17 years young), I would be able to watch and celebrate my young adult sons’ and their independent milestones of getting their 1st drivers licenses, 1st cars, 1st jobs, commencing their college careers we planned, and maybe their 1st relationship with a girlfriend. NOPE, not going to happen. Most of these are not even a possibility right now.
These days we feel blessed if they can make it through each day with out severe episodes or intensely strong symptoms. On occasion, we are lucky if they can get in the shower, get ready, and make it TO and THROUGH a family dinner at a restaurant. Then, the whole duration in public, I get to see and feel their fear and anxiety. Mother me is connected to them, so the whole time, I’m suffering along with them. Mothers always feel their child’s pain. Always!
Of course EVERYONE ELSE in the family and public are completely oblivious to THEIR muddled reality..
Since this mental illness bomb dropped twice on me just (12) twelve short months apart, my mind never stopped trying to make sense of this and my shattered heart continuously gains new cracks in it.
Then there is Little Brother. I envisioned my youngest son (17yr), born after these two, to still be at the top of his class excelling proudly. I surely thought I would be attending the last of his high school ball games. Instead, I watch him silently process all that I have been processing; his two older brothers with their back to back Schizophrenic diagnosis and his father’s freshly admitted drug addiction. Surely, he has an unspoken fear, that he may be next in line for either scenario. His fears happen to be in my Front pocket. Little Brother doesn’t even want to be home around any of us here in the “sick” house. I watch helplessly as he continues to act out with his risky behavior.
Another stab in the center of my heart goes for my dear husband. He’s such a loving and unselfish soul. My poor hubby, he never wanted children and then he ends up with me and mine. Little did we both know things would turn out like they have with the boys. Bye bye future freedom and romantic getaways. Poor guy, he’s lucky if we stumble upon just a date night every few months.
All of this was Unforeseen for sure.
We now live day by day. Each day brings either a new “Present” or a gifted “Nightmare”.
Written and Owned by Candy Flowers