JANUARY 30, 2019: Morning. It’s 5:30 a.m. and, as usual, I'm on the patio with my coffee and my dogs, trying to find some strength. Some clarity. Today at 9:30 a.m., my husband, middle son, and I will go before the mental health court to ask for long-term care for my 32-year-old son. I'm not usually easily intimidated, but I'm terrified — for many reasons.
Why am I scared? This is what I wanted, what I've fought so long and so hard for. What will the judge think of us as parents? Will he note the dark circles under my eyes? Will he look at my hair, that I haven't cut or colored in over three years (my hairstyle is always ponytail), and say to himself, "She doesn't practice self-care. How does she expect her son to do so?”
I know. I know how shallow this sounds. I'm dreading facing my son who always looks tired and wiped out. I know he’ll look worse today, after being in the hospital for 13 days. How do I keep from wanting to hug him (not that he ever lets me) or from talking to him? How will I keep my mom-emotions in check? He's already told the doctors, nurses, and social workers that his parents are insane. I know long-term care is what he needs, but my mom-heart feels like it's shattering. I know we’re all struggling, today, in different ways because of mental illness.
I hate this illness, a horrible thief that steals our children from us. My faith in a higher power is hanging by a thread, but if you pray, please say a prayer for my family.
Afternoon: We went to the hearing and waited and waited. While waiting, our son's public defender spoke with us. She encouraged him to sign the papers for a court-ordered living treatment facility, or he would most definitely be sent to the state hospital. The social worker finally came out and told us our son reluctantly signed for the residential treatment facility. There are negatives to either alternative. The hearing was postponed, while they try to find a facility that will accept him, given that he's not been med-compliant for more than three months — ever. So the state hospital is still on the table.
A few hours later, I decided to visit my son for the first time since he was Baker-Acted (involuntarily committed). I wasn’t going to try to persuade him to cooperate or beg him to let us help him because it's pointless. Even when he was signing the paper work with his public defender, he was telling her, “I’m not sick.” I wanted to see him, and take him some clean, warm clothing because it’s cold. He left the day of the Baker Act in shorts and a basketball jersey. I wanted to take him clothes, and tell him I love him.
The first 10 minutes he was hugging me, holding my hand, and telling me he would do anything, if I got him out of there. When I explained, “It’s in the state’s hands now,” everything went south fast. He was irate, delusional, and yelling at the social worker. Nothing’s settled, but I'm cautiously optimistic that he has a good, competent team working in his behalf. Of course, thing's change. Tomorrow might be a completely different story. It's such a roller coaster.