I Have Children With Mental Health Problems

Just at the moment I am feeling a little overwhelmed by it all.

I have written about my eldest son Joe and his ongoing battle with depression, anxiety, OCD, catatonia etc.  Today (and I take one day at a time as everything can change so quickly) he is stable and sleeping.  He survived another night, and for this I am grateful.  Yesterday was a good day.  The interview with the psychiatrist went well.  He seems to recognise that Joe needs certain levels of benzodiazepines to function normally and that the old anti-depressant at that higher than normal dose did him the world of good.  Thank God there is one medico not entrapped by the "parents think medication solves everything" fad.

My next oldest son, Gabe, is going through a really tough time at the moment.  He is in bed trying to shut out the terrible fog in his head.  He just feels terrible but cannot explain why.  I hate myself at the moment for knowing his anxiety levels were high but not thinking that he might be suffering with psychosis. In the past he has had OCD and lately he has been unable to sleep well due to obsessive thoughts of a scary nature, recurring nightmares etc.  When I took him to the doctor my own mind was in a fatigued haze and I could not think clearly enough to explain that there are compulsions.  Like he bounces a ball for hours on end all through the day and often during the night as well.  It was the doctor who asked him if he is hearing voices and Gabe's answer to that question was a revelation to me.  That explains why he is with us but not with us.

I have been trying to get the pressure off at school for Gabe.  The teachers appear to be understanding but whether or not they really are remains to be seen.  But at least, for now, Gabe is still going to school.  School refusal was an issue with Joe.

Joe's psychiatrist thinks it would be a good idea for Joe to go onto a disability support pension.  Which I acknowledge will alleviate one of the anxieties that make him quite ill i.e. trying to get work (as all attempts both to work and do courses have been disastrous).  But it is still a bitter pill to swallow that my adult son is considered to be an invalid by his doctor.

Cass, my youngest son, also has trouble with scary, obsessive thoughts, though the last few days have been good.  

I have been building up the video library with good comedy.  It goes a long way in my home, especially when three boys are having trouble with night terrors.

My daughter, Bethany, has none of these troubles.  Although she officially lives here, she spends most of her time away and I don't blame her.

Today is Mother's Day here in Australia and my three sons wrote me letters telling me how much they appreciate my understanding and support.  I wish I could give them more than my love.  What I would like to have, more than anything, is a magic wand that would just make them all healthy.
perseverer perseverer
56-60, F
7 Responses May 12, 2012

I was dismayed to read that you are still persevering through your sons' illnesses. i can understand their letters of appreciation for you as there is nothing so important to their recovery, even than the powerful drugs, as your unrelenting love and understanding for what's happening to them. i wish all the best for you and your boys. i believe you will overcome and wellness can be yours again.

Parents are so often the unsung heroes and heroines of our mental health "system", perseverer. I wish everyone had the seemingly endless resources of patience, energy, understanding and compassion that You have developed and displayed for so many difficult years. You are an inspiration to us all, with your spirited struggle.

I have an older daughter with Borderline Personality Disorder and adoption issues and Oppositional issues and a younger one with Autism, so I was drawn to your story. I felt the desperation in your tone, your words. It is, in a word, exhausting emotionally and physically--every day. You have to find the strength to love them even when they are pushing you away with all of their might. It is defeating and heartbreaking some days.<br />
But I especially loved at the end when you said--<br />
<br />
"I wish I could give them more than my love. What I would like to have, more than anything, is a magic wand that would just make them all healthy."<br />
<br />
That is my prayer too, the wand, the sometimes wishing that I could wipe it all away and have a do-over because I am so worn down by all of it and I don't think I can do another day. But then I stop and think--I am their mom, they were given to me for a reason. I can help them, and in so doing perhaps I am helping myself too. I am a better, stronger, more spiritual person because they challenge me to do more than I would have thought possible every day. Life is hard for them, but maybe someday it won't be this difficult. That is my prayer too.<br />
You're not alone. Thanks for writing this. I feel a little less alone now too.

Thank you both for y our comments. I pray so much for the bad thoughts to end. But it takes a lot of therapy and medication too. It is a real pathology.

Very thoughtful boys to write an appreciation letter, May the blood of Jesus flushes away all the scary thought away from their brains. Amen

Thank you for your kind comment. We too practice devotion to our guardian angels and say the Angel of God prayer together ever night. It is perhaps one of the reasons my children are all still alive. Godbless.

I feel your pain and it's no wonder you feel overwhelmed! I think the comedy library is an excellent idea. It might lighten the boys' burden just a little. But apart from that, prayer and as your name suggests, persevere. God does not abandon those who don't abandon Him. When my children were younger, I encouraged them to have a devotion to their guardian angel and they always prayed to them before going to bed and if, during the night, they were botherred by nightmares, they would immediately call upon their guardian angel to "chase those bad dreams away." It sounds a little child-like but I often do the same as an adult and have had some extremely positive results. Night terrors are quite another thing I know, but the spiritual realm is always with us. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers.