Sunday, January 14, 2007

#36 cont.

Christmas Eve was another late night - I again vigilantly watched David until I was sure he was asleep - so to say I was tired Christmas morning would be an understatement - but thankfully David awoke calmer and seemed more relaxed than he had been since he arrived - I fixed roasted chicken and rosemary potatoes for dinner because I know he doesn't like ham - after speaking with my mom and mother-in-law we decided to fore go our usual routine of everyone coming back out for dinner - we thought David didn't need any more stimulation and chaos.
We spent the day quietly watching South Park for hours - David had received two new seasons for Christmas - usually the show would grate on my nerves - but this day I was happy to curl up on the couch and watch episode after episode with David who seemed to be using the show as a means to get back his equilibrium - everything went great till evening when one of David's so called friends called - I heard him say that he didn't want to do anything tonight - that he just wanted to spend time with the family - but his friend wouldn't let it go - by the time he got off the phone he had plans to go out - he assured me "just for a little bit" - I worried - but then I reasoned that since he seemed so good today maybe a trip out wouldn't be so bad - of course I was wrong -
I walked over to the neighbors for a while to wish them Merry Christmas and to keep my mind off David - We only stayed for a couple of hours - but by the time we returned David was a mess - he had arrived home just before us and I don't know what he had done or how many drinks he had, but he was lying smack dab on the kitchen floor mumbling senseless things - his "friends" had just left him there - the next two hours I spent helping him onto the couch and trying to keep him under control - he began wandering around the house knocking into things, falling down - he shed his clothes piece by piece - his jeans in the kitchen - a shirt in the living room - he was buck naked by the time he wandered down and tried to go to bed in his old bed - now his younger brother's - needless to say his younger brother made a quick escape to the couch and left David to his old bed.
Up early I called my mom and told her the situation - I knew then that I had to get him back home that day - before something terrible happened - I couldn't tell him he couldn't go out with his friends without precipitating a fight - which could send him in Lord knows what direction - but I could not go through another night like the previous one. So I packed up all his clean laundry, presents, and cat and woke him up a half an hour before my mom was to arrive - still confused he wandered around the house in his boxers - he mumbled "what if I don't want to go?" - I acted as if I didn't hear him and kept bustling around getting him ready - unfortunately he could only find one shoe and one flip flop so he was in quite a state when Mom arrived - his hair uncombed and unwashed - the same stained shirt from the day before and one sandal and one shoe - in a rush I packed his stuff - put the cat carrier with the protesting cat in the back seat and gave him a long hug "I love you son" - then he was gone -
I walked straight to the bedroom, locked the door and lay on the bed to cry for an hour - I missed his physical presence so bad - I felt awful for pushing him out the door - deep down I knew I had done the right thing but that didn't help the memory of the look on his face that seemed to say "you don't want me"

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Dailies #14

For those waiting for the rest of my Christmas tale - it will be forthcoming - but today I just wanted to comment on a book that has helped me get though this season - though not new - it was new to me and gave me some insight into the larger national view of the mental health issue in the country - which let me look outside of my own troubles

This book is written with those whose family member suffers from mental illness in mind, but it is much more than an advice manual. Rosalynn Carter has been an advocate for mental health issues for decades. Her book discusses the problems facing not only individuals and their families, but also the challenges we face as a country as we try to alleviate mental illness, not only in our own communities, but worldwide. Carter inspires hope, at the same time as she urges action for those concerned with the issue. After briefing the reader on the history of mental health policy, she looks towards the future and the many things that still need to be done in prevention, awareness, research, and advocacy. This book was a pleasant read and gives those of us in the midst of personal struggles a vision of a larger community.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

#36 cont.

I couldn't sleep the night before Christmas Eve - images of last year kept playing in my mind - the 911 call - the struggle with David as they fought to get him into the ambulance - the surreal trip to the hospital - I just could not sleep till David was safe and sound asleep and in his nervous state that didn't arrive till 4:00 am. And so Christmas Eve began in a fog and with a prayer - so far - so good - just please help us through this day.
The first grandmother's went surprisingly well - David interacted with the family in what I have come to recognize as falsely cheery talk - many in the family took his cheer for reality and gave me quick hugs for congratulations that things were going well - I, however knew too much to let the illusion comfort me into a lull in my vigilance. My nerves began to feel like stretched rubber bands inside and I fought to hide my anxiety behind smiles and murmured small talk.
The second grandmother's was when I began to see the signs that the day was wearing on David - he still smiled obediently and opened his gifts - but I saw the furtive glances around the room and the agitation that was growing in his eyes - my instincts were confirmed when I heard him ask his sister in a whisper - "where are we"? Elizabeth glanced at me to see if I had heard ,then answered bravely "We're at Grandma G's for Christmas" - "Oh, yes, of course"he answered - "these holiday things are just getting me confused." David spent most of the rest of the time outside "getting some air."
Finally at home to prepare for the last gift exchange of the evening - I felt my nerves unwind a bit - at least half the day was behind us - but David's agitation seemed to get just worst - he wandered over to the neighbor's and must have started drinking because the next time I saw him he was more agitated and now slurring - as always I thought of what my parents, and cousins who would be there soon would think - but then I pushed those ideas aside - I am not David's keeper and it would be better for those who love him to see him in his bad moments as well as his good - if we want him to be with us as a family - we must learn to except him as he is, not as we wish he were. To be cont...