Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Both of my sons are home

This has been a long and crazy month, but both boys are home where they belong. Aidan discharged from the hospital in time to join a day treatment center's summer program. He loves the outings and has even made some friends, but getting up at 6am in the summer does seem a bit unfair. I mean, he is still a 13 year old boy who enjoys lazing around in his tighty whities.

Korbin spent a little longer inpatient so he missed the cutoff for camp. Not to worry. He has a fort built in the living room, knows every place in town where we can get an ice cream cone for $1, and has perfected the art of creating elaborate war scenes with tiny plastic army men. The day treatment center has a school program for kids, like mine, who just can't function in a typical school setting. Korbin's paperwork is already done so he can join Aidan on August 19Th at 8am.... not that I'm counting.

After spending 4 months in the psych hospital for kids, the boys had a few medical issues to deal with. Aidan just had his GI scopes and Korbin had the pleasure of having dental rehab while completely knocked out. We're spending 2 hours 3 days a week getting physical, occupational, and speech therapies. Korbin has his special shoe inserts and fancy new shoes to help relieve the curving inward of his feet. Medications are dispensed 4 times a day and we work on life skills at night. I'm deeply impressed with how much the boys have changed and matured during their inpatient time. They are not only more psychiatricly stable, but they've gained social and emotional skills that I just haven't been able to teach at home.

We still have 3 weeks left in this summer break before Korbin makes his second attempt at 4Th grade and Aidan his second try in the 8Th. This past month has been a huge adjustment for us all, but through all this craziness we're finding a new rhythm. It's a fresh start and new life. No more aggression, hallucinations, delusions, or any of those horrible psychotic behaviors. I realize that with schizo affective disorder I can't expect the peace to be a constant. This last wild month has reminded me to enjoy the moments of calm we have so we can handle the crazy when it does come.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

How To Care For A Psychotic Family Member

My husband's mother had schizophrenia. I cared for her for 12 years before she passed. My husband has schizo affective disorder (schizophrenia & bipolar) and both of our sons have now been diagnosed with schizo affective disorder. They are 9 and 13.

You do need to protect your own mental health, but you also have to find a way to make peace with the fact that your mom isn't the mom you wished she would be and needs you to care for her. With adults we need to make sure they live in a safe and supportive environment and take their medication. I had to involuntarily commit my first mom in law twice (she was bipolar) and this mom in law once. It was the hardest thing I've ever done... until I had to do it for my sons. Both of them.

There are no easy answers. All we can do is make sure our loved ones are getting the best care possible while protecting our own sanity. Check for a local support group. Online groups have been a huge help to me, as I can't get out much with 2 psychotic children. Caring for someone else is stressful. Caring for someone with a mental illness can take down the whole family. The key is to remember that this is what families are about. We love and care for each other, no matter how hard, hoping and knowing that they would do the same for us.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Korbin Wants a New Family

He's been stuck on this delusion for a while and despite ours and the therapist's work, Korbin is only getting more insistent. He decided that he wanted a new family that will allow him to skip school, baths, healthy food, changing clothes, and will allow him to sleep, eat, and play whatever and whenever he wants. We got to the point in March where Korbin was attacking me because a voice told him to kill me so he could get a new family.

I understand that because of his autism he mostly sees other people as tools. I can drive him places and get him things. People are whatever they can do for him, not someone to know and socialize with. Anyway, he said that I needed to take him to the hospital so he could live there until they could find him a new home. I told him that if he wanted to go to the hospital I would take him. They took him in to acute and Korbin thought he won the ability to get a new family. Oops!

We had another pass yesterday and were able to bring him home so he can play his favorite PC game and go out for a meal. When I took him back he told me that he wants to live at the hospital forever or until he can get a new family. I reminded him that I'm his mom, I love him, and I will always be his family. He informed me that he's done loving me. Ouch. I tried to talk with him, but his roommate was coming back from a pass and they began talking.

Today we went for our 2 hour visit and Korbin freaked out. He came down the hall just to tell us that he didn't want to visit with us and to not come back or call unless it was for a pass for him to leave with us. I tried to talk to him or even get close, but he kept yelling. He wanted us to go away and kept screaming "I want a new family!" Now if I were just observing this I would think that this child must have been horribly abused or something, but if anything we've smothered him with love. He's always had every need and most of his wants met. He's spoiled with love, material things, family, friends, and everything a boy could ever want. The only trauma he's had is having to occasionally be restrained when he attacks.

I'm thinking that if all we are to him is his ride to the PC game and link to restaurants then we need to remove those things. Next Saturday we have a 12 hour pass so I'm thinking that we're going to have to spend some time away from home so he's not totally attached to the laptop, but then come home to cook. I'm just so confused. Before he went to the hospital he was overly attached to me and refused to go anywhere without me or me go anywhere without him. His autism leaves him without the desire for human relationships. His delusions are telling him that he can make his whole world different by somehow acquiring a new family. How to I re bond with a son who doesn't really want me?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What I Wished I'd Known

I recently had a mom with a 3 year old boy who has autism and similar behaviors to Korbin what advice I would give myself if I were starting over again. She also has an older son with ADHD. Here's what I told her:

For your 3 year old I highly recommend an early intervention program. Call your local DHS office and ask for the person who handles Early Intervention. Find out the names of the facilities in your area. He needs an OT, Speech, PT evaluation, and full psycho-educational testing. If he qualifies for 2 or more therapies he can receive the services inside an early intervention center. They are like a day care where the kids can receive their therapies, socialize with other children, and get all the help they need in a supportive setting. It's all paid for my early intervention funding and will also give you the break you need to help him nights and weekends. Korbin went to Pathfinder Preschool in Jacksonville and I can't imagine where he would be now without them.

Korbin responded very well to a gluten and casein free diet. The first time we did it he was 3 and I didn't know that he was eating gluten and casein at school. If you do the diet it's really all or nothing. The books that explain it are Children With Starving Brains by Jacqueline McCandless. It's hard to read because it's so scientific, but will totally change yours and his lives. The other is Unraveling the Mystery of Autism by Karyn Seroussi. We went back to the diet, hardcore, this last October. I kept a food and behavior journal, made most of our food from scratch, and packed food for when we left the house. It isn't easy, but after about 3 months of hard work on my part, it's become second nature.

To understand both sons' sensory issues you'll need to read The Out of Sync Child by Carol Kranowitz. She really helps us understand why our kids do the things they do and then how to help them. I've read her books, been to her conference when she came to Little Rock, and have to thank her for the understanding I have of my sons'.

I wish we had started the diet sooner. I also wish we had laid down the law with him when he was little. With Korbin being the youngest, most challenged, and so darn cute we let him rule our lives. I realize now that I wasn't doing him any favors. In fact, I think that's a lot of what lead to the trouble now.

Get a good behavior therapist to work with you so you can help him. Never stop learning. It's OK to try alternative therapies, but don't do anything that can put your child in danger and watch for scams.

I guess the best advice that I can give you is to love him. Hate the autism, but love the child. Every behavior has a meaning. If you just stop to see the world from his perspective you'll see the reason for his actions. They're not always easy to see, but they are there. And even though our special kids don't always hug and kiss us, they still love us. You are his link to the rest of the world and he appreciates you more than he can say.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Korbin Wants To Go To School!?!

I'm really not sure what's happening in Korbin's precious little head, but he's slept without a pull up for the last 3 nights and stayed dry. Being that he didn't potty train until he was 6, I really wasn't pushing the night time thing. I think his motivator was keeping me from washing his favorite shorts, but I'll take it. :)

Today is the last week of spring break. I've been trying to get the paperwork through to get Korbin in the residential program he's been needing for over a year, but it's at a stall. While we were at the hospital visiting Aidan this afternoon I reminded Korbin that he could just solve this whole problem by getting his uniform on tomorrow morning and going to school. He totally agreed! Holy poop on a stick! How did I just make that click in his head? Really? Oh yeah, keep the emotion out of it or he'll change his mind. Suck it up Anna, we've got work to do.

Korbin has stuck with his decision to go back to school instead of to residential. I'm hopeful, but I can't hold my breath. He's had moments like this before, but I can't remember the last time he was so rational. Tomorrow morning he wants me to wake him at 6:30am (yes, he's in control). I have his lunch packed to his specs and we will go to school early enough that he can eat his breakfast with his friends. He wants me to stay with him, but I'll leave as soon as he's adjusted a little. I just fear the principal telling us to leave until his IEP is changed. HaHaHa! I can't imagine what the ladies at the district office would say to him if he even tried to deny Korbin access to the classroom. It's been over a year, but we might be on our way back.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Korbin's Weekend Adventure

Last Friday night Korbin went over the edge again. He was so far into his delusional world that he was screaming at me that he wanted me to take him to a new family. It's not a new delusion, but when he starts thinking about it there's no changing his mind. Apparently there's another family out there who will allow Korbin to beat on them as much as he wants, won't expect him to take care of basic hygene, and doesn't care about his education. His new family will let him eat marshmallows and potato chips all day and never bring up the subject of vegetables. I tried to explain that we are his family and we love him very much, but it only made matters worse. He kept coming at me with both fists pounding at my head yelling, "Take me to the hospital so they can find me a new family!" Jason had already left for work and I knew there was no way I could restrain Korbin for mine and his safety if this escalated any further, so I offered to drive him to the hospital. He instantly stopped beating me and ran to pack his bag.

He calmly rode in the van and did fairly well while I was talking with the intake nurse. When he started ranting at me about how he was never coming back to live with me I simply stated that we are his family and always will be. My son launched at me like a lion on prey. His claws ripped the skin on my arm as I dodged his sharp teeth. My diet coke/life blood went flying and covered the desk. I grabbed my purse and went for the office door as the nurse came back to help. Korbin was ready to go the ward so he could begin his quest for the new fantasy family, but the nurse wouldn't take him out of the room until he calmed down. Long-er story short, chairs flew, a checkers game was shreded, and Korbin was taken to the back by two very large men.

By the time I left it was time to talk to Aidan who is still on the residential side of the same hospital. I swallowed my emotions and talked Aidan through his. He could hear his brothers screams from the next hall. He didn't want Korbin to have to be there, but understood that they could help Korbin the way they've helped him. I drove in the dark through my tears back home, alone... for the first time since last March.

Korbin was sent home that Monday with his Abilify doubled, another referal for residential time, and the new diagnoses of Mood Disorder NOS & Psychotic Disorder NOS. NOS stands for Not Otherwise Specified. To us it's come to mean that the doctor doesn't have the balls to label someone with the diagnosis that we all know is coming. Aidan was recently labeled with schizoaffective disorder just like Jason, my hubby. Schizoaffective is a label that combines schizophrenia and bipolar symptoms. Either way diagnostic labels and labels in clothing are both pretty much meaningless until it comes to billing. We treat the symptoms while trying to find the cause and hope for the best.

Every single residential facility in this state has refused to work with Korbin because of his severe and complex issues. I can't place my son in a facility out of state and just leave him there until I can get back for a visit. It's just not in me. We've been considering leaving the only state we've ever known, our family, and friends just to get help. I begged the doctor at the hospital helping Aidan to give Korbin another chance. They sent Korbin home after 7 days saying they couldn't help him back in September, but with the breakthrough of the gluten and casein free diet I think they may be able to reach him. He's agreed to try, no promises.

If this trip to residential doesn't work we'll run out of options here. I'm unable to get him to take care of even basic hygene at home, keep him from hurting me when he's out of control, or teach him any academics... at least I've proven to myself that I can't do it alone. I can't get any more help for him outpatient, so we're stuck with having to go inpatient. We may have to pack up and move. I don't want to, but we just don't have many choices left. Do we stand our ground to be near our family and the only home we've ever known? Do we leave everything behind in hopes that the grass is greener? Is there an option that we haven't found yet that could be far better for the boys? Then if we are going to run to greener grass, where do we find the greenest grass we can afford?

For today I'm going to carry the letter from the outpatient psychiatrist to the hospital. Somewhere along the way we'll know, at least I hope we will.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gluten & Casein Free Diet

Aidan (13) started showing symptoms of autism around his 2nd birthday. Korbin (9) didn't have eye contact or like to be held from birth. Here's a good site to learn more about autism symptoms We can't blame ourselves guessing at things we did while pregnant or their lack of veggies when they were toddlers, etc. It's just wasted energy. I've had to learn to deal with each day the best I can, with the tools I have. There's no harm in looking for more tools to help tomorrow. :)

I tried the diet for the boys when they were 7 and 3. Before we even started I researched for about 4 months. After having the boys gluten and casein free for 3 months and not seeing ANY difference we tested them with a huge cheese pizza. They ate themselves miserable and still there was no change in behavior. I found out later that their schools were allowing them to eat anything they wanted. Korbin even had an aide who felt sorry for him being restricted and brought extra food in her lunch to share with him.

We went back to gluten and casein free this past October and went soy free in November. Korbin has had a faster improvement than Aidan, but that's likely due to the years of damage to his intestines. We just tried Korbin back on soy without seeing a difference so we're allowing him soy again. Korbin's reaction to tomatoes is aggressive rage. It's like a sudden break from reality where he attacks anyone around him and destroys property until he runs out of energy and finally rocks himself to sleep. It takes 2-3 days for him to get over the nasty mood that's leftover. He actually fears that someone will put ketchup on his food. Aidan offered him ketchup for fries a few weeks after I figured out the tomato issue (thanks to a food & behavior dairy). Korbin yelled at Aidan "NO! It hurts my brain!" Korbin leaned over to me and said "I feel so much better with no ketchup in my head." Before October Korbin couldn't even put together such a complex idea into words.

In the world of autism there is no "gold standard" treatment like there is for schizophrenia. We know that antipsychotics help almost everyone with SZ. With autism parents are trying anything and everything they can to help their kids, with or without a doctor's blessing. The book Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder by Karyn Seroussi explains more about where the diet came about and why it and ABA therapy is the closest thing autism-land has to a gold standard. The best of the best researchers have come together and written the Defeat Autism Now protocol. I won't get into the details of it, but the doctors who are trained in it are getting great results.

I'm not going to say that removing some foods from my sons' diets have "cured" them. Within 2 weeks of removing gluten and casein from Korbin's diet we were astonished by his increased socialization and pretend play, which was totally new. Many kids have the same morphine-like peptide reaction to soy as they do to casein and gluten so we did a trial removal of it for 3 months. I kept a daily diary of every food and drink they had and a sentence or two about their behaviors. It was easy to spot that the days Korbin had tomato product (ketchup addict) he had a very aggressive rage and stayed in a foul mood for days. As soon as we removed it he was happier and had far fewer rages. He's also allergic to tree nuts, so we don't use nut milks or nuts in cooking (like in many fake cheeses)

Aidan is still gluten, casein, and soy free. While he's inpatient I can't make any changes. He's had bowel issues all of his life so seeing an improvement in Aidan wasn't likely until we got thing "moving along". It's taken prescription medication to help ease his backup issues. Now that his GI system is happy, he's becoming more happy. At this point I'm just trusting that the diet changes are making a difference for him. Being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder at 13 means we have a long road ahead. Even if it's just a small improvement, it's enough to justify the work.

Yes, we miss pizza delivery. I've learned to cook all over again. I make a great allergen free crust. Basil pesto, alfredo-wanna be, and many other sauces replace our lack of tomatoes. There are are loads of fake cheeses that become acceptable once you've been without long enough. :)

I doubt this is THE answer, but it does help many people. My boys went through the winter without any asthma trouble. They are still on their daily medications for asthma and allergies, but the rescue inhalers have stayed in the drawer and I can't remember a winter that didn't require prednisone. As a mom I can only use this tool that I have today to do the best I can for my sons. I'll keep looking for other tools that might help in the future. We can only do the best we can with what we have and hope that it helps their tomorrows.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Insanity Update

Aidan is doing SO well in residential that I'm shocked every weekend when I get to see him. He's lost 18 lb in the last month, which was much needed. He's happy, has energy, and far more social and optimistic than I've ever seen him. He will be there another 2-3 months. I don't like him being away from home, but I can't deny that it is really making a difference that seems to be rocking him to his core. :)

Korbin is my 9 year old who has autism and tourette's, but seems to be slipping over to schizophrenia too. He's totally delusional. This last week he's attacked me several times. We've increased his meds. Depakote went from 250mg at night to 250mg/ 2x daily. We also took his Abilify from 2.5mg at night to 5mg at night. I tried to get him in acute for an eval and medication stabilization, but he's not trying to "kill" me, so it's not an emergency in their eyes.

We've started the paperwork to get Korbin in the residential program at another local kids' psych hospital. The place that is helping Aidan so much wasn't able to do anything for Korbin back in September. This new place seems to have more experience with lower functioning kids with autism and schizophrenia. The school district is thrilled b/c he hasn't been inside a classroom since last March and refuses to to work with the homebound teacher.

I'm just kind of in a panic about both of my sons being away from home. I've been 100% mom 24/7 for 2 very challenging boys for 9 and 13 years. I know I should take the time to relax and take care of me, but the only thing I can really think of doing is curling up in my bed and crying until one of them is back home again so I have a reason to suck it up and go on. Part of me is screaming "Holy cow! You've become codependent on your screwy kids!" The other part of my feels I'm totally justified in being deeply depressed.

Well, I've got 2-4 weeks before the paperwork is done and a bed is available for Korbin. Until then I have to keep him, me, and the house safe from his rage. Maybe by then I can talk myself into a facial or something. I've just done this for so long I don't know life without insanity.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Stranger in the Family

Well, really Aidan spent 10 days in acute care first, but he's been away from home for a month now. Somehow time is making abnormal seem horribly normal. Yesterday was Aidan's first pass to leave for a few hours. It seemed strange to have him with us again. My own son felt like a stranger. By the end of the day he almost looked like a stranger too.

Aidan needed a hair cut before he went inpatient. His blond curls had grown into an unmanageable frizz, so our first stop was for a haircut. The stylist took him from a fluffy 'fro to clean cut and polished. Then he needed shoes. He's 13 years old in a 12 men's. OUCH! By the time we got him to his favorite restaurant he seemed completely different. He's no longer hallucinating or delusional so Aidan was totally "with us". Aside from a few trips into Korbin's fantasy world, we had normal dinner conversation. It's been so long!

In the last month Aidan's medications have brought his symptoms under control. He's lost 16 lbs. thanks to the food restrictions at the hospital and is standing taller with his new found confidence. His clothes hang differently and his new, HUGE shoes look very adult. In the last month my wild boy who had lost the will to live has become a happy, healthier, more stable young man. I'm amazed by and proud of this strange new person. I can't wait to get to know him all over again.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

No Bullies?

Aidan has complained about being bullied since he was in Kindergarten. It's the first thing he says when I ask how his day went. They call him names, laugh at him, mock him, push him around, and generally make his life at school a living hell. He's begged, cried, and even faked sick in hopes of getting out of school. The boy will even ask if it's time for his 3 month blood draw to check levels on his epilepsy medicine. He begs to go to the dentist just to avoid the mean kids at school.

Now I do understand that a lot of kids with high functioning autism/asperger's syndrome have trouble with bullies. They are the children we all know who are just enough "off" that we know they're not typical, but aren't all out mentally retarded and therefore off limits for teasing. These kids are the geeky bully magnets. I've always felt pity for my son and begged the teachers to help watch out for him. When these teachers have claimed to have not witnessed any of this behavior, I've questioned how they could have possibly missed it. I've gone as far as arguing with these educators about how poorly anti-bullying laws are truely being enforced.

With Aidan being inpatient his academics are being transfered from the school to the hospital. While speaking with his lead teacher about the move, I ask her what I could do to make sure other kids aren't bullied to the point of wanting to take their own lives. Once again I was told that there has been no bullying. I was stunned! This woman has seemed to truely care about my child, his education, and his well being. How could she, of all people, not have seen this daily torture? Then she informed me that if there was any bullying happening, it was Aidan who was dishing it out and had never complained to her about anyone picking on him.

Nine years into his education I finally heard the teacher. Many had spoken to me over the years, but I never really heard what they were telling me. Aidan percieves that the kids talk about him, laugh at him, and mean him harm when they joke with each other. But what about the bruises? Then I remembered what he said the day he checked in the hospital. When the voices in his head tell him to hurt other people and he doesn't do it, they do "bad things" to him. Aidan told the therapist and I that the hallucinations told him to hurt classmates, but he refused so they kept pushing him up the steps. All this time I just thought he was clumsy. My son is paranoid and delusional on top of the hallucinations.

I felt like such a failure. How could I have not seen this? All of this time Aidan has been fearing his what his own brain is making him believe. Those poor teachers that I left in my wake. We've seen symptoms on and off since Aidan was 5, but I always convinced myself to believe the easiest answer. The bullies had to be doing this, not his paranoia. The teachers just needed to pay attention. The hallucinations were just dreams or imagination like the doctors and therapists kept trying to convince me. He's had all of the symptoms of schizophrenia since he was 5 and I had my head in the sand far to much.

Yes, we are getting him the best help I can find. It just doesn't relieve my guilt. Aidan is doing well tonight. When he first went to the hospital he complained of bullies, but now that his medication is adjusted he has friends. Once again I'm left looking for that silver lining and as usual, it's there. The other kids weren't really picking on my son. The teachers were giving him the attention he needed. I was assuming that the other children were the enemy, but it's really the illness. The bullies aren't bullies, they're friends. Aidan is ill, but he's happy now. We're going to make it, in a happier world without the bullies.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Anger Is Motivating... in case you didn't know.

My heart aches so profoundly that I can't even cry myself to sleep. Aidan, my oldest son, is sleeping miles away in a psychiatric hospital. At any moment I can check him out, but I have to convince myself every moment of every day that he is there, that this is for his future... for his life. My own pain doesn't matter. If he doesn't get the help he needs now he'll never have much of future. You see, Aidan is 13 and the voices that he hears told him that if he didn't jump off of the roof of his middle school, that they would make bad things happen to him. He believes the voices. When he's refused to hurt other students, Aidan believes the voices have pushed him on the stairs at school. His knees are covered in bruises and scrapes from the times that he's protected others from his own mind. Aidan's a good kid. He's the kind of boy who puts his own allowance in the Salvation Army bucket and runs to help our elderly neighbor when his dog runs out the front door.

Aidan also has reason to be so sad that he would listen to the voices in his head. He was diagnosed with autism and epilepsy at 3. When he was 5 the hallucinations began. He became so overwhelmed in the first grade that he began to lash out when he couldn't communicate his needs to teachers who didn't take the time to understand his differences. He was moved to a small class for kids with behavior problems. Even though the teachers could help him, the class full of bullies just saw a target. Over the years he's struggled to keep up with academics while fighting with his own mind.

Now he's 13 years old and in the 8Th grade. He's to smart for the special ed class, but just far enough behind that he's failing in the typical classroom. Being an awkward boy with poor social skills, Aidan is an easy target for any of the other angry middle schoolers looking to let out some angst. The stress of academics and peers is enough, but he also has to deal with a little brother. Oh, he's not just any little brother. Korbin is 9 and is known all over town as our "little Rainman". He's brilliant, but doesn't understand the simplest things. He's a sweet, loving boy, but can't stand to be hugged. Korbin has Autism and Tourette's Syndrome. As long as Aidan can remember, we've had to plan our lives around Korbin and his rages. Aidan loves Korbin, but he also hates him most days. I understand and accept this. Korbin can be hard to love sometimes and it can't be easy for a 13 year old with such severe issues to accept the many moods of Korbin.

So here I am. It's the middle of the night and I can't sleep past my own tears... again. Aidan's current diagnosis is Major Depression Severe Recurring with Psychosis. When I checked him back in the psychiatric hospital for children (it's sad that one should ever have to exist) he had a full plan on how he would end his life. We have schizophrenia all over the family so I won't pretend we don't know where this is headed. When I have the strength to get out around other adults, some will ask, but it's always in a quiet voice. No one asks when others could possibly hear. I realized after coming home from a family birthday party that no one, not even my own parents, ask how Aidan is doing. It was in a public place. My aunt and uncle didn't even ask where he was. I'm sure someone told them beforehand so the subject didn't come up at the dinner table. Instead we all laughed and had a nice party, which did take me away from my own reality for a moment.

I sat at one end of the table not discussing my own son. At the other end of the table sat my uncle, who's son (my closest cousin) took his own life in 1994. We don't talk about Chris' death. My uncle sees a therapist to talk about it because he can't otherwise, even with his own family. I will not sit in silence. I am not ashamed of the psychiatric and neurological differences that effect my family. As I sit here typing my hands have turned to stone. Each keystroke I dissociate a little more because the pain is so intense. But I will fight it. I have to fight. My sons need help now and understanding in the future. We are not the only ones. The latest statistics are showing that Autism is effecting 1 out of every 97-110 kids. Early Onset Schizophrenia is uncommon, but it is happening more. They may even be genetically related. Does this mean that there is another mother like me crying in the middle of the night as her sons fight their own brains? I hope not, but odds are that I'm not alone.

I will not sit in silence and allow schizophrenia to take over my son's mind. I will not sit in silence and pretend that his suicidal thoughts never happened. I will not be silent about my cousin's death, the autism that controls Korbin, the tics, my mother in law who died because schizophrenia made her fear doctors. I will not sit in silence about my own dissociative disorder, depression, and anxiety. These are all just as real as the honor roll your child brought home or the fungus on your hubby's toenails. It's real, we're here, and I will NOT sit in silence.

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