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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1 comment:

  1. Dear Anna, I'm sitting at the doctor's office killing time, and found myself googling "anger motivation" and that's how I stumbled upon your heartfelt blog post. You have tremendous strength and I wish you and your family only the best in life. With respect and admiration, Carolina