Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Between a Rock and a Hard Place.
I have not been so unsure of what to do in a long time. My heart is aching, my brain is saying it's time and I'm stuck, just stuck! No one can tell me what to do and no one can know what the outcome will be. I sometimes wonder about parent/caregiver PTSD. Watching our loved ones go through psychotic breaks and episodes is traumatic. Even when stable the fear of if/when the next break will happen is a daily concern and worry. We live with the anxiety and stress of questioning everything that we do. Is this the right choice? Will this work or make things worse? What if what I'm doing is wrong? and even What if what I'm doing is right? Then what? When things are tough we put our heads down, square our shoulders and pray for the strength to just get through one more day. We have learned to ride the waves, so to speak, and to hope for calmer waters. Then one day those waves abate just a little bit and we can look up. New uncharted territory. Do we pull ashore or keep riding the waves we now have intimate knowledge of? Christopher Columbus would not have discovered a new continent if he had stayed in the boat!
I woke up this morning to the usual mess in my kitchen and living room with my son snoring away on the sofa. Again he had not taken his pills until sometime this morning. I call his name and he sits up. The sofa is soaked with his sweat. Sweat that smells like hot sauce. After several attempts and incoherent responses I finally get him off the sofa and tell him he needs to clean up some of this mess as my husband won't be able to find room to even make his lunch for work. He managed to pick up a couple of items from the coffee table before heading to the bathroom to hug the toilet. A result of him being mobile while sedating meds are strong in his system or something else, as he has been going for 'walks' again. He must not have been very coherent when he was eating a bowl of canned ravioli as it was smeared on the sofa and on the floor. So it's 4:30 AM and I'm spot cleaning the sofa! Not a happy camper but I hold my tongue, put on some coffee since I'm obviously up, then talk him into moving from the bathroom to his bed so I can go pee. This is one boat that I don't want to be on anymore!
But! What will happen when he's on his own and there is no one that loves him watching out for him? Are his roommates going to tolerate even a quarter of what I tolerate? I have visions of him looking and smelling like a bum. Dirty laundry, dirty bedding. Garbage filled room. Not eating right. Perhaps even missed medications with un-monitored marijuana use. I see a psychotic break in the makings. PTSD or being realistic?
So I'm stuck between this proverbial rock and a hard place. My head is saying it's time to let go and my heart is saying but my little boy... There in lies perhaps a very important truth. He will always be my little boy but he is no longer a little boy. If I don't step back then I am only stunting him further as he will never learn to take responsibility for his own life and self-care. He will continue to have unrealistic expectations of both himself and those around him. The thought of him being 30 and us still treading the same waters is perhaps my life line. I can't imagine another 10 years of being maid and minion to my adult son.
His nurse said to me this morning: He is the one always saying that he is an adult and wants to be treated like one. She also pointed out that him moving out doesn't mean that I will never see him again. I tell myself that kids grow up and move away from home everyday. Granted most of those kids have a firmer grasp on reality and don't have cognitive deficits. They have learned through school and part time jobs, good and bad, how things work. On the up side my son has a network of people willing to help him. Until now I have been the one doing the asking for him. Baby steps mama! I need to step back and he needs to step up! Have I talked myself into letting this happen yet? I think so... *pushes me the rock out of the way and baby steps around it*
An article on Caregivers & PTSD: http://dontloseheart.org/