Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Building Blocks, Things I Need to Work On.

Building blocks went through my mind the other day as I was talking to my son about money and cigarettes. I asked a leading question: Why do you not have any cigarettes? I knew the answer but I wanted to see if he was able to put two and two together and understand that consequences of his own actions. His response: Because I sold my carton of cigarettes. He sold ten packs of cigarettes and didn't even get enough money to buy two packs. Then ended up going back to the person he sold them too and getting back one of the packs. I ended up giving him some of my husbands. I explained to my son that the responsibility of this is on him and his choices. He would still have half a carton of cigarettes if he had not done what he did.

My son's 21st birthday is coming up. I know this may sound harsh however I agreed to purchase him cigarettes but he is to pay me back from the birthday money that he will be receiving from other family members. It will be his choice if he wants to buy expensive ones and be left with less money or learn to be responsible and buy the cheaper ones that he can afford (or quit). He actually bought even cheaper ones than he used to get! Impressive right?

Like I said I know it sounds a little harsh to do this regarding his birthday money however there is always something... Christmas and hospitalizations are two of them. Always reasons to not help my son learn responsibility and consequences for his own actions. Reasons that I can no longer afford or support.

Through no fault of his own and admittedly with my help my son has not learned some of the basic building blocks of being responsible or mature. For too many years he has been sheltered from the consequences of his own actions because he has schizophrenia. No it's not his fault... Still I'm beginning to see the error in not holding my son accountable for the choices that he sometimes make. Yes he has schizophrenia but he is not without the capability of understanding the consequences of those choices. Choices that everyone else, including myself, shoulder the responsibility for. Choices that I'm really beginning to see have very little to do with my son's schizophrenia.

A saying I like to use with my son is: The proof is in the pudding. When my son is not being given the opportunity to run away from his life here... The change in him and his attitude is night and day. Although his birthday is coming up so I could be mis-reading all of this...

Wednesday night things could have gone pretty badly. We were quickly heading to a repeat of September and a shelter. He was doing what he has been taught that he can do and get away with which was lying and manipulating. Thankfully it did not come to that again...

Since Thursday morning... Like I said night and day. My son's schizophrenia symptoms have not changed but his attitude has. Mom I have decided that I want to stay here and deal with... Really the choice was made for him but still it's the thought... Due to his symptoms he has not been doing too much. Still staying up late most nights and over all lying around. The difference is how he is going about it. He seems more willing to accept the idea that what he is experiencing is schizophrenia symptoms. He seems more willing to at least for right now be medication compliant. I have told him that he can't run from himself or schizophrenia. All this will follow him until he can learn to manage it. Perhaps by not being able to run from one thing he is also not running from other things as well?

He is back to doing things for himself. Not a lot but he is trying. Mom can you do...? No but I can show you how. And that is what I do. The other day I showed him how to make a tuna sandwich since he likes how I spice the tuna. A tuna sandwich may not sound like much but when my son has gone long periods without lifting a finger to do anything for himself, it's more then a start. If he only picks up some of the garbage when I'm tidying up his room, it's better then not helping at all. If he misses items while picking up after himself in the living room, he is picking up after himself. He did a load of laundry on Friday with little prompting from me. He still has another load to do and maybe today I can get him to tackle it.

I have been thinking about my part to play in all this. How I can help to build the right foundation with the right building blocks. He has missed out on so much including a reasonably normal child and parent relationship which includes arguments and butting heads over responsibilities and boundaries. Both of my kids have... I think I blogged a little while ago that I'm pretty fed up with schizophrenia. I have allowed it to control almost every aspect of our lives when it doesn't need to. Schizophrenia like any disease or disorder is not all of who my son is. He is a person outside of that and that person is not always Mr. Sunshine. Neither am I for that matter ;)

As a child grows and learns the boundaries of what s/he can or cannot do... My son has never learned those boundaries. Instead he has run from parent to parent to grandparent which we allowed. Each of us in turn contributing to what I can now see is probably more behavioral issues then mental illness.

I have been trying to think through and decide what to do about my son living with me long-term or being in the group home. I do believe that the group home is the best choice for him. Not the easy choice but the best choice. Currently we are experiencing a calm time... It never lasts though. And in the end my son can't live at home forever. He needs to take those steps out into adulthood.

What can I do? I think I need to reread how to discipline ADHD and ODD children and how to set appropriate boundaries and not be drawn into stupid arguments. This is a big one as I'm pretty sure my son tried to draw me into one last night. He again wanted a ride over to his friend's house or partner in instability is what I've given to calling him in my head. I of course said no to giving him a ride. I didn't say no to him going, I'm just not going to contribute to or enable the choice of drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. Like I have referenced before (I think), I wouldn't drive him to a crack house so why would I drive him to a marijuana house... The reality is that right now alcohol and marijuana are as dangerous to my son as crack-cocaine is to me (a recovering addict) perhaps even more so as using will make him psychotic.

I blogged about ODD here: Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Anger

The harder part in all this may be the age appropriate boundaries... How to tell what is age appropriate for someone recovering from psychosis. I guess I will have to wing it... I know that he is capable of doing much much more then he is willing to do. Control myself, pick my battles, resist rescuing him from consequences and build on the positives! Bless him as he even makes building on the positives a hard one. It's like praising him gives him the idea that he can stop trying...

When I said that I wasn't taking him and that I wasn't going to discuss it further he asked me: What can we discuss then!? Ironically watching my husband refrain from saying anything even though I could see it pissing him off, helped me to not respond. It was obvious by my son's tone that he was looking for an argument. Piss me off and I would be more willing to have him out of the home and therefore give him a ride. I'm learning from my husband! Yes pick me up off the floor ;). It's a good learning curve for me though and I need to spend some time reading the books he is reading as I know that I'm not above learning and I really don't know everything... ;)

I blogged about these books here: Hello 2015! CBT and Mindfullness

I think I'm finally over that god awful cold! Now that I'm feeling better I can start putting myself in a better frame of mind and start taking care of things again. I sometimes mentally shake my head at myself as I let things slide entirely too far. I stopped doing all or most of the things that I tell other caregivers to do for themselves. Shame on me! I don't know where she went but my normal upbeat self got lost there for a little bit. I'm glad I'm coming back :) I need to take care of me too and that means not missing vitamins and supplements, doing my stretches and taking some time away from schizophrenia and mental health related things.

We are moving! So I need to start getting organized. I can't do much yet as we don't have an exact moving date but I can start clearing out things as I get back into the routine of doing more then the bare minimum around here. A little or lot of housework will do me some good!

To my sister if you are still reading: Thank you for the tablet for my son! He is enjoying it very much!


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