My Life: My Son will NOT be a Statistic

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“I hate you,” he yells as we get out of the car.  “You are the worst mom ever, all you ever do is snap, snap, snap at me. I’m not doing anything you say EVER, you can just go away and I won’t even miss you.”

I smile a strained smile at the elderly lady watching us as we walk into the grocery store. She has heard his berating taunts and I can see the disapproval in her face. I feel the need to reprimand him, but I know I’m supposed to ignore him. That’s what the doctor said.

Lately, my momtuition has been replaced by WWTDD {What Would the Doctor Do}. I have no idea how to parent this child, and to be honest I don’t want to. His words rip my heart apart at the seams, and with each taunt and insult a brick goes up around my heart to protect me.

I’m distancing myself from him. So much so that I don’t even want to hang out alone with him. Our mother son fun time has been transformed into an awful mix of anger, sadness, resentment and apathy.

The truth is there are days I don’t like him.

I keep reminding myself that he’s sick. His brain isn’t wired the same as other kids. But it’s so VERY hard. Especially when I see my friend’s kids, the smiles on their faces, the love they have in their heart, the carefree way they play and just enjoy themselves. I wish this everyday for our family.

But that is not the hand we’ve been dealt. Instead I worry during every school day, playdate or social situation. Trips like the one to the grocery store are a minefield of insults and temper tantrums. My worry has weighed me down, like a bag of rocks. Each day I’ve hinted at E’s diagnosis, but to be honest we really don’t know WHAT’S wrong with him.

Even before the first day of school in August we knew it would be a struggle, but we weren’t prepared for what has happened over the past five months. We’ve consulted with a multitude of doctors, filled out millions of little bubbles on surveys and have a gazillion meetings with his teacher, the principal and school social worker.

After all that, it’s been suggested that his diagnosis is ADHD. But according to the doctor this could just be the tip of the iceberg. Words like Autism, ODD, Anxiety and personality disorders have popped up. So, we’ve put him on meds, changed meds increased meds and all it does is make him more emotional, edgy and in some instances violent.

I had prepared myself for what would happen if he was bullied or ridiculed at school, but NOTHING prepared me for in school suspensions at the ripe old age of five or having to be sent home from school for hitting a teacher.

But no matter how hard it is we persevere, because we have to.

Because he’s my son, I gave him life, and now I need to help him live it the best way he can, even if it’s with daily pills and therapists.

However, my worry will never end.

While other parents were picturing their children in the eyes of the angels that were taken in the tragedy at Sandy Hook, I have horrible nightmares that my son could be the one taking lives. He’s only five, but with a family history of mental illness and being a white male, and with a theorized diagnosis of a personality disorder, statistics show the odds are not in his favor.

It’s a scary thought and one that keeps me up at night, but it also fuels me to mend his soul. To make a vow to him and myself that no matter how rough it is …

I will NOT FORSAKE my son, no matter what his faults.

I will NOT give up.

I will NOT stop fighting.

I will NOT stop LOVING HIM.

When tragedies like Sandy Hook happen we want answers. Looking at the perpetrators of the crime, analyzing every detail of their lives, searching for clues as to what made them break.

Too often mental illness becomes a hot topic, and people are quick to judge, and quick with cruel words for those who suffer on a daily basis. I’m not saying that what happened wasn’t pure evil, for it was. But do not condemn those with illnesses you do not understand. For only those who have traversed the rough roads of mental illness know the struggles around each corner.

My family is fortunate. We have access to wonderful teachers, social workers, therapists, pediatricians, friends and family who support us, and hold us up when we feel like falling. But we are fighting a hard fight, because in theory it’s easier to lobby for gun control, but not so easy to lobby to help the mental ill.  Not easy to heal the broken, and to finance the resources for them. Over and over I hear “They can’t be fixed.” and “Nut jobs will be nut jobs.”

I am the daughter of a father who suffered from maniac depression.

I suffer from borderline personality disorder.

I have a son with labels like ADHD, ODD, anxiety and manic.

And on the day when evil took innocent lives, my son FINALLY had a perfect day at school; one without tears, without heartache, without violence or cruel words.

Proof that

We can heal.

We will heal.

We are healed.

We are NOT a statistic.

***

To be honest I wasn’t sure I wanted to share our story, but the tragedy at Sandy Hook made me realize that other parents may be struggling just as we are. And I want them to know they are not alone, and that their sons and daughters DO NOT need to be a statistic whether it’s committing a violent act on others or themselves. The broken can be mended, we just need to take the time to listen, to love and to learn.

Do not forsake the broken, for in the end we will only be forsaking ourselves.

 

27 thoughts on “My Life: My Son will NOT be a Statistic

  1. You are a brave mama… thank you for sharing your story. I’m not in your shoes, so words seem trite, but just know that knowing the mamas in the trenches care and have hope… that gives me hope 🙂
    Sending much, much love your way today, Brook. xoxo
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  2. I think you are brave and wonderful and exactly the mama that he needs, honey. I’m so glad you posted this. Watching everything on the news, I’ve been reminded of so many of my students, who fit the same descriptions and labels that are being used for the shooter. It hurts to see the similarities, and I know it’s not the same since they’re my students, not my actual children. It’s almost a too-sharp reminder, isn’t it, to keep fighting the illnesses and loving the beautiful insides even more fiercely.

    You’re making all the difference for him.

    1. Thank you LUCY!!! It’s nice to hear that I’m making a difference, because often it feels like we are taking one step forward and ten steps back. I hope you are having a great holiday.

  3. First I would like to say HUGS…

    Then I would like to tell you that autism is not a mental illness. Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder. Anxiety isn’t a mental illness either. Which, as you know Anthony has been tested for and has been diagnosed with. Your son won’t become a statistic. You won’t let that happen.

    Call me. Your words resonate with me. I understand, to some point, your frustration and if you need an ear- I am here.
    alita recently posted..His love endures foreverMy Profile

  4. Oh honey. Ever since I’ve heard the news, I’ve mourned for the victims, yes, but I’ve also mourned for the Lanza family. There is mental illness in our family too, and I am familiar with the terror of a threat of suicide. I know the feeling of being held hostage by a loved one, unable to help them, accused of the worst things…family calling the cops on family. It’s a nightmare. One of the saddest things for me is seeing people accusing other people, pointing fingers of blame at Nancy Lanza or Liza Long. But I challenge any one of those passing judgment to walk a mile in these mothers’ shoes. It is so, so scary to love when there are no guarantees. I know you think you have no choice, but it IS truly courageous of you to love and protect in the face of such fear. Just know that what you are doing is amazing. When you feel you may have faltered, know that millions more would have already given up.

    I won’t pretend there are easy answers. But we need to keep having a conversation as a nation, because isolating people who need help is about the worst thing we could do. And yet we keep doing it.

    I’m sending you love today, and hope that you feel it coming your way.
    Jade @ Tasting Grace recently posted..A Coffee ChatMy Profile

  5. So brave for sharing your story about your son. So many things about your son reminds me a lot of my oldest. We cannot give up. They need help and they need us more than ever. It is frustrating and yes it sure does make it hard to bond with them but you are correct, you just have to bond with them in a different way. We just need better healthcare for metal illness and even more so for children with mental illness (or on the verge of being diagnosed). Just know that I feel for you and can relate on so many levels. Take care!
    Amanda recently posted..Iron Horse Bicycle ClassicMy Profile

    1. So, I have to ask how old is your oldest son now? Is he receiving treatment for anything? We are hopefully going to get more answers this week. I’m praying for a Christmas miracle, and that we will finally get his medication situation under control and that we will have some safe guards in place as school to help him learn coping mechanisms for his outbursts. Thank you so much and it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  6. E won’t be a statistic because he has a whole team of people supporting him. And because the world, our world, is going to change. It just has to. It must change because we all need it to be a place where our children are safe, no matter what diagnosis they have or don’t have. Change is coming, and it’s going to come on the hearts of parents who insist upon it. Changes in the way mental illness is defined and treated, changes in gun laws, and changes in media treatment of horrific incidents. The world has got to change and we’re the ones who will change it.
    IASoupMama recently posted..The RatioMy Profile

    1. So true…our world HAS to change. There is no way we as a human race can go on like this. And luckily there moms like us out there, because we will be the squeaky wheel that finally makes them fix the system. Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution for the mental illness issue {at least on a government scale}, but for control it becomes more black and white. My one consolation is that nothing stays the same, and that means changes is inevitable.

  7. Hugs and prayers, Brook. Your love for your son is loud and clear and he is blessed to have such a thoughtful and caring mother. Keep up the conversation and you will break down walls. Proud of you.

  8. I always knew you were physically strong, and now I know the underside of YOUR iceberg: you are a giant, powerful force in your children’s lives. A force for healing and love and hope. I cannot imagine what you working towards on a daily basis, but if I were there, I would tell you: Keep on, honey. Just keep on.

    And I’d hug you, too 🙂
    Sarah @ This Heavenly Life recently posted..SilenceMy Profile

  9. Keep fighting for him….and make sure you have supports in place for yourself! It is not easy to raise a child with special needs(our 11yo has autism). Dealing with kids when they don’t make sense is an intense challenge!
    Have you tried/considered dietary changes? For some kids, and adults, it can really help. My son is on a gluten, dairy and yeast free diet. I have another friend that swears by the Feingold diet.

    Hugs….and please take care of yourself. A little time for yourself makes you a healthier person when you have to deal with so much daily stress!
    Michelle

    1. Thanks you so much! I’ve contemplated the diet thing, however as a recovering anorexic I’m concerned with giving my son a complex about certain food and that they are “bad” for him. We try to eat clean as much as possible. It is hard for all of us, and I think once the new year rolls around my husband and I are going to a support group for parents. I’m hoping it will help feel less alone. Thanks again and have a GREAT holiday.

  10. Good blog. Although I’m not a parent yet I understand – mental illness is often misunderstood my most and no one seems to want to admit we are in a mental health crisis but they sure are quick to cry “gun control” as the answer to everything. I posted a blog post recently regarding this very topic.
    Jessica recently posted..My Thoughts on This Horrendous Tragedy…My Profile

    1. So very true. No one wants to acknowledge the mental health issue because unfortunately it’s not an easy fix. I’m going to pop over and read your post.

    1. Melinda thank you so VERY much. With each comment I received on this post my eyes welled up with tears. People have been so supportive and knowing I have people out there that will hold me up makes me fight even harder for my son. Thank you for your prayers. They mean the world to me.

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