This sums up my feelings about “The Most Wonderful Time of Year”
Jingle, jingle is the actual sound my head makes when I tilt it from one side to another. There’s too much clutter rattling around in there. I have so much to say and so many ways I could say it.
In the lead, I took my teen daughter to the doctor last Thursday and his opinion was to have her placed into the care of a hospital. I drove her there after stopping in at home for her to pack a bag. This facility was different from the last. The location and the general feeling of the place were both different. They had less availability for visitation and it was slightly further from our house.
Friday morning, I cancelled my train tickets to the race in St. Louis and I arranged for my race bag to be picked up by someone who lives in the same town so I could get my ‘goodies’ despite not being there. I mourned the weekend that may have been a fun time away from my kids and housework. I was sad that I didn’t get to give my friend her gift that I’m still looking forward to her reaction when she opens. It was really well thought out. I broke down a couple of times through the weekend seeing the fun that people were having there and that my friend wasn’t going to have me with her this time for what would have been our first 15k race.
Friday night, my husband and I didn’t hear from the teen. I was disappointed, but figured that she needed to settle in before calling. Saturday evening, my husband went for a visit. He called on his way home saying that she wasn’t attending groups because they kept being canceled, she only saw the doctor briefly and he didn’t even talk with her, and that her roommate found a screw and tried to hurt herself with it. I immediately made an emergency call to her psychiatrist who called me back a couple of hours later. He reminded me that we checked her in to a facility to keep her safe and that she was safe and that my other concerns could be addressed during the week. For some reason, that was incredibly helpful and I felt a little bad for having him paged. After speaking with the case worker, we discovered that groups were optional and not being attended by her. I was still a little upset with the facility when they wouldn’t let her talk to my mom on the phone and wouldn’t email me a form to give permission. When I found the form online and faxed it to them from my email, I felt like the facility was disorganized and not trying to help me at all.
We scheduled our family meeting for Wednesday and we had my mom come to our house to watch the smaller kids while we went to meet with our daughter and the case worker. We were tentative about the meeting since she’d been so eager to tell us how terrible the facility was and our impression was not positive. At the family meeting, we met the case worker. He wanted to hold her accountable for her actions, make sure that the words she used to describe what she’d learned actually held weight with actions, and he wanted her to express her feelings. He saw through much of the things that seemed to have been easily missed at the last facility. He explained to my husband and I that he wanted to see less impulsive reactions to emotion and less hopelessness when a situation was not within her control. So when he told her that she would not being coming home with us until Friday or Monday, she was visibly upset. She assured us that she was “fine,” but he pressed on to ask her real emotion. She settled on disappointment. As we left the meeting, the case worker asked us to press her to talk to us about things that might be emotional on the phone later that night. When we called, we started to press on after exchanging pleasantries and she disconnected the call after we tried to press on. The next day, the case worker informed me that a Friday release was looking more like Monday due to the communication breakdown. I realized that her negative reaction was a direct result of her accountability and that the treatment was more effective than I’d been thinking. She was upset because they were handling and addressing the problems head on.
When I visited yesterday, I had a special exception from the case worker to visit on a non visit day. I brought her bi-weekly inflammatory bowel disease medicine shot with me and I sat down and talked to her for an hour. She still expressed disdain for the facility. I maintained that they want to help her. She said she couldn’t wait to get out Monday. I kept most of the conversation light, but I mentioned to her that it isn’t easy to trust someone who you love after they’ve hurt you and there was a long road ahead. I had to explain to her that didn’t mean I didn’t love her. It meant that she’d damaged the trust and I hoped to see positive change in her. Some things in the way of conversation were complaints about fellow patients, comparison of herself to others who she saw as “really crazy”, and her insisting that everyone will be released on Monday because of the upcoming holiday.
I try to keep up a positive outlook on the situation that she is going to come home and she’ll be safe because she’ll no longer want to hurt herself. Then, there’s the part of me that knows she’ll come home and we’ll still be on constant watch. This isn’t just about her feeling hopeless. This is about impulsive behavior like trying to kill herself. This is about abusing prescription medication and alcohol. This is about things that happen when we aren’t watching and that we can’t always see what’s happening and something did happen when we thought we had a pretty good grip on what was going on in her life.
I’m feeling more anxious lately. I manage to get out and run on schedule unless there is an emergency (like taking her to the facility last week). I realize how much I need to go out more often and I’m actually taking steps to make sure I put myself on a schedule so I stick to it. I gained about 6 pounds in the past couple of weeks. I’ve felt tired on most days and like I’m forcing myself to finish the most basic chores like dishes, cooking, and laundry. I’m just not quite myself and I’m more easily annoyed and upset.
I’ve requested that my daughter join an activity, preferably a sport, once released. This was part of the family meeting on Wednesday. She used to run track and cross-country. Before that, she played soccer. She had a rough go, and I know that needs some grace on my part. That also means that I will need to be more proactive to assure her safety. Which will probably lead so some level of resentment from her that I’m not looking forward to receiving, but at least that means I’m not an enabler.
While I was going to hold off on this until her release, I am filled with so many conflicting feelings and thoughts, I need to just get it out and really give it a look.
I know many people aren’t feeling like they’re into the holiday spirit. I’m not exactly someone who gets excited about Christmas. I’d say if you’re feeling empty, there is nothing like giving an anonymous gift to someone totally deserving. You can even do it more than once. It doesn’t have to be a total stranger and it doesn’t have to be expensive. You could bring some cups of hot cocoa out to the garbage men or the mail carrier. Just remember to be kind to others. It goes a long way in how you feel about yourself.
Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. Otherwise, enjoy your week! The first official day of winter is near and here come the months where it gets frigid and people start to feel lonely. Don’t forget your friends and don’t forget your fitness this winter.