Back again…let’s hope for the best

•March 10, 2010 • 1 Comment

Well, here we are going into spring. Finally. I believe the entire United States has been under a cold spell, even my friends in Southern Florida have been chilly. With this march into warmer weather came the end of my daughter’s stay at her residential home. She has moved in (once again) with my mother. In the old town they lived in before. It has started out decent, with both of them in a different state of mind. My daughter, for one, does not ever again want to go back to a residential home. She realizes that she has spent the last two years wasting time, mostly because of her attitude. Through alot of counseling, I think she has come to terms with a few things. In no way do I believe that everything is magically better, I will spend my whole life on ups and downs with her. But each day is one more day ahead than the day before, right? She is getting better at keeping her anger in check. She knows when she is getting mad and is able to verbalize it, which is awesome. Before, she would act out and hit either me, her grandmother or a wall. Now, she tells us that she is mad enough to hit the wall. That gives us enough time to deal with her, to try and get her mind of whatever problem is at hand. It is working with her and my mom. Now she still has some problems with me. She doesn’t come around, but we talk on the phone. She actually answers her phone when I call, which is a new thing. This past weekend she had to come stay with me because my mom was traveling for work. She was not happy about this and got pretty snippy with me. She does not transition well. We stuck to our guns, and once she was here, she was fine. We made pizza on Friday, went shopping and even went to visit my sister. This is stuff that she would never do before, so it was nice. I don’t know how long this will go on, but I am taking it while I can. She is also seeing a therapist where she lives and it is working out, too. She actually likes her, which is a first. I don’t know if you can feel my attitude just through text, but I am happier about it right now. I guess you could say we are climbing the hill right now. I hope it is a big hill, I would like to ride it up for awhile! I have had emails from mothers who have come across my blog and I read the pain they are going through. I want you to know that I hear you and I understand. It is nice to have a network, or just to be able to read what others are going through. We are not alone out there, even though door after door has been shut in our faces. You just pick yourself up and try another door. Another doctor. Another hospital. Another drug. It is mostly pain, with a little sun peaking through the clouds. I accepted a long time ago that my fairy tale of having the “perfect” daughter was not going to happen. But I hold on to a different dream now. She is moving on to 17 and maybe, just maybe, adulthood will be her specialty. Maybe college? Vocational school? Job? She may excel far beyond what we ever thought, or hoped she would. Hopefully she will prove me wrong. Right now I have been burned too many times. But I do know that deep down she has some amazing talents. She just needs to realize that using her talents would not be “giving in” to what I want. Hopefully she learns now that every decision she makes is for her future.


What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger..blah, blah, blah-right? It makes my husband mad to see me step and fetch for her when she is here, but these times are so few and far between, I want to hold on and savor every little smile or moment that I can. Time already went so fast, I feel robbed-like all mothers. But when I look back and most of the time has been negative, that is why I take any little form of love from her. I am sure you understand.

And so, for the time being, I have my daughter back in my life. I have her back in school. I have her in a therapy situation that she enjoys.

Let’s see how high the hill is before we come back down.



•December 12, 2009 • 4 Comments

Things were getting better. My marriage was getting worse, but I really believed that things were getting better with my daughter. We were going to counseling; she was even spending Friday nights with me. Still, there was a nagging fact that my mom overrode a lot of rules that I tried to instill. My daughter was beginning to come to terms that she was the one making the choices for her life. She knew that if she made bad choices, there were repercussions. All of the counselors and also my husband told me that my mom had too much influence in all of this, but I was not about to but her out. Not when she has helped me in so many ways. I have tried to make my parent role a  stronger role and in doing so, my daughter was getting the idea that I was not going to back down about what I said. But behind that, when it was just her and my mom, things were beginning to unravel. Little by little. I did not want to believe it; heck, I was letting go of my husband because I believed HIM to be the one trying to separate us all. My mom turned on her phone without asking me. This may seem petty, but I believe that she needs to earn everything now. That is the problem with so many kids these days; they are given everything and have to do nothing in order to get them. It is like they have the right to have a tv, a phone, a new car when they turn 16. Am I crazy, or have we as parents come into mad guilt about something in our lives, so much so that we have to justify everything with material items? Maybe it is because both parents work out of the home. Maybe it is because there are more reasons for kids to get in trouble. Maybe it is because there is nowhere for kids to go to get it out of their system. When I was younger, we could ride bikes through the country for hours, and come home exhausted from it. Now there are hardly any “country” or open areas to get out the energy and aggression.

I had the big fight with mom earlier. They came over and it was going to be a great Friday night. Ha. My daughter came in already angry because she found out that I confiscated the pack of cigarettes I found in her purse. The rule of this house is: I cannot control what you do when my eyes aren’t around, but if you bring it here–it is fair game and it is mine. I am going to parent and not sit around and allow my child to give herself lung cancer. I watched other family members go through it. If she chooses it at 18, well I can do nothing. But I can do something in the mean time.

So I was upset about that. I was upset about the phone situation without being asked. And my daughter already had this awful attitude. I knew what was going to happen. Once my mom left, my daughter would start WWIII on me; this is how it goes. It is the “other” personality coming out. If she acts this way, she is supposed to go back to her residential home. That is the rule that we all (staff, us, family, counselors) have come up with. But no, my mom was not having it. She started in on me, telling me that I ignore my daughter. That I am all over my husband. Oh, about that. Since my husband and I are on the out, we are hardly all over each other. Anyway, I cannot believe what she was saying and saying it with my daughter around. That just gives my daughter an arsenal to fight me with. This is disgusting behavior and I am so tired, I am throwing in the towel. I gave it a good run. I got her to 16 and a half. I told my mother to get out of my house and to take my daughter. Monday, I am going to start the paperwork necessary to give rights to my mom. If anyone thinks I am being callous; I have done all that I can and still I am the bad guy. For my mother to override me in front of my daughter told me everything. It will never work. I have been defeated. I appreciate all that you out there in the web have helped me with, given me advice. I still will be journaling, but I think it will be about self-healing. I have so much still inside to get out.

This is really, just the beginning.

Another Hill to Climb

•December 5, 2009 • 1 Comment

Just when I felt that something good might come around; a new year is approaching, a new prayer is on my mind. I have had my daughter at this latest school for 5 months now, and she is showing improvement. I finally got to see her (sort of) go through her first dance. She firmly let me know that it was a “formal luncheon”, it just had a band and a dance floor attached to it. She was excited about it-I helped her pick out a nice outfit and she was excited. The dance went great. She had a great time, she danced with all kinds of boys and girls (or, young adults, I guess!) and they had a nice afternoon of food and fun. There have been only 3 blowups in the last 3 weeks, and only two of them were getting out of control. This is a far cry from days not so long ago. She is learning how to identify her anger. She is trying to learn how to deal with it, but of course there are times when she is in the red and cannot get away from it. This is to be expected.

I am in a different place right now. I want her to be able to go out in a normal school, I really feel that she is ready. I really do. But my best friend, my husband, could not feel more opposite than I do. And it is breaking us apart. We do not look at each other any more with anything other than two people who are at odds, at war with each other. He thinks she needs to stay where she is and that she is just lying to me and I am desperately believing it. I need her to venture out in order to see if she is learning anything at all, doesn’t that make sense? You don’t know you can ride a bike until you try. He thinks that if she goes back to live with my mom and returns to the school that she once went to, well, I am not sure what he is thinking. I almost think he is more mad because its personal. Like he is losing a battle or something. But this is not a win-lose game. It is not a game at all. She asked me very carefully and very heart to heart if she could try again, try and show me what she has learned. She knows that she has wound up in these places because of choices she has made. Well, I will never know if she learned anything if I do not let her try again. He sees this as betrayal. I think he is done with our marriage. It is cold here, so cold. Like I never really knew him. It feels like I am in a bad dream and I don’t know what to do. This really is happening. Every time he looks at me, the look is so  x-ray like-like he is really seeing me for the first time and he does not like what he sees. It makes me feel dirty and not good enough. I do not feel love around him. Love stopped coming around here, you can feel it. I am in the weird position of having to choose between my daughter and my husband–how unreasonable and horrid is that???

He does not like when I make any decision with my mom about my daughter. He does not like my mom to be involved in her life. But she has always been involved, will always be involved. Especially when she can calm my daughter down better than me. For some reason, my daughter has always been better around my mom. He has decided that if my mom is going to allow her to live with her and go to school, then we should not be in their lives. Financially, or anything. I can’t do that. I am grateful that my mom wants to help me, but I am not turning my back-not on my daughter. For him, it is all or nothing. God, it hurts. He has no idea. He has no children of his own, he has no idea what it feels like to even go through something like this emotionally. I cannot even get him to understand. I am frustrated, scared and hurt. I want to make a decision with him, I really do. But his decisions would keep my daughter in a residential school for two more years. I can’t do that, I can’t! She can’t even come to our house without him and her blowing sky-high. And he goads her because he is so done with things, yet he wants total control. I don’t get it at all. Why would you want to make the rules, have control, but try your hardest to upset the person that needs to be micro managed and controlled? Don’t you think it would make more sense to want her to be calm? To try and acclimate her so that she is comfortable or has things to do? Instead, he mimics her, tells her no, keeps her from the teenage antics that she craves.

I don’t understand.

There is no love here. I don’t know if there ever was. The veil is lifting and it is a twisted, twisted world. I am in the middle of it and very scared. I don’t even know who I could talk to about it, because my best friend used to live in this house with me.

Ok, time to get serious!

•November 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday yielded a phone call that was (surprise) not the best. My mother had taken her to therapy, since we all decided that it was not going well when I took her. Of course, on the way back, I got The Phone Call. My mom was mad; she had missed her exit and with my daughter crying and whining in her ear, it was frustrating. I know all about this; I have been going through these types of drives for years. So, I helped my mom get back on track and then got on the phone with my daughter. This  call was not at the best time for me; I was getting ready for a psychiatrist appointment myself and also, I wanted to vote beforehand. By the way, I am an avid voter so this was important for me to not miss the poll time. Anyway, she was crying and telling me that I never listen and that she wanted to see her friends this weekend–you know, the same conversation. Now I am really not against her seeing this one particular girlfriend this weekend, really. I tried to be patient and listen to her. I feel bad that I am taking away her teenage years. This led me to think about the current situation that she is in. A situation that I am not happy about at all.

First of all, I have not been given the exact rules that the girl’s need to follow at the home. I have not been given a treatment plan, and it has been 6 weeks. I do not think that the medication she is on is helping her because the anger is there and is stronger than ever. This is why I feel that therapy is more important than medication, but they are not really giving her the type of therapy that I was first told she would get. What a mess! I have a meeting with a mental health associate that helped get her placed in this home, so I wrote a very long list of complaints. I feel accomplished, at least in getting on track about why I am miserable. I can’t wait to talk to her tonight. My mother has also scheduled an appointment with my daughter’s therapist at the home tomorrow and I am going. I feel like bringing the walls down around me. I swear, nothing has worked for years now. The only thing that has been positive about this experience is getting the knowledge of how F****ed up the mental health system is. This has caused me to change my major ( I am currently taking classes online). I am gong to be an advocate; a voice for those lost in the system. I know how frustrating it is to be a part of this-to be a parent that is only treading water to keep my head afloat. But the girls that have been placed in these homes by the state, well, they have no one but advocates to speak for them. This scares me. I want to be their voice; I want to make sure that they get what they need. It may not happen for a few years, but I know that I will put my heart and soul into it. A nurse that worked at a hospital my daughter stayed in for a while once told me that the reason almost all of the people who work in the mental health facilities work there because they have been affected personally in one way or another.

I believe that and, one day, I will join them in their quest to heal these young lives.

November What???

•November 4, 2009 • 1 Comment

It’s November already? Geez, time flies. I count time by the nightly phone calls that I have with my daughter. My days are filled with watching my niece and so time flies by; she is two months old and requires all of my time. But at 4 o’clock, when she is picked up, the timer begins. Decide what to make for dinner. Start dinner. My husband gets home, we eat and then I have an hour to do homework, all the while looking at the clock tick away until my phone time comes. I never know who it will be when she answers the phone. That is what sets me on edge. Will she be in a good mood and perhaps tell me about her day? Or will she hold me hostage on the phone, screaming about being there and being “shoved to the side because I don’t care”. Sometimes it is just begging to “go back to Washington”. It is very frustrating and the 15 minute call is very l-o-n-g.

Last Tuesday set my week up to fail. I picked her up to go to our weekly trauma therapy session. I was going to let her see her Dad over Halloween weekend. When she got into the car, however, I could see the light shining in her eyes. It was not a good day, and we had a 30 minute drive ahead of us. Oh, I want to be involved so bad, and at the same time it seems toxic when we are together. I know she would be better acting if I was not in the picture. But it cannot be that way. I am her mother and i will be there through thick and thin. I pray that one day she will understand. I was never around her to cause her pain; I was there to make sure that I did everything I could. Anyway, I digress (which I am very good at). She instantly started in on me about doing more and more and why can’t I just trust her and why can’t I just let her go? When she asks that, she means let her go forever. She believes that I should sign away my rights and let her walk away.

I cannot do that for obvious reasons. Reasons she does not understand. It is times like these that I fully understand her sickness. The fantasy world that she has built around her, it is scary. She screamed at me all of the way to the therapist and when we arrived, she would not get out of the car. It was pouring so hard, but he went out and talked to her through the window for about ten minutes before he convinced her to come in. Now, this is supposed to be trauma therapy, but every time we have gone he has had to calm her down just from the ride there with me. Ugh!

For the ride back, I had a special treat. I was scared that she was going to hit me or attack me so that we would run off of the road. It was kind of scary, I will say that. I decided then and there that she was not going to go to her Dad’s for the weekend; she was going to stay at the home to understand that she cannot talk to me or any elders like the way she talks. No respect, no responsibility at all for her behavior.

And so she stayed at the home. I went ahead and babysat my niece for Halloween, because I can never celebrate a holiday when I know that my daughter is not celebrating it. This is how it has been for the last few years now. I feel like I need to be on an even playing ground. It drives my husband crazy, but I am not changing that. It takes away a tiny bit of guilt that I carry seeing her like this. If only I had a confidant to help me through this sometimes. I have friends, of course, they are more than accommodating to listen if I need to talk. But I cannot fill their ears full of my pain when I am with them and it is supposed to be a celebration or party of sorts. You know? I am grateful that I have a few readers who write me and give me a push toward sanity. I thank you.

And so, Halloween came and went with no ripples or waves. I hid my head, like an ostrich in the ground. I am seeing my therapist this week and we are actually turning the conversation in a different direction. We are now going to deal with me, and me alone. How I feel about several things going on in my life.  Whereas I usually am not excited to go and regale her with tales from the week before, maybe now we can start to work on the guilt that has taken over my very existence. The guilt that follows me from room to room, telling me that if I had just….maybe things would be different. Maybe she would be smiling; maybe she would be laughing and living and loving.

I just don’t know…Anyway, hope you all had a great Halloween and now we are full steam ahead into November. I will be watching that clock tick…

One Year Past

•October 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday was the anniversary of my daughter’s best friend’s death. She was killed in a horrible car wreck and it has devastated my daughter every day since. She has talked non stop about it since the day it happened. Usually, children with this kind of mental disability tend to obsess over something, and death is severe to deal with for anyone. So this was particularly hard for her, and she has not wanted to talk with me about it as much as she wants to talk with her best friend’s family. My heart breaks for her, not understanding about what goes on after death. But then again, who does understand it?

Yesterday I took her out of the home she stays in and we went to the gravesite. We stopped and got roses and a teddy bear. The day was the most perfectly beautiful fall day, with the colors glowing brightly off of every leaf and a gentle breeze blowing a perfect 71 degrees. I walked her silently to the young girl’s grave, thinking how unjust it is when someone so young leaves this world. She sat down and wanted to be by herself to ponder and remember great moments with her friend, and so I left her for a while. I cried as I walked back to the car, hoping that some of the skills she has been learning lately would help her cope with the day. I drove down to a cafe a block away and waited for her call. She wanted to stay for a couple of hours and I was not going to say no.

The only problem with this perfect day is that it took place in Washington, our old town that has given me so much grief these past few years. And sure enough, she called shortly after and asked if she could just stay there and visit people. Of course the answer had to be no, she had a therapy session at three and I needed to have her back for dinner. Her therapists thought that it was of utmost importance that the one see her after such an occurrence in her day.

The day turned bad.

Like black clouds rolling in before a terrible storm, she started yelling at me on the phone. Telling me that I was ruining her day and that she had never  been thought of once by me; that all of the day’s plans were plans that I had made and not her. She hung up on me and then called me back and asked, no-told me to come get her. When a got there, she slammed the door and for an hour proceeded to scream at me.

I am a bad mother. I should have never given birth to her. I am a freak. I am crazy. She hates my guts. If she could slap my face off right now, she would. She wants to leave me and never see me again. I am useless and have never been there for her.

Now I know these are just words. I know it is the demon that lives deep inside her, not allowing her to control her emotions. But even knowing this, I could not help the tears that rolled down my face. How these words sting at me! She is 16 years old; old enough to know what she is saying. Old enough to know what buttons to push. How much longer will this go on?

We went on to therapy and she made it very clear that she did not want to see him. But she did and then we drove on to her residential home. With her yelling every vicious thing she could at me. We got there just as school was letting out and she refused to get out of the car. She just wanted to yell at me. She said I never listened. But all that I do is listen. And listen. It is the same circular conversation that has been going on for years. “Why don’t you let me go?” “Why don’t you let me live with my friend’s?” She would never make it a day on her own right now, but I can’t get her to understand. Anyway, I had to get her therapist on campus and her teacher to help me. They promised to have someone ready for her to talk to, and for her to be able to call a friend in her hometown that night.

I came home, somehow feeling defeated. It makes me want to stay away, but I will not. I will not be brought down, even though that demon wants me to. The demon inside her. I will defeat it, not the other way around. I just pray every day that tomorrow may be better. I have not talked to her yet today, but we shall see.

Thank You

•October 15, 2009 • 1 Comment

Friends, just a quick blog to thank you all who read this and support me. The great thing about the Web is that I could be walking right next to you and never know that you have been my guardian angel, my support through all of this. It truly means so much. It helps when times are rough. Yes, I have listened. Times were tough and no, I will not emancipate her. I am stepping back (once again) and my mom is coming up to bat. She will be calling her and going to visit her. The great thing about this place is that they encourage visits, not prohibit them. So she can be visited whenever-through the week or on weekends. We choose and I really fell like no one is a prisoner. Some residential facilities that we have been to have tight rules and it takes the power of parenting out of your hands, which can scare you to death. So for now, I will listen to my husband and my family and also to you–my faceless friends who read and give me advice. I sometimes feel that I come off as cold, but I am not. I know that one day these parts of her life will help her and I will stand back in glory as she makes decisions in her life that count.

One update worth mentioning: She told my mother yesterday that therapy was “good”. Not “ok” or “fine”, but “good”. This in itself shows that she is liking one of her therapists-that he is slowly doing something that is working. Another awesome achievement: they have been playing volleyball at her school and they are forming a team. Tryouts are the 22nd and she told my mom that she may be trying out!!! Glory day!!! This is one step forward, one step towards building self worth and self esteem!! So you are right; she needs this. I just need to give her her space to figure things out and in the long run I know she will come out a winner 🙂

Have an awesome day!