It’s four in the morning and I have been wasting time scrolling through Facebook. For over a week I have been wasting time on Facebook, on solitaire. I will tell myself I am too tired to write but then spend hours burning my eyes out of their sockets staring at my computer screen engaging in moronic pursuits. Why is that? Why is solving a cryptogram more important to me than writing down my thoughts?
And there are many thoughts for me to write down.
Parrish appears to be emerging from the funk that engulfed him when he got out of jail and realized that there was no reward waiting for him. At first depressed and withdrawn and on the edge of hostility, he is now accepting of the fact that he must make a life for himself that does not include living with me.
Last Wednesday, after an aborted attempt to see a psychiatrist or at least a nurse practitioner, at Gateway, I took him to the ER. He was out of lithium, the only drug he’s been on since being released from detention. Because a nurse called in sick, or so the story went, the personnel at Gateway were unable to see P for his scheduled appointment, and when he explained that he was completely out of meds and was on the verge of crisis, they referred him to the ER.
When we arrived at the hospital, Parrish was visibly manic and I watched the mania escalate in a matter of half an hour. He was frightened, afraid he wouldn’t get the medicine he needs, even more frightened that he would drink if he didn’t. He wanted to see the doctor alone, and I didn’t protest. Learning the accept what might or might not happen has been a hard lesson for me, but I have finally reached a place in my personal development where I can tamper my desire to make things right for Parrish.
Years of trying to manage him were an exercise in futility, yet I continued to make the same mistakes time and time again , year after year. Trying to run his life did nothing to make it better and ultimately ended in disappointment for me. I was even so foolish as to try to break up his relationship with a woman I knew to be toxic for him. My feelings stayed hurt for years because P could not handle his illness and his life and I could not do them for him.
In June, when he tried to kill himself, something happened inside me. I cannot name it, but there was a profound change in my own desire to live. After four years of paralyzing grief and depression, I experienced a new desire to live, but I wanted more. I wanted to thrive. Was that because Parrish came so close to death?
I could have let him die. He begged me to let him die, and it is only now that I begin to write down my feelings, write down the events of those weeks when he was hospitalized. The other day I looked back through my journal entries for this year, and there are none from the day he was hospitalized on June 19, until I was here on Saint Simons on July 20, to find a place to live.
I need to back up, revisit those weeks and write it all down now. Why did it take all these months? I suppose it was some sort of psychological defense mechanism. I talked to Ann Carol and Sondralyn about it. I talked to my friends about it, but I did not write it down. At least, if I did, I don’t remember it and cannot not find any evidence of it in my journal. I didn’t write a blog post about him and the events in our lives between April and September, and as soon as he got arrested, I stopped writing about it again.
I didn't stop writing; I stopped writing about him. In future posts, I will tell that story.
At the hospital, a physician gave P a dose an anti-anxiety medicine, prescribed Celexa and Elavil and Valium and gave him a week’s worth of each, and in three days he was more stable and began letting go of his resentment and started to be grateful for the things that are right in his life. On that day, I reminded him that he experienced a miracle on the day his daddy and I joined forces in support of him. In the previous weeks, he seemed resentful of the fact that we were on the same side after all these years. I believe in my heart that, without proper medication, his illness was fueling his life, his feelings, his inability to understand how fortunate he is. I don’t blame him. I can’t blame him for being sick. He can no more help being sick than and diabetic can.
The difference now is that, by some miracle, I have internalized the idea that I cannot fix him. Hell, I’ve been saying that for years, but for whatever reason, I now believe it. I have unhooked my happiness from his. I want more than anything for him to be sober and properly medicated and reasonably happy, but if he is not, I will live my life as fully as I can in spite of his troubles.
The ER staff made Parrish an emergency appointment at Gateway for the next day, and that appointment led to another on Monday, the day before yesterday. Because we got him moved into an extended stay hotel on Sunday, he was able to walk to that appointment. Beginning in late January, he will see a private psychiatrist who will monitor his illness much more efficiently than a public health facility can.
I have not abandoned him and neither has his father. He checks on P regularly. I have told Parrish for years that as long as he is actively working on managing his illness and is sober, I will do everything that is reasonable to support him in living the best life he can live.
During the first two weeks after his release from jail, I took him to the Social Security office to apply for his disability benefits to be reinstated. We applied for a new Social Security card and went to Driver’s Services to obtain a picture ID for him. Both are now in his wallet, along with his Medicaid card. In the past, I kept all of those things in my wallet, afraid he would lose them, and with good reason. He may lose them this time, but they are his to lose, not mine. I cannot run his life for him. His disability benefits will now come to me, and for a time, anyway, I will handle his money. I expect that to change. I expect Parrish to stay sober and prove to himself and to his father and me that he is responsible enough to manage his own money. That will come with time.
For now, I need to get some sleep. I am cooking Christmas dinner for my son. I’ll go pick him up at his little efficiency and bring him over here and we will cook together and enjoy a Christmas meal for the first time in more years that I care to count.
© 2013 cj Schlottman