Over the past few years it seems there have been some intense ups and downs in my life and I guess one of the good thing that comes out of it is that I am learning how my body deals with lifes major stressors.
With minor stressors, I am totally a food coper- I eat my way through the stress and tend to come out a little heavier, but a happier person on the other side.
However when it comes to major stress, like I am currently dealing with for Matthew, my body basically goes through a stress cycle. First for a few days I am too upset to eat. As someone who often copes with stress by eating, this is a very sad state of reality. I can go days at a time subsisting on bananas.... a food I am not usually fond of...but one that gets me through intense stress.
Then it seems I have to have at least one day that is full of hot fudge and peanut butter- some ice cream just to provide purpose for the fudge and ice cream, but really the ice cream is not a true necessity.
And finally, thanks to my irratible bowel, I have a few days of intense stomach illness....these days I really just need to be in bed. This is when I might finally cry, or at least allow myself some time to deal with all that has occurred, it is basically like my body screams and yells until I am so sick to my stomach that I have no choice but to slow down and take a few hours to myself.
Since Friday I have still not cried, I have still not eaten much, I have still not allowed myself to cope with the reality that I have a son with not only a developmental delay but also a mental illness. I am not sure when or how I am going to let myself deal with that fact. I do know that we are in trouble- a good friend brought me a pint of Ben and Jerry's and it is going on day 4 in the freezer unopened. It is not that I have not thought about that pint of ice cream, but rather I am still not even at the point where it sounds good. For a plus size person, that is a sad statement.
Matthew's school has been good to me this week- they have provided a little extra communication, and been very, very supportive.
We saw Matthew's psychiatrist on Monday and she prescribed Lithium for him. I can't bear to research this medication. To me this drug is a sign that my son is ill....very, very ill and this makes me sad. I know that it is a medication that has been around a long time. And I am sure that it is something that is safe for him. It is just that it is a medication that is known to me as being for people who have true mental illness and I am not at that point of acceptance yet.
What happened to my 2 year old who made the world laugh? What happened to my little boy? How did we get here? What will become of him? Why God? Why us? Why me? Why Matthew...sweet Matthew?
For now Matthew is happy, very, very happy! I am trying to get there- to balance my frustration. To realize how little control he has over all that goes on. To appreciate him being happy is better than him being angry. But it is hard. When Matthew is like this he is up early. He appreciates the birds singing. He wants me up with him. He wants to call his Bubbe (grandma) early in the morning. Now I no longer have to worry about all the food he is eating- that has slowed, but rather I need to police who he is calling, cause he wants to talk all the time. He wants to feel connected- he wants to show off his music.....he would call my parents at 3 AM if I let him. He would call anyone and everyone he knows- the world is invited to his baseball game on Saturday....everyone he knows is invited to his house- he is happy! He is excited! This is the other Matthew that lives with me!
The only blessing in all of this is I am starting to see the patterns. Happy matthew calls his grandma daily. He speaks to her dog and loves it. He plays his drums. He wants to share about his day.
When we are entering a dark or more aggressive period, he no longer calls his grandma, I actually can't get him on the phone with her. A week before "the incident", my parents were at the house and Matthew essentially ignored them and chose to ride his back rather than being with them. I figured maybe he was just outgrowing his constant need to be with them....now I wish that was the case. In his darker days, he doesnt play drums. Instead he zooms his cars back and forth in the play room.
If I can catch the rhythm at least I will know when to contact the doctor. I can stop blaming him for his "misbehavior" and rather I can realize that this is a call for help. Figuring it out is half the battle.....I know that somewhere inside of me....but in my heart, I am sad, and so wishing that he didnt have these ups and downs. But writing this down if nothing else will provide me with the knowledge that Matthew does have cycles, and ups and downs, and if I can figure them out then maybe we can support him medically and then it will all be easier.
If this can be easier, maybe understanding it is the first step.
- I am a single mom of three amazing boys! All three of my sons entered my family through adoption. All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!