I am not writing this because I want your sympathy or because I need you to worry about us, but rather I am writing it because I simply can't talk about it all right now. When I can't talk, I can write, and when I can write I can share what is going on inside my family without feeling judged as much as when I have to explain it to you to get you to understand.
It has been over a year since Matthew has been in a hospital and it is my hope right now that we can keep moving forward. It has been just under a year since Matthew was in Healy house, a place that allows all of us a 3 week respite, and today I made the call to get him on the waiting list to go back. Tonight however I realized that my son is struggling more than I had thought. Tonight I realized that like everything in life there is a cycle to Matthew's ups and downs and we are heading down rather quickly.
It started a few weeks ago, he would get more upset than usual about little things. He was food hording and obsessing and I thought it was just a phase. I assumed it would pass. Then he and I started arguing more....I would say black and he would say white. I would say up and he would say down. Then on Thursday he got angry and got a little bit physical with me. Nothing major, he just threw a toy. Then we had a fabulous weekend. I thought for sure things were looking up. We had a wonderful time with my extended family and I thought the cycle had ended.
On Monday we were home for Veteran's day and things were going so well that I kept Matthew home for the day rather than sending him to the YMCA for a child care program. Then at around 1:30 things started to plummet. I went to the car to tke the boys on a playdate and I told him it was time to come. He was in the house for a few more minutes and said he was looking for his Ipod. Turned out he came out to the car with his pockets full of food. I hadn't locked the lock box because we were leaving.
I told him that he had made a bad choice and he started to kick and hit. I told him he would sit at the playground and he screamed. He got out of the car at the playground but then when I was firm and told him to go back, he went back. I still thought maybe we would be ok. After the playdate where things went pretty well, we went to the grocery store. Jacob and David wanted a cookie at the grocery store. I had the internal mom fight- it wasn't fair that they couldnt have a cookie, but Matthew had been told he couldnt have one as part of the consequence of putting all of the junk food in his pockets. I knew giving them a cookie would cause a tantrum, but was it fair to deny the other 2 a cookie? It was the grocery store routine. I got them both a cookie and Matthew said he understood, and then out of nowhere his anger took over and he kicked and screamed. The panic that takes over the other 2 in these moments is so intense. It is not normal to block your child with a grocery cart so he doesn't hurt your other children. But for a child with FAS, anger is anger and when he is angry Matthew sees no consequences to his actions. As quickly as the anger came on, the anger subsided and matthew cried and apologized and it was over.
Today things had gone well in the morning. I thought we were doing well. I went to pick up Matthew and Jacob from the YMCA after school and there had been an announcement that there was to be a pizza party on Wednesday at the Y. Matthew doesn't go to the YMCA on Wednesday, Matthew goes to Hebrew school. As soon as I walked in, I could see he was stewing. I knew he was upset, and it only took a moment to find out why. He wanted pizza on Wednesday, he didnt care about hebrew school. He didnt care about anything. He wanted pizza and that was all he could see.
I was firm, I was calm, I was patient. He had hebrew school, he would have pizza another time. No, I would not change my mind. No, he could not stay home from hebrew school for pizza. We walked to the car and he hit me. We walked to the car and he kicked my leg and screamed curse words that you would usually hear from a sailor. We walked to the car and I held Jacob's hand and reassured him.
Finally, after what seemed like forever he got in the car, and after a few moments he cried and cried. The tears of a person with a mental illness. The tears of a person who cannot control themselves. The tears that break a moms heart. The tears that tell me he needs help. The psychiatrist is away until Monday. We have an appointment on Wednesday, but will it be soon enough? Will the darkness go away as fast as it has come? He missed last Thanksgiving with us. Will he be safe enough to be with us this year? Where is there help? I hate to go down this dark road again. I hate to see him struggle with is demons.
We will be ok, I know that. I know that mental illness is like any other disease and I will get Matthew the help he needs. I will keep life consistent for David and Jacob and myself because we deserve that. I will get Matthew help and stay calm and be patient because that will help him. I am hoping that we can make it to the appointment with the psychiatrist on Wednesday, that she will make a medication change and he will feel better. I hate to see him shake with tears, and to know that he hates exploding with rage but at the same time he cannot seem to stop himself.
- 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!