The struggle for parents with a mentally ill child is sadly much the same today as it was when we fought to keep our family together years ago.
A few examples:
One day, (15 yrs ago) after 11 yr old Ben had cut up my entire wardrobe, I sat on the kitchen floor calling 43 different numbers.. each one passing me to another place. My husband had to quit his job to help with the things that were going on in our home… so the responses were “No insurance? Call here and try…” “Nobody’s bleeding? Call here…” “You wont sign him over to the state? Here…” “He hasn’t really done anything?…”
Another time I called a meeting with the school counselor, his teachers, the principal… and I actually said the words, “I just don’t want another Columbine.” To which they said, “His behavior is just fine here. A model student, we don’t see any problems. We cant do anything unless he has a specific diagnosis and plan.”
Called a meeting with 4 church leaders and their wives. “Sign him over to the state. You have given EVERYTHING physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually. None of us could have held on this long.”
We also heard things like, “If you were holier” “He will be fine, he couldn’t be in a more loving home!” and so much more…. and we had therapists quit us because he could charm the socks off from them… then talked about it with me.
He begged to be healed!
Finally found a doctor to dx him at 13… Schizophrenia, Childhood Onset Bipolar Disorder, DID, blah blah blah. They just drugged him.
Found a church who did love us well through the next few years of crisis. God’s goodness in the land of the living!
Our Ben was a precious, precocious, amazing, comical, gifted kid. He just needed very intentional attachment parenting, constant supervision, and to be taught/shown how to give and receive LOVE. We blindly did all of that, took him off the drugs and he was more clear-minded at 14 than he was his entire life.
He was then dx’d with Severe Aplastic Anemia (very similar to what Robin Roberts just went through) which was most likely caused by his year on the psychiatric meds, however, he battled that for 1 year and 5 days before passing away.
Those are just a few small instances. But when you have a child with these difficulties, the family doesn’t see the years of struggle, not the weeks of desperation, the minutes of survival, the few instances… but it is like you hear the second hand on the clock tick ticking, and wonder when will help arrive? What will the support look like?
When these shooting tragedies happen, I always think of the mother of the shooter. What were the years like as she heard the second hand clicking away and what avenues had she tried as she searched for help?
Thank you for speaking about the realities as I have never heard before. You really get it.