Happy Birthday to my Son

My son, Chris, turns thirty today.  I can’t believe I have a son that old!  I don’t know how it happens, but he gets older and I don’t!

This is a long post, but my heart is very heavy today and I am struggling.  I wanted to not embarrass him with this story, but honor him.

He has struggled so much in his life.  When he was about five, I noticed he developed what seemed to be strange habits.  He would roll his eyes around rapidly a lot.  He breathed funny.  He was pretty high strung.  All of his doctor appointments checked out fine, though, so I didn’t worry too much.  It all became much worse after the accident.  We lost my husband and oldest son in an auto accident, and it really devastated him.  It did us all, of course, but it seemed to hit Chris the hardest.  He lost so much weight, he looked like a stick kid.  He had circles under his eyes.  He became so angry and would go on rampages and beat his fists on me.  It was terrible!

He did eventually calm down but his strange habits got worse.  Still, the doctor said he was fine, just going through mourning.  He was doing well in school.  He is a bright person and school was very easy for him.  That is, until 6th grade.  I noticed he was struggling more and complained of headaches.  He was having a lot of trouble reading.  He said it made him sick.  The teacher suggested putting a yellow plastic see-through cover over the pages so the pages were not so bright.  She said it helped some kids.  We tried that, but he hated reading any type of book.

Then, when 7th grade started, he went down hill fast.  He hated school and would silently cry as I took him in the morning.  He was always a tough kid and rarely cried, so it broke my heart.  I felt like the meanest person on earth making him go, but what could I do?  He wouldn’t talk to me about what was going on.  By the end of the first quarter, he was failing a lot of his classes.  I was called into a meeting and it did not go well.  Chris became extremely depressed and again lost a ton of weight.  His ribs stood out and he developed bruising up and down his spine.  I took him to the doctor and they could find nothing wrong, except to say he needed to put on weight.  I took him to another doctor for a second opinion, and he talked to Chris for a very long time.  It turned out that he told this doctor that he wanted to die.  He was suicidal.  He had no idea what was wrong with him, but everything was hard.  The doctor’s suggestion was to remove him from school for a while and teach him at home to allow him to recover.  So, I did.

It is incredibly hard to home school when you have to work full-time!  I did my best and it helped that he has always been a bright person.  He did better for a while, but then things got bad again.  He would have periods of time that his heart would race and he felt like he was going to pass out.  His strange habits got so bad that he was miserable.  Nobody could tell us what was wrong.  I took him to doctors, and they checked everything, including his heart.  They did discover he has a murmur, but that did not explain a lot of other symptoms.

As he got older, he started using finger nail clippers and other sharp objects to tear off the skin around his finger nails.  He would hide is hands and keep his fingers curled into fists so I couldn’t see them.  When I discovered what was going on, I was so lost as to what to do!  Then, he developed a huge fear of being in a car.  He would not ride in a car for over a year.  If he tried, he would try to bail out of the car as we were driving!  At one point, I had to pull over and let him out so he could calm down.  He collapsed saying his heart was beating too fast.  I finally got him to the emergency room and they said he had a panic attack.  Even though he was 19 at the time, a social worker gave me a good questioning, and was very concerned there was abuse in the family.  I wanted to punch her.

They were able to recommend a different doctor, so we made the appointment.  She finally put a name to the problem.  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  For those who think this is not a real disease, I will slap you silly.  It can destroy you!  I have had people say such things as…”He can stop it if he wants to.  It’s his choice to act this way” or even do an eye roll and say, “Everyone has an excuse for not working.”  Oh, and the ever popular, “He just needs to get over it.”

He does do better because he is on medication.  He could use therapy, but at about $100/hour that is not possible.  We tried to get financial help so he can get therapy, but was told OCD is not a disability.  I beg to differ.  Only people who have never experienced it could say that.  We just wanted help to get him therapy so he can work!

So, we got busy doing our own research on how to handle this.  He has worked hard over the last nine years to be able to function again.  He still has a lot of issues, and always will, but he is so much better.  Now that he feels he can do a job on his own, he can’t find one.  Over the last year, he has applied for many jobs and hasn’t even been called in for an interview.  He does well with kids and they adore him.  The problem is most people won’t even let him try because he’s a man.  It really makes me mad.

Chris is a huge-hearted and kind man.  He is smart and a hard worker.  He tries to protect me and helps me with everything.  He handles most of the yard work and is always quick to come to my aid if I need anything.  So, Chris, I hope you have a wonderful birthday!  I love and respect you so much!

Your mom

Kathy (aka Granny K)

Feeling Blue

Usually, when I get my sad times, I keep to myself.  I try to keep my little blog as light-hearted as possible.  Once in a while, the thoughts just need to come out, though.

I used to love July 4th!  I would bring my family to my mother’s house and the whole family would gather for a BBQ and fireworks.  It was so fun and I looked forward to it all year long.

As with every family, over the years things change.  What I am experiencing is no different than what everyone has to face, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.  One by one, my family is dying off.  No more parents, grandparents, husband, and even my baby brother and oldest son are gone.  My children are grown and the magic of holidays is gone.  There seems to be very little to look forward to.  This year, it has been especially hard for me.  I have been fighting a depression this week.  I am having a very hard time pushing it away.  I miss my family so much and my heart hurts.

I will get better soon, I always do.

I found myself jotting down some thoughts.  I didn’t let myself really think as I wrote, I just let emotions guide me.

Holding hands with memories

hoping to find the light

that faded with death

Darkness steals my soul

trying to laugh at my past

and take my future

Times of happiness gone

taking with it my smile

and will to keep trying

I am only a fraction of

the person I used to be

Sadness has a heavy price

Yet, there must still be hope

living out there somewhere

waiting for me to find it

I will keep looking for it

but safely from behind the wall

I created to protect myself

Sorry for the heavy post.  Maybe by posting it, I will get rid of the sadness!

Next time I will post something cheery and light.

GrannyK