I realized I haven’t posted since January. I started a new job at the end of January – and it’s been quite lovely. Busy – but lovely – not only a source of independent income, but also a respite away from the house. Something productive to do.
And while that part of me is going well, the home front is not so smooth. In February I went back into therapy. A month later husband and I went into marital counseling. It’s now mid-June and tomorrow my son and I move into our own apartment.
It is a decision that is equally easy and disheartening.
My son (almost 40) has anxiety disorder and rapid cycling type 2 bi-polar disorder. He started his descent about 10 years ago when he could not explain his depressions. 5 years into therapy he was diagnosed. 2 years ago he spiraled for the first time under the pressure of a job that was requiring 12 hours a day, 6 and 7 days a week, and a wife not working and still in recovery from a traumatic brain injury 2 years before that. (I started this blog while staying with them in NYC when she was in the hospital)
His depressions and anxiety render him for the most part incapacitated – unable to make decisions, to find motivation to conduct his personal business without encouragement.
As with many who are diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, he started self-medicating with cocaine a few years ago “for the release” it brought him from the anxiety when his prescribed cocktail of psychotropic drugs wasn’t working. He lost his job in NYC, found another in another state where he went alone, without his wife and knowing no-one else. Got arrested two weeks later for possession, did not pass probation on the new job and ended up a month later back in NYC homeless for all intents and purposes.
A little over a year ago we (my husband, not my son’s dad) brought him home. I got him on medical care for no- and low-income people and into a mental health day program. Through a friend of mine he got a part-time restaurant server job (something he had done well in his early college days).
Within a few months it became apparent that my husband held no interest in learning about the ramifications of anxiety disorders and bi-polar disorder with it’s manic (never sleep) and depressive (sleep for days) episodes; why it was necessary for me to make sure (repeatedly) that my son was awake in time to get to work and programs when his anxiety or depression or sleep deprivation overwhelmed him; or why when his anxiety disorder kicks in, he emotionally shuts down.
All he can see is a 40-year old male who 2 years ago was earning $90K a year and was perfectly independent and functional now being what he considers useless, coddled and a free-loader. And he made no bones about sharing his opinion.
Long story getting too long, over the last 6 months or so my son has become emotionally homeless. He doesn’t feel comfortable in what is supposed to be his home and stays away as much as possible. When he is home, he walks on ice for fear of my husband getting angry for who knows what reason.
When my husband said a month or so ago that it was time for my son to leave, I told him that was no problem – that I would be finding a place for my son and I to live. My son’s mental health and need for a SAFE, STABLE, LOVING ENVIRONMENT exceeds my capability to throw him out to fend for himself.
Our marriage counselor actually agreed with me and felt that might be the best thing to do right now. For all three of us.
Will this be permanent? Temporary? I don’t know because the issues this situation has brought up in our husband/wife relationship and our differing core values about family in general, have to be considered, evaluated and some decision on how we go forward explored.
My income allows me to provide what I need to for my family. My children (yes, my daughter, too, though she lives independently with her 2 teenage sons and fiance) did not ask to have mental illness issues (both have anxiety disorders and bi-polar disorder, and my daughter has stress-triggered migraines and epileptic seizures) – it is a genetic and environmental disaster from their father and his birth mother (who gave him up for adoption at birth) who both had manic/depressive disorders. I will not abandon my children.
I also respect in all of this that where I live is my husband’s home. He is not capable of understanding or dealing with something I have dealt with all my adult life at some level. I cannot expect him to understand a path he has not walked. I cannot seem to help him understand that for my son, his path of mental illness is still unfolding.
I am hoping that in time my son will be emotionally more stable and regain some of the confidence he once had. I pray he finds a path to a fulfilling, peaceful and independent life. But if it turns out that his best chance for a normal life is with me in the picture, that is where I will be.
Namaste to you – who deal with difficult decisions and situations in your lives and yet on the outside appear normal …. namaste. I honor you.