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Friday, February 25, 2011

One Step Forward.....Three Steps Back

Over the last few weeks I've been increasingly concerned that Josh was slipping towards another manic episode.

His behavior at times has been very reminiscent of the behavior he exhibited at the beginning of his slide into his first manic episode.

This young man who texts me, "Yea"..."OK"...."Love ya", suddenly one day began texting me these LONG (but very coherent) texts. It was weird. Then he exploded on me that one day, and then he began talking about symbolism in some books, and when he was headed toward mania before he became VERY interested in dissecting books, movies and art for it's symbolism.

I left on a short vacation and was unsettled about how he was doing. He wasn't sleeping well at all and all these little things that had happened were niggling at me.

While I was gone I kept in touch and he said he was sleeping better. When I got home I talked to him briefly and he sounded OK.

And then today I got a text from him, "We don't need to worry about doing the insurance application, I quit my job."

Well crap!

I asked why.

"It was a shit job and it didn't pay enough."

"Well, did something happen that made you quit?"

"Yes, and we'll talk about that when I see you tomorrow."

I'll be interested to hear what happened. My first thought was that he didn't quit, that he'd gotten fired; you know, maybe he was acting screwy at work last week or something.

The reality is that no matter WHAT job he might find, it's gonna pay NOTHING and be a menial job. At some point he's gonna have to get on board with staying somewhere long enough to move UP. He worked at that big box (going bankrupt) video store for several years, so I know he CAN do long term employment, but he never took advantage of the opportunities there for advancement. Quite the opposite really. He refused to work more than 15-20 hours a week and I really don't think he was their model employee.

So I guess we wait and see what he pulls out of his hat next. I know I'll be able to gauge his real state of mind by spending some time with him tomorrow, and I hope I'm not distressed by what I see.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Yesterday I received a text from Josh, basically apologizing for flipping out on me the other day. He said that his books were important to him because he's trying to improve himself and he felt that I 'didn't care'. He mentioned that both his father and I didn't see the books as that important, but he did, "but in summation, sorry I flipped out on you."

Maybe I've been through so much with the kid that I read too much in both the 'good' things I see happening and the 'worrisome' things, but him apologizing to me for his behavior? THAT hasn't happened for over a year.

Prior to Josh's suicide 'attempt' and his Bipolar diagnosis, he would occasionally get really mad at me for no really good reason and flip out like he did this past Sunday. But back then, he would ALWAYS come back to me later and apologize, once he'd calmed down.

During the last year or so he has treated me terribly, and instead of ever feeling remorse and apologizing, he would bring it up later and defend himself because *MY* actions warranted his behavior.

So his apology to me hit me as a 'glimmer of hope'.

I had called his dad to inform him of Josh's behavior at my house and asked him to keep a close eye on Josh. He said that Josh had been having sleep problems, but he would look out for the signs that would indicate a problem starting. I imagine he had a talk with Josh about the books and his behavior towards me. I imagine that talk illustrated to Josh that his behavior was inappropriate, and it heartens me that my ex can at least talk to Josh in a way that allows Josh to hear him and reassess his behavior.

He went to the doctor yesterday and she gave him a three month prescription for Adderall and told him he could call in three months for another three month refill, then after that he'd have to see her again.

He said he paid for the doctor visit (progress!) but he got his refill using our autopay (that goes on my credit card), which I had told him he could use, and that he would reimburse me when he got his next paycheck. (progress!) But I told him that I would pay for the prescription, no problem.

He asked me what he needed to do to register for his insurance, that he'd decided to get the insurance. I had told him that I would pay for it until he got on his feet, but he said he was getting it even if I didn't want to pay for it. (progress!)

Then I tried to delicately express my concern that this basic coverage he'll get at work won't cover mental health benefits. (After a year of employment, his insurance benefits increase). This was a tough thing to bring up with him, especially in text, because he is SURE he isn't Bipolar, and as expected, he took offense.

"Why would you even say that?! I don't need mental health benefits because I'm sane, or do you not think I'm sane?"

"I think you're perfectly sane honey, I just worry that as you're going through such major life changes and all the stress of being at your Dad's that you may find a need for those kind of benefits."

"It sounds like you don't think I'm sane but I can't get the subtle undertones of texting, anyway, I'll stop by tomorrow to use the computer for the insurance stuff. Love you."

And here's the thing, this new insurance may NOT cover mental health and that concerns me, BUT if I can't get Josh to see the need to be concerned about it I guess the best I can do is tell myself that IF he has further problems, well, he's going to wind up with a mountain of medical debt and maybe THAT would be an eye opener for him; that he needs to address the monster that is Bipolar, if he suffers another episode.

I can't allow myself to worry more about all this than he does when I have no ability to impact his decisions.

I have very mixed feelings about where Josh 'is' right now. On one hand I see the positives; he's working and enjoying it, he's making the necessary doctor appointments (dentist, eye, medical) and actually showing up for them, not sleeping through them, he's thinking about the future and working towards it....all good. On the other hand, I worry because his living situation at his Dad's is so full of stress for him, he HATES being there and he gets lonely alot. He never got lonely here, even though I worried he was lonely, because he was content here. He's not content there. So I worry about his mental health. When I see or talk to him he might be happy, or he might seem 'angry' or 'disenchanted'.

This Sunday he expressed to me that he sees himself working hard and still not making enough to live on and he wonders what it's all for. "You wonder why I'd want to kill myself?! I mean, what's the point? Get up everyday and work, just to come home and sleep and then do the same thing again tomorrow?!! And in all of it, not really have enough money to even get a halfway decent place of my own."

"You know Josh, I hate to say, "When I was your age", but honestly, when I was your age I was working a full time job, and to make ends meet I had a part time job...three days a week I worked from 5 AM until 8 AM in a medical x-ray department developing films. And if my car broke down, I didn't have the money to pay for the repairs, my UNCLE would let me take my car to his service guy and use his charge card and then I'd repay him a little each week. I struggled for several years, but I kept getting promotions and making more money and eventually it all got easier. Honey, MOST people begin like you are and like I did, struggling. I just want you to SEE that while it will be difficult for a while, things will continually get easier for you and you KNOW that, just like my Uncle helped me out, I'll always have your back."

But it concerns me that he's thinking in these terms of 'why bother'. One thing I'm going to do is call his father back and ask him to remove all the guns from his house....he has SEVERAL guns, mostly hunting rifles, but I don't think we need to make Josh's potential exit that easy for him.

I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Hope Like Hell I'm Wrong

Josh began working several weeks ago, and for the most part, that has been a positive experience for him. He seems to like his job, is concerned that he's doing a good job and I think the set routine has been beneficial overall.

Until this week when he called me and seemed 'out of sorts', very belligerent with me when there was no need to be and he complained that he was having trouble sleeping. It was 2 in the afternoon and he'd been up since 10 the previous night. He NEEDED to sleep before he had to be at work at 11 that night.

Anytime he's not sleeping concerns me.

I talked to him the next day and he seemed fine, and the next day he seemed fine. He planned on coming by today so I could help him with the insurance enrollment form from work. His father refuses to pay even one more month of his current insurance because he'll be 21 next month. I call foul on that because it's the ONLY thing his Dad has done for the better part of three years. He hasn't paid child support as required, or contributed his half to Josh's medical bills (which have been HUGE this past year and have left me struggling financially). I think the man could pay ONE MORE MONTH of premiums to assure Josh's insurance doesn't lapse.

But no. So I told Josh that *I* would pay one more month and then his work insurance would kick in. We looked at the cost of this new insurance and Josh doesn't feel like he can afford it, even though it's half as much as his current policy. And he's right, he really can't afford it if he wants to get a place of his own. He makes very little money and with his current income it will be difficult to cover the basics, even with a shit apartment.

So I told him that I wanted him to enroll and that *I* would pay it. For one year. So that he can get himself squared away. I do NOT want him to go without insurance just in case there is another bipolar incident.

Which I'm pretty sure we're headed into after today.

When Josh got here today we sat and talked for two hours. Very pleasant conversation, he had a bite to eat, etc. I was a little worried about comments he made about his Dad, how unreasonable and stupid he is, how mad he gets at his Dad, how he doesn't like the way his Dad talks to him, his general demeanor.

Now these attitudes are exactly the same things I experienced with Josh right before he had his manic episode. So that worried me.

Then things got worse. He wanted to take some of his books with him because he's been doing a lot of reading lately due to the fact there's nothing else to do at his Dad's house. I told him I'd take him over to the storage unit. However, since I was last in the storage unit someone else had moved a mess of stuff in there and it was almost impossible to even get INTO the thing.

But that didn't stop Josh, he climbed over everything, like he was scaling a mountain; determined to examine every box in the place until he found his books.

He didn't find his books though. I KNOW they're in there, but have no idea exactly where they are, but he's sure I threw them away and he was quite animated and disrespectful as he delivered his hypothesis.

"You had NO right to take things out of my room! You should have left everything right where it was!"

"Josh, I told you when you left to get everything out of your room you needed in the immediate future because I was going to pack everything up. I didn't throw anything away. They're here and you're just going to have to wait till the weather breaks and I have time to get here and get things organized.

"I'm not waiting, I'll tear this place apart till I find them."

"No you won't, I'm ready to go back home, so come on."

"You're not going anywhere! I drove so you'll stay here until *I'M* ready to go!"

He climbed around some more, walking with wet/salty shoes on the top of my desk and my entertainment center; crushing boxes, throwing things here and there.

And I stood by and waited.

When we got home, he went back into his room and tossed things around in there, then he went into the garage and began going through boxes out there (which are not MINE so I know they don't contain his books.)

"Josh, your books aren't out here and you don't have my permission to go through these boxes."

"I don't NEED your permission!"

"OK Josh, you need to leave now."

"Fuck that!"

"You need to leave now or I'll have the police ask you to leave, you decide."

So he slammed out the door, came back in three times for I don't know what, slamming the door each time.

So I locked the door and he left.

And then I called his dad and updated him and asked him to keep a close eye on Josh.


The only good thing in all of this is that Josh has an appointment with his doctor Tuesday. He wants to get back on his Adderall because he feels it helps him. And THAT might help with the sleep situation?

Other than that, there's not much good news here today :(