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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Holding Pattern

Josh celebrated his birthday with us (us being my BF, his brother and brother's girlfriend). He was a little nit picky with me, but generally seemed ok. His brother felt he seemed OK. So maybe his current 'state of mind' is more a function of how crappy his life is right now and not so much bipolar based. I dunno. He's started his new job; is in training and liking it ok but hoping to get more hours and make more money once training is over. I haven't seen him since his birthday, but have talked to him several times. He is functioning, I guess. He made a dentist's appointment, hoping to get his teeth cleaned and checked before his insurance ran out. Then he slept through the appointment (a $75 missed appointment fee). He rescheduled and called me five minutes after he was supposed to be there and said he'd just woken up. I suggested he call them and see if they could still see him. He shouted, "Whatever!" at me and hung up. BUT, he DID call them and they DID see him and he has one small cavity and will go back tomorrow to have it filled. He also made an appointment with his eye doctor. So in some ways, he's kind of on top of it....kind of. He did mention to me that he has 'fun' at work, "funny thing is that no one there knows how really depressed I am, they just think I'm fun to be around." I KNOW there is underlying depression. Who wouldn't be depressed living as Josh is? The saddest thing for me is that I don't see how his situation is going to improve anytime soon. He's not making enough money to move out of his father's house, so he's stuck in an unhealthy environment. So I worry, and then I move my worry to the back burner because, in the end, there's not much I can do about Josh's situation. I stay in touch and monitor him and hope he stays in a state that slightly resembles stable. I'm not willing to intervene to the point of having him move back here, I merely help where I can and stay in touch. It seems like not enough, but I don't know how else to handle this situation.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Slip Sliding Away

You know, I'm hard pressed to describe exactly 'where' Josh is right now from an emotional standpoint, but all indications are that he's about where he was this time last year. I reread the posts on my personal blog and round about February last year, Josh was irritable, completely unreasonable and he could do chapter and verse about what a horrible mother and human being I am.

He had come out of a stint at the Stress Center (after a severe depressive episode that left him contemplating suicide; sitting in the tub with razor blades) and was doing NOTHING to move his life forward and also wasn't onboard with continuing therapy.

Just a few months later he had ramped up to a manic episode.

Sadly, I see him headed that direction again. He's not 'manic'; not depressed, but he's NOT himself.

This time around he's focused all his anger on his step mother and father, who he is now living with. Their personal situation is not good, huge money problems, may lose their house, she's an alcoholic and on seroquel because hello? I've said for some time that her behavior sounds very bipolar-ish. So Josh can do chapter and verse about what a horrible person she is, he'd like to kill her (scary) and his dad is an idiot and you can't talk to him, and on and on and on.

He says it's so bad that he now 'avoids' them. "I can't talk to them, so I don't even try."

He told me he'd quit his job (stocking grocery shelves on night shift) because the guy who did the dairy aisle quit, so they put him on the dairy aisle and it's really impossible to get it done each night (and from day one, he seemed very stressed about not getting his aisles done, they keep track and he worried when he didn't get done). They were supposed to hire someone new for the dairy aisle but they weren't doing it and this particular night the skids were stacked taller than him and they expected him to get them all done on his shift and there was NO WAY any human could do that, so he left and never went back. Didn't tell anyone he was quitting. They called, he didn't answer.

Not good. Cause to me? Bipolar-ish behavior.

He DID get another job, part time, at a restaurant here by MY house that his friend, Ian works at. Ian's not the best influence ever, but he has been holding down this job for some time which is at least an improvement. Anyway, it's part time, third shift and once he gets settled in he'll try to figure out what hours he can work a second job. While this SOUNDS good, I kinda think he's won't keep this job either.

Because his attitude is sucking.

As an example, last weekend my live in boyfriend asked Josh if he'd like to make some extra money. The BF has a cleaning contract at the county jail and he was spending THIS Friday and Saturday night stripping and waxing floors. Josh jumped at the chance. I warned my BF that Josh may not be the 'best' employee. He's been around Josh enough to know that Josh isn't in the best frame of mind.

On the other hand, I thought it MIGHT do Josh good to spend time with my BF, who has mentored many young men.

Friday night went ok. Tonight, the BF called and complained, "Man, your son has a bad attitude."


"Well, he doesn't much like taking orders. I'll ask him to do something and he gets that look on his face....you know, the one I see him give you all the time, kinda like if looks could kill."

"Well, I'm sorry honey. Yea, I know that look."

"He said he's never doing this again."

"I imagine he's got that right!"

Two seconds later, Josh texts me, "Your BF's a dick and I'm never doing this again."

Here I am....stuck in the middle.

You know that famous actor who has melted down on national television? Bipolar anyone? Well, watching those clips stirs up some very powerful emotions in me. Because THAT guy? That was Josh last April.

Sadness, fear and a huge feeling of deja vu wash over me.

And Josh? Josh defends the actors behavior! Thinks it all makes perfect sense! (scary)

Thursday night Josh stopped by to pick up an old pair of shoes because he and Ian were driving down to Josh's dad's property (which houses an old beat up trailer) and spending the night.

"But you have to be back to work for (the BF) tomorrow night at 6!"

"No problem, I'll be back in time."

And he did get back on time, but he was exhausted. He'd slept 6 hours, but they hiked and ran around for HOURS and he was beat. But what was disturbing to me was his lust for all that running around, sword fighting each other with sticks. Hard to explain the conversation, but it just seemed abnormal for a 21 year old to be THAT excited about this rather childish behavior?

And before he starts his new job, he and Ian are thinking about taking off for several days to Tennessee to do the same in the Smokey Mountains. Yikes!

But a year ago? He was JUST LIKE THIS! He wanted to get away....go to his Dad's property or take off to TN. He said at the time (and still today), that his dream is to live in the wild like that, he could just live off the earth. He doesn't want the life society wants him to have...blah blah blah.

And really, from all I've read, so many people with Bipolar seem to have a 'season' when they cycle, and I'm thinking Spring is Josh's 'season'. And ummm, last time I looked, we're headed towards Spring.

Also concerning is the conversation I had with him after he finished working with the BF last night. "It was kinda weird being around all those police officers at the jail, and here I am homicidal."

"You're homicidal!?"

"Well, like kill bad guys.....I'm thinking about the Army. I know (the BF) says the Navy would be a better choice for me, but I WANT to see combat, you know, kill the bad guy. And Ian and I are gonna get some practice swords and hone our skills and we're going to do open knuckle boxing (I think that's what he called it) so we can get better at it."

"Well, I don't think they use swords in the Army anymore." (Jesus, what do you say to THAT?!)

(Hey, with Bipolar in his medical records, I don't even think he can get IN the army, were he not Bipolar, I think that discipline would be good for him, operating as he is now? If he can't take some simple directions from (the BF), I doubt he's gonna like a Sargent breathing down his neck. And the STRESS of the Army? I think it would cause him to cycle?)

I called Josh's Dad tonight. I HATE calling Josh's Dad for a couple of reasons. First of all, his wife hates me and gives him such a hard time when I call and second of all, it sounds like his life was a big enough mess BEFORE Josh moved in and now he has Josh to deal with. But I'm worried, so I called him.

"I have two things to talk to you about. First of all, I'm just really worried about Josh, he's not right....and he says he avoids you because he just can't talk to you, and right now he NEEDS someone to talk to everyday."

"Well, he's impossible to talk to. YOU know that right? I mean, I'll start a pleasant conversation with him and within five minutes he's pissed off at me for something I said, so I've given up. There's no talking to him, no reasoning with him."

"Yea, I know what you mean. Right now the conversations I have with him go ok....while last year when he was living with me, *I* was the problem, now that he's living with you, *you're* the problem."

"Well, why are you calling me? What do you want me to do, kick him out?!"

"God NO! Quite the opposite. I'm hoping that at the very least he's not being a big pain in your butt, that he can at LEAST stay there for now cause I hate the thought of him out there wondering around alone. I'm almost sure he's sliding towards another episode."

"He's not a pain, we are basically all just co-existing, but none of us are really living, frankly, I'm about sick of everyone."

This is very unlike my ex, to sound like this. His life is REALLY in bad shape and I imagine he looks around and feels he's lost all control and doesn't even know what to do next.

"Bottom line," he said, "Josh is probably gonna fall apart again, and if he does, it's likely he'll go out there and screw up...maybe big time, and then Josh is gonna have to pay the consequences. I don't think there's much you or I can do, I hate that, I hate that this is out of our hands, but it really is."

"Yea, well, here's the other thing. He's been saying some things lately about killing and shit that scare me. I know you have a lot of guns around (he hunts)."

"Well there are NO bullets...none, so don't worry about that."

I feel no better after talking to my Ex, but really, I don't think anything's gonna make me feel better short of Josh getting with the program and getting into treatment and on medication.

I'm afraid the day is coming, maybe sooner than I think, when Josh is going to be leaving his dad's house, either because Josh is fed up or because the ex is, and then I have to steel myself, because Josh moving back in here is NOT an option; not if he's like he is now...or worse. If he were on medication and functioning, that would be something to consider, but I don't think I have it in me to allow him back into my home for another round of what we lived through last year.

Basically I have to let him fall....as far as he needs to fall to 'get it', and that might result in him harming himself, or someone else, or winding up crippled in a car wreck or in jail or...or....I shudder to think.

When I get like this, start spinning these awful scenarios in my head, my BF says, "Jesus, stop it. Maybe, just maybe, something will happen that isn't horrible, but enough to wake him up to the reality of this thing."

My other concern is that he was JUST going to get on the company insurance and he quit his job. I paid ONE MORE MONTH of insurance for him, but it's almost $300 a month and I can't afford to pay it each month. So, he'll lose his insurance, and he's now un-insurable. I checked into the state insurance plan, but you have to be without coverage for 6 months to qualify for it, in six months, he can wrack up some huge medical bills if he cycles. Of course, he doesn't think he really NEEDS health insurance.


And at times like this I get angry. Angry that MY child isn't even recognizable anymore. That with all the technology and scientific advances we've made, we can't treat Bipolar more effectively. I'm angry that the very basis of this disorder leaves the person who has it totally unable to SEE IT.

I sit here in tears thinking about that actor and my child; because if someone like that actor, with all his money and 'handlers' and privledge could fall apart to that degree in front of millions of people, then what chance does my kid have of getting to the other side of this successfully?

And that's the rub, they are their own worst enemies, but they see all of 'us' as the enemy, and how do you combat that?

My relationship with Josh currently is in pretty good shape, but that's only because I haven't even TRIED to talk to him about this. I think I'm going to have to, and probably pretty soon, but I know that whatever I say will more than likely fall on deaf ears and might put a hole in our relationship. I don't want to allienate him, I'm about all he has right now, but I feel that about all I CAN do is have a sit down with him and TRY to get him to SEE. I don't know. There's no handbook for this thing.

Josh will turn 21 next Sunday, and I think back to the day I took his older brother home from the hospital....my first child. I was TERRIFIED. As I dressed him to go home, I suddenly felt ill equipped to care for another HUMAN BEING.....what if I inadvertanly KILLED him?!!

I laugh at that now, because THAT terror? That was nothing. This Bipolar thing is bigger than me, and I've never felt so helpless before in my life.