Sunday, August 29, 2010

Isolationism anyone?

So, anyone who reads my blog knows that my son was diagnosed with bipolar depression this summer. We were at the counselor's office this week, and I was going through the pre-screening with her again, when she asked if anyone ever tested T for autism or asperger's. I told her no, he's never been tested for that, but I've been telling people since he was two that something was wrong.

Not that there is anything 'wrong' per-se with my son. He is a beautiful boy, handsome, intelligent, strong, and kind (for the most part.) Then she went on to ask a whole bunch of questions about whether or not he was able to be soothed as an infant or even as a toddler. Whether he did flapping gestures, etc...

Now, I know that he is bipolar. I feel strongly that that diagnosis is correct, but now I am left with a whole new set of questions. Why did nobody think of this earlier? Why couldn't I get anybody to listen to me when he was 2, 4, 6, 8, 10? Why did it take this long for somebody else to see what I see daily?

The only reason I can see for this is isolationism. I am beginning to blame myself for this. I kept him out of organized sports until this year because I couldn't stand the constant pressure. He was/is supremely emotional. The slightest thing at 6, 8, and 10 made him cry or scream. Even in school, he has been the odd man out. He doesn't make friends easily and he gets picked on frequently. Kids, and teachers, think he is bizarre for the crying fits. For a long time, I didn't look for anyone to talk to about this, because I didn't want anyone to know.

I've been looking for support groups for about a year now. The closest thing I've found is the parents meeting when we were doing the intensive outpatient therapy after his diagnosis. We don't have those meetings anymore, because he is just doing the counseling one-on-one now.

Earlier this week, we had a manic episode. For those that don't know my son personally, a manic episode looks like an extremely pissed-off, rage filled kid. Sometimes for minutes, sometimes for hours. This one was new, as it lasted approximately three days. T had a melt-down after practice on Tuesday and screamed at me, and another parent, in public. That hasn't happened in years, mostly because we were never in public together, aside from the grocery store. I told him, after he was calm, that he could not yell at me in public, because he is showing that he doesn't respect me at that moment. He apologized to me, he apologized to the other mom the next day. But all this leads back to isolationalism.

People that don't know T, probably looked at him and thought "why can't that mom control her kid?" My answer: Come live in my shoes for a week, please! Except that I believe I've brought this on myself by not talking to people about it, or even allowing it to be seen.

Please understand, I am not embarassed about my son. I am proud of the improvements he has made. I simply don't want people to judge him, or me, by what they see. I don't know where to go from here. I don't know who to talk to, and I really am tired of living in a box I apparently made all by myself. Any thoughts?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I remember...

*Warning*-This post may be upsetting for some.

I still remember what he looked like. I met him when I was in 6th grade. We moved to North Georgia, and started going to a new church. My parents met a couple that they believed were like them. Both couples worked, had three children, went to church everytime the doors were open. Surely they could be friends. And they were for a while.

The summer of 7th grade, they invited us to their lake house. I don't know if my little sister went with us, I do remember my brother being there. I remember feeling like I was only there to babysit everyone's children. I remember desperately wanting people to like me, after all we weren't from the south, I certainly didn't sound like I was from the south.

One day we were all out on the boat, my Dad, their Dad, and the kids. My Dad was driving the boat, their Dad was in the water trying to teach us how to water ski. For the record, I still don't know how to water ski and I have no interest in learning. I remember getting in the water, I remember him putting his arms around me. Then I remember him putting his hands in between my legs. I remember wondering with all the intelligence of any 13 year old girl, if he was supposed to be doing that. He said he liked me, that I was really pretty and I was very smart.

I remember telling my parents after that weekend that I didn't want to go to their house anymore to babysit their kids. I remember him telling me to stay behind in my sunday school class after everyone else had left. I remember the dress Mama had bought me. It was the late 80's and those drop waisted dresses with the bubble skirts were really popular. My Mom had found one in pink with white dots. It felt like silk, and I never wore it again after he ran his hands down the front of it. Do you know that even if you don't like what someone is doing, and you are scared to death, your body will still react? I hated my body for years for that reaction.

I remember this man was the first to make me feel like my body betrayed me, like I was dirty and bad. He was not the last. FYI...I don't go to counseling, I've never told my parents what he did. It doesn't matter now, it was 21 years ago. If I knew any of you IRL, I probably wouldn't be writing this now. But, this is my safe place, and it's time I let some of this out of my brain.