Today is Daniel's first day back to school as a freshman at a new school. He was nervous when I dropped him off but said he would be okay. As I drove off, I felt the stress and the nervous feeling fall upon me. I know he is 15 years old and no longer in elementary school but I know how it goes. It doesn't matter how old he gets, any type of change affects everything.
When he was first diagnosed, no one explained to me what I should expect from that day forward. NO ONE sat with me and said that it would be a roller coaster ride. My son's situation isn't as bad as others but it has been rough. He is currently in a good place but I understand that it can change from one day to the next. The sad thing is that I don't know what's next. How do we ever find out? You don't find out till it's happening. Expect the unexpected.
It took me time to figure things out. I watched his every move to try to determine whether something was going on with him. I logged everything to keep track of how often symptoms occurred. Now he just tells me how he feels. This shows we've made progress. I monitor his eating habits and make sure he is well hydrated and takes his medication as directed. Back then, I explained to him what every medication was for and what types of side effects he could have from them. I educated him as I educated myself. We learned coping skills and managed to figure out triggers. As his mother, I was his #1 trigger. I had to learn more patience and learn how to approach the situation without letting it escalate. I use to take everything he said personal but I had to remind myself that he was ill and didn't mean it. He has therapy sessions weekly and visits his psychiatrist once a month for medication management and lab work for his lithium levels. I wish that he didn't have to be on the medications he is on but without them we would be back to square one and the hospitalizations would start up again. His therapy sessions help him during times of stress. He's able to express himself and his therapist has been a great mentor. I don't know what we will be doing once he is no longer able to continue care with him. Becoming an adult in three years scares me. It's a whole new type of roller coaster ride but I remain hopeful for him.
Hope is one thing I refuse to give up on. My son has taught me how to be strong and I have faith that one day he will be able to manage his life with little help from me. I was once told by a parent that her daughter's psychiatrist told her that there was no hope for her daughter. I refuse to believe hope doesn't exist for those worse than my son. There is hope for everyone.
I'm a mother with an agenda to save her son from the grips of his mental illness and stop stigma so that those who suffer in silence can seek help without fearing the worse. Join me on this roller coaster ride..you're no longer alone.