Some people go on alcohol benders. Others go on drug binges. There's also sex-aholics having hours of intercourse with random partners until they have made themselves raw. Then there's the eating disorders: eating to the point of purging or refusing to eat to the point of dehydration.
Ragefests. She isn't satisfied until the rest of us are reeling from the trauma. Then she's a happy clam, content and giddy while the rest of us nurse our headaches, ringing ears, frayed nerves and tense muscles.
Rage fest lasted Thursday night until this morning when she woke up completely regulated, compliant and well rested but not until after I drank a wee bit too much sangria last night to ebb away the pain. Her therapist from the new IFI team has spoken to us twice a day for the last five days and is trying her best to tweak the CAFAS rating to get Sissy back to a 140, the qualifying number for APS to consider placement. There have been discussions of calling 911. There have been talks about suicidal ideations and self-harming behaviors (which she has not displayed yet) and the possibility of emerging psychotic events (which we were able to present from her journal entries - i don't want to rehash those words. They hurt too bad or are so wild and zany it's alarming how "off" her mind is.)
Emotionally standing outside of this situation, I'm so saddened and disheartened that such a young girl can be so damaged, that we've hit the ceiling, that the only answers to solve our situation will bring irreparable heartache and damage to our family. There is no win. There is no hope. There is no help. There is nothing.
In church yesterday I hung my head in sorrow. The pastor preached from Matthew 10:40-42. He talked about how if we extend a hand of compassion and caring first, those to whom we extend that hand will yield and receive. Sure, unless that person suffers debilitating mental health illnesses Sissy would rather die or kill one of us than yield and receive. That is RAD in a nutshell. A reversal of the human condition. Instead of yielding and receiving grace and compassion, caring and selflessness, they rebuff it, strike out at it and seek to destroy it. In the RAD mind, those kindnesses are threats to their survival. The only option is to destroy that which they perceive will destroy them. Reasoning, logic, engaging, NONE of it alters the erroneous hard-wiring in their brains. It can't be undone. And retraining can only be taught to the willing.
Sissy isn't willing. Her new IFI therapist has her pegged inside of a week. "She's doing it on purpose."
And Sissy's reasons? Really. I just don't want to tell you what she's said.
So in two weeks' time I find myself just as frazzled and empty as I was before her placement in March. I feel guilty for ever wanting a child. I could have just gotten over it and been childless. I should have. I feel angry that one child's illness can wreak such havoc on so many with no way to prevent it without heaping further harm upon our own heads. I feel jilted that the mental health community is as helpless as I am. I am terrified that even with a developmental delay diagnosis we'll discover that our state has bankrupted those resources too and then we'll be without ANY help. I am furious that I didn't damage this child and yet my family pays the price for the abuse every day. I feel trapped and that my life isn't worth living. It feels like everyone else lives free and happily while we remain caged in this unrelenting nightmare. I beg God to be merciful and cause a disease that makes Sissy an invalid so she is incapable of raging anymore - seriously, 24/7 convalescent care of a minor would be easier. I imagine ways in which I could set my family free and all of them include me assuming that Sissy's life is more valuable than mine.
So I sat in the garage on a 99' day and cried and pondered and prayed and shook my head at the insanity of it all. We are trapped, so horribly, terribly trapped by our daughter's ill mind. My life is on hold, we are held hostage by her rages. We are alone with no support. When The Dad is at work, it's me with the three of them all day long with no reprieve, no respite, nothing but dodging verbal bullets, RADsing behaviors, pulling therapeutic techniques out of my ass and trying to survive until bedtime. Then rinse, wash, repeat. At prayer during service, I raised my hand and asked that the congregation would remember my family as our daughter had just returned home from a hospital after three months. No one. NOT.ONE.PERSON. said a word to me during or after service.
Then a hummingbird came to the kitchen window, saw that the feeder wasn't there, looked directly at me and hovered and then went back to the window before flying off.
I sobbed and sobbed. In all of the insanity of this year, I didn't decorate my yard for summer, no plants, no wind chimes, no whirligigs, the weeds have overrun the lillies, my rose bush is dead and the humming bird feeders were never put out.
And yet, a year later, the hummingbirds were back, at MY window, counting on ME for nectar. Looking AT me as their source of food and hope. A YEAR LATER and a damn hummingbird knows I'm reliable, can be counted on, will be sufficient to extend a hand of compassion and caring. A hummingbird.
NOT my 11 year old daughter.
And if we stay in this house forever, the hummingbirds will keep returning.
And my daughter?
I don't know if she'll still be my daughter next year. I don't know how long I can be a caged bird, living a paralyzed, hostage lifestyle because of her mental illness. I don't know how long I'll allow her to do it to my husband, my marriage, my other children, my dog.
Because that hummingbird reminded me, Sissy's life is not more valuable than mine.