On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Even though my CBC came back normal and my mono test was negative, I still feel like crud. The antibiotic I'm on is making me ill and my initial symptoms are not lessening. I HATE being ill, HATE feeling unproductive, HATE being physically incapable of keeping up with the everyday nuances of life. I know I should just rest and let my body recover but it's SO hard to slow down after so many days of nonstop manic crazy with Sissy. Because every day with Sissy is non stop manic crazy.

I'm sitting in the garage enjoying the sunshine, hoping the vitamin D will help, if nothing else, it should lift my mood. I did the same last night and enjoyed a beautiful rising harvest moon. I rather like being outdoors, it's soothing. I have silly notions of suspending a hammock from the rafters in the garage so I can just sleep out here too. I'd have to reinforce it though, no way it would hold my weight currently. But hey, at least I've slept through the night for two nights in a row. First time since the week before Sissy's discharge.

How is she? Pbft. Same old same old. She's not going to receive her treatment while at the hospital. I'm beginning to think she's hit a wall mentally and will never be able to see the need to receive her treatment. This past year I've tried to stand outside of her needs emotionally so I can gain a neutral perspective, not an easy thing to do because for all her challenges, i do so love her, very, very much.

Standing on the outside I can see, she's just missing so many fundamental pieces, as though someone forgot to lay down the rebar before pouring the cement on the bridges in her infant brain. Civil engineers just destroy the erroneous bridge and build again. Therapists, psychiatrists and medication can do little more than hop out on the precarious bridges of an unstable mind and patch up the gaps with quickrete. And even then, it only works if the bearer of the mind is prepared to accept the quickrete. Without scoring of the contact surface, the quickrete won't hold fast. Sissy, it seems, is unwilling to let the surfaces of her mind be scored and prepped for patchwork. Some days I think it's choice, other days, i grievously accept that such is the nature of a damaged mind.

I watched The Soloist yesterday. Point of fact, I watch many programs about persons with various challenges. Seems television, literature and the box office are riddled with the fascinating machinations of the altered mind. Sure, I tell myself, it's all fascinating when your daily life isn't sinking in the quicksand of that living hell. Put on waders and get in this muck with me and it won't be fascinating anymore, it will be a nightmare.

The movie, based on this book, is excellent at pointing out that for some mentally ill persons, recovery as neurotypical citizens understand the concept, is a foreign and unwanted prospect. It begins with the individual first recognizing the need for self change; they must understand that their mind is misfiring, that the reality they know and live isn't a healthy one. It's a huge hurdle and judging by the content of the film, and many other media programs on the subject, a hurdle that is never surmounted.

Some will argue that the human species is evolving mentally, stating that the rise in mental disease and the savant autistic and schizophrenic minds are nature attempting to increase the mental capacity and acuity of the human brain. Others will argue that the attempts of SSDI, mental health and faith-based initiatives to steer the mentally ill toward functionality are thwarting natural selection, a sort of biological eugenics, if you will. It can be argued that the continuance of support for the unyielding challenged, alcoholic, addicted or retarded mind perpetuates the subsequent generations of equally or more damaged persons. In tandem, the human species is riddled with a rise in infertility. Ergo, we have to ask ourselves as a society if we've set the stage for adoption and fostering of ill children by sane people unintentionally.

Bear with me a minute. If "crazy" doesn't know it's off kilter, it's not going to see the need for change. Indeed, "crazy" will perceive it as normal. 90,000 homeless people on the streets in L.A., many of them mentally ill, most of them unwilling to get help, some self-reporting that this is their chosen lifestyle, that they are happy and free.

Enter the "sane" who think "crazy" is crazy so they try to undo crazy. Except crazy doesn't want to be undone.  Worse yet, some "crazy" is set in stone by organic issues: generations of crazy begetting crazy. Thus it becomes a tug of war equal to the attempt to change the current of the Mississippi to run back toward the great lakes instead of the gulf. The very thought of it is enough to drive the sane mad themselves.

Perhaps, the best approach as the movie presents, is to just love "crazy", make sure inalienable rights are afforded and then let "crazy" do what crazy is going to do. Does Sissy love us? She says she does. Does she love us the way sane minds love? Does she perceive the difference? No to both and she never will. It is an injustice to expect anything different from her. It will make ME crazy in the end.

It is not the life path I thought I was on, to say the least. Neither is it a life path that can be properly explained so the reader or listener can fully comprehend the magnitude, weight and scope of this thing called parenting a mentally ill child. Nearly 400 posts and I think I'm just beginning to help people see what I live daily, what has become the connecting fiber of my existence.

Oh what I would give for some rebar.

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