Another Mom’s View

This morning I ran into a mom I met through one of Thomas’ recreation programs.  Her name is Janice and she’s such a nice person.  Her son is not as high functioning as my son and she works so hard to make sure he is in the correct programs.  Her son is in his early twenties I believe.  Anyway, it was so nice to see her, I told her Thomas  wasn’t attending the recreation program anymore as he’s now in a residential school.  Her face immediately changed and she said to me, “You love your son so much that you did this for him, you got him into a residential school for him. You and your husband made that decision and I know it was hard. You really love him. I don’t think I love my son as much because I can’t let him go.” Turns out Janice’s son was in a residential placement a few years ago but she was very unhappy with how he was treated so she took him out.

I almost fell over hearing her say those words. Fell over at the fruit and vegetable stand we were chatting in. I told her that of course she loves her son that she did do residential but it didn’t work out, it wasn’t the right time. And I mean every word I said, I’m not one to patronize.

We chatted more about our sons, I gave a quick summary of Thomas’ behavior that ultimately led to us having to chose residential. Janice completely understood and said her son isn’t as aggressive but some days are very difficult. I understood her.

These days Janice has created a program for her son and similar functioning young adults. There’s socialization and activities, I was so impressed with what she has created and now has up and running. It’s amazing really.

It really shows how God works. If her son had stayed in residential, I wonder if would she had been as driven to create this program ? It’s also amazing that I ran into her now, not when I would have burst into tears trying to explain things. Today I was able to hold a normal conversation which is what one is supposed to do. It was nice to talk to another mom of a special needs child.

It was very nice to hear someone “in the know” say that I love my son so much but I don’t think I love my son anymore than she loves hers.

God and therapy

I told my therapist today that I believe she was placed in my life on purpose by God so many years ago (she helped us with Thomas and how to navigate the board of Ed for the first residential school).  I was surprised that she didn’t bat an eye at my statement.  I don’t know her religious background or beliefs, but I do feel comfortable saying what I believe is true as a Christian.

When I was first searching for a therapist I was convinced I had to find a Christian therapist. I was afraid of my faith being mocked or if the therapist had different beliefs or was an atheist they would argue with me. I know now that I was being unreasonable but back in the day that’s how I felt. When I did see a counselor from church all we pretty much did was talk about helpful bible verses and my son’s behavior. In hindsight it was not what I needed at all and if not for my husband telling me this wasn’t working I don’t know where I’d be.

This is not to say all counselors who work at or volunteer at a church or place of worship aren’t any good, I was just much more depressed than originally thought and I needed stronger interventions.

It took Nancy and Dr. L and medication to get me well and I know they are both working under The Lord’s guidance. He is the great physician and I’m so thankful His light is shining to defeat the darkness of depression. I did an exercise with Nancy today where I had to visualize the depression as an object and what will beat it. I pictured the Light of God coming in and destroying the dark object of depression. I ended the exercise visualizing the Light shining continually on the hiding place of the depression.

Nancy asked what I visualized and I told her about the light of God shining down. I didn’t know how she would react but she smiled and approved. That really meant so much to me.

God’s light and wounds.

I’ve been feeling down the past few days.  It’s not major but not minor either. But on the upside, Daniella and I had an interesting conversation last night.  She asked me what do Nancy and I talk about, but…I don’t have to tell her if I don’t want to.  I thought that was very sweet and insightful for a 12 year old.  I explained that we talk about almost everything and yes sometimes we talk about her and her siblings, but not always.  That Nancy listens and may explain why I might feel a certain way or pick up on things that I don’t feel are important.  I have a caring daughter.  I’m glad she feels comfortable enough to ask me such questions and in a mature manner.  

I’ve been praying in hope that a The Lord will relieve this down-ness. One of my wonderful choir friends said something to me last Thursday that is sticking with me still.  She said that God uses your weaknesses and wounds through which His Light spills out of you.  You are then able to bless others when you expose the humble, hurting parts of yourself.  I found this really profound.  This blog is/has been an outlet and source of healing for me. I’ve received such feedback to keep writing, something I never expected, I had no idea anyone would even read what I write.

I can only hope God’s Light spills out of the parts of me that are wounded and that that light is shining and touching someone else.

I really heart my choir family. My friend received her words from a book “Dear Jesus” by Sarah Young.

Where you are supposed to be

After choir practice this past Thursday night a fellow choir member/friend and I started chatting. She was telling me about when she was going through a difficult time and how our Pastor said during service that even though some people may appear to not be worshipping during church, those people are right where they’re supposed to be, sitting in church.

I know I’ve said this before, I have really wonderful friends. My friend didn’t know I had already written in my blog that maybe this wasn’t the time for my business to take off as it isn’t the time God wants it to happen. I am just where I am supposed to be. I love this. If someone had said that to me a year or so ago I might not have liked it but it still would have rang true.

As of this moment I’m glad to be where I am, where God wants me. I’ve spent the better part of the last year and a half cursing my station in life and putting myself down as a stay at home mom. I was convinced because I wasn’t filling a role within a company and earning a paycheck that I was worthless. But…right here is exactly where God wants and has wanted me to be.

I believe it’s all about trust in The Lord. We have to trust His judgement and follow with faith. I don’t believe we know better than God, that what we want is what we should always get. I expected and wanted a “typical” son. That didn’t happen instead I was given a gift of a boy who challenged me and in that process those many challenges tore me down so I could be rebuilt spiritually.

I began attending church again when things were going well in my life. Thomas was stable on his meds, my family was in a relatively calm state. I was able to join a bible study group. Life was really nice and I accepted Christ as my Saviour. I realized I had a church family when things started unraveling, the med changes and hospitalizations, etc… God placed me in church at the right moment. When life was good I was exactly where I was supposed to be so when things became rough we would have the support and people to support us during that time. Our God is amazing.

Medication roller coaster

When I started taking antidepressant medication I was so hopeful we would find the right one on the first try.  Wishful thinking I realize now.  Actually the first med trialed did work for a while then petered out.  Dr. L upped the dose and as I stated in an earlier post I’d gain weight the med would kick in and I would be “ok”. Until the med petered out again, rinse and repeat. We spoke about adding another med as an adjunct, I agreed and that worked for awhile until the side effect of fatigue started really getting to me. I’m not a nap person and this medication was turning me into one.

We discussed this also and Dr. L lowered the adjunct dose which really made the roller coaster take a downward slope. Not cool. My depression was slowly creeping back in and I knew it wouldn’t be long before it was bad. Dr. L took me off the first antidepressant and put me on another but…this one did not work as fast as the first one. It took about 2-3 weeks before I noticed a difference and believe me it wasn’t anything to write home about. At one point while I was waiting for the new antidepressant to kick in, I called Dr. L. It was a Thursday evening. He asked me if I was alright and I told him, “No” I also asked him (almost demanded) if he had a plan, I needed to know his plan of what medication was next and I wanted to jump out of my skin. I did not want to be me anymore and feel this way, I couldn’t stand it. Dr. L was so, so patient and good. He assured me he did have a “plan” but it was 8:30 at night on a Thursday, he didn’t have my plan right in front of him. He calmly encouraged me to stick it out with this med and to call him if I needed him. The way he spoke to me with such compassion I’ll never forget.

I prayed to God to give Dr. L wisdom and direction in treating me to please guide Dr. L in his choice of medications and to give me strength.

After 4 weeks the new medication did take effect but it wasn’t as great as it could be. I made an appointment with Dr. L and we discussed different meds and their side effects. Which side effects were acceptable to me? I really appreciated that my input was important. In the end we decided on an antidepressant and an antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication. I had a written schedule to follow and I was cool with that.

At one point I did become angry with God. I couldn’t understand all the med changes and trials, the ups and the downs. It didn’t seem fair. I try to say that without whining. Being mad at God made me upset all over again. I was afraid that I was mad at Him. I spoke to one of the Pastors at church in tears about being angry at God. He looked at me so kindly and said, “It’s ok…He can take it”. After that my anger faded a bit and I prayed and asked for forgiveness.

As for the current combo I’m taking now, I’m so hopeful the feeling I have of being “me” lasts and lasts.

Spiraling, spiraling

After my weekend  “in bed”  I knew Monday morning I had to get up to get everyone ready for school.   Thomas was the toughest as he would be aggressive with me upon waking up.  The girls would stay in their rooms until he calmed down a bit.   My alarm would go off and I’d lay there in bed a few minutes petting my cat named Cash, psyching myself up for the task of waking up Thomas.  Cash is one beautiful cat.  Long, white and tan hair with the bluest eyes.  I swear The Lord sent her to me.  We found her as a stray.  

Anyway…mornings sucked. I’d somehow manage to get Thomas up, he dressed himself then give him his meds, breakfast, then wait for the bus. It was not easy or pleasant. Sometimes he calmed down when the bus came sometimes not. The school was aware of what was going on but they couldn’t help me other than assure me about the residential placement we were waiting on.

Living with me at this time was terrible. I was irritable, moody, I had no patience and would snap at anybody. Tommy and I argued quite a bit and I know I was the cause of most of them. I was miserable, I had no joy in my life and felt like a worthless human being with no purpose in life.

Tommy told me I had to find a therapist. I agreed even though I was terrified. We found a list online of psychologists and social workers/therapists that take our insurance and I started calling. I left message after message and NO ONE called me back. Oh wait, one did call me back…a week later. I was so pissed off I told her since she took a week to call me back I wasn’t interested anymore. Not to brag but my husband has excellent health benefits, I felt like I was waving around good insurance for therapy and no one wanted it. It was bizarre.

This went on for weeks. In the middle of it all our church was putting on it’s Easter production, the story of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m in the choir and my two older girls were dancers. Any chance I had I went to church, it was my lifeline and escape. I felt safe in church. Performing in the Easter Production was a perfect distraction and gave me a purpose. I found the songs we sang to be so comforting, as well as singing for The Lord.

Singing with the choir wasn’t always so peaceful for me. There were many times I felt like a fraud singing up there. Fearing at any moment someone would point and yell from the congregation, “Fake! Loser! Fraud!” Because I thought so little of myself I figured I was transparent. There was also a time or two when I had to leave church when the choir was singing because Thomas was having a meltdown and Tommy wanted me home.

Finally, finally I started seeing Nancy who I’ve mentioned before. I know The Lord placed her in my life. She is wonderful and just what I need in a therapist. I even enjoy the traveling to her office in Manhattan. When I started seeing Nancy I was a mess and I cried through every one of our early sessions. After a month or so I decided to see the psychiatrist, Dr. L who was treating Thomas. He was fine with seeing both of us. I was scared to death of medication and I made sure Dr. L knew that. He started me off with an anti anxiety medication at a very low dose, after a couple of months I agreed to an antidepressant as well. I had to trust him, I desperately wanted to feel better. I also know Dr. L was placed in my life by The Lord. Things don’t work out in such a “coincidental” way, no they don’t. They are planned by God. The way I look at it, I’m trusting God who put Dr. L in my life so I must trust Dr. L as he was placed in my life by God.

I have to say for me to get to that point of trust was huge. I was so used to trying to control everything with my son. When I finally let go of that control and realized God has his own plan it was a relief