Mental Illness Is A Bitch

Evan came home from Orchard Place, an inpatient psychiatric facility for kids, on April 1st. He was there for nine months after attempting to kill me. He freely admits that. When he came home, he’d been home nearly full-time for a few weeks prior to that and seemed to be adjusting quite well. He was doing very well in school, managing emotions well at home, and overall seemed to have gotten quite a lot of anger control and beneficial results from being at Orchard Place. Once he was completely discharged from their program, things started slowing going downhill.

The first time he had a blowup, he threw an end table before running out the door and walking off his anger. The second time it was just yelling (mind you, when he yells it’s “f*ck this, f*ck that” etc). Then he started staying with friends of mine because he was becoming unmanageable in my home and refused to go to school anymore. The couple he was staying with are experienced with troubled kids, and used to be foster parents. That went somewhat okay for a few days until Evan adjusted and decided to behave the same for them. And the third time Evan had a blowup was last Thursday.

One week ago today, Thursday, Evan was upset over school and the friends who were graciously helping with him. So she brought him home to stay for the afternoon (after he decided to act up in school resulting in his expulsion for the rest of the school year). Once he was home, and I told him video games would not be played that day, so he stormed out the door to go for a walk. I was okay with that and left him alone. When he came back around the block he was swearing and screaming at the neighbors. So much so that someone down the street called the police. While the police were talking to the neighbors and myself, Evan found a piece of fence and threw it towards the neighbors house, hitting very close to a window. The police then decided to stop him, but he fought the police and ended up being arrested. While in the back of the police car, Evan was trying to hurt himself, and talking of suicide. He was taken to the local ER for psychiatric treatment.

While he was getting settled at the hospital, my mom and I were at the courthouse filling out paperwork for Evan’s committal. Once we got that completed and filed, I went to the hospital to sign forms for Evan‘s treatment. While I was there, Evan had a teleconference with a psychiatrist over a computer (Skype-style). She was saying stuff to him that he didn’t like, such as the fact he had to help himself and get the treatment he needs, and agreeing with him that he may be in a treatment facility for a very long time. Since he didn’t like that, he destroyed the computer. The police had to come to the hospital and file a report for destruction of property.

Evan being goofy once the anger passed.

Four days passed, and the hospital staff could still not find Evan a bed in a psychiatric facility. He had remained calm after that first day, so they decided to send him home. I explained to them that he could not be in my home with the baby and other children coming and going. But they refused to keep him there or continue to look for a facility, though a judge agreed that was what he needed. I spoke with the psychiatrist about him, and she agreed he had to go home as well. She told me that as a last resort I could relinquish my parental rights to DHS and they could help him. So I told the hospital staff to call DHS.

When the social worker showed up he told me he was investigating me for child abuse for denial of critical care. I sat down with him and explained the whole story, and while he claimed to understand my concerns about Evan being in our home, he explained to me that by leaving Evan in the hospital and not taking him home, I would be charged with child abuse. He also told me that even if Evan was in state custody, there was nothing more they could do for Evan than I was already doing.

So I was left with no option, I was to bring Evan, who was clearly unstable and unsafe, back home with the rest of the family. While Evan was calm before I brought him home, I explained to him that anymore blowups or temper outbursts would not be tolerated whatsoever. And that the next time it happened, I would find him a shelter to stay in rather than staying in our home and putting other people or himself in danger. He understood and agreed.

Then today, he had a moderate temper outburst again. The Mobile Crisis unit would not help because Evan was beating against the wall. The police would not help because Evan is a minor. I was advised to make sure everyone was out of the house until Evan calmed down. So I called Evan’s dad, who has not been involved in Evan’s life much over the last seven years or so. I told him that he needed to take custody of him. As of this evening, Evan is with his dad. I will help his dad set Evan up for success by continuing therapy and medication management, and then I’m leaving it up to him.

I can no longer care for a teenager (or anyone for that matter) that does not want my help and does not want to help themselves. Especially when that person can be violent to those who love them the most. I have tried for a decade to get Evan the help he needs, and now that he has gotten well into puberty, his mood disorder is so severe that I can no longer handle the behaviors that go along with it. I have been struggling with this emotionally for a very long time, and I finally had to put my emotions aside and do what was best for the rest of the family. I love all of my kids very much, including Evan. But his dad doesn’t have any other kids around, and I think being an only child and having that one on one attention just may help Evan. I hope.

These last few months in particular have been some of the most challenging I have ever experienced as a parent. I would not wish it on anyone. Evan is bipolar, even though he’s too young to have the official diagnosis. And every day is a struggle for him. I can only hope and pray that he can find what it is that helps him, the coping skills that he needs, and the wake up call that he needs, to want to help himself.

Also, this is in no way the entire story. This is a very short and trimmed down version of everything that has happened recently, and lacks a lot of details. So before you start judging Evan or myself or anyone else in the story, don’t.

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