The Sucking of It All in Life Right Now

I feel like crap. Have been for the last few days – kind of like the flu type deal, but I know that isn’t what it is. I’ve had no energy and by afternoon I feel pretty dead. It sucks.

And just when I think things can’t suck anymore than they already do, I get a phone call from the school telling me that Little Bear needs to stay home from school during the two field days coming up next week.

They are still having trouble with unsafe behavior and escape attempts over there. They don’t feel they have the staff they need to keep him in check and look after the rest of the students.

It feels unspoken that given his recent behavior that he doesn’t deserve to go. I can’t argue that. There is a reason I have never requested special discipline accommodations for any of my children. There will come a time when they will be adults and I won’t be there. The world will hold them accountable.

They need to learn to hold themselves accountable. They need to learn that every action has a reaction. All the things we do in life will bring something back to us – whether for good or for ill.

So on one hand I am sad that they don’t even want to try to deal with it. Once out there on their field trip, they would be committed for the entire trip. There wouldn’t be a failsafe to fall back on.

However on the other hand, I get it. Little Bear has been aggressive during class, recess, and on the bus. He’s also made multiple attempts to run away from the school. He hasn’t earned it.

Conduct Disorder has no known med options that have been proven effective that I am aware of and the favored med class of choice is the anti-psychotic class. The side effects for those meds are long and unacceptable to me. That leaves us with focusing on stabilizing his mood, regulating his sleep, and implementing intense behavioral therapy.

So yeah, he will be staying home from school those two days. I’m debating whether or not to come up with our own family field trip for those days or to just stay home.

I am loathe to reinforce the idea that bad behavior means staying home and in the spring that seems to be what he wants more than anything. BUT I also know that he was really looking forward to one of those field trips.

I feel conflicted. I don’t want his feelings hurt yet at the same time I don’t want to give him a free pass either. I think I would have less of an issue with this if the behavior in question was very recent, but the way they talked it sounded as though they were expressing concerns based on his overall past. Particularly in regards to the last field day for those that had earned enough stickers/points/whatever and he was one short for it. Things got ugly fast when he was told he couldn’t go.

I guess the best thing for me to do is wait until each of those days come around and see how he is doing. After all, I have found that punishment for him works best when it’s immediate rather than extended over time. I’m not entirely sure he will understand that there is a connection between his past behavior and him not being allowed to go on their trips – just like last time.

And no, there was no offer for me to go as a chaperone. The last time I was there at the school, he punched a kid and I completely missed it. If he hadn’t confirmed that he had in fact punched the other child and why, I would have fought with them about it. I wouldn’t have taken him home that day. I believe that was two weeks ago.

So he has already proven to them that my presence makes no difference. And I already knew this. It just sucks.

Doesn’t help that I found out this last weekend that my husband has been telling him that he will be up here in mid-June. Upon asking him about it, I find out that he hasn’t even gotten the leave approved yet. So here he is telling Little Bear that he will be there and he doesn’t even know yet if that’s a fact.

The problem that I have with that is Little Bear is taking it as a promise and has been counting down the days – just like he had around Christmas time. I worry that he won’t show up on time like he says he will – just like Christmas time. Come to find out, he was up here on time but visiting other people instead.

Yet he claims that the boys are important to him…

He also informed me that he’s found a lawyer and will file if I still want the divorce. But when I asked, he wouldn’t give me a yes or no answer as to whether he planned to go for custody like he had threatened to last summer. All he would say was that he agrees that Little Bear shouldn’t be separated from his brothers. It makes me feel like he’s trying to tell me what he thinks I want to hear so he can get what he wants. This is his typical behavior pattern.

Then he complained how the school and hospital staff won’t talk to him (as in return his calls) but this is the first time since Christmas that he’s been willing to speak with me. I find his claims hard to believe when I know their policy is to return calls within 24 hours. So either he has been talking to them and choosing to lie to me about it for whatever reason, or he’s lying about trying to contact them as a means to get me to update him on Little Bear – which I would do without issue if he bothered to ask.

The worst part of it all… he asked me why Scholar Owl won’t talk to him anymore. I told him that Scholar Owl had an outburst during a med clinic appointment AND during a therapy appointment regarding him (which is true) and I have no idea what triggered it either time (I still don’t). The hospital staff informed me both times that due to Scholar Owl’s age and the fact that my husband doesn’t have a legal claim on him, I can’t make this boy talk to him.

My husband seemed to take it pretty well and asked me relay a message to Scholar Owl from him. It was the same kind of shit I’ve heard from him in the past when he’s trying to patch things up with me.

No, I didn’t relay the message. Scholar Owl has enough bullshit on his plate right now. I will not add to it. Besides, he has chosen to take the course of “No Contact” with this man I believe. I need to respect that.

My husband suddenly seemed very interested in what Tuxedo Cat was up to after this. All this time he barely gave the kid the time of day and whenever he’s around he treats Tuxedo Cat like he can’t do anything right. So I don’t trust this sudden interest of his. I don’t think he fully understands that over the years he has already burned this bridge with this child.

I am a firm believer in the family of choice. I have always allowed my children decide who they will call family. It bothers me to see them, including Little Bear, lean away from him but I can’t (and won’t even try to) force them to call him family of any kind.

Not sure why it bothers me so much when I know it’s his own doing. Maybe it’s because I know that they put their faith and trust in him like I had? It’s never pleasant to have your trust broken.

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20 thoughts on “The Sucking of It All in Life Right Now

  1. I feel for you. The challenges you face are quite intense. One thing that I have learned over time is that diet plays a role in many of our life’s events. Perhaps cutting out a lot of sugars and carbs from LIttle Bear’s diet can help him calm down. As with any “natural” remedy, it takes time before you see the results, say, two weeks or more. But it is worth a try.

    You are doing a fine job and your head and heart are in the right place. Just keep plugging forward and giving your kids all the love in the world.

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    1. Lucky for my kiddos I’ve studied Human Nutrition and I’m willing to explore sensory based therapy using food. It’s gone surprisingly well for Tuxedo Cat even if very slow. Things really improved once we started teaching him how to cook from scratch. I think it helps him to know what is in his food. Not so much for Little Bear – he’s highly resistant and I think it’s because the Lamictal has altered his sense of taste (pretty common thing with meds). And Scholar Owl will try anything at least once – sometimes even twice.

      I used to make everyone separate meals but it drains my pocket and sanity. Now I just serve the food and walk away. I won’t even fight with them about it. I try to make sure there is at least one thing on the table they like and I’m too lazy to try to hide anything in their food. So what you see is what you get and if you don’t like it, you can wait for the next meal.

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      1. We’re getting to that point of just cooking one meal and if they don’t like it, they can fend for themselves.

        You are fortunate that you have a foodie education. I’m sure that has helped you in numerous ways. How long did you study, if you don’t mind my asking? I am wondering if it would be something that I could do.

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      2. Well typically it’s a 4 year program, but I had also declared a section concentration in the Food Science and Nutrition degree program. So I was studying Human Nutrition and Food Service Management with a minor in Business Administration. I left college after 6 years with only 2 courses remaining. Aside from being hit with Post Partum Psychosis when Little Bear was born, I have no idea why I dropped out. My GPA at the time was a 3.2 so I really had no reason to give up but I did. 5 years after that we found out I have Bipolar and a year later we figured out why I wasn’t responding to the Post Partum Depression treatment plan.

        The program I was in had a ton of focus on Biochemistry and Genetics. Nutrition is biochemistry after all and nutrigenomics was just emerging at the time. If I had gotten my degree I could have then moved on to either med school or taken the exam to become either a Registered Dietician or Certified Food Manager (meaning I could run a dietary department in a hospital or school).

        The business minor allowed me to study various courses in law and take several technical/professional writing courses along with accounting and marketing. In all honesty the business courses I took back then have proven to be the most helpful to me now.

        I believe that if you have the drive and the desire, you have what it takes to study and learn whatever you wish to pursue. The only caveat I need to add here is that college is not cheap by any means. I left in 2010 and I still owe them roughly 60k in education loans.

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      3. You did a world of good studying as much as you did. It’s odd that the business courses are more useful to you than the Nutrition coursework.

        Have you found that your Bipolar limits you in any pursuit of a profession? I mean, is it stopping you from being a Registered Dietician or Food Manager?

        60k is a lot of money in any era. I don’t think I could afford to go into that much debt. The town I live in is in an economic depression and I doubt I would be able to pay all that debt back before I die.

        I’ve struggled with Bipolar since 2008 and lately it is getting worse. I have no desire to do anything except spend money. LOL. I don’t even want to garden or build/fix anything. I am by no means “in tune” with my body or mind and so I rely on my wife to inform me to when I am stuck in patterns of depression. She says I have been stuck in this rut for over a year now. But there are days that I am manic and anxious. Still, I can’t break free of this black cloud.

        Studying something like Nutrition would bring a sense of accomplishment and I know that the subject matter is important to me and our future. So, I don’t know how I will proceed from here.

        Thank you for sharing all the information with us. It really helps. 🙂

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      4. I’m glad I could be of some help. I haven’t worked since Little Bear was born. He’s 7yrs old now. In the past I’ve found that it was difficult for me to stay with any one job for more than 4 years. I had always thought that it was because of growing up in the military, but now that I know I’m Bipolar I’m not sure why that is anymore.

        Bipolar does have an impact on my motivation and drive. There are times when it’s all I can do just to get out of bed but other times I’m so focused on a project it’s ridiculous. Looking back, I know I was hypomanic the entire time I was in college. I don’t think I would have gone as far as I did if depression hit sooner.

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      5. You have been out of work a long time. Do you find that that has contributed to your flucuating episodes? I, too, have been out of work (for almost a decade) and I am wondering if that has deepened my depression.

        I never stayed with a job more than one year. I have had over 150 jobs in my lifetime. Most, fulltime endeavors. There were some temporary jobs in there, but mostly F/T jobs. I was only fired twice. I just had something in me that made me jump off the train as it were. I could be enjoying the job for two weeks and then out of nowhere I would just quit. I have no rationale for it. I truly enjoyed those jobs but I just HAD TO QUIT. I had to find something new. I don’t know if bipolar is to blame or what.

        My time in college was great. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenges and there was variety. I worked in a restaurant close to campus and I shared a house with a really cool bunch of kids (twentysomethings), so the energy was there for me to plug in to. I did really well in college until I got hurt at work, then everything started unravelling. I spent some time with the campus psychiatrist and that is the first I learned of mental illness. Within a year I was diagnosed Bipolar and started taking meds which have both saved my life and ruined my life.

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      6. Every time you give birth, your entire biochemistry changes so I have no idea what is the true cause of my fluctuations. I mean I did have a psychotic break thanks to the Post Partum Psychosis. Your brain is altered permanently after each one. I got married to my husband shortly before my youngest was born and that turned out to be unwise. “Once a cheater, always a cheater” as they say. I’m of the mind that my current mental status has more to do with trying to recover from the psychosis that lasted 5 years more than anything else. My current marital situation isn’t helping.

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      7. Women are tough. You go through all these trials, all these fundamental changes to your body and mind, and still you find ways to be kind and loving and tenacious. I marvel at the strength of women. Too bad many many many people don’t appreciate what you go through. We have been on this earth for ten thousand years and with all that time to evolve, we simply seem to regress. Politics and religion are taboo subjects of conversation simply because people are too closed-minded and stupid to think on higher things. So hoping for those morons ( and I say that nicely) to realize what a woman goes through is pure fantasy.

        And, there is my proof: “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” Morons like that (and again I say it nicely) have no clue what makes the world go round. And we have to share the air with these people. Forgive me for being disturbed that I have to share air with morons.

        Might I ask “how” your psychosis ended? Did it taper off slowly or was it an abrupt changing? I ask because I have been in constant depression for over a year now and I take my meds like I am supposed to, eat decently and sleep okay, but I am wanting a break. I want to have a manic episode just so I can have some fun for a change.

        All your children all out of the house now?

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      8. It tapered off I think. It was only last year that I was still feeling remnants of it. When it was full blown, I was convinced that the state government was out to get me and had me under surveillance and that no one outside a specific circle of people could be trusted. It falls under the delusions of persecution category. I’m grateful that my sister, who is a psych nurse, was in that circle and prompted me to get specialized help. My oldest son is 16yrs old and my youngest son is 7yrs old so they all still live at home with me.

        As for wanting a break, I do understand. Sometimes it’s an abrupt shift, but other times it’s gradual. I’ve had one other delusion that I know of before having children – one of grandeur that time – and it ended abruptly. So I have no way of knowing how I’m going to shift – with or without treatment.

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      9. Aren’t we blessed? We get to live this “adventurous” life. Never to know “average” again. I long for the days of my young adulthood – young enough to have dreams, old enough to realize them. Now I only realize that this isn’t a dream.

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      10. Honestly, I can’t remember my life being any other way. According to my parents, I wasn’t too very different from my youngest son at his age. Apparently the only difference was the aggression. So from the way they talk, like him I presented with symptoms before my teen years. I could have entire conversations with trees back then (still could until my meds) and they chalked it up to an active imagination. I read all the time people expressing the way you feel but I honestly have no idea what normal is or what it feels like.

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      11. I guess I’m guilty of lumping everything into my own perspective. I couldn’t imagine not knowing what “normal” is or was to the average person. Your “normal” is in some ways a blessing because you have always been “you.” There is no missing some other way of life. It’s a triumph and a tragedy all in the same breath.

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      12. As I said before, presenting with Bipolar symptoms before the teen years is rare. So it would seem that I carry the gene for early presentation. I’ve yet to hear another person with Bipolar express feeling as I do. In fact, in this regard I feel more like those in the Autism community where they grew up never feeling like they fit in – almost as if they came from another world. This sentiment resonates more with me and that isn’t your fault. 🙂

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      13. Presenting at such an early age is in my history too. I had anger issues as early as 7 years old. I used to take hammers to the walls, doors and windows. I chased after my sister with knives and cleavers regularly. But my mom never once considered I might be mentally ill. So I went untreated for decades. I had more of a “normal” life in my teens and twenties but I exhibited signs in my twenties and beyond having over 150 jobs in my career. There was always something that “clicked” in my head and from that moment on I could not work in that job anymore. I tried, but it just was overwhelming. Once, I made it two weeks before I couldn’t stand it anymore and I had to leave. I can’t say that my experience as a child truly bipolar because I was never taken to a doctor, but to me, it appears that I have been this way since childhood.

        Whether it is my fault or not, I still feel uncomfortable when I am presented with the knowledge that someone is suffering and I might be one of the people who just don’t get it. We can never truly walk in someone elses shoes after all. I’m just so saddened that you have had to suffer all of your life. LIke the kids with autism – it’s like a curse in my eyes. But even in that there can be blessings I’m sure.

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      14. My middle son has Autism. He is the most mellow person I have ever known. In many ways I envy him. He’s completely different from my oldest and youngest – like night and day really.

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      15. Is there a link between Bipolar and Autism? Are they genetic twins? My son is mellow. It freaks me out. He is so passive that he let a boy choke him without giving a fight. He just let him do it. When he speaks, I have to ask him to repeat himself because he speaks so softly. I am the opposite: I am loud. It’s a funny household we have. Are your oldest and youngest loud and rambunctious?

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      16. My youngest is loud and rambunctious all the time. Whether or not my oldest is depends on his mood, but I can’t say he’s ever truly quiet. I will say that my middle son isn’t afraid to become loud when he needs to.

        But last year they did find several crossover genes between Bipolar, Autism, and Schizophrenia. I posted my thoughts about it along with another article I came across. The post is titled “Autism Genes for All”. I think the genes involved determine how one will present and I think this is why there is a 50% chance of the baby having a major mental illness/disorder if one of the parents is Bipolar. No idea what the statistics are for Autistic or Schizophrenic parents, but I would be surprised if it was significantly different.

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      17. Oh wow! A 50% chance, eh? That’s a rough deal. “Several” crossover genes? I didn’t think there would be such a large influence on the next generation, but, I guess it makes sense that we pass on everything we have in our system to the children. So then there is no hope of every eradicating mental illness? Makes me look at the history of the world with a different set of eyes. Gives new meaning to people like Edward VIII and Katherine the Great. I wonder if they were touched.

        I will read your post “Autism Genes For All”. I’m sure it will shock me like today’s comment shocked me.

        Thanks so much for sharing all of this. Knowledge is power. 🙂

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