Lots of parents of high school seniors are taking their kids on college tours and dealing with the college application process. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve been doing a tour of adolescent psychiatric hospitals throughout the county. Since October 27, my high school senior has attempted suicide; been taken to the ER by ambulance with police accompaniment; placed on a 5150 hold; cut her thighs and arm so often and so deeply that she’s covered in scars; spent a week in-patient at a psychiatric hospital (twice); spent two weeks in a psychiatric partial hospitalization program (twice); been prescribed two different anti-psychotic medications (in addition to ever-increasing doses of antidepressant medication and one anti-anxiety medication); been taken by ambulance to the ER for seizures and then held for a psychiatric evaluation; purchased an airline ticket to Missouri with an unknown credit card (which went unused because of re-hospitalization, thank God); reported abuse by various family members to Child Welfare Services, for which we are now being investigated; and devolved into an almost unrecognizable state.
I live with almost unrelenting anxiety, never knowing if she’ll be alive in the morning. I’m constantly checking on her, worried that she’s wandered off or taken off or found an innocent-looking household item with which to hurt herself. Merry freakin’ Christmas. Will the insurance pay for more treatment? What will the options be if the insurance won’t pay? What level of care does she need to recover?
And I’ve been lucky, so far, to have really good health insurance, thanks to my estranged spouse’s union health coverage. Despite being asked at my unconscious kid’s bedside after the suicide attempt, to whip out my checkbook and make a co-pay, all the various services have been covered. But at some point, cost will become a burden and a barrier to treatment. And if she refuses to take the help that is offered, there’s nothing anyone can do for her. She’s livid with me for allowing her to be hospitalized; putting her into yet another program may very well sever our relationship. Where would she go? This is how I think some of the psychiatrically disabled homeless come to be.
When I started blogging, I made a commitment to respecting my family’s privacy. I didn’t think I’d ever blog about something like this, but I never imagined this darkness could envelop my family. It’s unremitting. I feel isolated, terrified, and defeated. It’s as though a bomb has been set off in the middle of my family and all that’s left is utter destruction. I’m desperate for hope. For Christmas, please, please all I want is hope. And a stocking stuffer of peace.