Cloudy with a Hope of Silver Linings


For those who have read my stories over any period of time, you are familiar with my belief in silver linings, no matter the trial.  And I have had enough trials to believe that if one looks hard enough, the silver linings are there.

I am trying to find a silver lining in my latest crisis.  But they are elusive, and the clouds are black as night.  “My last nerve may be a very patient fella” but it is frayed and I fear that it will break before the storm is over.

My son has been going downhill over the past two years.  It started with an exposure to marijuana by a friend, which has led to chronic lying, vandalism of my home, “stealing me blind” and emotional abuse.  Out of fear of reprisal, I have made many bad decisions, going from ignoring the behaviors to stomping down hard–with punishment to me and my house and possessions.  But I have never been consistent.  Fear will do that to one.

Last year he threatened to harm my husband.  He was admitted to a psychiatric center and the experience was absolutely terrible.  He was exposed to pills of all kinds, drugged up with Xanax and sent home on bipolar and schizophrenic medications without one conversation with the psychiatrist.  The experience soured us to the point that we stopped all attempt to get help through the medical community.

But the behaviors, while they waxed and waned, never resolved.  He stole all my pain meds from the four surgeries I have had over the last 2 years and has continued to victimize me.  I considered rehab, but my husband is so sour on psychiatry that we have fought non-stop over it.  We don’t see eye-to-eye on any part of this whole ordeal.  A win-win for my son, or so he feels.  But really a terrible loss of time spent in indecision and divisiveness.  Meanwhile, school are D/F’s and he incurred 5 days of ISS last month for chewing tobacco in class.  I will spare you the ugly details at our house from that.

Six weeks ago he quickly went south.  And asked to return to a psychiatrist, as his anxiety was driving him crazy.  I was in a panic.  Return to a psychiatrist?  He must be at his last limits of tolerance to ask for this.  He felt that his drug use was due to his psychiatric issues and anxiety, and I agreed, hoping that perhaps I was viewing my first silver lining.

The psychiatrist refused to prescribe any anti-anxiety medications, instead told me she thought he was bipolar and began a drug that required food.  My son has a textural eating disorder, and he only eats if the food is the right texture.  I should have asked for another medication.  My son wanted a quick fix, and this was a several week process before any effect would be noticed.

My son doesn’t do “wait”.  Anyone who is anxious cannot wait, it is the nature of the illness.  I quickly saw that this was not working; in fact he was worse.  After the first three days, he developed some side effects and refused to take the medication.   By now I was suspicious that his visits to certain friends were lies, and he was really with drug dealers.  I arranged for him to be admitted to a psych center for evaluation only to be told by his psychologist that she couldn’t agree that he met criteria at present.  How I wish I would have pursued it.

I was right.

Last week a close friend blew his face off.  At least the official story is suicide.  My son feels it was a drug related murder made to look like a suicide.  He was devastated.  On Wednesday I received a call that he had left school with someone.  My son said it was for the friend’s funeral.  That night he started bout after bout of hysterical crying.  He couldn’t stop, and relayed the graphic account of the funeral (open casket if you can believe it) and how 30 of them got together for a memorial.  We stayed with him until he finally passed out a couple of hours before I had to go to work.

In retrospect, piecing together the actual events, the funeral was the weekend.  The memorial was a drug affair Wednesday afternoon, and my son was picked up by his drug dealer and snorted a variety of medications that led to bouts of hysterical crying that night and the following day.

I began to get suspicious that something terrible was going on with him during that night.  His thinking was disordered and he made many statements that he was a failure and worthless and, pardon me, a fuck up, and he wanted to kill himself but didn’t want to make us sad.  I got home the next day after he cried all day with my husband to hear that all of a sudden he went out for a football game.

Who sobs hysterically for 24 hours then goes to a game?  He wasn’t at a game.  Ergo, was this behavior drug related and, now that I think of it, who has a funeral at 11 am on a Wednesday for a teenager when no friend would be able to attend?  My husband bought all this “hook, line and sinker”, but I realized that I have been fed a pack of lies for months now as it all became clear to me.  He wasn’t just doing a little marijuana now and then, he was on heavy drugs and I was about to lose my son.  My husband wanted to try “natural” medicine.  I wanted to take him right in, right now. I had hit my wall.

One day too late.

I received a terse call from the principal for me to urgently come to the school.  When I arrived, police cars were parked in front of the school.  I have experience with enough tragedy that any sign of police cars make me extremely anxious.  I already knew that he must have been caught with drugs.  I was wrong.  He was caught selling drugs.

A “Class A” felony.

He was released into my custody.  Rather laughable as he was obviously beyond parental control.  The police interviewed him for 5 hours without food before they called me.  Without me there.  Alone.  I saw that he was beyond the point where he could control himself.  I was so afraid to take him home.  School security followed me home and the whole time all he would say was that his life was over and he was running as soon as he got out of the car, he was going to OD on Tylenol but before that kill the kid who turned him in.

It was time.  It was two years beyond time.  It was my fault that he was at this point.  If I had been a better mom, if I hadn’t had so many illnesses, if cancer hadn’t sucked the life out of me, if I didn’t have all these meds of my own to tempt him..if ..if

Getting him into treatment was very frustrating.  I got him into a center only to be told that they actually didn’t have a bed for him.  I called my ER at my hospital and was rudely told not to bring him there without an admitting physician calling them first.  Finally a psychiatric center told me what to do.  Just go to any ER, they must treat him and they would call a psychiatric social worker to triage and do an intake assessment and find a bed for him.

By that time I was half insane myself.  I had a crazy son I was trying to keep in the room who was threatening me and my mom (who-bless her-stuck it out with me and stood up to his threats with such grace and dignity that I will never forget her courage).  I took him to my local ER, a wonderful place who has always treated us well, and they got him a bed at Crittenden, a children’s psychiatric hospital in the area.  He admitted to taking 6 prescription and illegal substances over the last week.  A very “dirty” urine.

My son has divorced me as his mom.  And I may have permanently ruined our relationship, as I used his confidences and told them everything.  He feels betrayed and alone.  He has no idea what the future will actually hold.  Our home has been determined to be unsafe for him.  Along with this we will need to deal with Clay County court system, one of the hardest in the state.  I was told that there was a very real possibility that he would be removed from our home and put into state custody.  At the very least, a secured long-term drug rehab program.

If it will help him, I will accept whatever he needs.  But I cannot talk to him about it as he just lays in bed in utter despair.  Having his freedom and friends permanently removed will just kill him.

I have sobbed until I don’t think I can cry anymore.  I am so broken over this.  This little soul was entrusted to me by God. How can I have screwed him up so badly? 

“Droughts today spring wells of tears to water tomorrow’s Oasis”–Me


20 comments on “Cloudy with a Hope of Silver Linings

  1. Praying for the miraculous in all of this for all of you.

  2. I don’t understand how you, a nurse, can blame herself for this. Lots of mothers have illnesses without their sons going off the rails.Lots of parents escape illness and yet their kids still go off the rails.This is not an issue you can blame yourself for unless you force fed him drugs. This is a choice he’s made for himself quite consciously Lori.
    Since no two sets of circumstance are the same, no-one can know what works best.Sometimes Love wins through but more often Tough Love is what does the job.Maybe it’s necessary to divorce your son in order for him to understand what his attitude is doing to you and telling him he can’t come home until he’s given up drugs completely. Maybe a sentence for drug dealing will bring him to his senses and make him see he’ll end up like his friend if he doesn’t change.
    My heart goes out to you and his Dad and I only hope the treatment he’ll get will bring your son home properly cured and ready to resume a proper life.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    • David–I hold a lot of blame in this. I let it all go too long. Lots of reasons but none of them good. He is a tough tough child and exhausting and his will is stronger than anyone I have ever met. He runs roughshod over us. Brent and I are rather gullible, innocent, easy going people, so a child who thinks the world needs to revolve around him and will do anything to get his own way no matter who he runs over or hurts is the worst combination. We have a daughter who is the exact opposite, sweet and easy going and generally a delight to have around. Hard for my son to be “odd man out”, and he says he doesn’t belong in our family. It will be a long race to run for us all, and I fear that we will all fall before we get there.

  3. I am so sorry, Lori. You know that I have been there and done that, and I saw this coming. Listen to me now: Your son is a big enough boy that he got himself into this mess. He is endowed with free will just like all of us. This is the best thing that could have happened. 1. He didn’t get his face blown off by some dealer that he might have pissed off; 2. He didn’t accidentally OD and kill himself or kill his kidneys or his liver or his brain; 3. He didn’t suicide; 4. YOU didn’t go off the deep end (although we know you always keep it together). 5. He is now in a safe place, away from dangerous people and situations, and away from his own temptations/addictions.

    My own son dealt in dope and illegal weapons before he was finally arrested and remanded to long-term rehab. He didn’t like it a bit, and he didn’t like ME a bit, but we stuck it out, and the two years he spent in residential treatment gave him tools for living that have helped him greatly during the past 10 years since he graduated from the program. He went from being a sneaky, lying, thieving addict to an all-but-dissertation graduate student in molecular biology. And if he hadn’t spent that two years in residential treatment, I am convinced that he would have been either dead or still in prison. And he feels the same way.

    You are doing the right thing. You are being a good mother to your child, by keeping him safe and doing the thing that is in his best interest. I know it feels like a failure when it happens, but it is really a blessing. God has sent His angel to rescue your son and your family. Angels don’t always look the way we’re told they do. They often wear uniforms.

    • Ok Laura, I so wanted to email you this weekend but I am so exhausted and GRIEVING and tearful. He doesn’t see his part in this at all. He is pushing to come home tomorrow and says that the psychiatrist will let him if I agree. The problem is that I cant keep him in the house, he wont take his meds when he is here and I cant keep my meds safe from him. So how can I agree to this? He will either immediately run away to his drug friends or immediately go and get a hit of something. I am calling Juvinile court tomorrow to get their recommendation for what to do. If I take him to rehab he will run, I know it absolutely. I was told yesterday that there is no lock down drug rehab center anywhere in a several hour radius.
      Did school kick your son out? For that is the second piece–what Juvinile will say about school. That looks bleak, as he is getting all D/F’s, I have on record that I have kept him out of school from statement from him that he wanted to hurt other people, his attendance is terrible, and his felony charge. I don’t see how they will say that he is safe to go to a regular school.

      • This is your tough love “come to Jesus” (although PLEASE not literally, but you know what I mean) moment. GRAB IT! You don’t have many, if any, more opportunities like this. Call the school superintendent and get him/her on your side. I did it by threatening to SUE them for not identifying him as a Person In Need of Supervision years before, and for refusing to give him an IEP. They were MORE than willing to get on board with the long-term, and I settled with them for $40,000 which helped pay for the long-term but if I had it to do over I would have sued them all the way. But I was desperate for money, having maxed out everything on short-term rehabs that he either walked out of or got thrown out of for one reason or another. I did call the judge when he was arrested and BEGGED him to remand him to long-term residential, and the judge agreed with me that that was THE only thing that was going to save his life. It did. Not that it hasn’t been a long haul, but now mostly because he has struggled to rebuild his self-esteem after realizing all the horrible things he did when he was a sociopathic addict. The regular school will NOT let him back in with a felony charge. You will have to work with an Educational Consultant to find a therapeutic boarding school that WILL accept him. There is a really good one in Utah, I’m blocking on the name but google Therapeutic Boarding School Utah.

        I’m right here with you, Lori. You email me whenever you need to. Love you sister!

        • Garin was interrogated for 5 hours at school in a room without me, so he tells me. And they wouldn’t feed him lunch, so he had nothing to eat all day (he is not a breakfast eater). I have a bit of a problem with that. Is that illegal? I thought the parent had to be there. I wasn’t called until 2 pm. And there are two versions of the story. Garin’s is that a conversation was overheard by a teacher and the schools is that they observed an exchange. Don’t know if that makes a difference or not–in the end, for me. I asked if he was expelled, for now it is just 10 days in OSS and I was told the school has no say in this matter. The court decides. I have been told by the ER intake worker that Clay county is the toughest in the state, and to expect to have him taken away for it. But I cant think of that now. I just have to figure out how to keep him safe and away from drugs and the dealer friends of his without him losing his mind over it.

          • You NEED a lawyer. I don’t know if the schools have any rights above the law regarding interrogation, but if there were police involved in that interrogation, then what happened might have been illegal. I don’t know. But I think it would be the better part of valour to have a lawyer at this point. Not for the purpose of bailing Garin out of the pickle he is in, because he really needs to deal with that himself, in order to avoid becoming a lifelong offender or getting himself killed, etc, as we said before. But you do need a lawyer so that you know what is legal and what is not, and what your rights are. But PLEASE don’t use the lawyer to get Garin’s *ss out of the frying pan, because if you do he’ll just end up in the fire.

            • I have retained one, more to help me get through the legal tape as I have never stepped foot in a courtroom, and to provide legal counsel to Garin himself so he realizes the seriousness of it. He certainly did seem to realize it today. Cried all day and said his life was over and he had no hope. He is a little bit of a drama queen, but he is in a pickle for at least a year, and the lawyer told me he could be in prison until 21 if he doesn’t shape up quickly. The hospital staff aren’t really nice to him, which is making me mad as he really needs kind firmness right now, not snide remarks. I am trying to keep my cool, Garin has started hitting walls again in frustration and he hasn’t done that for a year. I wonder if I brought him to the right place.

              • In a way his life IS over, if everything plays out in the right way, by the Grace of God. The life he has been living is not one you would want him to continue, I should hope. So that life has to go, in order for a new, healthy life to have space to come in. It’s kind of like losing a tooth. If the baby tooth gets stuck it has to be pulled to make room for the grownup tooth to grow in. The whole thing might involve pain and blood, but in the end it’s worth it. Believe me, I’ve been there. I lost thirty pounds, most of my hair, and most of my sanity, and endured many sleepless nights beating myself up over what I had or had not done to or for my child. The thing that worked best was really working a modified 12-step codependency model, and realizing that what I took to be kindness and love was actually, in this case, enabling, and I had to temporarily hold back my instinct to protect my child in order to give him space to go through what he needed to go through in order to heal.

                The fact that the staff is not being so nice to him when he is acting out is probably a very good thing. It’s very hard to watch. Do they have restricted visiting hours, I hope?

                When my son first started a very tough wilderness therapy program when he was 13, I used to get these pitiful letters every day (they didn’t allow visits or phone calls, just letters) saying, “Mom, they’re trying to kill me, they’re starving me, they’re….” and you have no idea (well, you do, I’m sure) how hard it was for me not to jump in the truck and go down there to the desert and pull him out of there. But then, what would have been the good of that? He would have missed the opportunity for tremendous growth and self-reliance. By the end of the 8-week program he had learned that he actually WAS the one who controlled his life, not me, not his father, not the school….and if I had pulled him out, I don’t know what would have happened.

                We made some big mistakes after that, and paid for them dearly, but the stumbling block was always misplaced mercy. How tough that is!

                Sending you love and blessings…..

                • Chock full of amazing wisdom as always. You are correct. For the first time ever, he ate an apple uncut at the hospital. He was “starving”. He cant raise his arms b/c the “bed” was a hard board. I couldn’t even sit on it without pain. I do rescue him. And insurance refused residential stay. So day one I have had to tell him over and over NO you cant go to the park without me. I feel like I have a toddler again. What will it be like in a couple of days after he is stir crazy? And school wont let him back for 180 days. So he gets to sit and do ‘nothing’ at home. Recipe for disaster for someone with ADHD and drug abuse.

  4. Lori,
    I agree with the above comments. You cannot blame yourself for your son’s actions. You did the best you could under the circumstances and you certianly had some circumstances to deal with. Our children may well be the product of our upbringing but you didn’t teach your son to do what he has done. I understand how desperate you must feel, but you can only now be as supportive as possible to your son. You will always be his mother and he will one day come back to you. Consequences can be a terrible thing to face both for him and you. Hang in there.

  5. I don’t know what words would bring comfort to you during such a rough time. Only that I will add prayers for peace, for understanding, and for gentleness for all of you.

  6. Lori, you and your family are in my prayers. In fact, I am going to pray after writing this. I do believe your son has met a “divine appointment,” a place he was supposed to get to on the journey he was on….a God-kind-of detour sign. You, meanwhile, have a Father in Heaven who dearly loves you, though it may seem unlikely because of the suffering you’ve gone through. One of the most difficult things to accept is the fact that our children have the right to choose good or evil, just as we do. We must remember our weapons though…and that we fight not against each other, but spiritual forces. may all God’s blessings be yours, now and forever. Daithi

    • A chaplain came and met with him for about 6 hours while he was there. I was so hoping that this was his moment to experience the love and saving grace that Jesus can give. But he did not. He believes that people who become Christian during serious crisis are clinging to something and he chooses not to cling to anything that he isn’t sure is real. And yes, trying to accept that I brought a soul into the world that I believe will suffer for all eternity is driving me a bit batty. I didn’t want children initially because of my fear that I was dooming them to eternal pain and suffering. So I too am fighting my own demons of fear. I was so hoping that my brightest silver lining would be his salvation. He seems more than ever determined to get himself out of his mess and not allowing anyone else to help him. So willful and so…well, HIM!

      • But prayer is our hope…and that we must hang on to, to dedicate ourselves to fight daily with His strength for our children. We do not have to “try,” we just have to “give” our concerns to God. I too am praying for my own…those given to me to watch over as a gift from above.

      • I somehow believe that he WILL be saved. He just hasn’t got to that place yet. He’s still got a lot of layers of defenses, and people are being awfully kind to him, and he’s still manipulating. He’s got to REALLY bottom out before he will get saved, but somehow I am confident that he will. And I’m Jewish!

        • Yes, there are many levels to saved. Garin has a hard heart that he created from a too sensitive soul. And two parents who spoiled and entitled him. And now that is making life miserable. We all need to be saved, each in our own way.

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