Monday, January 9, 2012

Another surreal day

This post might be the hardest post I've ever written, and that's saying a whole lot. But a couple of minutes ago, my son told me I should post about today, so here goes.

J's ever-changing battle with depression and anxiety has taken a turn for the worse in the last month. In fact, such a bad turn that a couple of nights ago, when he texted me close to midnight, it kept me awake and contending for his life for much of the night. Then last night J came here and I sat up with him for the entire night. Yes, I'm serious, I didn't go to sleep until after Beve and I had a conversation as he was walking out the door to work this morning at 6:30 AM.  J fell asleep about 1:30 AM, so exhausted by the toll of simply trying to stay alive and fight the demons within that he couldn't last another moment, but I held watch.  It's what mothers do. Plus I'd had a fully-caffeinated latte at 10 PM for the express purpose of being with my son when he needed me.

So today, we took our son to the hospital.  Even J admitted that he was in danger.  So we crowded into that emergency room with a cast of a thousand others (or so it seemed) who had maladies of so many kinds one can hardly imagine.  Fortunately, Beve had spoken to J's psychiatric nurse earlier and she'd called ahead so J didn't have to stand at the triage desk, with a mass of humanity leaning in, and explain that he was in danger of killing himself.  When he was finally taken to the first check-in room, I leaned against the counter while the nurse said, "So you want to hurt yourself."
J looked at her strangely. "That's not exactly how I'd put it," he said. "I'd say what were passive suicidal thoughts have become active."
"Do you have a plan?" The woman asked.
"And what is it?"
At that I had to leave the room and make Beve alone listen.  I am a coward. I simply cannot hear these words.  But when I came back in and the nurse walked past me, she reached over and hugged my shoulder.  That gesture spoke volumes to me.

A while later, J was taken up to the lock-in ward where people at risk of suicide are 'housed' with people who are high, detoxing, etc.  When we were let in (via a card fob) the room in which he sat on the bed was stark and depression enough that I wanted to turn and run.  There was the lone bed, two chairs, a metal [non-working] drinking fountain very firmly attached to one corner and patches on the wall from some kind of violence.  No posters, a horrible color and absolutely nothing that spoke of comfort or care. J said, "Now I know what prison feels like."

We waited in that room for hours.  Many, many hours.  A nurse brought J a sandwich (two slices of bread with turkey--no condiment of any kind, even loathsome mayonnaise!), and some apple juice.  A doctor told us a social worker would give him a psych eval and make a recommendation.  So we waited, and I felt those walls creep in on me.

To pass the time, J and I began to talk about sports, religion, whatever we could to keep our minds off the place and purpose of our 'visit, while Beve drove to Costco to tell J's employer why he wouldn't be at work for a while.  J says that one of the biggest helps is talking rationally about things outside himself, because those things anchor him in the present.  When he's alone, he tends to fixate on past failures or the future which seems hopeless.

Finally, when the social worker came to interview him, I once again stepped away, after telling her I am too emotional about it all to listen.  J understands and Beve (long back by then) is much better at such things from having heard them so often--even though this IS completely different.

When I was finally 'fobbed' back into the room, J and Beve told me that J would be coming home. Like the last suicide-watch, he's better off in our home than in any facility. "Those places will make you MORE depressed," she told him. "Your support system is very well in place."  She also must have said something about his intelligence, because afterwards both Beve and J said, "If only we were a little stupider!"  I heard him speak about his situation often enough today to know he's very conversant in both the issues and what has been tried to help him.

So he's home, and as he put it, "There's one thing to cross off my bucket list."
It was NOT an experience ANY of us wants to repeat.  He seems better tonight, though I know 'better' is a superficial thing.  But for this mother's heart, at least I know he's okay for now.

But there's a long ways to go before we are out of the woods.  I don't even know what out of the woods means any more.

I'm tired. Physically, emotionally and spiritually.  God has to intervene, and the Holy Spirit has to intercede.
And Jesus has to save.

And I have to sleep.

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