My 13 YO in Psychiatric Ward

Katie_RMarch 30, 2005

I don't really know how to write this except that I so need to make contact with others and hope that someone out there will respond. I had my son at 41 at he was my heart's desire. But something just never was right with him. Even as an infant he didn't want to be held. Now he's a chess champion and at college level math in 7th grade but he is autistic (high functioning) and perhaps psychotic. His conversation at home is how he wants to be a cat. It sounds crazy, I know. William's dad and I divorced in 1996. Will lives with his dad and stepmom by his choice. Last week they checked him into UCLA's adolescent psychiatric ward, with my approval. I am grieving although I am glad that he is there. Maybe there will be some help for him although after going through multiple psychologists and psychiatrists, I am not sure. Parenthood has not turned out how I thought it would. Maybe this is part of the cycle of life, but it is so difficult. I cry inside for this child who lacks so many aspects of really being a person, including empathy. There is nothing really to say except how difficult it really is. We try but I think, ultimately, that there really isn't much help for a kid that refuses to be helped (he lies on the floor and says "meow" in therapy sesions, and this with an IQ at genius level.) Last night he hit me on the head when I visited him in the hospital. I guess God wants me to learn how to handle this.

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Katie, this most definitely is a terrible grief for you. I am so sorry! I really don't know what to say and this will not be much comfort to you, but the only thing that I can think to tell you is pretty much what you said yourself. Maybe this is just the cross that God chose for you to carry and for whatever reason, it will reap something good for your or others through your suffering.
It is all so hard to understand. Life just isn't always fair. We live in a far from perfect world and we have to deal with our problems as they come, the best way we know how.
I know that your case with your son is an extreme one, but I would think that if you took a poll, more than 50% of parents polled would tell you that their children's lives or their lives have not turned out as they dreamed that they would be. It's just life.
I wish so much that I could give you some sort of solace with this. I truly believe that it is true that parents are only as happy as their most unhappy child.
Don't give up. Miracles do happen, and I will pray for you to find a way to live with this situation without too much grief.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 12:35AM
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Lu, thank you. I appreciate your prayers more than I can say. It somehow helps to hear you say that this is maybe just the cross that God has chosen for me. I am supposed to learn something from it.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 12:54AM
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I firmly believe that, Katie. I believe that the crosses we bear in this life help us grow stronger and more insightful to certain things which will help us gain our ultimate goal, which is eternal life. Really, that is all that matters in the end, anyway. This life is not supposed to be easy. We are not in heaven yet. I will continue to keep you and your son in my prayers.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 12:02PM
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Katie, I can't add much to what Lu said so well except to tell you that several of my friends had a child in a psych hospital for a time (probably a couple of weeks), and they are all doing very well today. I don't know if the hospital helped them, but they were all teenagers and all seemed quite troubled at the time. All had good, loving mothers--and in one case, a father as well.

Perhaps UCLA, with its staff and resources, can give you a definitive diagnosis and treatment options. Or maybe it's possible that your son's "condition" is more of a symptom of the difficulty he experiences being different in the adolescent world where one is not rewarded for being unique.

I recently read Raising Blaze, by Debra Ginsberg. She has a website. The book is subtitled "Bringing Up an Extraordinary Son in an Ordinary World." Blaze exhibited some problems since birth, and the school system didn't exactly help.

I fully sympathize with your grief. Along with your fear and loving concern for your son, you are mourning the loss of what you had envisioned for him. But please remember that where there's life, there's hope.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 10:00PM
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I'm very glad your son is getting such excellent professional help, and maybe UCLA can really provide answers and help him function in this world. I know it is a heartbreak for you, to see this son you love so dearly having a difficult life. My heart goes out to you. Please take care that he does not hit you again. I hope and pray things get better for him and your family.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 12:53AM
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I am so sorry all of you are having such a rough time! It sounds like your son has a good group of people on his team, though because you, his father and his step mother are all in agreement about the need for hospitalization, and you've taken that difficult step. I would urge you to contact the hospital to find out about local support groups for parents. Nobody should have to carry this kind of burden alone. Have you checked the NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) website for additional information and support? Good luck and hang in there.

Here is a link that might be useful: National Alliance for the Mentally Ill

    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 11:25PM
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Katie -

You have had some excellent responses and I can't add much except that I, too, have a son with a "genius level" IQ. His is extremely intelligent but he doesn't have the common sense that God gave a goose. He has ADD and has had many problems growing up including drug use and trouble with the police. At one point he became so abusive I had no choice but to call the police so then he had a domestic violence charge against him in addition to everything else. Lulie said something I had never heard before: that a parent is only as happy as his/her most unhappy child. In my case that certainly seems to be true. I wish it wasn't, but it is. I just wake up each morning and tell myself that my son is in God's hands, and that gives me the peace and strength to face another day. Place your son in God's loving hands and trust Him to take care of both of you. I will include your family in my prayers when I pray for my own.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 7:25PM
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Katie, have you read "Finding Ben"? It is by a mother in a situation eerily similar to yours, even down to her son chossing to live with dad and stepmom at that age and then being committed-- and the genius-level IQ, all the same. Ben has really turned his life around now and I think you would really, REALLY get a lot out of the book. We just moved to another state, but if I did not get rid of my copy in the move (I will have to look through the remaining book boxes!) I will mail it to your if you want to email me on my page with your address. Really, really, really read the book.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 2:08PM
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From one mother to another I feel your pain. My son has a very high IQ...but not a drop of common sense in his bones. His father and I separated/divorced before his 2nd birthday and it was extremely hard. He lived with me and when he was 6 1/2 I remarried a wonderful man. He and I raised Eli and our lives were good until he was about 13/14 years old. Then we started to see a negative change in him. When we realized he needed to speak with a professional about the issues in his life (many surfacing later involving his feelings about the divorce), we received no emotional support from his father. His father never communicated with us about the day-to-day decisions that needed to be made, and there was always tension towards us from him. We felt like if we said black, he would say white. His father said there was nothing wrong, it was a stage he was going through, and basically shut us down. We pleeded with him, even enlisting the help of the school counselor and social worker and his father basically told us all to go to h--l. Now he's 21, has lived with his father and his father's girlfriend for the past 3 years and we have no contact with him. He hates both me and my husband and refuses to speak to us. It is so hard to get through every day and every day I think about him. People tell us that things will change, that he'll "come around", but at this point I don't know. I try to keep in contact with him through his aunts, since we have a good relationship with them. We send cards and letters, and have made efforts to contact him. All to no avail. I have also tried to contact him at his father's shop, but I always reach my ex-husband, who lets me know in no uncertain terms that I am not welcome to call. They have their home number unlisted and I don't even know where they actually live. My point is's hard, but life needs to be lived. Your family needs you and you need to be healthy, because this is your life, too. I know that doesn't make it any easier, but it gives you a purpose. Without that, it seems so hopeless. You said that he hit you on the head when you visited him...I equate not having contact with Eli as being hit over the head in a metaphorical way. Stay strong, stay healthy, and realize that there are some things you have absolutely no control over. I understand that it doesn't make the situation easier, but it does make sense. And sense is something viable and positive. You said that "parenthood has not turned out how I thought it would"...I understand so deeply. I will say a prayer for you and all the parents out there who need one. I thank you for sharing your pain, beacuse sometimes it's not easy. And thank your for allowing me to do the same. Peace.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 11:34AM
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