We just call him Ryan


I love this picture. This is me and my son at Christmas 2010. This Christmas marked the change in his life, in our lives. About a month after this picture we finally found out what was really wrong with him. He has Epilepsy. But at the time we took this picture we didn’t know that yet. We were told my son was genetically defected and diagnosed with every mental disorder. ADHD(attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), PTSD(post traumatic stress disorder), depression, mood disorder and even bipolar disorder. All by the time he was 8 years old. He was on just about every type of psych med with 9 prescriptions. About a month before this Christmas photo was taken I was fed up and finally stood up to the doctors. I educated myself about any and every thing the doctors labeled him with, the medications and the side effects. I obsessed over it. I was fed up with them just throwing on another pill when his side effects got worse. I was fed up of him getting worse instead of better. I was fed up of believing those doctors and giving them all the power to do whatever to my son. If he was bipolar I was ready to accept that but damn it I was fed up with all their damn guesses. 9 prescription pills my son took each day and I was angry at myself for allowing the doctors to let it get to that point. After three attempts at partial hospitalization, we admitted him into the hospital. At eight years old my son was placed into the psychiatric unit in the hospital. He was in the hospital for two weeks and we even celebrated his 9th birthday there.

I look at this picture and realize there was a before and after. Before the diagnoses and after. I think back of all that has happened and there was one night that literally saved us both.

My son had been released from the hospital and home for the first time in years without any medication. What was scary was we found out he really had Epilepsy but the hospital couldn’t get a pediatric neurologist to see my son. So after my constant badgering and bitching the doctor finally agreed to release him and gave me a list of appointments I needed to make. To get in with a neurologist was a 3 month wait. But I didn’t care, I was so excited to bring him home!!

He started reading. He just sat in his room reading!! Now that’s just crazy talk…nope it’s true. I remember him telling me before he would look at the pages and it just looked like alphabet soup. But now when he looked at the pages the words came alive because he could read them. I think all those meds really messed with him but they also numbed the pain of our past for him. See three years before this we had moved from our home, the only one my kids knew and started all over leaving the past behind. The past being my son’s father who was abusive in many ways and we finally got away.

Fast forward. Extensive neuro psych testing found the rest of the pieces. No depression. No bipolar. He has Epilepsy, ADHD, non-verbal learning disorder(think high functioning aspergers/autism), and sensory processing disorder. But we just call him Ryan.

Now Ryan is almost 16. He’s a sophomore in a regular high school with an IEP (individualized education plan). This year will likely be his last year needing the social skills class which will allow him to take an elective class like photography. Next semester he’s signed up for ROTC. He wants to be a police officer and help people. He has a girl friend and loves who he is. He is thoughtful and caring. Funny and still obnoxious. He is a great kid and I am in awe of who he has become. Somehow this amazing kid with a shocking past is beating the odds and this mom couldn’t be prouder.




The sun is shining in my bedroom window, covering me like a blanket. I imagine it brushing my hair back, caressing my shoulder as if to say this feeling will pass, hold on.

I feel heavy and sad, my insides are full of shadows. I’m trying so hard to fight the growth of this pain. To guard my heart, protecting it from the darkness. 

I’m struggling to find a new normal. To feel complete instead of feeling like I lost part of myself. I feel lonely and god I miss his touch. I miss his smile when he looks at me. I miss seeing him happy and feeling comfortable. I miss his love for all of my words, whether they be spoken or written. I miss cuddling with him at night curled inside his body, his arms wrapped around me. I miss him taking care of me, a feeling I honestly hadn’t experienced in so very long, loved and admired. 

I wrote that about 3 months ago. I have my good days but sometimes it feels like darkness is creeping around the corner, watching and waiting. Sometimes I can ignore it or tell it to fuck off. But sometimes I take it’s hand and let it wrap itself around me because then I’m not alone. It misses me and even though I do try so hard to be an amazing person, I feel safer in the dark. I’m terrified of any more disappointment, what it will do to me. 

I think back to when we got back together, I hadn’t been so happy in such a long time. And I genuinely gave my heart and soul to him. I thought like a couple probably for the first time in my life. I felt secure and safe and I trusted him with my life. I knew he was my forever. It was such a good feeling.. but it was short lasting and I tried so hard to get him back where we were but he was lost in his own darkness. It was painful to watch and hurt more than being alone. I began to prepare myself. At first when he detached and slept on the couch, I tried to pull him back. Soon I mourned the loss as I watched it happening. We had went through this before so I knew what was happening, where it was going. And I feared losing myself in my grief, and for god sake I can’t do that to my children again. 

I’m trying to set healthy boundaries, to protect my sanity and my stability. But I fear his love has become my drug of choice and just when I think I’m healed he decides to hand me the needle. “Do you want another hit? Just for a minute”. And just like an addict I relapse, which is followed by the sinking of my soul. And I have so much to lose, the pressure of staying strong wraps itself around my chest, squeezing so tightly until I am again crushed.

Mister Man

This little guy right here is my new anti-depressant. 

Do I really need another pet? Probably not. But my head does. My mind has been running laps this last month. Work is stressful, my daughter is in a bad situation, and curiosity killed this cat (aka-me). I haven’t slept well all week. Up by 4 am each day. 

I’m staring at a fork in the road and like usual the path seems to be made for me, closing the other roads. And while I know I’m going to get over this hill eventually, the bumps and valleys are quite painful. 
Truth is a bitch. 

It wasn’t real. None of it and it never was. I feel so heavy again, the world stacking itself on my shoulders. I keep reminding myself “it’s just one day. Breathe and know tomorrow will be better”.  So now I’m getting Mister Man.