We just call him Ryan

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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.

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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.

Confusion

I still go back and forth in my head. Wanting to reach out to my friend and talk about all that’s going on, but I know I can’t. Then confusion sets in. I re-read my last message I sent him, which really is very clear with all that happened… and again I sink. He’s not the same person. 

When he doesn’t have me, he treats me different. Or is it just he changed, this breakdown of his was too much for him to come out the same? 

I’m sure he is working on finding his new forever, and I am trying to accept losing mine. 

I can’t lie

I was fighting for something that wasn’t even there. The beautiful ideas he painted, the empty promises he told and false hope he planted. He couldn’t have been any clearer with any words he said than what his actions said. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hate him now. 

For me, he was my best friend. I shared my world with him, confessed my deepest thoughts, vented about my frustrations. I was generous to him and his children because I loved them all. I saw a future growing old together, sitting on the porch in our rockers. I accepted that he was not a “go-getter” or ambitious because of all the other great things I saw. Correction, all the temporary great things. Again once he settled in, it all stopped. Back came the eggshells and arguing. Me purposely staying late at work to avoid being around his irritability. Me avoiding interacting with him because I didn’t have the energy for the drama. It seemed no matter what I said or did, it upset him. My frustrations grew while he again found a way to stop working and that made him unable to function and crippled with depression he said. I tried, I tried so hard. It all changed so fast and for the first time it felt like I was watching a movie, not living it. 

One night we went to bed for the night and out of no where I started crying, balling and I didn’t know how to tell him why. I knew in my gut where things were going. I knew he had changed back and this man was not who I thought he was. I knew all the kids would be hurt, how much harder this would be for everyone this time because of the hope we all had. I knew what was happening and it literally broke my heart and filled it with disappointment. I had given so much of myself and I knew in that moment what was happening. I could see him clearly and god how that hurt.

He lied with every breath he took. He started sleeping on the couch, I think for attention while he sulked in his “poor me” routine. I reached out to help him, even to his mom for guidance how to help him. All I was told was he was fine and for a short time I felt like it was me. That I brought out this ugly person in him. I filled him with misery because how else could he fall apart again after I did everything for him. I became uncomfortable around him. I sat and watched him more, listened to his words and mannerisms unlike I ever had before. I became so cautious about everything I said or did around him because he was annoyed by everything. He began spitting insults at me, things that were untrue but said to hurt. Every conversation revolved around how I made him feel. He didn’t talk to me anymore unless it was to lash out or complain. Soon enough I couldn’t stand to look at him anymore. I resented him for falling apart again. Eventually I didn’t even want him on my couch. I became disgusted by this manipulating useless man who obviously played me. I was humiliated that I gave him everything and again he fucked it up. I became overwhelmed by the disaster he created in my home and the expense of trying to put it back together while supporting everyone on my own. I was appalled that he thought any of his actions should be acceptable. He began trying to intimidate me to fear him as he stomped around MY home. He laughed at the thought that I could make him leave. This was his BIGGEST mistake of all. To carry himself thinking he was in control. I have been through to much in my life to ever allow a man the power to control me, in any way. Bringing police to my home with my children here caused my daughter a full blown panic attack all because he thought he could force me to continue supporting his lazy ass… there was no going back after that. He fucked up to the point I saw him as a complete stranger.

To him, I was a joke. A meal ticket he thought he could manipulate so he could sit on his ass avoiding responsibilities. He spent so much energy lying about what he did and who he was, I was exhausted for him. In the end, he was the ugliest person I knew. He knew what we had been through and he came and broke our mended hearts anyway. 

 Now I realize, I never really knew him at all. 

Life is good



Apology to my children


1- I am the one who ignored his red flags. 

2- I am responsible for bringing him in my children’s lives. I took the risk with all our hearts and time by bringing someone in who I should have known was capable of having a negative impact. I was selfish in not considering how it would affect my kids to see me so close to an unhealthy man again. 

3- I pray my children forgive me.

4- I have completely closed the door.

5- I will again show you that strong independent amazing mom who makes you proud to have. Our lives will only continue to get better, be better and fulfilling.

I am a rarity 

I have said this most of my adult life. I know there are not many, if any, in this world like me. 

Today is literally independence day, coincidence?

I can feel the changes inside. My soul is whispering “you are strong and wise beyond your years. You have so much to teach your children. Keep the warmth inside your heart, don’t let life turn you cold and bitter. Be brave and continue to love. You my dear are a priceless gift. Continue to use the pain and disappointment to strengthen yourself. It will teach you appreciation. Take the lessons life is offering and absorb them in your core. Share your wisdom with the world. Stand tall, proud and confident.” 

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