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Welcome to my blog. I hope we can help each other endure the pain of the addiction of a daughter or son.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Good Day to become an Advocate

I was busy but not harried at work today. When I got home, Beth and cut the grass and gone to the movies. Joy had cleaned the kitchen and volunteered to do some grocery shopping. I made a quick but healthy dinner from some fresh Jersey asparagus, rice and eye of the round steaks. Carrots and onions just thrown onto the grilling pan added a little color.

After dinner, Dave felt well enough to go to the movies. He wanted to see Robin Hood. I really just wanted to sit for awhile so I was happy when Beth arrived and decided to join him. She loves movies and she loves to watch them with someone. It is the only time that she is reliably social.

After all we have been through, these little gems of normal life are very precious to us. I have recently had enough energy to start looking at some of these problems from a societal/political viewpoint. That is so hard for us parents of affected children to do because we are so busy putting out fires on a regular basis. Our strength is regularly sapped by the latest crisis.

I emailed my governor and state representatives last night. I asked them not to close anymore mental hospitals. There are many families like mine. There are many families with much harder circumstances. Did you know that we have to wait for the mentally ill person to actually hurt themselves or someone else before getting them committed?  This is often the case. I have seen things that I would not have believed could happen in our country. When a person is sick enough they should have a hospital to go to. This is not the case now. It will get more and more dangerous as time goes on. There are more mentally ill people right now in jail than in mental hospitals because we have closed most of them down. During the Raegan years our mental hospitals were decimated.

I am all for keeping people in the community but when the institutions closed down not even half the amount of community support that is needed was put in place. I know a lot of older women from my NAMI group living with schizophrenic or extremely bipolar grown but disabled chilldren. They do not know what will become of these children when they die. We can do better than this.

I urge you all to write your representatives and even the president. It was not as hard as I thought it would be. I found simple ways to email all of them on google. Then, I just cut and pasted the same basic message over and over again. In 20 minutes I had contacted the governor and three congressmen.

For Barbara,

My daughter is currently taking lamictal (it has helped her the most and is a mood stabelizer), seroquel (antipsychotic) and topomax ( this supposedly helps with bipolar and lowers cocaine craving).

Monday, May 24, 2010

U of P Twice in one Week

I went to the U of P with my husband last week and with my daughter this week. They were both told that structurally they do not need joint replacements. Their pain most likely comes from inflamation. My husband got steriods to mitigate the inflamation. My daughter got sent to another doctor.

My husband is a lot better after a few days of steriods. Beth is still in pain but I can tell she is relieved that she is not full of arthritis or bone deteriorization. The miniscus transplant may have shrunk some or it might be inflamed from a low level of rejection. That means she may also be helped by steriods or anti-inflamatories but they want her to see a specialist in meniscus transplant. Her actual bones are not so far deteriorated as to need a knee replacement.

The orthodpedist did not say this but I have read it in addiction literature. The body may send out pain signals in response to drug cravings in people in early recovery. They are not inventing their pain. They actually feel pain as opposed to drug craving. But it is the craving that gives them the pain.

I told Beth, that if this is the case, she will have a lot less pain in 6 months. I do find it odd though that my husband never did any drugs and his diagnosis is the same. Your bone structure does not require an operation, yet your pain is debilitating.

We will see what the meniscus transplant surgeon has to say. AT any rate, she knows that I am working with her.

Josh is coming home soon he says. He knows that Beth will stay with us as long is we can keep her. He seems to accept this now instead of fighting it. It might have something to do with the funeral he attended this past week. The brother of a friend of his died in an ATV accident. Death has a way of putting life in perspective doesn't it?

Beth has continued to take her mood stabelizer, anticonvulsant and antipsychotic medication in the same ammounts. She has not taken her antidepressants anymore. She says that at this point, she does not miss them.

Thank you for your prayers. We passed the third week which is most usually the crisis time for her. We are now well into the fourth week. Please pray for her and for us.

  It feels much better to be helping her. We know she is safe at night in her bed. I have now cut back my daily antidepressant and every other day xanax use to every other day for the antidepressasnt and once or twice a week for the xanax. I know that I am doing all I can for her right now. I am not torn apart and conflicted in my own emotions. That is where we are today.

It is a relief to be able to ask for your prayers. I suppose I could do it in my church but I am not somehow brave enough and I also feel it would be violating Beth's privacy here in her hometown. I am grateful that we have become blogger friends and that I can ask you to pray for us.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Old Paradigm

Thanks to Megan I just found out that Beth has been medicated following an out of date guidelines for medication management. I did some research and found guidelines by three major authorities and they all agreed with Megan. Antidepressants are not usually tolerated by people with bipolar disorder even with the addition of a mood stabilizer. The American Psychiatric Association, The Texas Medical Algorithm Project and the Expert Consensus series all agree.

Since, Beth just started her Prozac a couple of days ago (it does make her happier), I shared this info with her and ask her to cut down or cut it out until we get an updated medical opinion. I am going to write to Megan's doctor and ask him to suggest a colleague in my area.

A similar situation happened with my diabetic husband two years ago. He had never been able to control his sugar. He was suffering multiple and dangerous complications including eye bleeds and kidney insufficiency. A friend of Beth's who was an EMT talked to my husband Dave. He said, "Dave you are following a paradigm that is 30 years old. Go to Jefferson or U of Pennsylvania. No one does it the way you are at the major medical centers.  You are following an old paradigm."

I talked to my friend the school nurse about all of this and she said to go see a diabetic educator about insulin and carbohydrate counting. My husband spent 3 hours with this woman. His sugar has been right ever since!
We tell everyone if you can not control your sugar get on insulin, see a diabetic educator and learn to count carbs and make adjustments to your insulin.

I really thought I was up to date on bipolar disorder but apparently not.

Thanks Megan, you might have saved a life. At least there is hope in the protocols that we have not even tried.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Back Troubles

I had to take my husband to the hospital this morning with severe back pain. He was in writhing pain all night and then it got worse. He could not walk in the morning. The EMT's took him in and I fought with the ER doc for a couple of hours until he got the MRI. Another Doctor had authorized this a couple of weeks ago but due to my insurance company delay and some delays in the orthodpedists office nothing happened until the situation escalated. He has numerous other health problems which make him medically fragile. The ER doc was going to send him home to wait a few more weeks but I said I would not and could not physically take home a man who is twice my size who can not walk. I also called the orthodpedist and explained my position asking her to make the MRI stat. She did, and it took all day but it happened. I expect him to be discharged in a few minutes. My younger son and daughter who are in their early twenties took over for me at about 3 pm. That was great as neither my husband or I slept last night.

Beth started taking her meds last night. She did not sleep well either but she was relaxed and reasonably content today. That is unusual for her. I hope we will get another 3 weeks as she just started the prosak last night. Since I am writing it here, I will not forget.

It did my heart good that both Joy and Josh dropped what they were doing and came to sit by their father. They encouraged me to get some rest and I did. Also, I cam home to a clean kitchen. Beth had cleaned the kitchen while I was gone. This was a little glimpse of life as we used to know it.We went back to being a regular family that helped each other out in times of need. We enjoyed each other company on those oh so precious "every days"  that we did not know were to be so fleeting.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Third Week

Please pray for us as we start the third week with Beth at home. Historically the third week has not been good. That is when all hell breaks loose in one form or another. I am determined to keep my serenity regardless of what happens.

She now has my roof over her head. That is the best thing if she can hold steady. I might even be persuaded to hang in there through up to three relapses given conditions which do not endanger the family. I do have a plan b and even c regarding studios in Philadelphia.

I see how lonely and ill she is and that she needs us right now. She is in no hurry to leave and it would be much easier for her to use in her own place. I think she wants to be with her family. Now, we will see how long she can sustain it.

She went back to her Dr. She got her psychiatric meds but not suboxone. That is interesting as the suboxone has a high street value. She choose not to take it.   She has not been taking the prozak, lamictal or seroquel eventhough she has had it for three days. I am not pushing it. I want to see if she lasts a little longer without the meds. My suspicion is that she gets in trouble because of the mania. I think the  mania has never been adequately controlled and the prozac makes it worse. This is  my observation as a mom living with her. She was depressed and miserable before starting her prozack but also careful and obedient. She is not happy but she also seems to be staying away from drugs. She is not suicidal either just sort of in a low middle kind of mood.

I have not said anything to discourage her from taking her meds, I am just not pushing them as I have in the past.  Prozac alone will definitely make mania worse. She was on prozak alone when she got addicted and raised hell around here.Basically , because she was initially diagnosed and treated for simple depression, it means that she was taking meds for about 6 years that made her a lot worse. No wonder I do not have confidence that the current mixture is right!

I thank you all in advance for your prayers that we live one day at a time and hold onto our serenity in this third week.

Thank you good people for praying to God for us. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Representative Payee

I forgot to mention that the judge recomended a representative payee. That means that a third party probably my husband or I will recieve and distribute her money. We are to make sure that it covers her basic needs such as food and shelter. No worries there. 700 per month will not pay for all of her rent here in NJ.

As a mother, I am greatly relieved to think that this makes it possible for me to see her with a roof over her head. I do not fault anyone who will not do this. My attitutude for the last 4 years was very different. I said and I followed with my actions that I will do absolutely nothing for you until you quit taking drugs.

I think that if Beth could have snapped out of this whole thing it would have happened during the last 4 years while she got no familial or governmental support. Her situation got worse in many sordid and painful ways. This all culminated with her disappearance earlier this Spring. We really thought that she was dead. We were looking in morgues and hospitals. It changed us in a way that I am sure  you do not understand unless you have done this. It is a whole other issue to face not knowing if your child is dead or alive and not having any idea of where to look for them.

Maybe she will hang on a little longer when we are not trying to control her. Giving her nothing was , after all another way to punish her.So far, it is better for the family and better for her. I will tell you the truth no matter which way it goes.

My son has gone to stay with friends. He does not accept his sister. He hold her totally accountable for all of her actions. He does not want to be in the same house with her. It seems strange to me that he has been very compasionate with the siblings of his friends who have gone bad on drugs but not with his sister.

He is shamed by her. I understand that. Really, I do as I have been shamed too but I wish he had a little more compassion for her. The rest of the family has been just great. Basically, they are worried about what might happen to me if I continue to suffer so they agree with our helping Beth. They say enough is enough, we tried all this tough love for 4 years.

That does not mean that we approve nor that we will finance her bad habits. Only that we want a roof over her head.  I have never worried about food as much as shelter. I figure that the desire to eat is a craving just like drugs, perhaps even more powerful. I figure that needing to choose between food and drugs might be good. Lack of shelter can lead to rape or exposure to the elements. There has been too much of that already.

Judge Rules in Disability Hearing

Today at 12:30 Beth and her lawyer entered the disability hearing for SSI benefits. There were a judge, two doctors and a vocational specialist there to review her case. The paperwork for her case filled an entire legal brief case. They are huge!

The court psychiatrist ruled that she met criteria for affective disorders. He also ruled that although she had a history of drug abuse, the drug abuse did not cause the mental illness. The mental illness was documented well before the addiction. The medical doctor ruled that her knee was impaired but not incapacitating.

  She was awarded the maximum amount of 700 dollars per month plus medical coverage. Since we filed before her 22nd birthday she will also qualify as an adult disabled child .  That means, that when I die or collect social security she will become eligible to collect some of my benefits as well.

She was rejected three times on the basis of paperwork reviews. This was the first hearing in front of a judge. She never spoke and was in there for about 15 minutes. It could not have gone better. It will now take another 3 months before any money comes through. We owe the lawyer about 6000 dollars which will come out of the settlement. She also has to pay back welfare to the tune of 2000 dollars. They were giving her 200 a month for the past two years.

We are greatful for this help. We will keep her with us as long as possible or as long as she will stay. She was a nervous wreck last night and this morning. She was pacing and voraciously chewing her fingernails. She wanted to go out with friends for the last few days but we said no. Usually no does not matter to her and she will find a way even if it is out the second floor window in the middle of the night. However, she did not go.

I can tell now when she is using heroine because her pupils are little pin prick points. She was not using heroine. She is very social and happy on cocaine so I saw no signs of that either. We will tolerate almost anything short of violence as far as her mental illness is concerned. It is the drug use and all that goes with us that makes us want to keep our distance. Pray for us to let go and pray for her to hang on to her sobriety so that this child of mine can find some peace. Pray for our family to finally feel that we have done our best no matter what else happens.

Thank you for letting me share.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

I was blessed to have all my children with me today. We had a low keyed get together at my mother-in laws house. It was just pizza, salad and strawberry short cake. Nana was in great shape. She wore a bright pink jacket and sat in her big easy chair like a queen!

Beth came for a little while. She stayed about an hour. She was withdrawn and had a haunted disconnected look about her.  This happens when there are too many people moving and talking around her. It looks like fear to me but she says it is not fear. She just feels uncomfortable. She needs breaks in these situations or she will hyperventilate.

After she left, there were questions about is she ok? Is she on drugs?  I said, no. I don't think so. This is how she acts and feels when she is not on drugs. Thank you for being patient with her. She does much better with one or two people at a time.

Anyhow, she said goodbye to everyone and left early mentioning that she had a headache. I found her at home watching a particularly gory horror movie. I was glad she was home. It occurred to me that she might be struggling with drug cravings so I was relieved to find her home.

She said, it was the best I could do MOM. I said, "it was ok Beth, you sat with your Nana, you said a few words to everyone. It is ok to make an appearance and then go home. It is much better to be a little part than no part at all of a family gathering."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I came home to find Beth and Joy playing Tennis on their Nana's court. Beth had her pink unloader brace on and was not running just stepping. Joy was running all over the court trying to return the balls that Beth kept placing just out of her reach.

They never played together when they were younger. This is a new thing but they were having fun. Beth's knee was visibly swollen when she stopped but she was happy. Last night she started to cry when she told us. "I can't think about sports without crying." This might actually be progress. I always thought it was strange that she never expressed her great loss here. I knew it was a loss for her as she wanted to be a professional but she never talked about it.

Today she was talking about helping out with the girl's high school team. I did encourage her but wonder if they would let her. Probably they would as long as adults were there as well.

We went up to her Nana's art studio which ajoins the tennis court. She looked startled when she saw it and exclaimed, "I could live right here!"  Indeed, I wish she could if only she would behave. It is right next door and I do not want to see any shenanigans that I can't stop. She used to paint up there with her Nana in happier times. They would come out on the deck and watch the tennis players.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

And Then She Sang Like an Angel

Beth cheered up when she found out we were going to my cousins to sing kereoke. She did not intend to sing but she wanted to be a part of things. After about 2 hours she decided to sing Angel of Music from Phantom of the Opera.

It was an odd selection as everyone was singing rock or country. She also had never practiced with a kereoke machine so that is very difficult. She started out in the wrong key in an unfamiliar version, I thought oh no..... this will humiliate her and make her cry.

Then she asked for a different version which was smack on! She sang in an amazingly clear and sweet soprano that startled then amazed us all. It really moved me that this kind of beauty and talent is still there. She hit every note and given the selection, it is something that none of the rest of us practiced singers could do.

She got a lot of praise and applause. That has not happened in a long time for her.

On the way home she said that she never told me she was first soprano in the select choir. I knew she was good but not that good. I never heard her sing alone because she would not. She said it emabarrased her and she would cry. I said, it is a god given special talent.

After all of that good stuff she wanted me to drive her by an old questionable boyfriend's house. It was 11 pm. I said no, I am not comfortable with that. When we got home she wanted to take her bike over there. I said no, come in here now. I have to work in the morning and do not want anymore drama now.

She turned petulant and said...Yeah, "I have to come in here and be bored. " (Sigh, how she turns on a dime.)

The difference was that after saying that to her I just disengaged and went in my room. I did not give lengthy explanations, threats or make pleas.  She came up a few minutes later talking about what was on TV. I just went to bed half expecting her to sneak out but she did not. I actually slept pretty well all things considered.

Today she called me several times and seemed just normal........  I try not to have expectations from moment to moment.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Locked and Loaded

The tension is palatable. Beth is wound up like a spring.  She looks like she is ready to scream or scratch. I am keeping my distance.

She went to the public defender today on a wandering in a drug zone charge. The public defender is the father of her childhood friends. Their mother and I used to have play dates once a week for our kids. They must be shocked that this happened and I imagine shocked that neither my husband or I were there.

It really did not seem to bother her much but maybe it did. I know that her knees and back are throbbing. They are much worse than when she left for Florida.

It is amazing how much hostility can be conveyed without any threats or profanity. She told me today that her life would have been so much better if I let her date the boy next door.  She had a very angry and defiant tone. I said, as I recall he was 5 year older than you and had a cocaine habit. She denied that and I said well maybe you are right but that is what his Mom said. I let it drop. I did not call her on her hostility. I hope and pray it is because of the rough day and the pain.

I am trying to let a beautiful wall stand between us. I am trying to mind my own business. I want to do for her what I would do If she were only mentally ill. The boundaries on that are that I will have to draw back if doing those things to her become a danger to me. It is a tightrope tonight.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Daddy's Little Helper

Beth worked in the yard with her dad today. They bought and planted tomatoes and cucumbers. We went out for Sushi last night. She has been almost as normal as she gets. I can see that she is in physical pain. she also told me that she cries a lot and that her meds are gone.

 I told her to call the Dr. She has an appointment so I am sure he would renew them if she called. She has not done it. (I am not pushing this as I have seen her sell the psychiatric stuff for street drugs. Hard to believe there is an illegal market for prozac and lamictal as they do not make you high.)

I have been obsessing about finding her a studio in Philadelphia. That would give her access to public transportation, major hospitals, colleges and social services. There are no studios where we live in the sticks so you need about 1000 a month for the most modest place.

I snooped in her purse to f ind it empty of drugs. to the best of my ability to dicern these things she has been clean since she got here. That being said, she does look odd. She is bathed and has her teeth brushed but her appearance is much deteriorated. Her beauty is gone. Her hair is long, bright red and extremely thin. She has it pulled back straight and tight to her head. She looks very serious and somewhat rigid. She is not fidgeting constantly which I was used to. Her arms are bare. No new tatoos as of yet but she is planning on one.

She looks and acts a lot more like the schizophrenics I see at NAMI meetings. There is a withdrawal, a disconnect about her. I can tell she is trying really hard to keep it all together. She is polite, greatful and careful with her commentary. This is still the honeymoon. I want to be ready when the honeymoon is over.

At the same time, I want to encourage whatever connection with normalcy she still enjoys. She talks about getting an ultrasound degree. I say, ok then lets get you a place near some colleges and then look into it.

  I used to always say that it was no use. She just has to quit drugs before being able to  accomplish anything. I said it cause I thought that it was true. At this point, I am thinking that a person needs to have hope so I am acting as if.

 We are shaking and baking in Jersey. Temperatures have soared over 90 degrees today. I hope you all are enjoying the  weather.