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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, September 21, 2010

DH Knows

so, I told DH about the plans Beth has to move in this older man. He had the same reaction I did. He is so sick with eye bleeds, bad back, surgery scheduled for foot and eyes that I did not want to tell him. He may or may not do anything about it. We could stop paying her cable bill. We could even stop paying the electricity. That we do with our money. I could refuse to be rep payee but I do not think that I will.

She is a mentally ill adult with a powerful addiction making a bad decision with impaired judgment. She has never been one to respond to consequences since she got bipolar. I do not know if you can understand this but negative consequences just push her deeper into the muck. She embraces her bad decisions even tighter.

I remember when she was about 2 years old. She was fasinated by a beautiful snowball that was mostly ice. As she held it in her bear hand it began to hurt. She clenched her fist tighter and tighter. I was sure that when it hurt enough she would have to let it go so I waited. She cried, then she threw herself on the ground, then she started to kick and scream but she never let it go. In the end, I tried to prie it out of her hand but I could not get her fingers open. My husband was stronger so he took it away but by the time he could it was no more than a tiny pebble in her little hand.

I went to a NAMI meeting last night and heard some hair raising stories. It all comes down to that you take the drugs away from a mentally ill person , they are still mentally ill. Many many people look like they are mentally ill just because they are doing drugs. When they stop the drugs they are normal. Many many other people are mentally ill and addicted. When and if they stop doing drugs they are still very erratic in their judgement and behavior.

I know that my daughter sounds like she is doing drugs and she may very well be doing drugs. I also know that her illness creates bizarre behavior for her and for others that have it and never touched an illegal drug. When I first heard that she was addicted I was actually happy. I thought that if it was addiction and not mental illness then she had a better chance. I was convinced that she could and would be well as soon as she was abstinent. I did everything I could think of to encourage, force or beg for that to happen. I sent her to multiple rehabs and doctors, paid for halfway houses, refused to pay, refused to let her in my house for years at a time. Nothing helped. She only got worse.

This path allows the family to detach. She has shelter. She can choose to use her food stamps for food or drugs. I do not try to keep her even from hunger. I think the choice between food and drugs is appropriate. I do not think that abandoning a girl who has been gang raped to the streets is appropriate. I do not think that putting a girl with bipolar disorder and PTSD on the street is healthy for her or the others that she might harm in the mental states that ensue.

Oh well, like I said, I heard a lot worse at the NAMI meeting. I heard of perfectly sober 50 year old men attacking their mothers and not being allowed in the mental hospital. It is very hard to get into a mental hospital. That is why the prisons have become the mental hospitals. There are 5 times more mentally ill in the prisons than the hospitals because we have shut down most of the hospitals. Families are distraught and afraid. They look for help and get very little. The mental health system is broken. It is a wonder that there are not more tragedies like Virginia Tech. Families are left to cope without mostly on their own but they can not.


  1. Your last paragraph hit awfully close to home for me. My parents are in that spot with my brother - so they have him committed for the 72 hours - then does that ENSURE his violence toward them? I have recommended the NAMI classes to my mom (after Barbara at Recovery Happens wrote about them).
    Anyway, back to you :) I think every situation is unique, even if there are some things we can all relate to. Like I've said many times you have to do what you feel is right for you and your family. In my opinion, your judgement has been great with regards to Beth. That story of the snowball speaks volumes. Your love for her shines through. Her and DH are fortunate to have you.
    I pray you are taking care of you, finding moments when you can. I have been praying for DH's health everyday. It's is good you told him of Beth's plans.
    Keeping all of you in my prayers.
    Love & hugs.

  2. It is all very sad that the mental health system is in such disrepair. I read your post and that of others and see no solution that does not essentially hold the family hostage. That is just not fair.

  3. I am so confused as to the addiction/mental health issue. Where does one stop and the other begin? I don't know how to deal with my an addict or someone with BPD.
    This is all such a struggle and when there are so little help out there you are left on your own trying to figure things out.
    I think that you'll do the right thng for your family. And in the long run that's what counts isn't it?
    Sending prayers