- Angel and Dan completed their first half-marathon today.
- They had a lot of family and friends who came out to support them.
- The weather has been beautiful the last couple days.
- We will be taking the pool cover off today, then we are all ready for summer.
- I passed the online portion of the motorcycle class.
- I’ve really been having a fun time volunteering as a film screener.
- My husband had his annual physical with no issues.
- I’m making a lot of progress on my book.
Month: May 2023
Gratitude week 176
- We found a nice day to sail our sailboat to its summer home.
- I started magnet fishing. I didn’t find anything cool yet, such as murder weapons, but I did get two screws and a bungee.
- Paul, Angel, and I went to a NAMI family support group meeting.
- Our women’s group decided to meet once a month and we met over this past weekend.
- I saw my therapist.
- My son quit his job and decided to go back to school. He is also helping us part-time with our business. It really is nice to have him be a part of things more.
- I went to Bunco (didn’t win) but was able to visit with some people I haven’t seen since before COVID.
- My son and I went shopping for flowers today. I did end up buying a banana plant. We’ll see if it bears fruit before I kill it.
- Mother’s Day went better than I expected. I have been kind of down because today is my daughter’s 20th birthday and with that and Mother’s Day it’s really hard that she’s in jail.
- So…Mother’s Day…My daughter and her husband spent the afternoon with me because they visited his mother the previous night. My husband smoked ribs. My mom came over for lunch which was nice because I haven’t seen her for over a month. It was a cold day so we stayed inside and played craps. My friends came over with fresh fish to surprise us. They visited for a long time which was really a mood booster. Angel, Alex, and I started the process of creating a song together. Then later in the evening my son and his girlfriend took me to the casino. It was a really good day.
- Our industrial dehumidifier went out but thankfully that was an easy fix.
- Everything is finally in bloom. We are entering my favorite time of year.
change the system
My daughter is going back to jail today. Trying to get her treatment was a big waste of time. They did change up her medicine a bit. They gave her something to calm her, help her sleep, and for PTSD. I want to know what gave her the diagnosis of PTSD. What trauma??
I called and called the treatment center. Sometimes no one answered the call. One time the nurse said I needed to talk to the therapist. I left several messages with the therapist. The only time she called me back was to tell me my daughter was being released. Apparently she is the only therapist for the whole ward. I asked to speak to a doctor but was told they were too busy because this was their third job. They barely had 5 minutes to talk to patients. From that 5 minutes, they allegedly gathered more information than the patients family who spent a lifetime with them.
Yesterday I finally found a nurse who was willing to listen. I told her my daughter was having delusions. The nurse said Arabella did not report having delusions. I told the nurse my daughter is not aware she is delusional. I told her my daughter is in jail for felonies relating to having delusions. I told her my daughter is suicidal because she made comments of life not being worth living once she is released. I told her I am afraid Arabella will kill herself or hurt someone else from the delusions she is having. I was feeling very hopeful after our conversation.
Then the case manager called and dashed every hope I had. I had plans yesterday afternoon which I was late to because of having to take her call. She said the likelihood of Arabella getting into a group home is virtually impossible. Even if I sell my soul and offer up my firstborn. She said I should look into a residential treatment facility. We decided we are not going to pay for that again. She gave me other numbers to call but said they probably wouldn’t talk to me because my daughter is an adult. She said my daughter will be released tomorrow. They think she is just trying to stay to get out of jail.
I am absolutely livid. The mental health system in the US is one big fucking joke. No wonder why there is so much violence. If only we had a system focused on suicide/homicide prevention and the treatment of mental illness!! My hands are tied. I’ve done everything I could do and it wasn’t enough. I’ll just watch as my daughter hurts herself or someone else.
I have lost all hope and faith in the system. I don’t have a lot of faith or hope left in anything. It takes a lot of courage to continue when everything I do seems pointless.
I just got home from taking my daughter back to jail. It’s very upsetting that she did not get the treatment she needs. Arabella said the therapist only talked to her for 5 minutes and only to ask her why she was in jail. The facility is very understaffed. Even Arabella felt she did not get the treatment she needed. She wanted help as much as we wanted help for her. On the way back to jail, I stopped at the gas station to get her pizza and soda. She won’t be home for Mother’s Day. They will be putting her back into isolation for the next 10 days. She will be spending her 20th birthday in jail in a cell by herself for 23 hours of the day. Something must be done to fix the broken mental health system. Stop the senseless loss of life. I am so pissed and motivated to fight the system and advocate for mental health reform. I had no idea how bad things are. But now that I know, something must be done.
“There’s a difference between being happy and being distracted from sadness.”
I recently saw the above quote on Facebook and loved it. Lately close friends and family have been making happiness statements to me. Are you having fun? Did that make you happy? I’ll do whatever makes you happy. Would it make you happy if… It’s so good to see you smile and have fun.
I understand they want me to be happy and don’t want to see me suffer. The best I can ask for right now are distractions from sadness. The stress is really starting to get to me. It’s affecting my health. It’s wearing me down. I don’t think I can handle much more.
Happiness seems unattainable. It’s for other people. Peace and joy are glimpsed at illusions.
I have little control over the events taking place. I just want the suffering to end.
Most people don’t know what to say. That’s okay. There is really nothing anyone can do about it. I understand that.
Just be a friend. Don’t walk away. That hurts more than saying the wrong thing.
I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to play the victim. It’s just what is happening in my life. I don’t want to talk about it all the time.
But I am open to distractions…
Recently when my good friend Lisa was over it was eye opening to me. She has experienced a great level of pain and suffering. I didn’t know what to say to her. Offering up thoughts and prayers seemed absolutely meaningless. I just wanted her to be happy. I wanted her to think life is enjoyable and worth living. Maybe her suffering has some sort of purpose or meaning and she can take something bad and make it good somehow. I could feel her pain. Through my worry about the wellbeing of my friend I was able to see how others view me. I finally understood.
We were misguided to think Arabella would receive mental health treatment while incarcerated. Everything was happening so slowly with the courts and before we knew it a month slipped away. Last Monday Paul started the process of calling around to see what inpatient programs would accept an inmate. She had to meet the criteria of being suicidal or homicidal to be admitted.
Tuesday Arabella called collect from jail. Paul and I connected our phones together so Arabella could talk to the intake person at the treatment center. She was in this inpatient program three times before and they said they would be willing to take her again.
Wednesday we had a phone conference scheduled with the lawyer. We told him Arabella would be accepted into a mental health inpatient program. He moved up her bond hearing and arraignment for Friday morning.
Thursday we followed up with the treatment center. They said they still had an opening since they were releasing several patients that very day. But they also said they weren’t sure if they would accept Arabella because even though she met the criteria several days ago she might not meet it when she came in. We really weren’t sure what was going to happen. What if they didn’t accept her? Would she come back home? Being delusional and self-harm didn’t meet criteria for admittance. They were worried she might be seeking treatment just to get out of jail.
Late Friday morning, Paul and I headed to court. I was so anxious I literally felt sick. My stomach burned. I felt like I was going to throw up and/or pass out. I saw my daughter for the first time in over a month in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit. She was making small talk with the bailiff. He was asking her what she learned from her experience. After the lawyer came in, the judge was called in. My daughter pled not guilty to her criminal counts. Then the judge said he would release her to an inpatient treatment program. We were to be agents of the court and provide transportation to the clinic. If she was not accepted, she needed to go back to jail. Upon completion, she is also supposed to report to jail. I felt more secure in the fact she was not going to be coming home.
Paul and I decided to go to a buffet for a quick lunch and then head to the jail to pick Arabella up. We thought we could just walk in and she would be ready to go shortly. Again, we were misguided. The receptionist said she did not receive paperwork from the court to release our daughter to us for treatment. She told us to take a seat and we ended up sitting there for 4 hours. Thankfully I brought a book with me because it was not my first rodeo at the mental hospital. At least I knew that would take a lot of time and was prepared to hurry up and wait.
Because of COVID, they no longer have in person visitation at the jail. Instead in the lobby they have kiosks set up where you can do visits on a computer screen. We sat in a row of chairs with our backs to the kiosks. People came and went. It was hard to focus on my book.
There was a mom with two toddlers running around the lobby. She kept screaming at them. Before she left she told the kids to say good-bye to daddy. It was a little quieter for awhile. Then there was a woman who came in that screamed and hysterically cried the whole time. She kept asking what the inmate wanted her to do with their shit. There was a lot of swearing and yelling so it was hard to sit with my back to her and read my book. At the end of the visit the woman was crying and telling the other person not to leave her. It was intensely personal and uncomfortable.
Then a mom and grandma came in to talk to a guy. Grandma said her cancer screen came back with good results. Their conversation was just an every day conversation about life. Another guy told someone to hang in there and that he was always there for her. There were multiple heartrending conversations going on at the same time. I never heard the inmates response because the conversations were over the phone.
Then people started coming in. One lady came in to get an electronic monitoring system. The receptionist said the person who does that was not in today and she would have to go back to jail. The woman said she could not be incarcerated because her lungs were too bad. She sat with us for awhile too along with another woman who was with her while waiting for the courts. Several guys came in for DNA samples. They received notification they had to come in Monday through Friday but when they got there they were told samples were collected on the weekends only.
There were signs on the wall telling people to report suicidal inmates which I thought was a joke. It is virtually next to impossible to get your suicidal inmate treatment. At 4 PM, the receptionist said the lobby was closing and we would have to wait in the night lobby which was unmanned. They still did not receive documents from the court and the courthouse was closing in a half an hour. We didn’t know what to do. We left a message for the lawyer and tried calling the courthouse with no luck. We thought about leaving. What if no one gets back to us because it is Friday night? And not just any Friday night, but the Cinco de Mayo night of a full moon.
People started being released. A young woman desperate and not sure what to do. Did we have a couple bucks for a bus pass? From everything I learned over the course of the last couple hours and months was that inmates are people too needing kindness and compassion. Then two men were released. They were a lot rougher looking. There was a big angry man swearing about not getting his Oxy back and an unkempt guy with a teardrop tattoo. I reminded myself they are people too. I was getting a little nervous but I didn’t want to show fear. I’m glad my husband was there. But they didn’t pay any attention to me at all. Then another man came out who walked close and stared at me. Finally Arabella came through the doors and we were on our way to the mental health center.
Arabella said she was in medium security at jail. Her cellmate was in and out of jail for manufacturing and delivering heroin, neglecting a child, prostitution, and stealing someone’s identity. She will be heading to prison for several years. It makes me nervous to think about the things she is learning in jail and the friends she is making there. And to think I thought the friendships she made in the mental hospitals were bad.
We arrived at the mental hospital and they were ready for Arabella with minimal wait. I again was misguided to think it wouldn’t take long since it took another 4 hours. Arabella arrived disheveled looking with a stained sweatshirt and granny undies that hung out of her short shorts exposing her cutting wounds. They took her back for the assessment which they said would take 45 minutes to an hour. Once again, I pulled out my book. Another couple came in with a teenage daughter. I guessed they were newbies since they didn’t bring anything to keep them occupied and spoke to each other in hushed worried tones. They wore the expressions of parents of the newly mentally ill. It’s so incredibly stressful. After awhile it wears on you and becomes just another part of who you are. You get used to it.
Two hours later, we ask if Arabella was still getting her assessment. We reminded the receptionist that although our daughter is an adult we need to be notified if they were going to take her because if not we needed to transport her back to jail. The receptionist assured us they would notify us. A psychologist on her way out stopped to talk with us. She told us they would know if our daughter was having delusions and be able to get her the proper treatment. She thought the system failed us and offered suggestions for support and resources we weren’t aware of yet.
Awhile later we were notified Arabella was going to be admitted. They said we could sit with her since it would be awhile before she could be admitted. She was in the back room singing. That is another odd behavior lately, randomly singing in public. The intake person let us visit for awhile locking us in with Arabella.
By the time we got home that night and ate supper it was close to 10 PM. We accomplished what we set out to do which was getting our daughter treatment. It took a lot out of us, though, and we feel totally exhausted. But sometimes being a parent is doing everything you can do to help your child.
Gratitude week 175
- Even though it’s been a cold spring, things are starting to bloom. The grass will soon need mowing. Our decorative pond is up and running.
- The last ditch effort to get our ice machine working worked.
- Volunteering today with my daughter Angel sorting kids clothes.
- I started screening films for next year’s film festival. Unfortunately so far they have all been duds. But it’s been fun.
- Angel and Dan came for supper last night and visited for awhile.
- We were able to get Arabella into an inpatient program.
- Going to rummage sales with my daughter and her friend. No real great finds, but I enjoyed it anyway. I’m happy for the start of rummage sale season.
- I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day and I think I figured something out. Since two of my kids are talented musicians, I want to create a song with them for Mother’s Day.
Gratitude week 174
- It’s May! (Although I’m not too sure I can trust the calendar as we awoke to a snowy, blustery day).
- We had safe travels on our road trip to Traverse City, Michigan. It was a scenic drive along Lake Michigan. We visited several wineries, a brewery, a distillery, and the casino. We played games, sat in the hot tub, and had a birthday cake for our new friend.
- My best friend’s husband was able to take off of work for the trip. We literally did not know if he was going to be able to until late the night before we were leaving.
- We had a lot of fun and laughter on the trip. I wasn’t sure how it would go as we went with one couple we didn’t know very well. But it went great!
- My best friend lost her money at the casino. Literally, she lost her coin purse with money inside of it. Someone turned it in to the lost and found with all her money still inside.
- We tried playing craps and won. We still have a lot to learn, but it was nice to learn something new and apply it.
- We didn’t lose any money at the casino. We broke even which is a win.
- It is nice to be back home and sleep in my own bed with clean brand new sheets.