- 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.
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.
Gratitude week 173
- We started learning how to play craps and roulette on the gaming game I found at a rummage sale.
- Volunteering and helping others.
- Going to the thrift store and area rummage sales. I didn’t find anything too exciting but it’s fun to look.
- One of my best friend’s Lisa and her husband came over this weekend from out of town. We haven’t seen them in almost 7 months so it’s always great to get together. We had a lot of catching up to do.
- A couple months back, our vet retired and closed his small practice. Today I brought my 16 year old cat to a new vet. It went better than I expected. I really like the new vet. He is personable, knowledgeable, and funny.
- Our cat hasn’t been in the best of health and I was afraid I might have to put him down. All of my concerns were addressed and there are some options for treatment…so he has some more time left with us.
- We have our extended weekend road trip coming up in a couple of days. When my best friend’s husband put in his vacation request, it was denied. It’s looking like he might be able to go now.
- My kid’s made it home safely from their road trips over the weekend.
- I had a good appointment with my counselor.
- I ran some errands and was able to find a motorcycle helmet and jacket. I’m grateful to try a new hobby.
I think my mom is mad at me. I haven’t heard from her in days. She is like that sometimes. There have been periods in my life where she has given me the silent treatment for days and then later acts like nothing is wrong. Or sometimes she smothers me.
I think I know why she is angry. Last week my mom was on vacation with her sister visiting their other sister at her condo in Florida. She called me almost every day she was gone. The first time she called on speaker phone wanting an update about Arabella. I was really annoyed by that because, although I don’t mind my aunts and uncles know my daughter is in jail, I didn’t want to talk to them about it. It was during that conversation my mom told me something was wrong with my dad but she didn’t know what because he didn’t tell her while she was on speaker phone.
One day she called wanting me to go check on my dad because he didn’t pick up his phone when she called him. My dad doesn’t live next to his phone. I told her he probably forgot to charge it. It turned out not to be a big deal. My mom calls wolf a lot so it’s hard to believe anything she says. A couple months back my brother Luke wasn’t feeling well. My mom thought his kidneys were failing because he has kidney disease and practically asked me if I thought my husband would be willing to give my brother a kidney. It turned out being a virus or something and he wasn’t dying. I take everything my mom says with a grain of salt.
The next evening my mom called while I was driving for a night out to go to the film festival with Paul, Alex, and Lexi. I didn’t want to deal with it so I didn’t answer my phone. My mom is known for catching me when I’m off to do something fun and guilting me about it bringing me down. When I didn’t answer, she called Alex. She never calls my son so I knew she was tracking our location and knew he was with me. Alex called her back and she dumped all her problems on him.
The next day she called me again wanting me to go check on my dad. I asked her what was wrong and she said my dad didn’t get off the couch for a couple of days. I’m not sure why that was a problem because my dad hasn’t gotten off the couch for about 20 years. I asked her if he called stating he needed help and she said she didn’t talk to him for a couple of days. I told her to verify if he needed help before I drove out there. She never called me back.
I don’t talk to my dad, but I don’t not talk to him either. If we actually had a relationship and my mom wasn’t calling wolf all the time, I would’ve dropped everything to check up on him. I decided I don’t want to be a caregiver for my dad if he is in poor health. I don’t have that kind of relationship with him where I would be willing to do that. I have my hands full just dealing with my own problems right now. Besides my dad is a very tall and obese man and I don’t think I could lift him if I wanted to.
The next day my mom was back home. Later in the day she called 911 and she called late Monday night to say my dad was in kidney failure. It turns out he probably ended up getting a kidney infection while she was gone. She said he was probably going to die that evening then called Tuesday to say he was going to be okay. Wednesday Arabella was in court. I texted her with an update and she never responded. Then I gave her a call Thursday and she hasn’t called back yet. Today is Sunday and I haven’t talked to her since Tuesday. Maybe she is angry because I didn’t go into an anxiety frenzy or drop everything to check on my dad for her. I’m sick of guessing and stressing about it. I have no idea where my dad is right now.
I recently read a book about stopping being a caregiver for the borderline or narcissist. It really opened my eyes to a lot of things. I always thought as a child I was my brother Matt’s caregiver. But through reading the book, I realized I was my mother’s caregiver. I was the second mom. I was being the parent when I was a kid. It’s a little late, but I decided it’s finally time to take care of me. My parents are capable of taking care of themselves. Sometimes I have to set boundaries to protect myself. That’s not to say I won’t help if it’s truly needed.
I’m sure my mom will call in a couple days like nothing ever happened. Then she will be upset I am going on a road trip with my friends. I hope I’m wrong.
Getting through the hard times now
My dad is still with us. However, yesterday we found out Paul’s uncle passed away from lung cancer just like Paul’s mom and some of her other siblings did.
Arabella had her court date yesterday. Her suffocation and strangulation felony was dropped. One of her other felonies is now a misdemeanor. She currently is being charged with one felony, substantial battery. So, one felony and three misdemeanors. To get into mental health treatment court she can’t be convicted of violent crimes. I’m not really sure how it is all going to pan out. She is still in jail. We are not sure when she is getting out.
One of the things bothering me lately is that anything can really be used as a weapon if you want to use it that way. For example, Arabella cracked Will’s head open with her cell phone so much so that he needed staples. I’m not feeling very hopeful right now about her future. She crossed a new line when she hurt someone else and I can’t trust she won’t do it again.
She is still delusional, but not to the extent she was before. A couple weeks back she had decoded the Bible and God revealed the meaning of the seven seals to her. She said she needed to get out of jail to share the revelation with all the local pastors and preach in churches.
Her first court date she was rocking her body clutching a Bible. She looked stark raving mad. It’s hard to see your child like that. I find the religious delusions difficult to handle. It just seems so unfair to me. Whereas, my husband took comfort in these delusions. She believes in God and whatever happens we’ll see her again some day. Now her delusions focus on traumas she never experienced and everyone in the family having rare mental illnesses.
It’s been a rough week and we kept ourselves busy volunteering and spending time with family yesterday. Volunteering at times can be hard because we really see the full extent of human suffering. There was a woman whose husband just walked out and left her with 6 little kids. It’s hard not to feel emotional when I see so much suffering all around me. Most of the time it’s rewarding to be able to offer some kind of help to the suffering.
I feel like I am close to my breaking point. I don’t think I could handle anything else right now. I’m so afraid something else horrible will happen and I won’t be able to go on. Just one more thing could push me over the edge right now and it’s scary.
It’s been a hard week weather wise. We had a 50 degree drop in temperature and both my arthritis and colitis are acting up. Two of my brothers got blizzard conditions where they live. Thankfully we just got a dusting of snow. My stomach has been aching every day. Maybe it’s from all the stress. How do I know if I have an ulcer? I have acid re-flux and colitis already. But how do I know if I have an ulcer? Is the pain different? I don’t want to go in, do all these tests just to tell me I have what I already have. Then they will send me home and tell me to get plenty of sleep (insomniac), exercise (can’t run anymore because of arthritis), and manage my stress. Nobody can help me take away this stress.
I’m grateful for the supportive people I have in my life. Last night I just sat in my room alone and cried. My best friend called and offered me support. It helped me get through another day. I know I can talk to my best friend, my daughter Angel, my son Alex, and my husband. Yesterday I had conversations with all of them. I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. I still have my writing to do, a purpose. My son says he wants to have 8 kids, and my daughter Angel wants 6. Not sure if that’s going to happen, but maybe I’ll be a grandma soon. Next week my husband, friends, and I have a road trip planned to Traverse City. Good things will be coming in the future, I know it. I just have to get through the hard times now.