Walking again

That brings us to last Thursday. I dropped Paul off at the airport before first light. He was travelling for work and wouldn’t be home until Sunday. When I got back home Angel was heating some water in a glass bowl in the microwave. The microwave starting sparking and flames shot out from the side inside. So far things were off to a bad start. Maybe the microwave starting on fire would be the worst thing that happened while Paul was gone. Ha ha, funny. It wasn’t the worst, but it was the first.

My mom had spent the night but was leaving soon to head to the police department to sign some papers because a caregiver from my brother’s group home stole his phone. She called Arabella and told her she needed to check out of the hotel she put her up in a few nights. I didn’t know where she was going to go from there. She applied for an apartment with this guy Will whom I never met and didn’t know anything about besides him trying to kill himself a couple times.

The rest of the day went by in a blur. I went to bed when I normally do. I turned my ringer off. I slept until 3 AM when I awoke to go to the bathroom. At that time I checked my phone. I received a call around midnight from a No Caller ID caller. My heart started to race. That didn’t seem good to receive a call like that in the middle of the night. I’ve gotten calls from the police as a No Caller ID caller before. What was going on?

I also got a text from Arabella saying she was in the ER. I texted her back asking her what was going on and if she was alright but didn’t receive a response. I was wide awake now. Next I called the hospital ER department and asked to be connected to Arabella’s room. Arabella answered sounding very weak and tired. I asked her if I could talk to someone, anyone if she couldn’t talk. A nurse, her friend that took her in. Arabella said she thought I didn’t care and hung up on me.

What the hell was going on? Was it an overdose, a suicide attempt? I tried to reassure myself she was okay. She is in the hospital. They are taking care of her. She is alive. But it was little comfort as I laid in my bed alone trying to fall back to sleep. I may have dozed off a few minutes here and there. After a couple hours sleep was futile so I decided to get up and get on with my day. Right after I got up, the power went out. Because sure, why not? It didn’t stay off very long, just long enough to have to reset things.

The minute the psychiatrist’s office was open I called. I had to leave a message and decided to get on with my day. I planned on going for a run. Not sleeping was not a good enough excuse not to. Otherwise I would get nothing done if I was waiting for a stress free moment to live my life. Although I didn’t feel up for it, running is a healthy way to deal with my stress. After I left, my mom called and said Arabella came over to her house to sleep. She said Arabella told her she thought she was having a seizure and went to the ER. My mom wondered if it was a side effect from her new medicine. She just started Lithium and I remember a doctor once saying that it could be a problem with her thyroid disorder.

The psychiatrist’s office called me back a couple hours later. The nurse said that Arabella did not have a seizure. The ER diagnosed her with hyperventilation. That was a relief. She did tell me that Arabella threw me under the bus. She told them right after we got back from our vacation with her that Paul and I took another vacation. We left her home alone to starve as she was too weak to get out of bed. She also told them we gave her $200 when she turned 18 and wanted nothing to do with her. The nurse said the day after her initial psych evaluation appointment, she had an appointment with the psychiatric nurse where she was acting erratic and couldn’t hold a thought.

The nurse also said that Arabella tested positive for cannabis. She said that teenagers who already have a history of mental illness are more likely to have a negative reaction to pot. She thought maybe Arabella’s delusions were marijuana induced even more so with the high THC cannabis that is available today. She said that there was nothing I could do unless Arabella wants to quit and she didn’t know if it would even be reversible. She said she would discuss everything with the psychiatric nurse and call me back, but she never did.

After thinking about the situation, I wanted to tell the nurse that Arabella has a family history of the exact mental health struggles she is dealing with but not as extreme as her. She was experiencing paranoia and delusions before she even started smoking pot. Maybe smoking made it worse? Honestly, I think genetics is a bigger factor than smoking is. This is from what I know of our family history. Paul never knew his dad so there could be so much more effecting this than we even realize.

Right now I am kind of kicking myself though. Arabella was in inpatient 3 times within 4 months. After that she spent 2 months in outpatient, another 2 months in residential. Outside all of these programs, she has seen 5 different counselors within a year and a half. I thought she would come out of residential fixed. Part of this is my fault for thinking that. She was gradually getting worse and worse but I couldn’t accept that. I was setting her up for failure. She couldn’t go from residential care to seeing a counselor once in awhile. She fell through the cracks. She became an adult and no longer qualified for the adolescent outpatient program.

Basically she couldn’t go from wheelchair bound to walking like normal again. I thought residential was the miracle cure. I still believe it saved her life, but it wasn’t the end of her mental illness as I thought it would be. I realize that now.

Borderpolar with SAD

Last week my daughter said she accidently sent me a text which contained a screenshot of a conversation she had with her friend. As her parent, I found it to be very disturbing. I was debating on whether or not to post this and decided that I needed to talk about it. I want to warn you in advance that it might be triggering because I will be discussing drug use and suicide.

Arabella: I tripped too too hard on cough medicine that I was seeing hallucinations. Cause I took around 13 at night. And then the next morning I took 13 more. And I was planning to call the police because of them. As I was so miserable. That when I wanted to take a relaxing shower I saw the bath turn into like intestines. Something you would see only in really fucked up entertainment like movies or like books. But then there was screaming and the devil talked to me. And luckily V picked up the phone and talked with me and told me not to call the police. And just had me sit and talk with her until I went to bed or she did, one of those. And she told everyone at school that…

V: And that’s a pretty weird call to get from someone you don’t talk to regularly that you didn’t think did drugs. And she was calling to say she took too many pills and was crying saying she had to call the police because she saw the devil talking to her in a bathtub.

Arabella: That was me. That is more than 4 times the safe amount to get fucked up within 24 hours. That fucks up your liver. That’s why I don’t think I’m going to live long.

Will: I’ve tried to OD with a variety of OTC and a couple prescription pills.

On the bottom of the screenshot of the conversation between Arabella and Will there was a selfie of Arabella looking awfully messed up with the caption good-bye. Underneath it read, I took too many pills.

The first thing I did when I got the message was make sure it wasn’t recent. I believe the attempt to OD originated before residential. It wasn’t a current call 911 threat. I literally felt sick I was so heartbroken. I didn’t know or maybe I’ve been in denial. She wasn’t like this before. Her mental health issues all started with an out of the blue suicide attempt. Before that she didn’t do drugs or even drink. That all changed after her third inpatient hospitalization. She met a girl there who was into stealing and drugs. That’s when it all began. She didn’t have many friends left at that point. I thought it couldn’t be that bad to have a few friends from the hospital. It’s not as if anyone healthy or well adjusted wanted to hang out with her. Now I know why they discourage those types of friendships post hospitalization.

Arabella told me a couple of months ago that she didn’t like being sober. She said she liked pot but when she couldn’t get that there was alcohol. She also told me when she didn’t have money she would shoplift cough medicine. I had no idea it could be so bad. I mean it wasn’t heroin, right? But that was before residential, right? Because she was supposed to go to residential and go into remission and lead a happy healthy productive life. That’s what I was telling myself anyway.

Sometimes teenagers experiment with drugs and alcohol. Alex did. He wasn’t an easy teen. There was that one kid in the neighborhood. When we found out, he wasn’t allowed over there anymore. But he lived a few houses down. It was hard to stop once it started.

But this was different. She wasn’t with a group of friends experimenting. She was alone. Was she trying to kill herself?

When we were on vacation, Arabella wanted us to buy her alcohol and weed. We didn’t. She was already on a smorgasbord of pharmaceutical medications. I honestly didn’t know she had a problem. Maybe she doesn’t. Maybe I’m in denial. All I know is that since the trip she went into a downward spiral. She lost her job. I knew she would be okay if she was able to hold down a job. Now that is even gone.

The initial diagnosis also includes substance abuse. I haven’t wanted to face it. I’m certain that the dual diagnosis of borderline and bipolar has the highest suicide rates. If you add substance abuse to that, the prognosis is very poor. My daughter already has had multiple suicide attempts. I have to live with the fact that my daughter is seriously mentally ill. I could get a call any day.

It’s been especially hard because she has been more delusional than I’ve ever seen her. She sincerely believes that I’ve been starving and torturing her. It’s been making it nearly impossible for me to help her. I feel so helpless. There is nothing I can do. She hates me and has been abusive towards me. Should I tolerate that because she is mentally ill? When do I let go and take care of me? I feel so much anger and despair. I’ve lost a lot of hope and don’t see this ending well. I want a miracle. I want her to be the one that beats the odds. But what if she doesn’t? I’m so afraid of what might happen next. I’m worried sick.