It Takes a Village
Today my bipolar child became threatening again, I tried to offer him support to help him calm down, a new technique that has proven to be successful, but today it wasn’t working and things were escalating quickly. So I did something I’ve never done before, I called for back up.
While holding my son’s door shut, as he tried to throw stuff at me from the other side, I called a friend to come to my house, I told her it was an emergency. Knowing our family situation, she dropped everything and quickly came to our house.
I have to admit, this was a big step for me. Though I’ve had plenty of people offer this kind of support, I’ve never had the guts to use it. Why not? Because of pride, because I don’t want to be a burden on others. I hate having to ask for help and I think a part of me believes that this is my child, my responsibility, so I should be able to do this all on my own. Foolish huh? The thing is, I do know better, I understand that I can’t do this alone, but somewhere along the way of thinking and doing I fall short.
So how did it go? I’m happy to share that it went better than I ever imagined. My friend showed up while I had my son in a hold on his bed. As predicted, just her appearance jolted him out of his fight-or-flight response. It still took about 10 minutes to get him calm enough to get in the shower, which is the first step of bringing him back to normal, but we got there.
Afterwards my friend who knows my son well, shared how different he seemed during this episode. It was her first experience seeing him like this. She was quick to point out that even his body language was different than normal, I think it kind of disturbed her a little, as she said, “All I could think as I watched him was, what voices is he hearing in his head that he’s not telling you about? It’s like he was being coached by a voice in his head to act out against you.” She also noted that his behavior was “animalistic”.
I found this interesting since we’re so accustom to this behavior that I forget that most people who know him very well have never seen this side of his illness.
After my son was in the shower and I felt things were back under control my friend headed home. Moments later I got a text asking me to give her the thumbs up if my son came out of the shower normal so she could make sure we were ok. After thanking her, she responded with, “No problem, it takes a village.”
After 5 challenging years, I’m just now realizing that it does take a village, I wish I had made that call years ago, but like my son, I’m still learning and taking it one day at a time.
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I’m a mother of 3 young boys, the oldest suffering from Bipolar Disorder and the youngest recently diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I write a blog to let go of my pain and to help support others by letting them know they’re not alone.