Friday, October 23, 2009

What did we do wrong?

My son (Numbah Two) has effectively shot himself in the foot.

He's 15. He's medicated for bi-polar disorder, and when he takes his meds he's relatively stable. However, he's become a master of NOT taking them, and when he's not on them, it shows.

He doesn't deal with his dad being gone very well, so when The Hubs has to leave we try to be prepared for what we consider to be the worst. 2 days ago, however, the worst was surpassed in a spectacular way.

We've all had the flu. Numbah Two had been particularly restless on Wednesday and said he was going to his room to try and sleep about 1700. When I hadn't heard anything out of him by 1930, I went to check on him.

The door was locked, and there was no answer when I knocked. Alarm bells started ringing for me, so I popped the lock and opened the door. The room was empty, and freezing cold because the window was wide open.

He had snuck out.

I texted him to see where he was. He claimed to be in his room, and when I told him I knew that was a lie he said 'uh oh'. Yeah. Uh-fucking-oh, kid.

It took me 10 minutes to figure out where he was, and I had to threaten him with the local civilian PD (he was off base, in an apartment in a local township) to get him to agree to meet me. I thought he might be high, but it wasn't until I picked him up that I realized how loaded he really was.

I took his sister with me, and it was a good thing I did. As soon as he got in the car, he started threatening me – and her. He kicked the back of my seat, told me he was going to stab me in my sleep and then blow my head off with a shotgun. He threatened to strangle his sister and was cussing, screaming and generally being abusive.

It didn't get any better when we got home. I was on the phone with his dad when he attacked me. He threw my phone across the room, and when I tried to retrieve it he starting pushing and grabbing me. I tried to defend myself and get my phone (I wanted to call the police because I knew this wasn't going to end well) , and that just made it worse, so I starting yelling for help. His sister called 911, and his brother called his dad. I don't recall screaming, but both the 911 dispatcher and his dad say that I was; that I was yelling 'I am your mother! Don't you dare touch me!!" and "get your hands off me!! Why are you doing this?!!!?!!". The Hubs said it was one of the hardest things he ever had to hear, and I believe him.

When he realized that his sister was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, he stopped, told me I was a fucking bitch and that he hated me, and walked out the front door…..right into the police, who had their hands on their weapons.

One searched him, cuffed in, and made him sit in the back of the patrol car whilst three more came into my house and asked me what happened. When I told them he was high, they asked permission to search his room…and they found paraphernalia with cannabis residue on it.

We live in military housing. Having illegal drugs on base is reason enough to kick us out – and it's also enough reason to take The Hubs rank away from him. Numbah Two's actions could have fucked ALL of us.

The county Sheriff had to come out and I declined to press domestic battery charges against my son because I didn't feel it would benefit him OR us in the long run. Instead, I'm trying to get him into a residential drug rehab facility. When the Deputies asked him how often he was getting high and what he was using, he told them that he was high every day and that the list of things he HADN'T done was shorter than the list of things he had. Apparently, the only things he hasn't tried yet are heroin and meth. Everything else, he's used – sometimes on a regular basis. He has lied to his father and I, he has stolen from us, he has blamed everyone else for his problems…

…my son is a junkie. A bi-polar, violent junkie. I wish I could convey to you how much it hurts my heart to see that in black and white.

His dad had to drop what he was doing and come home early. We have taken Numbah Two's cell phone, T.V., Mp3 player and PSP away from him. We took the door to his room off its hinges, so he has no privacy there. He's not allowed to play Xbox or use the laptop for anything other than homework, and he cannot accept calls on the landline from anyone that we do not know – or approve of. Apparently some of the kids he hangs around with were present Wednesday evening and were also using. They are now persona non grata in our home and I have given their names to the base police and the deputies. They're on law enforcement radar now, and I am unapologetic and even glad about it.

He did the intake interview with a residential treatment facility yesterday afternoon and we're waiting to hear whether they'll accept him this morning. I hope they do; I don't think the outpatient route will work for him. He needs to go and learn a new way to live away from all of the kids he used with; away from me and his dad and his siblings. He needs inpatient, not outpatient. If they accept him, we'll drive to Alabama this afternoon. If not…well, we'll have more decisions to make.

I know that at the end of the day, I cannot control my son's actions…but that hasn't stopped his father and I asking ourselves what I am sure every parent in this situation asks themselves:

Where did we go wrong?


Tony said...

Oh, Ninja,

I don't even know what to say because I haven't been exactly where you are, but I know how tough it is to deal with the down/angry times of someone else's bipolar disorder.

i'm sure you and your husband have done everything possible to be good parents. Just keep doing what you're doing and we're all here for whatever support we can give.


Ninjamedic said...

Tony: Thank you. I'm keeping busy right now with trying to get him help for his problems..but I know once that's happened, I'm going to have some emotions to deal with.

Not looking forward to that.

nickopotamus said...

You've done nothing wrong. If a military upbringing can't solve that, then nothing (parenting-wise) can. I speak here as a fellow nutter, what we do when under the effect of the illness is no-one's fault, it just is.

This doesn't however distract from the fact that it's a horrific story you just told. Hopefully things are now in action that will make a difference, but still, it's not good. You're doing the right thing though, trying to get inpatient treatment. It's tough right now, but hopefully it'll be better in the long run.

Chapati said...

Agree with Nick, from what I know about you it really isn't your or your husband's fault. Parents play a part in a person's actions, but definitely not the full picture. You're definitely doing the best you can for him.

I hope you're OK, it must be a very very difficult thing to deal with.

On The Road said...



Hope you're OK. That's all I can say - I can't even begin to comprehend what you must be going through, but I hope things work out OK

Tom said...


The simple fact of the matter, is his condition was not the result of bad parenting, but the misfortune to contract a difficult, and for the family painfull psychological illness.

My nephew some years ago, whilst in his mid twenties started to display odd signs and symptoms that his parents chose to ignore. There could not in their view be anything wrong, as he came from a happy and contented home.

Sometime later my sister-in-law called my wife and asked if I could pop up and see him. I had expected to see the pleasent and engaging personality that I had watched grow up. A young man quick to laughter, and slow to anger. However I was surprised to meet a morose and belicose man who occasionally ranted on about his peceived persecution, and would talk endlessly about outlandish topics which made no sense.

I was obliged to seek medical aid, and he was admitted to hospital for test and treatment. He was eventually diagnosed with a bi-polar disorder, and is on meds. I would like to say that all was well, but he is in a constant cycle of being admitted to hospital, getting back on his medication routine, and on discharge, after several months decides he does not need his medication anymore and the cycle begins again.

I have been told that he is a 'hard case' in so far that he is resistant to being treated. However I am hopeful that your 15 year old son will be more obliging in following his treatment regime.

I wish you the very best. Please do not hesitate to email me if I can be of any assistance.

mommy-medic said...

Wow- good luck with everything!

Salt said...

You didn't do anything wrong. I am bi-polar now medicated. When I was un-medicated in my teens and early 20's I was a raging drug addict with a severe eating disorder. I was sane enough to get help when I finally got arrested. My family was the only thing I had left and they would still kick my ass up between my shoulders to this day if they saw me slipping. You are doing the right thing. Hopefully he will realize it one day and if he doesn't then know in your heart that you did everything to help him. Just love him and help him if you can.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to my world. My wife's adopted daughter (was adopted before I came into the picture) turned 18 about a year ago. Did everything your son has, except for the drugs, thank God. But made life Hell for many years. Bipolar, ADHD, failed in school. At 15, found partial nude pictures of her as well as her boyfriend, on HIS phone that SHE had. She turned 18, decided she didn't want to live with us, collected her last VA check, as she was no longer in school to qualify, and moved in with her boyfriend. She's now moved out of state, had a child on Halloween night, and is finally starting to understand what she put us through.
All I can do is wish you good luck, be strong. Remember: old age and wisdom will always overcome youth and vigor.

Anonymous said...

I know I'm late to respond, but how is your son doing? I've had an almost identical situation with mine when he was 17 except without the violence toward me. When the police bacame involved about a pound of marijuana was found in the ceiling of his bedroom. Of course the law doesn't care if a child/teen has psych issues that lead to illegal behavior and rehab wasn't offered or available. In the end he got very lucky. We almost lost custody of his 12 month old baby brother. Now, 3 years later, he's growing up and trying to make better decisions. He remains non-compliant with his meds but mainly because insurance won't cover them now that he's over 18. He's insured but they won't cover the meds because of his age. I don't understand that and he can't afford the 300$ a month to pay for them. Anyway, I hope your son gets the help he needs and that your other children aren't to scarred over the situation. My baby, now 3 1/2 years old is still afraid of the police and think they will come take him away.