I’m going through it with William. I’ve wanted to write about it but the unfortunate reality is that he’s fifteen and doing so violates his privacy to a certain extent. But, still all these words are inside me, my fingers ache to type them and my brain aches to get them out of my head. (And, clearly, I ache to express it dramatically!) I thought about journaling per a smart friend’s suggestion but I finally found an angle. This is not a post about William, this is a post about me!
And I feel like I’m failing him.
But, I also feel like he’s failing me.
All these years, I’ve varied in my feelings of William’s needs. And so has Brian. Sometimes, we thought he needed help and sometimes, we thought he just needed to mature. And, sometimes, we thought he was a bad kid. But, thankfully, those moments were rare. I have taken him to counseling and then slacked off the counseling. We have had countless conversations with him ranging from glowy, unconditional love speeches to get your crap together tough love talks. Nothing really changes, not for long, anyway.
Recently, his behaviors have gotten worse. Lizzie, Antwan, and I cleaning the house because I thought I was going to have to call the police worse.
When the Parkland shooting happened, there was a lot of talk about many things. One of the things that people tend to say in these situations is, why didn’t the parents get their kid help before he took it to a point of no return. Now, I’m not suggesting that I think William is the next school shooter. I’m just saying that it was a bit of a wake up call for me. It made me realize that if he was, I was doing nothing to stop it. Or not enough, anyway. For William, the kid who has been bullied for years and is now a very angry teenager; I’m more worried about him hurting himself. That’s pretty damn scary, too.
So, it spurred me into action. It got me making the calls and getting the referrals. It got me to look at William objectively. Mostly.
I don’t know if he is reacting to my new found enthusiasm for setting him up with counselors and psychiatrists or if it’s just a random coincidence but he is not doing well…at all. I live in a constant state of waiting for the other boot to drop or dealing with the fact that it already has. I try to detach, not take things personally, and all the other smart things. I’ve learned, for the most part, to stay calm but it doesn’t change the feeling in my chest, the anxiety that I feel welling up inside.
I try to remember that he either doesn’t mean the things that he says to me or that he is simply not correct. While I’m struggling not to internalize his belief that “I only care about how things affect me and don’t care about them.” I try to remember the fact that this particular statement was followed by “You’re worse than Hitler!” That is a good reminder that I shouldn’t take things to heart. ha. I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t be worse than Hitler if I tried.
I want to help my son. I want to help my son. I want to help my son. But, I spend a lot of time just wanting to get away from him. I hate admitting that. I hate feeling that. I hate that I anxiously anticipated his weekend at a church retreat. Not because I was excited for him to have a soul enriching experience. But, because I needed a break. I hate that the wonderful people at church were more excited for him than I was. I was just excited about a drama-free weekend.
It’s no wonder that he’s conflicted, he comes home every day from school to a conflicted mother. I tell him that I love him and then I avoid talking to him. I lay in bed at night and mentally role-play what I will say to him, the next day. In the safety of my bedroom, the answer is clear. I see how he needs me to make an effort, how he needs a mom who seems to like him. But, then I see him and it all goes to hell.
I’ve spent years thinking this is my fault. And, who knows maybe it is partly my fault. But, what I realize now is that it’s not. It’s the fault of his life experiences, his trauma, his bullies, and his insides. But, I’m sure I didn’t always help along the way.
I feel like I’m rambling. This would be a better post if I could give you all the dramatic details. I’m telling you, guys, you would feel for us and him, for sure. But, I guess you are just stuck feeling bad for me, annoyed by my dramatics or irritated that you’ve read this far without any actual info. Which ever fits. 😉
I don’t know what to do. I only know this. I know that I have to do everything in my power to get him whatever help he needs and maybe some he doesn’t. I know that I’m running out of time. Even at fifteen, he has the right to consent to or refuse treatment. (Kind of crazy, right?) I have to keep trying to enjoy the good moments and let them help get me through the bad ones. Instead of assuming the good ones will turn bad.
I know that I have to help my son. Because under my anger, fear, frustration, apathy, anxiety, sadness, and helplessness; there is love. It’s funny, I was writing that part to say that’s how I feel about him. Under all of it, I love him. But, I’m betting that’s how William feels, too.
Maybe we’re not so different after all.