Archive for June, 2010

reboxetine may improve your mood!

Son agreed to, and actually took his Celexa this morning. Anytime you start a new antidepressant there can be a few side effects and small adjustments to be made, there is no “fast fix” that happens overnight, the problem is with the 1st feeling of weirdness son will flat out not take it anymore.  That said, when my doctor put me on Lexapro I felt better within 24 hours and I was mildly pleased. I had over two decades been on almost every antidepressant made before 2008 when we found this one that worked. I’d be interested to see if it could help my son. He wants so much to feel better, he tries to do what he knows he should but again he has misgivings because at age 25 he has always dealt with his life his way, some habits even bad are hard to change.

When he phoned me this morning we could actually talk with no anger or yelling in his voice. I miss my son. My son hasn’t been okay for a very long time so we relish a good day. On occasions like today and yesterday we are on the same page. The only other problem is “feeling it real” as he calls it. He isn’t used to feeling emotions and being unable to work has done a number on his self esteem. His body’s first reaction to emotion is a full blown panic attack which causes him to want to calm himself the fastest possible way so if there is a joint or pill around he has to take it. It’s all he knows to do and there is nobody but me to give him feedback which is supposed to be what the mental health clinic is doing.

His psychiatric nurse practitioner is only in the clinic 2 days a week for a short 4 hour intervals and we have requested he see someone with more of a presence since he now has state medical coverage.  He has been clean from the Heroin and his veins look like they may recover too. He was occasionally shooting dope while he was selling it last year into this year and the mental health clinic has started drug testing at risk patients which is a good thing. He says he doesn’t want to use dope again but he’s been tempted to get back into selling it on the street so he doesn’t have to be “piss poor” as he is now.

He had a car, clothes, good job, (yes he worked and sold) an apartment and money in his pocket as apposed to getting off the crap and now he is in a rented room in a cheap area of the city where he weekly has to go to the city’s general assistance (welfare) to get his room rent paid. His kidneys are full of stones, he is thin and pale from chronic insomnia which in turn causes him to become psychotic after 5-7 days awake.

Yes, 5-7 days awake.

That could be partly being sober and the bigger part is everyone including myself on my side of the family has acute chronic insomnia. My mother has it, my brother had it and it attributed to his death in January 2001 while driving. My doctor describes it as “you know when you leave a room to shut off the light, well your switch is broken therefor your light (being awake) is always stuck on. Luckily I became aware of the problem in my twenties and began a lifetime medication (non addictive) regime of taking a 2nd low dose of an antidepressant to counteract my sleeplessness. If I don’t take the medication, I don’t sleep.

During an evacuation in Florida from hurricane Frances hub and I drove to the west coast of Florida. Once there we realized I had left my sleeping meds behind in the rush. We were stranded on the west coast 7 days straight and I was awake 5 of them. I can tell you and my son knows for a fact when your up 5 days it can make anyone appear psychotic. By the end of that 5th day my hub says I just collapsed in exhaustion and I still only stayed asleep 5 hours. My son has the same affliction.

I am my sons mother and doubling as his support system, motivational speaker and an ear when he needs one. He knows if I even suspect he is taking advantage of me I will cut off the support . Instead of giving him money for all of the things he needs for his new rent we are renting a car July 5th and driving up with everything from socks to instant coffee to a hot plate and whatever else will keep him self sufficient. He had in the last two years over 6 jobs and he was fired from all of them, he has a long history of being fired when he goes from his major high moods back down deep into anger in depression. He has no impulse control  whatsoever and i am hoping we can get that addressed soon because that will get him killed faster then drugs.

He has already been assaulted, in fights and been to jail because he is so out of control during a downward spiral. Luckily in his city the police have a special unit that identifies individuals who may have mental health issues and can deal with them accordingly as apposed to tossing them in jail with the general population. The police are never many people’s favorites but son is damned lucky they know via “me” he has mental health issues and has had it long term.

Son is being treated by two other doctors and working for him is out of the question due to medical problems, his kidneys and spine are in bad shape. He has been working with a social worker out of the YMCA shelter who is in the process of helping him obtain temporary disability, otherwise known as Supplemental Security Income otherwise known as SSI and we are trying to get him through the waiting and having no income coming in as best possible all around the board. It’s been months now and the month of August was mentioned to him as a target. We will see.

My goal isn’t to baby my son nor to take care of him, do not get the two confused. I am just trying to give him the best possible odds of staying alive so he can get well, and he CAN get well. The difficulty is he is a 25 year old man and makes his own decisions even though they can be poor ones.  My fingers are crossed he will give the damned Celexa at least two to three weeks to level out in his body.  Tomorrow he and I will talk some more like we do daily everyday.

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It has been a crazy last few days. After a horrendous few days to a week son will call me as if nothing has happened and say, “hey momma, what’s up?” It’s as if he is oblivious to the fact he has just created total chaos on the street where he lives and with anyone around him such as us or his brother. I’m not complaining but I am perplexed and concerned. One of these up-down episodes he will end up being murdered the way he strikes out at anyone on the street.

My phone rang two days ago late morning and on the other end was my “real son.” I say it because he was calm, rational and I was able to have a dialect with him. THIS is my son. The rationality is short lived, just a mere number of days but I take it when I can get him that way. We are going to visit him soon and I have been compiling a list of what he needs for his small rented room. He has nothing.

We discuss the basics, he and I. A hot plate, a convection oven, food, dishes, all the things one needs in a new place. He then tells me his therapist had him take a random drug test and she has informed him he will be changed from his present Benzo’ medication to a different one. Later after we have hung up I call his therapist to express my concern about his dramatic highs and lows and also inquire if she would consider putting him on a stabilizer. One thing that’s always been consistent is son allowing me to speak to anyone medical or otherwise with his permission.

The woman is always condescending over the phone, I have a difficult time believing she even wants to help him. Try as he and I have, we cannot seem to get him to see an actual psychiatrist at the clinic he goes to, someone he may have a better sense of communication with. I hope this small reprieve from his demons lasts a few days for both our sakes. This stage is called “Back To Earth,” aptly so because when he phones me I have always teased him by saying “welcome back to the planet.” One day at a time.

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The drying out process son threw himself into out of state was successful for a short time. It wasn’t so much he purposely started up using drugs again as much as it was he had no support system when he returned from out of state.  Still without medical insurance he and I found few to no resources to have in place. He had been assigned a case worker through the city who worked for Catholic Charities but the worker had no tolerance for my son’s tirades and dropped him within weeks. I suspect my son plain scared him off because he scares everyone including me.

He was living in a rented room at the local YMCA then but the unfortunate thing is they also housed a majority of lost souls, ex cons that had been let out of jail, transients, drug dealers and the likes. Where he was living was so scary my oldest son didn’t like to go see his brother there. My son was assaulted several times either in his sleep or in the daytime just coming and going while there, we only recently got him a room in another part of the city in a secure building of sorts.

Between the living situation and lack of support the bottom dropped out for him and he was suicidal and scared. No medication to stabilize him mentally soon lead to ongoing panic attacks. The latter half of his second week having been on the phone with me hourly he finally agreed to go to the emergency room and asked to be voluntarily put in the local mental health hospital, that was the first time in a year I went to bed and got a full nights sleep without worry.

At the hospital (which he had been an inpatient of as a child also) he was medicated as is standard procedure for new patients with Thorazine. Both he and I spoke with his assigned social worker at length but more so myself. My son has such a long history it’s impossible to explain it over the telephone in 30 minutes to a professional. He hadn’t had or agreed to mental health help until this moment in the five years as an adult so his making it this far was a miracle, and I let the staff there know it. The problem came when by day 3 of being medicated only with Thorazine his nicotine urge was in overdrive, he had not seen a psychiatrist yet and had nothing to do.

That morning he called me during a fight or flight attack (panic) to tell me he was leaving the hospital. Because he had checked himself in he could check himself out. Though it is often discouraged, it’s legal. The only way they could make him stay was if he was a danger to others or himself.  Within 1 hour of son calling me a social worker phoned me telling me he was insistent on leaving, she also told me they had no grounds to make him stay.

Why in God‘s name would anyone want to leave a safe environment and go back to the life he was living I will never know, but back he went. No money, no food, nothing. The one thing that he did get in place by the hospital social worker was to go to an appointment with his local mental health clinic which he did the following week.  My son has extreme highs and lows mood wise that also have never been addressed, his 1st clinic visit got him 30 minutes with a psychiatric nurse and ongoing prescriptions of a benzodiazepine he had already been using on the street to calm himself. In essence the nurse became his drug supplier.

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Mental Hospital. Silence of reason.

Two weeks ago a  friend of my son’s was assaulted near his building and died, he was 24.

It’s now June 2010, my son is still alive but high risk. There is no way to describe what a  mother thinks or feels watching her son self destruct. What shocks me is that nobody cares anywhere. I grew up into my thirties and raised my children in our own home in rural Maine, when I left the state and my home spreading my wings elsewhere with my new husband I realized my children and myself had been living in a bubble. Human‘s “want” to do good and care but in reality it’s only an idea and rarely acted on.

The last 13 hours my 25 year old son has been walking around the main streets of the city he lives in irrational, crying out in anger and physical pain for help and he is avoided at all costs by people and police unless he hurts someone or himself. Someone broke into his rented room at 5 am this morning, assaulted him and robbed him of his prescribed medications he had just picked up 2 days before and the someone was a person off the street he knew.

A call from him then me to the emergency psychiatric services got both of us nowhere. He walked himself to the hospital emergency room 7 blocks away with my egging him on in support the whole trip on mobile phones and that resulted in him being given no help and being told to leave because he is in a combative mood. My son has state run health insurance coverage, it’s a half step up from being piss poor and having none and doctors aren’t required to accept it.

My son has a dual diagnosis, triple if that’s got a name. He is mentally ill, drug addicted and has a newly discovered  life threatening condition with his heart due to the drugs and  lack of caring for his body.  All I can do from my end here one state away is what I am always doing, emailing and phoning trying to get him into treatment anywhere and find funding for it.

I have sent him small amounts of money then stopped, had people bring him canned food and that stopped. On his walk home from the hospital he kicked in a window in a basement. When he’s like this I have to just shut off my phone and I hate it.

I call this stage of my sons tirades the crash & burning and God knows how long it will last.

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Crazy Like Us

It’s been some time since posting and I have much to write. Things are not good. I had lost my info to come back here and found it by accident this morning, thank goodness.  Maybe it was fate. Understand that I have to keep myself and any identifying information of my son out of my posts. I have no choice. I began this blog of sorts to log events as they come and also in hopes that this will help me cope somehow without becoming insane. If our experience somehow helps another even better. Now I will make a cup of coffee and begin where I left off.