This week our lesson seems to have been all about faith. Come to think of it, every week’s lesson is about faith. Not gonna lie, it’s been a tough one. In the last several days Aradia quickly repeated all the cycles of the last year in one condensed, rapid decline. From mania (super amped up behavior and speech and impulsiveness) to disorganized thought, to erratic and nightmare filled sleep, then slept fourteen hours straight, irritability, then clinginess, then isolation, then depression, then anger, then hopelessness, all with the negative and self-destructive thoughts beating in the background. She admits that to the world, she will smile and say, “I’m fine”, but she can only keep up the façade so long.
I spoke with a couple of precious friends with professional expertise in these situations and they helped us to get a better night’s rest and gave us some guidance. We went to her Mental Health Center this morning to tell them what was going on. People, seriously, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be scared they are going to whisk the patient off to Nurse Ratchett and give them electro-shock therapy. We talked, and they adjusted her medicines. Stopped one, increased another. It’s a numbers game. We’ve got to find the combination and dosage of medicine that will get as close as we can get to healthy mood patterns and frame of mind.
At the same time, the counseling is just as important. Letting her talk, giving her better coping skills, giving her hope. The hardest thing you will ever hear from your child is “I have nothing to live for.” That beats any other awful thing I can think of. I get it, Schizoaffective Disorder is both a chronic mood disorder and thought disorder. After we got back home and she laid down to take a nap, I went outside to well, sob. It hit me all over again that this is really what this is. This is not going away and it’s going to be a tough battle for her that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. But, as my always wise oldest daughter reminded me, the things she was saying were what she felt and thought AT THAT MOMENT. It doesn’t mean it’s always how she’s going to feel. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love us. She does. She just hurts more than anything and the disorder is talking. The good news is the medicine is still handling the voices and hallucinations (psychosis). My eldest reminded me that very little of this is in my control and to keep having faith.
I also talked to my dear friend and pastor. He again reminded me that I cannot control this. I can only do so much and the rest is between her and God. When I pressed her to at least come up with one reason to live, she said, “God”. And that is who is holding her tomorrows. The doctors can treat her symptoms, though there is no cure. The counselors can redirect and attempt to focus her mind. But only God can heal her spirit. And at this moment He is all she is clinging to and that’s the best thing she could be clinging to. Parents, if you think teaching your kids that there is a Creator that loves them and that will take care of them is a waste of time or a fairy tale, I ask you to reconsider. It may be the only thing that keeps them alive some day. Or the life of one of your grandchildren because you taught your kids and they will teach their kids. Teach them to pray. Teach them to have faith. Don’t take it lightly. Pray with them. Pray for them. When Aradia left the mental hospital in January, she told me that the one thing I got right was teaching her to love God. That’s what she’s clinging to and that’s what I’m clinging to.
Then I talked online with a longtime friend who has a son with similar issues. She also reminded me that I am not in control here but God is. She reminded me to remain hopeful. Most days I don’t need those reminders. Most days I’m giving those reminders. Today was not one of those days. So friends, relatives, coworkers, shore up the parents and caretakers of people with mental health issues or with any long term illness. They won’t tell you, but they need that encouragement. They need that call or message that pulls them back from despair or snaps them out of it so they can keep their compass in the right direction and stay positive for their loved one. They need your prayers. The ones they are taking care of need your prayers even more. I am so thankful for the prayerful, encouraging, loving people God has put in our lives.
She is not mine. She is His. He put me in charge of her to love her and to guide her but He is ultimately in control of what happens to her, to me, to us. I don’t know what to expect in the coming years and a lot of fearful thoughts tried to swallow me today, but He nudged just the right people with just the right (and same) message to reach out to me today and they obeyed. They reeled me back in so I can be what I need to be for her. That’s God. I’m learning that this truly is a day by day situation and sometimes moment by moment. But for now, she is tucked safely in bed and she won the battle again today. Tomorrow we see about buying her another course in computer coding, which on her good days is her career choice and she’s a natural at it and she has a passion for it. That’s God again. So I’ll remind you and her to keep the faith and you remind me, okay?
Matthew 6:34 Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow; each day has enough worries of it’s own.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”