When you have a child that suffers from depression and addiction, there are many times you have to drop everything and react to a crisis.
I tried to anticipate things but what ended up happening was never something I planned for. I’m not blaming Charles. Not everything that happened was his fault. And given pathetic resources, we were left to project manage something we had no expertise in.
From changing his placement at a therapeutic boarding school because a counselor was accused of sexual misconduct, to a rolling stop that turned into a police assault to when we found out he was addicted.
That’s just a sample of many crises over the years. There were countless others.
What was tough is that it made me “undependable.” At the very least, it was stressful hiding my ugly, chaotic life that no one wanted to be exposed to although there were snoopy types who made our family crises part of the ‘hood gossip.
That was the least of my worries.
The only time this hurt was when we had to have Charles kidnapped out of his bed and taken away to a wilderness program. Emotionally, it was devastating. I expected him to be angry but what was hard was his look of feeling betrayed. It killed us. And having someone call around and announce it and humiliate my child at an emotionally vulnerable time was heartbreaking.
As I’ve said before, no one supports you when your child suffers from mental illness or addiction.
Things often got canceled like vacations, appointments, lunches, workouts, girlfriend time. Deadlines got missed. All of which was unlike me. Every time I committed to something, I worried that some disaster would strike.
I absolutely know that on the day he died on that last phone call, I was emotionally wrung out after two hours of talking with him. I had to be somewhere. I didn’t want to go. The weather was miserable. I really wanted to curl up into a ball, make some calls, do some research on some of the things he said. But I decided I needed to get out of the house and think.
I was damned if I was going to not show up for yet another event. I had time right? What was the emergency? For once, I wanted to think about it.
That guilt of being undependable won despite alarm bells sounding off. Even on the way there, I thought, “I need to call him back.” “Should I call him back?” But no. I didn’t want to be late and bogged down in yet another marathon call that made no sense.
I didn’t want to be undependable.