It is day 2 of my two-week Staycation. So far today I have:
- Slept until 5…then 8… then 11.
- Eaten Cheerios. Straight out of the box, like chips or crackers. Why are you looking at me like that?
- Attempted to write two blog posts and given up. Sorry, you get stuck with attempt three today.
- Made arrangements to meet a friend in a few hours.
Exciting stuff, no? It is an improvement over yesterday, when I napped and harassed friends on IM all day out of my boredom (“Are you working? How is work? What time do you get home from work? I miss work!”). Fun Fact: I found out that if you see your kid on Facebook chat during their break and say “hi”, they will sign off faster than a roach running from the sun’s first light.
Having this much downtime, while appreciated, is definitely one I am not used to taking. I was thinking about this a lot yesterday; I was taking plenty of time off here and there, a day or hours at a time, just not big blocks of it.
Then it hit me, that ton of bricks that shocked me and stopped my heart for a minute. Because that answer isn’t entirely true. I have had to take a block of time, though unplanned and not for myself.
Yesterday, day 1 of vacation, was the six-month anniversary of my son’s suicide attempt.
Starting February 26th of this year, for ten school days, two whole weeks I was with him literally for 24 hours a day. I slept in his room with him for the first week and would get nervous if he took a long time in the shower, even after the bathroom had been “cleaned” of any potential items to aid in self harm (or worse).
I didn’t plan it this way, and it isn’t like I have this circled on the calendar, like having to give a dog heartworm pills or paying the cable bill. Literally in a side conversation about work and such, I realized what day it was.
Things have changed a lot in those six months. He is on medication, has a great psychiatrist, sees a therapist often and is more alive and engaged than I have seen since he first became a teenager. Even with the setbacks of his summer plans getting cancelled, he has maintained his ongoing treatment and taken care of himself.
Some days it feels like it just happened, other days it feels like it has been over a year. Somewhere around month number two I stopped blaming myself for not realizing he was feeling this way; month three is when I stopped holding my breath when I walked in the door after work, afraid he would not be there after all. I stopped crying during the day after the first month, mainly due to pharmaceutical magic, but I still sometimes cry at night.
Before his attempt, I was struggling with my own issues and while not actively suicidal, I wouldn’t have minded if a bus ran me over or if lightning struck me. Horrible but true. While from the outside it seems that the kid is doing better on his plan to recovery from the crisis, mine looks a little more shaky. I am OK today, I will be OK and I know what do if I am not feeling OK anymore. I also have a great psychiatrist and therapist as well as some very patient friends. Depression sucks, bulimia sucks harder.
School starts a week from today, which brings its own nerves and challenges. I know the kid is looking forward to seeing his friends and getting back into this routine. Going back to work once the kid was allowed to return to school was a great help to me, it kept me distracted at least. I think I am just now realizing that a stressful job shouldn’t have been the weapon of choice when trying to get through situations like this, or at least not entirely.
Now I am home, full-time for the first time since March without any work obligations. I have a list of things I need to do, try or finish for the household and for me. I cannot allow myself to wallow in the “what if”s anymore–what if I had done something to myself first, what if he had succeeded, what if there is a backslide?
I am not going to keep thinking about that. The ton of bricks have fallen and I have to keep on busting through to keep going. I resolve that for the rest of the time I have off of work, I am going to try to do what I need to for me going forward. This includes items identified by my therapist to help toward my recovery, cleaning out my closet, journaling and maybe even a day trip to the beach. Taking time off or doing anything for “me” normally feels selfish, but I realize now it is what I have to do. My kid still needs me here for him, mentally and physically, to get through his fight. So I will be, doing what ever it takes to be and stay here, because I definitely need him too.
NOTE: Most of the posts related to the kid’s suicide attempt and ongoing recovery are (or should be) locked through the prior blog. I am debating bringing them over here, even if they are just pages vs posts. If you have any thoughts on that (good, bad, what the hell?), share in the comments.
NEW NOTE: I have decided to let the other posts just sit out there for awhile, still locked. I may bring some over as certain topics come up, or just excerpts, but as part of this blog is about me working through things, I want to keep that in the “blog past” for now. I am happy to answer general questions regarding his situation.
For those concerned about what he thinks…he is OK with me blogging about this situation (and has known since there was a situation to blog about) and sharing the story from my point of view. He just doesn’t care to read any of it because, well, mom having a blog is so NOT COOL.