Today is one of those days where I have way too much on my mind. I’m trying to organize it so I can relay it to you and you can carry it where ever you’d like to take it. Today is a bright one though I am not working. I did so on purpose because I have my son’s first middle school PPT meeting today. According to my son the first week of middle school was great. He likes the freedom of the changing classrooms each period, he’s going to audition for the school’s specialty band (wish him luck) and all the struggles with his piers he was having have seemed to dissipate. I remain vigilant. Sort of an “occupational hazard” really. I want to make sure he keeps doing well. His efforts have been outstanding though. What this boy has faced and conquered in his 11 years is nothing short of heroic and I’m so proud to call him my son. He’s always been a blessing. That adorable little person that started as a “dot” on the ultrasound screen. He’s always amazed me. Watching his progress, actually experiencing it day to day has not only taught me, it’s hard PROOF, that change, though something you must decide everyday, is actually a long term process. It does not happen immediately. It takes time and well, vigilance. But it works. People grow and can change what choices they make. And I don’t believe this is a miracle reserved for the young. I believe it is available to people of all ages. Douglas (my son- and this is the first time I’ve shared his name with you, so I’m happy to know my comfort level is growing) is coming through this storm a better and stronger person then his piers. He “gets” things they have no clue about. And it fortifies him.
He made an astounding choice over the summer. He decided to stop taking his ADHD medication, Focalin XR- (10 mg). It was his choice to try it to begin with. Last year he came to me and requested medication saying he had found out that some of his classroom piers had shown so much improvement from medication and he wanted to see if there was any that would help him. I had been dead set against it. I didn’t want to medicate my child. But his request was so sincere and mature, I thought he had the right to have an input on his own mental health. So we went to his pediatrician and to the Yale University Clinic for Tick Disorders and we got him a prescription that was right for him. The reason we needed the Yale Clinic for Tick Disorders was because I have Tourettes Syndrome and had noticed some facial ticks in Douglas. Before prescribing an appropriate ADHD medication his pediatrician needed to know the extent of Douglas’s ticks. The clinic cleared him of Tourettes and confirmed he had ADHD with a minor motor tick that they were sure was being brought on by stress and would subside as he got older. They were right.
The Focalin XR worked, to some degree, to help Douglas focus in his fifth grade class. It helped him stay on task. Over the summer he stopped taking it because of prescription refill issues with the insurance company. During this time he decided to not go back on. His father influenced him, I’m sure, because he is a recovered drug addict and hated the idea of his son on meds. He felt like it was teaching Doug to use a drugs and didn’t approve. To this day I feel that if his father had been properly diagnosed and medicated for his ADHD then he would not have developed the drug problems that he did. But I’ve tried to be supportive and was myself never a fan of ANY kind of medication unless it was absolutely necessary. And yes, that goes for physical aliments as well. Were my son diagnosed with diabetes tomorrow I would look for any and all non-medicine treatments available to us, if his condition permitted it. But if it was something his body needed, then he should have it. He should not have to suffer because of his parent’s fears, especially when help is being made available to him.
Douglas was happy last year. But over the summer he got it into his head that he may be able to do without his pills. So I supported his decision. Unless I see his negative and counter productive behaviors resurfacing I will not force him to take the medication again. He has come a long way. And the non-pharmacutical treatments like therapy, athletic activities and special education have been working so well, he may very well not need the medication. For now, but I will remain vigilant.
Other thoughts on my mind today revolved around a conversation I had with my mother, sister and son’s father at Douglas’s baseball game on Tuesday (they are 2 for 0 btw- I was very happy because Doug’s ball team in the spring lost almost everyone of their games. It’s making him VERY happy). First off, my mother and sister will never be people I trust. They aren’t supportive of me. They are deconstructive people. So they’re comments to me are always harsh. Now harsh comments can sometimes be exactly what you need to hear, but no,… not theirs. Because the “advice” they give to me is always based on what they don’t want to do for me. It’s been going on since I was very young when they should have been doing something for me. For example: My Tourette’s/OCD symptoms started when I was VERY young, around 8 years old. My mother ignored everyone of them. Her way of dealing with my behaviors was to tell me that something was wrong with me…. and walk away. After I getting my official diagnosis (when I was around 25) she will still yell at me for jumping, or say to me “why don’t you just stop that? It’s horrible” when I tick too much. It will not change. Then they will convince me everything is my fault and that there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to do everything by myself. Even though part of what I have to do is actually what they should be doing, like supporting me, understanding me, researching my issues so as to nurture me, maybe even have given me a place to live when I was a young, single mother with no place to go? (years ago- not recently). Nope. Won’t happen, never will. But their “advice” persists. And then, they have the nerve to smile and support my son’s father when he starts to give me advice on finding a job.
He’s giving me advice on how to find a job. He shows up maybe on Sundays to take Douglas for a couple of hours. He owes me a year of arrearage and is behind a month and half on this years support because “he hasn’t been able to find work”. He is a carpenter. A carpenter that refuses to join the union and do union work. A carpenter that refuses to work as somebody else’s employee. A carpenter that would rather not have any work then go and wait tables or bartend or pick up trash, or apply for any number of other jobs he may qualify for because he doesn’t want to be somebody else’s employee. But his advice to me is “Get a job. Take anything. Don’t be picky.” Maybe I am wrong for this, because good advice can come from anyone and anywhere, but knowing the source of the advice makes a difference. And realizing that all they really want is for me to do their work makes it impossible for me to take the advice seriously. Douglas’s father wants me to make enough money to cover all my rent and monthly expenses. Only, my monthly expenses aren’t all mine. Everything that pertains to Douglas is half his. And he owes me, on time, weekly! But doesn’t pay. He cracks the whip on me so I will pick up the slack for him. And no, I won’t. He doesn’t work, doesn’t pay his child support, finds a cheap apartment for himself leaving us homeless, but still has the nerve to formulate a list of things I need to be doing so that he can continue to live his life style? Oh hell no. We’ve got a court date coming and he’s got hell to pay. He’s got back support to pay. My being jobless has NOTHING to do with why he hasn’t been paying his bills. Simply put, he is a burden I have shouldered for too long. And I’m not going to do it anymore. I’m tired of constantly allowing people who do not love me to make me feel like something is wrong with me. Like I’m supposed to do everything on my own. No one I know does EVERYTHING on their own. And the only people who tell you that you should are the ones who want to look good as they dump all over you. I’m done. And I’m busting my butt to do EVERYTHING to make my life better. I finished school. I’m online sending out resumes everyday and I’m working, I’m just not making enough money. I’m doing beyond my best. I’m hussling. But change doesn’t happen over night. And if some people think it’s not happening fast enough then they should be standing up to help out, not barking criticisms from the side lines. Go take your diatribes somewhere else. They’re just irritating me.
What I was proud of, as far as myself is concerned, is that I didn’t let their comments make me feel bad this time around. They’re such bullshitters, all of them, and I can’t take them seriously anymore. It was ridiculous. Their advice. Their judgments. Just ridiculous. Same old shit. I just didn’t need it, you know? Dump it somewhere else, I’ve got enough to deal with.
I’ve rattled on enough. Angry girl today I guess. But not in an implosive way so I’m happy about it. I know whose side I’m on. I’m on my side. And it feels good. And I don’t have time to waste with anyone who isn’t. I don’t have the energy to support a feud either. My mother, sister and son’s father will continue to be the small minded idiots they are. That’s why they are stuck. I am not. And though I may still be sloshing through the mud right now, I’m moving on to higher ground. And I’m taking my son with me. He’s a lucky boy, to have a mom like me. Who has always been willing to shoulder him, instead of demanding he get down and carry me. I won’t raise my child as the beast of burden I was raised to be. He’s the reason I found my legs to begin with. He deserves to be held aloft. All children do. And if they ever have to get dirty it should only be to attain even higher ground, not to tread through subterranean muck and stay buried their whole lives. That’s our job as parents. To give them opportunities. To give them a better life then we had. And my son has been through enough muddy experiences with me to have learned how to be tough. I refuse to fling more mud at him the way my family, and his father, do to me. And imagine. This man still expects me to want to sleep with him.
No thanks. I wouldn’t be attracted to someone else’s dead beat “baby daddy”. Why would I be attracted to my own? It took me forever to get to that place too. So happy I arrived. I already feel cleaner.