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Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Doc's, part seven

It became evident that going home was the best choice. Teale was calmer, still not sleeping much, but there was a lot of hope the Lithium was helping her. We had several meetings about what to look for in side effects, how to help Teale if she became enraged, which emergency medications we could use that wouldn't counteract with her other medications, etc. Much was thrown at us, but by this point in Teale's life, we were a good team, Mark and I. We had our own plans and we both knew what we wanted for Teale, we just wanted her to feel peace. To be the parents watching the behaviors of your mentally ill child is one thing, it's beyond tough, your heart hurts constantly that you can not help your child. The other side of the issue though, is the child. Mark and I could not imagine what Teale felt? The pain inside her, the anxious feeling, the anger, the confusion and the frustration, all in this little girl that should feel nothing but love and joy at this point in her life. Often with mentally ill children, it has been my experience that people are not comfortable being open about it. Mental illness is still taboo, it's not talked about openly, making it seem or at least feel like somehow it is the fault of the mentally ill or of their parents. In our case it's fairly clear Teale's brain damage is the cause of her mood disorders. She does not have two brain lobes working together and that loss creates a lot of problems with regulating moods. Somehow this probably gives me more strength to be upfront and honest about how difficult her behavior can be. After all her brain damage was not my fault. Our friends and families are very kind and caring when Teale in tough behavior cycles, they are supportive and loving toward us. I think there have been times though that they have thought, she is too much and we should give up care of her. I have even had those times when our life has been so out of control, I just could not imagine continuing the journey. It just wasn't an option though, in my heart I knew if we couldn't take care of Teale, who could? Our love was (and is) deep, we balance each other well, Mark and I. We know when to take a break and if we don't know for ourselves, the other one knows for us. I have asked, no told Mark to leave the house, to get away, to take some time alone. He plays the saxaphone and music helps him, so I send him away to release through music. He has done the same for me. Making me spend time with a girlfriend or just by myself doing something I love, like gardening. There have been cycles of Teale where she demands our attention constantly and after awhile you are so burnt out your nerves are just raw from trying to keep her happy and even tempered. Dr Tom says that we have all developed PTSD because in bad cycles, living with Teale is much like living in a war zone. We are on edge, always on our guard and trying to stay one step ahead of the game. She is unpredictable, she snaps suddenly a fiercely. We worry constantly about who would take care of Teale if anything ever were to happen to Mark and I, but that is a whole other blog. I know that some friends and family in the worst of times just could not see the light. I know they thought Mark and I were living in hell and Teale was the whole cause of it, so why not just give her up to a group home? Even in the most challenging times, Mark and I had hope and faith that things could and would get better. We knew Teale needed us, not in a martyr sense, but because we truly loved her and believed that inside all that confusion there was much good. I will not deny there have been dreams of running away from all this. I have had times when having to restrain her that I have had to keep my anger in check to not hurt her because my anger was there too. In times like that I pray, I ask God to help Teale calm, I ask for peace, for calm in me. I ask God to be with me and help me to not hurt His child. I tell myself over and over agin, "This is not Teale, this is not her fault." Teale is without filter when in a rage, she is out for blood and tries desperately to hurt me. There is no thought going on, she does not think how wrong it is to want to hit, kick, bite, scratch, etc. her Mom. Often I find her rages start and in the middle of it, she is unaware as to why she is raging. It's a primitive instinct that kicks in and she just fights with all her strength, not even always knowing what provoked it. The weeks working up to the hospitalization in the psych ward was filled with times like these, intense rages constantly. All we could do was to hold Teale until she calmed. It was the only way to keep her safe, our other kids safe, our selves safe and the home safe. It's not pretty, it's heartbreaking to have to restrain your own child until she can calm down, but there was not any other choice. So going home was filled with the same feelings again, would Teale be constantly explosive? We had to take the chance though, so we rallied Dr Tom and Dr Dave and told them we wanted to bring Teale home. They would be our medical and our mental support again and they knew we would be relying on the both of them heavily while we tried to get Teale stabilized. By this point in our relationships, we had their personal cell phone numbers and we kept in close contact. The two of them, Mark and I, were all Teale had. We were her team, we would either get through this and help our daughter or we would have to find a different medication and a different plan. I was confident though, that I remember. I felt strong again after the two weeks of Teale in the hospital. I had a better perspective and I had slept, something that seems so simple, until you have not had enough. We were going to do this, we were going to make Teale's life the best we could and we were going to show everyone that she was worth the fight. She is a person, she is our daughter and she needed us. I was proud to be with a man who was completely my partner in this life. I was proud of us for not letting the stress of it all come between us. We were strong separately, but together I felt people listened and trusted us even more. So we went to get Teale...  (to be continued)

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