Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Freeing the Bad to Enjoy the Good

I've come to accept that when good enters my life, I should prepare for something bad to happen.  It's just the way I think.  Not in a negative "nothing good can ever happen to me" way - but more of just being cautious not to get too big in the britches about having my share of goodness.

For the past few months, I have felt some weight on my shoulders.  I thought the best thing to do would be to ignore it, pretend like it's not even there, and eventually it will disappear.  As long as I stay positive, keep my mind focused on being happy - I wouldn't let the stress and turmoil have a second to rear their ugly heads.

I was wrong.  The more I pretend, the worse it becomes.  Keeping a smile on my face just isn't working anymore.

This week, I had the first "positive" week since starting my weight loss journey (again) in January.  In the past three weeks, I've gone to play bingo twice - and won $3100...bringing $1700 of that home (after splitting my first winnings with my mom).  Life has been good for the past few weeks - on the outside.

Moments like those make keeping the smile on my face easier.  They make me start believing that all my troubles can just disappear.  Then, I get blindsided with an event that makes all the inner demons rush to the surface.

For those of you that don't know, I have a son that had to spend 3 months at the end of last year in a psychiatric hospital.  Since he came home, I've told myself that I can't ever let something like that happen again.  I've told myself as long as I show him nothing but love and support, he won't have any more "episodes", he won't lie, he won't get in to major trouble.

When I've seen glimpses of an episode, or he lies, or he gets in to major trouble - I tell myself that it was somehow my fault... I somehow failed him... I'm not doing my job right.  Up until yesterday, I truly believed that everything that's happened to him was my fault.  Until yesterday.

A visit with his therapist unveiled some truths I'm not sure I was ready for.  The first one being that it's definitely not my fault he acts the way he does.  He has an illness that affects his brain.  It's not anybody's fault.  Stuff like this happens.  Another being that the more I try to convince myself that just showing him love will fix all of his issues, the more damage I'm doing to him.  That one was the one that knocked the wind out of me.  What I heard was loving my son too much would destroy him.  Of course, the words that were actually said were more along the lines of not allowing him to make mistakes, go through episodes, and learning to handle his behaviors would end up harming him more than help him.

I hold a lot of fears in me when it comes to my son.  I fear that he will never have a normal life due to the illnesses that affect his brain, stop him from processing his thoughts and actions.  I fear that he will end up moving through the system of psychiatric facilities, alternative schools, and maybe even prison.  My biggest fear?  That he will end up like his biological father.  I know that sounds stupid - compared to my other fears - but it truly is the one I fear the most.  I never want my son to turn in to that man.  I just can't let that happen.

The problem is, I'm denying him the chance of fixing his issues and putting him on the fast track of turning in to that man.  Just because I'm refusing to hold him responsible for his actions.

Everything I do in life has a stem from my past.  My emotional eating.  My nervous anxieties.  My quirky fears.  And the way I parent.  Some of the stems I'm aware of - others are hiding inside of me, waiting to be set free.

His therapist - who is now going to become my therapist for a while - unveiled the secret of the demons that I'm carrying around.  He made it very clear - if I don't fix me, I'll never be able to fix him.  As long as I carry around the fears and guilt that I do - he'll continue to increase his behaviors until he explodes.  I have to let him fail, I have to let him face the consequences of his actions, I have to enforce those consequences - regardless of what he may do in the process.  I have to let him face the truths of life.

I left the therapist's office yesterday full of mixed emotions.  I was scared.  I was hopeful.  I wanted to pretend that I wouldn't need to "get tough".  And then, just one day later, my son needed the toughness my therapist was talking about.  My son's lying is habitual.  It's out of control.  He lies for the sake of lying - even knowing that he's going to get caught.  Today, I had to lay the law down and take away a visit to his grandmother's this weekend.

Of course, his immediate reaction was anger and to blame me.  I'm the one being unfair.  I'm the one that makes his life so horrible.  I hear the words and they are like razors to my heart.  As much as I wanted to hug him and say I was sorry for making him mad, sorry that I was hurting him - I just couldn't.  He has to face the consequences of his actions.  He has to feel the pain.

He doesn't know or realize the pain it causes me.  And I'm OK with that.  Feeling the pain makes me realize that I'm doing the right thing.  If it was easy, I would doubt the love I have for my child.

In the next few weeks, there are going to be some drastic changes made to my lifestyle.  I have to start getting a grip.  I have to start shelling out some tough love.  It petrifies me - but it's completely necessary.  If I want my son to come to terms with his illness - he has to experience it, learn about it, and learn how to cope.  I just hope I have the strength to do it.  I do have the strength to do it.  It's just accepting the bad that comes with the good.  I won't get to enjoy any immediate actions, I'm sure of that... but I'm going to free the bad so that eventually - I will wholeheartedly enjoy the good.