What to do when your child is broken…

I hope nobody thinks that I mean this term in a pejorative way. I’m simply trying to get at the truth, I hope from an objective standpoint. I’ve spent a lot of time being angry because angry is easy. And when I peeled back the layers of anger I know there is a deep abiding sadness underneath. A potential black hole of depression.

I have been encouraged recently to let go of the anger. And it’s nice to try to do that. But being sucked in past the event horizon of my own despair is not a thing I enjoy dealing with on a day-to-day basis.

But in lieu of continuing to wax cosmological, I’ll get to the point. When my car is broken I take it to the mechanic. He or she works on it until it’s fixed. If my computer is broken I take it to the Apple store. If something is broken in my house, I call my buddy who’s a contractor. In none of these scenarios do they work on it for 45 minutes a week and expect it to get better. Even in physical medicine, if I break my leg, there’s a clear protocol of how to fix that.

But what do we do when our children are broken? I’m not intending to be hyperbolic or overdramatic. Despite not being in the best headspace, I don’t think that that is an exaggeration. They need dramatically more care than one therapy session a week and seeing the pharmacologist once a month. As time passes I vacillate between hope and despair. To be honest, the Hope feels like fool’s Gold. The reality is that it is only the sheer power of my will as well as the support of my wife that is keeping these kids anywhere close to functional. And it’s not that close. But nobody’s currently in physical danger. So we don’t need a psychiatric hospitalization. But they’re just getting older and not getting better. They don’t seem to be sick enough to meet the requirements for more care. But it has become extremely clear to me that my wife and I cannot give either of these kids what they need to get well.

honestly I don’t know why I’m posting this. Possibly because as I get sucked into this black hole it’s the only thing I can functionally communicate about. Partially, I think it’s important to share my vulnerability in the context of this blog. I think too many experts are so wrapped up in their own expertness that they’re unable to show their humanity. I’m really good at what I do. But behind the scenes, I’m still a person with a lot of the same struggles as everyone out there. I am a very experienced consumer of the medical and psychiatric system. I know way more than the average lay person. And I still run into dead ends, places I can’t get help, things I need that don’t exist. I don’t know if that is a hopeful or crushing feeling to express. But at least it’s authentic. And authentic is kind of my thing.

I don’t know. Maybe the best thing I can do is model adaptive behavior. I can dust myself off and get back up. I can start emailing doctors and talk to the insurance company and try to find a residential placement that won’t bankrupt us or my kids can get well. And someday, when they are well, and I get my life back, I can advocate at the State House and in Washington for all the things that they’re not getting now because of our messed up not system of healthcare.

still wondering if I should post this. I think I’ll probably delete it in half an hour. Who knows. But I needed to process this somehow and I don’t have therapy until friday. And certainly, if anybody has any advice, feel free to send it my way.

standard disclaimer. Yada yada yada.