My first post ever! I decided to start blogging as a form of therapy. My intentions of this blog are to share what I am going through in order to better manage my thoughts and feelings and also hopefully inspire others that there is hope.
Right out of the door, I decided to call this blog "Reaching Up for Hope" because that is what I am doing. I am reaching "UP" to God to help me through this journey. I know He is the only way through every storm that life will toss my way.
I am not a writer. I think I am a pretty good speller, but writing skillz...I can not boast. Hang in there with me though because I believe there will be some really good nuggets of information now and then.
On to what I am really writing about. I am married to a wonderful man whom I love with all of my heart. We have been blessed with one child. A boy! He is 12 and his name is Jacob. Jacob was a honeymoon baby and took us by surprise. We were excited though, however scared to death.
Jacob, being an only child, has always been around adults for the most part. He is a warm-hearted boy with many wonderful attributes. He has never known a stranger and is kind and giving to everyone. That is not to say at 12, he is not going through some selfish areas, but overall he is kind and giving.
We moved to Colorado from Arizona in 2006. Since that time, Jacob has gone through torture at school with bullies. It started in 4th grade and has become increasingly worse each passing year. It seemed as though no one liked him. In fifth grade, I made out 19 invitations to his birthday and not one kid showed up. Talk about trauma. There was a boy that made his life absolute hell. (only word strong enough, sorry) He begged us not to send him to the same middle school as that boy and we agreed to put him in a school outside of our area. Things just got worse there, this time teachers joined in the gang. Jacob had two teachers who would call him out in front of the whole class to announce that he would be the only one who would not receive an "A" for what ever reason, and there were a few.
The counselor noticed this about the teachers and advised my husband and I to go to the principal, but at the end of the day word back was that he "supports his teachers". Isn't that nice?
Then there was the day that Jacob stood up to a bully who decided to pick on a disabled kid. Things got heated and Jacob defended himself only to find that if you stand up to a bully, you will serve the same punishment they do. Wow!, what a deal. You can't tell an adult because they "have to see it" and if you defend yourself, you are just as guilty as they are. What's our options here folks? Really? Try telling that to an adult walking to their car in a parking lot and is suddenly mugged. Sorry, you can't defend yourself or you will suffer like consequences. I think not. I fought them on it, but lost. School policy, ya know.
Finally, at the end of 6th grade we decided to pull him from public school. We had enough of the politics and games, the "0" tolerance policy that was supposed to protect kids from being bullied was a farce!
We placed him in a private school and could finally breathe deep in relief. Ahhhhhhhhhhh, a healthy place for Jacob. A place where kids and teachers alike accept him as he is. Jacob was on the football team and had friends for the first time since we lived here, best of all...no bullies!
A little more back knowledge. We had been told since Jacob was in kindergarten that he may have ADHD and he should be tested. I fought it loud and proud for so many years and it wasn't until Jacob voiced in counseling (we thought counseling would help with the bully issues) that he felt different from the other kids. He felt he could not comprehend as they did and was puzzled why he could not focus like them. Once Jacob voiced that on his own, I felt it was time to seriously check this out.
We had him tested and two professionals diagnosed him with ADHD. He had a therapist and a psychiatrist. The psych prescribed him medication both of which made him go crazy with angry outbursts, tears and emotions breakdowns. We took him off of the meds with his Dr.s blessing.
The very next day, IT happened. I picked him up from school and he was upset. He threw his backpack in the back seat, slams the door shut, gets in the front seat, slams the door shut. What in the world? I thought. I asked him if he wanted to talk about it. Nothing from the passenger seat, but steam brewding from his nostrils. I felt best to let him alone for the ride home to gather himself.
Upon arriving at home I parked the car in the carport and locked the door. I announced that he was not leaving the car until he gave me some sort of inclination of what had happened. He sat there for a moment and then asked me if he could speak freely. Now, I know what that means. That means that he is so upset about something and feels the need to throw some slang into the mix. I thought for a moment and decided that it would be ok for this moment only. What I heard next changed our life forever.
I told my husband and we agreed that we would need to move up his regularly scheduled appt that week from Friday to the next day at that time which was Wednesday. We had a great evening. I worked with him on his homework on the floor and we laughed and I felt as though things would be ok. This is not a kid who was going to hurt someone, just a kid who seriously felt like the only way to have people listen to him was with a firearm. That is sad.
Just as I had that thought of relief, we are torn from our peace with news that my niece has runaway and just like the wind, we were off to look for her. We did not return until very late and Jacob was exhausted. The next morning, I decided I would call him in late and let him sleep in. It was not his fault we had to whisk away to help his troubled cousin after all.
I spoke with a friend that morning from work to explain my tardiness. She highly encouraged I make that call to the therapist sooner than later. My next call was to my husband and then to my Dad. Everyone agreed, that while he was very brave to voice his feelings, that he should get help from his therapist so things do not develop into "plans of action". I agreed. Knowing that his therapist would be able to talk this out with him better than I, my next call was to her.
Her words to me were "I am going to have to report this." What! You talk about shock and awe, I was in it. The psych was called and he had us rush Jacob to the ER. The ER had us take him to a "hospital" here in town. Turns out, it is basically a detention center. We did not know that, or I would have fought tooth and nail. I say that now, but at the time I was in such shock that I just following the motions.
I kept thinking, ok this is normal for them to go to this extreme. They must really want to help Jacob so he does not recreate another Columbine. I reassured myself that there are professionals here who will be able to really help Jacob. I kept thinking that the feelings he expressed to me deserved these actions and that sure, he needed to be hospitalized. Once we all saw the locked doors and behind and in front of us, we began to wonder.
Jacob became very confused. All he knew was that he shared something with his mom that was scary for him and now he is being locked up. His confusion then turned toward anger. He was mad at me, I told. He was never going to do anything, he was just voicing a feeling, not a plan.
For the next five days, Jacob was not allowed outside. He was labeled homicidal and anti-psychotics were shoved down his throat. He was told he was nothing but a paycheck and cussed at by the orderlies. Everyone there looked at him and treated him like a criminal. His father and I were allowed to visit one hour a day in the evening and twice on the weekend. My kid was locked up. My son, who had been tortured and bullied was now missing his final game in football, a homecoming game and the harvest festival with the friends that he had made for the first time in three years. Everything was gone in an instant. The next morning we received the phone call from his school, the wonderful healthy place that God had brought us to. Jacob had been expelled. He was not allowed on campus and his father and I were to come and retrieve his things. Gone. His future, his friends, our hopes for healing and that healthy environment. Gone. Just like that. Why?
My heart was torn out and broken into a bazillion pieces. What have I done to my child? I thought I was helping him by calling his therapist. But at that moment, there was no help for him. He was a criminal after all. This is how we treat criminals.
Discharge day had come and Chris and I were eager to take our boy home. We were also eager to hear of Jacob's diagnosis. Bi-polar the Dr. confidently announced. What, the what? How could he be bi-polar, he is 12. I asked him how he came to that diagnosis. No joke, this was his response and I will quote. "Well, ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, you see,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm." Yep,$7000.00 and five days of having my son locked down as a criminal and that is what he says. My husband decided to pipe in to break up the tension on my part and the confusion on the Dr.'s part. He told the Dr. that we had done our research and that Jacob had displayed a lot of PTSD symptoms. The Dr. instantly said and I quote again "Oh, PTSD...yeah, I could change my diagnosis if that would make you more comfortable." What the double what? Make us more comfortable. Why did I have my kid here for five days on lock down, having medicine shoved down his throat that he apparently did not need, get cussed at, told he was only a paycheck, have my heart ripped out so that you and I could NEGOTIATE his diagnosis.!!!!
My husband and I took our son to his therapist immediately afterward. All of us in shock, all of us confused, all of us broken.
We have not been able to recover yet. He is currently being treated for PTSD but we are no closer to a solution or healing than when this began on October 5, 2010. That is why I am Reaching Up for Hope. I have relived a very traumatic time in my life. I am overwhelmed and I need to get ready for work. I will share more as I am able.