Tuesday, December 31, 2013

By the next week when his psychologist appointment rolled around again he was doing much better. I was not sure what to expect and was surprised when he seemed to only be set back a couple of days. We both had been doing a lot of reading about meth and its affect on the brain. We talked about the fact that after enough meth use this psychosis might never go away. I was angry at his friend who had offered him meth again. They all knew about his overdose and how close he had came to death. My brother reminded me that this boy was also using meth so his mental state was probably not much better than Jason's. He was right. I made myself forgive both of the boys and let go of the anger.

This time I did get a chance to talk to the psychologist. She asked me about our family's mental health history. Specifically she asked about depression and bipolar disorder. I am honest with her. There has been a lot of undiagnosed mental illnesses in my family. My diagnosis on my father is bipolar disorder. Drug and alcohol abuse has also been common in our family. She tells Jason that she will do everything she can to help him. She warns him that she cannot promise medication will simply take away the psychosis like he hopes. There is a chance that there is an underlying problem that led to the drug use.

My reading had led me to wonder the same thing. Jason had suffered from depression his senior year of high school. He refused to admit it. When I brought it up that day he brushed it off and said, "that was just me being a pussy." He had come out of it quickly. At the time I could not swear that it had been chemical rather than situational. During his second month at college he had started sleeping too much. He was having trouble staying awake and going to class. I broached the subject of depression. I suggested going to a doctor to have other causes looked at. Suddenly it was not a problem anymore. I did not know it at the time, but October was his first month of meth. He got a job, attended classes, he seemed to be adjusting to college life.

Now that I knew more about the problem I was doing endless research on different illnesses. Looking back over his childhood, every parent of an addict spends hours doing this, I could see what looked like early warning signs of bipolar disorder. Could this be what made doing drugs so attractive?  She did recommend an anti-psychotic to help with the psychosis. She told me to call my family doctor to ask him to prescribe it. I was disappointed because I had understood she would be talking with our family doctor, not using me as a go between.

The week before it had really upset Jason when the psychologist had called him an addict. He would not admit that he was at this point. Now in the car I realized how shook up he was at the thought of being 'crazy'. For him there was a real stigma associated with mental illness. He relapsed again that night.

He called me early in the morning to ask me to stay home for a few hours to try to get him into a rehab. He was ready to admit to being an addict. I couldn't stay home. We were short handed at work, there was no one to cover for me. I told him we could work on it when I came home. Fria Chica called in and stayed with him. He slept while she called around to try and get him in. It was not the work of one morning like they had expected.

 I tried calling our doctor. I had forgot he did not work on Fridays. The psych appointment had ended at 6 the night before, too late to call. It looked like we were waiting until Monday for a script.

I was angry that day. Rational or not I was angry that he would not just accept that there may be problems and try to deal with them. I was mad at Fria Chica for staying home. She was a single mother working at a new job. Being new she was still in the probationary period. What if she lost her job? I was mad that Jason had refused to admit he was an addict until there was a scarier proposition on the table. I was angry that he had left the house the night before knowing he was going to get high, yet expected us to all just rearrange our days to pick up the pieces. By going to rehab I felt he was running away from facing up to a possible mental illness.

After work I sat down with him. I promised to do whatever I could to help him. If he felt rehab was the best choice I would get him into one. However, I told him that he could do everything, rehab, medicine, therapy, but until he was going to commit to being sober none of it would work. I told him he needed to grow up and take responsibility for his recovery. My mom came into the house to pick something up. As she started for the door Jason said, "Don't leave me alone with her Grandma; she's scary."

Monday, December 30, 2013


After supper Jason told me he was going to Liberal to see some friends. He had seemed hesitant about going. It seemed like he was not sure if he really wanted to. He made up his mind to go. I said, "Don't do meth." "Not planning on it." He replied. His answer worried me. It sounded rather vague.
 While he was still having delusions and bad days they were twenty times better than they had been a month ago. I did not want to go back to that.
Early in the morning I got a phone call. It was my sister. She is nine years younger than me; only eleven years older than Jason. He had called her to come to Liberal. He was thinking about smoking meth. Her and her then boyfriend went over to the party he was at. The friend who he had followed into the meth lifestyle was going to jail the next day. He wanted Jason to smoke one last bowl with him. Jason had been declining the offer, but he wanted to accept. He liked meth. He had told me before that he liked the drug, just not the voices it caused in his head.
 He described it to me once. He said that the first time he took it he felt like Superman. There was this confidence that made him feel like he could do anything he wanted. He could save the world. Then after a while he needed the drug to feel confidant at all. Without it he just sat in a room full of people afraid to talk. I had witnessed him like this.
Before he moved back in with me he had come to town to take me to lunch. I had to lean in with my ear next to his mouth to hear him speak. It had broke my heart. Now that he was off the drug he still was not his former self, but he could speak at a normal volume.
Fria Chica arrived at the party. Jason's friend sat her out a line too. She is also a recovering addict. She and her boyfriend both refused. Jason did end up smoking a bowl that night. Just the one. We were sure that he would have done much more had she not went to help him. She called to tell me what had happened. I thanked her, hung up the phone, and cried. I prayed that he would come home and continue trying to get help. She brought me a chocolate bar to eat at work that morning. It is good to be surrounded by family who know my vices.
A friend, who is also a recovering addict, sent a text to remind me that relapse is the thirteenth step. He reminded me to tell my son I loved him and that he needed to forgive himself and focus on recovery.
When I went home for lunch Jason was home. I sighed in relief. I felt as long as he kept coming home we could get through this together. He was a mess. I was afraid to leave him, but had to go. I had planned a birthday party that evening for Fria Chica at my house. I was not sure if I should cancel it or not. One of my personality traits, not sure if it is a good or bad one, is that I always think I can do everything. I rarely turn down people who ask for my time, even when it is stretched thin. I hate to call in to work. I never cancel things. I just plow ahead and expect things to work out. They usually do.
I walked into the yard and noticed Jason standing outside smoking. I stopped to sit and talk to him, all the time thinking about the cooking I needed to be doing. Jason needed to talk. His brain was tormenting him too much to leave him alone. I talked to him a few minutes then ran in to put a pan of water on to boil. I ran back out to him only to notice that my aforementioned friend was sitting down talking to him. They had a few things in common. Things like speed addiction, the depression associated with the addiction, and an attempted suicide.
Each time I ran outside to talk to him they were still talking. The house was filling up with family. It was too many people for Jason to handle in this state. Having one person sitting in the calm outdoors talking to him was what he needed. I will forever be grateful for friends who help me out when I need them. Later after everybody had went home Jason started a movie, climbed into my bed, put a pillow over his head and listened to me read. We were back on track. We needed help.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

We had has a great day, but the truth was that we still needed help. I made a new list of people to call. The next day I called the place in Liberal back. They answered the phone. The lady was nice and helpful. She said that they would do everything they could to help Jason. She started taking our information. What is your zip code she asked. I told her and she apologized. We were out of there service area she explained. She recommended that I call Garden City Area Mental Health. We were in their service area.  I could not comprehend. We live 55 miles from Liberal and 86 miles from Garden. I explained that we had trouble getting in to see a psychiatrist in Garden. She gave me the name of a private psychologist in Liberal.
I made him an appointment. We could get in later in the week. We spent most nights lying in my bed with me reading to him. Sometimes at two in the morning he would charm me into making him a sandwich. We read Dorothy Sayers stories, Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie. I talked him into letting me read one of my favorites, The Dark Is Rising. He laughed when I was the one who had a bad dream about The Walker. When I was too tired to read he would watch one of the Indiana Jones movies while I slept.
I wasn't sure what to think of the psychologist. Jason was having a bad day. On the drive over he told me not to talk to him. If I was not going to tell him about what was going on, why everybody in the world was fucking with him, then he did want to hear anything I had to say.  We had been over all of this so many times in the past months that it no longer phased me. I turned up the radio; he closed his eyes and laid his head back.
 We arrived in town with ten minutes to make it to the office. He was hungry and I had scheduled him an hour and a half session. At his insistence I drove through Taco Bell's drive through. He looked at the board and decided what he wanted. What do you want? he asked me. Nothing I told him, I ate before we left the house. He insisted I get something. No, I was not hungry. As I pulled forward to order we were still arguing. I yelled I DON'T WANT ANYTHING! "Oh, ok," came a voice from the speaker.
We pulled up to the address and were puzzled. It was a house. We had both expected an office building. There was a wheel chair ramp, which made me think this could be the right place. Jason refused to go in unless I checked first. I am not walking in on some family eating supper, he explained.
I went to the door and was greeted by three large dogs. Another large dog growled from underneath a desk. I waved at Jason to come up. I am not a pet owner myself, but find that pet owners often are more kind and less selfish people than I am. I petted the dogs and sat on a sofa. Jason sat beside me and played with the dogs while we waited. Even with the lightened mood, caused by food and laughter, Jason would not let me go into the psychologist office with him. I wanted to talk to her because I was afraid Jason would not explain what was going on. He had a tendency to make light of it when talking to anyone else.
He went in while I read a book. At one point I was alone in the room when the 6 month old great dane came running into the room, skidded to a stop, and peed a huge puddle in the middle of the floor. This kind of behavior is why I am not a pet owner. I looked around for paper towels. Not seeing any I settled back down to my book.
At the end of the meeting Jason and the psychologist walked into the room. Thankfully another psychologist in the office had already came through and cleaned up the puddle. I asked about medication and asked if he had mentioned his trouble sleeping. She said they had discussed his sleep problem and she had given him some pointers. She said she would like to see him again before recommending medication. She could not prescribe them herself, but would work with his family doctor to get them for him.
It worried me that she seemed dismissive of his lack of sleep. I was sure he had not explained the problem fully to her. Lack of sleep made his delusions much worse. Some days he was only able to sleep for a couple of hours a day. After several days of this he would usually crash for a whole day. I was convinced that he needed anti-psychotics to help him get over the delusions. He had been meth free for a month now, but his delusions were not diminishing much. Going a whole week more before even talking about medication worried me. Maybe she was right though. I am not a professional.

She said that next time she would like to talk to both of us. She noticed my skeptical look at Jason and assured me that Jason had already agreed to this. In the car Jason said that he did not want anyone he knew talking to her. He explained. She may be able to help me, he said, and he did not want anyone roping her into the conspiracy too. He needed to be able to trust her.

In the care

Best day ever

In the parking lot Jason held me as I cried. Suddenly we had flipped. I was the fragile one and he was in charge. He took the car keys and told me to get in. We drove to Freddy's Frozen Custard where he ordered us both cheeseburgers and fries. Often I avoid such food, but today it tasted so good. I cried as we sat and ate. He smiled at the workers and acted like it was perfectly normal for me to just cry in public. He ordered us a sundae to share. He told me it would be fine. He explained that he had made a choice to do drugs and that now he was paying the price, but that he would get better. We talked about the importance of finding little things to smile about when life got hard. He cracked jokes and made me laugh.
In the car again he said we were going to the zoo. What is your favorite animal he asked. The big cats I replied. Especially the panthers. He took me to the zoo. He was able to walk better now, but a block or two still wore him out. We went to the map and found the most direct route to the large cats. It was quite a walk. He was wore out by the time we got there. Of course the cats had been moved. They had been placed in a new exhibit on the other side of the zoo. I suggested we just go, I had seen enough great animals already. He had made me laugh all through our walk. We stopped and played with the monkeys. I was in a great mood. No, he insisted we see the cats. By the time we arrived there he was tired, pale, and sweating. He sat and rested for the walk back to the car.
My day had been a roller coaster of emotion. Much like my life seemed to be becoming. Jason had some good days when we could laugh and talk and then some days when he was too tortured internally to concentrate. I came to appreciate a few hours of sleep as much as a parent of a newborn child does.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Getting help turned out to be much harder than I expected. We still had the appointment for the 28th, but that was too far away. I rescheduled the Monday one we had missed while Jason was in the hospital. They were able to get us in that following Monday. We live close to the Oklahoma state line. His appointment was in the closest large town to us Guymon Oklahoma.
Jason had been lucky. The nearly two grams of meth he had swallowed had not caused any permanent damage. He had had kidney failure and liver damage, but they were both functioning when we left the hospital and expected to be healed in a few weeks time. He had experienced a severe case of Rhabdomyolysis which left him unable to walk long distances or jump, but this too was expected to heal. He slept through the weekend while we waited for the appointment. His psychosis was just as bad as before.
On Monday he was cranky. Walking to the car exhausted him. He was irritated that I was lying to him about my part in the conspiracy against him. In the waiting room we filled out pages of paperwork. He was polite to everybody. He was always polite, even in his worst moods. We could walk into any building and he would try to make the workers smile.
In the counselors office we were told they could not help us. We were out of state. Out of their service area. They advised us to call Liberal Ks. It is not far from us either. I started crying. I could tell they felt bad, but I could not stop crying. Jason went outside to wait for me while I wrote down the phone numbers they gave me.
On the drive home I called the Liberal office several times. There was no answer. I called Area Mental Health in Garden City. Which is where we had our appointment for the 28th. They would not move his appointment up. I cried some more. Jason told me it would be fine. He could wait.
The next day I tried making him an appointment with a private psychiatrist in a town near us. She could not see him until December.
We decided to wait for the Area Mental Health appointment. He was still hearing the voices in his head, but everyday he seemed to improve a bit in how he handled them. He began to smile and make jokes during the day. At night he had trouble falling asleep. I read to him most nights, while Indiana Jones played loudly in the dvd player. I had always liked it dark and quiet while I slept. I learned to sleep with the movie playing loudly and a lamp on, because that is what was best for him. If he woke in the middle on the night and could not fall back to sleep he would wake me to read to him. I tried to take a nap after work to make up for some of the sleep I was missing.
They had told me on the 4th when I made the appointment that I would need to confirm it 24hrs in advance. They said they would call the day before that to remind me. I remembered that 24 hour bit. Unfortunately, I believe because I was sleep deprived and stressed out, I did not think that 24 hours before a Monday appointment is actually Friday. I picked up to call Sunday morning. That is when I realized I had fucked up.
I called early Monday morning to see what could be done. They had cancelled his appointment, and we would have to reschedule for next month. I stood in the parking lot and cried as I spoke to them. I insisted they see him. The receptionist told me that if I had him there at 2, and we could not be late, they would see him today. I was relieved.
We walked in at 1:55. For some reason, and I still do not understand why, they would not see him. He did not have an appointment. There had been two Jason's on the list. The young girl explained. I clicked the wrong one. I cried some more. I insisted. Jason sat on a chair with his head in his hands. There was nothing to do. I stood there in front of them and cried.
Finally Jason put his arms around me and told me it would be ok. He thanked the staff and we left.

The search begins

My life became focused on Jason when he moved back in with me in July. He was sick, very sick. The drug had caused serious psychosis. It took months to gain his trust and convince him to seek help. He was afraid of doctors. He did not want to quit the drug. Even though he said he did. He wanted to find a way to be well mentally without having to give up the drug or his lifestyle. This was not possible.

He cut back to using about once a week. This did not give his mind time to heal. He would get more and more irritable until he would go out and use again. Some days it would almost be a relief, because I knew we would have at least one good day. I made sure he ate. I would read to him when he could not sleep, which was often. His brain tortured him. He was sure everybody could read his mind. This is a common delusion with meth addicts. He would hide under the house some nights. He was tortured and scared. He needed help.

On October 4th I convinced him to see somebody. I made two appointments. One, the place our family doctor had recommended, could not see him until the 28th. The other place could see him on Monday. It was Friday. We only had to make it through the weekend.  Saturday he packed a bag and left. He told me he would be back in a week or two. I made him promise to be home in time for his appointment Monday. Sunday I went to the movie with a friend.

My phone went crazy when I turned it on after the movie. Jason had swallowed almost two grams of meth in an attempt to kill himself. He would have succeeded had my sister not found him. After a week in a hospital in Amarillo. We were home. I had tried to convince the doctor to keep him longer, to bring in a psychiatrist, anything but just release him. To everybody's shock he said that Jason was fine, he just needed to stay away from drugs, and sent him home with me. Now the search for help began.

Friday, August 02, 2013


    This summer I have been taking the fiction course The Fiction Of Relationships offered by Coursera. One of my few regrets in life has been that I missed out on the college experience, not the degree, or the drinking, or sleeping around, the actual classroom lectures and discussions. When I discovered free online courses I was more than excited. This is the first one I signed up for and I love it.
    Having moved several times in my childhood there are large holes in my English/Literature education. Every state has different requirements and every school a different curriculum. I have tried on my own to fill in those gaps by reading many classics over the years, but many of them are still there. This summer I have read Kafka, Melville, and Borges for the first time. Reading the books caused me to set them down and think deeply about life, but Prof. Weinstein's lectures have taken that to a new level.
     Reading Kafka gave me chance to structure my thoughts on otherness. His stories provided a framework to fit them on. Otherness in society is something I have thought a lot about over the years, but without calling it just that. I was born other. Not by genetics, but by circumstance was I placed slightly outside of society's pale. My childhood, along with my many siblings, was a result of a woman with some neurosis marrying and procreating with a man with a growing psychosis. As a result they were never good providers. We moved a lot. Teachers unintentionally didn't invest much time or energy in us. Friends came and went too quickly. We started most school years as the new kids. I'm not complaining, for the most part I enjoyed my childhood. I am simply explaining that I do understand what it means to be the other.
     My graduation day is mostly a blur, but the one clear memory I have is of watching the students who had graduated from kindergarten together, and now high school too, group up to take a photo. I understood in that moment what roots were. I vowed that my children would have them.
    In that quest to give my children roots I quit being other. That scared feeling that filled me every time I walked into a bank slowly dissolved. I became the mother who talked to her children's teachers, being open and honest, never needing to hide a family secret. Honesty was something which was foreign to me before; we always had secrets. I taught Sunday School, baked cupcakes for school, went to work full time, got elected to the school board, all things that seemed to belong to a different world when I was a child. By the time my children graduated I had fully integrated myself into society. A part of me wanted out.
    Borges suggests that we can take both forks of a path when we come to them. That life is a labyrinth which we can explore fully. Coming from the outside it is easy to see the falseness of society. Why is a long marriage good and teenage pregnancy bad? One is natural and the other is usually forged on sacrifice and lies. How come people get to feel superior to others as if their faults are not as bad? Who made this scale that deems lying a lighter fault than drinking too much? Does driving a nice car and living in a nice house really make you more successful?
     Slowly and without realizing it I have been reclaiming a bit of my otherness. There are rumors that I am wild now. They are not true, but I like that they exist. I am not going out more, or even as much as some single women do. It is simply that it is not what people expect of me. I am not staying inside lines they have drawn for me. The problem is trying to take both roads at the same time. I realized just recently that I have started to feel like I don't belong again. In this small town where I have lived for over twenty years, where I know everybody, I have a feeling of not being good enough. I do not know where this came from. I just realized it was there. That is not a part of the otherness I want back. I am stepping away from society, just a bit, because I want to, not because they will not have me. That should give me a sense of pride. Somehow I need to find my center and balance.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013


     Friday night I cooked a large meal because Jason was coming home to have supper with me. I knew that this was likely not to happen. He rarely makes it home, even when he has assured me he will be here. While the chicken was in the oven I set an alarm and laid down for a quick nap. As I was drifting off to sleep I was thankful that I was born with a cheerful disposition. I have been able to survive in this world with very few scars. Suddenly,and without me asking for such a sight, a vision of a skinless body appeared in my head. It was similar to the type in science textbooks, only more flesh and blood. The body was covered with silvery white scars, covered. The sight shocked me awake. There would be no nap.
     We were planning to eat at eight. Hour by hour the time was pushed back until Jason was going to be here late and only stay for ten minutes or so. Several people had called me through the day and invited me out that night. The thought of sitting at home waiting for him to drop by seemed an act of desperation, so I called him and told him I was going out and we could make it another night.
    While I was calling around to get a group together Lane came home. He asked me if I was okay. Not just with tonight but with everything.  I assured him I was, and truly believed it. I have always been good at compartmentalizing emotions so they can be dealt with at more convenient times. Having made plans for the night I called Sofia to invite her. Of course she was concerned that Jason did not come home. She asked me the wrong/right question. "Don't you want to grab him and....and... do something?" "Of course," I replied. "I want to grab him and bring him home and make him be my baby again." She understood immediately. "Wrap him in a blanket and hold him all day." She added. Tears were streaming down my face. My red, wet eyes made putting eyeliner on difficult. This uncontrollable balling was going to make going out difficult. I told her the truth. "You are no fun; I can't talk to you right now."  My weekend was then filled with distractions; drinking, dancing, eating, and very little sleep.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A supper date

I had a texting conversation with Jason today. Sadly I probably would not have texted him except for that his father called me at work today. He was concerned since he had not talked to Jason since Sunday. I too had not talked to my son since Sunday, but not being a worrier I had not felt any concern about the time-span. I sent a text instructing Jason to answer me so I could set his father's mind at ease, which I knew was full of death, jail, and hospitalization scenes. Jason responded quickly, and with good humor, to remind me he was both busy and an adult. We sent a few amusing texts back and forth which ended in him suggesting we get together soon. We have agreed on supper at my house on Friday. I really hope he comes. His brother Lane spent time with him last weekend and reports that he is looking healthier. I want to see this with my own eyes. I would not trade my offspring for anybody on this earth. Even during the trying times they are three of the most interesting, entertaining people on earth.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Beautiful Boy

It has been almost a year since I have wrote a new post. Part of the problem has been Facebook. It is easier to share a quick meme, or write a funny quip than to search my soul for something to say here. The interaction, although more immediate, is superficial. It is the McBlog of the Internet. The other part of the problem is that my life doesn't change much. I looked at the date on my last post and wondered what is different today. I am only a few months away from forty now, but those numbers never have meant much to me. The only time I cringe is when a I meet interesting twenty something men and know I am going to have to say the number eventually. The actual saying of it never means much to either of us in the end.

Waking up this morning my thoughts went immediately to the vegetable bars on my table. I had eaten two of them before going to bed at 3:30 this morning and I wanted another one. I have become addicted to them. After eating a couple I started to search out my copy of Jane Eyre. While searching shelves and piles of books I kept coming across other books I wanted to read. I found a book I picked up cheap at at used book store called "Beautiful Boy a father's journey through his son's addiction" I don't remember my motivation for buying it, but now it seems relevant to my life. I carry it over to the table beside my bed which serves as a holding space for books I'm going to read. With my original goal ending in despair I lay down to start this book. It is a bad idea because I am nowhere near finished with my book club book and our meeting is next week. Right away my tears start rolling down the sides of my face while I read. The father describes his son and the physical changes he notices. That is the hardest part, looking at your son so full of potential, seeing his thin face while your mind automatically overlays it with the full, youthful face of a year ago. I put the book down soon after I start. The similarities in our stories end quickly. I am jealous of the active role these parents play in their adult son's addiction. They have curfews and drug tests, confrontations about whether he has started using again. Our story is a rural Midwestern story. My son dropped out of school, lives with roommates living the same lifestyle as he is. There is no denial, no missed AA meetings, and my role is to pray every night that my son will not end up in prison or dead. These are not the sort of thoughts I can post on Facebook.