Somebody please help me...I am desperate now. (sorry, kind of long)
I am the mother of a 16yo DD and a 15yo DS. My DD was always a gifted child; she skipped a few grades, participated in the gifted and talented program and graduated high school early. I was so proud of her and she went off to college in Texas, our home where she lives with my mother, who teaches at the same university. I know she is on the right track and she will be fine.
My problem is my son. He suffers from severe mental illness and has since he was three. I've struggled with his problems for twelve years and tried to get him some help, but everywhere I went I met with slammed doors, slapped hands, and blistering criticism and judgment before and after hearing No over and over. My son wasn't violent at first, but he became violent over time. When he was younger, it was easy to pick him up and put him where I wanted him, easy to restrain him, easy to manage him...at least at first. At first, he just threw tantrums, but then he graduated to self-harming and then to harming others. Cutting, eating glass, hearing voices tell him to drink the cleaning supplies I kept in the kitchen and jump from the window on the second floor of the house. I locked up all dangerous substances before getting rid of them altogether. I had to hire a maid service to come out every week simply because I couldn't have any cleaning solution in the house at any time.
My son became extremely violent when he reached his teens. Without medication and no means to get help, I suffered silently with no hope of relief. Things reached a feverish pitch when my son turned on me in a fit of rage and beat me nearly to death almost two years ago. He went to jail, to juvenile detention, and then he was sent back home with me. This was the beginning of a nightmare, the stuff Lifetime movies are based on. I spent the next year trying to force a 6'2" 265 lb 15yo to take medication and often spent my time locked in my room while my son raged outside at the door, trying to kick it in and often slept with the dresser against the door just to keep him from coming in and killing me in my sleep.
My son hurt the dogs; one of the puppies died and the other suffered permanent brain damage. He destroyed my house, my furniture, my things. It got to the point where I couldn't reprimand, admonish or correct him without sending him into a rage. No school would accept him, forcing him to stay at home all day and because I couldn't leave him alone, I was forced to stay home as well. My son ran off teachers, caseworkers, my friends, boyfriends, anyone that threatened my attention to him. I lost jobs, had to quit school because of this. My son was everywhere I went and everywhere I turned and I was so miserable, I slipped into a deep depression. I could feel myself descending into lunacy and despair as I spent my days in bed--sleeping was the only way I could get a "break" from him--and spent my nights awake. I didn't get much sleep, for I had to stay awake to make sure he didn't try to kill me in my sleep.
I became so depressed I actually thought about taking my child's life, just to put him out of his misery and mine. I started to cry when I realized what I was thinking; how can a parent do such a thing? I went online and looked up some useful information and wrote down what I found. That very night, my son went off and started punching the wall in my room and when I tried to stop him, he turned and started punching me. I was able to get him out of my room and I crushed some Clonidine(R), a sedative, about 0.4mg, put it in a drink and gave it to him and he fell asleep. The very next day, I went to the courthouse and waited in the hall for the judge to come out of chambers. When she came out, I damn near pounced on her and quickly relayed my tale of woe. She moved heaven and earth for me and in three days I signed the papers and my son was removed from my house--not without injury to me.
When they took him to a group home, they searched his things and found a gun--I don't know where he got it; I don't keep guns in the house, not with a mentally ill child--in his backpack. I shudder to think what could have happened if I hadn't gone to the courthouse to get him out of the house.
Now as I look back at it all, I know I made the right decision; I hate that he had to go to jail to get treatment. I suffered serious debilitating injuries at the hands of my son. He destroyed everything around him and endangered himself and others. He needed help and is getting it now.
So why do I feel so crappy? Why do I feel like I threw him away? I know it's a little out of taste, but I wonder if Adam Lanza's mother ever felt this way, helpless and hopeless? I wonder if there are other mothers out there like me, who suffer in silence because there is nowhere to turn?
I relinquished custody of my son to the state because I could no longer manage him at home. I could get no help for him and I told them he could not return home, ever. So he was sent to a group home. So why do I feel like I just buried my child? I literally feel as though my son is dead and I can't help but cry and wonder and think that maybe I shouldn't have given up on him. But I think about how he came so close to killing me and I know him being gone is for the best. Why do I feel like my decision was so selfish? Is it really selfish of me to want to be and feel safe in my own home? Why does it feel like I made a mistake?