Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bipolar Roller Coaster

My daughter called tonight.
She's somewhere in Michigan.
She has no job.
She has no place to go.
She does not know what to do.
I've seen this day coming.
I've tried to warn her of it.
She doesn't listen to me.
She's pretty willful, pretty enough, with a story sad enough to attract the boy-men who want to be knights in shining armor.
It doesn't last.
The knights in shining armor get tired of being taken for granted and they ride off on their chargers. It doesn't matter, because there's always been another knight at the end of the day.
This time it's different.
There is no one lined up to take care of her.
She's crying.
I force myself to say in a neutral voice, "I love you, but I cannot save you. You have to save yourself. Look in the phone book. See if you can find a women's shelter. You need help. Admit it to them. There are plenty of programs designed to help women with problems. You have to get psychiatric help."
Again, I say it.
I want to make sure she knows this, whether she believes it or not.
"I love you, but I cannot save you."
And she cries.
She's used to someone coming to save her. She lives her wild chaos, knowing full well that someone will always come to save her at the end of her latest ill fated adventure.
The phone call is short. Once she realizes that no one is coming, no money is being sent, she has no reason to talk further.
I hang up the phone and stand with my eyes closed. I've been trying to save her since she was 14. As an adult, she cycled in and out of our home. Desperate circumstances led to desperate promises to follow rules. Within days, the promises would be abandoned, our placid household thrust into chaos. Screaming rages. Long, unexplained absences. Suddenly, she'd be slamming out of the house one last time, having found yet another knight in shining armor. Our efforts to lead her to professional help were seen as controlling, and in her rebellion against our control, she'd fall out of contact for months, until she needed help. Although I had explained to her previously that I would not save her from her poor decisions anymore, I don't think she expected that I'd hold steady to that vow in the midst of her latest chaos.
I know that this is the right thing. I know that the only way she'll change her life is if she sees that it does not work for her. I have to make sure that I'm not enabling her poor life choices to work for her.
And so it is.
My daughter is probably crying herself to sleep tonight.
Two states away, so am I.


Hal Johnson said...

Oh sheesh, that's tough. I'll pray for both of you.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm a real grownup. I think about my son going out on his own and it terrifies me. My wife and I are perhaps typically overprotective older parents, and we sometimes joke that if we yielded to our every impulse, it would assure that our son will be lounging around on our sofa when he's thirty, asking for more potato chips. It makes me want to go back in time to when he was one year old, when his wants and his needs were pretty much the same thing. Parenthood sure gets more complicated when the wants and needs diverge.

I hope things work out with your daughter, so you both might find peace.

PaintedPromise said...

sending you a BIG hug... just wanted you to know

Alison said...

Oh Debby. My heart is aching for you and your girl.
You are absolutely doing the best thing for her. How cruel that doing the 'right' thing doesn't make it any easier.
That phone call and it's aftermath must be excruciating.
Thinking of you both.

Pencil Writer said...

My heart, and continued prayers go out to you both--and all your family, for I know all are affected.

Bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia have to be two of the most debilitating MIs I've ever heard of. I don't know how it works or why people are given those challenges--along with those who love them. I do know that God is intimately aware of all His children's sufferings as He is constant and merciful.

May she find the help she needs and your family find those glorious moments of peace that only God can give.

I wish I could do more. Love is such a powerful key to understanding. What parents have to do, sometimes, in loving their children is to step back and allow them to grow, as you have stated. It is immeasurably painful, but after the storm come the morning rays of the sun.

Scotty said...

I think you made a good (albeit tough and heartbreaking) call, Debby.

I've always told my kids that I'll be there for them always when there is absolutely no choice left to them, but I will not, under any circumstances, be an enabler for their 'poorer' choices simply because they thought they knew it all and wanted to be contrary to the life experience I could offer them.

I've often considered myself a knight in shining armour to my kids, but even the shiniest armour can be tarnished or dented.

Tell them where to find you but let them work out the directions for themselves...

Mary Paddock said...

Why is the "right thing" always so freakin' hard?

You and your daughter are in my prayers.

Diane Fay (littlealma) said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
debby said...

Thanks everyone. She is currently in a shelter. I am hopeful that she will obtain some counselling and some job training.

Pam said...

Debby, my heart aches for you and your family! If you've followed my blog or know anything about me then you know that my Connor boy, our 11-year-old, is bipolar with an anxiety disorder. Seems there are some PDD issues newly discovered this past summer.

We have been living on this roller coaster with him since he was in Kindergarten. It's been a long, rocky, frustrating and heartbreaking journey, with dapples of sunshine interspersed along the way.

I wrote a poem for Connor a few years ago that was on my other blogs and has been on the bpkids website newsletter in the past. "Behind His Eyes". Email me when you can and I'd love to share it with you.

I'm hoping she is still in a shelter and well as I type this. I do so fear for what's to come with our little man at times.

Many hugs!!! Pam