I feel your pain when you worry about your child’s future. I have been there. My oldest is 29 and I remember feeling sucker punched when they told me he was Bipolar I with psychotic features. I spent the next ten years trying to get him ready for the real world and making sure he ended up with that diploma which is so necessary to success.
I want you to know the future is not as scary as I feared and not as bright as I once hoped. My son can hold a job, is raising a family, and has been married for 4 years. He doesn’t earn a lot of money and his family will only have the extras we choose to give them. He usually stays on his medication, except when he doesn’t and has a regular therapist. He stays on the right side of the law. Sometimes he is even happy.
He still drags the weight of being bad and stupid around from his childhood. Mind you, he was never either.
If I had it to do over again (and I guess, in a way, I do with GB), instead of focusing so much on the future, I would stay in the moment. I would make sure my son had regular, if fleeting, moments of happiness. He had these moments and remembers them all. But these moments were incidental, things that happened while I was keeping my eyes on the future.I should have taken the time and intentionally made these moments.
My goals for GB and Hope are different. I work had to ensure GB is learning everything she is capable of learning, that she is aware of her progress, and also aware that she is accomplishing so much because of her effort.
I also monitor the good things in her life just as carefully. When she enjoys something, I make sure she notices it. We talk about possible activities, not only from the view point of will she enjoy them, but how those activities contribute to her happiness.
I am careful to acknowledge when things are hard but doable, and point out that her perseverance will enable her to accomplish things she never thought she could. I also keep my eyes open for situations in which she can’t succeed, no matter how hard she tries, and either change the situation or get her out of it.
GB started on atypical anti-psychotics before her fourth birthday. She has always known they were to keep the psychosis away and each time she has had a psychotic break, afterwards we talk about her medication which is suppose to keep that from happening. We adjust the medication and we have months free of those breaks… and make sure GB is aware the change in medication helped. Psychotic breaks are as scary to her as they are to us. And she has some memory of each one.
My goals for Hope, who has no known biologically based problems are different. I pay very little attention at all to academics and focus on working through the trauma. Her RAD is severe and without enabling her to trust and attach, she has no future anyway.
You are a G.R.E.A.T. Trauma Mama. You are doing the best you can and that is enough. Leave the rest in God’s hands. I admire and love you and am so glad you are my friend.