August angst

The oppressive heat and humidity of July has given way to the stagnant heat of August. The routine has become fixed with the one exception – bus rides. It seems that the youngest has been getting rides to his appointments and here and there and the rehab wants him to  progress forward to riding the bus to his appointments. No big deal and yet it is. Because of his schizoaffective disorder, his high anxiety with any new thing, and his admitted fear of people, this simple get on this bus task seems to elude him. So he has been calling us and we have been taking him to his appointments.

This is not a good thing!!! So last week I suggested that he practice getting on the bus and riding it with his peer counselor. When I was in college my roommate and I just rode the bus all day, different busses, just to see where it would take us and how long it would take us to get to various places. But this is hard for the youngest. Hard because he would have to wait at the bus stop with people around, get on the bus with more people, be aware of when he needed to get off, and of course not listen to the voices in his head saying various things and being annoying. His counselor has been on vacation but I will be letting her know of the progress and the barriers so she can come up with some plans that may help.

So as August eases by with all the heat and angst my Prayer for today and for this month is for the youngest to step bravely onto a bus, any bus and successfully ride to a destination, any destination and for him to become confident of this skill. That the Sovereign Lord will hold him firmly in His mighty hands and that hubby and I will not succumb to being taxi drivers in order that the youngest will make this next step. Knowing that it is hard for the youngest, knowing that as parents we want to protect and guide , but not enable him so that he continues to grow and move forward, knowing that the youngest is a remarkable person ; all the knowing does not make this task easier but sometimes clouds the vision and pulls hard on the emotions I also pray for our peace and guidance in this next task. Thanks be to the Lord who remains in all things, over all things and through all things. AMEN

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The Ides of July

Yes, the ides of July have settled in on this house, heavy, weighted like the steamy humidity in the air. We have settled into an uneasy routine, or perhaps it is just me.

The youngest remains , voices distracting and now bored. He even let me know the voices were even bored. This routine is he has Wednesday’s off, comes home on Friday stays until after supper on Sunday. He and his dad get his groceries, skipping church to get this chore done. It seems Walmart is less busy during church hours. He let me know today he was afraid that the voices would get louder if he went to church, and they were distracting enough without an increase in their noise. He also thinks this may be his new norm, voices never ceasing.

So what remains is the ides of July, weighing each of our trio down in one way or another. Some spoken fears, some not, settling in our hearts and minds like the humidity on these stuffy days.

So my prayer for today is that the heaviness lifts on gentle breezes, the thunderstorms come and provide relief for the heat, and for the voices to get so bored they leave and remain gone. BUT GOD remains here, present, aware ever working things for the good, even when we feel weighted and sad. Thankful for HIS presence and guidance.  AMEN

Hot, heat , and humidity

This is N.C.. Hot, heat and humidity. I think the last time I felt this hot was the summer I was pregnant with my second daughter.  And all this heat makes things seem a bit worse than they really are. Your brain is foggy with all the heat, now add voices continually grinding away, saying things, banging pots, or just yelling. The youngest continues to struggle with this and I have no clue as to how to help him. Last night he texted me “ mom pray for me, I know you do every day, I think it is going to be a long week” . And just like that I am in tears, my soul weeps for this youngest of four, he is so kind and gentle and poetic. And I do not know how to help and feel completely out of my depth, out of my strength, out of knowledge and reason ; but God.

But God has immeasurable strength – I will rest in Him.

But God has unknown knowledge – I will seek His wisdom.

But God has unknown depths – I will look for Him in this broken world.

The Fourth of July is a noisy holiday, more so than most with the rockets red glare and the bombs bursting in air. Yes, it is noisy, and the one thing the youngest does not need right now is more noise.  He has told me the voices are tolerable but not comfortable and so crowds of any kind make the distractions worse. I think he has trouble distinguishing what noises are in this world and what noise are in his head, and that is really confusing. Even at his once a week dishwashing job, it is hard.  That job is also loud and fast paced.

So yes , I will pray for the youngest, even if I do not know what it is I need to pray for but my first prayer will always be for him to feel the presence of the living Lord above all the noise inside his head and outside in this world. So my prayer today is for relief. From the heat, the humidity  (the ac person is here checking out the system today and I am thankful it is working ) , and for the youngest, relief from the voices which plague him. I will also lift up those who have PTSD, because this is a holiday which can cause flash backs and is a strong trigger. Lord, be present in their lives even as they walk this path you have set for them, let them look to you and for you in this hot, humid time. AMEN

Miracles don’t last,but hope endures

Yes we had a little miracle, it lasted five days and a few hours. The voices returned on Sunday and were invasive. So the youngest did not go to church. He saw the doctor the next Tuesday and we had a short conference call about his work and how it was impacting his mental health. So the outcome of it all was that he is to seek a new job, one that he can go to early rather than late. So we will see what happens next

The youngest cam home on Friday and was in a good mood. He had gone to visit a place called “Club Nova” . It has as stated on it’s brochure “a holistic, caring environment designed to promote rehabilitation and reintegration into the community. It has a membership by referral for those with serious mental illnesses like depression , schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The youngest went for a tour and liked it. So hope moves forward.

Sometimes we all need a little hope, we have this hope, this anchor in Christ, who came and lived, died and rose again. “So do not fear, in this world you will have troubles, but fear not I have overcome this world “ Jesus said this and I believe it, yes I have troubles;some which look as though there is no hope ;but Jesus has overcome all things in this world, and remains in all things, over all things , and through all things, praise be to the Sovereign Lord.

E.R. Again

So the youngest came home last weekend, he was having a hard time the voices were hard, loud and bad. He spent a lot of time trying to distract himself on the desktop computer. The agitation was still present and he really did not want to return to the vocational rehab program , but he went. He tried to come to church but had to leave before the service started. So lots of prayers were said. The church family knows about the voices and have ridden this roller coaster with me a lot. A new normal indeed.

Monday night comes and the youngest texts me saying they were really bad. A 3 with 1 being the worst so I knew it was not good. But he assured me he was safe and was not going to hurt himself. He had taken his meds and said he was going to try to sleep. I kept my phone on and by the bed ; just in case. But there was no call, no text during the night.

I got up and got a cup of coffee and just as I was going to send him a text the phone rang; it was the Mental health coordinator from the vocational rehab place. The youngest was telling her he did not feel safe and could not say he would not harm himself. What a horrible fight he must have with these voices I cannot imagine. They were arranging transport to the ER and I spoke briefly with him to let him know I would be on my way as soon as I got dressed, finished my bite of breakfast.

Before I left home I sent a brief text to the siblings asking for prayers to begin and when I arrived he was already in the locked psyche unit of the ER. He was tired and agitated and apologetic because he was here in the ER again. I told him not to worry we would get through this as we had in the past. The hospital chaplain stopped and had a shadow chaplain with him, prayers were said. And we waited, blood drawn, breakfast brought but only the orange juice was taken, the coffee was not so good. We waited patience is required for ER visits. Water consumed , urine sample given.

i went out to get a break texted a few people to send out for more prayers from the network as the doctor talked with The youngest. When I got back,he said the voices are being nice now. He was calmer, quieter more relaxed. I spoke with the doctor and the youngest got some medicine. After a few more hours the youngest said “hey the voices are gone “ completely. The relaxation on this face was a gift to see. It still took us until about 2:30 to get out and get him discharge, he is home until Sunday and so far no voices.

So here’s the thing when the chaplains were there they asked if they could get us anything and I said”I’ll take all the miracles you have big or small “ and we smiled and had a prayer and then with all the prayer warriors, Internet prayer warriors, church family prayer warriors, even people I do not personally know were saying prayers for the youngest, for me, for our peace and calmness for the voices to abate and they left – whether they will return I do not know but what a miracle, a quiet head for my youngest who struggles so with anxiety, voices mood swings. So my prayer today is for miracles and for the vision, the comprehension of these miracles both big and small. That I may never forget that He is present all the time, in every situation, because He is sovereign over His creation. And that I remain grateful for all these miracles seen and unseen as the days move ahead and as we this family walks this earth with this disease. And that we know that there are others who do not have a support team, who do not know the presence of the Living Lord, that they may be cared for, helped and prayed over as we were this week. Praise to the Lord who remains immutable, in all things over all things, and through all things. 

Grace upon grace, drug upon drug

These past two months have been challenging , to say the least. The voices have returned with a vengeance and have not abated , not in the least. We had family meeting last week , just me and hubby, to discuss this new norm for the youngest. He had seen the doctor on the day before and was placed on an additional antipsychotic medication. That makes 3. Is three the magic number?  I don’t know, we will have to wait ( again developing patience !) to see if it has any affect or any side effects. He started this on Friday evening so it is early days yet and I don’t know how long it will take to develop a therapeutic blood level, so far there has been no change.

Last week he went to his one job and successfully completed service “I did it with voices “ and was uplifted momentarily by that small success. He did come to church Sunday but had to leave before the service started – he had not taken his additional medication that morning. So we will see what and how he decides to take this medicine because the doctor wrote the order for him to take it twice a day for the return of symptoms or the worsening of symptoms and sometimes in the morning the voices are fairly quiet and get progressively louder as the day and the stressors of the day, the anxieties of the day build up.

So today I was thinking about the new mercies we receive each day, just for the day. The Lord provides us with all our needs for the day. Not for the week or for the year but for the day and we should, must renew our covenant with Him, each day and indeed each moment in the day. So my prayer for this day is that my focus is not on the big picture, or even the little one,  my prayer is to have that moment by moment Coram Deo, living under the divine Sovereignty – honoring God with this life and Imago Dei in the image of God. And I acknowledge that this is not possible without the Spirit of God living in me, sustaining and uplifting me in all things, over all things and through all things AMEN

Flummoxed

i just love that word, except when it applies to my youngest. And yet that is where I am at the moment. Since returning from Nepal, these voices that plague the youngest have been persistent, obnoxious and debilitating. This week they have been particularly annoying. So of course I notified the doctor and his therapist. He is already on a lot of medicine, but it does not seem to impact the voices right now. So my hubby and myself wondered if there was something else to try.  Here are my main concerns: 1 that he would stop taking his meds altogether because they aren’t working and 2 that he would get “stuck” with these persistent annoying voices all the time. And number 2 does happen unfortunately.  The response from the doctor was one of reluctance for more meds (which I totally understand) and was more of dealing with the stressors which are increasing his anxiety which in turn increase his symptoms. So I am flummoxed, puzzled and confused. My son texted me about the voices and I had the thought that maybe he was not being as honest as he needed to be with his doctor and therapist and I pointedly asked him if he was his response was “yeah”, but in the past the voices had told him to keep silent and he did. I did let the doctor and therapist know this so that they could perhaps probe a bit deeper and ask more pointed questions so as to get to the root of the anxiety (if that is even possible. So after those missives and texts, the youngest let me know he had an appointment today which was moved up because his next wasn’t scheduled until next week. Hopefully there will be some honesty (from the youngest) and discernment( from the professionals) so that something can be done. Because honestly these voices are beginning to annoy me , though from a different perspective than the youngest.

Today my devotional was about the Canaanite woman whose daughter was afflicted by demons. Jesus said he was sent for the chosen people of Israel she replies that even the dogs get the crumbs off the Master’s table and Jesus heals her daughter. I sometimes wonder what bad,wrong,evil thing that I have done that prolongs my son’s suffering, and I am reminded of yet another story with Jesus and the blind man when He was asked “who sinned, this man or his parents” Jesus responds”neither, he is afflicted so that the glory of the Lord can be made known through him” and proceeds to heal the man.

To date I do not see what redemption there is in this story, this one of suffering and yet over and over again I am reminded that this is not my story, this is God’s story, His timing, His redeeming of this struggle, and other struggles. So for now all I have in my heart is prayer and miracles, because the meds are not working and hope is dwindling. But maybe that is the lesson I need to learn that God is Sovereign and He will redeem in His time, for His story, with His grace, for His kingdom, and maybe that is all I need to know.

So my prayer for today, for myself and for all those who are caring for ones with mental illness is one of comfort. Comfort in knowing that the Lord is Sovereign, the He remains in all things (even the crappy things like meds not working) that He is over all things ( including the course of this disease) and that He is through all things  (like the waiting for relief from annoying voices) and that He goes before us and maintains a presence with us through all this even if we don’t feel it. AMEN

Storms

Since returning from Nepal storms have rolled throughout our state on a daily basis bringing much needed rain along with lightning and thunder. As a child lightening struck the tree by the house with our swing on it. It was louder than anything I had heard and it still startles me when I hear those strikes even when they are far away.

But those aren’t the only storms that have raged since our return. The youngest’s voices have returned , loud and obnoxious. He cannot think to apply for jobs and has missed his one job because of the loudness. Can any one imagine trying to work on any level with someone yelling all the time. No, I cannot imagine either.

This week they (they voices) started Sunday evening. They have continued to ramp up and it seems there is no relief in sight. The youngest saw his doctor yesterday only to have his anxiety medicine increased in frequency not strength. His blood levels for the medicine which is supposed to control the voices is within the therapeutic range but  seems to have taken an early vacation. What the options are I do not know at this point.

Last night was difficult because just as I was ready to go to bed -ding my phone pings and it is the youngest. “They are really loud” was all it said. Usually the meds have the youngest asleep by 8:30. So this was disturbing. I asked a few questions but the youngest texted he was tired and was going to try to sleep. I did what I could to reassure him and that I would take my phone so he could text if he needed to and then went to bed; but not to sleep.

At this point I am discouraged. With meds, with doctors, with God even. I know that sounds bad, but here’s the thing God is Sovereign, all powerful and yet for whatever reason He chooses not to act. This is hard to take from a mother’s point of view, because I want my child well, peaceful, productive. Not everyone gets a happily ever after, but we all get to have God’s presence in the midst of troubles, knowing He will never leave nor foresake us, and He is continually working so that good can come out of this. No, I don’t see it and no, I don’t feel it, and yes it is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life – trust that God is good all the time in the midst of this storm.  I admit I am not very good at it, trusting that is. I cry a lot, I murmur to myself and on really bad days against God. He is faithful, absorbing all and still holds me in His hand. AMAZING GRACE, AMEN

Hitting the wall

So having returned from Nepal and trying to get back to my own time zone has been an adventure. Just to say when crossing 11 times zones while ill makes the re-entry all the more challenging.  We hosted the youngest this week as he had a little stomach bug and as I thought it was not necessarily a good thing.

This morning he texted about not wanting to be at the vocational rehab program any more. I can understand this. He has been plagued with all manner of obstacles and setbacks and has done well, but he also lost some jobs which helped him have purpose and everyone needs purpose. So this morning the text were basically saying “I give up” and that is not good. We texted back and forth and he conceded to talk with the jobs counselor about what was going on in his head. I think the time at home did not help as we flowed back into our routine of “taking care “ of him with the greatest of ease.

so my prayer today is for wisdom. Wisdom for the jobs counselor! Wisdom for the youngest to see all that he has accomplished in such a short period of time. Wisdom for him to find purpose and meaning and to continue to move forward in this sad and depressing time in searching for a new job and a new workplace. This is a hard road for me too. As I would love to smooth all these rough parts and have him be successful and accomplished but I know with struggle comes growth, self-sufficiency and a little pride which boosts the ego. So Father God Today help the youngest knowing that feelings are liars, that you are doing a good thing and that we support you but not enable you into sickness. Father God you are present in our lives today , and in the youngest sphere, help those who are skilled and capable show him how far he has come, to not give up but to press on and press into his gifts, like perserverance, determination and purpose AMEN

Returned

We have returned from Nepal, at least most of us have lol. My ears still are not quite right, and my stomach still a bit uneasy but we are back on American soil. I have to say I am spoiled beyond compare. Nepal, Kathmandu in particular, is not the vacation place anyone would long to go to. The city is dusty, smoggy dirty and less than “touristy”, but perhaps that is because on day 4 of the trip my sinuses could no longer handle the dust, smog and incense burning and from that point on I was down for the count.

The youngest lost one of his jobs while we were there and he has been down since then. We returned amidst me having nausea vomiting, diarrhea from Kathmandu to Dubai where we were pulled off the plane to the bowels of the Dubai airport seeing the doctor and then re-booking  to get home at about the same time after clearance from the Dubai doctor that I was fit to fly, long story short I am still recovering from that and jet lag.

The youngest now has a stomach virus and has spent two days and possibly will be more here at home. I am not sure this is a good thing as we are back in the old dynamic of us taking care of him when he is capable of doing so himself but there you go. It is what it is , hopefully he will go back to his vocational rehab on Thursday, we will be praying for that for sure.

Thankful today because I can breathe even if my ear hurts. Thankful that we can wash clothes in the washer without worrying if there will be water or electricity. Thankful I went to Nepal, even though I was to help with the eldest and the newest grandson but was ill. Humbled again at the workers in foreign countries around the world who are bringing God’s light into their worlds. These worlds which are filled with idols and empty worship of inanimate objects and burning incense to gods which are dead. Thankful for the living Lord who has placed on the hearts of these workers that are in these countries making a difference in small and large ways for a little while or for a much longer time and for their perseverance in their missions AMEN