Living with A Teenager With Mental Health Issues Is Like Living With A Terrorist

Sometimes I feel like a combat war veteran (no offense to any out there)...where stress and danger has become a constant daily part of my day. When people outside of the war zone ask me- wow, why didn't you say anything you have been going through? For what? The pitying looks, the private judging thoughts on how I ended up here and to be honest, the battle stress I wear as I would a pair of underwear or brushing my teeth. This type of stress becomes almost habitual where you are going through the motions because even you let your heavy pack down to take a rest when the home front is quiet- you never feel safe and you have to look over your shoulder. Danger- injury or death lurks even in the most innocent of situations. You have to be on your toes at a moment's notice. 

And you stop telling the loved ones back in Normal, U.S.A., because they get sick of hearing the latest on the battle casualties. And I wonder when they forget to know what I was like before all this and not the shell of the person I am now- the smiles and laughs that were so quick at times has become a thin veneer not wanting to bring everyone else down or an eye roll when I bring up the enemy.  When do they think of only where I ended up and forget me? I too know of a veteran's feelings of watching everyone's lives go by- the accomplishments and milestones- I wonder too what that must be like while I seem to be in a hell of infinity that goes on and on.

Time passes slowly but all too fast. I too must follow the dictates of another- the danger I am placed in alongside the others in my trench, who are family- which is not of our choosing. I feel the bureaucracy of government's decisions and systems- put in place to help, but so many layers, but also hold me back from fixing a situation not of my choosing. Don't have the resources or funding or jurisdiction to do the job. I don't always agree to the Rules of Engagement but I am stuck following the orders of a government system higher than me. 

No matter what your faith is; sometimes that is all you have left.

No matter what your faith is; sometimes that is all you have left.


I am told privately that this was my choice to put myself in this situation, that I must now deal with the consequences. That sometimes I put my life in danger- and the quality of it- for someone who doesn't always appreciate the sacrifices we have made- serving a person who doesn't know what it is like to serve. And now I know too what it is like to mourn the death of someone taken too soon in spirit and what it is like to look a young man in the eye- too young and dumb to not know how he is not going to live forever and too old to be patted on the head. I shed the tears- wondering if this man child will grow to adulthood and will I see him have a child of his own...realizing that is what the loved ones feel when their young boys and girls are out on the battlefield. You know you are watching them walk into the tunnel of death and wonder if they will come out the other side.

I am angry at how my comrades, my family, in arms are subjected to the stress and the danger- seemingly immune to it for myself. Watching the young ones unaware- still children (his siblings)- untainted; watching the innocence wash away. Growing up too fast- and seeing the world in its ugliness too soon. 

I can't carry anymore

I know what it is like to be used up, wondering can I carry this heavy pack one more day. When is God going to give me the strength? I can't possibly carry anymore. Looking over every action and decision I made that led me to today- wondering if my sins or the sins of the father are placed on me. I know what it is like fighting an enemy that I do not understand and cannot see. At night, lying awake, dreading the morning to come, knowing it will happen all over again; tossing and turning, wondering if this is The day. 

I am not a combat veteran unless I am a veteran of being a mother to a 15 year old boy who has been depressed, anxiety and has an addiction. He suffers from PTSD- ghosts from a past and nightmares I can't make him forget. I have mourned the loss of the son I knew him to be and the future I thought he would have. It was traded for when I do not recognize- the darkness, the manipulation, the emotional abuse. Yes emotional abuse- living with a teenager who suffers from addiction and mental illness can be abusive to those around him- the physical and emotional barbs fire as a lethal weapon. Coming from a place of such intense hurt and pain inside of him- feeling that no one understands him- his only outlet for the pain is the self-harm to his body or to those around him.

I am not a combat veteran unless I am a veteran of being a mother to a 15 year old boy who has been depressed, anxiety and has an addiction.

The struggle to claim the home front you are fighting over- structure and respect and normalcy against the terrorist's orders or sweeping chaos- results in cursing, name calling, property damage. And no more damage can ever be inflicted than the words of a 15 year old and their hatred towards you- these shrapnel wounds are not easy to heal if ever. The scab is removed when the next conflict begins, the wounds ooze with bitterness and pain and hurt. The frustration we feel- of being responsible for this Being legally but not being able to make decisions without his consent on healthcare. I feel like I am following a deranged General into battle; who is going to fall first? Or will he not be satisfied unless the whole platoon goes down. Watching the angst and confusion on his little sisters- not understanding the behaviors but having to process the fear and anger they feel of having to be a part of this. Having to train an 8 year old how to hide to protect themselves from the "bullets" raining down in the safest place they should have- at home. I live with a terrorist- where we have to walk a fine line of measuring every word- hoping that we don't step on a landmine. The therapists cajole and give us textbook responses on how to handle- but not every roadside bomb comes with a manual on how to diffuse. 

I am beat down

I am beat down. Finding myself somewhere I don't understand who I am fighting and what cause I am fighting for- not feeling. I don't feel anymore. When the green eyes look at me in mine and says I am sorry; I know I am looking at a spy who is lying in wait for the next opportunity to gain their chance to push their agenda of selfish and ill-related chaos.

I look around at the people who around me- the ones who judge, the ones who are annoyed because I missed work again- the dreams I had to let go of from my childhood because taking care of this child doesn't warrant promotions. Not everything is an Oprah episode where you can have your dream and get it too. I have become a liability at work. I look down the barrel of debts- incurred from medical bills and therapists asking for more and more things to be put in place to save a child who doesn't want to be saved unless he is calling the shots. And being a single parent, who wants to be recruited within this platoon and pick up arms against the enemy of addiction?

This generation being told from birth how great they are and how the world revolves around them. It magnifies these feelings of entitlement and therefore their self-esteem when they fail or stumble. Their lives are overrun with feelings of expectations of what they need to achieve. And democratic parenting was sold to me- which was like selling snake oil in the old West. It should be a benign dictatorship- where there is structure and rules and safety. I am angry how I am beholden to a government system- that I have to let the terrorist win in order to gain ground to build a health history and protects the terrorist when he faces judicial. 

I am angry- it is never enough

I am angry that no matter how much love and diplomacy I pour on a terroristic situation- it is never enough and the Beatles lied to me when they said all you need is love. Because it didn't work and I am told by the infidel that I am doing it wrong too much or not enough. I am angry that I have been going through this for three years- and every time I step into an ER I wonder if this is the time I am going to say goodbye to a lifeless body- and I realize the spirit left a long time ago.

I can't show emotion because it is used against me as a weapon. The anger is brought up in a counseling session, any caring is to get their own way and military bearing is cold. You are the parent! Lock it up. Hold it in. I feel criticized. Nothing I say is right and nothing I do is effective. I feel locked behind a fort- everything of value, is locked up- medication, utensils, money, valuables. Everything is looked at as a potential weapon in the place supposed to be as a home base- because it can be used against us. I feel like I live in this war torn world where reality is skewed to the point where things are commonplace that before would shock me: screaming profanity laced tirades, drugs, violence, outside adults negotiating with the terrorist. Afraid to take any real stance against Him- the feeling like you are never entirely safe when the waters are calm. 

What is it going to take? Death?

What is it going to take? Death? Destruction? When will I be released from this contract binding me to a person that doesn't care if he lives or dies, whether I do either? Someone who has a death wish and wants to destroy everything around him like a suicide bomber. I have watched my dreams fade and his never begin. I watched my thoughts of the mother I want to be and the one I have to be- are drastically different. I feel torn that- at least my son is alive but would he be better off not? Am I ungrateful that I have my son and other mothers can only wish they could hug their son one more time. I am saddened at how dead I feel inside- that now an ER visit is hassle rather than the tears and the worry it first caused. I don't feel anything anymore but hatred, anger, resentment of this enforced enlistment. I am angry at the incident of what caused the PTSD- and feel that is the real enemy. Why is my child the casualty of this? How did he get drafted?

 I get used over and over when I am sent into battle of motherhood of an unruly teen- and part of me wants to lose the fight so it can just be over and I can rest. I have already reconciled in my head- that my son will hate me forever.  In order to do the right thing at times, we have to make the worst decisions to save their lives- we have to be brave to parent and do the best thing for them. That all the efforts I make to save him may result in alienating me anyways. Getting up everyday and treating it as a new day gets harder and harder as the wounds get deeper, the bullets get bigger and making it through the night harder than before. When is this over? When we are all destroyed? When his Father is carrying the casket of his little boy? When someone else is hurt due to his actions? When he doesn't  love the life he has been given- but all the people around him do. Tell me when this burden we have marched with, cried over, prayed over, sacrificed over can be put to rest.


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