When it comes to parenting a child with mental health issues, I think I’ve been through it all. Multiple school expulsions, stigmas about me & my son, family estrangement, psychiatric evaluations, court battles with an incorrigible & non-existent co-parent, emergency room visits, in-patient psychiatric hospitalizations, anxiety-inducing medical bills (there will be a blog about that), police & family services in my home, crisis intervention, countless therapists over years & the costs, destruction of my belongings, years of verbal & emotional abuse that continue to this day. Personally, I have experienced quite the roller-coaster ride of emotions – guilt, resentment, sadness, loneliness, anxiety, frustration, desperation, helplessness, hopelessness, hurt, self-protection, empathy, resilience. Lately, I have felt disbelief, apathy, acceptance and even satisfaction that I have done everything I could to help my son. You name, I’ve been through it and done it.
And now, he & I are delving into the world of mental health & the criminal justice system. A few weeks ago, he had another episode where he ranted his emotions at me for hours. When he lost steam & I ignored him, he upped the ante by destroying my home again. The same drill ensued where I called the police to have him removed and brought to the precinct for his father to take him for a few days. This time, he refused to leave resulting in his arrest for aggravated assault and resisting arrest.
We are scheduled to go before a family judge in a few days. Because he is a minor, I have had to retain a criminal lawyer to represent him. I have never been down this road before which is extremely scary. It’s even more scary knowing that my son is rigid with his perspectives & beliefs and I have no way of controlling what he says & does in front of the judge. I can only pray that he listens to reason and complies – both of which he has struggled with his entire life.
It is going to be interesting to see how the criminal justice system handles mental health related cases. It could be the worst path we have ever taken or the most life-saving. We are at this juncture in our lives for a reason and I have unshakeable Faith that it will be the latter.