It’s been a very difficult six weeks. The maiden has, on a few occasions, said she wants to kill herself. And while I’m not sure she truly understands what it would really mean if she killed herself, I know she is likely overwhelmed and wants the stress and confusion and changes to end.
When we sat down to look at what has been happening in her life, it’s no wonder she has become overwhelmed:
- In June she moved out of the home, in a small village, she has lived in for eleven years and away from me. She moved to an apartment in a city with her grandmother, to prepare for College.
- Just before moving out, her best (and only friend) had a stroke and was in the hospital in a coma for most of nine weeks, suffered a series of strokes while in the hospital and died, at 25 years of age, in September.
- Over the summer, as she tried to adjust to a new way of life, without friends, in a big city, she developed an addiction to scratch tickets, and spent most of her money every week buying scratch tickets. Walking to the variety store several times a day, as she often would win money ~ not a lot, but enough to mean the high to the addiction of winning was cemented. This led to her stealing money from her grandmother and leaving the house at night, after her grandmother was asleep to cash in or buy more tickets. One night she thought someone was following her, so she ran back to the store and the staff called the police.
- She also spent most of her time on an on-line computer game – buying, looking after and selling horses. The other half of her money went to buy iTunes cards to purchase items on the game. She also experienced some “bullying” from some players, as she doesn’t always understand rules, so was posting things she shouldn’t and doing things when helping other players she shouldn’t have been doing.
- Her cell phone was stolen. She was on a volunteer drive with her grandmother. The two young people being driven got upset when my mom would not stop for them to buy food. It escalated, the girls were yelling and swearing, the maiden threw her phone on the floor in the back, she was scared, my mom pulled over, the girls jumped out of the car, taking my daughter’s phone. After nine years of being a volunteer driver my mom gave it up.
- One of our cats (which we had for ten years) died.
- She fell down the stairs on her birthday and fractured her ankle – so spent the next four weeks in a cast.
- She started College. The program, although for students with a developmental disability, did not offer much support for the first few weeks – so the faculty could assess what support was required by each student. However, leaving the maiden without support meant failure to accommodate and she started to refuse to get up, was leaving early or walking out of classes.
- The maiden is also exploring her own sexuality – and that is stirring up all sorts of other issues related to her past trauma (before she was brought into care and adopted).
Add to this, the Crone had two cataract surgeries, so at two different points over the summer, the maiden was asked to take on a few more duties around the house since the Crone was not allowed to bend or lift for a couple of weeks each surgery, and I started a new job so was not available 24/7.
All of this is happening without any community supports. We are still on the wait list for Developmental Services Ontario funding and services. Until we get that, there are no community services to help. We are still on the wait list for a psychiatrist who specializes in serving people with developmental disabilities so we can have her medications reviewed.
So – once we looked at everything that was happening, we realized no wonder she is feeling overwhelmed. That’s enough for anyone to cope with – let alone someone who has trouble processing regular life.
When she disclosed she wanted to kill herself, we knew we had to take it seriously. So we went to the mental health crisis clinic at the hospital. We didn’t know if anything would be done, but we had no other options.
From that visit, she was set up to see a psychiatrist at the out-patient clinic, who then changed some of her medication. Reduced dosage on one, upped it on another and introduced two more for anxiety and depression. She is also looking into an addiction program to deal with the lottery ticket addiction.
We also met with the faculty of the College and the Counseling Department. The program coordinator has made some changes, added more check ins and support for the maiden, and the counsellor has made some enquiries to find out if we can get hooked up to some interim mental health programs while we wait for DSO.
Hopefully we have ridden this wave and crisis and are on the way to smoother waters for the next little while. So, I hope you will excuse me for not having posted in the last six weeks. Most nights I’ve been exhausted and couldn’t find the strength to be creative.
While we were dealing with the maiden’s talk of suicide I came across a song written by Chester Bennington of Linkin Park as a tribute to Chris Connell of Soundgarden who died by suicide in May. Chester himself took his own life on what would have been Chris’ birthday. The song is hauntingly beautiful and the lyrics are more poignant given that Chester could not find the light to take away the darkness that he sung about. I played the video tonight for the maiden and I cried. I told her I did not want her to take her life. No matter how difficult life is, I will always be there for her.
I couldn’t figure out how to upload the video: so here is the link One More Light I chose the video of the performance on Jimmy Kimmel live as it is a powerful version.
What do you say to someone who is suicidal? I’ve read articles and suggestions of what to say, what not to say. I myself in my earlier life felt suicidal. The only thing that stopped me was my fear of the act itself. I’ve never told the maiden. I don’t think she would let fear stop her. She is impulsive. And that’s the fear I have that if things get too much, she would do it on an impulse. And I couldn’t help her fix that.
All I could do was play this song for her. Cry. Hug her. Tell her how much her life means to me. How things will get better. To hang on. And that I would care if her light went out. I don’t want her light to go out. I don’t know if that is enough however.