Friday, March 4, 2011

Zoing! In which life changes quickly...

Yesterday Big Guy became upset about something minor at school, and impulsively thought up a just-dangerous-enough-to-get-attention ploy. But a depressed kid who wants to send the message that he's hurting is not a poster child for good judgment. And what seems just-dangerous-enough can quickly end up being more than dangerous, or even fatal. Even if that wasn't the original intention.

Which is a bland way of saying that things didn't happen quite the way Big Guy expected, and a lot of people got very scared very fast. Big Guy's okay now. Andrew spent the evening with him in an ER last night, awaiting a psych evaluation.

We've gone through the ER so many times that I've developed a "Hey, at least I know he's safe if he's there" mentality. There are only two possible outcomes: either they keep him, or they don't. This time they didn't admit him.

Obviously, being released does not mean that Big Guy is healthy or well or even that he will be stable for more than the time being. Being released means that at the time he was evaluated he was no longer a danger to himself or others.

Big Guy's depressions are characterized by a daily mix of ups and downs, not all-the-time despair. You can ask him at 2pm how he's feeling, and he'll say he's fine. But at 4pm he might be struck by a wave of despair which nearly drowns him. It's taken us a long time to figure out that the severity of his depressions is discernible mainly by the number and frequency of his impulsive actions. The more fragile he is, the more often he falls apart. The more extreme his impulsive actions are, the worse he's faring.

He's coming for a visit tomorrow, and is eager to be at home with the family. I will be glad to give him a long, giant hug.


  1. I hope you all are faring well today.

  2. I'm glad he didn't need to be admitted. I hope you're having a good day. I hope the folks at his school now recognize that when you say something is wrong, they should take you seriously. Phew.

  3. yes i hope the school listens to you now. thinking of youxo

  4. Sending thoughts of support...
    (Magpie sent me)
    -Other Heidi

  5. Clarification: it's not the school, but the residence. The school is fabulous, and very supportive.

  6. I just found your blog, but I am familiar with you through many years of Guideposts reading.

    I am very sorry to hear about your son's struggles. I struggled with the same type of depression (with severe daily ups and downs) seven years ago, and remembering how it was for me in my twenties, I cannot even imagine what it would be like as a child.

    My prayers are with your family, and your son is lucky to have such strong advocates for his mental health.

  7. We have a family member with bipolar illness and when there is difficulty it is amazingly difficult - feeling so powerless and scared and wondering how the health care team can release her when she is not well...but there are many more days when she is managing. It's a huge challenge for me and I cannot imagine what it is like for her.

  8. I am very moved by what you write about your journey with Big Guy. Maggie Christ recommended I read your blog because we are going through very parallel situations with my daughter. Knowing I am not alone and that others are navigating the maze of services and unpredictable behavior and hopes despite terrifying helped me a lot to read what you have gone through. She is currently in the hospital (day 16), waiting to see if she is accepted into a residence facility. Thank you for your honest and insightful sharing of what this journey has been like.