We have lost Kenny to a girl. Normally we would be very excited about this but this girl is different. She is very controlling and has her own set of issues. They have moved into one bedroom of a dirty flophouse. I don't think he is taking his medications because I haven't been picking up and paying for any.
We are waiting for the crash...
We did get him to go on a Caribbean cruise with us in November. His older brother got married.
This evening I had a simple, yet profound realization. It all began this morning when my work sent me to an origami class. I was to learn the folding, memorize the steps and return to my work. Upon returning, I was to teach others how to make an origami bird. We were learning how to make these origami birds to provide centerpieces for a recognition dinner.
I was promised the origami would be basic. Personally, I’m not the most coordinated person, nor do I have a good memory. The idea of being placed in charge of not only learning but then teaching something I was completely clueless about was kind of intimidating. And then I saw the finished product.
The “easy to make” origami swan.
It wasn’t exactly basic. Dismayed, I looked at that swan thinking, Ha! Right! I can’t do that. But the teacher assured us we could.
Sitting at the table, staring at this masterfully made paper swan, I seriously questioned whether I was up to the task. I just had to follow eight steps to fold a little triangle. I watched the teacher carefully, kept an eye on those sitting near me, and folded a teeny, tiny triangle. I started folding paper.
I’ll admit, I messed up a couple of times, folding paper in the wrong direction. When my shape started looking different from those around me, I tried to figure it out on my own and then asked my neighbor what I’d missed. He showed me.
I fixed the mixed-up step and finished making my little triangle. It was pretty easy. In fact, it was surprisingly easy. To make the swan, I had to fold 205 triangles. Initially the entire thing seemed pretty daunting, but one triangle at a time, the triangles became easier and easier to fold. I had no idea how to stick the triangles together to make that swan, but I had a growing pile of triangles.
I returned to my jobsite with this newfound knowledge, inviting people to join with me in making the swan. We’d been supplied with a multi-color assortment of tiny, rectangular pieces of paper. We could make our swan whichever color (or colors) we wanted.
Initially, people stared at me with that doubtful look in their eyes. (It was probably the exact same look I’d given the teacher earlier that morning.) There were some people who came right over, willing to try their paper-folding skills. Others just shook their head, mumbling they couldn’t do it. Those who were willing to give it go sat down with me and together we started folding paper.
Initially it was frustrating for some. Others picked up their teeny rectangles, folding them into perfect triangles on the first try. Some people gave up after a couple of confusing folds. Still others watched from a distance until after witnessing their peers do it, they came over and joined in the fun.
At first we celebrated each time someone followed a step correctly. Then as we got used to that, we started celebrating each completed triangle. Oddly enough, once having figured out how to fold the triangle, it became fun — relaxing even. Soon, carefully folded, multi-colored triangles began piling up. We felt pretty accomplished over having folded close to 100 triangles. Better than that, we felt unified in purpose. Our goal, folding enough papers into a beautiful swan, seemed achievable.
Often times in life we are told to make the proverbial origami bird. I’ll liken this ornately folded bird to living with a mental illness. Initially (upon experiencing symptoms or getting a diagnosis), a person will stare dumbfounded at the scattered shreds of paper, wondering how on earth she could ever make anything good out of it. Perhaps a loved one or child was just diagnosed with a disorder and you find yourself sitting in the doctor’s office, stupefied. In your mind’s eye, all hopes and dreams for your loved one seem shredded and lying scatted before you. Maybe you wonder, How can you live with this? How can you fold your bird?
Initially when I was diagnosed, I found myself in this situation. So did my leaders, friends and loved ones. We grappled for answers, kind of like when I was staring at my table mates, striving to fold my paper exactly like them.
Unlike folding white paper into neat little triangles, I discovered my paper was a completely different color. My circumstances were different. For a while, as I kept folding my symptoms into proverbial triangles, I discovered I was starting to accumulate little piles of triangles (coping skills) but I didn’t know how to connect them to make that swan. I wasn’t even sure I was making a swan; maybe I was making something else. Try as I might, I wanted to make that gorgeous swan!
My parents and loved ones wanted me to make that swan! Unfortunately, I truly felt that no matter how hard I worked at folding those stupid little triangles, the best I could possibly hope to become was the ugly duckling. I began looking at myself as the misshapen ugly duckling. Some people in my life looked at me as though all I’d ever be was a pitifully, sad and very ugly duckling. I hadn’t even started piecing together my triangles. I didn’t even know where to begin and neither did my loved ones.
Unlike the steps behind folding tiny triangles, answers to living with symptoms, are not uniform. What works for me won’t necessarily work for you (and vice versa). Some people don’t have a trusted source to teach them how to gather their life’s scraps — collecting the coping tools — to begin folding their symptoms into neat little triangles.
But, as we begin supporting one another in our efforts to make the right folds in life, we need to celebrate each correct fold. Sometimes that fold is celebrated when your loved one takes a shower. Sometimes that fold is celebrated when they have the gumption to leave the house. Perhaps the fold is celebrated after a hard day or week straining to work around symptoms. Whatever the fold, celebrate it! Don’t take it for granted. It’s a step in the right direction, a fold towards getting a triangle.
Triangles, a slightly larger achievement, come in all different colors. Maybe it’s the color achieved by having a clean bedroom for a week. Maybe it’s the color of going for a month without overdrawing the checking account. Maybe it’s the color of not requiring hospitalization for a month (or a year). Maybe it’s the colored triangle of taking a class, finishing your GED or embarking on a college degree.
Whatever color your triangle is, it, too, is worthy of celebration because it, too, leads to becoming that proverbial origami bird. All birds are different and beautiful in their own right. With support, tender loving care and patience, everyone with a mental health diagnosis — regardless of the severity — can become a colorful and even breathtakingly amazing, beautiful and unique origami masterpiece.
Like origami birds, people with mental health diagnoses can be all lovely, and all different.
If you’re wondering how to fold your symptoms into triangles, reach out! I recommend looking into the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), America’s frontrunner in mental health education (www.nami.org). There are NAMI classes in most U.S. cities. Attend an educational class like “peer-to-peer” or “family-to-family”. Classes are taught by real life people who’ve found real life solutions. There are similar resources in other countries, too!
Kenny is no longer on probation. He made in through.
I think I still wish there were weekly drug tests though. He says he is 5 months clean and sober. I hope so.
He is working part time, going to meetings, taking his meds and going to doctors appointments.
Things are not where they should be though. Kenny is not living at home. He is with someone we don't approve of. This person is very controlling. He can't see it and he seems to be happy, so we our letting it go, so with that we do not see him.
It seems as though all the time I have put in for him as yielded nothing. Now that he is on the road to recovery we don't get to see him. But, BUT, he is clean and sober, he is working, he is alive.
Kenny is back in jail. He has been in for about 3 weeks. He has absolutely no impulse control at all. None, nada, zilch, zip.
I don't know what will happen from here. The prosecuting attorney wants to keep him locked up for the rest of his sentence, but the judge and probation officer want to get him into some type of facility. His attorney told him today that they might have found an out-patient rehab. We've tried that before. We've tried a lot of things before.
We were thinking about taking him off our insurance so he could get state assistance and qualify for an in-patience rehab. But...there's always a but. Because he was denied SSI he can't apply for medicaid for another year. We were told to apply for SSI first, but in reality you should apply for medicaid first. All this just goes with the flow of our lives.We did find out that we can keep him covered on our insurance then if and when he does get medicaid it will serve as a supplemental insurance.
We have told him we won't continue to support him in this lifestyle. He is using his mental illness and addiction to get away with things. I don't want that to sound wrong or harsh. We are well aware of his mental illness and what it does to him. We do acknowledge that he has a MI, that's why he has gotten away with so much stuff. But, we also know Kenny. We called him on his behavior and he said he was using his illness to get out of doing a lot of things.
This is so hard.
I found this blog today and a wonderful video that broke my heart. If the name was changed to Kenny it would be a perfect fit.
Kenny has been doing okay. Not great, not bad, just okay.
I talked to him about doing a 180 with his life for 3 months. No heavy metal music, work longer, hang out with a different crowd.
He can't do it. Not completely.
He cut down listening to the really evil music. He has gone to a few really fun activities at our church that are for the young single adults.
I want more of an effort out of him. I'm not angry or upset with him. Maybe I am disappointed. I don't know.
He says he wants to change. He wants to take a class in writing. He wants to work more.
I can't unstick him.
The honesty of this piece is what struck everyone who read it. The length and the softly lilting rhymes lead from peak to valley often throughout the piece and the phases theme comes across strongly.
Can I tell you some secrets About true parts of my life The phases I go through Being happy Being blue Knowing everything too And not having a clue where I’ve been It all started when I was 17 I was clean Not mean And wanted a queen I needed someone to lean on A reason to stay alive I found drugs High five Suddenly people appeared The pot cleared my mind I feared nothing while I was drinking And it stopped my thinking That’s when my ship started sinking I went to the doctors one day He had me take a survey With a display of situations Do you obey Do you betray How do you play Does this take your smile away There was absolutely no moray that day It was all grey Not okay And it caused dismay There was in no way Any allay in what he told me I’m sorry to say But I see an absentee key chemical in your brain It’s why you’ve been acting insane It’s the main cause of your pain Why you can’t maintain a job You try to obtain to refrain from complaining But can’t Lot of people will remain inhumane to your condition In addition Your ambition will be in submission An apparition if you will That’s when my hope started to unfill Times started getting hard So I decided to try to kill myself The carbon monoxide started to fill my lungs I laid still for hours Then I got a shrill and chill through my body It was God’s will Keeping me alive God arrived and revived me I survived I derived and contrived a new plan To become a happy man Stronger than ever Achieve anything So I began partying more For a year or more I would pour out the shots Score with women And started to adore and explore drugs galore Before I knew it I didn’t know what I was doing anymore And fell into addictions trap door There was infliction of friction in my life My problems were nonfiction Affliction on my family I didn’t know what to do So I had my dad give me a benediction It was good Not bad I was glad and not sad I ended up going into a sober program I started growing and showing improvements Being sober started slowing my mind My eyes started glowing I began knowing myself Life was flowing great At the rate I was at I didn’t hate myself Could walk straight Take girls on a date Didn’t underrate myself Then A change of state I met Lady Lucifera I was yet to know She’d be a threat to my life Brunette With a fiancee We abet to beget In other words We fucked We had or duet But I’ll never forget the day She treated me a certain way It upset me to the point I tried suicide again I cried Should have died I’d cut my wrists Supplied my body with over 200 pills Sat in a flood tide shower For over an hour The devil was beside and inside me I was acting like Jekyll and Hyde Upside down Inside out About dead Then saved by a devout friend I thought it was my end Luckily I didn’t ascend to the heavens Or descend to hell Doctors did mend my cuts Forever, I commend my friend I can’t comprehend why I didn’t die So I started to try to get high again Fly in the sky Put fry in my eye Thought drugs were my ally Would rely on them I’d lie, cheat and steal Drugs made me not feel I started to deal Concealed them in an ideal gym bag It was a big ordeal I thought I was the shit Surreal Unreal Pulled over in my automobile The cops did unseal the gym bag Revealed the mushrooms and pot A knot in my stomach I got caught Not in a great spot Brought to jail Sat in a cell It was hell I got out And I’ll tell you All started to go well I’d undergo a sober life once more Being sober was a bestow I’d grow, know and glow Although She walked in Thin Soft skin Breath taking grin Our love did begin Fast pace It was a blast Our love didn’t outlast a month The last thing she did Was brake up with me over facebook What a rook, right I wasn’t alright I lost my might And used the knife that night What a new delight Helped me when I was uptight Took away my spite Made me feel alright The despite of others Would make me contrite my soul But I stayed sober a whole 7 months A goal was to stop cutting But I didn’t drop the knife for over a year My dear body has over 70 scars now How I couldn’t handle life I wouldn’t be happy for months Why I did it again I don’t know I was so lonely and low The only solution was suicide My body got a distribution of 150 pills Pollution to my person The resolution was an institution No restitution to my mind I got out once more to find drugs Ended up behind bars again Before I went in I drove my car 75 mph into a cement barrier Suicide once more I wanted to be far from this life Only a few cuts is all After that My view changed I grew Broke through the other side Today I construe God’s plan Thank you for reading This has a lot of meaning See Today I’m sober Happy Free And don’t want to be anyone but ME!
Ryker is Kenny's dog. He is a good dog, although a little naughty. He is big enough to get up to the countertop and eat anything that has been left out. Need I say more.
The other day Lily had come home not feeling well. We were sitting watching t.v. when I noticed Ryker was having a full blown seizure. His whole body was in convulsions. He couldn't bark or even whimper. He couldn't walk or stand. He had a blank stare. I felt so bad for him.
I loaded Ryker and Lily in the car and headed to the vet. He was fine by the time we got there. The doctor thinks it might be the onset of Epilepsy. They aren't too concerned we just need to watch and record for more seizures. If they get worse we will put him on medicine. We have not seen any more since then.
He has a band-aid on after getting his blood drawn.
Some fun news. Kenny took 5th place in a Tumblr poetry contest. I will hopefully post it tomorrow.