Luke and the Living Hell

Today was a difficult day with Luke. He didn’t take his medicine Saturday or today so his behavior was completely out of control. He screamed. He insulted. He blamed. He shouted. He stomped around, broke things, and slammed doors. It wasn’t just one tantrum, he behaved this way the entire day.

By the time he went to bed, he had 4 shouting fits and 3 screaming, crying, hitting, meltdowns. The difference between shouting fits and meltdowns is that Luke retains the ability to speak coherently, albeit horribly, during a shouting fit. During a meltdown Luke vomits nastiness incoherently while screaming, crying, and behaving violently.

I’m taking him to counseling. I’m getting him meds. I’m doing everything in my power to try to help him but it seems his behavior continues to worsen as he gets older. I don’t know what else to do.

The counselor suggested sending Luke to residential treatment – a group home, basically. Jonathan absolutely won’t allow it.

For the time being, I have no choice but to suck it up and manage through the constant insults, berating, screaming, shouting, and violent fits of rage which occur on a daily basis. Luke says his “life is a living hell”, but it’s Luke who is making our lives a living hell in actuality.

Luke’s Behavior “is [my] fault”

I should be sleeping yet I’m wide awake again. Normally when I’m wide awake this late, I’m having painsomnia (pain so severe you can’t sleep).

Things have gone smoother with Luke recently…until tonight, that is. Luke called Oliver a “bastard”. I told Luke to go to bed for the night for calling his brother names. Luke was defiant and determined to test boundaries so he earned an additional consequence: losing his tablet for the evening. Instead of turning in his tablet, Luke completely. flipped. out.

Luke screamed and shouted and kicked the wall beside his bed. He positioned the tablet so that I’d have to physically wrestle it out from under his body. He called Jonathan and I unfair, the worst parents, fuckers…every adjective he could think of at the time. He threw things at Jonathan and told me that he hopes I die and rot in hell.

This HUGE outburst lead to him losing his tablet, computer, and cell phone. These things were not taken away all at once. He lost them progressively during the course of his massive, manipulative, tantrum.

Jonathan blamed me for Luke’s behavior as Jonathan typically does. If I require a consequence of Luke for his behavior (ie go to bed a little early because he called his brother a bastard), Jonathan blames me for Luke’s ensuing defiant behavior. It’s difficult not to roll my eyes at Jonathan for enabling Luke’s nastiness by refusing to intervene until the situation is completely out of control.  Jonathan thinks that I escalate Luke’s behavior by actually enforcing the consequences for breaking a given rule. The family therapist and I disagree. Inconsistent consequences escalate Luke’s behavior. Jonathan tends to enforce consequences inconsistently.

I’m sure it’s no surprised that after all of the shouting, screaming, insulting, name calling, and generally stressful behavior, I don’t feel like sleeping.

The only good thing about today is that it’s over

Today has been difficult. Every single element of the day was riddled with problems.

I feel like I shouldn’t talk about the passing of my friend with Jonathan. Jonathan has a low opinion of social media, the internet, and online friendships in general. It would be hard for Jonathan to understand how important this friendship was to me and how heartbroken I feel over the loss. Jonathan has also been dealing with job instability and helping his father who is slowly dying of stage 4 cancer so he doesn’t need any more upsetting news.

At work, my superior made a poor decision which had a negative outcome so he threw me under the bus to save face. I spent the entire day trying to dig myself out from under the mess he created instead of working on scheduled assignments. Now, in addition to being put on the spot and verbally reprimanded for something that wasn’t my responsibility in the first place, I’m a day behind on all assigned projects.

While I was working, Dee called me asking for advice on how to handle her landlord who is threatening to evict her based on something her ex-boyfriend did even though she’s never been late on rent. Dee was again contemplating suicide and cutting. Then another friend called asking for advice on how to handle her unexpectedly heavy period. I mistook these calls for genuine emergencies since both parties know not to call while I’m at work unless there is a genuine emergency. (Dee threatening suicide is not an emergency.)

When I arrived home after work, Jonathan had left for another small job in a neighboring town so I had all evening alone with the kids. Being alone with the kids doesn’t especially bother me, but I really needed to work most of the evening to catch up on the projects I’m behind on due to my superior’s aforementioned incompetence. Since I was the only adult in the house, I needed to constantly break up arguments between Oliver and Luke, manage Luke’s behavior, ensure homework was finished, and keep the kids on schedule. Needless to say, I accomplished nothing other than household chores and child wrangling.

Luke and Oliver spent so much time arguing, fighting, picking, and generally being jerks to one another that I couldn’t even finish vacuuming and mopping the house until almost 11PM. Vacuuming and mopping needed to be finished tonight since we will have guests Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Then there was the completely unnecessary Twitter drama…that’s a subject for another day.

The only good thing about today is that it’s over. Well, and cats. Cats are good too.

Sleepless and Sunflowers

Tomorrow is Luke and Oliver’s first day of school. Since they’re both going to middle school this year, I need to start waking up at 5AM to make sure they don’t miss the bus. We live nearly an hour for the school and the bus arrives at 7AM. Since I’ll be wrangling both children, neither of which are morning people, I need to wake up at 5AM to shower, pack my lunch, and prepare for the day before the kids wake up at 6A. From 6A-7A, I’ll be making sure breakfasts are eaten, lunches are packed, meds are taken, and backpacks are filled with school work.

There is only one problem: Going to bed at 9PM in order to wake up at 5AM is proving to be difficult. I’m a night owl by nature so going to bed as soon as the sun sets has always proved difficult.

I don’t have much choice. Jonathan won’t wake up early enough to make sure the kids get out the door on time. We’ve tried that. When Jonathan is responsible for mornings, the kids are late for school 2 out of 5 days. Now that school is an hour away from the house, and 1.5hrs from work, I can’t afford the extra time to take the kids to school if they miss the bus. So, 5AM wakeup time it is…

While I fight my night owl nature, here is a picture of an 11′ tall sun flower:

Sunflower
**Edit**: It’s 9:30PM, child bedtime, and the kids just burst in my bedroom proclaiming that Jonathan hasn’t made them dinner. Sure enough, Jonathan has not made dinner. He fell asleep face down on the couch upstairs. <face palm>

Luke: The Breakthrough

I was sitting in bed working. Luke came into the bedroom, flopped on the bed, and sobbed.

“What’s wrong, honey?” (Yes, I’ve turned into an old southern lady who calls everyone honey)

“I’m sorry I keep yelling at you. I’m not mad at you. I thought you were going to leave or move to Colorado or find a boyfriend like Mommy but you didn’t leave.”, he sobbed. “Even when I called you names and yelled at you, you didn’t leave.”

“No, honey. I’m not going to leave you. Even when you’re having a hard time, I’m not going to leave you.”

Then we compared me to Luke’s mom. What do we have in common? We’re female, approximately the same age, attended the same high school, and dated/married Jonathan. That’s it. That’s really it.

Luke: The Verbal Abuser

I took a break from writing about my life. I wish that the break gave me perspective or some insight. It gave me neither.

Things have gotten worse. Mostly Luke’s behavior has gotten worse. Luke is more defiant, more belligerent, and has become verbally abusive. When I speak to Luke, he yells at me. When I ask him not to yell, he screams obscenities at me.

I found some new jeans, tags still attached, in Luke’s size at a thrift store. After all, school starts in early August here and Luke doesn’t like to wear shorts to school. I washed and folded the jeans and put them on Luke’s bed. Luke saw the jeans and threw them into the hallway.

“Why would you buy jeans for me?! Are you fucking stupid or something? It’s SUMMER. People don’t wear jeans in the summer. What am I supposed to do with this shit?!?”, Luke shouted at me from his room.

“I’m sorry that buying new jeans for you in your size upset you, Luke.”, I replied.

I’ve learned to be careful with my replies. If I react to Luke’s verbal assaults in any way other than utter pleasantness, Jonathan rushes to scene to defend Luke.

Blablabla. There she goes again.“, Luke mutters to himself just loud enough for me to hear, “always trying to start a fight with her bullshit.

Disgusted with Luke’s behavior, I retreat to my bedroom for some peace and quiet. I’ve spent a lot of time in my bedroom lately. I don’t care to subject myself to verbal abuse, especially not from a teenager. I have no desire to listen to Jonathan tell me I’m not giving Luke enough space, or being dramatic, or overreacting, or being ridiculous, or some other negative description insinuating I cause Luke to behave negatively toward me.

My break from writing about my life really gave me no break at all.

Money, FatherInLaw, And Kids

The washing machine is dying. The motor is dying, specifically. The manufacturer doesn’t make the motor for that model anymore. A replacement is required. I don’t have money for a replacement. I don’t have money to go to the laundromat either at $30 a week and a 40min drive each way.

One cat and one dog fell ill last week. The cat couldn’t keep food down and the dog had bronchitis so I took them both to the vet. The bill came to $700 in total. At least I have 2 living pets on the way to wellness even though I had to charge the bill to a credit card. I requested Revolution for the cat we took to the vet but used it on a 3rd cat who has ear mites. Although I feel guilty for conning the vet, I literally can’t afford to take 3 animals to the vet especially for a minor problem like ear mites.

My father in law is dying. He’s 64. For the past few months he hasn’t been feeling well. Kidney infections, difficulty passing stool, difficulty sleeping because of the pain… Much like my family, Jonathan’s family doesn’t believe in modern medicine and FatherInLaw wouldn’t go to the doctor. After FatherInLaw’s uncle died last week, he finally went to the hospital. His body is riddled with malignant tumors.  FatherInLaw may come home tomorrow so Jonathan and his family have been cleaning FatherInLaw’s house – it was filled with mold and mildew from running the gas heater without a humidifier.

The situation with the Oliver and Luke is better. After several weeks of having Jonathan as the “primary parent” – the one who assigns chores, plans meals, disciplines, and makes plans – the kids decided that I should resume “primary parent” duties. They said Jonathan’s parenting method leaves them confused and they don’t like it when Jonathan gets frustrated and shouts.

The kids also decided they want to move in with their mother and her boyfriend. Well, Luke wants to move in with his mother and her boyfriend so Oliver wants to move into the same house as Luke. Luke wants to get away from Oliver and Luke also feels that his mother and her boyfriend won’t enforce any rules. Luke has clearly forgotten what it’s like to live with his mother. Also, his mother and her boyfriend moved in together as soon as they started dating 2-3 months ago. This whole situation is a real face-palm-er.

Still Here. Things are Changing.

I’m still around. I’ve been sick, then slightly less sick, then sick again. The only thing that has changed is that I’m tired of talking about feeling awful all the time. Feeling awful is tiring. Sometimes talking about feeling awful is tiring as well.

The rheumatologist is retiring. Soon I’ll be without the pain medicine I need to function on a day to day basis. No other rheumatologists in my area prescribe pain medication. I’ve been diagnosed with Sjogren’s recently which helps explains why my eye lids stick together and my tongue breaks out in blisters.

TheJob is still working on their bizarre social media policies. While they can’t ask for anyone’s account, they’re kinda asking for everyone to follow, friend, or otherwise allow a corporate account to access their information. Ridiculous. Restructuring continues. Covering up information about the restructuring with the artful guise of “complete transparency” continues as well. It’s frustrating.

Luke has hard times; probably bipolar disorder. Oliver has been bursting into tears for no reason since his mother’s boyfriend moved in with her. After a long discussion with Jonathan, I’m taking a less active role in parenting. The children resent me. They resent me for parenting because I’m not their parent. I’m not anyone’s parent.

Less parenting means more time to devote to artistic pursuits. Perhaps I’ll make something of myself as an artist yet. Frida Kahlo managed to paint in a body cast. I’ll somehow manage to create art with a full body disease. I purchased a sketch book for planning photoshoots and have scheduled several friends to model for photographs. I’ve also been considering a series of self portraits – possibly portraits expressing how it feels to live with chronic illness. Strangely, when I tried to order a Prismacolor pencil set, I found out there was a shortage of colored pencils because adult coloring books have surged in popularity.

School Shanigans II, Luke, and DeeDee

It’s been a busy few weeks and I haven’t had time to write.

School Shenanigans: II

Luke’s school issue has been resolved. First, the school tried to re-use an education plan Luke had 6yrs ago (when he was in 2nd grade; he’s now in 7th). Then, when I requested a 504 meeting, to my surprise the school scheduled a meeting…only to cancel it a day later because I’m not Luke’s biological parent. After that, the school demanded a power of attorney. After that, the school demanded that I go to court and request legal guardianship of the children to have any involvement in their education.

At that point, I rolled my eyes – hard – and called my lawyer. My lawyer called the school’s lawyer which sorted out that issue rapidly. I contacted the school to schedule another 504 meeting making sure to reference the conversation between the lawyers. I gave the school two options. First, they scheduled the first option. Then the school canceled and rescheduled for the second option.

Surprisingly, the kids’ BioMom declared she plans to attend the 504 meeting as well. Interesting because BioMom chooses to be involved with, well, nothing related to the kids which might require effort, follow-up, or money. Hopefully involving BioMom in the meeting won’t turn into a huge disaster.


Suicidal Thoughts…Again

Luke is struggling with suicidal thoughts again. The majority of my waking hours have been spent preventing him from harming himself. Pills, knives, lighters, candles, and any other implements of destruction are locked in cabinets, filing cabinets, and my upstairs office. Neither Luke’s nor Oliver’s shoes have shoe laces by design. Luke’s belts are locked away too. Granted, a determined person can always find a way to commit suicide, but I’ve taken away as many obvious avenues as I can find.

Luke keeps “forgetting” to take his meds when he goes to BioMom’s house. Sometimes he claims to take his meds when he hasn’t. About 3 days without meds and he’s ready to die. If he can’t take pills and hang himself, he tries to stab himself with a kitchen knife. Without a kitchen knife, he’ll throw himself on the floor or slam his head into the walls. It’s like a storm. It lasts for half an hour or so then you clean up the aftermath.

The next psychiatric appointment is 8 days from today.


 DeeDee

Dee has been struggling. She too suffers with severe mental illness and constant suicidal thoughts. She can’t pay her bills. She’s getting evicted soon. A guy she was dating stole her last $100 bill. DeeDee called me sobbing indecipherably. I was at work at the time.

I don’t know what to do for her. I loaned her a small amount of money…very small. Dee is such a needy person. All the help you offer Dee is absorbed so quickly it’s like it was no help at all. DeeDee is one of those people who make you wonder why they’re in your life – to teach you something, test your boundaries, or because life is random? Only time will tell.

 

School BS / Suicidal Thoughts

The Long Bullshit Story of Luke’s School: The Condensed Version

Luke’s school is refusing to speak with me. I attended a parent-teacher conference because Luke is failing math and social studies. I requested a modified education plan (504) since Luke has been diagnosed with ADD and GAD. The school tried to implement a 6 year old study plan (RtI) which is not legally enforceable like a 504. When I requested a copy of the RtI, the school decided I am not a “guardian”, cancelled the meeting, and is refusing to speak with me.

The school sent an email with paragraphs of legal-ese about my lack of guardianship. I sent the school officials a single line in response: “This is most unfortunate.” (By “most unfortunate” I mean: “I’ll have my lawyer call your lawyer. Prepare for the mess you’ve created for yourselves. Talk to you soon. Buh-bye.”)

I don’t threaten. I also don’t mess around.


Luke’s Suicidal Thoughts

Tonight Luke confessed he’s been struggling with suicidal thoughts for days now. He can’t get the thought of hanging himself out of his head. For several days, Luke has been wrapping belts around his neck and pulling tight only to tell me he was “just joking”. I know better.

We talked for an hour before bed about how much I love him, how I would cry for him every day if he were gone, how his mom and dad would cry for him too and their lives would never be the same. It seemed to make an impact…I hope it made an impact. Luke seemed to cheer up some as he went to bed.