I realize I disappeared for a bit. Well, stuff happened. I got permission to write a little about what that stuff was.
About a month ago, we ended up in the emergency room with Geeky Boy because he had called the suicide hotline. Luckily, he had called before he had even really thought through what he might do. Still, we were scared. We sat in the hospital for several hours waiting for the social worker. There were several people there in a similar situation. Finally, it was recommended to us that GB be put in a residential treatment program for teens.
GB’s depression was not new to us. He’s suffered on and off for years, having a major bout just last year. After getting on medication, it seemed the worst had passed, until this happened, and then we were right back at square one. Only worse. He spent two weeks in the residential program, and came home on Thanksgiving. It was a difficult transition, for all of us.
We worried that he would try to hurt himself if we left him alone. We worried about making him do his regular household chores. We had no idea what to do. We were given zero instructions. Do we let him go out with friends or not? Do we punish him if he’s late or not? Do we push him to finish his college applications or not? Do we keep him busy? If so, how? We had no answers. The normal answers we might have if he weren’t vulnerable didn’t work. Punishments sent him into a dark hole as did pushing him to do things.
The first few weeks, we spent a lot of time talking to him, which was hard. His view of the world and himself didn’t mesh at all with ours. We couldn’t force him to see things differently. We couldn’t force anything.
Things are definitely better, but we still worry. We’re still trying to feel comfortable with where he is, and trying to let him make his own choices and figure things out for himself. Which is hard for any parent of a 17 year old, I know. But most parents of kids this age seem to have some faith that they will come through in the end. Our faith in his ability to do so is not very solid.
Our biggest setback has been college. We’re days away from deadlines, and I honestly don’t know if they’ll be met. His depression has meant that, despite being really smart, his grades are not good. So his choices are limited. There are plenty of options still, but I worry what not getting into somewhere he really wants will set him back emotionally. I am prepared to help him come up with alternative plans for next year, probably community college and work. Yes, I’ve had to adjust my expectations–a lot. But believe me, I’ll take anything over not having Geeky Boy around.