He never liked being outside. Most kids get grounded and can't play outside. I would ground him to go outside just so he'd to get sunshine. Matthew also hated Field Day. I'd try to tell him how much fun it would be without struggling inside with reading and writing and math. "You don't understand Mom. There's grass and sun and air out there."
Then at 16 years of age, we got the phone call from his high school counselor saying Matthew had plans to end his life. I immediately went into panic mode digging out insurance cards to get him help. My then-husband explained to me, "Matthew is fine. He's just wanting attention."
"Let's give it to him!" I responded.
That was his first stint in a behavior unit.
After several years of counseling, things seemed to smooth out for Matthew. Its also when my husband and I split.
Matthew and I moved to Denton, Texas, and took an apartment, while my ex remarried and moved to Dallas; 30 minutes away.
Matthew already took a six week course to become a certified nurse's aide and he happily landed a job at a all-care facility where he worked for several years. But then the voices returned. It coincided at the same time we moved into our new house.
Change was always hard for him, but this time they brought on multiple psychotic breaks, followed by hospitalizations.
I'd sit all night beside him at the hospital and somehow manage to go to work the next day. When he was admitted to mental health facilities, I visited him every chance I could. I spoke to doctors, filled out endless paperwork, applied and was rejected many times for his SSI; this went on for a few years, to the point of my utter exhaustion.
I struggled with finances, as I cared for him.Finally, Matthew was granted food stamps. A true godsend! And now he has a lawyer for SSI. Our court date is soon.
The last time Matthew went to the ER was for high blood pressure due to anxiety attacks. It happened twice in a few days, back to back. I sat with him until he was dismissed at 3 am one time, and 2 am the next. Again I went to work.
Its a blessing to help my sweet son. I am here for him, and will be, until I no longer walk this earth.
As I told Matthew's story to help dispel the mental illness stigma, single Mothers and Fathers of mentally or physically handicapped, and mentally ill adults have contacted me. Like me, they feel it an honor to care for our children; feed, cloth, drive to appointments, take time from work, give financially, total emotional care, and so forth.
I am certainly not the only one. Sooner or later, everyone has challenges in life.
I must admit that it is hard to go through this alone; totally alone without someone to lean my head on. Without someone to hold my hand and tell me it will be alright.
One night, not so long ago, I was praying for us single Moms and Dads who walk down this chosen path without village help. In tears I prayed for God's grace and strength. And, then God spoke to me about The Parable of the Widow's Mite Mark 12:42. A widow gave all she had to the Lord's work, 2 mites (pennies). It was most pleasing in the eyes of Jesus after he had witnessed others who gave a lot, but never gave their all, nor their best. I knew God was pleased with what I did to help my son.
My heart leaped.
Suddenly, I am not alone.
Mother, Father, you are not alone.
Jesus sits with me.
Jesus sits with you.
He holds my hand as I lean my head on his shoulder.
He holds your hand as you lean on his shoulder.
He says, it will be alright.
He tells you that it will be alright.
When I feel I cannot take another step He holds me up.
He holds you up when you feel you are about to fall.
When finances are tight, unexpected money arrives in the form of a low utility bill, or a restaurant gift card from a silently listening friend.
When I am awake most the night with my son, God gives me the energy to make it through the next day.
And he does the same for you.
Do not despair.