Every Parent of a Mentally Ill Child Has This Fear

Guns & Ammo 1I don’t know how it is in most families, I just know in mine, this is our fear.  That David will stop responding to his meds, and then be seen as a threat by law enforcement.

Once he turns 18, we will have little ability to ensure that he takes his medications, unless we get court ordered guardianship of an adult.  In honesty, as much as I love David, I don’t know that I could do this for the rest of my life, so once he turns 18, I will advocate for a guardian from outside of the family.

There are reasons for this.

  1. I am not in the best of health, and my health will continue to deteriorate despite the best of efforts of my medical team and I.
  2. If life with David is difficult for the kids when he is a youngster, and they want or feel a need to distance themselves from him, why would I saddle them with the responsibility of taking care of David in perpetuity.
  3. As any person ages they get stronger.  I know when he was younger, David had incredible strength when he was in one of his rages.  I can’t imagine how strong he is now when in a rage, and thankfully, we haven’t seen that level of anger from him yet this time around.
  4. In large part, I agree with the de-institutionalization of the 80’s.   However, in David’s case, I think that more institution type care is needed, not less.  A facility where the kids are housed in homes rather than in a dorm.  Where they can have staff 24/7.  Where a staff person doesn’t have to provide all of David’s care.  I know how draining it is on me with my chronic health issues.  Some days I am not sure i can plod on.  Thankfully, my wife understands this, and gives me breaks when she sees I need them.  Since she is full-time at her job as a special education teacher, most of David’s care falls to me.  I am on disability for health reasons and so I am at home.  At David’s last placement, they typically rotated his staff one to one every 2 or 3 hours.  This is not something we can replicate in our home.
  5. David can turn the simplest words into a promise, a threat, a miscue and use it against you or anyone he feels can benefit him in some way.  Whoever cares for him long term will need to have an innate understanding of this fact.
  6. David is so manipulative that some days, I fear my own mental health is breaking.  Does that make sense?

Frequently, we see news reports regarding the use of deadly force on people who are mentally ill.  Is their fear justified?  I think so.  Does it justify the killing of a person?  No, I don’t think so.  There are non-lethal ways to disable someone who is threatening you, especially if that person doesn’t have any thing more than a screwdriver.

But, I wasn’t there, so I don’t know the situation other than through the news reports.  And we all know that journalism is at best a crap shoot for accountability and accuracy.


and that is all for now.

Thank you for reading.




2 Responses to Every Parent of a Mentally Ill Child Has This Fear

  1. Is he back in school full-time yet?  Any chance of getting an aid to take him places on weekends or evenings to sometimes give you a break?

    • he is in school half days. 8:20 to 12 noon. He spends 10 hours a week with a mentor person. 3 hours twice a day and then the rest on Saturday or Sunday.

      the good days are really good. the bad days, which are becoming more frequent, are usually really bad. Frankly, I would settle for a medium day. Like we tell David, “we don’t expect perfection. we expect him to try as hard as he can.”