Category Archives: awareness

The unfinished quilt top: unraveling threads

Unfinished quilt tops.

Loose fabric, pieced together.  seams resewn to strengthen the final product.  adjustments, another persons eye to style and color.  A work in progress. 

I have been told, I have broad shoulders to carry the burden of David’s care. To these people I say:  I am just a dad.  A sewer, striving to finish his quilt.  That is all, nothing more.

I strive to save the lovingly hand stitched aspect of the quilt top while ensuring it won’t fall apart upon the first washing.Life lessons.  Spools of thread.

Simple things the second.  Complex thoughts on the first.

I was thinking about a sewing project I have been trying to find time to work on.  I am finishing a quilt.  I purchased an unfinished quilt top at auction and am working to finish.  Just haven’t been able to make time to sit down and tackle it.  Not to mention the stack of patching, hemming and repairs that are sitting in my sewing area.

In thinking about the similarities between the spool of thread on my sewing machines, and David’s care I am struck by one thing.  It seems like the harder I pull on that small thread, the faster things unravel.  We have built a team of professionals around his needs to allow him to receive the best care possible.  Yet.  I feel like his care is like that unfinished quilt top.

How do I move beyond where we are with his care and onto more productive, and a more supportive care plan that is wrapped around him like a quilt? That doesn’t just protect him from the cold harsh realities of life, but offers a warming protection against those same realities.  Because, truly, right now I would have to agree with a former team member and say that eventually he will just end up in prison.

Prison is not a place to go to get mental health services.

I can talk to people until I lose my voice.  But they really don’t get the struggle that is David’s life.  They don’t get that, much like the needle on my sewing machine, if it breaks, you replace the needle, you don’t throw away the whole machine and start over.  You don’t continue sewing with the same needle, hoping for positive results.

You change the needle.

If it breaks again, then you consider your thread. Or adjust thread tension.

unfinished quilt tops: unraveled threads

If you continue to do the same thing over and over again without adapting to the fabric you are working with, all that you will experience is frustration.

As we strive to move forward with David’s care, we bring together varying professionals, much like fabric scraps used to make a quilt.  Sometimes, one scrap will work better with the rest of the top than another.  Same with professionals.  If one part of the team that is David’s “quilt top” isn’t working, we need to open the seam and change that piece out.

David’s world has unraveled.  We can try to rewind the spool of thread that is his world, rebuild the quilt top with the right pieces, and wrap him with a finished quilt that can support him for a long time to come.

Barriers exist in the mental health system that bar our success in finishing the first quilt.  In a few years, he will be an adult in the eyes of the law, while remaining a preteen mentally and emotionally.  At that point, he will be needing a new quilt.

Ask any quilter or sewer.

A quilt is a work in progress.  Eventually it might be labeled as finished, but throughout it’s life, it will periodically need care.

I have been told, I have broad shoulders to carry the burden of David’s care. To these people I say:  I am just a dad.  A sewer, striving to finish his quilt.  That is all, nothing more.

The Hard Decision

I title this post “The Hard Decision” because we have had to make a difficult decision. We made the decision to not bring David home on pass. An expert in David’s disorder has recommended for safety reasons that David not come home. So we have made the decision to refuse passes.  At 15, as much… Continue Reading

National Adoption Month – A thank you

Adoption story – A thank you Readers may remember more than 4 years ago when I wrote about Ronald McDonald and Houdini.  That four post series is still among the more popular posts on this site. My brother and I are adopted.  Our father, adopted us when I was 3 and my brother was 4. … Continue Reading

Reality Bites

Reality Bites – David is doing well.  I get that. I get that he can’t stay where he is forever.  I understand. In all likelihood, David will be home by Christmas. Experience tells us that, we we can expect 6 weeks of honeymoon before things turn negative.  That will bring us to the first of… Continue Reading

The What Would’s – Analysis of Decisions in the life of a child with severe mental illness

The What Would’s… Yes, you read that correctly.  The What Would’s. No, it isn’t some fanciful tale like The Little’s or Mother Goose. This is where we look at David’s life and wonder… a bit of analysis if you prefer that as a descriptor. What would… What would his life look like if after the… Continue Reading

An attitude for breakfast?

Full on attitude from David this morning.  He sees his potential placement in a residential facility as a badge of honor. I wish that he could understand how hard he is on the rest of the family.  Especially when he talks about how much he can’t wait to go to residential because they will let… Continue Reading

caring for the caregiver

One of the things that I struggle with, indeed I struggle daily, is keeping up with my own health while caring for my family.  Mostly caring for David, because much as it pains me, the other kids pretty much have things covered unless they need something. No longer am I the dad who gets things… Continue Reading

Round Two of the Battle for Services

We are repeatedly told that we need to do more. So we are doing more.  We have added intensive in home therapy, individual therapy, and have ongoing mentor support (staff).  We also are visiting doctors and psychiatrists. I spend my days either on the road to the cities, or at home chasing down this report… Continue Reading

Mental Health Awareness

We need to continue to raise awareness regarding mental health.  Focus on mental health shouldn’t revolve around those with real or perceived mental illness committing violent crimes.  Instead, it should be brought to the American conscious much like AIDS or Cancer. Mental Health encompasses so much more than one illness.  It includes ADHD, schizophrenia, Autism,… Continue Reading

The truth about David.

We visited David tonight.  He wants to come home.  As much as we want him to come home, home isn’t the best place for him. It isn’t just the Reactive Attachment Disorder. It isn’t just the Autism. It isn’t just the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It isn’t just the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It isn’t just… Continue Reading