If you or someone you love lives with mental illness, then I'm sure you know this feeling. When a cycle is creeping upon you or your loved one, you know it's coming. Any day, they or you, will spiral into Hell. The signs are there....but there's nothing you or anyone else can do....
|My boy on an even keel, spinning, stimming, and smiling. <3|
Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop
That's what it's like for us. As his parents, we sit back, and we wait. Because we know, that any day it's coming. The deep, dark, depressive cycle. The one that steals the glimmer from his eyes, the smile from his face, and the hope from his heart.
He powers through the little cycles every month, but in the spring and fall, the big ones come. It never fails. It's always waiting. Lurking. Taking it's time. Ready to pounce. To leech into his life. Each time, stealing a little more innocence from my beloved boy.
I've noticed he's been slowly coming down for the last week. More apt to cry for no apparent reason. Commercials and songs on tv making him shed tears. We're back to muting the tv again. (Especially the damn tiger commercial!) Sleeping ALL.THE.TIME. This child rarely sleeps. But in the past week, we have to make him get up. Literally fight him to get up, and play or do art, or anything other than sleep.
|Snuggling with his fur cousin Velvet <3|
Video gaming is usually a reprieve for him. But not now. A simple loss sends him spiraling into sobs. He's head banging again too, and not to our beloved rock music either. I mean, he's getting so upset that he bangs his head for "relief from the thoughts."
These little signs are how I know the big one is coming. He does too. He can sense it. He feels it. He asks me, "How bad do you think it will be mama? Do you think it will be over fast? I don't want to lose a month of my life again."
Thoughts from an ELEVEN year old boy
A boy that struggles to make sense of life as it because he lives on the autism spectrum. He also fights this demon we call mental illness. More specifically he fights Pediatric Bipolar Disorder.
My son really is a superhero. Sans cape of course (except for the days when he dons his Batman one.) But he won't. Not until this cycle subsides.
You see, people on the spectrum perseverate. That means they have one thought, repeatedly. Day in and day out. Now add in the horrible thoughts of wanting to die from mental illness. Those fleeting thoughts don't leave. Now they are all he can think of. They play on repeat in his little mind, all day, all night. I can't imagine how that must be for him.
For now we live each day in waiting. Making mental notes of every sign, so we know when to jump into action.
We have to have a plan. Up until now if he became too suicidal, it would mean a four hour ride in an ambulance to the closet mental unit that takes peds. Now however, he's "old enough" for the local behavioral science unit. I'm not really sure if that should make me feel better. Because my eleven year old boy would be in a ward with adults fighting the same battle. My baby. My world.
Suicide watch is coming. We make sure all scissors or kitchen knives are hidden. He isn't left alone for more than a few moments. And yes, that means even in the bathroom. Because all it takes is a moment. It also means that I will now be sleeping in the living room with him. Someone has to be by his side at all times. No comfy bed. No good night's sleep. Not now. Not for awhile. This is our life. This is autism and mental illness.
This life isn't easy. For him, it's even harder. So on a bad day, take a moment and remember it could always be worse.
And if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please ask for help. I know, it's not always easy. Most often, my son doesn't ask either. But there are people who want to help. You can even message me if you need it ( firstname.lastname@example.org ). But please, reach out.