Saturday, 31 July 2010

Madness explained

Originally uploaded by stacy michelle
I once had a patient whose teenage son had a habit of cutting her arms and bleeding down the stairs.

The patient had a habit of loudly saying in front of said son and sibling how much she enjoyed them being away at their dad's house so she could get some peace (oddly, said dad no longer wanted to live with her).

The Child Protection Services had assessed this woman and found her a perfectly capable mother.

Which I'm sure she was in the strictly physical sense of the word, the kids were most of the time decently dressed and kept out of danger, apart from a couple of times when she sent them out to play on a nearby motorway junction.

But psychologically, not so much, I'm guessing from the cutting.

I myself should have called CPS, but I didn't. I was temping and my colleague, whom had visited this woman weekly for years, clearly didn't think it necessary. I guess part of me didn't want to stir the waters. This was years ago, I still remember the sight of the kids lurking round the corners during my home visits, and I still feel guilty about not doing anything about it.

Funny how, as soon as an adult goes a bit nuts, we forget all about the kids.

So GM opened the closet, finally.

Turns out that his perfectly friendly and welcoming, yet weirdly aloof and somewhat hypomaniac mother, in fact had some kind of psychotic episode when he was a teenager.

His siblings were sent away as they were deemed "too young" to know the truth, and my lover was left alone with her, and a few buckets full of antipsychotics prescribed by the local doctor, whom also explained what was going on to him in full latin, to make sure he had no clue what was being said.

Mother was clearly not deemed a danger to herself or others, and so was left home. Father was called back from overseas, but clearly back in the day, this took a while to arrange.

So the teenager was treated like an adult, which in a way he was. But still a child.

He has, over the years that have passed since, confronted his mother over this to get answers, closure, and perhaps an admittance that this was way too large a burden to lay on narrow teenage shoulders alone.

Of course, he has achieved nothing by this except her getting majorly pissed off, including throwing him out during visits, refusing to visit him for about 20 years (true story..), missing every special occasion and graduation in his life and attempting to blame it all on his father's drinking habits. Which I'm sure do have something to do with it all in that loosely connected way that everything within a family has to do with everything else, but it's a bit feeble really.

Naturally, this is all old hat by now.

But he has never told anyone about this, not even his siblings.

It is a heavy burden to carry for one person, for so long, when wounds are never allowed air to heal, and you are just forced to cover up the scars and get on with it.

So next time, I will call CPS.

As should you.


Robyn said...

congratulations.... i just read that you are now expecting a baby :)

best wishes from Robyn of Ribbon fame x

Robyn said...

i lost you for a while, but i'll be back to read some posts and i hope all is well in your corner of the world.

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