The Psychiatric Hospital

Well, that escalated quickly. Or slowly, depending on how you look at it. I had really hoped we would have a few more years before we had to admit our little boy to the psychiatric hospital. I thought we might at least reach puberty. Instead, it is just one week after his 9th birthday. We admitted him two nights ago and I miss him so much it’s tearing me apart.

This entire summer, maybe spring too, has just been grasping at straws to try and help him. His psychiatrist has had us changing meds frantically trying to find the right combination that will allow him to have a decent quality of life. But we downwardly progressed from not being able to get him to do schoolwork, to him not being willing to follow any directive, to him hurting the animals daily, then several times a day, to him hurting us several times a day, to me not being able to restrain him myself and having to call his father home from work to help me restrain him several times a day, to him not sleeping and us having to restrain him for many hours each night, to us finally admitting him to the hospital for everyone’s safety and well being.

We had been communicating with two different outpatient programs at different hospitals which his psychiatrist highly recommended. We’d really hoped one of those programs would allow us to avoid full time inpatient treatment. But both of them took in our information, spoke to their doctors, and came back telling me that he’s not stable enough for outpatient and would only be admitted as inpatient in their hospitals. In fact, the hospital we ended up taking him to wasn’t even satisfied placing him in the regular children’s unit. He’s in the children’s enhanced unit, meaning there are less children and more nurse’s present.

Admitting him was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. A defining moment that comes to mind is when I actually had to sign him over. I probably had to signed about eight papers, and with each signature I could feel the pen grow hotter and hotter until I thought it would burn right through my hand. At the completion of the final signature, I literally threw the pen down on the desk and very nearly threw down the contents of my latest meal right along with it. After that, he was no longer legally in my custody. I had given complete and total control of his life for the next 7-10 days to complete strangers. I was horrified.

He can’t understand why we left him, why we can’t stay with him, why we won’t take him home. He can’t understand why he has to stay when he promises he’ll do better if we just take him home now.

Yesterday was his first full day there. We admitted him around midnight the night before. Yesterday morning, he had to have labwork done. That did not go well. He couldn’t calm down before, during, or after. He took swings at the staff. He ended up in the time out room (aka solitary) twice, and one of those times attempted to choke himself. He had to have two shots to calm him down. I can’t even imaging him going through all of that without his mom and dad by his side. It was scary and confusing for him and it makes me so sad and angry that we couldn’t be there to help. He’s also confused about the circumstances surrounding his time outs and shots. He has created his own version of reality in which he was sent to the time out room ten times for benign reasons such as coughing or resting instead of watching a movie. And he can’t believe we would leave him with such abusive people. In his own words. “It’s child croyalty!”

I guess he did better during the afternoon, since he wasn’t sent to time out or receive any more shots. We get to visit him every evening for 45 minutes. During last night’s visit, he cried the entire time and begged us to take him home. When we tried to convince him that he can’t come home yet, he marched down to the nurse’s station and demanded a price for his dad to spend the night with him. It was terribly difficult to leave him,  even with the reassurance that we would get to see him again today.

We’re making the hour drive to see him right now. We brought along one of his daddy’s sweaters for him to wrap himself in since the floor is kept cold. Then it will feel like daddy is holding him. We’re bringing a few favorite books and small games tonight, hoping he’ll be able to enjoy our time together tonight.

Out of all this, I’m hoping that we gain some insight into what is causing his hardships. I’m hoping we get some clarity in diagnoses, as his primary psychiatrist is unsure whether the main culprit may be bipolar disorder or schizophrenia or both. I’m hoping he can become quickly stabilized on a medicine regime that will allow him to come home and function in reality and ultimately enjoy his life. I’m hoping.

I want to encourage anyone who cares for a child or family member with mental illness to build a strong support system before you get to this point in your journey. My husband and I have such a huge, strong support system that they have really held us together and lifted us up every second along the way. Our family and friends have prayed for us and provided meals, gas money, distractions. They have expressed that if we find ourselves in need of ANYTHING, they will help us. We could not go through this alone, and no one should have to. Including you. So go build friendships and make them count. You don’t have to do this alone.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sherrie
    Aug 08, 2015 @ 21:20:36

    Oh dear, I can’t imagine how you feel right now. I’m sorry that you had to do this and I’m praying for things to even out so that he can come home. My thoughts are with you all right now.


  2. Carol L. Urazoff
    Aug 09, 2015 @ 10:34:12

    Krista and Japheth our hearts are breaking for you. Our oldest son,Tom, is autistic (he is 60 now and 60 years ago doctors did know what was wrong with him) and developed Schizophrenia around the age of 20. When he was 9 we had to take him to Camarillo State Hospital in Calif. and was there a couple of years, came home for a while, then had to go back for about a year. God bless you and keep you in His love and grace.


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