I've been a mom for 33 years now. For 25 of those years, I was the scared one. I started out being intimidated by authority figures - my daughters' teachers, doctors, even sport coaches - they all frightened me.
Once I figured out that all of us were interested in what was good for my kids, they seemed less scary, and I relaxed; my self-confidence increased. It was good.
Eight years ago, The Boy and I embarked on an adventure that caused me to become fierce; I was territorial, protective - in short, I became one scary mom.
When The Boy was six, he was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. There were many scary times for The Boy up until his first suicide attempt prompted his initial admission into a mental hospital.
I entered a world not of my choosing. I was confronted with learning all I could about his diagnosis. I read about the frightening side effects of his medications; I listened to therapists tell me about the importance of consistency and learned how to do physical restraints.
The Boy and I were both afraid - this was some scary shit going down. When your child is in a locked unit at a hospital, you give up all semblance of control of your child; hospital staff chooses medications, orders blood and other diagnostic tests without your consent, and comes up with a treatment plan without parental input.
Parents are very limited in the times that you can visit your child. This is not a get well card and stuffed animal kind of visit - you have to pass through security (as do any clothing or books you bring in for your child). No food. No spiral bound notebooks (kids have taken out the wire and attempted to hurt themselves); even Mad magazine was off limits, because of the staples holding it together.
Purses, wallets and keys are first deposited into a locker. You get to come in heavy hearted and empty handed.
Being a skeptic at heart,
I questioned authorities - something I never did before. I found out I had the right of refusal for prescription meds - no Thorazine for my kid (I went ballistic after a visit when The Boy looked at me with empty, zombie eyes when he was overmedicated).
When he returned home, and went back to school, I remained fierce and scary. I got an educational advocate to attend IEP meetings with me, to keep the school district from putting The Boy in a horrible residential program. I had school psychologists on speed dial; I knew my rights, I kicked some ass and took names.
I've continued my activities over several interstate moves (and an additional diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder). I remain committed to looking out for his rights.
To find other scary mommies, visit the fun at Scary Mommy's place!