Firefighting 101

As I prepare to write my first blog, ever, I question myself.

What did I get myself into? Who would care about what I had to say?  Did I do the right thing? Why, oh why, did I think I could do this?

And when I started to move the arrow to the “exit” button, an answer came from, well not above, but from a lesson I taught a group of 7 year olds just hours prior to me sitting down.

“If you don’t try, Mrs. Pawone, you won’t know if you can do it, right Mrs. Pawone.  You are a can-do kid, Mrs. Pawone; you can do it, Mrs. Pawone.”

Clearing my throat, straightening my posture, placing my 8 fingers back on the keyboard…I’m ready.  Nothing.  Type a few words, delete even more, introduction…lame, delete some more, breathe! No fancy introduction; 1 husband, 2 kids, 1 dog, 1 mortgage, picket fence, blah, blah blah.  Our daughter is easy to love and easy to raise, our son is just as easy to love but much harder to raise!When he was born all our parenting tapes, books and classes went out the window…we were on our own. 

When he was born all our parenting tapes, books and classes went out the window…we were on our own.

Over the last 11 years, our son’s ADHD diagnosis when he was 6 turned into a monopoly of alphabet soup disorders…adhd, anxiety, bipolar, sensory, etc…

When I think of the years that no one believed that children could be diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, I instantly think of the song by Barbara Mandrell, I Was Country When County Wasn’t Cool. “WHAT?” you might say.  Well, think of it this way, He was Bipolar When Bipolar Wasn’t Cool. “What, bipolar isn’t cool?” you might ask.   He was bipolar when no one believed in pediatric bipolar, oh well, I didn’t say it made sense…

As far back as I can remember, I knew our son was struggling with something that I could not begin to explain to another human being, let alone one in the medical field.  That motherly instinct they say all mothers have; I had it, I just didn’t know what to do with it.  He came into this world a spit fire and, now, after 17 long years he is still a spit fire.  We are merely his water source when the fire gets out of control.  The lesson here is to know when to use our water supply, and when to let the fire smother itself out.

Lesson 1:

Our spit fire was never much of a sleeper, from infancy a few little cat naps here and there were all he needed to get him through for hours.  When he slept it was always on, under, or next to me and never ever in his own room.  Eventually, our little spit fire and this inferno grew bigger but still not big enough to break out the water.  Surely this fire would soon burn itself out and the need for water was still not necessary.   When he was finally able to communicate, we learned that it was not the fire that caused him not to sleep in his room; it was the black shadows!

“They are not nice!” I remember him saying in his young voice.  After interrogating our 3 year old about the things he was or was not seeing in his room, I had come to a very professional conclusion…he was really seeing things that no one else could see and they were really talking to him.  CRAP!

We still didn’t use our water supply for this one for a long while.  Instead, we brought out our broom and very large area rug and began sweeping this fire under the rug.

At that time, this was a very effective way of putting out this fire.

He was 10, he had a few years of psychiatrist appointments under his belt and a few trials of medicines but this fire was a stubborn one,  we were learning to live with the extra “flame” in our bed; life was as normal as it would get.

Until, of course, the day came when our guard was down, our water source was nowhere to be found, and our outside water supply had been disconnected.

He was typically able to go to his room to dress for school, but not this morning.  His blood curdling scream that came from the hallway that lead to his room are still the most frightening sounds that play back in my head.  The things that only he could see, feel and hear were beginning to attack him.  DOUBLE CRAP!

A phone call, a few hours later and the previous negotiable medicines were now non-negotiable, we learned that this was one fire we should have used our outside water source on a lot sooner.

Knowing when, how or if to fight the fire…a continuous lesson!  Stayed tuned!

Renee Perrone

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4 thoughts on “Firefighting 101

  1. Figuring out when the fires should be put out and when they’ll go out on their own is the toughest challenge. Talking about it helps you and others become better equipped to get it right.

  2. Renee- I feel for you. I understand your anxiety about writing. I too am struggling with my first post, but I understand the fires. I look foward to hearing more from you as you seem to be a bit further along than me, with my 9 year old. We are here together!

  3. Thanks Robin, there is comfort in knowing I am not alone and that includes the anxiety of writing my first post! =) My son is 17, I may be further along in “dog” years but I am always learning. I, as well, am looking forward to hearing from you! Together is always better than alone!

  4. I am new to this area world, as my son is nearly identical to the things you described in your blog. What a relief to know I am not alone in this situation!
    My 7 yr old son has just been unofficially diagnosed with pediatric bipolar, and am grateful to those of you who have helped pave the way to understanding of this issue.

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