Waiting for the hammer to fall
I have been put in a situation that feels like a battlezone and right now I am just waiting for enemy contact. I am moving around as quiet as I can and my nerves are like broken eggshells.
Tam is extremely anxious after a nights sleep and we have been up since 3am. He is so anxious that he is not able to sit long enough to eat a meal. He gets his wild eyes if a move around too much and the best I can engage him with is with tickles and hugs when I feel it is not too dangerous. In this situation I sometimes get a good reaction and some giggles and smiles but then abruptly he will ask me to shut the door and it has to stop. The worst situation is that it triggers him to push back and try to bite. Tam is struggling with the world, his feeling, whatever he processing inside him. I don’t know (and to that matter no one does) what it is and how to help him.
So I am living life on the knife edge of explosive violence from my boy. Tam is living an incredibly anxious life with things that have happened to him as part of a mess of hurt for someone who is not atypical. Life has given Tam a shit load to deal with.
Looking back I just want to point out a few things. I don’t think anything will change but if you want to understand why “the hammer fell” then this is the best I can provide you with.
Events of note
The incident in October last year was brought against Tam by incompetence and stupidity. I have written about this several times and I do see this as the enabler for Tam to drop into a high level of violence. That day he was trapped in a situation that he could hear was going to get much worse and he tried to bail out of the bus. The staff dealt with it in a really bad way and I think the incident was bad enough that the respite centre should have been shutdown until a full investigation took place.
No investigation of any note took place. Arses were covered and they continue to be. I think this leaves the kids being “looked after” there in great danger. Not my fight anymore but this was strike one for me and Tam being let down and thrown to one side.
We were introduced to IPBS when things were precarious and I was trying to cope with a lot. I only know in hindsight that I was in a mess and Tam was not coping at all.
I kept on being told that IPBS’s major task was to keep Tam out of hospital. Over and over again I was told this. Granted I was not in a good place but that is my feeling and recollection.
Well the day I went to the RVI and asked them to take Tam away before he got hurt was the day they succeeded. They stopped what needed to happen and I returned home with Tam. I took Tam to hospital because I was scared that I was going to hurt him. Well that did not figure in the decision to not admit Tam to hospital. They left me and Tam in imminent danger. Again that is something I feel with the benefit of hindsight.
A few days later after a mess of bad communication and “threats” of Tam being taken to a hospital “down south” the mental health assessment took place and Tam was admitted to Ferndene. Miraculously a bed was found out of some thin air. I could go on a rant about the waste of money and use of threats to send Tam to the “south” as part of a plan to stop kids being in the place they need to be. I could even point you to a newspaper article https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/06/13/sending-mental-health-patients-hundreds-miles-away-treatment/ that says that the Royal College of Psychiatrists calls this practice inhumane. I could rant about the waste of money. I could rage about the whole situation but it continues and is used as a threat against parents while they are at their lowest ebb.
Well Section 2 and then a move on to section 3 and Tam is discharged. I am in a better place and Tam is just happy to be home. He is discharged with no medication of any note. Our GP asked the question about this and was surprised at this outcome. After thinking about it I am becoming more and more let down by the lack of communication and reasoning behind this.
I am especially confused now that Tam is showing high anxiety and now I have looked at the situation and asked people around me I have to think Tams time in hospital was a bit half arsed.
I have normalised Tams level of anxiety. Anyone having Tams “normal” level of anxiety as I see it would feel “extremely anxious”. Tams “middle” level of anxiety would be absolutely debilitating. The “bouncing”, “self harming” and “violent” anxiety levels are not analogous with typical levels of anxiety.
So in reflection Tams sectioning bought us time. Gave me a place to repair myself and build my energy up. I do think it helped a little with Tam from the point of view of his separation anxiety and the fact he was just glad to be home with Dad. It bought us time and delayed another catastrophic situation.
What it did not do was the harder thing. It did not look at Tams anxiety and find someway of helping him cope a little better.
Overall a traumatic, difficult experience that the only positive thing I can say is it delayed what was needed, it bought us time but did not help with the root cause of Tam anxiety.
That place ending in L and starting with S
I have nothing but praise for the support provided. The temporary exclusion was necessary to support and protect everyone involved. Me extending it was a necessity to continue that while I tried desperately to get some constructive help. No criticism can be levelled at the place ending in L and starting with S.
The only aspect that was difficult was Tam taking a dislike. However I lay the blame for this escalating to the point it did my the respite incident.
I will say first off that there are some good people working there. I have had interactions with good people and received some good care and advice.
But, and it is a huge but, the organisation is not fit for purpose.
I have had multiple problems getting prescriptions sorted. I wish I could remember how many problems, but I think the best indicator is that today I am waiting for a prescription for medication for Tam and I have put a note on the calendar for a few days time to chase it up. I don’t see it worth thinking about it even though the drugs are kinda important. (update: it took 8 days before they were ready for pickup)
The major problem I have is the Crisis Team. Both out of hours and during office hours I would describe the service as dangerous. I was told that it was there when things got really tough. Well all of my interactions have been problematic and after ringing them at the weekend in a weak moment and at the insistence of the police I was hit by road blocks.
I think I can breakdown the problems into the following:
- The inability to get through to a person without explaining yourself at least twice.
- The inability to talk to a Doctor directly, it is always tell the person who answered the phone and they will tell the doctor and then they will ring back with an answer. Chinese whispers come to mind. It is fraught with miscommunication and I have been on the receiving end of miscommunication twice at least. The gatekeeper are the masters of your situation.
- Again on the gatekeeper aspect, decisions are made without talking to the parent in an honest and open way. I know I have been lied to by one person on the phone and I know decision have been made that would not have been if they had asked a simple question or properly read Tams notes.
The last incident left me and Tam in a worse situation and left me feeling like a cornered rat with no assistance from them. I have no access to mental health assistance for Tam.
NOTE: I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and put it to one side. After a little reflection I think it is still factual and is our truth. As far as mental health assistance goes we have very little. The promise of services being available is not a truth it is far from a truth. The current system just does not work and I think it is dangerous. Right now I think me and Tam are better off not even hoping for help from the current mental health services and just getting on with things ourselves.