by Matthew L (personal story)
During my last hospitalization the ex wife and I came to the decision that my son would not come to visit me while I was on the psych ward. At the time he was three and we did not think that a visit on the psych ward was appropriate for him. Normally the ward is a rather calm and boring place to be but there is times when the floor goes off so we did not want to take the chance plus I was going through withdrawal off of Effexor, Wellbutrin, Remeron and Lithium which had my brain going every which way but the right way. Not exactly the image I wanted to be presented to my son.
Every couple of days I would call my son to see how he was doing and what he was up too. These phone calls were essential for the father son relationship but at the same time they took their toll. Mentally I was in an awful place so I needed to psych myself up for the phone call so he wouldn’t have any reason to be worried. My son was told the reason I was in the hospital was because my medications were not working right so the doctors were trying to find the right ones which is basically the reason I was there simplified.
During every phone call my three year old would ask when I was going to be coming home and if I was better which tore my heart out but I always managed to answer him that Daddy was working very hard and would be home soon. After the calls mentally I was a wreck as I felt I was a terrible parent causing stress on someone so young and a couple of times it put me right over the edge. Thankfully every time this happened a good nurse would be on and helped me to work through it.
When it came time for me to go home and my son started his routine visits again every time he saw me he would ask if I was okay which is a brutal question to answer for a parent as it makes you realize that you are not the only one being affected by mental illness. Since my ex wife became pregnant I promised my child to be the best father possible and always be there for him and my personal demons are preventing this from happening to the full extent.
There have been occasions when I have compared whether or not my son would be better off if I was dead and there is a lot of reason on how it could be viewed as positive but I also know that the odds of a child committing suicide because his or her parent did is sky high. The part that always stops this train of thought is that even though at times I am not on top of my game at least I am still there trying and the hope that with time I can be the parent I want to be so I continue to fight.
My son is what stops me from ending this hell that I live in, my son is the reason I have been trying so damn hard to win this war and my sons laughter is what fuels me for the battles ahead. I don’t really care what happens to me but I care what happens to him and that is all I need to keep going.
Image Credit: Daniel Horacio Agostini – www.flickr.com/photos/dhammza/100817327