|Locked in/Locked out|
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Border Patrol ~ Protecting Your Own From Your Own ~ Don’t Judge Me
Borderline Personality Disorder is a nasty thing to get. Long before your child finally receives the diagnosis the collateral damage to the family is there. Don’t get me wrong. Your son or daughter can still break out from the disorder and possibly even flourish. But there’s a lot of bad stuff along the way at times when the illness takes over.
One of the darker parts of the disorder can be self-medicating, which can ultimately lead to stealing from those you love. With this diagnosis, you steal to get what you think you need just to maintain what you believe is some semblance of normalcy.
This is where our family found ourselves so often. We had to lock up anything of value and lock our doors even when we were home. You may not understand that, even if I went into a long explanation of the situation at hand. Locking the valuables up needed to be done when David was over. He would steal any number of items, sell them, and buy whatever he thought he needed to get through the next day or week. We couldn’t even leave him in a room alone as any number of small items could go missing. Whenever he was over the wallets, purses, etcetera were locked up too. We were on high alert every time he was in the house. Even when he was doing well, it was hard to trust him for two reasons. One was that old habits are hard to kick, and the other was that regaining the trust took some time.
Locking the doors even when we were home enabled us to not be caught in a vulnerable position if he happened to stop by unexpectedly, especially if a parent wasn’t home. We were a family accustomed to always leaving our home open and had a just walk in policy before this all occurred. It was sad thinking about how we got to this point.
Unless you are living with this you will never understand the lengths that had to be taken in order to ease the anxiety within the rest of the family. Some thought we were overreacting, while still others said that we were instilling fear in our other children. Once again, they have no idea what it’s like. We were not only protecting our kids that still lived at home, but we were also setting clear boundaries for David and explaining them to him along the way. He often understood the why behind our decisions even when he didn’t agree with us. It was very difficult to explain to him the why when he was deep in a psychotic episode. Thus, there was a constant need to really read how he was doing at any moment over the phone or in person.
I always prayed that the illness would stop affecting him so negatively, but it was not meant to be. He found other ways to get what he thought he needed. He’d sell his birthday gifts, or steal from other well-meaning friends, or relatives that I’d try to warn. Often, that fell on deaf ears until after the fact.
This is just one example of something that others will look upon in a negative light, or think you aren’t being very Christian in your behavior. When you are a special needs family, there will be things that you do or don’t do that others will look upon and judge you for it. You may pull them out of school too often. You may give in way too much. You may be too hard on them. You may buy them something you clearly can’t afford right now. Whatever it is, can I just say to ignore them? Trust not only your knowledge of the condition and situation at hand, but also trust your instincts. God made you that child’s parent for a reason.
I know because of our experiences with David, we are changed. It isn't good or bad, it's just different. We still lock our doors now way more than we used to even though he has been gone for nearly 5 years. We still lock them sometimes when we are home and definitely now when we are gone. Some may say to always keep them unlocked again. I say no. For our family we have found a happy medium when it comes to locking doors.
Prayer: Lord, help me to ignore the well-meaning advice of others, and give me discernment when it comes to decision-making, not only for my special needs child, but my entire family.
To read Ann's other blogs click on her name in the labels section. Photo courtesy of free digital photos stock ID: 100130376