This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Burning the candle at both ends

I decided now that I'm job hunting again, I really want to go back to work in Social Work. One of the things I thought might help was to take some classes, primarily as networking opportunities. When I heard a NAMI Family-to-Family class was starting soon, I decided to take it. The class is designed to provide a general overview - educating people with adult family members with mental illness about how the brain works, symptoms and treatments for the different mental illnesses and how it feels to have these mental illnesses. They also sponsor monthly support groups where we could talk about our individual situations.

Since I have family members who are bipolar, I qualified for the class even though I'm really going for my kids. Still, they will be adults soon enough. Technically it's recommended that people with mentally ill children under age 19 take a NAMI class for parents called Visions For Tomorrow , but the VFT class was a 45 minute drive and on the same evening as Kitty's therapy. (Our area doesn't have a local branch of NAMI so they loaned our area the F-2-F trainers, but not the VFT trainers). That's why I decided to reschedule Kitty's therapy and take the VFT class even though it's so far away. After I finish it, I can take the trainer class (if they ever get one scheduled) and then I can teach the VFT class in our area. It's all volunteer, but it could lead to paying positions (especially if I can help get a NAMI branch in my area) and it gets me brownie points with local potential employers. Plus, I really want a support group in my area.

I started attending the Family-to-Family class and made a lot of networking contacts (including one referral which led to an interview although I didn't get the job). I also got a chance to see how others were dealing with their adult family members which is something we're going to be dealing with soon.

Some examples of things I'm not looking forward to dealing with:

  • Non-compliance with meds leading to psychotic adults who may attack family members and damage property - theft and violence

  • No communication from p-docs

  • Suicide

  • Police/ court/ jail

  • Unemployment

  • Grandchildren (not the children themselves, but the parenting issues)

  • Eviction

Although I've learned some things from both classes, in general I find the information in the training classes pretty basic (not only do I have a psychology degree and a Masters in Social Work, but over the last 4 years with the kids I've had a crash course in mental illness, advocacy, attachment, behavior...), but of course that's not the point of the classes for me.
Between classes, volunteer work and therapy, I'm rarely home in the evenings anymore, and I think it's taking it's toll on the kids - especially Kitty (more on that in another post). Hubby decided to take on all responsibility for checking the kids chores and making sure they're done. This has really lightened my load, but it's one more thing for Hubby to deal with, which is not what he needed.
Tuesday -Ponito has soccer practice which luckily the neighbor, who is also his coach takes him to). Pick up Kitty from school and take her to therapy. Hubby picks her up from therapy and I leave for my 45 minute drive to the VFT class. Get home after the kids are in bed.
Wednesday - As soon as the high school kids get home, we leave for volunteer work at the Horse therapy place. Hubby meets us there 45 minutes later and takes over. I go straight to the FTF class and get home after the kids are in bed.
Thursday - Ponito has soccer practice, but other than him I get to spend time with the kids.
Friday - Bear has therapy and afterwards we go straight out to dinner with the Grandparents and usually my sister and her family (love this!).
Saturday - Ponito soccer games. Kids do (or redo) any chores not completed during the week. Weekly shopping. Drop kids off at Grandma's so Hubby and I can go to Bear's therapy mid afternoon. (Assuming Hubby is not teaching scuba, which he does as often as he can). DATE NIGHT with Hubby! If he's not too exhausted.
Sunday - Late lunch at Grandma's with sis's family.
Because I'm at loose ends (HAH!) I finally organized a new support group called Parents of Traumatized Children. I want this to be a local support group for parents with special needs kids and eventually have regular support group meetings and playdates. So far it's starting slowly, but I hope to get more people involved soon.
Of course I'm trying to job hunt too, but I'm having trouble getting motivated. I'm not sleeping well (up until at least 2am every night again), but it doesn't seem to be giving me any more time to get things done!
I feel like I'm a couch potato, except for the time I'm never home. I'm exhausted, but feel like I'm not accomplishing anything. Hubby needs me to get a job, but I can't get motivated to really search.

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