This is the start of a journey of Healing. It was filled with every emotion as we journeyed as a family, with one child who was severely anxious, suffering agoraphobia, social anxiety, depression… He had choices all along the way and was never forced to do anything. He chose to challenge himself and trust that we would and could support him in doing this. Like the phoenix he was rising from the ashes. As a mother these were some of the hardest moments and the journal of one day was written to relieve the pressure my brain was under at the time. This writing is about me moving through those moments and the observations I made. I hope you enjoy and can glean something of what carers and parents experience day to day.
Tuesday 15th July 2014
Wasn’t sure where today would take us. We made it. Kept everything as calm and normal as possible. We made it. Got up in the morning, didn’t go walking as I’d planned, instead in zombie fashion had breakfast and got ready for the day. Dived out to the pharmacy for Remedy Rescue, and some protein bars, the latter of which were off, so I quickly returned them then ducked out to the supermarket, after a quick car re-fuel and picked up some delicious lunch for us all to scoff down. Actually I was the one with the yummy salad, everyone else shared some re-heated pizza, which in itself was delicious. Time was ticking and unexpectedly Alex (nephew) turns up to get the lowdown on staying and looking after Stitch (the cat). OMG what a life saver…really feeling under the pump. Try to make sure everything is calm, but really feeling under the pump. Calmness is the game. E is packed OMG, he’s eager to get going and is all super organised, even brought his own pillow. Too much, we are off, C and E are having a chat. First time in 18 months. Blown away again. Journey is smooth to the airport. Nice and quiet although the occasional chat.
Arrive at airport and waiting for bus transfer from carport. It’s freezing, E is enjoying the cold, C and I seek refuge in the glassed room when the bus appears. We arrive. OMG. We find our ticket counter and wait our turn. Everyone is superficially calm, can we really do this. Tickets arranged, suitcase tagged and taken, I think we can. Hubby heads off with C to organise adapters and money. E and I head through the International gates. I begin filling in paper work, E starts his too. He struggles but fills in some of it. I finish it off for him. Security is a breeze although I get bomb tested, passed it! No explosions so we continue on. We stop off at a cafe for a cold drink. E is desperately thirsty. It has already been so much for him. I stay calm and hope for the best. No forward thinking, although the 10 hours wacks me like a sledge hammer. One step at a time. We can do this. He asks to find free wifi, he has something he needs to do. We find it in the middle section of the airport. He hooks up while I have a coffee, does something quickly and then packs up just as quickly. Hubby and C catch up to us and we chat a bit. They move on to the gate, E and I dawdle a little bit behind. We meet back up at the gate where everyone sits around simply waiting. More and more people arrive, it starts to get quite full and crowded. E shares with me his feeling of claustrophobia. I suggest he looks out the window, and secretly panic, how is he going to cope on the plane???? Split second decision, we be one of the first to get on the plane, remove the anxiety of walking in to a crowded area, be there first and then it’s easy with on board luggage and everything. So we jump up when called and board, OMG. I am sent down the opposite side to E, so I double back and head down the side with him, lucky he needs a bit of help getting organised and removing the possibility of dealing with people. So far he has spoken to (his dad) Hubby, C (brother) and Myself. No-one else.
I feel anxiety building within me, no window seat, no space to curl up and pretend no-one else exists. We have one row of seats in front of us and then a wall. It minimises visual impact of a crowded plane. We may do this yet. E is on my left, C is on my right. I let them both do whatever they need to do to be comfortable. As a consequence my feet end up jam packed with luggage, but I’m good with that. We fly, take off and fly. I am amazed, super proud, scared and delighted. Distractions of food, digital games and then movies. C is watching the Monument Men, I haven’t seen it, so it’s a bit hard to follow. E is watching the Lego movie, I saw that with C. I know the story line and even the gags, so I laugh along with E even though I can’t hear it. I think it’s a great movie. C gets knee cramps, I give him Panadol and he swaps seats with Hubby. Hubby has the knack of falling asleep anywhere, I am quite jealous as he appears to no off through the journey and look so relaxed. E watches the Anchor man 2, although I haven’t seen it I can imagine so of the gags and many of them have a visual to support the hilarity. I laugh, later I watch it with sound, it was better without! E has a sleep for a couple of hours, he is not relaxed and tosses and turns, flinches and twitches. I am aware and simply want to hug him and brush his brow. I don’t, I offer a shoulder but that is unwanted. I am so stressed that I have asked too much of myself and everyone, there is still so far to go…I am so stupid, it better be worth while!!! Then I remember the trip has already exceeded expectations as we are actually altogether. Keeping it Real! We get into the count down to arrival, by “we” I mean me! Breakfast arrives and it’s muesli, C surprises me by hoeing in, he must be really hungry. We eat some jam fancies too. Worst bit is it’s Tuesday again. No sleep and I need to make it through.
We descend. Most of the flight has been so smooth. We make the decision to be one of the last ones off the plane. Again avoiding the crowd, the fight to get through. It works, we sit there watching others try to make space where there is none and we relax. We get off the plane to the heat. E had complained about how hot the plane was, yet the airport corridors are sticky, full of glare and hotter. He puts on his sunnies just prior to the most glareful window. No Leis, I will be able to tell Julie we didn’t get laid, she’ll be disappointed. We progress out on to the street, then get re-directed underneath into customs. We join the first queue. It seems to be the most full. I ask the security lady and she says we can join the queue at the far end, no waiting, we overtake many of those who raced to get off the plane. Yippy. Fingerprinted and ID-ed we head to the luggage pick up. Surprisingly there is a person removing the luggage from the carousel. Never seen that before. He speaks very condescendingly to the people starring at the carousel for their suitcase. Tiredness has very strange affects on people. I laugh, I think he is humorous. Maybe I’m just tired too.
The walk to the car hire is exhausting. I sit outside in the shade whilst Hubby organises the car. The sparrows are slimmer here. I think of the little fatties we have at home, and how athletic these sparrows appear in comparison. Mind you they don’t need the winter fat to survive here in Hawaii. It is 7:30 am and time to drive on the wrong side of the road on little to no sleep. Hubby is outstanding. The drive through Waikiki is beautiful, busy, concrete, packed with people. Glad we are not staying here. We use the maps unsuccessfully at first then make it through to Diamond Head crater. E is happy to be driving, not prepared to get out of the car. He has found his line in the sand. There is no parking anyway so we keep going. Another wrong turn on the Highway, unsure if we are on the right road, and then we are almost spat out the other side of the island, incredible beauty, rugged, green mountains, magnificent blue water. We really have arrived. TICK. We journey along the highway towards our destination. Not much to see, lots of cane fields, jungle grass, Queensland fibro shack type buildings, road works and gorgeous ocean. The air-conditioner is pumping, music playing, although we lose reception the closer we get to Laie. We still need to call the agent, so we drive into the shopping strip and grab a cold drink each. Hubby calls her and she confirms she is at the house and they will finish the cleaning soon. The sun is out and the day is heating up. It is stifling out in the sun. The house is just what we had hoped for. No air-conditioning, the consequences I had not foreseen. The house was like a sauna, especially tour bodies coming from a Victorian winter. I am dying. We all feel the same. There is a bag of ice in the freezer. I use it to make cold drinks for everyone. Unpacked sort of I send Hubby up the street for food. Yes we need to eat again. The internet works, so C and E are hot, yet relieved they can do what they need to. C can game and E can contact the girlfriend. She seems to be magic for him.
We let the boys know that we are heading for a swim after some lunch. Half way through my lunch E asks if we are ready for a swim or when we are going. I feel like falling off my seat. So I say in 5 minutes. Strike while the fire is hot, so we quickly eat and head down the tunnel of vines to the beach. There is a back pack flung to one side and a top on the other, the amount of rubbish increasing as we near the beach. The walk is not a nice place to be still. The beach has rubbish strewn over it but the water is clean. It is quite a dumping break, but the water still looks inviting. We get in as quickly as we can. The water is warm. I wasn’t expecting that. C dips his toes in. Hubby arrives and joins us in the waves. E catches a wave. I am surprised yet again. More than I could hope for. I get out, the small fragments of plant material are quite scratchy. E soon joins me. I lose my necklace in the meanwhile. All my pendants gone, I don’t realise till evening. E is looking drained. We head to the house, he has some trouble co-ordinating ducking his head for the branches and gets hit a couple of times. He is not doing so well. We go to the outdoor shower. It is all too much. He heads inside for a proper shower. He takes a while and when he comes out he looks rotten. The shower went well, but when he got out he instantly began to boil again. He lays on the floor in front of the fan, gasping for air. I am really worried. I get him a cold drink and snacks. He reveals that his computer is overheating and he can’t play the most basic games, his microphones are not working and this is going to be a tough week. My thoughts about my responsibility in putting him in this situation spiral out of control. He goes to bed early taking his meds. He gets back up and lays to sleep on the tiled floor in the lounge. I grab a thin mattress and a pillow for him to lie on. The fan is blowing directly on him. He twitches, tosses and turns.
We make tacos for dinner. C enjoys eating Mexican. Sitting outside to eat is lovely. They warned us about the insects but to be honest I haven’t noticed any yet. A few flies buzz around but they don’t eat much. I am so tired. Actually I am terrified that I have stuffed up majorly and that E is about to retreat back in to himself and never come out again. I am terrified and share this with Hubby. He doesn’t see what is being experienced and thinks I am over imagining. He points out that I am tired and that sleep will help my perspective. I know this but hearing it helps me a bit. E stirs, so I assist him in moving to bed, the lounge faces “East” so lights up in the mornings and I don’t want that for him. I head C off to bed too, then go myself. I can’t sleep. Mind churning, finding fault in everything I do think and believe. I am a basket case. Hubby comes to bed. I am still awake, he snores, twitches and sleeps. I am wide awake. Cars race by, as the waves crash on the shore and lights flicker in the distance. Cocks crow, things move strange noises. I get up and grab my iPod so I can listen to Rosemary Santos (meditation) and it works. I drift off to sleep sometime after midnight. I choose to have gratitude for any amount of sleep. I get about 6 hours.