Three months ago my eighteen year old son with Bipolar Disorder chose to move out. It was a fairly simple process: find a place to stay and bring his stuff there. Of course, there is more to successfully beginning one’s own life: job with enough income to support oneself, maturity to make good decisions and keep with it, etc. and, from my point of view, that was all missing.
Fast forward to this last weekend. We moved the stuff my son possessed into our storage until on Saturday, insisting he have everything boxed and help us move it to the storage unit. We didn’t know there had been some attrition of items during this time, but there was about half of what we thought we were moving. An odor permeated the futon, bedding and my son that was familiar and disappointing. Despite the help we supplied and the time we put into making this happen for him there was not thanks and gratitude, but irritation and anger. This move happened because he couldn’t live with these people any more; but he also couldn’t live with us. For the last couple of days he has been a house guest of at least one friend.
This morning I knew he had court; a probation violation hearing. I texted him to tell him I was thinking about him & ask him to let me know what happened there. It is the second time he has been in court without me, I was happy to not have to go. The first time he was on his own he was already in juvenile and the time I was supposed to come in changed and I was still sitting in the waiting room instead of the court room. Today I was at the dentist, running errands and quite aware of my freedom.
Early this afternoon I began receiving text messages that implied there was trouble, but he had court in the afternoon instead of the morning and he was agitated. Then silence. When I called his phone to check in with him about 4:00 PM it was turned off; it was still off at 5:15 PM. My daughter called to say she couldn’t reach him and wondered if I knew his phone was off. This didn’t need much imagination, but it was still only conjecture.
After dinner my husband tracked down the extension for the county jail and called to ask if he had been jailed and possibly the duration of his incarceration. The woman who answered was quite helpful and confirmed what we already knew; the length of stay would be five days. I appreciate knowing this as I am less likely to worry and stew over the situation now.
For the next five nights I know where he will be. For the next five days he will not be able to smoke cigarettes, or anything else. Having weaned himself from his prescription meds in December, he will have to cope with each moment of the day and night without a chemical buffer.