You know something isn’t right.
He isn’t sleeping.
His behaviors are becoming unpredictable.
His mood swings are unavoidable and lengthy.
You know something has to change.
You watch him closely.
You think his meds may need to be adjusted.
You worry about him hitting puberty and getting all of the testosterone and aggression that comes with it.
You know you have to do something.
His words are full of negativity and self-loathing.
His mind is a maze that no one can reach the end of.
His impulses are un-managed and uncontrolled.
You begin to think about solutions and options.
Does he need to see his psychiatrist again?
Does he need more rigid treatment?
Does he need to be somewhere that can offer him more than I can?
Then, it happens.
The uncontrollable event that brings you to the moment when you have to hospitalize your child.
He’s done something to himself or someone else.
You know he needs help.
He isn’t safe at home.
He isn’t happy right now.
He needs help and protection that I cannot provide.
You mind is spinning.
You feel guilt.
You feel sadness.
You feel anger.
You go numb.
You go through the motions of an exhausting day.
You answer questions about him and his behaviors.
You fill out paperwork that asks you many of the questions that you have already answered.
You stay with him.
You try to stay present and stoic.
You try not to scare him.
You try to explain that this is the best option and that it will help us ALL in the long run.
You hold it all in.
Your feelings are bubbling and pressure is building, like a shaken bottle of pop.
Your mind tries to wander and tries to figure out how you got here.
Your faking it, until it is all over.
You leave him.
It’s the hardest parenting decision that you have ever made.
It’s the most difficult build up of emotions that you have ever felt.
It’s the worst, best thing that has ever happened.
You cry, for hours, off and on.
You medicate, either prescription, alcohol, caffeine or whatever else is your drug of choice.
You wallow in the guilt, sadness and anger.
You wake up.
You do what you need to do.
You remember what is best for him, for you, for the whole family.
You remain present, vigilant and calm, because it’s what parents do.
The moment, when you realize you have to hospitalize your child, can be the hardest and most confusing moment of your parenting life. You want to do what is best for them, but leaving them in a hospital can feel like the worst decision ever, in that moment! You feel like a failure and you feel like it’s your fault, but you have to remember that because of you, he is safe. Because of you, he is getting help. Because of you, his life will get better.