I should have figured out that something was not quite right with Kastle within a month of his birth. He screamed. Constantly. The only way you could get him to stop was if you stood in front of the tv, with him draped over your arm, while "Veggie-Tales" was playing. (To this day, he requires near constant stimulation.) I am not kidding. I spent damn near a year standing in front of the tv, watching Veggie-Tales. Everyone told me, "Oh, its colic, it will pass.." Yeah right. You ever watched Veggie-Tales 10 hours a day for a year? You should try it sometime. Then hit me up, and we can be roommates when we go the psych ward together.
Well, now I know that "colic" can, in certain cases, be a warning sign for incipient mental illness (I would like to say here that that is by no means a universal truth, so don't panic if your baby cries). Kastle has Bi-polar Disorder, Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Intermittent Explosive Disorder. I also suspect he has Generalized Anxiety Disorder, but that diagnosis has not been confirmed yet. On the physical side of things, he has sleep apnea (so he's angry and tired....oh joy of joys!), and on the learning side of things, he has Developmental Dyslexia, and Disorder of Written Expression. Poor little guy. He got dealt a rough hand.
So, the short version of the story is we tried to deny it and/or ignore it, until he became of school age (and got kicked out on his first day of kindergarden). At that point, we tried therapy, various supplements, special diets, any non medical approach we could find. By second grade, we had exhausted every other available avenue, and we sought the services of a psychiatrist. At the time, I felt like I had failed as a parent, because I was taking my son to a "shrink" to get put on "drugs". I remember sobbing in my husband's arms, and telling him that I was the worst mother in the world. Looking back on it now, my thoughts are "You freakin idiot!!! Why did you wait for so long?" I now understand that what I did was take my child to a psychiatrist, to get put on medication. Totally different thing. Are things perfect now? Hell no! But are they better? Yes. Is Kastle far happier, and more able to cope with life, develop friendships, and have a somewhat happy and normal childhood? Definitely. Is everything peaches and cream, and ring-around-the-rosy? Nope. Everyday is still a struggle. Hell, just last January Kastle had a set back so huge that I had no choice but to put him in the hospital, and then in Residential Care, for three months. I could not keep him safe from himself, and I could not keep other people safe from him. I cannot work, because Kastle requires 24 hour care, and there is only a very small handful of people that he can be safely left with. He only attends school a few hours a day. But all in all, things are much better now than they were pre-psychiatrist.
So, what does all this mean? On a good day, Kastle looks and acts like any other child. The only difference being that if he goes to play with a friend, said friend's parents get handed a baggie with medication and instructions on how to administer it. On a bad day, anything could happen. I could get punched, or bit, or kicked. Kastle might be to be restrained, maybe for hours, to prevent him from hurting himself or someone else. We could end up in the Emergency Room. If he freaks out somewhere away from home, the police could get called. He might cry-for hours. He might try to harm himself, or he might try to engage in reckless or dangerous activities. But Kastle is my son, and I love him, and I will do whatever he needs to keep him safe, happy, and healthy. If I had to do it over again, I would still be his mom.