Despite all these wonderful qualities, he struggles to find a reason to live.
Pearson believes that his life is useless. The only time the pain stops for him is when he loses himself in a video game. He tells me that the thought of not living is always there. "I just want you to let me go mom" He is easily triggered into these thoughts.
As a young child, I noticed Pearson responded differently to conflicts or hearing the word "no". This triggered inconsolable meltdowns. He has always been impulsive, and quick to anger/intense rage and then sadness.
Pearson was five the first time he said that he didn't want to live anymore. He was frustrated and over life at five. He struggled and struggles in ways that are incomprehensible .
I started looking into therapy, spent years and exhausted outpatient care just hoping to help him handle life and find his life worth living.
Pearson is diagnosed with ADHD, Bi Polar Depression, ODD, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder and ASD1. We will have a psych exam done again once he has been stabilized, without technology and four weeks of therapy at the Wilderness program. This is not a military style bootcamp as some people think. It is a reset in nature with intense therapy. Pearson does not need discipline.
Academically he has had a 504 since 2nd grade and is now on an IEP. He is incredibly smart but not motivated. He does not do assignments in class or out of class. He struggles immensely in school. He struggles academically, socially and emotionally. He struggles to get through a day. He struggles to stay in school all day.
He feels unworthy, unloved and useless. He feels things deeply and has little motivation. He thinks his life is pointless.
He self-medicates with video games to try to quiet the voices in his head telling him he is unworthy. In any situation, he quickly goes into fight or flight and can't see his way out of a crisis without just wanting to die.
He wants to be happy. He wants friends. He wants girls to like him. He is lonely.
His problems have intensified and will intensify as he gets older.
Middle school bullying or unacceptance , puberty and life have only made barely manageable mental health struggles heighten to impossible ways to manage him.
As Pearson's mom, I have tried everything I possibly can to help. Talk therapy, psychiatric care, art therapy, parenting classes, DBT therapy, in home behavioral help, intensive outpatient facilities, an inpatient short stay...the list goes on.
We have changed parenting styles and I have learned to pick my battles. I have self referred him for a 504 and IEP's and had him psychologically tested.
Our insurance does not cover the doctors and programs we need. We have spent thousands out of pocket.
The truth is, the best of the best facilities don't accept our insurance. Good mental health treatment is only for the rich. It costs too much money to save your kid's life.
Pearson did an inpatient stay when he was eight. It was the bottom of the barrel for a hospital. It did more harm than good. But that hospital took our insurance.
If I could take this pain from my child, I would. We realize how desperately Pearson needs a higher level of care and how time is not on our side. We are a family in crisis, trying everything we can to help him. We all sacrifice. Pearson's older sister and twin brother have been traumatized and beg me to get him help and sometimes to just get him out of the house. They have suffered and part of their childhood has been lost. They are both worried sick about him. Pearson and his brother have a very co dependent relationship. Pearson has been jealous of his brother since they were babies. All his twin wants is a brother that he can do things with. All he wants is a brother.
We aren't alone. So many others are on this journey, struggling just the same. Fighting for our children's well-being. Fighting the stigma of mental health. Struggling to find resources. Hoping our kid won't become the next statistic that turns to drugs and or suicide.
The system is broken. There are such limited mental health treatment options for kids, even less for those with dual diagnosis. Over the last year, it has become very clear that Pearson needs more treatment than we can accomplish with outpatient treatments.
Treatment will cost closer to $200k between the Wilderness Therapy, the therapeutic boarding school, psychological testing , a hospitalized med wash and travel as his treatment will not be in Georgia. We are seeking financial aid and turning to crowdsourcing. I have reservations of sharing this story publicly for fear of backlash that comes with the stigma surrounding mental health. I can't share this in the state I reside in for fear of Pearson being bullied.
This is no longer something that can be band-aided or delayed and I am willing to do anything to help my son.
I am forever grateful to everyone for their thoughts. well wishes, connections, resources, assistance, compassion and understanding. Even if you can't help financially, please share. That is the only way this will grow.
Please, help save our son's life. His life is just as worthy of being saved as someone who comes from a wealthy household.