Dispatches From Covid-ville: Mental Illness Doesn’t Care

This is the first in a series of posts about life within our new global community, Covid-ville. As our world universally moves into shelters and sanctuaries to fend off this vicious disease, here are some stories from our bubble as we navigate this time with a perspective on mental health, adoption, foster care and family life.

“Pick another aisle.” My eyes accurately delivered the message to the frazzled associate about to drive a pallet of Easter items down the aisle where my feet were not going to move. Free of people, I staked out my spot between the toilet plungers and furniture polish while waiting 20 minutes for the second pharmacy of the evening to attempt to fill an emergency prescription for a specialty pill.

Apparently, toilet plungers can be a source of inspiration.

Listening to 80’s hits in elevator-tones, it hit me that that mental illness does not give one rip about a global pandemic.

I was in there too long. There were too many people. I was breathing too much of other peoples’ air. It had been a day. I was done.

I liken my child’s struggles to guerilla warfare. Inside his beautiful, God-created brain is a hidden enemy that strikes from time-to-time without warning.

If you’ve followed our story, you know that 2019 was quite heavy. Today, while joyfully engaging in slogging along through this new venture called distance learning, it struck, rocking a fragile cease fire that had been in place since our son returned home shortly before Christmas.

But it did not win. Not today. Not in this quarantine.

Like temblors before an earthquake, we felt today’s attack coming. Our family is enveloped by several teams. One is a group of therapists that provide services in our home. Another, a set of medical clinicians. And of course, there is our church family. Today, they all worked together, focused on keeping our quarantine bubble in tact.

Earlier this week, we shared about the rumblings with the clinician team during tele-health appointments. We skyped and web-exed the therapy team with concerns and signs and signals. Earlier today, I texted two of our pastors whose prayers, I’m convinced, have a direct line to Jesus. This time, we were ready on all sides. I think our son could feel it coming as well.

Music to Write By: My son is wonderfully made. Thanks Ellie Holcomb for this beautiful song.

Like most of the world, his team of in-home therapists are working remotely. A tricky endeavor, being crafted on the go, that goes against the very concept “in-home.” Well, that actually allowed us greater ability in reaching our reinforcements quickly. Very quickly.

Somewhere in Silicon Valley, there is an engineer to thank for video-to-video calling on our cell phones. I’m doubtful they thought of mental health emergencies as a benefit, but here we are in the strangest times. It was the most welcome of conveniences.

Granted, nothing can replace human contact and touch, when moments matter, the ability to observe and perceive and speak into the moment can’t be underestimated. In last year’s surprise attacks, we would wait up to an hour for one of our team members to arrive on scene. Today, she appeared in minutes and worked with us remotely throughout the short, yet intense episode.

With the sudden ambush quelled and peace returned to my son’s mind spirt, I found myself at the pharmacy. We had just been through a virutal hell in our house. Now, I was navigating the matrix of shortened store hours, the early closing of our specialty pharmacy and the rare type of medication.

That by the way, was the result of an unheard of phone conference between a clinician and therapist from different specialities and organizations working together all from home to keep our son in our home during this most unusual viral event. It was a bit of challenge to get the right medications from the right places before the virus’ de facto curfew in order to ensure peace reigned through the night- and we would avoid a dreaded hospitalization.

Now, as we sit next to each other catching up on a social studies project due tomorrow, well past his bedtime I might add, I’m grateful for it all. Thankful for the unusual circumstances that aligned today to bring him the services and help he needed in the most unorthodox way.

I can reflect on three truths from today.

  1. Mental illness doesn’t give a rip about a pandemic.
  2. God, who, as our pastor reminded us Sunday, knows the number and purpose of each grain of sand on the earth, has not fallen off of his throne.
  3. In the war against this virus, our mental health providers are guarding the home front while our medical professionals, scientists, grocery and service providers and first responders man the front lines of this global war.

And we are so very, very, very thankful for them.

Struggling with mental health issues? Here are some resources to help you.

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