‘Incarceration’ on a sunny day

I’ve been trying (and failing) to make some sense of this experience. It’s too enormous. And on a sunny day like today, ‘incarceration’ is all the more painful. Of course LB isn’t ‘incarcerated’, he’s an informal patient who, in theory, can move around as he chooses. In practice, this isn’t really the case. (Although spending the day in his room watching Eddie Stobart DVDs is probably something he’d choose to do).

I was kind of delighted to read on twitter, this morning, that one of the priorities of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is to strengthen its focus on mental health, mental capacity and learning disability. That delight was almost instantly quashed by the ‘Yeah. What. Effer’ demons. The past 16 or so years since LB was diagnosed with ________________ [fill in the current label/s depending on the year/decade/century/version of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Use an extra page if necessary], nothing has really changed. The kind of things we (a group of parents of young children) tried to change in health and social care all those years ago, are being fought by a new group of parents of young children. Having just emailed LB’s care manager this evening to ask her to stop any more direct payments (DP) and take back what’s been paid into the DP bank account (above the surplus that has already been demanded back by the DP team), in order to avoid paying a fair charge for no support at all, makes me wonder if things have almost got worse in some ways.

It’s a tricky one really. The extreme situation we’ve experienced over the past few months has pushed us into some horrible spaces. The almost daily developments – good, bad and indifferent – in the various areas that revolve around being the mother of a learning disabled young man informally living at a mental health unit, are time consuming, sometimes baffling and emotional exhausting.

I’ve read, researched, written about and lived the experience of mothering a learning disabled child. This adult stuff is a whole new ballgame. One we’ve barely had a chance to absorb and think about clearly. In the same way there was never any (useful) guidance, support or advice about having a disabled child, there has been no useful guidance, support or advice about having a learning disabled adult son with mental health issues (I don’t like this phrase but dunno what’s an acceptable alternative).

This has been hard. But hey ho. The sun was shining today. There’s good stuff going on. Charlie’s Angels are fighting the fight. Rich and I are both blown away by the support and warm wishes consistently offered by family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and all sorts of other people. Some guy raved about my grey hair at the bus stop this evening. And Chunky Stan’s eye pressure in his remaining eye is pretty much back to normal. 

And we’ve arranged to meet LB in Burger King tomorrow evening with Tom. They’ve not seen each other for five weeks. Funny times.

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