The Best Laid Plans

Well, someone once said that if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. I don’t really see God as laughing, but rather, sighing like the caring parent he is, knowing that things aren’t going to be the way we think, and having pity and compassion for us.

When we sent Petunia off to the Southwest for her freshman year of college, we knew she had issues. There were the petit-mal seizures, the headaches, the sleep problems, and the difficulty making friends.

But we had tried everything. She had been on multiple medications, none of which helped and many of which hindered. She had been to multiple counselors, all of whom either said she was fine, or said she wouldn’t give them any information to go on… and that she SEEMED fine.

The only thing we knew for sure was that she was always happier when the sun was shining, and that the weather systems in New England seemed to worsen her headaches. So we sent her 3000 miles away – to the school her brother is attending. We knew he would keep an eye on her.

As the semester progressed, she seemed ok. She was doing well in her classes and going to salsa dancing lessons in the evenings. She didn’t seem to be making friends locally, but she was keeping in touch with her friends online, and she was always on Facebook. Her brother thought she seemed fine. Alone a lot, but fine.

At one point, she told me she’d gone to the school health center to see a psychiatrist about her headaches and sleep issues. She’d thought for quite some time that she was bipolar, and after several visits, the psychiatrist confirmed her amateur diagnosis. They started her on medication (I was surprised she agreed to meds) and seemed glad to have a direction in which to go. I was very happy she was finally beginning to own her own health care. A huge step for her.

From 3000 miles away, I started keeping closer tabs on her, and she even went to visit my mom for Thanksgiving (she lives a couple hundred miles away) and ALL SEEMED WELL. SEEMED.

And then last week, the first day of finals week, I got a call from her psychiatrist. This is when I realized that things are not always as they seem. Petunia signed a release for full disclosure. It turns out she is severely depressed, terribly lonely, and very much on the edge. She is also failing all her classes. Every single one.

They suggested she come home, as she was already scheduled to do in a few days, and take a medical leave of absence. They also told us she needed to get into treatment immediately once she gets here; preferably daily therapy. There is much more, but that’s the gist of it.

So we are trying to digest all this and act accordingly. Petunia arrived home about 36 hours ago, and she’s spent most of it sleeping, but when she’s awake, she SEEMS happy.

Our plan is to get through Christmas, while watching her closely. Then we’ll go from there.

Among other things, my biggest personal problem right now is that I’m angry. I spent nearly a decade living with a depressed child and in spite of all my efforts and pleas and interaction with the medical community all over New England, nobody could figure out what was wrong with her. She slipped through the cracks right before my eyes. And somehow, she seemed – SEEMED – like she was relatively ok, which is why we sent her all the way out west. It was a last ditch effort to help her feel better.

It didn’t work. And I’m angry. Very angry. I’m angry with the doctors here, with the professors there (who didn’t notify anyone when she stopped going to class), with my husband for not making everything all better (yes, unfair, but there it is), and last of all, I am angry with Petunia. Angry that she never said anything to us and that we were so much in the dark.

Maybe I need to take up kick-boxing. After we get through Christmas, that is.