originally posted 8/28/2009
My son has now been on probation 4 weeks. His emotions are up and down, as would be expected with any and all charged with these crimes and then completely losing their privacy. To further complicate, he also suffers from bi-polar disorder so I worry alot about him, having dealt with multiple suicide attempts since he was eleven. He’s also a self injurer and has often felt that he *needs* to die. The years have been hard, and it’s taken a lot of work and support to have him stabilized and then, his world, our world, came crashing down with this conviction. But, even with distance between us and family and friends, he has a strong support network which is helping and giving him some time to heal.
When I told him about getting involved with RSOL, at first he was elated. And then he began to worry, not wanting any exposure or attention drawn to him, fearing for personal vendettas from those in the community. The mood swings and paranoia associated with his illness doesn’t help matters. But he goes to group therapy every Thursday and it’s been enlightening for him. He’ll tell me, “Mom, everyone seems to be so hopeless. Some really do need help, there are repeat offenders, and there are those like me, made a mistake as a kid, but we’re all the same. And without hope.” So he tells me that he goes in there with a good attitude and he’s smiling and participating, telling me that he wants others to feel hope. And I think this is wonderful; however I did remind him that not everyone is as fortunate as he is, in that there are those that believe in him, support and love him. Some of these men (at this time there are no females in the group) have no one to support them, no one to lift them up, no one to advocate for them. And that hit him.
When he came out of group tonight he told me that he had told the therapist that I was going to become involved in helping to lead the effort in SC for the reform of sex offender laws. (It’s my understanding that SC is one of the most strict states in the country. The sex offender list is for life and there is little to no concern for how the convicted are punished). He told me that the therapist told him that was going to be a hard job. My son told him that he knew that. The therapist then said. “This will be an uphill battle if she takes this on”. Again, my son stated, “I know.” He said that the surprise of the therapist was obvious, as well of those in the group. We discussed this and he smiled, saying he knew this wasn’t going to be easy but not only wasn’t his mom to be underestimated, God definitely should not be.” I laughed, I was so proud of him. We made a pact between us. We may be victims in a sense but we will not sit back and continue being victimized without putting up a fight. And those that have no one, those without hope, we will do all that we can to inspire and innovate.
I worry a lot; I’m often fearful. But I look at this boy of mine and my heart is so full and I’m so inspired by him. He is my hero.
So, as his dad tells me…”Onward and upward.” The way we see it, the only way we can go at this point is up.
My thoughts are with each of you and your families. Thank you, for all that you’re doing.