Sunday, February 21, 2016

deep water.

many days we are in over our heads.
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over the past six months we have been working with teachers, leaders, doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, and excel spreadsheets to piece together clues in ossi's struggle.
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we have been both his great advocates and his perceived enemies. matthew and i tag team as his 24-7 life coach, scratching our heads and praying that God can help him through us.

we're quite imperfect. and terribly humbled.
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the other day i was driving liam and his cub-scout buddy toward our home for a playdate.

friend: i will not play with ossi
liam: (no response)
friend: he's mean
liam: he's usually pretty cool he just struggles sometimes
friend: he's always bossing and fighting
liam: when he's his normal self he's really cool but he just goes up and down a lot. when he's up he's like crazy and silly and when he's down he's cranky.
friend: i hope he's up
liam: uhhh, i hope he's normal
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we made a chart that goes from deep blue to light blue to white to light red to deep red. the labeling presents a number line from -10 to +10. ossi can slide a button up and down a string to show how he's feeling at any given time. i can usually guess where he'll place his feelings based on how he is treating everyone.
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when he's dressed in some sort of costume, launching himself off of furniture onto people, and yelling, "i'm the king, worship me!" that's a positive ten.
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when he's angrily packing his bags to run away, going on about how everyone hates him, and carrying conflict like a cloud over his head he's probably a negative ten.
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when he's obedient, thoughtful, nurturing, and loving. when he's able to manage frustration and use good problem solving skills. when he's cheerful and snuggly. that's a zero.
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his siblings are getting better at knowing when to stick around and when to hide. which is terrifying. i worry about them and the way they are growing up thinking that it's normal to live in a state of uncertainty about the people they love.

on the other hand we've been so open as we've confronted these issues that they understand this mental illness in a remarkable way. liam told his friend that ossi was pretty cool even though he has every reason to resent him. liam knows that ossi is struggling. he meets each day with compassion for his brother.
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a few weeks ago, after extensive observation, ossi was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and started taking medication. so far we're not seeing a change but we're keeping our hopes high.

this is a one shot deal, childhood. everyone only gets one. evy gets one, finn gets one, liam gets one.
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ossi gets one.
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amidst great affliction and persecution joseph smith, a religious leader we greatly admire, spoke these words:

God knoweth all these things, whether it be good or bad. But nevertheless, deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become a second nature to me; and I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth.
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ossi came into deep-water. from his earliest years we've been swimming with him. holding him up at times. sinking ourselves. growing in strength through great exertion and struggle.  learning to keep our eyes on the Savior.

deep waters are becoming second nature, though we falter and lose focus at times. deep commitment. deep compassion. deep forgiveness. deep repentance. deep prayers. deep faith. deep love.
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better deep than shallow.

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