My son was taken into care aged 8.
The social workers thought I had mental health problems plus drugs.
I never really had a drug problem. I was so devastated and distressed by my son being in care, and the hoops I was continually having to jump through to try and get him back, that I had two further breakdowns during which I got mixed up with a Class A drug user with whom I smoked crack for a couple of weeks. This naturally didn’t look good, but as I have found out since I’ve been using drug and alcohol services, I never really had a drug problem as such. I used drugs as one of my risky behaviours when manic.
At no time did social services offer me any significant level of support. What they offered me? Periodic visits from a social worker (to check on me), counselling for me and therapy for my son.
They exacerbated my mental health problems by their actions, the removal and drastic reduction of contact, etc. I was treated as if I was no longer my son’s mother. It was the worst time of my entire life.
Now my son is 17. He is depressed and anxious and barely leaves his room and laptop. He feels completely inadequate to live any kind of independent life and I don’t see that changing unless he gets over himself and starts participating in life again.
Sadly I am not alone.
I want him home, but I have made it clear to him that there are conditions. But J does not like conditions. The latest problems with the foster carer are that she removes the internet at night as a sanction to encourage him to participate more. Tough love does not seem to have worked for my son. He is very pig-headed and stubborn.
Social services intervention in our lives does not seem to have been for the best. If only they had listened to my calls for help in looking after my son, even prior to him being taken into care.
I think my son has some kind of attachment disorder. He lives in his own world and is blissfully unaware of the effects his behaviour has on those around him.
I don’t often go back over this stuff, thinking it would have been very difficult to bring him up as a single parent with no family anywhere nearby and with serious mental health problems. However seeing him now it’s hard to imagine how things could have been worse had he stayed with me. We would have been spared so much grief.
Social Services are crisis-driven. They will give no help until everything has broken down. I was always prepared to cooperate with them and even asked for help two days before my psychosis told me to run away to Paris in the middle of the night leaving my son at home with notes to call my then partner (which he did). I would have had to basically put my own son in care to get any help. I could not bring myself to do this and no one seemed to take seriously the fact that I was getting ill.
I’m in no way saying this was not an awful thing to do. I was psychotic and lost all judgment. I ended up totally manic in France and being incarcerated in a hospital there.
This is my story. In a nutshell.