Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Reactive Attachment Touches Many Lives

It's been a long time since I have blogged. In fact, it's been almost a year now! Within that year, I have met my birth family, started a non profit company helping others suffering with R.A.D. (yes, adults suffer from it) and I have come to learn a lot about myself.

Reactive Attachment Disorder is, a terribly destructive and horrible disorder to have. I suffered 29 years with it. I was a tornado of a person, destroying anything and anyone I touched. I never had direction and I never had one friend, one close person to share my thoughts with. This was because I was generally a terrible, terrible person. I used, I abused and I left which of course are the trade marks of R.A.D. As a child, I was even worse, very sociopathic in nature and out of control.

My "Walk For Adoption" a 50 mile hike from Cincinnati to Dayton, Ohio gave me a lot of time to reflect upon my life and how it was spinning out of control. I looked back on the nights of booze, drugs and women not with disgust but with a greater appreciation of those that tried to help me. I looked back upon the days when I didn't care whether I lived or I died. God knows I tried too many times and I always seemed to stay safe.

When I met my birthfamily I realized the adopted child fantasy of the family that always wanted me back with open arms. What I saw was a competely different story. I saw a family strife with drugs, physical abuse and misdirected hate and contempt. I was able to see the very truth not that I wasn't anything like them, but I the truth that I WAS them, just in a different form. I guess that gave me the heeding I needed to try to at least give back to the community I did my best to destroy so many times.

My non profit was born out of the 29 year struggle to feel "normal". Happiness was never a word I associated with myself, much less anyone else. Stability was another subject that never had any particular meaning with me. I was too busy being unstable, self loathing and a terrible human being to care about stability.

I am now beginning to understand that I have spent 29 years in the dark. I spent 29 years of my only life being the most destructive person I could be and I am beginning to feel it not only in my bones but my thoughts as well. Anyone struggling with R.A.D. knows staring at a ceiling in the middle of the night lost, angry and depressed. Only someone suffering with R.A.D. can understand not leaving their beds for days at a time. There is nothing worse than feeling that you are worthless, shameless and not worthy of a friend, family member or confidant.

Many families I speak to tell me how their children are destroying their lives. I listen to these stories and it breaks my heart because all of the suffering that I have had to go through and inflicted upon others is still repeating itself. I wish I could talk to one of these children and tell them what will happen if they continue the path they are on: They end up like me.

I have come to accept the fact that I am who I am, I have done some pretty unspeakable things along my journey with R.A.D. Now penniless and broke with very few friends and dealing with the aftermath of R.A.D. I am taking stock in what I have learned, how I can apply my sufferings to others and help another person young or old with my own story. That's all I have left and in quiet reflection I realize I have gone through what I have so others can hear my story and perhaps realize their own behaviors through mine.



Queen said...

Mike--I admit when I first heard you speak @ CSS in Dayton, that I was shocked at the detail of your story but I was also relieved that what we were experiencing with our daughter suddenly seemed to make sense. In our subsequent conversations and meetings, I have learned so much about what she must be feeling and thinking (or not). While our difficult experience continues, I can only say that seeing how you have come "through the fire" and your willingness to help others and their parents through the hell that is generated by Attachment Disorder, gives us hope and hope is a commodity in very short supply with RAD kids and their families. I keep you and your mission with O.F.A.A.T in prayer daily.

Lisa said...

Dear Michael,
I found your blog through Ken's site and I am so glad I did. Please keep blogging. It's so helpful to hear it from your perspective to give me insight into what my daughter is going through.
Keep up the great work!

Queen said...

It's been awhile--lots has happened--Amelia continues to run away, has done 2 stints in juvenile detention for more than 35 days. While she was in, was crying, sorrowful, remorseful, jailhouse repentance and as soon as she was out, ran away again. We are heading down the wire to her 18th birthday on Sunday, March 8th. She is gone right now & rumor has it, going to marry an old boyfriend. She says she's coming to get her stuff. The lies and drama are characteristic of her behavior and she's burning bridges in record time. I am exhausted--and quite frankly, looking forward to her not being here for awhile..it was very peaceful when she was in detention. So we'll see how long her "run" lasts. Not so sure that we'll welcome her back if she comes back.

Queen said...

Amelia has moved out with her boyfriend that she has run with off and on for the past 2 years. They aren't working, she isn't going to school, they are living with his uncle and subsisting from hand to mouth basically. Conning, manipulating, begging for money--we aren't helping her with the exception of feeding her on occasion. I keep her in prayer since God is the only one who can reach her...I'm sure that will take a while for Him to get through to her as well.