Armies, Fighting, and Being Still

The White Stripes released “Seven Nation Army” in 2003. Somewhere in that era at Christmastime, my English teacher friend Erin gave me a mixtape including liner notes in the compact disc jewel case. According to Erin, “Seven Nation Army is a song that makes you feel cooler just for listening.”
I love Haley Reinhart of Postmodern Jukebox since her days on American Idol back in 2011. She just celebrated her 30th birthday, and the comments on this video crack me up. Luke Klein says, “I watched this video and ended up in a gray suit and a fedora, smoking a cigarette in the rain in 1939. Pls help.”

“I’m gonna fight ‘em all / A seven nation army couldn’t hold me back.”

The White Stripes

I’ve heard the White Stripes in my head this past week, and their words convey my attitude. As I leave my house each day for my morning walk, my posture and stride seem to say, “Do not get in my way because I will kick your ass.” And that’s how I’ve been making my way through recent days. I carry this mixture of fury and hope, this “I will spit in your eye” mindset along with “God, please help me and most of all please help Drew.” My friends and prayers keep carrying me like a gondola up the mental health mountain I face.

Drew came by our house yesterday morning. The morning sun backlit his silhouette as he unlocked the front door and stood at the threshold. His long curly hair stood on end. A white boy’s afro. He said he was going to use the restroom.

“Did you sleep at the group home last night?” I said.

“No, no,” he said, shaking his head. He proceeded to the bathroom where I heard the flush and then into the garage where I heard the buzz of a variable speed drill. Alone in the house, I decided to write this post.

If you happened to read my post about prayers and friends carrying me last week, you know my son Drew was in the behavioral health hospital. Hospitalization #6. After ten long years of battling paranoid schizophrenia. Drew still has good days. When he left with HPD for the hospital, I found crystal meth in his room. How long have I been finding meth in his room? Has it been two years? Did I ever find meth three years ago when we lived in the La Quinta after the hurricane? How many times have I thrown meth in the trash? Where does he get his money to buy? Is he selling it? Does he have a medication efficacy issue? Is meth or schizophrenia the larger problem? These questions beat me down. Who knows?

Anyway, Drew spent five good days at the hospital. I have no idea what they did for him because he is thirty years old, and HIPAA laws protect his privacy. Drew reports that nothing happened, which could be true or false. The hospital doctor determined he was good to go. No further treatment necessary. The problem is Drew’s behavior leading up to the hospitalization proved dangerous to himself and/or others. Over the past three years, his delusions have progressively worsened along with his reactions to what he hears and believes. His dad and I are not willing to have him in our home at this time, partly because of a police report filed by our neighbors that in part led to his hospitalization. His psychiatrist is aware and unhelpful. Hospitalization #6 was unhelpful. Drew agreed to stay in a group home following his discharge.

By the way in Texas, group homes are not accredited in any way. If I wanted to open a group home for mentally ill patients and feed them and oversee their medication, I could—TOMORROW. IF. If you want to make some money, or at least have someone else pay your mortgage, move to Texas, open a group home, call psychiatric hospitals, and let them know you are open for business. From what I understand, it doesn’t take much more than that. Also, Texas ranks near the bottom of our fifty states for mental health expenditures per capita. Go figure. Should we move?

A Mr. Taylor drove Drew from the hospital to the God’s People group home where Drew called an Uber and returned home to pick up clothes and his car. His car that he had been using as his personal trash can. The same car I had removed trash from little by little—four full kitchen trash bags of McDonald’s trash, two uneaten apple pies and an empty sardine can, seemingly unending soda bottles and cans, empty American Spirit cigarette packs and cigarette butts everywhere—all kinds of empty cardboard box recycling—from a Ryobi Variable Speed Drill to a floor lamp, a Kobalt Retractable Hose Reel with Hose, a DeWalt Heavy-Duty Electric Wheeled Portable Compressor, and sex toys. Oh, and laundry, lots of dirty laundry. Some of which went straight to the trash. Some of which I’m airing now. Again I ask, where in the world is Drew getting this money? Have I been burying my head in the sand? All I know is that I have done the best I can. There is NO REASONING with mental illness, and NO ONE seems to want to help. Oh, unless, we happened to be millionaires. We MIGHT get some help that way. By the way if you Google God’s People in Houston, you won’t find anything. When I type the address into Google maps, I see the location of this group home in a one-story house in a residential neighborhood, likely three bedrooms and two baths.

So—after being released on Thursday, Drew didn’t spend Thursday or Friday night at the group home. However, he had been in contact with me by phone, and he was okay. He said, “I’m at a friend’s.”

“Are you planning to go back to the home?” I said.

“Yes,” he said. Drew is good at telling me what I want to hear. Like when I say, “Will you take a shower?” or “Will you take a trashbag and clean all of the trash out of your room?” I repeat the same question for his car. His response—always the same. Years and years of yesses. How are we supposed to help? By telling him he can no long live with us? By towing and selling his trashed out, torn up, paid for 2010 Honda Accord? I’m tired, and I’m trying to live my own best life despite challenges. How do you help someone who doesn’t want to help himself?

Mr. Taylor says he will let me know if Drew shows up, and for my own mental health I drive to the beach on Saturday. Drew makes a Saturday group home appearance—forty-eight hours after his hospital release. Mr. Taylor texts me about his arrival, and stupidly we pay a pro-rated fee for September housing. I say stupidly because Drew is at home when I return from the beach. He has eaten the leftover pizza, and I am thankful for his nourishment. We have a peaceful conversation about his aquarium and the fish he has recently purchased for his bedroom, and I am thankful for the calm. Drew says, “Their names are Patches and Duke and Catfishy.”

I say, “I named them Tom, Dick, and Harry.”

“Those are terrible names,” he says, and I am thankful for the laughs. Then, he leaves for the night.

Do you remember where this started?

Drew came by yesterday morning. The morning sun backlit his silhouette as he unlocked the front door and stood at the threshold. His long curly hair stood on end. A white boy’s afro. He said he was going to use the restroom.

“Did you sleep at the group home last night?” I said.

“No, no,” he said, shaking his head. He proceeded to the bathroom where I heard the flush and then into the garage where I heard the buzz of a variable speed drill. I would’ve thought the noise a buzz saw if I hadn’t found the cardboard box for the drill in his car. Alone in the house, husband out of town, I decided to write this post. Drew was gone within the hour.

Drew probably slept in his car last night. Possibly for the last four nights. If he’s lucky, he has a friend. Officially this means Drew is homeless. AND THIS IS THE PROBLEM WITH MENTAL HEALTH IN THE GREAT UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (and exactly why I want to kick somebody’s ass).

Mid-rage, I stumbled onto Perth Girl’s Saturday post. It begins, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14).

Perth Girl wraps it up by saying, “Be still, my friend, be still. Let the Lord be your shield and your sword. Let Him be your rock and your shelter. Be still and surrender to Him, leave room for God to work, let Him fight for you.”

Then I went to church at Chase Oaks online, and the service ended with this song. Do I hear God’s voice?   

“Even when my eyes can’t see, I will trust the voice that speaks peace over me.”

And so, as I attempt to re-make my own Monday, to re-make my own week, my own life, today, I choose to let the Lord fight my battles, to be still and surrender, to let go and let God. Oh, and I do have one phone call to make—to a church that can potentially help me. That might not happen today. 🙏🏻

41 thoughts on “Armies, Fighting, and Being Still

  1. ❤️❤️❤️My heart aches for you. I have one who has been into meth, no schizophrenia but there is no reasoning. Doing well now but my fear isn’t if my adult child will get back into meth but when. But I embrace the good times now and pray they continue. 15 years of on and off. Hoping Drew finds his way and peace of mind to all of you. Again, hugs to you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I have no words, but thank you for including me in the thoughts and realities of this hard road of yours. I think about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and how we are told she “held all these things in her heart”; and we always think that is a good thing about holding the good stuff in her heart, but I think more rightly it could be that she held all the scary, hard, frightening, suffering, things — the things that threatened her child from the outside and inside — held within her heart. I am sorry your heart has so very much to hold. As one mother to another, sometimes all we can do is hold those things in our hearts and trust that the Lord is holding our heart together in His Love. Shalom, Jane

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What can I say, Crystal? If I were near you, I’d just drop in, head for the kitchen to put the kettle on for a pot of tea, hug you, sit down to listen. I’m been praying for you, for God’s wisdom and discernment, prayed the Rosary on your behalf.

    I have a book that my daughter sent me — in entirely different circumstances involving a retirement move — called THE NEXT RIGHT THING by Emily Freeman (available at After all the pondering, the praying, the consultations, do the next right thing. Empty the dishwasher. Fold the laundry. Take the dog for a walk. Or, as in your case, escape to the beach for a little while. Those activities don’t solve the situation but they WILL calm you, refresh you, stabilize your equilibrium for what ever comes next. At least you are safe with Drew on his own. Tough love, it is. Tough. I know. I’ve been there.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Praying for you and your family. We can always pray… beyond that, letting go and letting God works way better that beating our heads against the wall (or kicking other people’s asses, lol). I completely agree with you about the miserable failure that is our mental health system. And I’m sorry you have to deal first-hand with the fallout. Hang in there, sister, day by day. 😘🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Prayer is all I have to offer your as I only have little experience with family in drugs. Your post made me hurt for you and all parents who have adult children who they cannot make do anything. The fact you are not letting him live with you is huge, that is tough love. It takes courage to put out tough love. I too will pray for you Crystal.


  6. Prayers you continue to find strength, Crystal. You have so far, and you will. That part is blessedly constant. Know that you are the rock to which you cling and, ultimately, so to will Drew.

    While there’s nothing in my life that matches your situation, I have a broad sympathy, as my cousin got hooked on heroin. Threw away so much potential, and so much of her life. Yet, her family’s love…

    So too may Drew, you, Kody, and all the others find solace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The prayers are at work. My pity party is coming to an end. Ug drugs. Not saying I’ve never dabbled. Just thankful I’ve never been stuck there.

      I appreciate the way you boost me, Keith. I hope all is well in your world.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Where’s this pity party you mention, Crystal? My invitation must’ve been “lost in the mail.” Figures.

        No pity pleaded. Just a person trying her darnedest to keep things positive, despite overwhelming challenges. Someone who knows she’ll need her family and her friends to stay with her through the mountains. We’re here, and far in the distance, if you squint, you’ll spy the beach we seek!


    1. Oh, my..,music is my go to also! Therapy at times. I could see how these would resonate so well from dropping that steady move forward get the hell out of my way, to sounding soft and carrying a big stick, and finally getting on your knees and letting peace and love rain on you! Funny I mentioned in a recent post that one of my tools after my divorce was to go to church and how I like the singing as a group..the power to lift us up. Keep playing music fast and slow; hard and soft. Whatever fits the current feelings🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for sharing!!.. I had a grandson that developed the early stages epilepsy and he got depressed over time and tried to commit suicide… while family were there to support him, getting outside help and convincing him to accept that help was key to his well being… 🙂

    “There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, people we can’t live without but have to let go.” ― Nancy Stephan

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Prayers for sure. So glad that I happened to stumble upon this post which in turn led me to the one about prayers and friends like gondolas. It’s what I needed to see. I’ve joined up on here as a way to get some thoughts out anonymously. My 12 year old son recently took a bunch of pills and cut both wrists. 12 years old! So since I’ve been on here I just been posting old shit that I’ve written or generally bland stuff. I needed to see your writing to give me the encouragement to therapy myself by writing this out. Also, I know it may help others. Thanks


    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your son, and I pray for your guidance and wisdom in helping him. It definitely takes a team effort.

      And the writing, whether you post it or not, helps in so many ways. Thank you for your story. We are not alone in fighting for our kids.


      1. True words, help is always there. And writing does help so much. BTW, he’s been doing much better since getting out of the hospital. Sitting here helping him with some schoolwork just like old times 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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