Archive for February, 2014

Be the change.

February 26, 2014

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I Love pink shirt days, anti bullying days etc. But I think we almost need a shift in our thinking.  Anti bullying needs to be everyday, a way of life per say. We ourselves need to be the change we want to see in the children. Statistically these specific days increase bullying on said days. To me it all stems back to acceptance, kindness and compassion.
I reflect on these days on how much dude has endured. 
I still see a child with the lasting effects of bullying. Yes he is sensitive, yes he has mental illness. No that doesn’t give people the right to treat him the way he was treated. I understand kids will be kids etc. But what he endured was far beyond that.
And what stings more than the kids, are the adults that played such a vital role in us almost loosing him at 9 years old.
The ones that turned a blind eye. The ones that at times joined in the mocking of a child, the ones that out right bullied me as a parent.
Play ground politics is a normal part of growing up, learning to deal with confrontation etc. Play ground politics does not put a child in hospital with ptsd!
Play ground politics or kids being kids does not have so many young lives being lost. No those are lost due to bullying. Repetitive behavior. 
I wonder if we as adults went to work everyday or even out and about.  Instead of being greeted with hello by fellow adults were greeted with “fag”, “fatty “,”idiot “, “retard” “mental “. And  Every time we went to take a seat our chair was pulled from under us, while we walked down the hall or street we were shoved, tripped and hit. Would you keep going back, without feeling anything and go home with a smile and say “people just being people ”  ? No I didn’t think so. You’d a)quit or b)fight back, stand up or c ) a & b then just give up.
That is only one small example I can give into the glimpse of what a child goes through.
As parents we do our best to teach our kids to walk away, be the bigger person, not realizing how hard that is.
The general assumption is that people who bully are suffering at home and/or from low self esteem. 
Studies now are showing this is not the case for most (yes some but not the majority ) infant they show the opposite,  these people have an over abundance of self esteem and a false sense of entitlement.  Interesting indeed.
The brutal truth is like dude there’s so many kids and adults still carrying these very real wounds within. Some heal faster than others, some never heal.
We need to step back and instead of most labeling bullying behavior (not repetitive ) as bullying, calling your typical disagreement or single name calling bullying can give a complete over use of the word and desensitize the severity that bullying is.
We need to admit that this really truly happens, and has very horrible outcomes weather a life is lost or not.
We ourselves need to and teach our children from toddler Hood that not liking or disagreeing with someone does not give us/them the right to be cruel.
We need to accept differences (yes that’s hard) we need to teach and show empathy. We need to be the change.

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Stop the blame and the shame !

February 23, 2014

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OK I’m taking a big breath and I’m writing this post!
Why do so many suffer in silence,and not receive help? I think theres a few reasons, but shame is a big one. So here I go…
I saw a post yesterday that made me see red. It was a very poor pie chart comparing the causes of mass shootings (a target at big pharma companies ) The entire pie was red, depicting people on a list of anti depressant or anti physcotic medications, as the sole cause, I stand strong this and mental illness is not the sole cause .
Now if you’ve read previous posts you know we struggled with medication. You’ll also know I don’t believe it benefits everyone, or that everyone needs it. You’ll know I believe it should be coupled with therapy and prescribed for the most part by physciatrists. I’m aware not all countries make any of this easy. You’ll know I believe in to each their own path of treatment.
I saw red, why did this bother me to my core?
Because if I was someone suffering I would have felt attacked for nothing more than treating my illness!
Here’s the thing a lot of society forgets, because it’s human nature to want to be able to blame someone or something.  Almost all people with mental illness are a harm to noone, other then themselves, even then only some.
by Taking medication appropriatly, as prescribed and monitoring does not put you at risk to harming others or increasing violence.
I would hazard a guess that those who acted out these horrendous crimes (and I am not in any way shape or form condoning or excusing these criminals ) were yes possibly on said medication, but I almost guarantee they either a)were not actively taking them b) not taking them properly or c) not being honest with their physician if being monitored at all.
Did they suffer from mental illness, probably,  were they on meds? Maybe.
But I’m sick and tired if mental illness and medications for treating the illness getting a horrid stigma because of ridiculous, falsehood s put out there by the media, lawyers and people who really don’t know.
Maybe instead of monosato (don’t care about the spelling! ) posting something that could potentially cause someone try to  stop medication or question themselves as a decent human being, they should think before they speak.
Maybe they should have a bit more compassion, empathy and leave attacking individuals out of their ads.
Maybe they should do some solid research on just how many lives these medications save. Every. Single. Day.
Want to slander and attack the big pharmacy companies, which I know was the point of said ad?  Go ahead, but leave those that benefit from medicine out of it. Unfortunately many with mental health issues already have low self esteem, and question themselves, feel guility and alone. Such ads could ultimately cause a lot  damage and yes I’ll go as far as risking a life or lives . It could make them feel even more shame,guilt and blame, then they already struggle with.
Consider that without these medications many people could not function. Remember that every person is unique and individual. Those who committed such crimes were them, not everyone who needs medication to keep them alive.
So if you suffer and happen to come across such an ad, remember:
you are you!
There is no shame in your illness, nor is there in receiving treatment, in fact it’s most commendable.
Not everything you read is truth. Only you know your truth.
The only people you should listen to regarding treatment is a professional and yourself.
You are worth it, worth so much and if you need medication to be the best you, don’t doubt yourself.
Be you and try not to let things like this sway you from being you, and doing just what you need.
Hold your head high!
Because no one knows unless they’re you!

Not just their job. (Thanks to the teacher’s! )

February 22, 2014

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I lost it. Bawled like a blubbering baby. Yet the people around the table didn’t look at me weird.
Instead they looked at me as a fellow parent.
They I am sure felt some of the pain I was as I processed the struggles Dude faces daily at school.
They are who I trust with my child 5 days a week. Who I trust to have enough compassion to try their best to support him through the tough moments, encourage him, and praise him when he overcomes.
They’ll tell me they’re just doing their job. They do it for other kids.  Trust me they could teach a different sort of class.  A class on empathy. A class on positivity, a class on what being an educator really means.
I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the horrendous. No they’re not just doing their job. They’re doing so much more. Teachings their job. What dudes teachers do is so very much more
Some will argue “they get lots of days off”, “they get paid well”. How do you put a price tag on keeping a child safe? Keeping a child involved? Switching gears every moment of the day to keep up with the rapid changes? Keeping a child calm, peaceful and at the same time educating them not only academically but on life?
No these people are not just doing their job. These people are helping us to keep our child afloat, they’re learning with us,and they’re willing to.
As educators I think you look for answers, you problem solve. With bipolar those answer s are often not there, yet they try day after day to make that day,that moment a success. Some they win,some they loose. But the fact that they stand strong with us,as a united team in this journey is more than I can ask for, and more than I expected.
So thank you. Those teacher’s that care enough to empathize, support, educate yourself and continue to say your just doing your job. To you you may just be doing that, to us parents walking this path you’re doing so so much more.

I’m sorry, but someone needs me more.

February 19, 2014

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Bipor ——-///////—-/////—-/
mixed state (rapid ) Bipolar -/-/-/-
A little visual,though not nearly accurate. With Bipolar the states can last weeks,months even. I don’t know much about it as I’m just learning about the second. Where the states change extremely rapidly, in our case in minutes.  We’ve been told this is the more severe of through two, but also that as Dude ages it could morph into the first, I truly hope so.
Add to that, anxiety, panic,ocd, dcd and tourettes and I’m sorry.
Like I said in am earlier post I’m a giver, that’s who I am. I listen, I hug and I do my best to support, no matter what someone is going through.  My heart breaks for fellow parents going through any sort of trouble with their children. But I’m sorry.
I’m not trying to be a bad,unsympathetic friend by not being the shoulder,I’m not trying to be a bad business woman by having to close so I can attend meetings where I cry,.trust me I’d rather be at work. I’m not trying to be a bad volunteer by not stepping up more, or pulling back.
Right now this giver needs to take. Yes to put it bluntly right now it is all about me,OK not me but me being a mom. Second to that is my business as that allows me creative release!
Right now I need to focus. I need to educate myself and my family and I need a game plan!
Right now I need to be able to use someone else’s shoulder for a bit.
It’s not easy being I’ll at any age. Imagine being yet a child. Children don’t have the coping or communication skills We as adults do.imagine not being able to put words to your emotions and pain. Imagine at such a young age questioning how you’re going to be able to live like this forever. Because it is forever,  it may be able to be stabilized, but no one can guess when and for how long. It’s not going away. But we’ll sure give it our best shot!
Who said life would be easy anyway? I just wish it didn’t have to be so damn hard on kids.
So I am sorry if I’m letting others down today, but you see someone needs me more.
Someone told me I’m on a roller coaster and the only way not to puke is to scream, so I’m screaming!!

Family, more than just a word.

February 17, 2014

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Today We celebrate family day. So I thought I would dedicate a post to my incredible family!
I grew up with a brother I idolized, a father who taught me strength and a mother that taught me grace.
We were and continue to be a close knit group, 2nd cousins are like first, there’s no great in aunts and uncle’s.  We grew up close to our cousin s and aunt’s and uncle’s, they all continue to be a huge part of my life.
I was extremely close to my grandparents, they were my best friends  my most fierce supporters and truly taught me what to love un conditionally was. When I was young there was nothing better than cresting the hill to the town they lived, I spent many holidays with them, and as I grew up knew I would move to their home town. I did, with my own little family in tow, and though my hero (grandpa) had passed, spending the last few years with my grandma with my own children in tow was the biggest blessing I could have given them. My  daughter built a bond with my grandma that even now that she’s passed remains.  My grandma taught me more than a post can take. But above all she taught me to be a fierce mother!

As my brother and I grew so did our family.  Of course I had to beat him at something and that was marriage. Yup I was young, but upon seeing my husband I told my boss he would be my husband, when you know you know: )
statistically We shouldn’t still be together, We married young,had kids young,struggled financially, and have not had an easy journey with Dude. But here We are, stronger than ever. Loving and laughing as We raise two truly unique amazing kids. I never liked listening to others much, and this time it paid off!
His family accepted me as is. And have truly been my second family.  They support and love us, We laugh,We cry and no matter what I know I am their daughter:)
I always wanted a sister, and since my parents wouldn’t cooperate it was up to my brother to give me one. That he did, and he out did himself.  On our journey my sister in law has constantly been the friend/sister I need. The first person I call or text with news, after my hubby of course. She’s let me rant, let me cry,let me laugh.  She’s raising two empathetic, amazing young men. My brother has come out of the wood work as a patient calm uncle who takes the time to talk to Dude about his interests, and always surprises me with the compassion he shows.
Though my hubby’s brother and family are across the country they to hold a special spot in the hearts of my kids and myself.
Without family We really have nothing.
I am so very lucky that not only are all my cousins and aunts and uncles my family, but some of my very best friends.
I believe family sticks together, I believe in supporting family. I am incredibly fortunate my family feels the same. They truly are my ship when the waves are to big. They learn all they can about dude’s illness and support and love us through it all.
They show endless compassion, empathy,and love as We trudge through the forest that is mental illness and parenting.
Thank together doesn’t cut it for this family of mine. and I’m kinda glad they’re stuck with me: )
“All because two people fell in love”

It is what it is

February 15, 2014

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The whirlwind of a week is done! Little did I know it was a full moon to top it off!
I’m feeling like I haven’t seen my kids much, and had to create flowers in a bit of a fog.
The brain is a bit quieter,but not much!
I’ve had to accept a biggie this week, now I don’t really use/like the word normal or perfect, I’ve always told my kids they are the perfect them. How can something be normal or perfect when everyone and everything is different? I hate the blanket word.
But this week I’ve had to really accept dude’s “normal “. The easy,all good days are not his normal. Even good days have some intense,tough moments.
So I  accept it. What else can you do really? It’s who he is,and he’s the.perfect Dude.
I Also hate the word “fix” when it comes to our children.  You can help,encourage, teach them to cope,.etc. But they’re not a broken toy. A little glue won’t ‘fix” them. They are Not broken!
If you know anything about mental illness you know there’s a few causes. When Dude was young his therapist broke them up for me.
He said,
1. I have patients that have gone through a trauma,who need to work through that.
2. I have patients who just need a few sessions to get through something.
3. And I have a few “lifers “. Kids that haven’t had anything in particular happen but will be needing our services for.life.
And of course many of #3 have a chemical imbalance and or genetics play a factor.
Guess which one Dude fits into?
Is having mixed state Bipolar with anxiety disorder, panic disorder and a few more chucked in for good measure awesome? Of course not, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone (OK maybe a few just for a couple days though so they could have a clue 😉 does accepting make things easier? In some ways (like my patience ) yes.  On the heart strings, no.
So is Dude perfect? Yup
Is he normal? You betcha
Does he need to be fixed? Shut up!
If he’s gonna be a lifer, then that makes us lifers too.

Dear brain, please shut up!

February 10, 2014

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Today I need help, help shutting up my brain!
I’m coming down from the adrenaline rush of the week that was last, of gathering more information than I thought I’d need to.
But dammit today I’m tired.
But hey I had a cookie because when Dude was on the manic side yesterday, I knew today was likely going to be a tough one, and I was right! See what learning does?! So I thought I deserved a cookies (OK maybe 6…).
I’ve learned some interesting things in this first week,  I’ve learned there’s links that I never thought of before,  such as dude’s struggles in gym are in fact quite normal for a kid with Bipolar,  interesting.
I’ve learned new found patience, when I didn’t know why these rapid moods were happening, We knew he had anxiety, depression, but bipolar really is a different playing field,  I found my self trying to “parent” the moods, trying to discipline for them even. Now knowing that does absolutely nothing,  it’s like parenting or disciplining for having a seizure, I feel much more calm. I know it’s not in my control, let alone his.
Does this mean We don’t talk about it, teach him to cope etc? Heck no! So far we’ve done a good job teaching him not to use his illnesses as an excuse and we’ll continue to do so. Even though it is a legitimate one, and those days We bend a little. I’ve spent alot of time talking to his sister about why he gets more stay home days, the best way I can explain it to a 10 year old is, just because you can’t see it, he’s sick and there’s just some days he really can’t do it. But trust me We try every single day!
I’ve learned the same things about his tics,  funny when you say tourettes people seem to empathize a bit more, I think because again it’s something We can see. Again I’ve had to remind myself not to get frustrated or nag him to stop. So far I think I’m doing pretty good. And trust much kid not to keep it simple,  but have about the most complex bp diagnosis; )
But you see that’s why I’m tired. Figuring this stuff out is exhausting, but like a friend said, you have a life time no need to cram it all in today,  she’s right it’s not going anywhere! Unfortunately I need to remember to slow this stupid brain down!
You see It’s Valentine’s week, which means insanity (in a good way) for a florist! Add to that a night meeting or 2 for the school and Dude, and a hubby away, well this mama may insert a coffee iv!
Bring on the crazy!

Who I am is who I want to be.

February 8, 2014

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A little compassion goes a long way!
I’ll be honest I haven’t always been the most sympathetic, empathetic,  compassionate person, I’m probably still not sometimes. But I remember being a little girl always helping people, it made me happy! My parents would leave me with my grandparents (I loved these days, I have a huge soft spot for grandma’s and grandpa’s ), they’d leave me with some money to buy myself a treat when We took then Sunday trip to the city. I don’t think I ever bought myself something,  but my parents and grandparents always ended up with something ☺
In grade 9 I spent the summer with my grandparents and volunteered at the long term care center.  Best summer of my life!
I’m a giver. Saying I’m that doesn’t make me cocky does it? No I think it’s not such a bad thing to know who you are.
One of my biggest pet peeves, one thing I just don’t get because of my personality is people who throw themselves a continual pity party, yes We all have them some days, but most of us don’t enjoy that kind of party so much.
Believe it or not It’s not all about you, it’s not about me either, it’s about everybody!
I don’t think compassion only needs to be given in times of need.
I think compassion is as simple as a smile, as simple as being kind everyday. 
Trust me I’ve been burned because of who I am, but again I look at those Burns as that person’s burden not mine.
And I’d still take all of those Burns if it meant I am true to myself,  self secure but not self centered, assertive but not cruel,  and heck even a bit more mature than I thought I could be!
Just remember there’s more people than just you, It’s actually quite humbling.
Everyone of us has a different personality,  I suppose I need to accept that just because someone has a different one doesn’t mean I have to join theirs, but can still smile at them!
That’s the nice thing about being you, you get to choose ☺

Tired and proud Mama!

February 7, 2014

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It’s been a great week for Dude (meds leveled off), but one of much reflexion, and processing for this mama!
Started Monday with getting the much anticipated assessment back, Tuesday was his appointment with his physciatrist, which still after 6 years make me a bit nervous and tired.
You need to understand a 45 page report followed by an appointment is a lot to take in and process and has left me mentally drained even though dare I say it, excited and relieved with the outcomes.  Not because they’re good, actually they’re quite the opposite,  but now well can move forward!
I have friends that have admitted their “dumb” when it comes to mental illness,  their words not mine haha. Asked about treatments etc. I always tell people when I’m talking about Dude, I’m only talking about him, not your typical child or a child with their own set of needs, because he is unique in his own. When I share my opinion on certain things, bullying,  health I’m talking from years of first hand experience.  If diet and vitamin help your typical or high needs child, go or it, but it doesn’t cut it for Dude. We have a very tailored treatment plan for him, yes meds but as important weekly therapy, monthly physciatry appointments, We did 4 years of  twice weekly physio and ot.  We see a neurologist yearly. 
We started out with a pediatrician, but in my humble opinion,  they  are basically a gp for kids, so don’t have the specifics to treat complex mental health issues.  Can they treat mild depression, add etc? You bet but if it’s anymore than that I highly recommend a physciatrist, as that is their specialty.
The point of my sharing this is not try to  condone anything,  but try to share that We have put in our time figuring this stuff out.
No Dude can not eat certain things, yes he yet takes vitamin, but truly needs more.  I wish that wasnt the case but it is.
I love that my friends ask instead of assume, I love that they care enough to ask period!
As an exhausting week for his mom comes to an end, I am proud.
I am proud because he made it to school every day, I am proud because he made it to a class he hasn’t been to in months, I’m proud because he hung out with friends at lunch instead of isolating himself,  I’m proud because he battles on.

Tired and proud Mama!

February 7, 2014

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It’s been a great week for Dude (meds leveled off), but one of much reflexion, and processing for this mama!
Started Monday with getting the much anticipated assessment back, Tuesday was his appointment with his physciatrist, which still after 6 years make me a bit nervous and tired.
You need to understand a 45 page report followed by an appointment is a lot to take in and process and has left me mentally drained even though dare I say it, excited and relieved with the outcomes.  Not because they’re good, actually they’re quite the opposite,  but now well can move forward!
I have friends that have admitted their “dumb” when it comes to mental illness,  their words not mine haha. Asked about treatments etc. I always tell people when I’m talking about Dude, I’m only talking about him, not your typical child or a child with their own set of needs, because he is unique in his own. When I share my opinion on certain things, bullying,  health I’m talking from years of first hand experience.  If diet and vitamin help your typical or high needs child, go or it, but it doesn’t cut it for Dude. We have a very tailored treatment plan for him, yes meds but as important weekly therapy, monthly physciatry appointments, We did 4 years of  twice weekly physio and ot.  We see a neurologist yearly. 
We started out with a pediatrician, but in my humble opinion,  they  are basically a gp for kids, so don’t have the specifics to treat complex mental health issues.  Can they treat mild depression, add etc? You bet but if it’s anymore than that I highly recommend a physciatrist, as that is their specialty.
The point of my sharing this is not try to  condone anything,  but try to share that We have put in our time figuring this stuff out.
No Dude can not eat certain things, yes he yet takes vitamin, but truly needs more.  I wish that wasnt the case but it is.
I love that my friends ask instead of assume, I love that they care enough to ask period!
As an exhausting week for his mom comes to an end, I am proud.
I am proud because he made it to school every day, I am proud because he made it to a class he hasn’t been to in months, I’m proud because he hung out with friends at lunch instead of isolating himself,  I’m proud because he battles on.