Archive for March, 2014

Blessed by bipolar!?

March 30, 2014

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Yup we’re blessed with a child with ultra ultra rapid mixed state bipolar.  Yes the diagnosis is new, but the journey is not. A 7 year road in fact. We’ve grieved our loss of a typical, happy child. But we’ve celebrated the boy we have. A kind, old soul. With empathy and caring beyond imagine. 
I’d say there’s hard days, but we don’t measure in days we measure in moments. And though it’s insanely exhausting to keep up with the cycles, even when things are stable,  we’ve been blessed with so many lessons, and a boy we love without and beyond measure.
Bipolar has blessed us.
It’s taught me  open mindedness.
It’s given me to cast  less judgement.
It’s taught me to be present, in the moment.
It’s taught me  to accept the uniqueness that is each of us.
It’s taught me  patience and understanding, even when I  don’t think I  have any left.
It’s taught me how hard the world really is.
Yet taught me  how wonderful it is.
It’s taught me  to stand tall, and stand up.
It’s taught me  that I’m stronger then i ever thought.
It’s taught me  unity.
It’s taught me  unconditional love, the good the bad and the ugly.
And that often that love is felt more in the latter.
It’s taught me I have a voice, that I am my sons voice.
It’s taught me about every corner of the brain.
It’s taught me to teach.
It’s taught me to fight for what’s right and for my child.
It’s taught me it’s OK to just say No.
It’s taught me parenting is damn hard, harder to parent a bipolar child, harder than i even thought possible. And that we’re a minority group of parents, with not many able to truly understand
But the rewards are beyond imaginable.
It’s taught me to question, and gracefully communicate.
It’s taught me that the road less traveled is often necessary.
It’s taught me the littlest things truly do matter.
It’s taught me to celebrate these things.
It’s taught me that my child is stronger than anyone I know. Braver than any adult I’ve met.
It’s taught me life is short. We don’t know how.long we have them, so hold them tight.
Say I love you as often as you can and listen not just with your ears, but your heart.
Here’s to the first ever world wide bipolar day.
Be kind.

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Offended I am. Voice I will speak.

March 27, 2014

OK. I’m super sensitive to things like this picture.

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I know I know it’s not meant to offend, I know I need thicker skin, blah blah blah.
But here’s my reason for being offended.
I’m not full of shit. Do people really think I happily took the diagnosis my son lives with?  Do they think it’s awesome?  Wanna try it for a day? Your more than welcome to, have at er and then tell me it’s just hormones or being a loner. And while your at it let me know how fun it is to console him one minute,  try and calm  next, laugh at his insane hyperness the next, oh watch out better ground him because he’s getting angry,  oh hold that thought hug now.needs a hug, shit put away all sharp objects stat!
Ya let me know how that goes for ya. Tell me exactly how it’s typical. Please I beg you!
No really I do, because you have no idea how grateful I would be to be told he’s just a typical, maybe a bit shy kid.
What I wouldn’t give to not watch my child battle himself every single day to keep afloat.
What I wouldnt give to see him smile, truly smile without hiding pain.
I get offended because things like this make me as a parent of a bipolar, anxiety riddled child, attacked. It makes me feel like people think these things are not reality. Like we choose to label our children. Like i am a horrible mother for allowing my child to be diagnosed with a disease that is legit. So when your child is diagnosed with diabetes, just wait it out, I’m sure they’ll outgrow it if you just wait, take them outside to play and change their diet.
Yes OK, some children are not diagnosed correctly.  Yes some are just quirky kids. And yup you bet theres not so great doctors that pill push and jump the gun.But guess what folks, some really do suffer. So blanket statements like this hurt not only parents but can you imagine how bad this would make a child feel to see this? Ya most would tell their parents we were wrong, they don’t need treatment, cause see this picture says it’s a phase.  Ya nice, that could very well spiral into fighting treatment which could very well turn into my child dying, and that folks is our reality.
I try really hard in life not to blanket or generalize for these reasons.
As a little note I should point out just how complicated diagnosing bipolar is. It’s not a simple test like some others.  It also is seldom  diagnosed in children.
So while you deal with your “hormones ” and “daydreamers ” I’ll be busy trying my damndest to keep my kid stable and alive,  but thanks for your opinion.

What do we tell him?

March 22, 2014

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So how much is to much for our kids to know about their illness/disease ?
For years when dude had 8 different diagnosis, we only told him bits and pieces. We didn’t want him thinking he could do less, was less because of his conditions.
With the years came us sharing more information with him.
With the diagnosis of bipolar came a cross road for us as parents. What do we tell him? How do we explain something we still don’t fully understand.
I initially sat him down after a very rapid day and told him in a few words what bipolar is, how it affects him, etc. We left it there. But with the moods, the feelings came daily dialogue. And so though there was no long drawn out discussion, bipolar and conversation, coping,and learning for ALL of us has just become normal conversation in our days.
We questioned giving him the name, definition, details.  There was some concern around him Googling bipolar and being made to feel worse, concern about him using it as an excuse, mainly to stay home.
So here’s my thought. How can we move forward with treatment when he doesn’t know what they are helping him with? That would just cause undo anxiety, confusion and become overwhelming.  He needs to be an active participant in his treatment plan. He needs to understand the mechanics of what he has. He holds a lot of guilt, more often than not saying, “I’m not trying to be this way “. He is 12, and needs to know why he feels these insanely rapid moods  To have such rapid emotions, and the coping skills he has not working, it becomes very frustrating and overwhelming for him, making it cycle faster.
As for using it as an excuse:  First I think I’m throwing that word in my do not use bucket. His illness IS NOT an excuse. Ask him, he will tell you he hates feeling the way he does.
Second,  he’s a kid. All kids are going to try anything to stay home from school at times. There’s very few kids that hop out of bed, ready and excited every day of the school year ☺ I believe him using his illness at times to stay home is no different than his little sister using a tummy ache. Our job as his parents is to gauge when he is trying to stay home to play, or really needs to stay home because he’s low. We have a few signs we use to determine which is which for him. Those signs he does not know! They are clear signs to us as his parents as to weather we can encourage or sometimes push fairly hard to get him out the door,or hug him, calm him and let him stay. Anyone with children with almost any mental issues can vouch as to just how hard it is to get our kiddos to leave the comfort of their home. That’s a whole different post!  I also wonder how I would feel if everyone around me knew something about me and didn’t tell me. Not very good. I try hard to educate others and bring awareness, how fair is it if he doesn’t even know?
My point is we chose at 12 years old to let him have the knowledge of his disease in hope’s that it allows him some peace of mind amongst his lifelong turmoil. So he can at this young age learn and carry skills that one day may save his life.

*again I say each child is different. Every age is different. And what works for us may not for others.

Popularity ladder

March 16, 2014

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Friends. I’m lucky. Not everyone is as lucky.
I was pretty popular, and as a kid/teen you really think that’s the big picture. You think your popularity makes you a better person. It doesn’t.  It really doesn’t in the real world matter that you were invited to all the birthdays and parties.  It doesn’t make you a good or bad person. It doesn’t make you the you that is unique.
Though I was always surrounded by friends, some of them weren’t true. I was used.I was beaten by their words. And though I was a giver, I did do some pretty awful things. Some deserved, others not. I could be mean. I would throw the first punch if you hurt someone close to me. I would stand up for the little guy without question. But I would also at times taunt and outcast, because that was the cool thing to do, and got me more friends. But really at what expense?
I shudder at the thought of a couple years, and how mean I could be. All to climb up that popularity ladder. Breaking a few people down along the way, not thinking for 2 seconds of the pain I was causing that would follow them. At my core I have always been kind. At my core I stand up. At my core I knew that breaking people was not who I was or wanted to be. It earned me respect, but not in a way I would want. It earned me a reputation that if you ask old friends I still carry. Don’t piss her off. And though I still roar when needed,I’ve grown to love my true friends,and realized just how far I’ve come as a person, becoming the person I want and need to be. Throwing the dreaded popularity ladder out the window.
Becoming a mother changes us. We want good,we want happy and we want kindness.
We look at our children as they sleep and hope to God they don’t have to go  through the popularity contests,climb those ladders. We hope that they feel good enough just as they are. We hope that we have taught them kindness, and humility. We hope that as they climb the ladder if friends and status amongst their peers, that they include those further down the ladder, or at very least they show them compassion, and don’t push them further down. And abuse them to get higher themselves.
We hope we’ve taught them that they are good enough, strong enough.
This at least is what I hope I’ve taught mine.
As I watch my children grow, I see a shining star of a daughter who is who she is, and kind to everyone. But who is strong and confident enough to stand up for herself without pushing others down. She will climb with fair ease.
I see a young man who has struggled to fit. Though he has always had his true friends, and is just as happy to be alone.  I  see the remaining, left over hurt and fear that others left him with while they pushed and shoved their way up the ladder.
There’s always going to be the ladder, people at the top, in the middle and the bottom.  My hope is that those at the top don’t get their by constantly pushing others further down, to the point they don’t even want to start the climb again.

Let it go…

March 14, 2014

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This journey is teaching me just who I want to be, who I am.
This journey is full of reflection and lessons.  Though dude is the one battling,  I to as his mother have had to go along for the ride.
This journey has taught me. Yes education on mental illness, bullying and so much more,  but so much more on a personal level .  This journey has brought so many things into my mind and soul, that without this path I’m not sure I would have.
Like I’ve said before I’m a giver, a people please for sure. Those things I would still be. But would I have the compassion, the empathy, the courage, the passion without having a child that has unique, severe and complex issues that I’ve had to handle and learn about with g tree create, come to peace with it all?  No I truly don’t think so.
Would I still care about others, stand for the underdog? Yes I’m sure I would but not to the extent I do. And not because I didn’t care, but because I truly wouldn’t /couldn’t understand.  I tell dude all the time, as he says no one understands, That no I really don’t, I can’t, but I sure try. And that’s how I feel about people who don’t walk this path. Yes some care, some try, and most aren’t cruel at least.  But no one can truly understand what another is going through. Even if they’ve gone through similar.
It’s hard as a parent to not take things personally.  It’s harder for a parent of a special needs child.  It’s hard when you see or hear jokes, it’s hard when I hear people throw around “they’re mental “, “they need a shrink” “are they retarded? “, and the jokes and innuendoes about physc wards, crazies etc. Every time I see something like these or hear a comparison using an illness or disability ,my heart hurts a bit, and Yes I get angry.
I get angry and hurt, because ultimately my child will hear these things, and feel shame, embarrassed, hurt, judged and so on. We don’t toss physical illness around nearly as lightly as we do mental illness.  Guess what?  The jokes aren’t funny. They actually are mean,  and make you look like an ass to those that deal with it.
This is one thing on this journey I am really struggling with. Struggling to not take all everything in this regard personally. To not correct everyone who makes these comments. It’s a hard one for me, because I want every single person to get it. And I know that’s impossible, and I know that’s not my job.
When I talk about certain things in parenting,life,etc they pertain to dude, or other’s like him. Not the general population. Not your typical child.  So when I see things that I take a bit to personally, or that pull on my heart, I need to take a breath and remember the opposite,  they aren’t referring to children like dude.
I do speak up when it’s offensive, completely ignorant, or extremly hurtful.  I will continue to be a voice for those that need a loud one while they fight silently. But I’m trying damn hard to not get hurt, and take everything so personally while I stand tall on this journey.  No shame here!

March 14, 2014

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This journey is teaching me just who I want to be, who I am.
This journey is full of reflection and lessons.  Though dude is the one battling,  I to as his mother have had to go along for the ride.
This journey has taught me. Yes education on mental illness, bullying and so much more,  but so much more on a personal level .  This journey has brought so many things into my mind and soul, that without this path I’m not sure I would have.
Like I’ve said before I’m a giver, a people please for sure. Those things I would still be. But would I have the compassion, the empathy, the courage, the passion without having a child that has unique, severe and complex issues that I’ve had to handle and learn about with g tree create, come to peace with it all?  No I truly don’t think so.
Would I still care about others, stand for the underdog? Yes I’m sure I would but not to the extent I do. And not because I didn’t care, but because I truly wouldn’t /couldn’t understand.  I tell dude all the time, as he says no one understands, That no I really don’t, I can’t, but I sure try. And that’s how I feel about people who don’t walk this path. Yes some care, some try, and most aren’t cruel at least.  But no one can truly understand what another is going through. Even if they’ve gone through similar.
It’s hard as a parent to not take things personally.  It’s harder for a parent of a special needs child.  It’s hard when you see or hear jokes, it’s hard when I hear people throw around “they’re mental “, “they need a shrink” “are they retarded? “, and the jokes and innuendoes about physc wards, crazies etc. Every time I see something like these or hear a comparison using an illness or disability ,my heart hurts a bit, and Yes I get angry.
I get angry and hurt, because ultimately my child will hear these things, and feel shame, embarrassed, hurt, judged and so on. We don’t toss physical illness around nearly as lightly as we do mental illness.  Guess what?  The jokes aren’t funny. They actually are mean,  and make you look like an ass to those that deal with it.
This is one thing on this journey I am really struggling with. Struggling to not take all everything in this regard personally. To not correct everyone who makes these comments. It’s a hard one for me, because I want every single person to get it. And I know that’s impossible, and I know that’s not my job.
When I talk about certain things in parenting,life,etc they pertain to dude, or other’s like him. Not the general population. Not your typical child.  So when I see things that I take a bit to personally, or that pull on my heart, I need to take a breath and remember the opposite,  they aren’t referring to children like dude.
I do speak up when it’s offensive, completely ignorant, or extremly hurtful.  I will continue to be a voice for those that need a loud one while they fight silently. But I’m trying damn hard to not get hurt, and take everything so personally while I stand tall on this journey.  No shame here!

Dear parents

March 9, 2014

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Dear fellow special needs parents,
1. Forgive yourself: this is a tough one. But we are human, we become frustrated, angry and lost. We make mistakes, every single day. Don’t be so hard on yourself! 
2. Let things slide:  all the crap you see on social media that most people scroll on by, will hurt your feelings, make you question people. They sting. Said things aren’t meant to hurt us. I will stand up and speak up if it’s offensive.  But I am working on letting it go. People can’t help ignorance in this if they have not been there. Let it slide,( and if you’re like me post something supporting compassion)
3. Accept: accept that this is your life.  Accepting what is will truly set you free.
4. Educate: most importantly yourself. But also your child’s, peers, educator’s and people in general.
5. Push: be it for answers, your child themselves or you.  Try really hard to teach your child that yes they have —— but give them the support and guidance to realize their full potential, whatever that may be.
6. Walk away: sometimes when going through crisis (unique to us all) we learn pretty quickly who is there and who is not. It’s actually surprising at times and hard.  But walk away gracefully from those who don’t appear to care or try to understand. Friendship works two ways. If you’re the one always making the effort or your feeling judged,etc. Walk away.
7. Love: love your child, love your friends, your family and yourself.
8. Find peace: peace comes with acceptance,  but it also comes with a 20 min bubble bath.  Finding a peaceful moment in a day can be difficult, take time for you and have that moment. 
With Love and hope!

Dear parents,
As a parent of a special needs child you should know,
1. We’re not selfish:  if your child had a special need, a physical or mental disorder you would ask the same things. We’re not asking for special treatment , we’re asking that our child can have as many typical childhood experiences as possible. That’s not unreasonable.
2. Don’t judge: human nature is to ask why. Ask! I know I would tell you. Don’t judge how we parent. There’s a reason we parent the way we do. A spanking, a lecture, grounding, etc. May not work for our kiddos as they do for others. My child is not spoiled, self righteous or intentionally mean. My child has bipolar, anxiety and panic, so the tears.and yelling  may not be what you assume. Don’t judge these kids. You truly don’t know what they’re going through especially since many appear just fine.
3. Teach: teach your children compassion, empathy, acceptance and kindness.  Teach them everyone is unique.  Teach them though they may not always like something or someone they don’t have the right to be cruel.
4. Ask: don’t understand? That’s fine, and actually good because that means you haven’t had to experience it. But don’t assume. Most special needs parents will gladly explain their situation. There’s no shame in asking. Opposite actually it shows that you’re caring enough to try and understand.
5. Thank you: to those parents that don’t necessarily walk these roads but treat our children with grace, and respect. And for your children who do the same. 
With Peace.

Words, think about them.

March 6, 2014

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You know what?  I’m mad, OK I’m pissed right off. What year do we live in again?!  i seriously had no idea that this word was still even a general issue.
The r word. A word that every time my son hears (along with a few others) causes instant pain. But I didn’t know how lacks a daisy so many people still were with it as not just a word used to hurt, but as a general word in their vocabulary. So here we are when so many have stood up and faught hard to put an end (rightfully so) to so many horrible hurtful words used time describe races, sexual orientation etc. But this is still OK? I bet you wouldn’t just drop when someone messed up or acted a bit different “what a n*&%$# ” , even typing that with symbols made my stomach lurch.
Guess what world? The r word hurts. Those asking for you to stop using the word, Ya they get it, they do hurt and feel just the same as us all, and that guy down the street of a different race, and that ladies whose son left the world because he was sick of the words used to describe him. People with disabilities are no different from us, they cry, they laugh, they hurt, they bleed. And yes they have a voice, and yes they should be respected and listened to!
Yes yes I know there’s people out there that still use this slur or that
Yes I know some people dont find anything wrong with any of the mentioned words. Yes I know people will disagree. Yes I know some will say it depends on the context used. Bull! Words hurt, infant words kill, specific ones hurt no matter the context. 
Words are the most powerful tool we have, so Ya it may just be this mom’s opinion, but it’s high time we realize that some words used in the past have no valid use in our current vocabulary!

Generation gap.

March 2, 2014

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So here’s the thing, we live in the year 2014. We are no longer in the 60’s,70’s or 80’s.
Obviously those years have passed. I’ve learned as a parent kids will rise to whatever bar you set (most of the time), praise them and they’ll continue to do what earned that praise, tell them they’re bad little people, they’ll continue to be bad little people!
I’ve seen so many cartoons, posts, etc saying things like “when I was a kid I was spanked, it taught me respect”, “when I was a kid I played outside”,  “way to much time spent on computers ” those sort of things. And yup they’re true, those were good times! Well minus the spanking I never enjoyed that, but unfortunately we’re not in “our days” anymore.
I’m not saying I’m yay or nay for spanking, and I personally long for a simpler way of life, like horse and buggy simple. Ya I was born in the wrong era. I’m not saying hey let your kids sit in front of a screen all day eating popcorn. That’s not what I’m saying at all.
But it’s easy to judge the next generation and their hobbies, their lack of respect, their entitlement issues (yes yes I know trust me there are some kids with said things, but let’s be honest there’s plenty of adults too). Their lack of get up and go, motivation, yadda yadda yadda, but it’s our job as parents to set those standards, raise those bars! Its not the years fault, its not the computers fault, its not the lack of spankings fault. It’s our job as parents to teach them work ethic, responsibility, respect and acceptance. Society is a little rocky for sure right now, but we can only really change us and hope a trickle effect happens. We had these children, its our responsibility to raise and nurture them, to be involved, not just shrug our shoulder’s and walk away to let them do what they want cause its easier then pissing off your kid and having to have a fight, maybe take something away and listen to the madness, its our job to set those boundaries and raise those bars!
When these young people see those sorts of posts come across their screen, that’s gotta make them feel a bit defensive. Like well I guess why even try, apparently we’re all lazy, self righteous brats anyway. No generation is better than the next. Well ok  my grandparents generation pretty much rocked. We were all young once, we all screwed up, we all did things the generation before us questioned and rolled their eyes at. Just because things are different doesn’t make them horrible!
Think about the good things that have changed. We’re no longer riding in the back seat bouncing and jumping around. We’re now aware the alcohol and driving means disaster. We can drive to the next town. We can get medicine and food on a whim. We can talk to and see our friends by the flick of a button.
Yes we survived our childhoods, and so will our kids. My point is computers, cell phones,and tablets don’t make them who they are. That being said I’m gonna say right now I don’t agree with said things being used 24/7, and not age appropriately. I’m not saying allow technology to take the place of real human interaction, that’s not my point. Its our job as parents to help them become the best person they can be, kids have their own personality from birth but its our job to teach and guide them. Don’t like the way the next generation is? Just remember our parents generation probably wasn’t to fond of ours either 😉