Archive for November, 2014

Stay in your glass house.

November 22, 2014


When I write, and talk for that matter, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, I try to always see both sides, I try to be politically correct. Because I don’t want to offend anyone, or hurt anyone.  But sometimes I just get pissed off. I am human after all, a human with a voice and I’ll be dammed if I will be made to feel less.
You see I don’t just have a son with mental illness, I also suffer a tad of anxiety myself and have many people I care about suffering, mostly silently with depression, anxiety and a gambit of other diagnosis.
I watch so often as many ignorant remarks are made, and I’m sick of it! Ya ya get the whole “they mean well”, ” don’t understand ” hoopla.
But I am sick and tired of the excuses people come up with to justify ridiculous comments they make. If you don’t know what to say it really is better to sometimes say nothing at all.  And if you’re reading this shaking your head thinking it’s not that bad,that it’s not that big of a deal, stop reading because you’ve obviously never been there or watched a loved one in the depths of despair trying to survive, and you obviously have a glass house. But don’t worry we can all see through the walls.

Instead of saying the attached list, try things like:
Can I help?
Do you need anything?
I don’t know what you are going through, but I am here.
No I can’t imagine.
Sometimes there are no answers, but you are loved and supported.

And sometimes there’s nothing you can say,  but just being there is all you need to offer.  To know they have a shoulder is all you can do.

I am sick of being a shoulder (and I have pretty big ones)  because of someone’s ignorant comments. I am sick of being there to wipe tears because of stigma. I’m sick of hearing and seeing shit that costs lives. I will however always be that shoulder and wipe those tears,  because there will always be people who say and share said shit,  who live in that glass house. And I will always be there whenever I an needed to pick up the pieces from their damage.

Tip your hat to the Alberta outlaw.

November 19, 2014

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If you happen to live anywhere between grandprarie, Alberta and Nashville Tennessee and you happen to spot a cowboy on a horse named drifter.  Say thank you. Share some food, some hay and make a donation, but most of all say thank you!

This Alberta outlaw is taking on quite a feat to raise awareness and money for a cause near and dear to so many.  If your a rider you know just how daunting this road will be.  Travelling that distance on horse back is a journey in itself, doing so without food, money and a place to lay ones head makes the journey damn near impossible.

But those that are in the midst of a mental illness journey know just how

isolated and impossible surviving can feel.  It blows my mind that a single person is willing to ,  on horse back, in the worst months to travel through Alberta, step up and make a noise for such an incredibly important cause. It gives me hope

that maybe, just maybe peoples eyes will be opened to the illnesses and the stigmas.  As I told my boy about this Alberta outlaw this morning, he stood tall. He was amazed that someone would do something so unique and difficult to raise awareness and funds for something he battles daily.  I believe it made him feel a bit proud and a bit happy to hear that people care. Perhaps we don’t always see it, but people (one person at a time)  are making a difference in the world of mental health.

So if you see a lone cowboy travelling on his trusted horse, tip your hat. Tip your hat and say thank you.

Use your voice.

November 16, 2014


It’s our job as society, as family and friends and loved ones to speak of mental illness, to use our voices to raise awareness, to break the stigmas and show support.
Why? Because more often than not those living with depression, bipolar, anxiety and so on are to busy just trying to survive to talk about it.  Add the HUGE stereotypes, stigmas and judgements that come along with speaking about ones own battle, and well that’s just not an added battle those fighting already should have to fight.
We should fight it for them.  Like we fight for clean water, safe communities, like we fight against sexism and racism and war and the six million other unjust things society deems necessary to fight against.
I am not for the life of me saying these fights are not worth it.  Not at all.  But we seem to be of a mindset that we fight for those without voices, the environment , third world countries, and animals. 
We seem to assume that because these illnesses affect humans they have a voice against it, they can control it.  Folks I’m sorry but it’s time to pull the heads out of the sand and realize that is NOT the case.
So often one assumes that a person who is suffering greatly will speak up, get help by themselves, and overcome it with a smile.
Again this is Not the case.

They are lost, suffering in pain often silently for a number of reasons.
They need OUR voices to be the change. They need OUR strength to carry that load. They simply need US to support and care enough to try and break down the walls.

I started writing hoping to change just one mindset, but my purpose soon changed into hoping to HELP one person.
To show one person they have an allie in a dark place.  To show one person they are worth the fight.  They are worth my words.
To show those who are in the darkness they are worth it, they are valued, they are so much more than a diagnosis.

These are people. Not trees, not water but humans.  With not nearly enough people standing for them. I’d hazard a guess that an organization raising money for clean water is receiving substantially higher donations than your local, or national mental health association donations.

I guarantee that your twitter and Facebook feed are full of animal abuse pictures and mocking jokes of “physco crazy” people.  If you think this is not a big deal, simply put, you should maybe just leave your head in the sand, because this is actually a big deal. 

Lives are lost everyday. Lives that matter. Lives that are worth our voices.
Their stories are important, their value is important, their lives are worth so much more than a joke or a ten year old post about a lost dog.

They are worth each and every one of us stopping for a moment and thinking before we post or say something that could potentially make them feel more isolated, alone and misunderstood.

We are all here for a reason, we are all trying to figure that out, we are all trying to find our voice, our place and our strength. We are all human trying to survive, some of us just need a voice.
I’m willing to be that for the silent.


My village…

November 8, 2014


It takes a village to raise a child.
Nothing is more true.
Though some of us pull away and hibernate when times are tough, I take comfort in knowing my village is always there.
As a mother of a high needs child I have learned just how vital my village is, and just who lives there!
When you have children, any child, your village becomes a bit smaller, and a bit more clear.
You soon find out who is in your village and just who you want in your village!
I know for me with dude’s journey, it became abundantly clear who I needed around us, and who wanted to be around us,  or could accept and handle us.

Being part of a special needs village isn’t always easy. You’ll witness families in turmoil, in crisis, you may feel left out, or taken advantage of.
In my case, I promise none of that’s intentional. But during those tough times it’s hard for parents to see past the moment. And we rely deeply on our village to pop us up. 
You’ll need a strong mind, an understanding mind, and you’ll need to be a kind listener. You’ll need to know when humour is truly the best medicine and when hugs are the only words that help.  And you can be guaranteed, your fellow parents will give you that back ten fold when needed, because they know just how important the village is, and how hard it is to peak your head out some days.

Now I have been blessed, maybe lucky, call it what you will.
My village is strong.  My village is the foundation that I stand on when life is crumbling. My village consists of first and foremost family, a few incredible mom’s I’m lucky enough to call friends,  but my village also employees doctors we trust impeccably, teachers who guide, aides that support. And some of my fellow villagers are amazing second families to my daughter, because she needs a village of love and support of her own as her hut can sometimes be overwhelming with her brothers needs. 

My village wasn’t always always this strong.  Some villagers needed to pack up and move on.  Some I needed to kick out. Because life changes, and so does your village.  Though my core block of villagers gas been with me since day one, and I know that they will always be. 
They have listened,  cried,  filled in,  picked up,  driven, hugged, advised laughed, and loved our little family through the best and the worst of times.
My village has watched us learn and grow. They’ve held me up when the rugs been pulled out, reminded me to eat when the appetite is gone, to sleep when it gets dark, to laugh through the tears, to not take myself so seriously. They’ve taught me the ins and outs of parenthood, of wife hood and of illness.  They’ve taught me courage and strength, kindness and compassion, just by being them. 
My village is full.  My village is strong. My village is kind, my village is non judging and loving.  My village is educated and brilliant.  My village is funny and sweet.  My village is understanding and supportive. 
My village is my village.  And I am so incredibly grateful for my fellow villagers.

What I know for sure!

November 1, 2014


Here’s what I know for sure. I know for sure my child has bipolar. I know for sure I love him just as he is.
I am a very open minded person, I don’t judge when others choose as treatment, I don’t question when someone has been given a certain diagnosis. Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t think so.
You see I also know that I’m fed up, sick and tired and done with others questioning or doubting the validity of my sons diagnosis.
It’s weighed on me for some time, opening up this can of worms, but open I must.
You see there’s people who have actually argued with me, got angry at me because they think he has something else (autism is number one of this argument).
Trust me when I say I know his illness for sure.
We didn’t grab this diagnosis out of a flipping top hat. In fact we work with a doctor that will not diagnosis a young child with bipolar, because their brains and development change so quickly, in reality my son is one of very few he’s felt that strongly to diagnose at the beginning of adolescence.
But see this doctor isn’t the only person we’ve dealt with in the last ten years.  Dude has been assessed and tested by pediatrician, OT, pt, three psychologists, sees a neurologist yearly, with mris, eegs and scans,  a geneticist and everyone in between.  No we’re not new to this.
Through testing, on going for years, years of OT, pt, and therapy, meds, changes, and then some more testing a few pediatrics physc stays, every single professional in our realm has produced the same conclusion. Rapid cycling bipolar, severe anxiety and ocd and ptsd from bullying.

You know what though? I don’t need them to tell me.  We live it. 
When meds need an increase it reaffirms to me we are doing the right thing, because there’s nothing scarier or sadder than not being level. Yes chemicals, shocker!
We’ve had him off all meds at one time, only one of very few times I’ve seen my husband teary as his little boy sobbed, screamed, tried ripping the sink off the wall, and finally crumbled in a ball. The knives were locked up, the razors with them,  nothing in his room that could harm him. That would be our life without the therapies and medication.
But no he’s not bipolar… (enter sarcasm).
We’ve held our son after trying to take his life, we’ve screeched to a hault on the highway as he tries to jump out,  we’ve soothed and calmed when there’s no bringing him down.
But no he’s got something else, not bipolar… Maybe if we just cut something out of his diet he’d be fine…. Oh FYI done that, and guess what? Not a bit of difference, again shocker!

This seems to be one of the biggest hurdles with any invisible illness, people assume that they know better or doubt it.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a physically ill person questioned about their illness, I’ve never witnessed someone saying “you know I don’t think you’re actually paralysed, I think you just have an allergy”  or “ahhhh I’d suggest taking this,  I don’t think you’re fighting cancer, I just think you’re not praying enough”.  Sounds pretty ridiculous right? Yet those faced with invisible illnesses hear it all and then some regularly.  And as a mother of a child whose been diagnosed I’ve heard it waaayyy to often, and I am done. I am pissed off and sick of it.
Do people actually think I wouldn’t do anything to have my son happy and healthy, do they actually think I wouldn’t choose something more straightforward if possible? Do they actually think for a second that maybe, just maybe we wouldn’t give anything for our children? We do,  daily every second of every day, and that’s why we are where we are.  Because the meds work, the therapy work. We’ve seen the improvement, we’ve seen the proof because no we’re not new to this!
Don’t ever doubt my love, support and loyalty to my children. Ever. And for God’s sake don’t question me, I have about three binders of reports to prove you wrong.
Yes I know for sure my son has bipolar, and I know for sure I love him just as he is!