Archive for the ‘mental health’ Category

Take me to sesame street! 

September 1, 2017

I remember when my biggest question was how do I get to sesame street? That and who the hell was that creep pokaroo?

Years later I have a far bigger question :

How did we get here?

*How did I end up with 2 teenagers?  How did we survive and persevere the years gone by and land on our feet?  How did we navigate health issues that appeared insurmountable of our son as young parents? How did we manage to turn out better than we would have imagined. I don’t remember getting here. 

*How did our world turn into what it is? Full of so so much good, but mixed with a hate I’d wished to never see in my lifetime, and certainly did not expect to witness a rising of. What the hell happened doesn’t begin to cover my feelings on current events. I had hoped certain human rights issues would continue to evolve in a positive way, instead I find myself dumbfounded by the opposite. When and why did this all happen? Why is it remotely acceptable?

* When did I become a freaking adult? I won’t say responsible because that’s dependent on the day. But seriously. When did I grow up? 9 years into running a business, 16 years into being a mom and 17 years into being a wife and I can’t help question the sanity of actual responsible adults in my life trusting me with this stuff. It’s almost like I have a clue. And I almost feel like I have them all tricked. Me, in charge of anything? Ha! I suppose maybe I am smarter than I or the majority of people give me credit for? None the less I still can’t figure out how I got here. Tome warp possibly? 

Obviously I need to turn off my brain but most of all I still need to figure out how to get to sesame street! 

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It matters to me.

July 26, 2017

I haven’t written in a while.  Partly because I am busy in my florist role, partly because I try to enjoy  every piece of what little summer we have. And partly because I wonder, does it even matter?

In the last year I have been disheartened and discouraged by the ignorance and lack of education I have witnessed  (often online because that seems to be the safe place to post ignorant things) and I have found myself wondering why I even bother trying to make a dent in lessening ignorance, stigmas and stereotypes surouning so many things but mostly mental illness.

I find myself shocked. Shocked by the lack of compassion, understanding or even willingness to understand or accept difference. And I wonder how my one little voice can help.

Because I am well aware of how many people on my friends list find my awareness and posts around mental health annoying.  I am well aware of the people who think I am over talking,looking for attention or have no idea what I am talking about because I don’t have a PhD behind my name or I am not peddling some miracle cure. That old saying “walk a mile in my shoes…” comes mind….

Then I realize those people are exactly who need to be “bothered”. Either they don’t understand mental illness on a raw personal level (congratulations) or they think it’s better to not speak of  such things out loud. Both are part of the problem. Sorry but they are. Instead of being annoyed take a minute to read instead of complaining about being annoyed. Instead of being quiet, make a  comment online or in person to show others they are not alone.

In my world openness and being vocal is crucial.  Not only for my loved ones but for others – I  have had frantic messages, visits and phone calls from those I don’t know well reaching out for support,advice or an ear. Had I not shared our journey on a regular basis, they wouldn’t have. Not saying they wouldn’t have found those things elsewhere but would they have felt comfortable or even known they could ask questions without judgements or gossip if I just sat quietly?  probably not. And I like to think maybe I was able to bring a bit of comfort. A bit of guidance.

I have been brought back recently that stigmas and stereotypes and ignorance around mental illness isn’t going anywhere soon, like a big ol kick in the face.

And I am committed; that as long as those who suffer feel judged or inclined to suffer alone or end it all, that I will be a voice for them.

Be it a little voice.  For the more little voices there are, the bigger the roar. And how I wish there were more little voices.

Bipolar Moments 

March 28, 2017

There’s moments, sometimes long moments, in our house that we forget bipolar lives here. Well we do, the boy who battles, he never forgets . It’s always there for him. It’s always raging a war with in his mind. It never won’t. 

 Some moments  he wins. Some moments bipolar wins.

It’s those  moments that the illness wins, that we’re thrust back into a fraction of his reality.  It serves as a reminder that bipolar still lives here, it will never fully pack it’s bags and get its ass out the door.  

It’s those moments, when everything from pop cans to nail clippers are taken away, that we are reminded of the pain our child lives with every second of everyday. Reminded that sometimes that pain is to much. Reminded that the illness at any given time could win the battle in the ultimate way.

It’s moments that my child, is fighting to be alive,that the do gooders, know everythingers make me want to scream.  In the moments that bipolar is rearing it’s ugly head, that I hear such wonderful advice: give him vitamins. Rub his feet with oils. Try this drink. Get him outside. To much screen time. Be positive.Blah. Blah. Blah. 

I know that everyone who says such, in my life anyway, means well but seriously be quiet. Not only have we tried everything but by telling people who battle an invisable brain illness that those things will cure? You are adding to the stereotypes and stigmas these people fight daily. You add to the shame they carry.  You are not helping. 

Bipolar, really any mental illness, is no different from any chronic or life threatening illness.  And as with cancer or diabetes some of those things may help,because they do, but they don’t treat alone. Take your judgment elsewhere, better yet toss it out the door. Oh! And fyi, there is no cure.

There’s moments of peace.  And laughter. Those are my favorite moments.  Or they used to be.  But as I watch and listen to my  wise 15 year old during the crippling and hard moments I am learning.  I am getting a glimpse into a mind and soul so deep and so fragile and strong at the same time. I am finding myself liking those moments too, as hard and horrible as they are. They are favorite moments in a different way. A way that many people would question. But what my child has and does teach me through the ugly and the tears? Those are lessons many people will never learn. 

I am a mom. A mom of a complex and complicated child. A mom who has feared the next bipolar rear. A mom who will never know how long I’ll have my child. A mom who has screamed and cried,oh how I have cried. A mom who has learned and fought and stood up. I am a mom with many many moments that are foreign to much of the mom population . I am a mom who wouldn’t trade any of those moments for anything. 

I am a mom who some moments  will ask if he needs a hug. I am a mom who other times he doesn’t get a choice.

Oh my girl….

March 14, 2017

Where do I even start when I try to describe our punk? 

A girl who has never,will never be a cheerio seems like a good start.

My girl has inspired me from before she was born. Her determination, her humor and her heart and energy can’t be described. They can only be felt and witnessed. I have heard more often than not about the brown eyed girl “there’s just so about her”. And there is. And you just can’t pin point it.

There are some things that I had hoped to not pass on to my daughter. I had hoped her carefree and don’t give a shit attitude would see her through her years. Even though she will never quite change, she refuses strongly to be anyone but her, some of my fears for my girl have become a reality. 

I worried when her mind wouldn’t stop. I worried when the panic attacks started.  I worried when the negative self talk and thoughts started. I worried when the food control flags were raised.  I worried that the kid I’d known for 13 years would dissappear. 

I know better. I am ashamed that I selfishly worried that my spit fire would no longer have her spark. I know better. I don’t ever want her spark to fizzle. And I’m secretly scared it will. But I know better. 

I didn’t worry in the same way I had with dude so many years ago.  I am better equipped to handle these humps now, I have a good handle on the support stuff, I knew who to call, what to do. (Though admittedly I have royally screwed up in some of the things I have said.  That happens. I’m human. ) but I still don’t do well with my kids hurting. That I kinda suck at.
 That spark that has served her well after all, she is who she is. It is the determination of and heart that has brought her to be open with us instead of shutting down and retreating. That will serve her well in the perseverance it takes to get to that other side and hopefully one day carefree attitude back. Her heart will just continue to grow through this part of her journey.  And she will grow and take the world by storm. 

She will laugh her way through because that’s what she does.  If you ask her it’s all my fault for passing on these things, with a twinkle in her eye and a smirk on her lips 😉

Not an excuse. 

February 7, 2017

If I hear one more time that I use my kids as an excuse, or make excuses for them, well let’s just say you don’t want to be the person to say it. My children are not an excuse,  they are my reality.  And our reality is a bit different from many others. You not understanding it does not make it an excuse. Count yourself lucky if you don’t understand our reality, but do not assume you know or judge ours.

Being a kid/teen can be hard. I remember fun and laughter and friends and freedom when I think of my childhood.  There were hard moments but the good and easy outweighed the tough and hard. It is the opposite for my dude. As he inches toward adulthood and finding his voice he’s not only coming to grips with his illnesses but his childhood. His tough and hard outweighs the good and easy, easily. What he remembers anyway. You see a childhood of endless appointments, hospital stays,suicide attempts and bullying resulting in ptsd, has left much of his childhood locked in a dark box within his busy brain. At times fragments sneak out, but not to often. When they do,they often leave tears streaking my face. 

Surprisingly he is not bitter. Surprisingly he has grabbed his diagnosis and past trauma by the horns and educated himself,learned to cope, to function the best way his 15 year old self knows how. He hopes to share his story,little black box and all one day so people understand the difference between excuse and reason.

And with that I have learned, significant amounts of how his bipolar, anxious,sensory, ptsd brain works. I have learned that even when stable, life is hard to live for him. I have learned just breathing for another day, just coping with his brain for another day, is exhausting and frustrating. I have learned that even when there’s a smile on his face there’s still pain.  And I have learned there’s still days that he’d rather just end it all. 

Recently his sister has been having her own fight with the god forsaken anxiety. She’s not handling teenage years well at all. She’s full of panic attacks, self criticism and fear. A lot of fear. 

No you see my kids needing me is not an excuse.  My kids, illnesses or not come first. It just so happens that sometimes when they need me now, first, it’s not to make supper or run a bath. It’s to talk them through or off the ledge. 

It quite literally can mean life and death. Not that it should have to for parents, mom’s, to not be guilted about putting their children first. 

Bubbles. 

January 24, 2017

I need a time out. I need my bubble. 

I need a time out from the negative. The ignorance. The hate. The stigmas and the stereotypes. I need a time out from the mean and the cruel and the closed minds. From closed off bubbles. 

I try to be vocal. To use my voice, against those things. But right now I am tired. I’m tired of it all.  I am exhausted from the online bombardment of them. It’s sad. It’s disheartening  and it’s exhausting. And I need my bubble desperately. 

I don’t get it. I don’t understand. I can’t imagine how people  can so vehemently be against something they don’t understand or know, let alone a person or people they don’t.  (I suppose that some don’t understand why I’m not.  I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, that’s okay.  I do expect kindness. I do expect when disagreeing with me or others you not be ignorant or an asshole.)

 I suppose I actually do. Fear is often rooted in change. Change is scary. Being pushed out of your comfort zone or to actually think about others is tough. It’s easier to stay in the bubble we create for ourselves. To fit in with those around you, with similar bubbles.  But somethings need to change. And if you don’t consider anything other than what’s in your bubble. That bubble needs to pop. 

I asked the other day if your child was one of those who you deemed wrong or not acceptable, outside of your bubble, would you still speak the same? Would you continue to belittle, bash and hate?if your child didn’t fit what you deem acceptable. Would it still be they don’t deserve the same rights? Just because they don’t fit what’s in your bubble? Your children are listening. I feel for the kids on the fringes who will possibly fear sharing with their parents because of this.  They share our bubbles for a moment in time, they are though allowed to have their own, dont burst it because its different from yours. I fear one day parents may not have those children one way or another because they are so stuck in their own bubble. Let’s remember every person is someone’s child) could be your child.

No one answered. I am not surprised. However, I hope it made some think . 

I know I am not alone in my thoughts. I know that the world is full of us. I know that there’s troops of kind,caring,empathetic and open humans. Yet some days I feel like a minority in my thoughts and views. That’s okay.  

I am okay with being outside the bubble.

I’ll just make my own.  And it will be a bubble full of acceptance. 

Let them be different. 

January 16, 2017

Shame on us I suppose for letting our kids be themselves. Because it kinda sucks sometimes for them to not fit in the box . It’s hard in a world that expects not only our children, but us to fit a mould , to not.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s freeing and wonderful too. But it’s hard to not stand with the crowd. 

We watched our daughters basketball tournament this weekend and as we watched my husband commented “not hard to see who our kid is. One of those things is not like the others….”. It was true,is true. Where ponytails flew, her short funky hair stood out. Where short shorts were the norm, her mix matched long baggy shorts stuck out. 

Part of me was proud. I adore the indivuality of people. I love the differences. I love my child’s indivuality.  But a part of me to be honest was sad, because many don’t. It brought me back to recent comments made about her and I couldn’t help but wonder how long before she decides to fit the mould to make life easier. Then I was reassured that if anything , she is strong enough in herself she won’t cave so easily. I hope she doesn’t. 

I wonder why often? Why is different bad in our world? Why do our children, as we did and still do, bury themselves to fit in? I wish that fitting in meant individuality. Unfortunately it often doesn’t. It is easier to dress like,style our hair like,act like everyone else. Because for some sceientific  reason we like people who are only like us.  So in order for kids,teens and yup lots of adults  to be accepted and liked they have to fit what the majority deems acceptable, you might get away with a slight difference. But not a big one, you’ll be outcast for that. And that’s tough. And people can be cruel.  My biggest wonder is why? I don’t think you have to be like someone else to be treated with kindness or at the very least not be treated badly. One thing I say often: “not liking someone does not give you the right to be cruel”. Me? I like the misfits. I like the real, the individual. 

It’s not ok. But it is reality. And sometimes it sucks. Especially for kids and teens who’ve yet to realize that the world is a big place full of different. 

We’ve raised our children to be themselves, we’ve taught them to talk to people instead of about people, we’ve taught them to be tolerant regardless of the moulds and boxes society and peers set. Most of all we’ve taught them they are good enough just being themselves. We don’t want clones of ourselves , or anyone else for that matter. And yes we sure do sometimes screw up. And yes they sure screw up too. We are human after all. Mistakes don’t necessarily mean bad. They mean growth. We all make them, don’t pretend you don’t. But I think this one thing we’ve done decently. 

I want my children to be strong and kind and continue to march to their own beat. I want them to be confident and comfortable enough  with themselves to have the hair and clothes they choose but more importantly the hearts and individual personalities, thoughts and opinions they have. I want them to not be ashamed of their sensitivity, their compassion and their tolerance. I want them to have those regardless of how they may be treated. I want them to be them. I want them to always know that being yourself is the best way to be happy. 

Life can suck. It can knock you down on your way up. But I have faith that by being themselves on the way up, they will be better for it and conquer the world once they reach the top.

Suicide silence. 

September 19, 2016

Candid post warning. 

September is always one of reflection, being suicide awareness month. 

Suicide sucks. Period. End of story. 

As any death does. 

I think it’s harder to understand because we don’t all feel so lost or weighed down by the pain that those who die of suicide do. Often we can’t fathom how death would ever be an ideal option. Most victims are loved, and love after all. I assure you those who pass of suicide don’t die because they don’t love us,or think of us. They do. A lot. 

They aren’t as selfish as society makes them out to be.  

Some churches still refuse funerals for those lost or consider it a mortal sin,  some won’t pay respects because of archaic beliefs or stigmas attached.  And that is just plain sad. These are people. Amazing, strong and courageous people who succumbed to an illness. 

The loss due to suicide doesn’t hurt less than other deaths.  Albeit they may leave us more confused, likely questioning and carrying guilt.  It’s something that crushes us to the core, yet we still stay quiet, we don’t speak of the pain leading up to the passing, often we’re left in shock. We stay silent because it’s easier than discussing such a taboo subject. 

I speak often of doing all we can to prevent our son from dieing of suicide.  It’s a daily thought in our minds, have we done enough? We just don’t know. 
 What I don’t speak so much about is that I am a survivor of being on that brink. I wasn’t there because I was selfish. I was there because the pain was unbearable.  Putting my family through my pain was unbearable. Thankfully with help and support I survived. I am here, where the thought no longer creeps in, where I am living a full life. I survived. 

I also don’t speak of the double digits of childhood friends lost due to suicide. Their stories aren’t mine to share. But with every one I’m brought back to the others. With every one my voice gets a little louder for those who are silent or can’t find their voice. 

We must remember suicide is not our fault. Suicide is not their fault. 

Many don’t know where to go,many don’t get treatment or help, especially boys and men, because of stereotypes. That needs to stop. 

Shame and embarrassment is often piled on top of the already agonizing pain, to the point death truly does seem to be the only way to help. There is no shame, or there shouldn’t be. 

 There is support,and help and often stability if we just open our minds and hearts enough. Sometimes, as heart breaking as it is, those aren’t enough. I truly believe that less lives would be lost if there wasn’t the added stigmas and shame of asking for help however. 

I am not promoting suicide, quite the opposite, I am promoting support, help, ridding of stigmas and stereotypes. Most of all I am promoting love and compassion for those who are lost.  
Remembering and hoping ❤

I care about someone with mental illness. 

September 5, 2016
    • Do you or a loved one battle mental illness?  I have had the honour of raising a child, not done yet, a son who has battled almost all of his short life. He battles hard. 

      When we started this journey of parenthood, we did not expect this particular road. We have had to adjust to the multiple twists and turns that come along with parenthood, let alone parenting of a non typical child . I made it my mission to learn everything I could, from ptsd to bipolar to anxiety. Along the way I have learned more and more, not only about my child but about myself and others who live with illnesses that are not visible.  I care. A lot. 

      1. Acceptance.  Accept the diagnosis. Let go of your pre conceived ideas of mental health or that it’s not a “real” illness because you can’t see it . Accept that it is very real,and very scary. Accept that you will have to explain this,and much more repeatedly to those who question the reality. Accept that you will need to fight.  Denial will help no one.  Least of all those with the illness. Denial could in fact cost them critical help and support. Accept the reality and with that surround yourself with a support system and professionals you trust and move forward.

      2. Get educated. Research. Ask questions. Help your loved one do the same. It helps everyone to be prepared and truly helps in understanding the illnesses.  When armed with knowledge you can become a huge assest in the treatment and careof yourself and loved ones and aide in breaking down some of the societal barriers. Knowledge really is power and knowledge of illness is one of the most powerful components.  

      3. Advocate.  With the knowledge you gain you will be able to advocate more gratefully and well for your loved one or yourself. Our world is slowly learning but there’s still much to  learn. You may have to advocate in numerous areas of life. There is still a lot of ignorance and stigma surrounding mental health and often those living in the trenches aren’t up to the task of explaining or advocating for themselves. Be their voice and use yours. With each voice those stigmas and intoletances will become less.

      4. Be kind and forgive. To not only your loved one, but yourself.  Often as parents we feel guilty. Let the guilt go. We all mess up. We all make mistakes. Learn from them, forgive and carry on. 

      5. Don’t make them all about the illness.  There are times when the illness is all consuming, for them and yes you. At those times yes every ounce of everything is about the illness and getting through. Those people with mental illness have a disease, but they are not just a disease. They are so much more. They are human. Don’t solely focus on the illness part of them, focus on all of them. 

      6. Be positive.  This is not their fault. Nor is it yours. It truly is what it is. Absolutely there’s many tears,ample amounts of frustration and every emotion possible. No its not all positive, don’t pretend it is. Live those emotions, but don’t stay there and don’t try to find blame, there is none. Try to remember that this to shall pass. 

      7. Be patient.  There’s no quick fix. No matter how much we wish there were. There’s a lot of trial and error . With each individual needs vary. Mental illness is the least cookie cutter illness there is.  Try and try again.  Be patient with yourself during these times and most importantly be patient with those struggling. I promise they’re far more frustrated then you are. For chronic mental illness there’s no real cure, so getting to a point of stability will try all your patience, and you will question regularly when that point will tip. For many people with mental illness, you will eventually find what seems to work, and be treated successfully. In the mean time your patience also will be tried and tested. With mental health patience really is a virtue. And with it and hard work illness can be at least become manageable. 

      Cherish your loved ones and yourself, always ❤

Time out of reality.

June 26, 2016

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With the school year ending and getting nearer to our little cabin in the woods being ready, it’s time again for me to unplug a bit.

This has been a learning year. A year where we stepped away from the traditional school system for our Dude and opted to start schooling at home.

I won’t lie. It hasn’t gone quite according to this mama’s plans.  But then does anything really with parenting, especially a child with unique needs?

Homeschooling is definitely not what I thought in our future, I am definitely not this good teaching mom. I actually suck at it. It’s not something I typically encourage even.

Self discipline isn’t a 14 year olds strong suit, let alone one whose got a brain that works completely different from the norm, one that over works 24/7. Or ones whose parents both work, who can’t be there constant reminding them to be on task.

I struggled immensely with the time lines, with structure, with almost everything being a homeschooling parent meant.
I beat myself up a lot. For a long time.

Then after hearing numerous wise words from people who are my support. I accepted that I can’t be all and do all.

I also came to realize that somethings are far more important than grades or finishing a grade on time. And those things were things we were seeing in our child for the first time in many years.  We saw happiness, stability and even a bit of confidence.

And it dawned on me; his health and happiness is priority. 
I’m not saying schools unimportant, far from it. 
I’m simply saying a break from pressure, stressors or triggers are not a bad thing, no matter your age.

When you are 14 and lived through and with what our 14 year old has, if he was an adult, he’d be having a break. Working on his work in a different way.

So I let that sink in and  let societies expectations go. That was tough.
I took a step back and accepted that a year of a slower pace is not the end of the world I thought it was. I took a step back and saw what a difference these few months have made and that what really matters had actually been accomplished. That life is to precious and short to worry about my or anyone else’s preconceived notions of childhood/teenage hood, life in general.

We are good.  Good for the first time in 9 years. And I’ll take that over almost anything.

And with that it is time to sign off for the summer. It is time to focus on recharging the soul ❤