I’m just his mother. 

August 20, 2016

Well it would appear that summer is coming to a close.  It would appear I completely missed it. 

I’ve spent a busy summer working and trying desperately to figure out this new phase of life.

One which finds my Dude growing in Independence and more stable and level then we’ve seen in 10 years. It’s wonderful and odd all at once. 

One in which finds my Punk just growing into this amazingly independent, open minded and compassionate young woman. 

I have spent a lot of time looking back and reflecting on where we started, our journey so far, and how we reached a point of not wandering through everyday with a deep seeded fear of not knowing if our child would make another day. 

I’ve come to realize that the journey so far most certainly was not easy.

 For years we attended 3 weekly appointments with the closest being 40 minutes away. We had to make heart wrenching decisions to admit our little boy to the hospital. Unlike if he was hospitalized for a physical illness where we could sleep beside him, we left standing and breaking on the opposite side of a locked door. This was necessary 3 times before he was 10. Nothing, I mean nothing, is worse than leaving your baby in what you hope are capable hands and trying to carry-on for weeks filled with your own tears and cracking heart.

  We spent years trying meds,tweaking meds. We walked on eggshells.  We watched our child every moment of many days trying anything to ease the pain.  We hid every sharp object to prevent the only way he could think to ease it. And we held on for dear life. Our child’s dear life. 

I’ve also come to realize that the journey so far has been SO worth it. 

It didn’t happen overnight. In fact it’s been so gradual I hadn’t really even noticed. He’s stable and level and I have the child I knew was in there, back.  Of course we don’t know for how long, we don’t know what tomorrow holds. But if this journey has taught me one thing,it’s to be in and embrace and celebrate the good moments. 

 It’s taught me that I am strong and fierce when it comes to my children.  It’s taught me that for my children i will do anything. It’s taught me that no two people are alike. It’s taught me to judge less and accept more. It’s taught me that little things,things we take for granted, are in fact big and life living moments. Its taught me that working your ass off does make a difference. It does pay off. 

We can listen to him ramble about all things random for hours, for he is talking full of joy. We can listen to his eclectic mix of music for days,because he’s sharing a passion. We can’t hear his laughter enough, because we hadn’t heard it for so long. We can breathe a little bit more, because we held our breaths for so long. 

We are here. Now. In this incredible moment. We are not looking ahead. We are though looking back the odd time, to remind us of where we started. 

This child of ours is a warrior. A fighter. A survivor.  He is why we are where we are. He is the one who has the determination and the courage to live. He is the one who fought and fights the hardest battles. He is the one who has battled and likely will again the trenches of illness and worked hard to get to today. He is empathic, compassionate, caring, kind, open, funny, sincere and loyal. He is my son. 

I am just lucky enough to be his mother.

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 ❤

Be you.

June 13, 2016

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Once upon a time I tried to fit what everyone around me thought I should be. Be it an athlete, horse lover,or anything in between. And it was maddening.
We all at some point try to fit a mould that doesn’t make quite fit us. Breaking that mould and making your own is not only freeing, but life changing.

I also had a pretty good idea of what kind of parent I was going to be and what kind of children I would have.

And then I had children.

They had a different plan.

The eldest brought differences, and acceptance of such, to the forefront of our lives.
We have witnessed judgement, criticism, stigma and stereotypes. Simply because he has an illness others can’t see. We’ve fought for 12 years to save his life. Not only from his illness, but from others cruelty.
He’s not alone. In his illness or simply by not being what society deems the norm.
Different is not bad.

Because of that I refuse to groom my children to March to anyone’s drum but their own, and I have learned to lead by example.  I am me, they are them and you are you.
 
We are allowed to be ourselves. We are allowed to be different. We are not less because of.

Because of the child I was blessed with,  I see the world a bit differently, I firmly believe that different is good. I believe that being the same is not all its cracked up to be. That the world is a much more beautiful place when you just accept differences. Others and our own.

I honestly don’t care if you understand others or not. I just don’t.  You don’t need to.
What do I care about?  Empathy.
It seems to be lacking to often.

No one, ever, deserves to be harmed, physically, mentally or emotionally because another doesn’t understand them. Someone marching to a different beat does not give others the right to burn them over the coals.

I am really not concerned with your religion, your race, your sexuality or status.  What I am concerned about is kindness towards others. Non of the above give others the right to persecute. We are not God, and sorry we are not so important in our ways that others ways are wrong.  Race,religion, sexuality,  status or any other difference are not  reasons to be hurtful or harmful. And using them as a reason to be so,is a damn poor excuse.

I do believe if we all thought the same thoughts, felt the same way and liked the same things; or world would be a very robotic, bleak and scary place.

I do believe in the right to personal opinions.  However I struggle to understand them being used to hurt others. Again difference in opinions doesn’t allow cruelty.

I know I see the world differently.
I know not everyone agrees.
I know our world can’t be all sunshade and rainbows.
I know though that kindness is far better than hatred.
I know that love and compassion is a nicer feeling than fear or hate .
I also know that different can be amazing.

Be brave enough to be you.  And be brave enough to let others be them.

Just be well.

June 1, 2016

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Ya I  know, it’s now June.  Forgive this chaotic mother for missing my most important awareness month by a day.

If you have read my site for some time, you are well aware of how I feel, you’re also well aware that the initial meme  (solely the top of the above picture) sends me into a bit of defensive mode. (So thank you ranela, whoever you are for this version)

Why do things like that inital post send me to a defensive place? They are mostly well intended after all.

For many reasons.

First we all know nature is wonderful. It’s medicinal and it’s calming.  I head out to live in a trailer surrounded by trees for 2 months every year because it’s good for my soul, and good for my children’s.
I know how wonderful and soothing nature is for my multiple diagnosed child. If he could live in a tree house, he would. But it would have to have wifi….

I get it, nature is good.
I also get that sometimes it’s just not enough. If you happen to be one of those people who it is enough for, wonderful.
  For my child, many others, and even myself, it is not. Many illnesses are based on chemistry and/or the inner workings of one’s brain. Those things you can not treat solely with nature. Nature and other such things are most definitely a helpful tool, and yes even one type of anti depressant, but believe me, there’s many others.

Unfortunately as of 2016 trees don’t emit brain leveling chemicals needed to function. And grass has yet to grow the array of wires needed for the brain to rewire.

Second: memes saying such, minimize legitimate illness.
They add to the stigma instead of helping break it down.
They isolate those suffering and quiet their voice when sometimes they need to be heard, for fear of judgment.

By saying  that nature  (or anything else, this is one of many examples ) is an anti depressant, you are implying  (maybe not intentionally) that anything else is horrible. Implying that depression and mental illness are blown out of proportion, that it’s not that bad, and that it’s not real.
I assure you folks,it’s real, it’s far from blown out of proportion and it sucks.

I know, I’ve heard it many times, “they’re just pictures/quotes/memes, don’t let it bother you “.

But it does, and I’m not alone.

Here’s the thing.

No 2 people, even with the same diagnosis, are alike.

Some find walks,  meditation, oils,natural supplements,vitimins,etc to be just what the doctor ordered.

Great.

For many, like my dude; nature is absolutely 100% Beneficial and helpful. But the vitamins, supplements and everything else I’ve been told will cure my child by well meaning home based sales, reacts within him horribly and causes more harm.
I’m sorry but after some horrible mental reactions to such, I’m sticking with science on this one.
And here’s a little news flash. For some there simply is no cure. And  treating mental illness is a pretty complex, there’s numerous components.

My point yet again is, everyone is different.

Do what YOU need to do to be as well as you can be.
Go for a walk. Meditate. Take your supplements. Rub on your oils. Take your meds.

I don’t care. Just be well.

Days like yesterday.

May 16, 2016

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There’s days like yesterday that are scary and overwhelming.

There’s days dude needs his space, and there’s days, like yesterday I just can’t give it to him.
There’s days like yesterday  he himself knows that he can’t be alone. Where he doesn’t even trust himself and will ask to not be alone.

There’s days like yesterday that we check on him every 5 minutes. We get on his nerves. But he knows we get on his nerves out of love and worry. He gets it.

There’s days like yesterday that as parents our stomachs tighten and our hearts race and we hold on tight.

There’s days like yesterday where his little sister is left confused and scared and her eyes fill with tears of worry.

He is quiet on days like yesterday, but his mind is screaming.  And ours are on high alert.

There’s days  like yesterday  if I ask him if he’s wanting to hurt himself, he will reply that absolutely he does, he’s done, he can’t do it anymore.  But he won’t. Because of us. And I can’t help but hope that even 10 years from now, that will be his thought process,that he will hold on in those moments for fear of hurting those who love him, until those moments pass. Until the tomorrow comes.

There’s days like yesterday that when he’s tucked into bed safely, there’s a little sigh of relief, but then you tuck yourself into bed holding your breath, hoping and praying that tomorrow is a better day.

Then there’s this morning, when all is well and good. And you remember that there will always be days like yesterday. 

But that was yesterday.

Always learning. Never quitting.

April 24, 2016

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This journey of parenting a child with illnesses and needs isn’t a new one for us, yet it’s always changing.
There’s no light switch or magic pill that makes it all better overnight. If you think there is you’re sadly mistaken. As parents we have a commitment to our children, and society, to be there, not just for the easy, fun times. But the hard, heartbreaking ones as well.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned

1. It takes time.
Lots and lots of time. That means you will miss out on social gatherings, volunteer commitments, date nights and everything in between. It means being present and listening to your child or hoping in the car to drive hours for appointments after a long crappy day at work, where a long soak in the tub is all you want.  Suck it up.
You have a window of time that is crucial to the wellbeing of your child. Choose them first. We as parents don’t always come first.

2. Medication is not stupid.
Nor is it a quick fix. Often it causes plenty of its own troubles for our children. But sometimes you have to stand your ground with all the well meaning alternative method selling friends and do what you need to do for to save your child. I’m not saying other solutions may not work, but sometimes it’s not quite that easy. For example my dude is on a 6 medication cocktail that without he’d no doubt be dead. You will face scrutiny and feel ashamed, don’t. I’m well aware that I don’t know the long term affects medication will have, without it we do know we won’t have a long term.

3. Find the right people.
By people I mean doctors and therapists. Please, please don’t just see a gp for your child’s mental health needs. Any decent gp will refer you anyways.  See the specialists, who have spent their lifetime learning about children’s brains, disorders and illnesses. Brains are the most complex organ in our bodies, a growing one more so.

4. Therapy.
One word. Simple.  If your child or teen is battling mental illness, I highly suggest therapy.  Our boys illnesses are chronic, we’re at a point where he doesn’t need therapy twice a week, he still goes  (albeit not as often) ,he did for many many years.  Having a team is vital. Find a good fit for your child, and go. I’m a firm believer that if your child needs medication to be stable, they also need therapy, until deemed otherwise. I can not stress enough the importance of a good therapist as a part of the team. The skills and support they give not only your child but you are measure less.

5. It’s not their fault.
They are sick to make your life miserable and difficult. They are not sick because it’s cool or fun. They are sick. Their behaviour will likely confuse and frustrate you. Imagine being inside their head. I know I’d want to crawl out pretty quickly. Mental illness is not fun, if your child is truly struggling I guarantee they’d like to be able to choose other ways to have fun or get attention. They’d also like nothing more than to have it stop. But since it might not, they’d probably appreciate not being blamed, made fun of or judged. I’d be mortified if a child with cancer or diabetes was blamed for their heartbreaking illness. I’m equally so when people are blamed for their mental illness.  The brain is an organ in the body, just like any other part of the body, it can be attacked by illnesses, and yes kill you. It’s real and it’s scary. Treat an illness of the brain as you would treat any other chronic, severe or debilitating illness.

My bipolar boy.

March 30, 2016

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How fitting that today my husband and I will sit down with our sons doctor in hopes of some sort of game plan for the inevitable med change.
How fitting that yesterday I said to his pharmacist “I prefer to be proactive and I have to know how it will happen.”  when in the bipolar reality, we never know when, why and how things will happen.
And as mother, a mother who herself has to know plans and heaven forbid they change, the not knowing hangs like a dark cloud every moment of every day.

But today I am grateful as well.

I am grateful for my sons treatment from a young age. I am grateful for his learning and educating himself on an illness that never goes away, never will. I am grateful for his strength, for his compassion and his undeniable courage.
Most of all I’m grateful we’ve made it to 14.
We didn’t know we would.
We almost didn’t.
We don’t know how many birthdays we’ll mark on his calendar. We don’t know how many days we’ll have. We don’t even know how many moments of good we’ll have.
We don’t know.

For parents we sure don’t know much.

But what we do know is: we love him beyond measure. We will continue to fight tooth and nail to get another birthday. Another day. Another moment.
And every moment will be cherished.

Because we also know that our son has bipolar (and a gambit of others),  but he is so so much more.

He fills our lives with joy,love, laughter, frustration, heart ache and pain and we are proud.
He has taught us not only as parents, but as human beings. To see things a little bit different. To see things a little bit clearer. That the world is full of different. That the little things are actually big and that no matter how much darkness there is, there’s always a sliver of light.

We are proud.

And as we stumble through this whole parenting thing, we stumble a bit more parenting a bipolar child. But we will never fall. For we need to be standing strong when he does. We may stumble, but no we will not fall, we will catch our hero instead.

Because his life matters. Your life matters.
Because we will be his strength when his is lost. And we will always, always have hope.

World bipolar day.

March 27, 2016

Leading up to world bipolar day I will share some of my older posts, because well this is a journey.

Read the rest of this entry »

Screw you mental illness, just screw you.

March 8, 2016

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Over thinking has always been a down fall of mine, probably always will be. Plus I always want to know the whys the how’s and all of the answers, and I must have an exact time line of when things are going to happen, and don’t try to change that or throw in a curve.

Enter the unknown of a child with mental illness.

Not a good combination.

Apparently mental illness, especially bipolar don’t care about what I want.
Apparently it doesn’t work on my time line.
While Dude is fairly stable, I’ve had to accept the fact that some days just plain suck. The saving grace at this moment is he’s pulling himself out of the dark fairly quickly. But those days still raise the bipolar radar.

Yet here I sit wanting answers, and plans, and concrete.

Can his inevitable med change happen at home? Or do we need to be prepared for a lengthy hospital stay?
When exactly, what day, will we need to do this med change?
How do I know if it’s specific life events or med related? And when exactly do we need to make a call?
What happens if he crashes hard? We know his flight or fight instincts kick in when it comes to hospitalization, so what exactly do we do, because he can’t be put in the car anymore by mom and dad ?
Will he survive a huge overhaul of meds?
What would he be like med free?
How can I prepare, all of us?
Why the hell do I even have to have these questions? Shouldn’t my teenager just be having fun.
What exactly can I do to make it all better?
I just want to make it all better.

It’s taken me years to accept that I will never know all the answers, but I still try. It drives everyone around me nuts, including the bipolar kiddo! I like to be in control, I don’t like not knowing and even less not being able to fix.
I won’t lie it sucks not having the answers to my never ending list of questions. Questions that play over and over again, because mental illness is relentless, it may give you a little bit of a break from time to time, but it’s always there and always leaves you with questions. Right now I’m having a hard time not knowing all of the answers.
Stupid questions. Horse before the cart questions. Questions I’ll never have the answers to.

Screw you mental illness for not letting me, for him, have the answers. Today just a big screw you!

They’ve taught me….

February 24, 2016

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Because of them I am the mother I am. Because of them I am me…..

My mother has  taught me how to be a strong independent woman, who can do anything and everything. She’s sat beside me while my world’s crumbled to pieces, and silently held me up until I could myself, and she’s taught me I am OK! She’s taught me graceful strength. To be assertive while being kind. To be accepting yet cautious. She’s taught me to be a mother. She taught me to be me.

My father has taught me I’m never alone. He has taught me not to settle and not to give up. He’s taught me failure is OK, as long as you try. He’s taught me to laugh. He’s taught me I am good enough, never to settle. He’s taught me how to succeed. He’s taught me to say what I mean and mean what I say. He’s taught me to be a mother. He’s taught me to be me.

My grandparents have taught me to laugh. They’ve taught me resilience. They’ve taught me life is short. That life is always beautiful. They’ve taught me acceptance. They’ve taught me humour. They’ve taught me if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’ve wasted a laugh. They’ve taught me to be real. They’ve taught me to use my voice. They’ve taught me confidence. They’ve taught me to be a mother. They’ve taught me to be me.

My brother and sister he’s taught me grit. They’ve taught me to push myself. To better myself. He’s taught me to enjoy life. She’s taught me sisters don’t have to be blood. They’ve taught me perseverance. They’ve taught me to stand up, not to be pushed around or walked over. They’ve taught me friendship. They’ve taught me to be a mother. They’ve taught me to be me.

My aunts and uncles and cousins have taught me not to take life to seriously. They’ve taught me family means you always have someone, and everyone always has someone. They’ve taught me to cherish individual relationships.  They’ve taught me to follow your heart and your passion. They’ve taught me support. They’ve taught me to be a mother. They’ve taught me to be me.

My other mother and father have taught me appreciation. They’ve taught me determination. They’ve taught me self love and they’ve taught me to hold my head high. They’ve taught me to try new things and they’ve taught me to get back up when I fall. They’ve taught me I am loved. They’ve taught me to be a mother. They’ve taught me to be me.

My husband has taught me unconditional love. He’s taught me that even if you have no idea what you are doing, with the right person you can do it all. He’s taught me pride. He’s taught me true joy. And he’s taught me strength. He’s taught me to climb mountains and he’s taught me someone will always catch me when I fall. He’s taught me to just breathe. He’s taught me that even when it’s dark there’s always a light. He’s taught me to let go. He’s taught me to accept what I can’t change. And he’s taught me patience. He’s taught me I am good enough. He’s taught me to be a mother. He’s taught me to be me.

My children have taught me unwavering and undying love. They’ve taught me to be fierce. They’ve taught me that there’s more to life than me. They’ve taught me patience, perseverance, strength and determination. They’ve taught me weird is good. They’ve taught me real. They’ve taught me life is cruel and mean and hateful, but they’ve taught me those things don’t matter because it’s also surprising and wonderful and ever changing. They’ve taught me to stand tall. They’ve taught me nothing else matters. They’ve taught me I am capable. They’ve taught me compassion and empathy and wisdom. They’ve taught me bravery and courage. They’ve taught me love. They’ve taught me everything I needed to know.

They’ve taught me to be a mother.
They’ve taught me who I am.