Posts Tagged ‘acceptance’

Bipolar awareness, love from a mother.

March 30, 2015

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This will be short. Because for those suffering today is just another day of battle and unknowns.
This illness is not one prone to going away, there is no cure.
My favourite quote regarding this is

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I know that I don’t live with bipolar, but having a young son who fights every single day, it has taught me more than I thought possible.

I urge you to read previous posts on this blog, I urge you to open your mind and heart, and simply understand this illness is not one of ease, that these individuals suffering are not less than us, they are not ill for your humour.

I ask that you simply, and quite easily break down the stigma and stereotypes that so many seem to accept and tolerate in regards to bipolar.
You must understand bipolar is like a snowflake, each one is different, which makes treatment that much more difficult.
I ask that you refuse to tolerate jokes, jabs and cartoons at bipolars expense.
I ask that you think long and hard about how you would feel if you, your child, your spouse or parent fought hard every day to stay here with you, and that yes sadly sometimes they succumb to the illness but until you walk the road don’t you dare say that they’ve chosen it.

I ask that as you wouldn’t scoff at treatment of cancer or heart disease you don’t scoff at that of bipolar.
I ask that you open your eyes and accept and understand this is a real, life or death, chronic illness.
I ask that even if you don’t understand it, you don’t judge it.

And if you are suffering, I ask that you trust that you are loved, valued and appreciated. You may have bipolar but bipolar isn’t who you are!
You are so so much more! You are talented, and kind.
You are stronger than most, and courageous beyond measure.
You are you. And that is enough!
Don’t let close mindedness and ignorance determine who you are.
You are as good as anyone else walking, and better than some,but definitely not less because of your illness.
Be proud, and be strong. Be yourself and hold your head high.
You are loved, and those who don’t get it don’t matter.

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My son isn’t bipolar

February 8, 2015

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My son isn’t bipolar.
He has bipolar.

Some days it’s really hard to differentiate because bipolar can either take over, or creep in at any given time. And those moments it feels as if he is bipolar, because those moments you try so hard to push through to support and get him, actually him, back.

As parents it’s hard to share our world, because the world can be pretty cruel to our kiddos.  It’s full of misinformation, stigmas, stereotypes and ignorance. And as a parent of a mentally ill person, we know all to well how quickly those things can tip our children to a point of crisis.  And as those suffering it’s overwhelming and terrifying to try and get people to understand you are more than the label on your medical charts. Or simply understand you for you.

But at the end of the day my son has a name. And he is him, not bipolar, or any of his other diagnoses.
Truth be known not many people get to know him. Be it because they choose not to or because he prefers to not let them.
There’s a few who get to see the twinkle in his eye, and fewer who get to hear his laughter and fewer yet who see his heart.

He is not bipolar. He is so much more.

He is kind and compassionate and gentle. Though I often wish he was more so toward himself.

He will always think of others before himself. He worries more about those close then himself during his cycles.

He has more empathy then anyone I’ve ever met.

He has a unique humour, is a computer and historical whiz.

He tries harder in almost anything then your typical child. He has to because life doesn’t come easy to him.

He is an amazing big brother and incredible son.

If he likes you, he likes you unconditionally. And will always have your back. His friendship doesn’t waiver, which can be hard because he doesn’t understand why others do.

And his family is not only his strength, but his heroes, best friends and comfort. He takes pride in his cousin’s and sisters achievements and is their biggest cheerleader.

And if he let’s you see that sparkle, you can guarantee you are lucky and spec

ial and will

always be an important part of his life. Because that sparkle doesn’t show for just anyone.

The kid is more resilient than most, and braver then I will ever be.

He has a name, and it’s not bipolar.

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Lessons from grandpa

January 5, 2015

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My grandpa was my hero and I his little  angel.
12 years have passed since I lost one of the most influential people in my life. My grandpa would be celebrating his 100 th birthday this month, one special occasion we shared. 

The man should have never made it to where he did (being highly premature in 1915 was not what it is today, fighting the front lines of the entire second world war was almost unheard of) but in doing so he brought so much to so many. My Grandpa taught me many many lessons.  Most of which can be transferred to all parts of life.

1. Humour : laugh. ALOT. At funny things but also yourself.  Laughing at yourself, your mistakes, your comical errors will lessen the load.  Life can be funny,make it so.

2.  Tell your story: The only thing my grandpa didn’t speak of often was his war years.  Otherwise the man told stories and shared memories, always! Those stories and memories gave me a huge appreciation for years passed, what hard times really mean, and that everyone has a story to share, everyone has been through tragedies, and we are not here to lessen them, judge or criticize.
We all have a voice, use it and use it wisely.

3.   Friendliness/kindness :One of my fondest memories is morning coffee at the local coffee shop every morning to enjoy a hot chocolate with the farmers and the wives, and the trips tucked in the back seat to the nearest city for Sunday trips during my visits.  Both entailed meeting friends and strangers alike. And strangers become friends. Smile at people, start a conversation, it may just be the best thing you’ve done in a while. I never heard the man dismiss someone or be rude.  He taught me to be kind, to everyone until proven otherwise, then still be kind.

4. Commitment.  This is from both grandpa and grandma.  Don’t just walk away from a marriage, home, friendship because this moment is tough.  When you make a commitment, follow through. My grandpa returned from war, married grandma and brought baggage like most of us would turn away from.  She stood by him, loved him and truly was his better half.  He was the oldest home dialysis patient in Canada.  Three times a day those two would sit down for the treatment, grandma administrating, grandpa talking.  They taught me perseverance and strength, that even during the bad there can be wonderful.  All because of a commitment they took seriously.

5. Hard work: the man worked hard. I often sat in his workshop while he tinkered.  The smell of sawdust still tears me up.  Sure by this time he was retired, but his hands were never idle.  He taught me to take pride in my work and in myself.  He taught me I was good enough, smart enough and determined enough to do whatever I wanted to do. The quiet moments we shared puttering were some of the best and carried the biggest lessons of all.  He believed in me, trusted me and showed me that giving up was never an option.

6. Take time for yourself : grandpa loved his naps, his cartoons and his wood shop.  I believe that those moments were his and his alone.  Time to think, ponder, reflect. He genuinely liked his own company. I watched and learned that no matter what is going on, it is perfectly acceptable to take that myself moment.  To say no, to rest when you need and to enjoy your own company, so you can be the best you. Heck if you don’t like yourself it’s kind of hard for others to!

7. Be you : my grandpa taught me that being me was enough.  Even if it took me a while to get it.  He always always accepted not only me for me, but others as well just the way we were.  He didn’t care what colour you were, what size you wore, how many degrees you held, or how much money you had.  He only cared if you were decent and kind. And when you messed that up, he still liked ya! He loved me enough to prove to me that I was loved, unconditionally, for always.

Yes lessons learned from grandpa are some of life’s best lessons.

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Resolutions my ass ;)

December 28, 2014

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Resolutions my ass.
OK maybe not all  of them.
But let’s get real for a second.
I have yet in my 34 years to make one. Why?
Because I think they’re mostly ridiculous. If I am going to strive for something, change something or commit to something, I’m not going to tick off the days until January 1st to do it.  I’ll do it right now.
Will I continue to do it?
Maybe, maybe not.

But I don’t get the hoopla surrounding making good choices on a particular day. Then feeling guilty or beating yourself up in thirty days when you haven’t followed through or hit exactly what goal you set. 
We all fail at something we try to achieve, yet it seems to me that when you fail at the oh so important new years resolution you feel even worse.
So aim high.  Every day, not just one day. Hell my goals change by the minute not the year around here! For some that means being healthier, loosing weight and so on. Those frankly aren’t things I’ve ever put a lot of thought into. My “resolutions”  tend to consist more of family, caring, etc.
For example the beginning of September I resolved to bake more for my family.  So every Sunday I spend a few hours in the kitchen.
In June I resolved to pay it forward at least once a week.  So every week I do something or give something to somebody, often daily not weekly.
In October I swore I would take a step back and re prioritize my family first.  So I say no a bit more. So whatever your passion, goal or resolution may be live it always .

Now I appreciate and respect some people swear by this tradition or need a specific day.  Go hard, but don’t beat yourself up if the scale isn’t just where you want it, or you’ve yelled at your kid by January 20th.
To me, unless you are being cruel, abusive, breaking laws, being judgemental or ignorant, we’re all perfect just the way we are, so why must we be so intent on changing ourselves? I am not talking about bettering ourselves, but about trying to become something or someone we’re not.

Accept that you are who you are, know that you are perfect just the way you are! Screw the resolution making on one specific day,
You’ll be fine. I promise.

Here’s what my resolutions are.  And not a new years resolution, because I try to do them anyway.

1. Stand up.  Use my voice for good. Even if it makes people angry or uncomfortable.  Usually that means there’s truth to what I’m standing up for. And no I don’t care if you get sick of hearing it, don’t want to, don’t read.
2. Compassion.  I don’t know your story. It’s not my place to judge you or tell you how to do things.  It’s my job to be compassionate, caring and kind. 
3. Support.  Give support however I can to those needing it.  Be an ear, a shoulder, a smile.
4. Acceptance.  Of myself and others.  Like I said, we all have our struggles, our things we don’t love about ourselves, BUT I am who I am, you are who you are. I know I don’t want to be anybody else, nor should you. We’re pretty awesome.

There ya have it folks. Happy New Year, may 2015 be full of love, laughter and goodness!

Dear kiddo…

December 8, 2014

Dear kiddo,

I know you feel like you have no one. I know that you feel isolated, alone and wondering what’s so wrong with you.
I am hear to tell you, nothing!
I am here to tell you one solid good friend is better than 100 “friends”.
You think you’re not funny enough, smart enough, sporty enough or good looking enough.
You are! And I know it might not look that way right now, but none of that really truly matters!
You see for some reason kids, teens, even adults seem to be mislead to think that the more popular, athletic, good looking you are, the better you are.

Not true.

In 10 years I promise you, you’ll understand this.
I am here to tell you that I was athletic, popular etc. And right now none of that made me who I am today!
I don’t talk to the 100 friends, I talk to the 1.

Your character makes you a better person, not having a ton of friends, being invited to the parties or being the best dressed student.
Now there are those who are all of the above and have great character and heart. But the  “popular”  list won’t take them far, that will be their character.
And believe it or not even those you watch with envy are fighting their own battles, you just don’t see that right now.
Those zits will be long gone in a few years, you’ll grow into your legs, and you’ll find yourself. And at the root of you is your heart and your character, stay true to those and you will be more than OK, you will be amazing!

More important than clothes, the parties and the teams is being true to yourself. Be kind and caring, be compassionate and passionate about whatever YOU love. It doesn’t matter if it’s the same as everyone else.  There is always someone who has the same passion, the same humour, the same ideas and you will find them and when you do, you’ll understand you are not alone. You’ll find your groove and those friends that matter.

The world would be a pretty boring place if we were all the same. And really you don’t want to be anyone but you. Because you are the perfect you!

Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not worthy. Don’t let anyone make you feel less than them.  And if you don’t have that one friend yet, I promise you will.
Be just who you are, embrace that person and let go of those who don’t appreciate you just as you are.
You will find out as you get older, friends come and go. Sometimes you know why, others you have no idea.   This is a tough one for anyone to understand. But I need you to know, it’s not your fault. Try to remember that you will (maybe already do)  have that one friend whose not going anywhere, cherish them.

I guarantee that popularity won’t make you a better person. I guarantee your not missing much by staying home on Friday night.

I want you to know, you are perfect.
I want you to know while you’re navigating the path of teen hood, you are loved beyond measure. You are smart enough, funny enough and you are the perfect you. You are kind and sweet and caring.
You are you.
And that’s more than enough.

Hang in there, I know it sucks and you may not think so right now but I promise you’re going to be just fine.

Xoxo

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Use your voice.

November 16, 2014

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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.

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I’m the best mom. And so are you.

October 25, 2014

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You are the best mom.

We all have days,  days of guilt, fear,  dread and sadness. But as long as you are doing your best, you are present, loving, aware and trying, you are the best mom.

I don’t care if you are a stay at home mom or a working mom.
I don’t care if you breastfeed or bottle feed.
I don’t care if you vaccinate or don’t.
I don’t care if you give your child medication, or choose not to.
I don’t care if you’re happily married, or happily single.
I don’t care if you have an only child or ten.

Those things don’t make you the best mom, let alone better than the other side.

This good ,  better and best mom debate needs to stop!
What you choose to do in the best interests of your child, does not mean the other mom’s doing different aren’t the best mom too.  Let’s face it we each have unique children, what makes us think mom’s aren’t as unique.  We don’t all fit in the same bubble. Thank God!
Each family is different, each situation is different. That doesn’t make it wrong.
And quite honestly, your children will not look at you in 10 years and say “you are the best mom,  you (enter any of above here) ”

I’m sick of it.  I’m sick of the debates, the bashing, the my way or the highway mentality. I’ve had it! Yes I’m sure everyone can quote one thing or another to prove that really those things make you a better mom because so and so makes your child this or that.
I don’t care! We are mom’s, bottom line. No long winded medical mumbo jumbo can take that away from us.  And because there’s so much on either side of the debates, I say chuck that crap and focus on what’s important. Your child and your family, not their child and their choices.
I can’t be alone? Maybe I am.

What makes you the best mom to YOUR child (because it doesn’t necessarily mean you’d be the best mom to mine)?
Because you care.
Because you kiss the boo boos,  and wipe the tears.
Because you read the stories, and give out hugs and kisses aplenty.
Because you educate yourself  I  any given personal situation.
Because you help with the homework, and lose countless hours of sleep.
Because you chauffeur.
Because you do whatever you can to help your child be the best they can.
Because you do your best to keep them safe and healthy, mostly happy.
Because you love your child, like no other could.

Those are a few amongst many reasons you are the best mom.

That doesn’t mean the rest of us aren’t  too.

Just a thought

July 31, 2014

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Here’s the thing.  I’ve had my fair share of judging towards me. More than I know I’m sure. How dare I do this, that or the other thing.

Truth be known I’m not sure I care anymore. Those doing the judging don’t know. Those that know, don’t judge.

Parenting is hard. Damn hard. Being a wife, mother and woman period is hard.
So why must we think we know better? Are we as women just wired this way? I’m not sure, but I like to think we’re more wired to be kind, caring and compassionate.

Why must we throw our two cents in, when we’re not asked?
Every mother I know personally does the best she can. And does what she feels necessary for her child. And shocking as I know it is, we may not know just what that is.

I stopped caring about fellow mother’s a long time ago. OK maybe not about them, but about how they parented and the choices they make (obviously not talking abuse/neglect here). Not to say I don’t ask for or give advice on it in discussion, but as a whole it’s really none of my business!
Here’s a thought: all children are different. All people are different. We’re all, you got it different.
So let it go!
Of course as mother’s and women we don’t agree with all the choices our fellow soldier mother’s make. But if that choice doesn’t effect you or yours, does it really warrant your input? If you’ve yet to face the battle your fellow mom is/has, do you truly (be honest you might surprise yourself ) know what you would do?
Every single (thank God) individual is unique,  therefore every choice, outcome, etc will be unique as well. 
So here’s my other thought.
If you feel that you know better than that mom, or the lady down the street,  maybe take five to actually ask. You may be surprised.
I know when people have actually asked why I made some of the choices I did,  they walked away with the truth, and a better understanding.  Even if they didn’t agree with said choices, they at least cared enough to simply ask and respect my choices instead of jumping the judging, gossiping band wagon.
Im getting quite tired of mother’s vs mother’s, woman vs woman.
There’s no point. Why must we make being a mother and woman harder than it already is?

Take a breath.  Realize that you don’t have to agree with each other, but that each and every one has their reasons, they have their truth, and above all they are women just like you.
Trying to do the best they can. Trying to be the loving mother their children need.
Trying to keep head above water.
Trying desperately to figure this womanhood, motherhood, wifehood, lifehood out!
Trying to survive the shitty days,and embrace the great ones.
And yes they’re trying to do it all without being judged and questioned.
Just my thought….

Scared, proud, sad, happy

July 20, 2014

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How can 13 years go so fast, yet so slow?
There were days I thought that would last forever.
Doctors visits, therapy sessions and hospital stays that seemed endless.  In fact I was sure at those moments they were the end of the world.
Dude turns 13 today.  And yes I shed a tear (or more ).
I look back on the moment I first became a mother.
I remember the joy, the fear most of all the love.
My first little (literally ) miracle baby. With a head full of jet black hair and old eyes.
I remember almost instantly becoming a protective mama bear.
I was young (21), and I was scared.
Could I do this? Would I be good at being a mommy?  What if I had more clue? I didn’t!
As the years passed and we learned our boy was not going to be the typical child, I realized I really truly didn’t care. If we had him, that was enough.
I learned that each day truly is a blessing, because you really never know what tomorrow will bring.
You see there are moments that I wish he could be as free as other children.  Moment’s my heart physically hurts for him. Moment’s that having the weight of bipolar and other illnesses is almost to much to bare for him.
But there’s moment’s of accomplishment, moment’s of strength and Oh so many moment’s of courage.
And there’s love.  Endless love and caring and kindness.
We don’t know what to expect as the teen years come.  OK we know kind of what the general teen years bring. 
But see I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t that scared mom all over again.  We know these years will
be our toughest.  We know That life will throw us some huge curves in these years to come.
And I’m scared.  I’m scared I won’t have the words, and the comfort he’ll need.  I’m scared even if I do they won’t be enough.
Yes I understand I need to embrace this stage.  Yes I am loving and looking forward to the young man he is and will become.
But there’s a piece of me that’s petrified because you see a teen /young adult with bipolar is a very scary, very real thing. It’s not the normal ups and Downs.  Not the normal attitude.  No it’s very realistically life or death.
So yes say what you will, I’m scared.
I’ve shared that I’ve been having a hard time with the looming 13th birthday, but o haven’t shared why, because it’s not a great or easy thing to share.  And it’s a lonely place to be with a fear you’re not sure people will understand.
But you don’t need to understand. 
Actually I’m glad most people don’t, because that would mean you are going through it.
But I’m proud. So extremely proud of my son. I love his compassion, his acceptance, his understanding, his loyalty, his old soul.
I love that if he let’s you see that twinkle in his eye you know your special!
I love his perseverance, his strength and his bravery.
I love his heart, his wisdom and his elusive laughter.
I am so incredibly proud he chose me for his mom.
I am so incredibly proud to call him my son.
May the stars shine bright just for you buddy, may your worries be small and your days bright.
May you receive all the happiness you deserve.

Size DOESN’T matter

June 30, 2014

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I don’t care if you’re big, small or in-between.  I hate the image the media has created for girls and woman to look up to.
I am in No way a fan of the super skinny image portrayed everywhere we turn. I want to raise my daughter to love herself for her. More importantly raise my children to see past the physical that we so often focus on.
Our size does not make us who we are.
There are those who struggle to loose weight, gain weight or simply be healthy.
But I would love for somebody to be able to tell me why social media, media in general finds it necessary to promote pitting women against women, simply based on our body type?
I am on the smaller size.  Though I don’t typically speak about myself, I am.
I wear a size four or small.
And that’s OK!
My daughter is built like me, but the men (and many women ) I love in my life are bigger than I.
And that’s OK!
I have seen so many “jokes” posted attacking skinny people lately though that my head is spinning.
I am no less a woman because I am skinny, as you are not less because you’re larger, and she’s not less because she’s all muscle!
Just because I am skinny doesn’t mean these “jokes ” don’t cut like they would on the flip side.
We as women ALL have our insecurities, heck I’m covered in scars and you’ll never see me in shorter shorts or swimsuits! we are ALL sensitive to weight comments.
Here’s a little thing many don’t know.
When I was younger, I struggled with anorexia.  My 5’6 self weighed in at a whopping 75-80 pounds.
Not only did I look like a bobble head, I was not healthy!
I look back on why I turned down that path, and I pin point it to comments from other’s. 
I remember my parents giving me anything I wanted to eat. I am pretty sure I lived off frosted flakes and hutterite cream (cream thick like butter! ), and chocolate ensure!
It was not fun.
I have not stepped on a scale in probably 15 years, aside from pregnancy and surgery.
I eat what I want,  I will not try this diet or that. Because I know enough of myself that it could turn out very badly!
So yes the comments hurt us “skinny chicks ” the same as they hurt the rest of women.
I can only imagine the self acceptance that would happen if we as women just simply stopped.  Took the body image game back into our hands instead of allowing media dictate to us.
What if we Stopped sharing ANY and ALL body image posts that pick apart any particular body type.
We need time lead by example for our daughter’s.

That it’s not your size that matters.
That there is so so much more to a person than the size of your clothes, or a number on a scale.
That you are No less a woman because of your shape or size.
That you are beautiful!
That you are good enough!
That you are smart!
That you are strong!
That you are loved!

I know I for one am tired of it all.