Posts Tagged ‘life’

Getting real! Will I ever get to shut up?

May 4, 2015

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Here where I live it’s Mental health week. I don’t know if it’s the same where you are. But I don’t care when the week is where.
Every minute of every day in my house is mental health “week .
It’s not a day or a week or a month for those who have it.
But it gives us a good opportunity to maybe get a few more people’s attention, maybe chip away a bit more of that stigma.

Because I’m telling you now, that the biggest problem with mental illness isn’t those suffering, it’s the stigma and stereotypes surrounding it.

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Truth is, those with anxiety, depression, bipolar and the gambit of others are no less. Yet to often they’re made out to be!
The stigma surrounding mental illness has had its time, now it’s time for it to be stomped out like so many other stigmas that have been minimized by people actually standing up and saying enough.
It’s time to break down the walls.
Those who are in the trenches of illness aren’t the ones who should have to make this change, at least they shouldn’t have to do it alone.
They are pretty unlikely to be open, because society has them feeling ashamed and scared of being looked at as less. So that leaves it up to us, the general population to make reality known, to lead the change, to speak up until people are sick of our voices, so much so they may have a new understanding or appreciation, or at the very least they think before they speak.

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If you are still using the ‘r’  word, chucking out bipolar and mental hospitals as a joke, here’s a kick of reality for you. You’re not funny, you are flaming the fires of mental health stigma. Mental health isn’t a joke. It is as serious as any other chronic disease. It is difficult, frustrating, all consuming and life threatening without treatment. And like any disease treatment is necessary, and sometimes even with all treatment possible the outcome is death. But like no other disease stigma plays a huge barrier in patients getting treatment needed. Often feeling judged, shameful, isolated and unsupported.

And I promise you that the mother’s who have buried their children would ask you to consider how you would feel burying your child, because treatment wasn’t sought because of the ignorant stigmas surrounding their child’s illness.
Or how you would feel after all treatment was taken, still loosing the battle, burying your child (because that’s reality for many) and the next day hearing the “think positive”, ” their fault “, ” you didn’t do enough “, and
” your in a mental hospital ” bull. Yes because that’s what every mother facing illness, and potential death of a child wants to hear.

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So until
*one by one people shut up long enough to think about their comments and jokes. Even  if you think it’s funny, keep it to yourself, it’s not and you’re not helping the problem.
*One by one people actually think of those who are in the “jokes”. 
Really think about the battle they face. Think about how you would like to have yourself or your child, or an illness you face, to no fault of yours, mocked, laughed at, blamed, ridiculed, criticized, and judged by the masses.
* One by one we realize we don’t laugh at, make jokes or judge physical illness, so why in the hell is it OK to with mental illness?
* One by one people understand the majority of people with mental illness are solely a threat to themselves not others.
*One by one, people keep their judgements of treatment to themselves. * One by one we start supporting those who live with mental illness and their families, building them up instead of tearing them down and making them feel less.

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Until those things happen and make a difference, I won’t shut up. And I truly hope one day I can just shut up!

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The Jones don’t matter.

April 7, 2015

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Doesn’t this quote just sum it up?
I often find myself trying to justify my decisions. And why? For who?
Yet I’m as often telling others not to, that they owe no one an explanation. To do what is right or best for them.

Is it human nature? Or just my personality? I’m a people pleaser.
At the end of the day, does it really matter what the Jones think? How they perceive you?

Well of course it does. To some extent. But it shouldn’t as much as many of us think it does.

My husband for example has more of a take it or leave it, I don’t have to explain it to you, attitude. He could care less what the Jones think, because they’re not us and we’re not them.
Which balances out my need to over explain everything. Just ask my kids.

And when it comes to my children, my parenting choices and so on I find myself to often giving explanation, even to those who don’t deserve one.
I think part of it comes from constantly questioned for my choices, particularly for my child who struggles with life. Constantly having to defend my child and our family choices, constantly having people in public watch your child and constantly feeling like you’re an outsider to the main stream in the parenting department.

But I ask again, does it matter?

Are my children happy, as healthy as possible and kind, caring and giving ? Is my marriage solid and secure? Yes, yes, yes and yes!
I must remind myself those are what’s important.
Not if ms. Jones thinks I feed my kid to much candy , or Mr Jones thinks I don’t drive a nice enough car, or they think I’m not hard enough or to hard on my kids, and definitely not if Mrs Jones thinks that the treatment plan for my child is correct.
Truth is the Jones don’t matter quite as much as what people think. And their perceptions are frequently incorrect.
Because perceptions aren’t always reality. And sometimes perceptions are total reality. Because I have learned ones perception is their reality, which maybe is why I try to change perceptions in certain circumstances.

But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what the Jones think!
If you’re happy, be happy.

Believe and hope…

March 2, 2015

In life we wonder. A lot.

Question ourselves. All the time.

Constantly trying to get to the bottom of things, figure things out . Lots of things.

But…

We have to believe and hope. Belief and hope is all we get.

We wonder and we doubt. And doubt and wonder we will.

But…

it’s that belief and hope that will eventually get that wonder to settle and the doubt subside.

And…

we’ll be hopeful and believe.

We’ll hope for the best and believe it is or will be.

Believe and hope we will, because in life that is all we have.

Gotta do what you gotta do…

February 25, 2015

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And fight we will!
If you follow my blog, you know life has been a bit of a roller coaster as of late.
I have had a brain that just won’t stop. Because when you are dealing with a high needs child, it would appear life likes to keep you on your toes, all the time.
Just when you have a smooth day you hit a huge bump, and that bump requires changing tracks.

Though dude’s recent crash has subsided and the meds seem to be levelling out and he amazes me at thirteen with the knowledge and insight he has into his anxiety and bipolar, and he fights every single day with himself to do what is needed, mainly school, we find ourselves at a crossroads. 

Where do we go from here, when everything is going well, except for one huge, ginormous trigger?
How long do we push the trigger for  before it potentially blowing?
And why the hell do I care or worry about what other people who aren’t in our situation think?
The truth is I need to let that go.

The truth is that only we know what we need to do, and yet I question it.

I question it not just for the opinion of others, but as with any changes we make in hopes of finding a solution for our child, we can only hope it’s the right choice. Because do we ever really know? Isn’t parenthood a whole lot of hoping and crossing the fingers that you’re doing the right thing?

There’s no bubble, there’s no get used to it, there’s no gotta be/do this that or the other when you’re simply trying to get your child through the toughest years of his life with bipolar and anxiety. The bubbles and the this that and others of typical children are not the main concern. The main concern is teaching, guiding and supporting while they grasp and learn to live with the turmoil that encompasses them everyday and their reality of living with it the rest of their lives, encouraging them to be the best them they can be, and to push them as far as you can without pushing to far.
Because they’re not your typical children. Because sometimes you just have to do what you have to do to get through the day let alone years, without feeling judged by general society. I truly wish I would stop being told that I can’t put him in a bubble. I wish it could be understood that’s not what it’s about, and even if I am putting him in a bubble, if it meant keeping your child healthy and alive, would you not bubble yours? You gotta do what you gotta do, period.

You gotta hope and cross the fingers and hope to hell it works!

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Have a little hope.

January 19, 2015

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In a world where we often don’t have control over much, we do always have control over certain things.

We live in a fast paced world, with somewhere to always be, someone to always be helping. We live in a world full of pain and sadness, trials and tribulations that our ancestors wouldn’t dream of.

I choose to slow down, possibly place myself in a bubble from time to time so I can control what I can.
I also choose hope.
Because there’s times when our world’s are spinning out of it. And sometimes it’s up to us to take it back, as much as possible at least, unfortunately we can’t always have it all.
There will always be those things we can’t control, be it if our kids treatments are working, the horrific shootings we hear on the news, the poverty ridden children all over the world, and so on.

We can always choose to have hope.
There will always be a sliver of hope, always a chance it will all be OK, even a little one. And there will always be hope that it (whatever it may be) will be OK.

The chances are we’ve all lost hope a time or two. But some how we always seem to see that glimmer and pull us through until the next time it’s needed.

Hope doesn’t seem to be needed every day of your life. It comes and goes with circumstances.
There’s two good things about this.
One, it’s proof that there are good times and things where everything  seems to be going along good with you not needing to tap into the hope reserve. Second when you do need to tap in, there’s no set amount of it to be had. So there’s as much as you need!

We can always control how much hope we have, so choose to have a lot, choose to never loose it.
Hope is yours and yours alone.

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!

Good grief, indeed!

December 14, 2014

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Ahhhh good old Charlie Brown! Sums up this week perfectly!
As I’ve mentioned this is an extremely busy time of year for myself, I’ve also mentioned that this isn’t the easiest time of year for dude.

There’s been a few signs here and there the past few weeks, that that ever so touchy balance was starting to tip.
  But I’m going to be honest, I just kept thinking they were still only a few, it’s Christmas season and I’m not sure I have time to deal with anything other than work right now so I let those signs not necessarily ignored but definitely not front and centre either because I really don’t have time for appointments, phone calls and I am dog tired to boot. Does that mean I’m a horrible mom? I don’t think so, I think any parent of a sick child sometimes just wishes positive thinking will be enough, I know I’m notorious for that, and in the meantime I miss signs that looking back I wish I hadn’t, enter all the mom guilt possible.

Apparently no matter how hard I try to pretend things are fine, sometimes they don’t listen or follow my schedule dammit!

One sign things are tipping is dude feels sick all the time, his stomach has always been a physical radar for us to use, but with flu season upon us, gallons of milk being drunk it is also sometimes hard to read the cause.
Another tell tale sign is his telling his head to shut up. For most of us we self talk in our heads, but when things are particularly tough he will voice it.
The sniffles are back, a sign he’s stressed to the max.
The rapid mood cycles hit late this week, along with crippling panic.
Then there’s the paranoia, it’s not full blown, it’s something most wouldn’t even pick up on, but thank God his teachers know these subtle signs.
Needless to say that this week I am grateful for a phenomenal team supporting him, it’s crucial we all communicate because we all see different pieces of the puzzle.
The teachers who alert administration (also Nana in our case), administration doing an assessment and comforting and contacting his psychologist who be lines for the school and spends the morning with him until I can get there, the doctor who rearranges schedules so we can see him next week instead of next month. How important the communication is  is more than I can put on words.

Apparently bipolar gave two shits about his mom’s schedule and made one of it’s own. 
Surprising, not really. Inconvenient, yup.
Does it matter  nope.
What matters is not only we caught this spiral before it was deeper and that dude himself has found an awareness about his illness that makes the break a bit more manageable on his part. His knowledge that this is just part of his illness brings him a bit of comfort I think.  Though he’s repeatedly said this week he wishes his life wasn’t full of ups and downs, mostly downs. He wishes he could just be normal. And one of his friends upon an explanation to the class asked if there was a cure, would he ever be better? And there’s nothing more my boy would love, it brings him peace knowing that this to shall pass.
What matters more than a few hours missed work is that we have support and a plan to get through this down slide.
What matters more than absolutely anything is that dude knows he is loved, that he is never ever going to travel these roads alone.
And what makes each and every ounce of frantic running, rearranging and super early mornings to fit in Christmas at the shop, and turmoil at home?
When I get home from a day of teaching Christmas classes, I’m bone tired and dude meets me at the door with a hug out of nowhere and says, “mom thank you for always being there for me, especially when I really need it”.

The kid is worth it all and more, but I still think Charlie’s nailed it…. Good grief!

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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Tis the season! So it begins…

December 1, 2014

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Tis the season! Crazy, chaotic, exhausting, frantic, fun, loving, kind and wonderful all rolled into one!
Christmas season happens to be one of my busiest seasons, volunteer, work, home and school wise.  I absolutely love the Christmas season for all the traditional reasons, but I also loathe some of what it brings.
I find myself over committed, stretching extremely thin to manage work with the rest of my commitments.  I’m two weeks into the busy season that is that of a florist, and I’m already tired. I find myself dreading certain things that are quickly approaching. Not for all the reasons some may think (yes I’m tired, no I don’t like crowds but those are par for the course, no biggie).  But because good excitement, just like stress can be a big trigger for my bipolar kiddo.
When others are flying with the excitement of the season, relishing the later nights, the concerts, and all the amazing things that this beautiful season brings, dude fluctuates between waaaayyyy to excited to extremely overwhelmed to very low.
Don’t get me wrong, he loves Christmas! But when you struggle with mental illness, holidays can be tough, no matter how much you love them!
We try really hard to maintain our schedule during holidays, but there’s some inevitable changes.  A few later nights, lots of people (even though he loves them,  all together it can be hard), and simply just the added excitement of it all.
See I love the simple things of Christmas, family, quiet snuggly days, big flakes falling outside while we sip hot chocolate inside being thankful for all we have, games and movies and Christmas carols,  baking and eating! These are what I love about the season, and what brings a certain calm to dude when the world seems to be bustling way to fast,  to fast sometimes to remember just what’s important during this time of year.
For dude, and I’m sure so many others, quite honestly most of us! Christmas can be an overload, setting off all sorts of triggers.
It took me many years to figure out that even though he was excited, he was also struggling with moods and emotions.  For a long time I just didn’t get it.  How can you be do upset, overwhelmed or sad during such a wonderful time of year? I just couldn’t grasp it, but I’ve come to accept it.
The blessing disguised in that  is it makes me slow down, focusing on what’s important, family and time. 
So sometimes we might have to leave something early, sometimes dude won’t attend, yes my kids are in bed close to regular bed time, no we won’t make that event, no we don’t have time to commit to that. Yes I am selfish.  That’s just how I want to be during this Christmas season. I want to enjoy the time with my kids, the fun days with my family and the hustle and bustle of work.  I want to relax and enjoy the season  not run frantically, not sitting in a room full of strangers or pushing my way down the eisles. So I won’t. 
I will enjoy the season how I want to, and in the process help my boy enjoy it as much as possible as well.
Tis the season!