Friday, August 22, 2014

Depression and suicide it looks different for everyone

Today I am choosing to write about a very serious and hard subject.  Why?  Because this is a subject that is heartbreakingly near and dear to my heart. 

Recently we have all seen the news of the tragic death of the great Robin Williams.  The loss of this comedic genius is hard to understand, and while we know that he committed suicide,  the real reason he died was the depression.  It is a crippling disease that is not fully accepted by society as a true disease...but I know that it is.

It runs in my family, I have lived to watch friends who have killed themselves because of depression, I have had family members who have been living with this disease for many years and continue to, struggle.  I have gotten phone calls from family members who have stared at a bottle of pills all night wondering if one bottle would do the job or should they take two........I have family members who have made attempts.  Knowing this breaks my heart.....knowing all I can do is be there, is frustrating, I wish I could do more.

I also suffer from depression.  Before I was pregnant I had the darkest and scariest time of my life up to that point.  I wanted to die, I planned it,   my then husband and I were going through another bad patch, he didn't ask me if I was ok during this period, does this mean we were avoiding each other?  He didn't care enough at the time?  I hid it when he was around?  Who knows at this point......but I certainly felt alone.  I don't know why I didn't follow through, especially since I never reached out for help.  I have to assume that God had a hand in my choosing life.

But here's a different son who is now 12, has suffered from depression for several years already in his short life.  He has already talked about suicide since before he understood what it meant at the age of 7.  At first it was choking himself, which sounds kind of funny....because the worst that could happen is he would make himself pass out.....then he talked about electrocution, sticking fingers etc in a light socket.
He broke my heart.  I worked hard getting him into play therapy etc.  Eventually as things got worse and we exhausted our options he was admitted to a children's psychiatric hospital.   He was there for 6 weeks two and a half years ago.  It was the worst time of my life but the best of his. 
Things got better, over the last year, he has deteriorated again.  He has gotten much more physically and verbally aggressive,  as well as developed a bad habit of bolting.  With this he has increased his suicidal talk. 

This past Wednesday,  he became physically and verbally aggressive with in home staff, bolted from the house and then attempted to kill himself by trying to jump in front of oncoming traffic.  He became aggressive toward the police when they arrived on the scene.  Eventually he was taken (in handcuffs) by ambulance to the emergency room.   I hope most mothers never have to witness that, it is a gut wrenching experience.   I met him in the ER, he had to remain in handcuffs for almost an hour until he calmed and could show the police he could remain in control of himself.  Sweetser Crisis was called in to evaluate him.  Will told her very calmly and clearly that he wants to die sometimes and he has a plan.  He told her the plan.  By the end of her evaluation he was in a completely different head space and was calm and happy and expressing he wanted to go home.  She was ready to send him home.

I got really upset, pointed out that she was ready to send a child home that hours earlier tried to commit suicide,  expressed the desire to die, and has an executable plan.  She flinched and said "I'll make a few calls, and be right back."
We stayed in the locked psych er unit for the night, but they sent us home the next day because any acute hospitals are not "appropriate" for Will, he has been referred to the DD unit at Spring Harbor (this is where he stayed 2&1/2 yrs ago) but it has to be a planned admission and there is at least a 3 week wait list.

We have been fighting for 5 months for a 3 month out of home residential intensive therapy program which best fits his needs at the current time.  However the state continues to deny that he needs the treatment.   So now we wait for this other treatment on pins and needles that he doesn't make another attempt.

The reason I say my son's story is different is because while he suffers from depression,  he is not suicidal in the "typical" sense.... (if there is a typical sense).  Will is very impulsive, and reactionary.   When things are good, he's good.  He might have feelings of sadness,  but doesn't typically think of suicide.   However, when he has a meltdown and "goes there" he becomes extremely irrational and impulsive.  It is then that he decides that he wants to die and will jump on whatever way is available to him.  If there is a knife available, then he will put it to him neck.  He was on the side walk by a busy street, so he chose jumping into traffic weds.  This almost makes it scarier then if I had one certain thing to guard against......but then again, it would help if the state had more help for kids in destress.

I'm sharing our story not for pity, but for understanding.  Depression and suicide looks different for everyone, it is serious and needs to be treated as such, and the people suffering from it need to be treated with understanding and respect not ridicule.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

It is well it my soul

Will and I have had a pretty rough year.  In fact, since March things have gotten really tough and extremely scary for me.  We have had more involvement with the police then I even thought possible.  2 assault charges on my sweet, not so little 11 year old child. A trip to the emergency psychiatric ward of the local hospital for observation, and denied services from the state because we clearly can handle the situation ourselves............
On top of all this, I have had many other issues come up in my life- car, financial, relationship, etc....the list goes on and on and on.  I was hanging by a thread trying to fight for my son, trying to fight for my clients, trying to pretend like everything was fine when it was in tatters on the ground around me and I felt abandoned and alone.  (Only because I'm stubborn and don't ask for help, not because I don't have family and friends who love me....just to be clear.)
Last week I packed up for a week at camp.  Empire Grove.  I have been going to this camp for 35 years.  I have not missed a camp meeting.  However, this year felt different as I was packing, as happy as I was to be going back, I was also angry and frustrated that we were going.  Will was SUPPOSED to be in a temporary out of home placement.  An intensive 2 month program where his dad and I were to be intensely involved to give him the help he so desperately needs. 

So off we went to camp, I brought everything into the camp, unpacked, opened the windows and settled in fully expecting to pack up at any given moment and head home because Will couldn't handle being there for whatever reason.  I spent the first 24 hours on edge...but gradually the peace of the grove seeped into my soul and I relaxed.  The theme of the week was wellness.  Wellness of our mind, body and soul.  Who needed that more that me?  Or Will?

First I would like to address the one negative moment in our week- it was a doozey.   Staff showed up Wednesday for his second shift at camp.  Will was a little on edge, but I decided to listen to the staff supervisor and let staff handle Will.  I went back to the carnival for a few minutes.  However, I was put in jail while there by a precocious little 4 year old boy.  While serving my time ( a whole 5 minutes) I received a call asking me to come back to the camp.  Staff had some scratches, Will was screaming and out of control, and I arrived just in time to step between the two as Will lifted a cast iron door stopper and threw it at staff.  It quickly de escalated after that.  He apologized for his behavior,  he listened, and had a great day for the rest of the day. 

Now, I have to get into the wonderful parts of the angry and frustrated as I was, I must agree that hindsight is 20/20.  While I sometimes have a hard time believing,  in this instance I wholeheartedly believe that thing have worked out as they were meant to have.  While I railed against God, and questioned Him.  While I doubted and turned my back......He was taking care of us and doing what was needed to be done.

Will is now 12 years old, he has been attending Campmeeting at the Grove since he was 1 week old.  This year while at the Range Pond picnic he played with the other boys from the camp for over an hour.  This may not sound like much to most, but to this mom who has watched him try to play with the other boys for years and be rejected time and time again, until he eventually stopped was so huge.  I stood on the beach and cried, my heart was full.  THIS is why we were supposed to be here.......

That night, after I attended vesper services I came back to the camp only to be led inside with my eyes closed.  I was told there was a surprise waiting for me.  With no small amount of worry, I let Will lead me into the camp, I opened my eyes to a beautiful note and a sandwich he made me on his own, for no other reason than to thank me for being a wonderful parent.  THIS is why we were supposed to be here........ 

Will wanted to go on the hayride, we went on one, and when we discovered it was not the "scary senior youth ride" I was told in no uncertain terms that he was going on it with HIS FRIENDS, and I could go back to camp.  THIS is why we were supposed to be here......

And towards the end of the week when he showed me a note he got from some of the other senior youth kids telling him he was the coolest kid at the Grove, they were glad he was in work group with them, and that he played with them at the pond.....the look of joy and acceptance on his face........THIS IS WHY WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE HERE...........

As for me, I was able to nurture my body, mind and soul throughout the week through friendship, communion, worship, walking, laughter, good food, rest and song..........I am now ready to continue my journey fighting for Will and his needs, we are in the process of reapplying, I am hoping to hear in the next day or two if he was approved.....fingers crossed.......

In the meantime. is well, it is well, it is well with my soul.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Portion control...will it ever NOT be a struggle?

I have always struggled with my weight, for as long as I can remember.  I never wanted that for my child, and yet I find myself not only with a child who has developmental disabilities,  and gender identity struggles, but also weight issues as well. 

Part of the problem  is medication, part is just a natural predisposition for carb craving,  and body type thanks to both his parents. He also has low muscle tone and low to no motivation to be active which does not help! 

We are slowly working on healthier choices and it is going well, but portion sizes continues to be a huge problem. And not with just the food itself. It's also with the the condiments. A lot just gets wasted too. He is eating me out of house and home!  It is a constant struggle,  because all he wants to do is argue...and let me tell you, he is great at debating (something he gets from his father).  Everyone is having a hard time keeping him on track, from his staff to his father to me.

So today I took back the power. I spent my morning portion in out EVERYTHING. Ketchup to honey mustard sauce, Italian dressing, to French fries and chicken nuggets. So for now, there is no debate, there is no room for wiggling,  there is NO confusion.....this is what you get.  Period.

It may be more work for me now, but it's less arguing for me later, it's less arguing for staff, and dad.... and I've taken back control.  How do you handle portion control problems in your home?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Haircuts....quite the controversy

My son Will came to me asking for a haircut. He was very specific in what he wanted. (It's NOT a look I like for him)

I think it's kind of silly, and wouldn't loom great on him. However, it's grows out right?  What's the problem with letting him get the haircut of his choice?  

This has brought out some passionate responses in my family and friends. Some are all for it, while others are adamantly against it.   Some feel that he can start making some self expression choices at 11&1/2 and if he looks silly he will learn to make a different choice, hair can be shaved off and hats are available. Others have expressed that he is already seen as different so why exacerbate that and call more negative attention to him?  

Who's right?  Who's wrong?  I'm not sure there is a right or wrong, I think every parent needs to make their own decision based on what feels right to them. I think everyone who weighed in on the conversation has Wills best interests at heart and just want to see him safe and happy (and not a target for cruel remarks). 

What was my choice?  Well, I was kind of split down the middle, being able to see and relate to both sides. What I ended up doing was having a few conversations with Will about his choice. We talked about hair styles not fitting everyone. People have different hair types (his is like mine- thin and fine). We talked about the stylist knowing more about what will work and what won't and discussing it with her. Will was very open to these discussions and did a fantastic job listening and agreeing to all this. 

When there we showed the stylist the picture above and discussed modifications. We went with a similar cut, a little longer on the sides and quite a bit shorter on top so he can more easily style it when he wants...and if he decides not to, it still looks good.   Well, we think so.   So I guess my choice was to have a little control over the decision, but to let Will be Will and express himself. 

I try to always ask myself in these situations: Will it hurt anyone?  If the answer is no, and it makes Will happy, I don't see the harm (most of the time).  He is pretty secure in himself and who he is when it comes to these things, and doesn't appear to look for outside validation. If he hung the moon on what everyone else thought of him would I make different decisions?  I don't know... I have to start letting him do his own thing sometime right?  

Baby steps....



Monday, December 16, 2013


Life evolves, things change....sometimes promises made cannot be kept forever, sometimes they evolve. 

I wear my heart on my sleeve, I take people as they are, and put my complete trust in everyone until they break that trust. 

When I make a promise, I do everything in my power to follow through and make good on my promise. When someone makes a promise to me, I trust they will do everything in their power to follow through on their promise to me. 

I know it's naive of me to be so trusting and so disappointed when they don't keep their promise.....

I will probably always be like this, I make no apologies. I am that woman who will:
Fall too fast
Crash too hard
Care too much
Forgive too easy
Wait too long
Miss people I shouldn't
Worry over nothing
Over-think everything
Be too complicated to be loved

However, don't think that so many broken promises, lies and thoughtless comments and acts will be forgotten. 

I am a lot of things, and far from perfect, but I am worth so much more than I have been treated by some. If people can't respect me, follow through and be honest that's on you...but don't expect me to continue to accept it. Expect things to least in my end, because I may not be perfect, but I'm perfect for someone and someday I will find him. Until then, I am changing myself. I'm changing what I will accept into my life. I am changing what is acceptable treatment of me. 

Because I am worth more than you will ever realize. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Just some inspirational quotes

I'm not perfect, but here are a few of the quotes I try to remind myself of....I hope you enjoy:

Number 2 is what I spoke about in my last post!!!  See?  It isn't just me who feels this is true, and there are way too many people who don't live by this...again, I'm not perfect and have to remind myself of this from time to time. 

This is just a "pick me up" kind of picture

And this just makes me happy, now who will sing this to me?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Do I give up?

This blog was supposed to be a safe place for me to write about my life, out journey with autism, my MS, and life after marriage. Granted it is mostly about my son, but not always. I also liked the idea of other people who might relate to any or all of the aspects of life my son and I live with. 

What I didn't expect (maybe I should have) was that my ex would feel the need to "check up on me" and read what's not intended for him. This is my blog, I express my feelings here as my thoughts. It's a way to express myself and maybe have someone read my writings and understand, and feel like they are not alone in feeling similar to me. 

I write sometimes when I'm upset, so, I write when my feelings are strong and raw. Does this mean that everything is exactly as I write it?  Could my feelings be coloring my words?  Could there be another side to the story?  Absolutely!

I strongly agree with the saying:  your opinion of me is none of my business. 

I know not everyone feels that way, but I try to live my life with that thought in the back of my mind and remind myself of it, when I start worrying about what someone else thinks of myself. 

The person I referenced in my last post DID in fact apologize for getting upset about the piece of cardboard (after I had written the post). Just because I don't agree with certain ideas, beliefs, practices of others doesn't mean that they are bad people in my opinion, it doesn't mean they are a bad influence.  I might not like what you choose to teach, do, live but one thing does not make me hate someone, think that that one thing makes up the entire person. We all have strengths, weaknesses, good and bad. 

I might not agree with something you do, but that doesn't mean I don't applaud all the great things you do do. I think we are all human beings who do the best we can. Do I always write about that?  No, I don't.  But this is my personal blog and I should be able to safely vent with the understanding from all who read this that the intention is to speak about my feelings, while giving me the right to feel them without judgement, and it's how I feel in the moment, knowing there is always more to the story, and other sides.  How I feel today isn't necessarily how I will feel tomorrow. 

So, now I'm left with the dilemma: do I make this a private blog only for me and possibly a select few?  Or do I ignore the fall out of people being upset over possibly fleeting feelings that quite possibly aren't their business but they make it such?  This blog was never intended to hurt anyone, it is for me to express myself and possibly reach others going through similar things and help them know they aren't alone.....