Family

Suicide, My Son, Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade and me.

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I’m exhausted.  Completely exhausted.  Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally exhausted.  I’m so worn out that I have trouble getting things done at the moment or going places.  I pick the most important thing, do it and let the rest go.  I only have so many spoons to give.  I can’t sleep, but I need to.

As many of you know, my son has had a great deal of problems this academic year.  His problems are not of the intellectual side.  He knocks that out of the park.  It is of the mental illness kind.  It runs in my family.  When I noticed his issues I quickly got him help.  I had hoped to block the huge problems I had when I was young and going through this. I was going to be there for my son.  I was a completely different parent that what I had.  Yet my son went through everything that I did.  He is still struggling.  I have done everything I know how to do and then some.  Still and my best intentions and actions are not enough.  It is a long slow climb, just like it was with me.

When I first heard about the death of Kate Spade I was sad. I studied Fashion Design.  I knew Kate’s story (professionally speaking) and loved her products.  I felt awful for her family and for her.  I understood her profound sadness.  Her soul had died a while ago I guess, and she made sure her body matched her soul.  Harsh?  Mean? Insensitive? I’m not trying to be. When you are depressed, suicidal you truly believe that your death is a good thing.  I’m not kidding.  People think suicidal persons are selfish. On the contrary, I have found the exact opposite.  People who go through this mental illness called depression or suicide think a lot.

They think that the world would be better off if they were not apart of it.  The wouldn’t be in pain anymore, and their friends and family would be happier.  You may be saying “How could anyone think that?” I would say to you, “How could you not think that?”  They (the depressed and sad) hear everyday:

“What do you have to be depressed about?”

“Lighten Up”

“It will pass.”

“You need to get out of the house.”

And so on and so forth.  Why wouldn’t you want to leave this life.  Everywhere you turn, you are told how you should not think or feel how you do.  Your damaged and you’re making everyone else miserable.  Solution?  Stop your pain and everyone else’s.  That’s what a depressed person thinks about.

Anthony Bourdain was a shock.  I had just watched his TV show the night before.  My husband and I must have discussed it for an hour afterwards.  When my husband tweeted me about Anthony Bourdain, I didn’t understand at first.  So I looked on my news feed and there it was “Anthony Bourdain is Dead.”  At first, I thought car accident.  Maybe heart attack.  Never suicide.  A day later, there it was, suicide.

Wow, just wow. If anything, he seemed to have a great life and all his shit together.  If a guy like Anthony Bourdain can’t handle it, how can the rest of us? I’m sure the same can be said of Kate Spade. This is why his death was so shocking.  He has everything (it seemed) that I wanted and it wasn’t enough.

Bourdain had the respect of everyone. He had talent, intelligence, money, looks, skills, recognition, family, friends, and more.  My heart aches for Bourdain’s and Spade’s kids.  Their whole circle.  I know that they were loved and they loved all those people back. Sometimes love isn’t enough.

I was envious of all the places and things Bourdain got to do.  He spoke to amazing people, and ate great food. I tried to keep all the coverage of their deaths away from my son.  I didn’t want to give him ideas of new ways to end his life. My son is 11. I am sure many are thinking what is his deal? The thing is, it doesn’t matter.  It didn’t matter what I thought when I went through suicidal ideation, it doesn’t matter what my son thinks, what these two celebrities thought.  Thoughts don’t matter.  Actions do.

Suicide is on the rise.  So they say.  Why?  I honestly think part of it is due to life today, a lot of it is do to more honest reporting. I think we are finally realizing what a fucked up world this can be for people.  So what to do?

We mourn.  We analyze.  We question. We discuss. We plan.  Then we act, and keep acting. We cry for the pain of those gone and we weep for the pain those currently on this path feel.  It’s awful.  It’s hurtful. They feel so empty and heavy. We need to judge what the causes are. Is it the situation?  Genetics?  Or a multitude of things.  Ask why it is happening, where it is happening, what is going on.  Discuss it with them.  Plan with them how you are going to interact.  Are you a sounding board?  A shoulder to cry on?  Or maybe their wingman?  Then do it.  Get up everyday and do it.

I am sad for my son.  I have racked my brain on how to figure out what is wrong.  It is rarely one thing.  I’ve questioned him.  A lot. We always talk.  You know what?  He tells me when he is feeling suicidal. We discuss it.  We talk about ways to fix this.  It is a long hard road.  Sometimes it’s painful for both of us. Still, I act.

At the end of the day, my actions account for something.  It helps.  It doesn’t always cure the problem, but it can lessen it.  There has been a lot of advice to reach out and talk.  Yes, do that, but know that that isn’t everything.  Don’t blame yourself.  Don’t blame the person suffering.  It just happens.  It’s a daily struggle that you have to adjust to.  Just know you can adjust.  The person suffering can adjust.  Life can go on.  It’s okay, that life isn’t this spectacular extravaganza it’s supposed to be.  It can just be getting up, doing what is required, and going to sleep.

You are going to feel pain.  It’s normal.  Sadness. Normal. Anger. It’s supposed to be there.  That is what I wish I could tell Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade.  You cannot have the bitter without the sweet.  You will never enjoy love, passion, joy, or excitement without it’s polar opposite.  One cannot exist without the other.  That is the hit that depression gives you.  It tells you all you can feel is pain.  There is nothing else.  Then media and the general population tell you all you can feel is joy. It is maddening.

I tell my son, the next day is a new day.  It will get better. “How mom?” he says.  “How is it going to get better?” Some days I have a great answer.  Some days I can only say, “We will make it better together.” And we will.  For I will always be there for him. Even in the deepest darkest hour. Not everyone has that.  Did Bourdain or Spade? I don’t know.  What I do know is you need someone.  Every one does.  Now is the time to think who is yours?  Now is the time to think if you can be someone else’s.  It won’t be easy. Life never is, but you can have the sweet again.  I wish I could have told Anthony and Kate that.  I can’t.  I am, however, telling you.  Remember that.

I would like to end with a quote from Joan Rivers.  It was for her Emmy acceptance speech.  Her husband died from suicide.

“My husband Edgar Rosenberg said “You can always turn things around.” except for one terrible moment in a hotel room in Philadelphia when he forgot that.”

You can turn things around.  Remember that.

 

*I hope you were able to get some food for thought form this post. Please note, that when I write posts that are emotional or difficult for me I do not proof them.  I just spill things out.  If you find mistakes, sorry.

 

 

 

Home

10 Things to Clean

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It is time for my monthly installment of 10 things to clean.  We all know to clean the floor once in a while or the windows, but what about other smaller items that go unnoticed?  Do you clean those? Here is a monthly list of those often forgotten items that need a once over with a rag, or bleach if need be.

1. Vents.  In the floors, the ceiling, the walls etc.  They get dusty.

2. Toilet bowl brush.  When was the last time you replaced it or the container it is housed in?

3. Shower caddy.

4. Base boards.

5. Air purifyers

6. Fans.  Wipe them down before you need them this summer.  Maybe use a little canned air?

7. Table lamps. Dust the shades and bases.

8. Winter shoes/boots.  Now is the time to get your winter footwear cleaned or repaired.  Give your winter dress shoes a good polish and check to see if the heels need replacing.

9. Winter coats, hats, gloves etc.  Time to wash what needs to be, make sure everything has a match and no stains before you put them away.

10. Bathmats.  Seriously, when was the last time you put them in the wash?

Clothing

10 Fashion Terms to Know

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Time for my monthly installment of 10 fashion terms to know.  Happy reading!

Aiguillette: A shoulder decoration made of cord, usually braided, used on military dress uniforms.

Alice Blue: A medium pale blue with a gray or green tint. Given the name Alice Blue due to Alice Roosevelt, daughter of Teddy Roosevelt.

Decolletage: French meaning bare shoulders or a low cut neckline.

Decollete: French for a item of clothing that is very low cut, and revealing of shoulders, back and sometimes the breast.

Fob Pocket: A small pocket near the waistband of a man’s pants used for holding a pocket watch.

Gauge: A term in knitting for the number of stitches per unit of width and length of the fabric.

Suede: Leather that has been buffed on the flesh side to raise a small nap.

Nautical: Clothing and symbols taken from navel or sailor’s clothing.  It is often found in the popular color schemes of red, white, and blue.

Paste: Reflective type of glass, faceted or made to imitate gemstones.

Patchwork: A method of sewing small pieces of fabric together in various shapes and colors to make a new fabric or quilt.

 

 

 

Journaling

June Journal Prompts

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  1. List everything that you ate today.
  2. Define a perfect day.
  3. Write 10 things you want to do this summer.
  4. What do you need more of in your life?
  5. What do you do to feel comfortable at home?
  6. If you could have one magic or super power, what would it be?
  7. How do you want people to remember you?
  8. How do you feel when you first wake up? How do you want to feel?
  9. If you could own any pet?  What would it be?
  10. List all the animals you like/love and why.
Family

Update, Part 5. My son’s struggles with anxiety and depression.

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While in PHP (the partial hospitalization program) we would get a sheet home at the end of the day.  On it, they score E on his participation in each element of the program each day.  Sometimes he didn’t participate.  Other times he was crying or upset.  Sometimes he did a great job.  A typical 11 year old. I wrongly assumed that they were working on getting him to participate.  They were the experts right?

On one of the last days before discharge we were brought in for family therapy. To be honest there was not therapy.  It was just talking, a Q and A. They told us that discharge was happening in a week and we needed to make other arrangements. They then proceeded to list what we should be looking for.  I could only think “Why didn’t you tell us he would need more therapy when he first started.”  Programs for children his age are few and far between. When you find one to take him, the waiting list is usually weeks long.  What to do?

We (the school district and I) decided to start E back to school on a partial day.  We would then work up to a full day.  I did alert the school that he had not received a lot of therapy and coping skills.  I was hopeful that by the end of the school year in early June he could go to class for three hours.

The first day we got into the building and sat in the office for the third period.  I congratulated him. I asked him if maybe he could try five minutes of class the next day.  We got back to  school the next day and he made it to class for third hour.  The teacher said he did great.

I was so pleased.  I was sure that he would go again tomorrow. Tomorrow came and E was so nervous.  He didn’t want to go to school. I was able to get him there. We go inside and for twenty minutes we are in the main office.  I try to encourage him to go to class.  He has a meltdown. So we sat in the office with him clinging to me and whimpering.  We left early.  The day after he refused to go at all. I was able to convince him to let me drive him to the parking lot and we would sit in the car. So we did the care for 15 minutes.

The next day we increased our car in the parking lot time to 25 minutes, then so on.  When the next week came we started going into the building and sitting in the counseling office.  First for 5 minutes again and then the rest of the time in the car.  I also did the increase as this week went.

We also found time to sign E up for next year. He chose computer classes for his elective.   I am hoping he will be attend class. He has now been able to sit in the counseling center for the entire 3rd period.  He has been able to do it for 3 days in a row.  For the first 2 days, he had panic attacks at the end of the time.  He wanted to leave, but I wouldn’t let him.  He finally was able to get a hold of his anxiety. I am hoping if we can still go next week.

Next week, we are going to an intake meeting for a new day treatment program.  It should be a half day program in the Summer.  I’m not sure what good it will do.  It is with a different counseling center than what we have been dealing with. I hope it will be helpful.  I feel like he hasn’t gotten any help yet.  We were told by the PHP that this is a step down in care.  I’m not sure. He hasn’t had any care yet and I am concerned.  If they enroll him right away we will not be able to try to go to school again.

There isn’t much time left.  School is ending soon.  I had hoped to be further along in his recovery from  anxiety and depression. I just have to take it as it comes.  I would prefer things to be more planned.  I’m not able to plan too much as I have to rely on other people. (doctors/therapists)

I did send some flowers to E’s case manager/teacher.  She has been super helpful. I have always been amazed how accommodating the school has been.  It is a complete difference from my experience with his elementary school. I’m really grateful that they have been so accommodating.  The stress would have been so much greater than if they were not helpful.

I have also made the decision to break ties with E’s old therapist and have gotten him a new one.  I told my son the new therapist is closer to home. Which is true, but not the main reason.  We really have to see more concrete effort.  It has been months and he has gotten worse. I have high hopes for this new therapist. It will take E awhile to warm up to them.

I have also arranged tutoring for E this summer.  So he will be caught up academically by next year.  We also went back to see his old Psychiatrist.  The Psychiatrist said he would increase E’s medication slightly but he is concerned that he hasn’t made any progress.  So I told him about the new therapist and other things.  I also created a plan to help him for the summer.  I am hoping that it will help him overcome his anxiety and depression.  I am hoping he can make it next year.  I only have 3 months to help him.

There are so many things that I need to do in regards to E. I can only do so many things at once.  The big thing is to get him in control of his anxiety and depression.  After that is done I can address other things.

 

 

 

 

 

Self · Uncategorized

Some Things to Know About Migraines

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Migraines are a chronic condition that can last for years or for a lifetime.  Triggers can include: hormones, foods, drinks, stress and exercise. Other causes include environmental factors such as weather and a genetic predisposition.  Symptoms include throbbing in one area that can vary in intensity, nausea and sensitivity to light, sound and smell. Migraines are common in families and women.

Over 15% of the world’s population suffers from migraines.  The earliest mention of migraines in writing is in the Ebers papyrus in 1500 BCE.

There are four phases of migraines. Phase 1, called Prodromephase.  It is marked by mood changes, irritability, depression, fatigue, cravings, stiff muscles, constipation and/or diarrhea, and sensitivity to light and smell.

Phase 2 is called the Aura. It is where you can experience vision disturbance, pins and needles feelings, numbness, speech and language issues, the world spins, and weakness.

Phase 3 is the Pain Phase. It can last as long as 4-72 hours of pain for adults. You can have several migraines in a lifetime or several in a single week. Neck pain is common. Also during this time you can experience nausea (90% of suffers), vomiting (a third of people), sensitivity to a variety of things, irritability, fatigue, sweating, confusion, light head, and the world can spin.

Phase 4 is called Postdrome. The final phase, often in conjunction with menstruation, involves fatigue, muscle soreness, hunger, and stress.

According to the International Headache Society there are seven subcategories.

Category One, Migraine without aura.  It is the most common form of migraine.

Category Two is a migraine with aura.

Category three is Childhood Periodic Syndromes which includes vertigo, abdominal migraine, cyclical vomiting.

Four is Retinal Migraine has a hallmark of visual disturbances.

Category five is complications of migraine, including long or frequent migraines and can be associated with seizure or a brain lesion.

Category 6 is Probable migraine which has the characteristics of migraine but not enough to diagnose, common medication overuse.

Seven is Chronic Migraine.  Chronic Migraine is greater than 15+ days month for more than three months. Chronic migraines effect 1.5-2.2% of the population.

How do you prevent migraines?  It’s hard. A variety of things help to improve migraines such as medication, nutrition, lifestyle alterations, and surgery. It is best to check with your doctor to find out what approach is best for you.

 

Information taken from: Web MD, International Headache Society, and Wikipedia.

 

 

 

Self

Dealing with the Pain, Migraines and Me, Part 2

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This post is the second part to an earlier post dated May 3rd about my struggles with pain and migraines.

The next few days I went home and started my new medicine.  It would take several weeks according to my neurologist for the medicine to take effect.  I may also experience side effects. Unfortunately, they neglected to tell me the most important side effect.  Weight gain.  I went from a size 14 to a size 22. Ugh.  I also noticed that I would get dizzy real fast.  I have to be careful when I get up not to move so fast.

Finally, my body aches stopped. I was able to walk and get out of bed.  Eventually, the migraines eased to.  They went from coming everyday to only occurring about four days a month.  It was so much better.  When I did get them, the two medicines they gave me for migraine attacks would clear them in two to three hours.

It feels so strange to have such freedom now.  To be pain free for the most part has been wonderful.  It even makes the terrible weight gain worth it. I can watch tv.  I can read.  I can eat dinner with my family.  I can go to the grocery store.  So many little things were major things with pain.  I guess I have learned a valuable lesson.

You need to get second opinions all the time and keep looking for things to help you.

The only part that is not that great in terms of migraines is my insurance.  They don’t like the medicine the doctor prescribed for me.  They want me to  take a more common migraine medicine.  I have taken it before.  It didn’t help with the migraines and made me sick to my stomach.

I am only allowed four pills every seven days.  My copay is over $200.00 US for the four pills. A few weeks ago, I had horrible migraines.  I had to take pills each day for 4 days in a row.  I called on the 5th day to get a refill.  Unfortunately, I was denied.  I could only hope the migraine did not return the following day or later in the week.  I tried to call the insurance company to ask them to grant refills on a need basis.  They refused.  They told me to try the old medicine that made me sick to my stomach.  I told them that I could not use it.  They said it comes in a nasal spray and that won’t irritate my stomach. Honestly, what idiots.

No matter what I asked they would not budge. My doctor could not provide me with any help either.  He gave me some coupons etc but according to my pharmacy I cannot use them with my insurance.  Not the frustration I need.  I figure I am getting more migraines due to my son’s  issues.  They are not going to let up any time soon.  Meanwhile, I have decided that if it ever comes up that I have no refills and a migraine I will go to the emergency room.  Let insurance pay for that.

Have you ever had trouble with prescriptions? Insurance?  Let us know below.