Family

Giving You a Quick Update…

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Hello everyone.  I”m sure you have noticed that I have been a little MIA the last two weeks.  My son has started back at school.  He wanted to go to school and his depression has improved greatly.  His anxiety still showed, but he was doing much better.

The first week of school he did okay. He had some panic attacks but was able to attend most of class.  He had a difficult time with Health, Science and History.  Not so much due to academics, but due to the subjects they were studying.  He can’t handle things with blood, or creepy.  The school allowed him to drop health.  Then we were able to transfer him to an Earth Science class. We will have to take history as it comes.

The second week of school he missed a lot. I ended up going to school  to sit with him and spending time waiting there.  He barely spent time in class.  So we had an emergency meeting with the special education department and the school social worker.  They tweaked his schedule even more.

A few times when I had to go to school to be with him. I found him shaking from his nerves. So I put in a phone call to his psychiatrist.  He prescribed a fast acting medication to help him get through the day.  After two days, it was not working enough so the psychiatrist increased the medication.  It made him too sleepy to go to class and he still had panic.  He was just tired with panic. So we went back down to a lower dose and were able to get into see the doctor soon.  I think we will have to wean him off the current meds and put him on new ones.

The poor kid doesn’t eat much either.  I worry about him so much.  Today, was the first day he went to school with the new schedule.  He made it almost through to the third period.  Hopefully, tomorrow we can make it to fourth period.  The stress has been very bad for me.  I ended up throwing up today.  It just hit me out of the blue. I haven’t been ill from stress in over thirteen years.

I am hoping I can get this figured out. It’s been a draining year.  My son’s anxiety is primarily related to school. He used to have it in other places, but we have made a conscious effort to help him overcome his going out phobia.  He still is socially extremely shy but can mange.

When he is in his element, he shines.  When he goes to coding class after school he shines. He is able to talk about anything computer related.  In school, if he does things with computers it really brings him out of his shell.  I can only hope that it can grow into other areas.

I will keep you posted.  Wish us luck.

Family

What is Dysgraphia?

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What is dysgraphia?  Dysgraphia is a brain based disorder that effects the writing of those suffering from it.  Dysgraphia effects everything from the way you hold your pen to how you form letters, writing in a straight line, even if you can form your thoughts on paper.

For my own child “E”, dysgraphia primarily showed itself in two ways.  The first way was his handwriting.  My son in kindergarten had rough handwriting.  All the kids do as they are first learning to form letters and make words.  The difference is other children’s writing became more clear as they grew older.  My son’s did not. We would get a summertime tutor to work on his writing style in hopes that it would become better.  It did not.  The second way dysgraphia became and issue was in what my son would write.  For instance, the teacher may have them write about their summer vacation and what they did.  My son would write, “I went to Disney World.  It was in Florida.  It was fun.  I saw Micky Mouse.”  That would be it.  Another child in his class would have wrote about the same vacation, “This summer my family, and I went to see Walt Disney World in Florida.  It was really hot and humid there.  We had a lot of fun going on various rides.  My favorite was the roller coaster.  I also like the parades.  I even got to meet Mickey Mouse and get my picture taken with him.  I had a lot of fun.”  See the difference?

If you were to verbally ask my son about the vacation he could recount it in detail.  He just could not do it with writing.  There are also other symptoms, but these were the two major and most noticeable ones.  We tried for years to get his writing to be better.  It didn’t help.  If only we had known about dysgraphia. Dysgraphia is not a common diagnosis.  Many think the child is lazy, rushing or not trying hard enough.  This is not true.  When a child is diagnosed with dysgraphia they maybe listed as having Specific Learning Disability instead of dysgraphia.  Specific Learning Disability is the psychiatric term used along with the type or nature of disability like writing etc. Dysgraphia is often used as a short hand term for it by parents and teachers.

When a psychiatrist tested our son for dysgraphia, she told us that there was not much we could do to correct it.  Some information online says early intervention can help with learning. In addition to written expression difficulties, people with dysgraphia also have trouble with many of their fine motor skills.  Buttoning shirts,  cutting or opening bottles and jars can be impossible.  For my own child, we have to help him open things.  He cannot twist off a pop/soda cap.  He cannot peel off the anti-tampering cover of a yogurt. Tying shoes is also a problem.  We were also told that he will never be able to take notes.

Fortunately, we were given a list of accommodations and modifications for the school year. One thing we did long ago was to teach our son how to type. He does a really great job at that.  We also got him an ipad to work with in school.  Instead of a paper planner he has everything on his I-pad.  He can also take tests in alternative form, or get extra time.  His teachers also give him hard copies of the notes in class, and other handouts.   My son “E” also has longer assignments broken down into smaller pieces and check-ins a lot with the teacher.

He has many more accommodations.  Please look at Pinterest to see more ideas for a 504 or IEP. Also check online for several dysgraphia resources.

 

 

 

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Family · Home · Self

5 Ways To Help The Environment You Can Try Right Now!

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Trying to be environmentally friendly but don’t know where to start?  Here are five quick tips that you can incorporate into your everyday life.  Which ones are you going to try?

  1. Reusable containers. We all know about storing leftovers right?  You can also use these containers to carry you lunch, thus eliminating the need for both plastic and paper bags.  If you are going to a restaurant that loves to give large portions take a reusable container for the leftover.  Styrofoam never biodegrades! You can also use these containers for craft items, office supplies and storage for a variety of things.
  2. Tote Bags.  I can remember a time when no one bought reusable bags to the grocery store. Now it is common place. Just remember to keep the bags close at hand.  It doesn’t help if you forget to bring the bags with you.
  3. Don’t use beauty products with microbeads. Microbeads are micro plastic beads used to exfoliate the skin.  These plastic products like their bag counterparts don’t biodegrade and end up in our water supply. Yum!
  4. Save water.  There are many ways you can save on water usage.  You can install low flow toilets and shower heads. Update your appliances to make them energy efficient.  Turn off the water when you brush your teeth.  Plant a rain garden or use a water tank/barrel outside. Even take a shorter shower!
  5. Use paperclips instead of staples.  Paperclips can be used more than once!

What are some of your favorite ways to help the environment?

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Family

Some Quick Ways to Save Money.

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Money.  We all need it.  We all want it.  Yet, it seems to be depleted in record time.

I’m always looking for ways to save money.  A penny here, fifty cents there, maybe five dollars if I’m lucky.  My son says “Mom, what don’t you do one thing that saves $100. Then you don’t have to look for deals.”  True, large savings would be helpful.

I would love to have several things that I could simply do and save a ton of money. Who wouldn’t?  Life isn’t like that is it?  To save money you have to look at everything. You can save a few cents here, a few dollars there, get a discount or a BOGO and you are on your way. It’s the accumulation of actions, not the execution of one actions that brings results. So in my quest to hopefully save enough money, I am going to be writing a few blog articles on “Ways to Save.”  This way what I learn I can pass onto you.

Some of my solutions will be no brainers.  Some will be old advice.  As I get further and further into the topic I hope I will be able to present you with some unique advice or ideas to put into practice in your own life.

Below is my first post on some ways to save money.  This first one is pretty basic right? That’s my foundation.  Hopefully we can expand on this topic well into the year.  What are some ways you save money?  Let us know in the comments.

1. Keep a wish list.  I learned this when I had a kid.  It helps to prevent impulse buying.  Write it down and look at it later.  The desire to have it may be gone.

2. Keep a basic maintenance schedule. Servicing things like your car or air conditioner can help prolong its life.  Spotting problems and maintaining your things will help you save money.  As someone who had to replace a washer, air conditioner, and furnace due to previous owner neglect, maintenance is the way to go!

3. Invest those pennies!  Take a small amount and invest it.  While it isn’t saving money, it can help you make money. Money is what were after right?

4.Record Expenses. This is one simple method that is really effective.  I personally found this method to be the most revolutionary of all the ways you can save money. It will also help you set up a budget. If you do one thing on this list, this is it!

5. Barter.  Not a common way to save money, but it can be done. Can you trade one skill for another?  Can you mow you neighbors lawn and can they give you a free haircut in exchange?  Something to think about.

6. Insulate. Yup, getting rid of drafts in your home.  Keeping the heat in, or the cool air can save you lots.  Yes, there is a minor outlay of cash, but the end result will be worth it.

7. Used vs New. When I was younger I hated using used items. To me it was gross.  I was a bit germaphobic when I was young. What I came to realize is that used clothes and Ikea furniture is great when you are starting out.  You can save a lot more money in the long run.  I bought all new furniture when my husband and I got married.  Then we had our son.  He threw up on it, spilled stuff on it, you get the idea. Then we got a dog.  Well I’m sure you know how that goes.  Almost all our things were damaged by the time our son was 8. If I had used furniture or Ikea stuff it would have been much cheaper and easier to get rid of.

8. Corporate Discounts. Does your work, university alumni office or other organization offer discounts. Save on your gym membership or insurance.  Check with your HR department and see what they offer.

9. Lower Temperature.  This is my brother’s big tip. I’ll be honest.  For most of my life I’ve been freezing.  I like my temperature to be around 72 degrees Fahrenheit.  My brother prefers 67 degrees.  He does save on his electric bill.  He also does a payment plan to help space out evenly the bill.  It helps him not to have a large bill in the winter or a small one in summer.  It is evenly spaced out during the year (bills).

10. Air Dry your clothes. I didn’t know the savings would add up for this!  I read in a magazine a few years ago that using your dryer costs up to $16.98 a month to run.  That can add up too.

Do you have some tips to save money? Let me know below.

Family · Uncategorized

What’s going on, in May. Part 4.

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What is going on now.  Things are still stressful. I’m still physically and mentally exhausted. Honestly, I am so angry over the last two months.  I am really angry at the mental health clinic that has been treating my son in one form or another.  Where to start?

If you remember from my last update, we were trying to get E tutoring from the school district. We were able to secure tutoring for E after school. A teacher would come after school for an hour each day.   Fortunately, my son really liked his tutor.  They covered several pages in his math book.

As I also said in the last update post E was on the waiting list for the PHP he last attended.  While we were waiting I was able to get E twice weekly therapist appointments. We also started him on his third medication.  We are seeing a slight improvement in him.  I fear that his dose is too low.  Unfortunately, with children you cannot increase as fast as in adults.  It’s an extremely long road. I’m still exhausted and depressed myself.

After having the tutor over to our home for one week when I get a phone call.  It is the PHP (partial hospitalization program).  They have a spot for E.  He can start the following week.  Ugh.  Of course, when I got the tutor up and going he would get into the PHP.  I am hoping that he can get some coping skills this time. I am hoping he will talk about hurting himself less.

For the first couple of days back at PHP E is sad.  His friend Johnny would not be there and he missed her.  I can’t lose any more friends he would cry to me.  E has lost a large number of friends in his short life.  All of them have moved away.  I count about 6 or 7 friends  who moved.  E is very, painfully shy.  While he makes friends easily he also feels their loss deeply. My son is a nerd, polite, shy, self conscious, friendly and helpful.  Many kids have said so.  Even though in PHP there are different rules than outside.  You can’t be in contact with people from the group.  I’m sure it had to due with confidentiality and safety.  How do you explain that to an 11 year old?  I tried to tell him it was not about him or his friends.  This was the rules for everyone.  Even with that it caused him so much pain.

This time round he made another friend named S. S likes video games and anime like E does. She has also got him into drawing.  I have tried for years to get my son to do artistic things. It’s not his thing.  Until now.  I’m glad he loves drawing like I do. I know he missed S.  They are very much alike.  I’m sad that he has to deal with another loss.

In about four days after he started back at PHP I get a phone call from his social worker. “We think E is doing great.”  “He is not acting like he did before he went into lockdown. We think we may discharge him” she said.  Huh?  He hasn’t even been there a week.  He has anxiety through the roof, crying fits and talks about hurting himself.  To that they said “He isn’t doing that here.”  All I could think is of course he isn’t. He doesn’t want to go back to lockdown.  It’s one of his major fears.  He is terrified of being taken away from us again.

Here’s the kicker.  Our insurance doesn’t want him discharged!  Never had an insurance company want a person to have more treatment. The staff at the PHP is thinking that he should go to a special academy or day treatment program.  They told us to start investigating them.  We have no idea how to start. We do know of one academy. However, it’s over $30,000 a year.  Kiss retirement and college goodbye.  I also don’t think that pulling him out of school for a year to attend school at a day treatment program or special academy is the answer.  If anything it would cause him more harm. He could also lose many of his friends.

To be continued…