Family · Self

Update. What’s Going on Part II

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I’m back with Part II of the update.  In the last update I told you about finding a special school for my son to attend.  We are still trying to finalize his attendance. Since the school is so small there isn’t a lot of hard core directions or go to persons.

I have yet to remove him from our public school system.  I’m waiting until the first week of class before I do that.  Just in case there is something catastrophic at the new school. I hope things go well.  Right now I have to keep focusing on getting “E” to attend class.  My mind keeps jumping ahead and thinking “Is he going to lose friends? Is he going to make friends? Will the school get accreditation? How will we pay for this?  How can we afford college?  Can we retire?” That’s just a sample.  There is so much more going through my mind.

We were going to send “E” to a week long computer class the school was offering.  It was unfortunately cancelled due to low enrollment.  They had another class the following week.  He couldn’t attend that as he was taking a coding class.  He really wanted to take the coding class.  Since he is not panicked to attend coding we want to encourage that.  I don’t want him to get too agoraphobic. I see hints of it. I also see hints of OCD but it hasn’t gotten to a full blown issue so I am just leaving it.

The funny thing is I planned my schedule around that class. I had cancelled over 9 different appointments to accommodate that class.  Story of my life that.

At home we are still having some trouble with him. Some of it is what he has been diagnosed with, some of it is being a teen, and some is brat or only child syndrome.  I don’t know how to handle it sometimes.  I think because he was so easy as an elementary school aged child he’s making up for it with gusto.

We recently had several appointments with a local psychiatric center that is known for diagnosis and classes to help people with mental limitations or illnesses.  Over the course of two meetings I handed in a two inch thick pile of paperwork on E. We initially went to see if he would qualify for one of their groups.  Mainly to help his severe shyness.

They agreed that he would benefit from several services.  The first thing is family counseling, then they recommended a diad. A diad is two kids and two therapists.  It’s kind of like group therapy but with one other person.  It’s sort of the next step from individual therapy to diad then on to group at one point. They also recommended case management.

They had offered the family therapy right away. However, the time they had would interfere with Erik’s school.  I told them I wanted to be put on the wait list for two different locations near us.  We need to get acclimated to his new school and schedule. Taking him out early would not work for him.  Granted we will be doing this in the future, but I will wait till September before I start it. It would be too much going on for us.  Just like I am putting off E’s eating therapy too. The anxiety, depression and school has to take precedence.

Since “E” couldn’t attend that class we went to the new school last week to meet two of the teachers.  We spent about an hour there.  “E” didn’t want to talk much.  He spent most of the time on his ipad.  It’s his way of coping.  Hopefully, everything will go well. I want to have him develop other coping skills.  Maybe he will get some from the other students.

During this time I also visited a geneticist.  Mainly because breast cancer runs in both sides of my family, and last year’s breast cancer scare. I had just one meeting and she said my risk isn’t any different from the general population.  I wasn’t worried but everyone else in my family makes it a big deal.  Now I can get people off my back.  For me, we all are going to get something.  In fact, we will all get multiple things health wise.  I’m not going to be paranoid.  I just want to take care of myself.

Speaking of which, I have gained weight.  I am so disappointed in myself.  I have to recommit to losing weight.  To losing a significant amount of weight and getting healthy.  Damn, I wish junk food wasn’t so good.  I also want to be more healthy since all this stress has come up.  My body isn’t able to cope.  I have increased panic attacks, nausea and gastrointestinal issues.  I’m exhausted all the time. So much so I can sometimes stay in bed all day. Then the migraines and chronic pain are rearing their heads.  Self care needs to take a more important role too.  I need to get back to regular chiropractor and massage therapist appointments.

This concludes my “update.”  Thanks for letting me rant.  Sometimes you just have to get it off your chest.

 

Self

Update

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It’s been awhile since I have updated everyone on my life.  Honestly, it still feels out of control.  It’s like I almost don’t have my footing.

As I wrote before, I have just gotten over a severe case of pneumonia over two months ago.  It was horrible.  I still don’t feel as if I have recovered from it.  In the past two months I have gotten a lot of stomach bugs and one regular cold.  Ah Winter, the season that keeps on giving. I just haven’t felt right since. I was pretty rundown before the pneumonia.  However,  this feels different.  I think since I am still under a lot of stress my body just can’t take it.

I have had to miss so many appointments and cancel out on people in the last few months. I really hate doing that.  Appointments are so hard to come by. I tried to avoid  same day cancellations.  I try to at least get the provider their tip so they don’t lose out on money.  Fortunately, I only had one or two that I had to do that way.

I am trying very hard to get back to feeling better.  More water, eating better and trying to get out of the house.  I have also spent more time doing self care.  Going to bed early, getting a massage and other things. I still have a long way to go.

My son is still at the same point as he was at the last update.  He can only manage about 15 minutes in one normal class.  I have no idea what to do next. His therapist and I are challenging him to do one extra minute a day. So far he hasn’t done it. If he can do one extra minute a day, he will be up to an hour at the end of the year.

In addition to his mental health therapy I have started to take him to an eating disorder clinic.  It was the same one he went through last year. So I returned with him on an outpatient basis.  He goes to a dietician at night and family therapy in the afternoon. So far I’ve gotten him to eat a banana but not much else new.  Apple no, Tater Tots no, and other things?? At least he is crazy about Ramen.  He eats about 4 bowls a day.  The only problem is he eats noodles.  What I need help with is fruits and veggies of which he eats none.  I’m not 100% certain of the diagnosis of ARFID, as an eating disorder.  The also want me to start seeing and OT again.  They are going to try and get referrals for me for my son.  Another provider to visit?  I don’t know.  He saw an OT for over a year a few years ago. It didn’t do any good.  Would a different OT do anything?

He’s seeing a tutor twice a week on the weekends.  He isn’t in math class long enough to understand the teaching.  However, everything he turns in is late because we have to wait for the tutor. I have purchased a Life Science and History textbook to help him understand what he missed in the school year this summer.

I see my son getting left behind. I don’t know what to do.  He gets upset and goes through crying spells and anger at this anxiety. I don’t know what else to do.

I have gotten to go somewhere for fun twice in the last six months.  I went to a flower show which was cute.  Then I also saw a decorator home open for charity.  I think I need to get out more!

 

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.

Home · Self

Life Update

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Life happens.  I think my life is happening a little too much at the moment.  I had to take some time off due to events.  I can’t seem to catch a break or relax enough.  Right now I do what needs to be done, then I just can’t do anymore.  I just listen to music or podcasts.  It’s all I have energy for.

My son is still having problems.  School is a month away.  Right now he is in day treatment.  He absolutely hates it.  He goes for three hours a day.  Many of the kids in treatment with him are physically violent or swear and use every manner of bad language.  It is common to hear a 7 year old scream at the top of his lungs “F*ck You, you stupid c*nt.” Wonderful.  My son has Sensory Processing Disorder and High Functioning Autism.  He hates this.  He also says he is hit for no reason.  I know he is telling the truth.  Unfortunately, if the therapists don’t see it, they can do nothing.

I hate to send him here.  However, there is no other place to go.  If I could find a therapist willing to see my son several times a week I would.  There isn’t anyone like that.  Therapists have long waiting lists.

I have even started to have my own panic attacks. I have had 3 so far.  I will definitely need my own medication adjusted.  I’ve avoided a few places because of the attacks which I shouldn’t do.  Bad example for my son.

On a happier note, my family has acquired two new members. We adopted two 12 week old kittens, brothers, from a local pet rescue.  One is a tuxedo cat (black and white) named May.  The other is a grey/brown striped Tabby named Winter.  They were for my son as a way to help distract him from his depression and anxiety.  He was so thrilled to get them.  Check out my Instagram for photos.

I get the joy of cleaning the litter box and feeding them. They are very curious about everything.  Just for the record, I am allergic to cats. I have 5 air filters going all the time.  So far I am getting by.

I also made some zucchini muffins and banana cake.  Check out the blog for recipes.

We have also had issues with insurance. They are giving us the run around on my son’s treatment. I’m sure some random doctor in another state who has never met my son is qualified to decide what treatment he should receive and what he should not.  My son right now is in a day treatment program.  This is the only one we could get him into.  Some programs have three year waiting lists.  We could not wait any longer than a few days.  My son needed therapy.  So he has been going to this program Monday thru Friday for three hours.  He absolutely hates it.

I knew he would.  When I was filling out the paperwork for it, they had two pages on parole officers, and court ordered treatment.  I didn’t feel this was right for my son.  My son has anxiety and depression.   He is not a juvenile delinquent. He is with the 12 and under group.  However these kids are not like the kids he was with in his stabilization places. As stated in the first paragraph, it’s not a good environment.

Starting this month insurance will only pay for three days.  My husband and I can pay for one, and he will have one day off.  I am hoping he can survive being back at school full time.  He has expressed anxiety.  I can only hope for the best.

Until next time.

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 · 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…