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, what’s going on. Part 1.

Placeholder ImageIt’s been a long time since I last updated you on what is going on in my life. It’s still rough. E finished his seventh grade year in public school. He could not get past only 15 minutes in a single math class. He has gone from the advanced group to the below average one. This is a kid who is extremely smart. Who had A’s and B’s before and now barely gets C’s. Since he’s not in class he doesn’t learn everything he needs to. So we’ve been paying for a tutor twice a week. It’s financially painful.

As school ended we met with his teacher and case manager to plan for the upcoming year. We made a list of things we wanted to improve for next year. I only hoped we could get it together by the end of 8th grade. If not, we were going to have problems. I was not only concerned about his anxiety but also his education and social development.

We were at this point taking him to an eating disorder clinic for ARFID twice a week. After several months of going the clinic told us that we didn’t need to come back. They didn’t feel Erik’s problems were the result of ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) but more of a sensory issue. So we will have to try Occupational Therapy and Food Therapy in the future. I have a lead on some places to take him. I am going to hold off until we get his anxiety under control. It’s just too much. The anxiety and depression come first. They overwhelm everything.

In the summer E’s therapist has decided to not do talk therapy anymore and concentrate on his extreme social anxiety. They are going to do exposure therapy. She thinks if he can get a handle on his social anxiety his overall anxiety and depression will get better.  I am glad she is willing to try something new. This doing “challenges” is what helped me to get over anxiety myself.  Knowing that, my husband and I have kept him going places to prevent him from being agoraphobic.

His Psychiatrist says he doesn’t know what else to do for meds.  He’s basically on it and at the max dose for a child.  I still think it should be increased, but I don’t own the prescription pad.  He sees his therapist weekly and his psychiatrist every two months.

We have been having E tutored twice a week during the summer.  We found a tutor through Wyzant app and website.  (No ad, that is just what I did.)  I didn’t have the faintest clue how to find a tutor and this site is really helpful.  He is tutored in Math and some English.  Sometimes he had a good tutoring session other times its a disaster based on  his anxiety. It’s hard for us as it’s a cost that we haven’t anticipated.  I am also tutoring him in History and Life Science.  I was hoping to be done by the end of summer but it may have to go into the new school year starting in September.

This summer we have also been looking for alternative schooling for E instead of the public schools.  The public schools here are very good.  Academically, we have no complaints.  In dealing with them for my son’s illness and disabilities, there is a lot to be desired.   Granted he is one kid among thousands in the district but this is what we pay our taxes for right? We figured that we would give him one more year to turn it around.  He will be in 8th grade this year.

However, after the tour of one of the schools I felt really good about it.  They have a lot of kids with severe anxiety attending.  It was nice to not have to explain E’s situation every time.  Someone “gets” it.  We decided that he would benefit from attending immediately.  Luckily there was a spot left for him.  So we didn’t have to wait.  We have been filling out paperwork and submitting lots of stuff.  Finally, we found out that E was excepted to the new school.  I know he will be nervous, but hopefully this is the thing we need.

The school never has anymore than 32 students.  Depending on the year the total number fluctuates between 25 to 32. Each grade has 2-4 students. I know it will be rough.  I hope this helps and he makes friends. The options that are left are not that great.  If they are really options at all.

I will continue updating you on what else is going on in Part II.

 

 

 

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.

Self

5 Quick Self Care Ideas

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Self Care is the latest trend in the blog world. There are whole blogs devoted to the concept.  If you are like me you need some serious self-care but don’t always know what to do. Each month I will give you some different ideas for relaxing and recharging.  Sometimes we need some gentle reminders to take care of ourselves.

  1. Read a chapter out of that book on your nightstand. You know the one you have been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around to doing.
  2. Take a quick 10 minutes to declutter a spot in your home. Pick something you see everyday to clear like your coat closet or medicine cabinet.
  3. Turn the phone off. Easy right?  It’s harder than you think. We use our phones for everything today. Even an hour of no phone use can help you unwind.
  4. Talk a quick walk around the block.  You don’t have to break a sweat, just get away from it all for a short time.
  5. Take a bath.  I personally love a long, hot bath. You can pick a favorite bath bomb or bubble bath, light a candle, and put on some relaxing music to enjoy.

What do you like to do for self care?  Let me know!

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.