Keep them alive long enough to get HELP

So, if I showed signs of having broken my leg, would you, as a religious person, tell me to pray about it, and then go on about your life? No.

If your child was diagnosed with diabetes or cancer, would you tell them to read their Bible, and that’s it? No.

Why do otherwise intelligent people insist that mental illness has to be prayed away? “If you’re depressed, read your Bible more.”

Reading scriptures and praying may not be hurtful, but I think the reasons for not going to a Dr. or therapist have much more to do with fear of what “people” would think, along with hoping that it will just go away…but it doesn’t work that way.

The last time I checked, the same people who would REFUSE to get help for a depressed child don’t think twice about taking medicine when THEY are feeling poorly.

So, here’s my point:

Familiarise yourself with symptoms of depression.

It’s NOT normal for a (child, preteen, teenager)person to stay awake all night, every night. Or to sleep 12+ hours, regularly, for no apparent reason. Or to have noticeable weight fluctuations. Or frequent tearfulness.

Often sadness is hidden behind anger. Surliness, irritability, sarcasm, isolation, fighting…

These things alone, are not necessarily a cause for alarm. If you notice several of them, on a regular basis, you should take notice.

Talk to the person. LISTEN. Then don’t stop looking for a solution until you’ve found one that is agreeable to that person.

If it takes therapy, medication, dietary adjustments, or whatever, do it.
DO SOMETHING.
People struggling with depression (or any other mental illness for that matter) DON’T just snap out of it. They will not grow out of it.

What happens if you don’t find something to reduce the depression? Do you want to know? Really?

The person will find a way of relief.

*Self-harm (this can end in accidental suicide)

*Drugs or alcohol (may also end in death)

*Impulsive/high-risk sexual activity (same)

*ALL of the above, and worse (death)

From my own experience as a person in recovery, and a formerly depressed person, I have a good amount of insight. And, I have no reason to lie to you.

If your kid is floundering, no matter what age, do them a solid and get them help.

In case you weren’t aware, they are killing themselves out there.

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I miss being a Mom

But you are a Mom. You have a son.

Yes, I do, but he’s grown. I am learning how to accept him as a pseudo-adult. Mostly, I’m learning to give him space.

After my older son died, I wanted to cling to my “baby”. However, he was no longer living with me at that time. That ship had sailed before I had even realised.

So, currently,  I’m working on figuring out what to do with a bunch of really messy feelings.

I think, almost daily, that I ought to shut down my social media…at least for a while. But then an old memory will pop up. I would hate to miss those. My personal memories of my children growing up are so few (I guess it’s because of ptsd), and those that I do retain are liberally mixed with things I wish I could forget.

Which leaves me here. Exactly 4 months since my baby died.  Wrestling with so much fear, anger, sorrow like I’ve not known before.

I get up in the morning and quickly switch my thoughts to gratitude,  similar to switching the lever in the fuse/breaker box. It has to be a fast move, so to keep the Grief locked away.

I remind myself that my younger son is doing his best, taking care of himself just fine, and God’s got him. I trust and believe those things to be true.

I know that “feelings aren’t facts”. Intellectually, I understand that the future will get better…

But right now, I just really miss being a Mom.

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My beautiful boys

I dropped her off Wednesday evening

…and on Thursday morning she was dead.

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I met X when she was in detox, about a year ago. She was pretty, spunky, and tired of living that life. She had someone bring her guitar in, and played for everyone. She was a delight. A gypsy soul.

Then later, X moved on to a women’s recovery house. She was making progress; got a job, and put together some clean time. Everybody who met X liked her. She was smart, sassy, and sensitive. I had high hopes for her.

The people who keep track of these things say that on average, only one out of 30-some people who get clean will stay that way. The odds are always against us. Addiction is so much more “cunning, baffling, and powerful” than anyone thinks.

And now I’m waiting to find out when the memorial/funeral will be. I feel numb.

Maybe it’s from having lost so many friends over the years, as a result of addiction, that I’m kind of permanently braced for it.

Maybe it’s because I’ve already been wading in the deep waters of grief. Once you’ve been completely soaked, you can’t really get any wetter, can you?

When I got the news about X’s death, I cried. I asked (her, from inside my car, as if she would hear me) “WHAT THE FUCK?!?” and I cried.

Someone said that maybe she died so that she wouldn’t have to endure any more…

Active addiction (which is usually accompanied by mental illness) is a very painful existance. Probably the only thing worse than that lifestyle is having tasted recovery and knowing that it is possible, and then finding yourself back in the misery and chaos of active addiction. Every time a person relapses, getting back into recovery gets more difficult than the time before.

I know that the activities of people with Substance Use Disorder seem crazy to the rest of the world. It took me a while to make sense of the whole “disease” model of addiction, but then I finally figured it out:

Addiction is a disease. It’s a mental illness. Like any other mental illness, the sufferers think their actions are normal, and that the rest of the world is wrong. Mental illness, and addiction,  can show up at any age, with or without any warning.

Regardless of your personal opinion on drug or alcohol abuse, it’s not a hopeless cause.

Do you know someone who needs to get clean or sober? It’s possible. Easy? Hell, no.

A lot of the outcome depends on the person and the family getting help. A lot of family members think that they don’t have any role to play in the recovery of their loved one. That’s actually not true at all.

Think about it. The odds are already stacked against them. Drugs and alcohol usually win, in that struggle. It IS a LIFE OR DEATH FIGHT. Do you want to attend their funeral, knowing that you could have done more?

Or visit them in prison? Or the psychiatric ward? 🤔

The only way the story ends for an alcoholic or addict (besides recovery) is JAILS, INSTITUTIONS OR DEATH.

Soon, I will see X’s Mom during the worst time of her life. Losing a child is hellish.

The next time you see a story about someone with an addiction, or pass an addict on the street, remember that that person is someone’s child. Look at them. In the face. De-humanizing them is the cowardly way. The next one could be yours. Do everyone a favor, and offer to take them to rehab. Detox. A meeting. SOMETHING.

I’m gonna miss you, X. So are a lot of others I know.

 

 

The Elephant in the Room

By  on 1-29-2018 in CBDWellness

I want to address what could be considered to be a conflict of interest, on my part. Being a person in long-term recovery, vs. being an affiliate for a product that is closely related to a substance (that many have abused, and one) that is still illegal in many places.

When people first started taliking about “medicinal marijuana”, saying that I was skeptical would be an understatement. Sure, I knew of the “benefits” of weed many years ago; things like relaxation, creative thinking, relief from anxiety (until the paranoia came into the picture), etc., but none of those were enticing enough to me that I would consider changing my sobriety date.

When Dad was at the end of his battle with cancer, some of his friends from the Rooms offered to go get him some pot to help with the agonizing symptoms. His response was “No, I want to be clean when I meet Jesus.”

That sort of situation, (and epilepsy) was about all that I knew of pot being used for legit medical reasons.

So, in recent years, the conversation about the merits of marijuana has become louder. I’ve been listening, too. As an addict, when I stopped using other addictive substances, weed was also on the BANNED list.

Now, fast forward to 2017ish.

Someone has figured out that humans and other animals have “Cannabinoid” receptors in our bodies (where the CBD was going for all this time is beyong me, but I bet it was in a dark place with a box of Little Debbies), that actually makes positive changes when taken care of.

I’m not talking about firing up a fattie or eating hash brownies or any of the other swell ways that humans ingest THC. What got my attention was when I began hearing about CBD.

I’m not in any way a specialist in scientific stuff, nor have I any particular interest in botanical theory. I mean, I don’t understand nor pretend to care about all of the particulars of why this, and not that, and how this is taken from the other, blah, blah, blah.

What matters to ME, in this case is as follows:

*CBD oil will NOT get you high. Period. In the vernacular of this region, it won’t make you “feel some kind of way”.

* CBD oil helps with numerous mental illnesses and many more physical ailments (think of any “old age” problems and it probably helps with that).

*CBD oil has no side-effects, save perhaps feeling a bit sleepy, and loosen your bowels some.

*CBD in this case is quality-controlled, processed safely AND within legal parameters of what good old Uncle Sam will permit.

*CBD is allowing me to reduce the amount of prescription medications that I take by 100% (as of 2018).

And lastly

*CBD oil can be a way for all types of people to lead a more healthy, productive, and ultimately happy life. Including their financial life. 😉

So, no, there’s no conflict of interest. I am delighted to have found a SUPPLEMENT that lessens the impact that my ills have on my daily life. I am even more blessed to know of a likely resource for the people I encounter on any given day.

CBD is legal. It is not the same as THC at ALL, and I thank God for it.

Depression sucks.

It really does. It sucks the life out of you, in every way, if not treated. Here is a basic description of depression along with symptoms I found online: The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can lead to a range of emotional and physical conditions. These include inability to sleep or concentrate on tasks.

To expound on this definition, the above is as far as I got in writing this post. I’m not feeling bad now, but I long to be off the meds. I think I have less than a complete range of emotions now. (Eeyore sigh)

It’s beautiful out so I’m gonna focus on the good. 😁

UPDATE:

About a year after writing this, I was introduced to a natural supplement that allowed me to GET. OFF. THE. MEDS.

Drop me a line if you’d like to get back to feeling. REALLY feeling again. Or go here and see what I’m talking about.

Addiction’s sibling: Mental Illness

                          schiz·o·phre·ni·a

[ˌskitsəˈfrēnēə, ˌskitsəˈfrenēə]

NOUN

   a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.

    From a decently young age I can remember hearing things that weren’t real. I knew that if I focused on the voices then I could properly hear what they were saying.

 I can’t remember what the voices started saying, but as I got older the voices got louder and more frequent. I always thought that those with Schizoprenia or DID (dissassociative identity disorder) were such interesting characters, but I never dreamed I would be one of them.

    The voices started around age 12, but they only showed up once every 3-4 months. The rarity of them made me think it was something normal and what everyone went through. After the voices came the visual hallucinations and the paranoia. They paranoia was always under the surface while growing up , but it truley showed its self around age 19. Like most people at 19 I figured that it was all in my head and could be drowned in alcohol, but of course I was wrong. 

    While drinking I wasn’t conciously aware of the voices or hallucinations, but the day after is a different story. I would wake up and the visual hallucinations would come with a vengence with the paranoia. As I got older rather than indirect paranoia, and just all out fear it started to get paranoia of very specific objects.

    I never liked mirrors, they always seemed to show something that was watching, waiting, and planning to get me. At my best a mirror unsettles me, and at my worse I have to cover it up or break it to keep the thing from gettting me. The mirrors always seemed to breath and want me. To this day I can’t say why mirrors, but I will always fear them even a little. I’m still scared to turn my back to one.

    Mirrors being the break from reality, my periphrial vision was the culprit that aided my visual hallucinations. Always just out of the corner of my eye, just bearly out of sight were the shadows. Nothing with a true or set form, but always there ready to get me at any moment. It happened most with there was something I had to focus on it felt. Something that was grabbing my attention so I had to let my guard down and then the shadows in the corners would start to stir.

    I was 23 when i had my first psychotic episode. 

We just refer to them as episodes in the family cause there is no set term for what happens. The episodes start the same with hyper awarness, and then the paranoia. Hyper awarness is when all of your sense are trying to focus on everything around you at the same time. The mental stress it can cause is excruciating, and is often a symptom of PTSD. While my senses are over loaded the paranoia kicks in, the fear that I’m missing something. Some crucial bit of information that will keep me safe.

    The voices will start, but they aren’t word or even cohiesive they are just loud screams. I feel them building and getting louder till I can’t hear anything but them. Thats when the self harm comes. I begin clawing at my torso, my head, and anywhere else I can dig into myself. I always feel like if I get deep enough, if I can claw deep enough iI can bleed the voices out. Outside of the episodes I know how impractical it sounds, but during an episode I need to be restrained and calmed down.

    After three psychotic episodes I was admitted to a psychiatric ward in Indiana. I had clawed at my chest and left cuts across it, and my fiance took me to the ER to get checked in. During my short stay there I was able to get medication, and understand to help “stay grounded”. Stay grounded is the term used to stay in connection to reality and to help prevent other episodes from happenning.

    As for dealing with it completely there really is no rule book for guidance. It’s not a easy treated illness and every day is different. That being said, having the family I do and having such a strong Fiance I’m sure that I will be okay. The future is unknown and filled with much needed therapy and medication, but it’s much better than being committed.

I asked my son to write this. For many of us, sharing our story is helpful in recovering, whether it’s addiction or mental illness. I am proud of his courage and determination to do whatever he must, to learn how to live with schizophrenia.

It is heart-breaking to know that he’s dealing with this. I hope and pray that he’s ok. I am incredibly thankful for the strength he has, and the amazing people God’s placed in his life.