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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Your child & ADHD and/or Depression. To treat, or not to treat?

I know this post may not going to be popular with some folks.  I know it may be controversial.  I know that people who know more than I do about this are going to be pissed off.  I know people who have had great experiences with meds are going to think I'm a jerk for saying my piece - but I'm going there....

I'm going there for those of you who are NOT having a good experience with the meds.

My son recently sent me an article regarding gun control, mass murder (ie:  Columbine & Sandy Hook) and the one thing that all of the individuals, mostly children, had in common is that the were taking psychotropic medications.  If you don't know what that terminology refers to, it's the term for medications used to treat ADHD, depression, etc.

If you are interested, here is the article: 
(This posting will make much more sense if you read the article)

Before I continue with this post, I have absolutely NO intention in getting into a gun control debate.  Even though that IS what the headline of the article is, that is NOT at all what this post is about.  
This post is about the medications that lead children to do unspeakable things.  Whether we know it or not.

I am NOT a medical professional.  I am not well studied on drugs and their effects, benefits/side effects, etc.  I'm just a mom who once had a child diagnosed with A.D.H.D and childhood depression.  I am a mom who trusted and allowed the medical community to treat my child with psychotropic drugs.  I can only speak of what I know from what we lived.

I can honestly say - I didn't know any better.
I was a young mom.  I knew my child was having severe behavioral and learning issues in school.  I did all I knew how to.  I took my child to doctors, upon doctors, upon doctors.  I believed that they would know how to help my child.  I was desperate. I allowed doctors to prescribe medications to "help" my child.

Although the medicine helped during school - grades got better, behavior got better, my child went through changes.  Changes I didn't understand. I witnessed uncontrollable behavior and rages, but this was mostly when my child was "coming down" off of the medicine.  I was warned of this in advance, so I thought nothing of it.  They told me that would happen.  I expected it.  I did what I could to calm my child during those times.  To help as best as I could, not really knowing what to do.

This parent thing - it doesn't come with a handbook.  Sometimes you need to trust the medical professionals and the people in the schools, who see your child more in the day than you do, to properly assess what's going on.

Truth - it was traumatic.  The melt downs, coming off of the medicine, were AWFUL.  Awful to the point that other people were injured.  Awful to the point that I didn't know what was happening to my child or know what to do to help.  I saw a shell of who my child used to be.  I cried more tears than I could count.  My heart breaks now thinking of it.  It was a bad time.  Many things unfolded during those days, things I won't put out into this blog, but things I'm thankful are long behind us.

My child ended up being smarter than me and made the decision to stop taking the medication - said they didn't like the way it made them feel.  That it made them feel different, not themselves.  That all fit perfectly with what I saw.  They were NOT themselves taking this medication.  Stupidly, I did not agree with going off of the medicine - because what did I know??  I didn't feel smarter than the doctor that said my child needed this medication.

I didn't question the meds.  I watched the meds take my baby away from me on so many levels, but I didn't question the meds.  I should have questioned the meds.  Shoulda, woulda, coulda.  Didn't.  I wish I had.  I wish I'd been smarter.  I wish I'd known then what I know now.  I can honestly say that I do NOT believe my child had an issue that needed to be treated with medicine.  Was my child active?  Absolutely. Was my child defiant at times?  Of course, what child isn't?  Did my child have issues?  Yes, there was so much going on our lives it was hard not to have issues.  Do I think my child needed medicine?  Now, looking back - NO!
I didn't know any better.  I didn't question the doctors or the medicine, and I regret that.

I am fortunate that my child has overcome.  But what about those children still struggling.  What about your child - who may have once been a kind hearted, loving soul - who is now trying to kick the ever living crap out of you for shutting off their favorite TV show?  Have you questioned the not normal?  I did not.  I should have.

My plea to you, parent with a child who may be on psychotropic medications...


It's really hard to be a parent.  Especially the parent of a child with any special needs at all.  We don't "just know" what to do.  Not everyone had a positive parental influence growing up, or a positive parental role model to guide them with their own children.

If your child is not acting right on the meds, question the meds!  Trust your instincts.  Don't have regrets.  That's your baby.

Thank you for reading my blog!


As an aside... 
I often post about the suicides of my brother and my father.
At the time of his death, my brother was taking psychotropic medications.  One of the warnings / side effects of anti-depressants, etc. is "may experience increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior".  At the time of my brother's death.  He was not in a depressive state.  He was happy.  He had met and was engaged to a beautiful young woman.  He had a great job.  Just redid his house.  Had a huge party - and then took his life.  Question the medicine!  Always question the medicine.

Another aside....
I do not suffer from depression.  I was prescribed an anti-anxiety / anti-depressant medication as a way to treat my Lupus.  It was a preventative measure to keep my stress level down so I didn't go into a flare.  This medication made me a cartoon character of myself.  Someone I once cared about will probably never speak to me again due to my actions / behaviors while on this medication.  I was NOT me.  Once I recognized that, I chose to get off the medication and stay off.  It took me over a year to be completely "normal" (my normal) and behave properly.  Question the medicine!  Always question the medicine.

Thank you for your support.  Love you all!!

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blessings in disguise - Unclogging my well

I've been pretty selective about the things I write in THIS blog, mostly because this is where many of my "critics" come to see what I've got to say "this time."

A part of me is sorry that people have come to view me that way, because that's not the person I am - but it's the person that I've become to a select few.

This used to bother me - about a year ago.

Today, I see it as a blessing in disguise.

Today, I am at perfect peace with every part of that situation.

Let me rewind a bit to seven years, 1 month, 2 weeks and 5 days ago - the day that my brother died.

That day ROCKED MY WORLD and changed every single part of me in ways that I can't even begin to explain - not for the better, I assure you.  The faith that I had become renewed in, was shaken.  The comfortable trust that I'd learned, had been shattered and the walls I'd once taken down were back up higher than ever.  On top of it all, my teenager was making life incredibly difficult for all of us and putting a huge strain on my marriage.  I was a shell of my former self.  I was a sad, nervous, emotional wreck.  I began to not care about the things I did, how I acted or how people viewed me.

Enter new friend.
Although I was never opposed to making new friends, I am not a "good in groups" kinda gal.  I never really traveled in one circle of friends.  All of my friends are from different circles, mostly knowing each other in passing - but not really hanging out with each other.  That was all OK with me.  This friend was extra kind to me.  She took me in as a friend, sheltered me and made me feel comfortable during a really difficult time in my life.  As our friendship grew, I began to trust and develop a closeness to her.  I continue to be grateful for that caring and concern at a time when I really needed it.  Through her I met other people and began to "hang out" in a group of friends.  I enjoyed this.  We all had a lot of fun together.  We were together more often than not as all of the children were all doing the same activities together.  It was nice.  Until it stopped being nice.  When it stopped being nice, it got very not nice.  It didn't start with this particular friend - but the loss of this friendship as a result another as well as the trickle down that occurred, hurt me.  The others walking away didn't bother me.  The thought that this friend, who I set apart from the rest, would so easily take things at face value, and forget our foundation hurt me.  She hurt me.  There was no truth that could be told.  Her mind was made up.  Even if she didn't say so.  That made me sad for a long time.  I learned that she was one of the 25% - someone who liked me, but could be persuaded not to.

If that other human is reading this it's fine if you want to gloat.
You opened my eyes and I am now at perfect peace with the entire situation.  Thank you.

I have no regrets. Only blessings.

This past Sunday, while switching channels I came upon Joel Olsteen.  I don't normally watch the television preachers, but if I do it would be Joel Olsteen or TD Jakes.  They have a way of speaking that catches me and holds my attention.

In this particular sermon, Joel Olsteen spoke of an "emotional well" that that God gives us all that is full of love, hope, happiness and goodness, and how we should protect this well.

He further went on to say that -
In our lives 25% of the people we are surrounded by don't like us and will never like us no matter what.  25% of the people don't like us, but can be persuaded to like us.  25% of the people like us but can be persuaded to not like us, and finally 25% of the people will like us unconditionally.
Knowing that, we should build a wall around our "well" to protect us from anyone (the 75%) looking to "throw rocks" into and clog our well from receiving the happiness and joy and goodness.

Every time someone throws a rock into our well, they are blocking us from the goodness and the happiness & the hope and the LOVE.  How true that is.

If it's too much work - if it's too hard - if you have to change yourself to fit into someone else's perfect little mold... It's not the relationship for you. Those who love you will love all of you for who you are.

This blog may seem as if it's a stone being thrown into another's well, but it's quite the opposite actually.  I have forgiven that situation and all involved in it.  I wish them peace.

The purpose of this blog was to help another, and I hope that I have.

I am INCREDIBLY thankful for my blessings in disguise.

My well is clear.  My wall of protection is UP.  I am thankful.  The only people allowed in my life are those who want to be here.  Those who like / love me without having to be convinced.

I will never let anyone clog my well again.

How about you?  What clogs your well?

Thank you for reading my blog!


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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A wish for my brother the day BEFORE World Suicide Prevention Day

Today would have been my brother's 46th birthday.

I know this very specifically.  Not just because he was my brother, but because he was 2 years, 11 months and 13 days younger than me :)

It was our joke - I wasn't 3 years older.  No, no, nooooo....
2 years, 11 months and 13 days
Get it right!  :)

My favorite picture of me  & my bro - Back in the day :)
Yeah, I know... he looks thrilled :)
Now he's immortally 38 years, 11 months & 13 day's old, and that matters.  (I just picked up on that numeric irony.)

It matters, because I've kept on aging.

It matters, because I'm still here and he's not.

It matters, because his birthday - today, September 9th, is the day BEFORE World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10th.

It matters, because suicide is what took my brother from me.

It matters, because even though he and I weren't speaking at the time of his death - I will never, ever, ever have another opportunity to try to talk sense into his thick skull.  I will never have another argument with him. We will never cave in and forgive each other - then laugh like idiots and hug it out.

It matters, because the relationship we once had is gone forever.

It matters, because my girls will never remember their Uncle Eric.

It matters because my son's Godfather didn't get to see him graduate boot camp or continue in the Navy, or whatever the next important mark in his life will be.

It matters.

It may not seem like it should matter to you, but it all matters.  It should matter.

To me it matters most of all, because HE DIDN'T HAVE TO GO!

It matters, because he suffered in silence.

It matters, because all of us are left behind to wonder why.  Why now? We never knew what was going on in his head.  He didn't show any signs (this time) that anyone picked up on.  It's probably why he never took my calls.  He knew I'd know.  He knew that I'd see through his bull shit and call him out.  He knew I'd step in, step up and find a way to help him, but he just couldn't handle it anymore.

It matters, because my brother - and every other person suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts - just wanted the pain to stop.

His pain stopped.
...And then it passed on to the rest of us left behind.

Some may say I didn't care, because I was tough on him.  Yes, I was very tough on him.  He needed me to be. Sometimes he thanked me for being so tough on him.  It got him through our childhood, through the Navy and through some really difficult situations I won't discuss in this blog.

He was my brother.  He was the person who I plotted with when we were younger, the one who beat me in tickle fights and made me laugh until chocolate milk came out my nose.  He was smart and cute and funny.  He had a heart of gold. He's the one, that although struggling with depression - made it through 3 previous attempts at taking his own life and continued on to become a functioning adult, until that day.

He was my brother, and I loved him.

In my heart I always knew my brother loved & missed me.  Sometimes it's hard to say - "I'm sorry.  I was wrong."  Even if the other person says it first.

Tomorrow, September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day.

Don't be a statistic - Suicide Victim or Suicide Survivor.

Educate yourself.  Know the signs.  Help save a life!

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
S.A.V.E. Suicide & Depression Voices of Education:

If you are someone who is struggling - It's OK to have a bad day.
It's NOT OK to have several bad days that turn into weeks, months, years. Please reach out!

In my heart, I believe that as much pain as my brother had and as much as he wanted it to stop - I don't believe he thought he'd really pull it off.
...and now it's too late.

It IS OK to reach out for help.  The taboos of the past are behind you.
Your friends, family - whom ever... Trust me, they would rather hear you say "HELP ME, PLEASE", than pick out your casket.

Of this, I'm sure.

Someone DOES love you.  Someone WILL miss you.  
Reach out...Someone WILL grab your hand.
...Even if it's a total stranger.

Life is good.  Every single second.  No one said it would be easy, just that it would be worth it.

Love you all!



In loving memory of my brother, Eric, on what would have been his 46th birthday.

I will always love you, Eric.  Gone, but forever in my heart!

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