Behind starburst eyes

Depression, Suicide, and Pills

I had what I’ve read is one of the “hard” talks with Mr. C tonight. We talked about bullying, depression and suicide. We talked about how sometimes some people that are being bullied feel like they have no other option to escape their situation than to take their own life. I promised him that there is always a solution. That if we had to I would pack everything and everyone up and move 500 km away to get him out of that kind of situation. (I also explained there are other less drastic solutions we’d try first) But to never ever think he was trapped in that scenario, because if all else failed I’d hire a moving truck. I meant it. I wouldn’t want to move because of something like bullying, but I’d sure as shit do it if I knew it would make the difference between having Mr. C with me and not. See there are lots of studies that show a correlation between Autism and depression. But more importantly I know his family history, including his maternal medical history.

We then talked about depression. We talked about how sometimes for many different reasons (including but not only because of bullying) some people end up feeling like they’ve “lost their happy.No matter what they try to do, including activities they used to love, their happy seems just out of their reach. I explained that it could be because the brain isn’t making the right amount of certain chemicals. It could be because of a really hard time in a person’s life. I also explained it could happen with no obvious cause in sight. I told him it was important to talk to me or another grown-up he trusted if he felt like his happy was gone. We talked about the difference between being sad, having the blues, having the blahs, being upset and being depressed. I told him it didn’t matter which one he was feeling it was okay to talk about it and that his feelings would be respected. I promised him I would never slough off his emotions when they weren’t “happy/shiny”

I’ve read that these were hard conversations to have with your child, but for me personally that wasn’t the case. Instead I was grateful to have them with him. I was glad to hear him say that he knew suicide was never the answer. I was thrilled to hear him say he trusted me to help him find a solution should he be bullied or feel like he’d lost his happy. I’m glad because I’ve struggled for 11 months to find my happy. It’s been since we lost Joy that I can’t seem to find it. I try, and I have brief moments where it seems almost within reach, but then it slips through my fingers again. I end up staring off in the distance trying to remember how to smile like the woman I was in the hopes that if I go through the motions long enough I’ll finally BE her again. Only it hasn’t worked. I see her staring back at me through the mirror, so clear I could almost touch her, but really she’s like a faded photograph, because she’s just a reflection of who I used to be. So I went to my doctor finally and I am now taking something to help. Because I tried everything I knew, but I still couldn’t find the happy woman I used to be. Which is part of the maternal medical history I know of for my children. The part that makes me aware of how needed conversations like tonight’s was to ensure should he ever be facing a rough part on his path he’ll ask for help in walking it. Because that’s what I’m here for, to help each of them in whatever way they need. I acknowledge a part of that is also taking care of myself. In part so that I CAN be there for them, and also to show them it’s OK to ask for help when you truly need it.


If you are contemplating suicide, please contact your doctor, or go to your local emergency room, or dial 911 from any telephone.

If you are being bullied, depressed or just need someone to listen and you are under 20 you can call Kids Help Phone 24/7 for free: 1-800-668-6868.

If you are an adult and find yourself in a mental health crisis: Canadian Crisis Centres is a list of crisis centres across Canada, with local free phone numbers.

You can also dial 211 from any phone and ask to be connected with your local crisis service.

In the USA:

Crisis Service: 24/7 for free help 1-800-273-8255


Autism is NOT a death sentence

Just over a month ago C and I made cookies for his home school group at the YMCA to help promote Autism Acceptance. With how positive of a reaction we received from them I asked one of the people who helps to coordinate the Orientation for Parents of Children Recently Diagnosed with Autism at Grandview Children’s Center if they would be interested in having some at their next orientation. She spoke with the her colleagues and they said yes. So today I went and got more business cards for the packages I’ll be dropping off Saturday morning. I’m happy that they said yes to them as I feel they do have a positive message to them. So often I hear of parents being absolutely desolate about their child’s diagnosis, and I think our perception as a society needs to change about that.

Last year on C’s 8th birthday his father and I were not with him. The night before, I called everyone that was supposed to come and told them that we had to post-pone his birthday party. Why? He’d done NOTHING wrong. We had to cancel his party and leave him with his Nana because we had a funeral to attend. A close friend’s 23 month old daughter had passed away. Now that was something to be absolutely desolate about. Her’s is a place that will forever be empty at their table, the memories of that beautiful precious little girl are what her parents get to hold instead of her. That is a truly devastating loss. One that those two parents must bear.

But to perceive a diagnosis of Autism as the same level of tragedy as the loss those parents deal with every single day is in my mind an insult to both the little girl who will never have a second birthday, as well as to the child diagnosed! It is NOT a tragedy that one’s child has been diagnosed with Autism, it is not something they will die from. Will there be some areas of their lives that are more challenging because of how their neuro-pathways work? Yes. But that’s what parents are for, to help their children to thrive to the best of the child’s abilities. Now I understand that some people would argue that a child classified as “Classic Autism” or as “Low-Functioning” does not have the same level of abilities to function as a child that is classified as “High-Functioning” I’m not arguing levels of abilities, but I am arguing that Autism is not a death sentence and should not be approached as one.  Yes there will be times that are hard for both parent and child. There will be times when as a parent you might not be sure how best to help your child. There will be times when they are judged negatively by others, when your parenting choices will be called into question by others, but all of those statements are true for parenting of any child!!!

To mourn the loss of the child you thought you had, the one that won’t _______ because they have Autism is unfair to your child. They are still the same child as they were prior to a diagnosis. They still have feelings, thoughts, dreams, wishes, fears, hopes just like any other child. Will they need different kinds of help or parenting than you originally thought you’d have to provide when you learnt you were going to become a parent, perhaps yes. But our job as parents is NOT to dictate what they need, but to observe them and their ways of communication to understand what each unique child needs us to provide them with and help them with.

These children can and do go on to lead lives that are happy and fulfilling for them, perhaps it’s not your definition of happiness and that’s okay because it’s not your life, it’s theirs. As long as your child is alive, and happy what on earth do you have to mourn???


The Struggle Makes Our Wings

MH900444833I find it fascinating that while we’re more connected and more accessible to each other now than ever before we tend to develop weaker bonds with one another, and we tend to lose touch with people far more often now even though we have the internet, the phone, mail etc. verses when we could only ride a horse or walk to see each other.

It’s almost like it’s the ease with which we can form all sorts of new relationships that prohibits them from growing into lifelong committed relationships that can span anything.

It reminds me of the story of the butterfly’s struggle:

A little girl found a caterpillar one sunny afternoon in her backyard, and it tickled her when she picked it up. She brought it in her house and showed her mother. The mother allowed her to keep it, but the little girl had to take good care of it. So she brought it leaves every day, and made a little house out of cardboard for it.

One day the little girl woke up and she couldn’t find the caterpillar, all she could find was a long white thing that was hanging from the top of her little caterpillar’s house. Her mother explained it was a chrysalis and that the caterpillar had made it, and was now inside of it, just waiting for the right time to come out as a beautiful butterfly.

The little girl waited and waited, and when it had felt like she had been waiting forever she noticed that the butterfly was starting to come out. It looked painful and hard to her so she started to carefully open the chrysalis for the butterfly. She had just started when her mother found her and told her to stop. She did and asked why, that’s when her mother explained that it was the struggle that helped the butterfly to form such beautiful wings, as it emerged and that if she continued to help the butterfly’s wings wouldn’t form right and she’d never be able to fly.

The little girl thought that was very sad and stopped helping immediately and sat watching for hours as the butterfly slowly emerged from its chrysalis. The beautiful butterfly then flew around the room testing out its wings and the girl watched in wonder. The butterfly flew out the window after fluttering on her hand, tickling her with its wings just as it used to with its fuzzy coat. While the little girl was sad at first, she wasn’t for long, for every afternoon the butterfly would come back and flutter around the little girl while she played in the backyard.

Human nature makes me think of the girl and the butterfly, it appears as if we all want better, quicker, faster, new and improved, instead of substance, instead of real worth.

It makes me wonder, is easier really better? Or are our “shortcuts to happiness” really making us walk the wrong path towards  loneliness instead of the path we want of true committed relationships (with family, friend or lover).


Wandering Fever

That dreaded feeling hit me again today. One moment I’m trying my best to produce moves that somewhat resemble the Arriba instructor’s and the next “BAM” that overwhelming, all-encompassing ache hits and radiates from my solar plexus.

Since I was a child my family has always called it Wandering Fever. My grandmother used to get it, she’d take off for weeks or months at a time when it would strike. My mother still gets it, she’s always been so understanding when I get it, because of course she really does get how I feel. She’s never just taken off when it happens, mind you she’s taken us kids when we were younger on random road trips.

It strikes at different times, and unlike “Spring Fever” doesn’t appear just in the spring. I can get it anytime, any season.

It’s an ache that’s accompanied by overwhelming sadness at a loss I don’t grasp the root of. I feel like I’m missing something. It’s almost as if my spirit has heard a call and I don’t know how to answer it. I’ve traveled more miles than I care to admit trying to assuage the ache. I’ve hopped on buses, and trains, walked aimlessly until I was too tired to walk anymore, I’ve convinced close friends to go on road trips with me and random travels, but to no avail.

I never end up wherever it is that I feel called to be, and eventually the feeling goes away. But it sucks while it lasts. It used to be exciting when I was younger, mostly because I thought I’d eventually find what the heck I was looking for. Now, now I just try my best to breathe through it, and remember that it’ll eventually pass.

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A tearful plea

I wrote this a year and a half ago when my eldest son was going through a rough phase, I’m sharing it right now to let any of you moms out there know that you’re not alone in your struggles. I get the heartbreak you feel each time you can’t make them see how awesome they are. I’m posting it to give insight into the harder days that allot of parents who’s child has a mental health issue face. The parts that people don’t know or understand that come with having a child who’s hurting so badly because of things we cannot control for we (sadly) can’t control the world.

My dear flight risk,
I call you that right now because that’s what you are right now, a flight risk. It means that at any moment I could lose you to the dark paths within your mind that cloud up the truth and make you see illusions instead. Everything has to be either right or wrong to you, and while it’s one thing I cherish about you, it’s also one thing I fear so much. I fear it for I’m scared that it is what will take you away from me, and lead you to a place I pray for you to never know firsthand.

Don’t run my sweet, sweet boy, I beg of you, for you take my heart, my whole reason for being with you should you go. The locks and alarms can only stop you for so long before you figure them out. No matter how far or fast you run, the darkness you’re trying to flee will still be with you, for it’s inside of you. The pain and confusion, the embarassment and the shame, the fear and the longing for something you can’t seem to name. It all stays with you, it’s all a part of you, I know for I have it inside of me too, but now your my light, my peace, my joy, my very world.

So PLEASE don’t run, stay and talk, yell, scream, punch your pillow, anything, let out the frustration at never quite “getting the situation”. Scream away all the times you figured out what to say a few moments too late to say it. Lash out until your too tired to fight anymore, and then my sweet child the most important part comes next;

Once your so tired you can’t fight anymore, once you can’t dredge up a single ounce of pain or anger or fear or rejection, then let love inside. Let love for who you are flow like gentle waves against every part of your soul, washing away the residue and leaving a perfectly smooth surface of sand for you to write the next chapter of your life on. One of acceptance and self-love, for it is BECAUSE of how perfectly amazing you are as a human being that you mean so much to me.

You are the epitome of everything that is right in this world, and every day I don’t wish for you to change a bit… Instead I try to change the world FOR you, because you deserve a better one than what you live in right now!

You deserve one where people say what they mean and mean what they say. Where people don’t make fun of others that are different, but are intrigued by the differences and see them for the wonderful gifts they are to our society. You deserve a world where random hugs are accepted with honor and joyful suprise at your spontanous outpouring of caring and love, NOT reprimands about people’s personal space and how it shouldn’t be breached without prior permission.

Don’t run my sweet, sweet boy, for I promise you, I AM here for you, to hold your hand when your scared, to offer explanations when you’re confused, to be in awe of the purity of your soul, and to fight not just for you but with you if need be until you see, it’s not you that needs to change!

You’re honest, and you love unconditionally. You see every new person as a potential friend and open your heart to every single one of them. You see the splendor in the ordinary details of life like the patterns on a snail’s shell, or a sunset’s majesty. Your thoughtful in ways that many “grown-ups” could learn from. If I could have picked every single thing about you out before you were born I couldn’t have made you a better person than you already are. So please stay with us, and understand that you CAN paint with just bold strokes of black and white. Instead of the dull insiped shades of gray that most use because they are too scared to stand up and be their real selves.


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