I cried far too much today.
I cried because I have a sweet little ten-year-old boy who needs me to be a lot stronger than I am.
I cried because I can't seem to give him what he needs, get him what he needs.
I cried because he told us he's sad all the time, he can't make his brain shut off, he feels weird and out of place in this world, and he wishes he could be more like his brothers.
I cried harder still when he saw me crying and reassured me that he was going to get better.
If you have access to US social media, you've probably seen the blog post, "Thinking the Unthinkable," at least once since last Friday's horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Its author, Anarchist Soccer Mom (hereinafter referred to as "ASM"), shares harrowing episodes of life with her gifted but mentally ill 13-year-old son, and her frustrations with a failing mental health system.
This Halloween our community clubhouse had their annual haunted house. As we were about to attend the event with our older boys, I noticed that the haunted house was titled “The Asylum”. The invitation read, “Attempt to maintain your sanity as you tour through ‘The Asylum!’”Hmmm... We decided that it was probably best to stay home since my son has a mental illness. I expected the event to be a little offense, but I seriously underestimated!...more
Over the past year I’ve received a handful of emails from parents that have been pushed away from their church. In some cases, it’s due to ignorance. As in the case of the family that was told that their child’s mental illness was a direct result of the parent’s sin. Other times, it’s more subtle, maybe their child is too loud during service and can’t sit still, taking away from the “holy” experience, bringing on hushed criticism or rude looks. Either way, the intolerance is felt and families leave their church when unfortunately, they need it most....more
Tonight, I found myself looking through old photo albums of when my boys were just babies at ages 1, 3 and 5 years. I don’t know what it was, but I became overwhelmed with sadness and began crying, you know the kind of cry, when you don’t look so pretty and tissues aren’t enough. ...more
There is no hard and fast test for mental illness. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), which is the bible of the mental health field, can do no more than categorize the propensity for certain symptoms as being probably indicative of certain conditions. If the fellow down the street has at least two of the following-delusions, hallucinations, odd speech, odd behavior, or seems emotionless-chances are he may be schizophrenic. Or maybe not.
Some parents have asked me why I feel so passionately about preschool psychiatric diagnoses when my own daughters didn't have such serious problems. I will let you in on a secret. Bright, creative children can have a terrible time adjusting to traditional American grade schools. Bright bored children don't finish worksheets, don't pay attention, daydream, forget assignments, leave books and homework home, ignore the teacher, read ahead of the class and miss their place if called upon, miss many days of school.
Warning: by nature I am a skeptic and a heretic who hasn't forgotten her radical pacifist youth. Joan of Arc is my patron saint. I birthed two children at home, nursed them for years, sent them to a hippy school of 50 kids from 5 to 18. But I am not an ignorant nutcase grandma, ignorant of the "magnificent" advancements in child psychiatry. Before children, I edited psychiatry books for 7 years; our authors were world-famous psychiatrists who knew how to heal people without drugs.
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