To My Husband: I See You

A new article over at Her View From Home

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Post-Adoption Depression Is A Very Real Thing

I have a post over at Her View From Home, check it out2002-08-11-021

http://herviewfromhome.com/post-adoption-depression-is-a-very-real-thing/

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Remembering Stuart

On February 15, 2017 writer and radio personality Stuart McLean died from cancer.I was saddened by the news of his death, deeply saddened.For him and his family and friends. But also in a selfish way I felt sad there would be no new volumes of work. No more new books and CD’s for Christmas. I wanted to do this post right away but honestly it was hard for me to admit he had died, kind of like when Robin Williams died. Grief and pure disbelief.

I first heard of Stuart probably around the year 2001. Adam and I had been trying to have a baby with no luck. I was heartbroken and trying to see the good in things but mostly I ate bowls of cereal, cried and played Bust a Move. We were moving onto adoption but were waiting for the mandatory classes to begin. We were visiting friends who had experienced their own recent heartbreak and they put us in their guest room. Not able to fall asleep one night (yes there was a time that I didn’t start snoring the moment my head hit the pillow) I pulled down a Vinyl Cafe book by some author unknown to me – Stuart McLean. I read the stories beside my sleeping husband and I laughed so hard I snorted a few times. It felt so good to laugh again. Laughter had been missing from our lives for a long time by then. When Adam woke up in the morning I read aloud one of the funnier pieces and he laughed – his eyes lighting up probably more because of seeing me happy for once than for the story itself (sorry Stuart).

That started a trend. Each Christmas Adam would get me tickets to see Stuart and/or a book of his and/or CD’s to listen to in the van. Some amazing years I got all 3.  The one year Corbin got to be Stuart’s assistant up on stage. Another year all four of us went to see him at University of Toronto, Convocation Hall (Adam’s alma mater).

I would play the CD’s in my car when the boys were with me and they would laugh when the audience laughed on the track. But then there was the day when Corbin legitimately did a full belly laugh that told me now he gets it. Never having been a mom before and not knowing anything about boys I listened closely to Stuart’s stories about young Sam. I took it to heart when he told stories of the shenanigans Sam got up to with his best friend. In a couple of stories Stuart speaks about Sam having his own relationships with people outside of his parents – the next door neighbour Eugene and a fortune teller. This made me seek out special relationships for Corbin to have outside of us – like the postal worker and the school custodian.

When Corbin needed to seek mental health treatment at a centre 2 hours from home I would put the CD’s on and laugh/cry all the way there and back. I must have looked a right sight to anyone passing me on the highway. In the fortune teller story, she tells Sam

“- everything is always all right in the end”

and Sam asks “What if it isn’t?”

“That’s easy. If it doesn’t work out well in the , that means it’s not the end”

I held onto those words during those rough couple of months that Corbin was away. It obviously wasn’t the end.

I hold onto them now. It is obviously not the end.

Posted in Celebrating, Parenting | Leave a comment

My Suicide Note

One of my articles has been re-posted on Her View From Home

Take a look, leave a comment

Tina

Posted in Mental Health Awareness | 2 Comments

Respite

There are 3 things that I feel helped Corbin and our family the most when he was in early years of elementary school. One was Camp Winston ; then there was Occupational Therapy and then respite. According to the Family Respite Services website

We are a Windsor-Essex community organization that works with families caring for children under the age of eighteen who have intellectual, physical and mental health disabilities. We facilitate the provision of respite services that contribute to:

  • The sustaining and enriching of a family’s quality of life.
  • Seek the fullest participation of the child in the community.

We have always felt it important that respite be viewed more as a way of connecting   Corbin to his community than a break for us. While needing a break was very real we also stressed to workers that Corbin also needed a break from his family. No kid should spend 24/7 with their parents.

I believe respite started around his 7th birthday. When we didn’t qualify for any other programs, Family Respite Services stepped in with some mental health dollars and we had a couple of hours per week when he did something fun with his worker.We had a wonderful coordinator, Jane, who stayed with us for over 10 years. She was always working to make sure Corbin had a good match in his worker and she was there for me when for so many years we could not figure out Corbin’s diagnosis thus we couldn’t get appropriate services. I can’t count the amount of times I sobbed over the phone and guiltily shared that I didn’t know how much longer our family could go on without the right help. There was nothing she could do to help us – but she listened and I will always be grateful for her in our lives.

Over the years we had several respite workers, all who were amazing in their own way. The following are just a few of them. Sarah was known for playing Playmobil with him – they would spend hours together just setting the scene for a war or storming the castle. This time with Corbin was so important for him because he was struggling so much at school and he had difficulty knowing how to play with toys. 2008-04-23-180132

Becky was great for taking Corbin out and doing activities in the community or visiting her cat. Even after she moved on she stepped in and helped us out when Corbin was going through his mental health crisis.

2010-05-19-193450

Michelle came along just in time for Corbin’s greatest struggles. She endured rages and a complete inability to function out in the world. She was so calm no matter what was thrown at her (figuratively and literally) and I often wondered what kept bringing her back when things were so bleak.

2010-04-17-085424

All of these ladies saved my sanity again and again. During their time with Corbin I could spend more time with my younger son Jeremy, run errands or hide in my room with a coffee and a good book. Sometimes we were able to arrange for care for our younger son and my husband and I would take the Respite time to go out for coffee and visit the bookstore. One glorious time we even went to see a movie.

It’s hard trying to convey how much respite helped our family. Without the reprieve and without the opportunities for Corbin to socialize and be successful we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Thank you Family Respite Services

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Let’s Talk

Thanks for the concern – the following is an example of how I feel when depression overwhelms me – I am NOT feeling this way now.

————————————————————————-

Failure

Loser

Incapable

Unwanted

Unworthy

Words my mental illness plants in my brain. They sneak in under the cover of dark, rearing their ugly heads when I least expect it. Defences down, I am bowled over by the intensity and severity of the words. I do my best to fight. I do positive self talk and affirmations. I stay away from sad movies and TV. I seek out my husband who counteracts the force of the words.

But sometimes, sometimes I can’t fight. They overwhelm me, those words.

They tell me I can no longer do my job – that I am missing things with the families I help and I have made some major mistakes. I find myself compulsively checking my notes and second guessing what I have and haven’t done. Before home visits I sit in my car, taking deep breaths and trying to will the panic attack away. My heart races, my palms are sweaty, it feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest. I push down the feelings of inadequacy and will myself to be calm and receptive to the family I am there to help.

They tell me I am a horrible mother. That I have missed some major things with my children and I have failed them as a mother. They tell me that the boys would be better without me, a mother who is a burden and source of stress and anxiety. I am aware of how much I am yelling at them and that serves to throw me in deeper into my depression.

They tell me I am a lousy spouse. That I have no interest in anything and have trouble connecting on a personal level. My caring husband wants to help me but I don’t know what to tell him, how to help me. Which then leads to me further berating myself for not being able to share with him.

Those words, they tell me my family is better off without me. That I am nothing. How can they miss me when I am nothing? I try to tell myself that I am loved and wanted but the words are too strong. I have trouble getting out of bed. I watch mindless TV for hours and sleep is my new best friend. Lots and lots of sleep. And lets not forget the eating – anything and everything. The more unhealthy the better.

And sometimes. Sometimes things get so bad I fear for my safety. I struggle to try to explain to others what is going on with me in that moment. I just know I feel so bad that I am thinking of killing myself.

Those words

Failure

Loser

Incapable

Unwanted

Unworthy

They take my mental health away. They almost take my life.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Silent Killer

Diabetes is kicking my ass

Really

I know I have type 2 so the onus is on me to eat healthier and exercise more. I also have central sleep apnea which doesn’t always respond to my CPAP machine and often leaves me exhausted all day. Who feels like excercising when you have had no sleep? I also have Polycystic Ovaries which wreaks havoc on my hormones and leads to weight gain.  Which then makes the Diabetes worse.

I also have depress3534215167_a986eed0ec_z_largeion – at times crippling depression and anxiety that make it hard for me to get out of bed in the morning let alone exercise on purpose. I use food as my emotional crutch.  Feel sad. Eat. Feel scared. Eat. Feel frustrated. Eat. And so on.

I have read all the scary stuff that Diabetes can bring to the table. Loss of sight, loss of
limbs, death. It is terrifying, and yet when presented with a butter tart I scarf it down. When it comes to sugar I have no self control.  But I am trying. I made a gradual switch from Cola to Diet Cola (don’t lecture about the harm sweetners do, I can only take one step at a time) and now I am focusing on drinking less cola each day. I am eating more greek yoghurt and other healthy options.

But I still eat carbohydrates way too much.

I’m a food addict and it needs to stop.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments