Graduation

Gradannouncement

The back of one of my son’s graduation announcements.

Jeremy is disappointed as I always said I would write a “Suck It” announcement. He thought I meant that I would literally write those words. He makes me laugh.

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Into the Woods

2007-09-16-123816I stood there and watched him run into the woods. I didn’t follow as I knew I would never be able to catch him. I was beyond exhausted. Behind me I heard walkie talkies going off as three staff bolted out of two buildings and ran into the woods after him. I found myself fighting back tears.

The staff beside me put her hand on my shoulder and gently said “Don’t worry, we’ll get him” and I began to sob.

“It’s not that” I said “it’s that I don’t have backup staff at home. I don’t even have one staff. How are we going to manage when he comes home?”

I was standing outside one of the units for inpatient psychiatric care at an agency 200 kilometers from our home. My son had been spiraling out of control for several months. He heard things, envisioned things that weren’t there. He was forever doing unsafe things and then begging for our help to make him stop. We had locked away all the knives and sharp objects. We stopped taking him out in the community, his behavior so erratic there was no way to know what he would do. He stopped attending school as there were only so many lockdowns they could do in short amount of time. He was unsafe out in the world and barely safe at home.

The last straw was when he brought me his housecoat belt over his outstretched hands and he begged me to help him end his life. He was 11 years old.

* **

It’s 1990 – my 17th birthday and none of my friends are to be found. To be honest I have been giving them the cold shoulder for several months so it isn’t that much of a surprise that they aren’t here wishing me a happy birthday.  I sit by my locker, writing in my journal – the same thoughts over and over.

I’m nobody and the world would be better without me. If I could I would just merely cease to be.

I get up off the ground, taking my Prozac out of my pocket as I approach the water fountain. This new drug is being heralded as a new and promising drug to combat depression. What they don’t know yet is that it could lead to increased suicidal ideation in children and teens. I open the bottle intending to take one. Instead I dump the twenty nine pills into my hand and swallow them in one swift motion.

I am amazed at how easily they went down. It takes me several seconds to register what I have just done. My blood pumps so strongly that I can hear my pulse. My hands begin to sweat. I lower myself to the floor outside my locker and pick up pen and a paper. With a shaking hand I write my suicide note. I tell the world how worthless I am. How I can’t take the darkness any more. I ask for forgiveness.

Please forgive me.

* *

They come back on the path – a staff each holding an arm and another in the rear. He is struggling and crying. Something about chasing a deer and that he is a hunter. He begs them to let him go so he can catch his prize. He writhes and as they get closer I can see that his pupils are large saucers, his face mottled. He continues to struggle and doesn’t acknowledge me as he goes by, his thoughts are only on the imagined doe.

Once inside he continues to scream and yell and try to break free. They take him to the lower level where the time out room is. It is a completely empty cell like room. They know I do not want him locked away in rooms such as this. They assure me it is only temporary and no one will close the door.  I stay upstairs – partially to avoid making him more distraught and partially because I cannot bare to see him like this.

The staff continue to talk briefly and quietly to him. Giving him time to calm. Medication arrives to help calm him even further. Within a few minutes I can tell everything is working. I cautiously go down the stairs and peek into the room. He’s squished tight into a corner, his face streaked with his tears, his breathing shallow.

He sees me and lunges at me. “Mom I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Do you forgive me?”

*.    *.  *

It is the year 2015 and the bright lights are blinding me as I lie on the small emergency room bed. The nurses and doctors brush past the curtains that are only partially closed. When I first arrived, I had been in a private room. When my husband left to make some calls I ripped a bedsheet and made a noose. My husband found me before I could tie it. My nurse scolded me like a child
“If I can’t trust you then you can’t be in here. I thought I could trust you and you went and did this”
I want to tell her I am ill. Just as ill as people with cancer and diabetes. I want to tell her that I am not here as a joke, that I have real problems that have brought me here. I want to ask her if she has ever suffered from depression and gone to that deep dark place where nothing makes sense except for dying.
I do not. Instead, I lie down and cover myself up. The on call psychiatrist stops by and quickly signs the form making my stay mandatory for up to 72 hours. I am distressed at being placed “on a hold” and do not take the news very well. I cry and beg my husband to do something to help me.
I deserve to be here. I stopped taking my medications thinking that I was well enough to make do without them. Obviously I am not. The voice in my head swirls around and around speaking nonsense combined with self-deprecating thoughts. Either they have given me strong medications or my psyche is so stressed that I am in and out of consciousness. Time passes. My husband will tell me later that this went on for three days waiting for a bed.
I lie on the bed and I cannot sleep anymore. Overtaken suddenly by emotions that I can no longer avoid. I sob into my pillow as my husband looks over me. I reach my hand out to him, lucid for a moment.
“I’m sorry” I say “please forgive me”
***
Together we walk along the river, stopping at times for him to climb the rocks and jump down. He claims to be doing Parkour and I claim to know nothing about what he is saying. He laughs at my lack of knowledge and takes a risky jump from one rock to another, landing gracefully. He joins me back on the trail and we resume our walk.
I cannot help but think back to those years where he and I were both so ill. I marvel that with medication and treatment we have both been stable for a few years. The gut wrenching days of his early adolescence and my deep dark depression have lifted. Now we have typical mother son disagreements but mostly we have peace. Peace. Something I was not sure our family would ever experience.
We no longer need forgiveness.

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A Contest!!

I was just doing some cleaning and realized I have 2 copies (one dog eared, one in pristine condition) of What Matters by Janice Fialka.

WhatMatters

It is an amazing book about raising her family and her son making his way in the world, fully included at every step of the way. Janice has been an inspiration to me since before we even adopted Corbin, and became even more important to me after.

To win a copy of this book do one or all of the following (each one will get you a ballot in the draw):

  1.  Leave a comment here
  2.  share my facebook post
  3. Like my FB post

Make sure you leave a message in the comments if you share on FB. I will keep the contest open until Thursday April 13th, 2017 at midnight.

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Update

SoCounting My Blessings Day 1 - Coffee, Chocolate and Boxes things have been quiet around here lately but it’s not what you probably think. I have been doing great – I am feeling much better. I think being on insulin has helped immensely. I am not feeling so tired and foggy all the time. I am actually getting some housework done and making meals at night doesn’t feel like I am barely able to make my way around the kitchen. I’m still working on eating better and getting more exercise.

I went and got my hair done and I love the style. I bought contacts and new makeup. Today I got my eyebrows waxed for the first time since my wedding 22 years ago. lol. In a few weeks we are getting family photos done at an awesome location, the Old Mill.   I honestly feel like I have just woken from a dark dream.

Work is very busy but going well. Last night I got to snuggle the sweetest little baby. If you have to work at night snuggling a baby is the way to go. The boys are doing well at school. Corbin still seems on the path to getting his Ontario High School Diploma in June. Jeremy has stepped it up a notch when it comes to doing his schoolwork and his grades are reflecting that commitment. Adam’s work is the same. He’s counting down to retirement.

Writing hasn’t been coming to me quite as easily the past few weeks. I think it’s because I haven’t spent much time quietly reflecting, instead choosing action after a LONG period of inaction.

Speaking of action, there is an upcoming March at Queens Park for Supports for Adults with Developmental Disabilities on May 10, 2017. Corbin and I are going to take a bus from Windsor and join others in the march. They have asked if Corbin would like to speak – he’s thinking about it. Of course I want him to – he has so much to share with others about disability and living a regular life with proper supports.

I’m also working on a project that my brother has been helping me with. I will be unveiling it in about a month. Stay tuned.

 

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To My Husband: I See You

A new article over at Her View From Home

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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/

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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.

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