autism, Blog, Medicine, Mental illness, My journey

One month

I spent a month in the hospital, very recently in fact. I have only been out for two days.

During this month, my family doctor talked via telephone to a psychiatrist who doesn’t know my story or all my symptoms and what aggravates them. He then decided to take me off a good chunk of my meds. Now I was stable when I went into the hospital and the only reason I was there, was because wait lists here are crazy and it was easier for my doctor and the psychiatrist to get in touch on the phone.

I was only supposed to be in there a week and the discharge date on the board in my room got pushed ahead to two weeks and then three and finally a month.

During this month, I had the first nervous breakdown that I can remember in a long time. Just constant panic attacks, paranoia from being taken off my meds. Hallucinations occurring again and becoming even worse this time. I mean, I was seeing cats in my hospital room, god damn cats. I realize that I haven’t spoken about stuff like this on here ever, but it took me two and a half years to tell my dad and another few months to gather up the courage to tell my doctor.

In my mind, even though I’m very open about my mental health and have no problem speaking about it, this was different. This, in my head was something that would make people perceive that I was crazy. Hell, I thought I was crazy.

The first time it happened, I was around 27 or 28 and I kept seeing these masked men and a truck in my back yard. I could see them through the little bit of curtain that wasn’t closed all the way. I was terrified and paranoid that they were going to hurt myself and my son. I was dead sure they were going and taking stuff from my basement and putting it in the truck and it would only be a matter of time before they made their way upstairs to where Chubba and I were. His bedroom was right down the hall from me but I was so frozen in fear that I couldn’t make my body go check on him.

It got to a point where i texted my neighbor, who I’m very close with and asked her to check things out for me. 5 minutes later, she replied there were no foot prints in the snow or any signs of anyone.

My brain, still seeing these people and hearing their muffled voices, had a small rational moment where I realized that something was very wrong with me.

Over the next few years, things progressively got worse. It went from hearing muffled voices outside my door, hearing my name when there was nobody there, to having these two people, who I have named Jill and Steve, being right in my room, sometimes right in my ears. They often tell me I’m fat, that my boyfriend is going to leave me because I’m fat, ugly and crazy and he deserves a normal pretty girl.

They tell me I’m not a good mother to my son and that he would be better off with a mother who wasn’t mentally ill. The worst thing they say, that cuts my heart and soul into pieces, is that it’s my fault my boy has autism. I did something while pregnant, they never tell me what, but it caused Chubba to have autism.

Other times they just talk amongst themselves about absolutely nothing and some times about me. I can see them, or rather I have seen them, the medication helps but I can still hear their muffled voices and see them occasionally. They’re in their early 20’s, Steve is tall with reddish hair, brown eyes and freckles while Jill is shorter than myself, probably 5’3, with long curly brown hair and tanned skin, like it’s always summer time where she lives in my brain.

As bad as all this sounds, the worst experience, that only happened twice, was when I seen my Nan, not like I remembered her but in a state, as terrible as it sounds, of decomposition.

I have seen her since then, but it’s always been pleasant. Both she and my great grandmother were in my hospital room one night for hours. Nan sitting on the window ledge that she couldn’t have sat on when she was alive and 4 foot nothing. And my Nanny C sitting on the end of my bed. They didn’t speak. Nan never does, even though I desperately want her to.

It takes a lot of courage to come forward to a doctor and explain to them what’s going on and a lot of strength to wake up each day and fight.

I wanted to share this so if someone is reading it, happens to be too afraid to talk about their problems, know that you won’t be judged by a doctor and taking about it is the first step in getting help

Blog, Family, My journey

How to grieveĀ 

If anyone has ever asked themselves this question, I have an answer.  There is no one proper way to grieve.  It may hit you all at once and allow your soul to begin healing, but more often than not, grief acts like the tides, ebbing and flowing.

A small thing such as the words to a song or a certain commercial on television may make your throat feel like it has a rock in it and make tears fall from your eyes.  Then the next day that might not happen, but it will again, perhaps for the same reasons or different ones.

Some times, your brain won’t let you begin the grieving process that you know your soul requires to start repairing the emptiness that it now has.  You may still get teary eyed and choked up, but you know you need to completely breakdown and just sob.

Some people say it’s because when you lose someone so close to you, someone you love so much, your brain builds up an invisible barrier around those emotions to protect you from falling apart.  Like when your brain senses you’re far to anxious and shuts down to protect you from it and you end up disassociating, except with this, there’s no dissociation.  You live your life every day, except you spend portions of it trying to figure out how to tear down that wall, to no avail.

At least this has been the past two months of my life.  Spending moments of each day wondering if I’m defective and broken and that’s why I can’t grieve how I feel I need to, and wishing and praying that it will come sooner rather than later so I won’t have to live wondering when that wall will crumble.  I would rather feel every emotion all at once than continue to shed a few tears daily.

I have the strange feeling that about a year from 2 months ago is when it will all hit me but that’s just too far away.  Too long of a time period to feel this feeling of an emptiness that is beyond words.  Like a huge part of what makes me, me, passed on when my Nan did.

Some days, I feel like she’s at home watching dog shows, NCIS and the great Canadian bake off and that I can still go up and watch them with her.  Other times, the phone rings and I automatically think it’s her calling to ask when we’re coming over.  Like my brain hasn’t yet acknowledged that she has passed.

I know it will happen eventually, whether I’m ready for it or not and until then, I’ll continue to think of her and love and miss her each day.  With my grief ebbing and flowing like the ocean waves.

I will eventually learn that grief has no normalcy, no finite time period and no ending.  It’s likely to take me quite awhile to get that stuck in my brain, and until it does, I will get choked up over certain commercials and songs, shed some tears daily and try to continuously remind myself that there is no one normal way to grieve the loss of someone that you loved more than you could ever express.

Blog, Family, My journey

Lost soulĀ 

Two days ago, I lost my Nan, my best friend, on my 31st birthday.  So, while I gained a birthday angel, I feel beyond empty.  Like there is a huge part of my soul and spirit that has just disappeared, ceased to exist.

She was one of the strongest women I have ever known, who fought bravely and positively since she was a young girl.

My Nan was born without hip sockets and although she endured multiple surgeries, it never stopped her, even getting her brothers to sneak her out to go skating.

The love she had for my Grampy was immense and immeasurable, even though they  could drive each other crazy some times.

She raised 4 wonderful and amazing children, mostly by herself due to a fire that badly injured my Grampy.  And being a single Mom myself of just one, I can tell you that it takes a lot of patience and love.  She did all this while still making time to go to the hospital to spend time with my Grampy while he healed.

She was a woman of faith with a strong belief that fate was in God’s hands and she said it’s in his hands now and whatever will be will be. 

I was lucky enough to spend her last three days home with her, along with many more before that.  I will cherish all our time together, even the times she got grumpy. 

She was my very best friend, the person I told everything to.  Gossip about boys I was talking to, my anxiety issues, anything and everything and she loved my son more than anything.  She would tell him she loved him to the moon and back, in a rocket ship and she definitely did. 

She exited this world with the same dignity, grace, and faithfulness that she lived her daily life with and it was the most beautiful and heartbreaking thing I have ever witnessed.

I was upset at first that my birthday would serve as a reminder of how much I miss her until I realized, I will miss her each and every day.

She will always have my 7 and I will always have hers.

autism, Blog, Family, Parenting

Words finally heard

I had parent teacher interviews tonight, two different appointments with Chubba’s grade 1 teacher and his reading recovery teacher.

First of all, autism is a rough deal and I don’t even live it.  My six year old is one of the strongest people I know.  He lives each day like a champ.  However, he’s one of those quiet special needs kids, the kind that gets looked over because they don’t act out and have minimal behavioural problems.

When he first started kindergarten, he was denied one on one assistance for this reason and then denied speech therapy because apparently someone else needed it more than him.

He was then expected to learn to read in an environment that isn’t conducive to learning for him and expected to progress without speech therapy, which led to a ton of anxiety, a hatred towards school and multiple meltdowns at home.  A child can’t read if he can’t speak properly, but unfortunately my words fell on deaf ears.

Tonight, things changed.  His teacher is making it her number one priority to see that he gets at least some one on one assistance and told me that she senses his anxiety because he so desperately wants to learn and do his work properly.  No teacher or human for that matter has ever spoken about the anxiety that this has been causing, she is an amazing teacher and a wonderful person.  

He is also going to be receiving some sort of speech therapy to help him with his articulation both at school and at home!

Besides the day he was born, I would have to say that as a Mama, this was one of the best days of my life.  We’re very lucky to have faculty around Chubba who actually understand what he’s dealing with and how much he wants to learn and perfect everything.  It was something I never thought would ever happen. 

To those teachers out there who go out of their way to make sure each child not only learns but enjoys getting their education, you deserve a gold medal because 10-15 years from now, you’re the teacher that these kids will remember made a difference, helped them when nobody else would. You are amazing.

Tonight was a great night and I have two wonderful women to thank for that.  I saved my tears for when I got home but they were tears of joy and of a small victory in a fight that I have been trying to edge my way ahead in for years.  So thank you for being you and for fighting for the little ones whose voices aren’t loud enough yet.

Blog, My journey

Writing a book?

It’s always been a dream of mine to write a full book that people would actually enjoy but the process is daunting.  I wrote out a chapter which hand written was only 15 pagesšŸ˜ž 

I have a lot to say when it comes to my life but there’s parts of it that are going to read like research manuals that I need to turn into something entertaining and slightly humorous.  Things like how I learned how to parent a child with autism and how I cope with being bipolar and having chronic pain issues.  These are serious topics that I want readers to gain knowledge and experience from but I have found no way to make them light enough to match the tone of the rest of the book. 

Why my brain ever decided that writing out my life story would be a good idea is beyond me but I’ve started now and I’m trying this thing where I attempt to complete the things I have begun instead of quitting half way through.  My attention span isn’t the best when it comes to big projects like this. 

Will people read it? Will I want to get it published? Will I just publish it online? Will I scrap what I’ve started and begin again?  The answer to that last one is probably yes, multiple times over.

Writing a book is just like one super long blog post right?!

Blog, Family, motherhood, My journey

Living in a grey area

Lately I find myself somewhere in between a mother who has lost a child and a mother who has a beautiful little boy. 

There are tons of support groups for women who have angel babies but then there are people like me, people who had unexpected hysterectomy’s and are left with the realization that the family they dreamed of can never be. 

I was once told by my therapist that I was grieving the loss of babies that could have been. I harbour anger and resentment at the doctor for not taking my complaints seriously until it was too late, I live with guilt from not pushing for blood work and an ultrasound. 

It’s been two years last May 29th that I lost my dream. A fibroid as large as a full term baby had to be removed and my womb couldn’t be saved. Every month I have a few days where it just runs through my mind constantly, when my son asks me if we can go to the baby brother adoption store, my heart shatters.

In every group I have tried to seek support from, I have gotten back well at least you have a son. Even from a hysterectomy support group. 

I know how lucky I am to have my son but that does not mean that I don’t feel the intense heart ache of never experiencing that again. No more little kicks, no more little butts or heads stuck under my right rib cage forever. No more dream family.

I know there are more people than myself that have experienced this same situation, maybe not in the same manner but the outcome remains the same.  We live in a grey area where there is no place for us to grieve what might have been, no place for others like us to lend support and let their emotions out. 

I would like to be the person to begin a support group for women who have gone through this, a place with no judgement just because you may already have a child, a place where we can try and help each other through the rough patches and not be stuck in a grey area anymore.

The group is called Babes of dreams and I urge you that if you know of anyone who could benefit from this, please spread the word.

Blog, cluster headaches, Family, My journey

The invisible pain

It’s hard to describe a pain so bad that it leaves you praying for your life to just end.

It’s hard for people to see you writhing in pain, punching yourself in the head and not knowing when it will end and knowing it will happen again and again.

Living in fear daily and nightly that the pain might just rear it’s ugly head whenever it chooses.

Having constant insomnia and anxiety because you know the beast likes to show up at night.

Panic attacks at the slightest signal of hell returning, PTSD brought on by living in fear constantly.

Knowing that there’s no cure and this is with you for life.

This is life with cluster headaches.

Then you have your regular life, the one where you’re a Mom to the most beautiful human on the earth. That’s what fuels the fight.  I will not let this pain take away my little boy’s Mama.

Some days, it wins and he spends the night at his grandparents and it tries to win again when I get admitted to the hospital and don’t get to read him bedtime stories.  But these things are temporary.

There are days where I feel beyond awful for missing parts of his life, days when I realize how much he knows, when he’s scared that every time I enter a hospital, they’ll have to keep me there.

Then there are days like tonight, when I’m sitting in bed, unable to sleep because I’m at a solid 4 on the pain scale but still able to function and I sit here thinking back to just a few hours ago when he was rubbing my arm during bedtime stories and I cry, because the pain of never experiencing that again is greater than anything a cluster can throw at me.

I know there will be really bad days with the winter coming which is my bad season, that I will have to look back and read this.

I’m not a tough person by any means but the love I have for that boy is the toughest thing ever.

It’s always going to be difficult, but make the most of the good days and push through the bad ones.  They too will pass, like a kidney stone but they still will pass.

So, always tell the people you love that you really love and appreciate them daily.  Make memories, stay strong and keep fighting, it’s always worth it.

autism, Blog, Mental illness, My journey

Surviving the full moonĀ 

The past two days have been stress filled.  Overflowing, if you will.

We made it through the full moon unscathed, which is unusual because that’s normally when Chubba’s attitude always changes with no other triggers. 

Our breaking point was getting our new hvac system installed tomorrow.  I had to clean out two closets so the guy can run pipes through them and one of them happened to be our linen closet.  So now I have more bedding than any 2 bed family should ever own, sitting in my tiny living room, covering my couch and a large corner of the floor along with all our coats, sweaters and shoes.  Something that would annoy a regular person at best.

Besides my OCD and both our allergies being out of control, this disruption in our household has seemed to be the catalyst that brought out a whole world of unfocused, not able to listen, poor attitudes and meltdowns that would make Dr.Phil scratch his head.

I thought warning him well ahead of time, multiple times and explaining what was going on and why, would make this process easier but it appears that’s just not the case.

With everything everywhere, his brain seems to be in the same state, putting my own state of mind right into a huge pile of grumpiness and pure exhaustion from constantly having to repeat myself with no avail. 

I learned a few years ago that I needed to remain as neutral as Switzerland in order to parent Chubba because having autism and already being empathetic has made him super in tune with my feelings and he’ll mimic them so if I get grumpy and growl like any other parents trying to enforce the rules, I get it back ten fold.

My fingers are crossed that when this is done, we can get back to us and I need to remember that he’ll always have autism and I’ll always have mental illness issues and some times our bad days are going to clash with each other and that’s alright.

I need to remember to breathe a little bit more, love a little harder and choose my battles wisely on days like today because tomorrow is a new day and another chance but it’s best not to take the future for granted and make the most out of the present even during the rough times.

autism, Blog, Family, Medicine, My journey

It’s happening!!

Today is finally the day, after two years of searching, countless phone calls and research and trying to afford flights to different provinces so my son could get his autism service dog.  Well, today I found the perfect puppy to train and that was in my area and affordable!

My son doesn’t know yet but I’m over the moon.  He asks me all the time when his working dog is coming to help keep him safe and every time I thought I had a lead it would fall through. 

So while I will be saving as much as possible myself, I had to still try some fundraising so we can bring Ollie home in December and make sure he has all his shots and neutering before training begins so I wanted to share my go fund me page in the hopes that my readers will be able to help us being Ollie home!

Bipolar 2, Blog, Family, Mental illness, My journey

It’s not a feeling

Why is it that when things are going fantastically in life, bipolar and anxiety always throws you a curveball, right out of left field.  Like, you never see it coming until this giant white and red baseball hits you in the face.

This year in school, my son is doing amazing!  He’s actually excited to get up and go every day and even though he has the option to only do the homework from his reading recovery program, he chooses to do the same homework as his class as well.  We’re talking a 6 year old who is not only willing and happy to do his homework but a 6 year old who is willing and happy to do double the homework.  Where did this kid come from?!  I mean I always loved school and still take online courses, science and psych nerd for life here!  But at 6, I don’t think I would be down for that.

Meanwhile, I go from my normal hypomania AKA super, do it all Mom, which lasted longer than usual, down to the lowest low I have had in a long time.  I had to reach out for help which is something that rarely ever happens because I normally level out half decently into a bad depression somewhat early on.

The funny thing about depression is that It’s not really a feeling or at least not for me.  It’s a lack of feeling, a lack of empathy, sympathy and energy all at one time but my brain never shuts up.  It basically makes me nonfunctional and leaves my house a mess.  With a this loss of general emotions, I lose the ability to become or stay interested in the things I usually like to do, like my old lady knitting.  Seriously, I’m 30 and have two projects on the go currently.  The only thing that always remains is my writing.

I started journaling when a nurse I’m the psych ward gave me this black and white notebook during my first stay there.  I of course, being an angsty 17 year old thought writing things was stupid, but I also thought therapy and taking meds were stupid as well. I desperately wanted to be “normal” like my friends.  Needless to say I wasn’t but wouldn’t be okay with that for a few more years. 

When I’m not feeling anything, like the joy I would feel when I’m well, about how amazing my tiny human is doing despite all he deals with daily, I write.  It doesn’t always make sense when I go back and read it, a lot of it could seem scary to someone who just picked it up and decided to read it and the majority of it definitely isn’t blog worthy.

But, the whole point of this is, I write this blog not only for myself, but in the hopes that there is one person who is going through something similar and my ramblings will help them through it and help them know that they are not alone in this lonely world of mental illness.

If I can reach that one person and maybe even make them smile with my terrible sense of humor, then all the writing I do is completely worth it.

Never be afraid to reach out, asking a complete stranger, like myself is much less scary than losing your life. And if talking is too much, get yourself to the closest hospital and to a safe and secure environment.

Mental illness may be part of you but it’s not all you are, don’t let it consume you and stay safe.šŸ–¤