Tuesday, December 21, 2010



Quiet, snowy evenings - perfect for a peaceful walk.
Except when it includes smashing windows and screaming children.

Last night, Thing One tripped and fell - going right through a double paned window in the living room. Luckily - he doesn't have a SCRATCH on him, but WOW! It was cold in here last night.

One piece of cardboard does not a window make.

Well, the window has been replaced - and no one is hurt so I scratch it up to life. OY VEY!

Just for the record, I? Am very very happy. You know who you are - and I have never felt so loved. Thank you for reminding me of what love can really conquer.

Christmas is just around the corner...

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Quiet moments between us stretch out before me.
Calling, calmly....
free me.
With each caress, my skin rises to meet you.
Entwining, sweetly...
define me.
I can hear it within you.
Beating, bleeding...

Standing on the edge of fearless.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just an Option

It always starts the same,
Want, need, crave, desire - love.
It is beautiful and dangerous,
it will bring you

That moment before your forever can begin.
Sleepy morning voices whisper promises.
You love me. I love you. We love us.
Even the old know that.

I am the left..... ......to your right.
Tomorrow's band-aid to yesterday's pain.
the lifetime before and
after it.

Those whispers have faded,
Blown away on the backs of last week's kisses.
It always ends the same,
Lack, retreat, yearn, covet - love?
It's beautiful and tragic,
It will bring me

It will break you.

I have become......
.....just an option.

Are you with me?
It's always so hard to choose
between the pleasure... ....and the pain.


are we just not strong enough to stay away?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The One Where I Take Residence Under the Mulberry Bush

Today Thing One had an appointment with the new child psychologist. As some of you know, he has had two previous doctors, Dr. Monkey and Dr. Weasel. Dr. Weasel was our regular child psych and Dr. Monkey took over when Thing One was hospitalized on the unit for two week observation.

This doctor needs a new name, but I haven't quite been able to figure out how she fits into this whole mess. After moving back to our hometown in June, Dr. Weasel increased his medication due to a recurrence of some of the hallucinations he experienced beforehand. This was attributed to the stress levels of moving, and a child like mine DOES NOT DEAL WELL with change. So up until now, he's been taking 150mgs of Seroquel daily.


Over the last couple of months, Thing One's aggression has been way up. He's been throwing things, raging, trashing the house and verbally and physically abusing Thing Two. We've tried all the usual things: time outs, behaviour mods, token economies and the like. To no avail. In fact, the aggression has only gotten worse. Over the last month, I've seen more issues that cause me concern:
-increased apathy and reduced or inappropriate emotional responses
-sleep disturbances
-talking to himself about things he has done throughout the day (full blown convos)
-signs of depression

These things I brought to the attention of the new doc (yet to named), and she promptly asked him if he'd like to come into the hospital onto the unit for a little while. At this point, Thing One fell apart... burst into tears. He has this irrational thought that if he goes onto the unit, he will never ever come out. When a child is admitted onto the psych unit, no release date is given. It is common knowledge that the child is there until they don't need to be anymore. Last time that lasted two weeks. It was the wrong thing to ask him, and it totally ruined any chance of a real observation period for him. Obviously, we don't want to make him do something that makes him acutely stressed, but I think that maybe that is the right place for him right now. Especially since the new doctor is ready to change his medications.

Most of you know that Thing One's descent into insanity came while he was under a Prozac regimen. There is some question that that drug specifically may have been the trigger for his Psychosis, as he suffered his first reality break while taking it regularly. In addition, the main reason he WAS hospitalized was due to the suicidal and homicidal thoughts. The NEW drug that she wants to start - is also an SSRI. The first warning I saw in researching the drug was: that people who take this drug can find themselves having feelings of self harm. This behaviour can occur spontaneously and decline rapidly.


Is the same as Prozac. It also cautions giving this drug to anyone under the age of 18. In addition, the new doctor hopes that it will work so effectively that Thing One can stop taking Seroquel and be fine. I feel like we are going backwards. We tried an SSRI on its own and wound up with psychosis and hospitalization. Now she wants to work backward to the same treatment, with the same class of drugs.

I think I'm losing my mind.


If anyone knows anything about the drug "Cipralex", please comment to me and let me know what I should watch for.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Today I watched myself.

From a hidden corner I watched as this shell of skin lived.

Perform puppet. Smile on command, raise your eyebrows and feign interest. Move through the day, accomplish this, finish that, start the other.

I watched as “I” moved my hands up and down, extending digits, retracting them. Laying the ridged pads on textures around me and feeling nothing. Disconnected, I peered through my own wet eyes, dulling colors and fading details. Lain aside.

Turn the pages, one by one, take in the words. Black and white impressions that I see when I close my lids, but I cannot ever know what they say. Scan and re-scan, look for the meaning, pretend to invest . . . sleep peasant. Tomorrow is another day.

I watch as my feet lift and lower, planted on the ground, toes splayed - solid. I do not move them. I sit in this darkened corner and I will those ligaments to refuse. Disconnected. They owe me nothing and do not heed my commands.

Chew and swallow. Gnashing teeth, pulverizing what goes in. Over the tongue and down the throat into the gaping blackness. Digest. Make eye contact, show smile lines - say interesting things. Dance puppet.

Motionless motion.

Loss. Disconnect.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

From the Cradle to the Grave

I never thought that I had any more to give.

It's fair to say that I am struggling. I'm shuttled between euphoric highs and desperate lows. Thinking and re-thinking, confirming and re-confirming. Still, I'm at a loss on how to move forward when I'm chained to what is behind. This is not about you. This? Is about me.

How do you stand on top of the world comfortably? When I'm here, I am so busy waiting to feel the coming shift of the world's axis that I forget to enjoy the view. Sometimes I cannot be sure if I can feel the tremors in my toes or if anxiety is only cramping my feet. I want to be here. I want to enjoy. I want to give. I wish this could last forever.

I am afraid to give. Afraid to trust. Afraid to fall. I laid my worry stones on that imaginary line half way between and then travelled away from them in faith. Now, when I thrust my hands into my pockets on a cold day, I find no polished stones and no unpolished truths. I ask and am sometimes answered. Sometimes I am not. As if this could last forever.

I want to believe that my time will come. That I will be rewarded with happiness that I can feel in my hands despite what I find in my pockets. I see threads of that on tomorrow's horizons and they are beautiful. And unreachable. I am waiting for that string to be tied to my finger so that I may always see that I am connected to it. To find comfort in everydays seems an impossible tail I've been chasing for FAR too long.

How do I accept that, this time, there are no cruel handed fates with sharpened scissors? How do you hang your hat on tomorrow's promises and keep your head warm today? Or will it become another collection of possibilities? Pictures, cards, letters and whispers. Music and memories and cotton embraces? Lay them upon my buried hope.

Wishing for a cradle to lay my heart in.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Between Brock and a Hard Place

I do not know for sure just how many of you read me. Further, if you do meander through my crazy haze (and I THANK you for it), I don't know how long you've been at it.

So - those of you who have, do know that I am a single mother with two children. You also know that one of my children suffers with anxiety and child psychosis NOS. You also may know, that I am (and have been for the last seven years) a university student. Last year I almost lost the opportunity to be awarded my teaching degree due to Thing One's hospitalization, but I pulled the rabbit from the leg trap and will receive my B.ed in October.

Also? I just began my Masters of Education. The problem is: I don't know how long I'll be able to attend classes.

Last spring, I had a major malfunction with my crappy car. As in, the wheels fell off. Literally. Balljoint malfunction, drive axle snapped and wheels? Fell off. While I was driving it. The day AFTER I transported my children two hours on the most dangerous highway in Ontario. For those of you who remember, said car has let me down in the past, namely when the transmission died at 120kms/hr on the 403. In the rain. At night. My children and I got soaked waiting for a friend and a tow truck to rescue us off the embankment at the side of the highway. Obviously, this car was a death trap.

And so? I got a loan. And got a new car.

Now OSAP says I shouldn't have a reliable car, and its a $16000.00 asset. WHA??!

Where I grew up - basic accounting goes something like this: asset-liability= value. Apparently not in the province of Ontario. Here, asset - liability = asset anyhow and by the way, if you sell it to PAY the LOAN, then you're also considered to have $16000.00 in your proverbial pocket. Which also? Disqualifies you from getting an educational loan. Further, Brock University wants their tuition yesterday, but I'm eight weeks out from a review of said asset decision.

I? Am between a Brock and a HARD PLACE.

Further, OSAP loans fund our living expenses, and I'm not seeing any of that money either (and for the record, it's been denied). So, I've applied for some retail jobs at the mall because there is no work for teachers to pay the bills. Which? I'm totally fine with.

But - I can't afford my $3300.00 tuition bill. If I drop out of school then my loans come due at Christmas time (ho, ho, ho), to the tune of $700.00 per month. For the rest of my life. If I get a student line of credit at the bank, I need a cosigner (which I don't have), and if I DO get it, that screws me for any funding in the future, while obligating me to pay interest from the first dollar spent.

And even worse? Is the attitude of people around me who behave as if earning your Masters degree in Education is equivalent to a pedicure: nice, but an unnecessary luxury. They turn their eyes away from the fact that only 15% of the population is smart enough to DO this program, and that I beat out THOUSANDS of people for this seat. Just this past Friday, a government employee offered her opinion to me: "Well, its not going to do anything for you anyway. Might as well get a job at Community Living". First? Since when did a teaching degree qualify me as a Social Worker. My answer?

"Well (insert asshat employee name here), I don't believe in quitting. When the going gets tough I certainly do not throw in the towel. So, if you don't mind, I'm going to continue to try to find a way to make this happen."

Why are people allowed to throw their misguided opinions around?

For now, I am attending night classes for as long as the university will allow me. Which won't be too long, considering they'd like their tuition paid. Here's hoping the tuition fairies leave it under my pillow while I sleep.

I'm desperately trying to achieve my career (one I've worked SEVEN years towards), and yet not one ounce of encouragement from anyone. Tough luck Charlie, you're on your own.

Yes. Suppose I am.

If any of you come across someone in this situation? Please encourage them. Encourage them for having the moxie to get off their butts and the system and do something with their lives. Give them a pat on the back for bucking down, raising their kids, working their magic and earning their career, one loaned dollar at a time. And if you can help it, throw five bucks in their general direction. They could use it.

Whatever you do, DO NOT offer your crappy opinion that they should walk away from years of hard work and self improvement. Do not, like some, feel the hard bitterness in their gullet for not achieving the same goal, and in turn deny someone else from getting it.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Gray Around the Edges

I feel a bit lost today. A little wrapped up in what could be's and forgetting the hard realities of the struggle...

How many times can you reach inside the basket when all you've ever found is emptiness?
Faith is just that, faith. It doesn't guarantee you'll be ok, it only guarantees that you have the ability to hope beyond any real proof that you will be.

Doesn't it?

Looking for solid ground.

Today's soundtrack....

Monday, September 6, 2010

The fall comes rolling in....

It's only labour day, but its crisp outside like fall. The warmth of the summer sun has faded away and a gray chill has settled over the beautiful Niagara sky. It is coming.

Thing One and Thing Two have fallen asleep, wrapped in blankets on the couch. Meatball, their newly rescued kitten is napping between them. It's only early afternoon, but the chill makes us want to curl into ourselves and dream through the world. I'm the only one awake, contemplating the difficult summer and the fall coming ahead. I've got the windows open, and although I keep blowing away the chill from my fingertips, I enjoy it.

I feel strangely nostalgic today. I cannot quite put my finger on it, but after spending the weekend away in London, the house seems changed. Or I do. Or we do. Somewhere, something has turned a corner and I didn't see it pass me by. I follow in its wake, eyes closed in my faith of the world's currents... moving in the coming fall wind.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Yesterday's Soul Mates

It's funny how things happen. Things that seem totally random, yet bring on their tails exact pieces you are missing. Fragments of what you are, forgotten and tossed into the winds. They make places of their own, embedding in the memories of those standing next to you at ground zero.

Fate plays silly games with my strings. Meeting for Sunday coffee clutches, those ladies grin and smile while they jostle what is me, fraying ties and bending lines that should always be straight. Spilling droplets from their saucers that scald yesterdays and burn holes that become tomorrow's windows and doorways.

Just when I've been the most lost, something found me. An old piece of my soul reached out and touched me from the deepest memory and brought with it a sense of completeness. Something that I had lost so very long ago, that I thought had blown on the winds of life's change. I learned, it isn't gone. It's been here, all along.... waiting.

Just when you think your path is true north, these things sneak up behind you and sweep you off your proverbial feet, hold you close - whisper their quests to find you again. On their breath you can taste the promises, in their arms feel the pieces coming back together, restoring souls in their rightful places.

And when that happens... you cannot help but wish for a few more minutes in those arms.

Can you?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Still learning...

I cannot believe it's been a month since I last posted. I cannot believe that it can only mean that I've spent a month on the couch. In jammies. I haven't really made contact with old friends, I've seen very limited amounts of my family and I'm still struggling to get up in the morning.

The last few months before the big move were so stressful. SO stressful. Working hard in teacher's college, challenged with a changing household and relationship, Thing One's descent into madness, hospitalization, struggling to finish practicum teaching while keeping up with psychiatric appointments, medications, packing the house and moving. It was almost too much. I know that friends and family were frustrated with me, I went inward, I cried more, I reached out less. I tried desperately to hold on to my family and normalcy while everything we've worked for stood threatened.

I know that its over now. Despite all of that, I've climbed the mountain and am standing on the other side intact. Not unscathed, but intact. Thing One pulled out of his relapse in early July with a med increase, and although he is SO combative, angry, rude and intolerant, anxious, mean and a bully to us in the household - he's here, in our reality and isn't being chased by his demons. I am THANKFUL. For however long it lasts I am thankful. I worry because he seems so UNCOMFORTABLE in his own skin, its almost at times like he cannot stand to be him, and I stand by helpless as I watch my nine year old struggle. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live in his world, and I do not think that even my impressions of that should be wished upon anyone.

I am struggling financially. Staying home with the kids this summer has been a good thing for them (on my good days), but a bad thing for the family finances. We barely have enough to squeak by and I worry and fall on the mercy of Gail Vaz-Oxlade's budget busting tips. No matter how much I wish can I make money multiply in those stupid little jars and I curse the gods of money. Further, because I have the new car, my student loan estimates have dropped significantly, suggesting that I am going to have to work at least part-time while I work on my Masters of Education. Worse, the classes are held in the evenings, and I struggle with how I will spend meaningful time with my children, help them with their homework and maintain an ounce of stability. Working all day, class at night and a few hours here and there to steal with them. I don't know how it will all work but I'm still learning. I'm still learning about what I am really capable of.

Despite those issues (and sometimes I feel like that's all I do is bellyache), I am not happy. I feel pushed under the water and both my arms are asleep. I struggle to get up in the morning and I work hard at being functional all day long. I have a hard time going to sleep at night in my crushing loneliness. I am lonely, although there are friends around. Its me, its not anything in my life, I know its all in my head but I don't know how to put words to it.

I don't know what is plaguing me. I'm lonely, I recognize that, but I wonder how self-imposed that is. I feel like I've done all the complaining, reasoning, talking out of the issues in my life for the last year and that maybe my friends can't hear anymore. Or I don't have anymore words. I wonder if I'm just starting to process the grief and stress of Thing One's mental health issues and crises now that I have time to sit down and think. I don't want to sleep alone, I don't want to wake alone. I feel like I'd give just about anything to have a hand to hold all day long. To somehow have that feeling that even though I can't talk about what hurts, I can steal strength in the touch of someone who loves me.

And somehow, I've long ago lost the ability (or the willingness?) to ask for it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


It seems to me that every time I pick up and start over, there is a period of time where I am drifting. It's coming upon two weeks since we moved back to our old stomping grounds and I think I'm starting to adjust.

For the first week, I had this feeling like I was an alien, dropped off in this quiet corner of grass and sunshine and was totally disconnected from all that was yesterday, and all that will be tomorrow. I tried to make this house look like home, to reconnect with who I am and where I am going. At first the pieces just didn't seem to fit together, off by just a hair no matter how hard I pushed on their edges.

But finally I am feeling a settling around me. As I sit here writing this, I hear the summer sound of a neighbour's lawn mower, followed by the scent of fresh cut grass- and I wonder. When was the last time I heard this? Life in a small apartment box has robbed us of those wondrous moments - the smell of the rain on the grass, the cool feel of the lawn between our toes on a hot day, the stars that rivet the night sky. I missed this. I hear the kiddos playing an intense game of hide and seek with other neighbourhood kids, see the abandoned soccer balls and sidewalk chalk in the yard and feel contentment.

I've reconnected with old friends and made new ones, spent lazy afternoons in the park sun watching all of our children splashing in the water. We've laughed and eaten and shared our yesterdays. We've gone home with the smell of summer sun in our hair and fading sunscreen between our fingers - happy. We've chased white bottomed rabbits through the grasses in the park and stood silent sentries as they moved in front of us.
The kids sleep the deep sleep of spent energy, reeking of the outdoors in the damp hair around their temples.

I may not be who I was yesterday, but as we continue to set roots in this quiet corner, I certainly look forward to who I will be tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


It's been a little while since I've written out here, but many things have changed.

I finished up my practice teaching and finished the program and packed up the house. I was lucky enough to be accepted into all three Masters of Education programs that I applied to earlier in the year, and after a LOT of thinking, chose to return to my old hometown and accept at the local university.

The reason I decided this was because of Thing One's issues, and the difficulty that surrounded caring for his mental health and juggling Thing Two and a busy life. I figured that being closer to my family and friends would be helpful should he relapse, especially since it was so much stress while we all practically lived on the psych ward.

So, here we are. Spent Saturday loading a 26ft one way U-Haul and moved all of us back here. It's a lovely place here, we've got our own little piece of paradise in a cute 3 bedroom townhouse in an isolated area. Our front yard is literally a city owned park, with a play structure and winter ice rink. It's lovely - but I'm still struggling. I miss the big city and those people in the big city that I love. I've found myself (after the stressful whirlwind of the last year) plopped down here in a green lazy field with nothing to get me up in the morning, or knock me out at night. The kids have been loving the park and the new house and an early summer vacation. I'll adjust, I'm sure of that.

But now, I've got that cold peach pit of dread in my stomach. Sunday night Thing One had a panic attack after I slightly electrocuted myself on a table lamp. I'm seriously fine, it's just broken and there must be a wire touching inside because I plugged it in and zapped myself. I jumped a bit because it hurt, but the boy child suddenly started clutching his chest and sucking in loud breaths and turning a bit blue around the mouth. I had to shake him to get him to snap out of it and he cried off and on for almost an hour afterward.

Then today - sigh. Today Thing One played out in the park alone while Thing Two watched tv. He came running in frightened, saying he felt someone was watching him and he saw a shadow man by the garbage bin. I can see the whole park from my front window, and there is no one there. A little later he headed upstairs to the bathroom and came down upset because he heard voices whispering in Thing Two's room. Thing Two was downstairs on the couch with me.

He cried and doesn't know why "these things are acting up", and saying that he "doesn't know if its real or not"... this feels an awful lot like the beginnings of what we experienced when he was in crises.

I am afraid, and we don't yet have a child psychiatrist here. What do I do...

Friday, June 11, 2010

The One Where: Not Otherwise Specified really just means We Have No Idea


These are the three little letters that haunt me.

This week Thing One visited with Dr. Weasel. Again.

I do not know why.

She finally had a copy of the discharge notes on Thing One's period of observation. His (Dr. Monkey's) diagnosis on paper is 1) Anxiety 2) Psychosis Disorder NOS. He is considered to NOT be in an acute state currently.

NOS. "Not Otherwise Specified". Which means basically this:

"We did not observe anything specific during the two weeks you entrusted your very broken son to us. We know something is wrong, but we don't know why. It may be his medication, but we are not willing to admit that on paper despite what we have told you in person. It is a mystery, and he should remain medicated to be sure he doesn't want to hurt himself or his family."

And then? She upped the medication.

If there was a way to replicate the sounds that the tazmanian devil makes when he is spinning and spitting and tearing out his hair into type - you'd read it here.

I'm slowly packing up the house around me to return to my hometown and my family support system. I am looking forward (IMMENSELY) to the move and the referral to a new set of eyes.

God help us all but I'm really starting to wonder what the HELL is wrong with this system?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush! OR Who do I punch first? The monkey or the weasel??

Thankyou to all of you that commented on my last post about Thing One's return to the nest. I was, and AM, very happy to have him home again and feeling better.

This week we attended a follow-up appointment with Dr. Brain. Which? Left me nothing but frustrated. I canNOT keep pulling out my hair, there will truly be nothing left.

While Thing One was in paeds psych, he was under the care of a different child psychologist. We'll call him "The Monkey". On the weekends, we were cared for by the original Dr. Brain (The Weasel). I do not have a great history of confidence with The Weasel. She has a very poor bedside manner to say the least (which is NOT good when you're dealing with sensitive mental health issues and their impacts on families). In my first appointment she actually commented "OH, I see..." and nodded emphatically when she discovered that I was a single mother. As if that answered everything, as if attending "positive parenting" classes would be enough to cure my son from his issues.

(Which I did attend, to appease her, but I'm still unsure why I felt the need to prove my parenting prowess....)

Over the last year we've changed meds, diagnosis and opinions. I've been questioned, turned inside out, disbelieved and dismissed. During Thing One's observation period in hospital, Dr. Monkey was quite distressed about the Prozac factor and quickly took him off the drug. He maintained the Seroquel (and still does), and after two weeks of leeching this from his system, the symptoms of psychosis abated.

It is my understanding from Dr. Monkey, that Prozac was the culprit, and that it can happen in children, and has. I did some layman research myself and found the same results. Yesterday, after a week has gone by since Thing One was released, we visited Dr. Weasel, who began the appointment by asking me what the result was from the hospital. Apparently SHE hasn't recieved the report from Dr. Weasel just yet.

Then, she looked at me like I had four heads and calmly told me there are NO case studies showing Prozac to cause symptoms of psychosis and she has no idea what Dr. Monkey is talking about. She was so adamant she insisted that if we were to accept that reasoning, then we should be WRITING A CASE STUDY on my son's experiences since its NEVER happened before.

Colour me confused.

We discussed the recurrence of Thing One's mood swings, temper and aggression (something that abated during his Prozac course and has now reappeared since we've removed the drug). Despite that being true, she now thinks that it's not anxiety that's causing the behaviour changes but the need for limits in the family. (HOLY FREAKIN CRAP BATMAN. I've been down this road...) So now, we are back to serving up the latest token economy to cease Thing One from hitting his sister when he's mad 83 times a day. Which? Doesn't work.

Know why?

I set limits. Have ALWAYS set limits. Have tried the token economy, it fails in the face of a child who cannot control wild emotional response. In fact, in some cases it actually exacerbated his issues, as he began worrying about his performance and chance for rewards. Which makes him anxious. Which makes him volatile. Which leads to explosive behaviour... it's round and round we go.

So, like I said before, WTF? Who do we believe, and WHAT do we do now? Thing One is WAY unregulated and both Doctors can't see eye to eye on anything.

Who do I punch first?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Prozac: The Good, The Bad and the UTTERLY RIDICULOUS

Update time!

Thing One has finally come home (WOOT WOOT)!!

After a very LONG two weeks, and very expensive parking - I have my boy back where he belongs. The first week was SOOO difficult, with the continuing hallucinations and depersonalization - but we've conquered it.

The consensus is - the psychosis was induced by the anti-depressant Prozac. Let this be a warning to all other parents out there... avoid AVOID AVOID this drug. Thing One started taking it after Zoloft failed to help with his anxiety disorder, back in late December or early January. It wasn't until late March that he began presenting with the psychotic symptoms, and they got progressively worse. He lost his personality, his feelings (complete apathy), became very aggressive and harbored suicidal and homicidal ideation. When he was initially hospitalized, they weaned him from this drug while continuing the Seroquel (because it has anti-anxiety properties). The first week didn't produce much change (as you've read earlier), but once it began to exit his system we experienced a GREAT improvement.

Prozac builds in the body and takes time to exit the system. It can take a few weeks before it finally leaves the body, and once it began happening, Thing One's psychotic symptoms disappeared one by one. He did (and still does) have wicked mood swings since coming off the Prozac. I'm not sure what we will need to do for that, but I'll take mood swings over hearing voices ANY DAY. He continues on the Seroquel, and Dr. Brain advised me that his anxiety levels are really much higher than we initially anticipated. According to them, there is actually very LITTLE time during the day that he isn't at an extreme level of anxiety. Which sucks, because he has Generalized Anxiety Disorder, so there is no way to remove him for a break from whatever makes him anxious. It is everything and nothing, all the time.

DO NOT give this drug to your children! When I consented to this medication, I WAS NOT informed of this side effect! I asked very specifically what we could expect or should watch for and I was told that these types of side effects are so negligible that it didn't even need to be discussed!


Prozac made my son into a different person. Instead of controlling his anxiety and making his life easier to live it turned him into a possible schizophrenic. Be AWARE of these things, lend credit to what you read when you google it and remember to insist on ALL the information. There are many other options (SSRI's), but a lot of them are going to carry the same types of side effects. Try to opt for one that doesn't accumulate in the system, if you have to use them at all.

Thing One is still not better as a whole. His anxiety and ODD are still rampant however I can be sure that he will not harm himself or the rest of the family in the dead of the night. I'm sure, when he's old enough to understand what happened to him, he'd choose the anxiety any day.

Now - to just get the meds tweaked just right....

Breathing a HUGE sigh of relief, and again thanking all those who cared for us during this horrible TERRIBLE ordeal... I'm off to cuddle with my boy.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Mental Health System is designed to make me crazy.

Dr. Brain continued to say that she wasn't sure if this was obsessive compulsive (so the hallucinations are actually obsessive intrusive thoughts and images he cannot stop) or bipolar or schizophrenia. She says his issues are complex. I broke down (FINALLY) in that meeting. She passed me a kleenex box and said "I've been waiting for you to fall apart".

*Blink* *Blink*
I hope I met your expectations. Did you have money riding on it?!?

I shared with her my GREAT concern that the staff isn't observing Thing One. They said Sunday morning (when my Mom and brother and I arrived) that he had a great morning.
Yet, he came out of the lounge looking like his best friend had just died. I seriously appeared like he was going to burst into tears at any moment. But when we asked, he said "I'm fine". Clearly NOT fine. Clearly NOT "great". He sat across the room doodling on a magnet board in the window sill and did not interact with us for some time.

I told Dr. Brain that I was worried that he was going to come home at square one and I'd be sleeping across his doorway again because he thought he'd harm himself or others. She said she was committed to finding out how to help him, that his issues were "complex" and that we couldn't live like we were before he went in. Obviously.

The afternoon only got worse. I took him to a movie on a day pass. Half way through (everything had been fine and he'd been laughing just a moment ago) he suddenly sat up in his seat and looked at me like I was an alien. He said "Mommy?" like he was surprised to see me there. I said yes? Then he said something mumbly and quick, which I thought I heard "we need to go back". I said, go where? He stared at me and slowly said, Nevermind. I said, "what's wrong?". He looked around and said slowly, "nothing". I said "are you confused"? He clearly seemed disoriented and unsure. He said, "yeah, I didn't really know where I was for a few minutes". He then asked to leave although we were only an hour into the movie. On the way out he said he needed to go to the bathroom, and asked me to hold Jack the dog.

He was in there for 20 minutes. Aftermath showed up and I sent him in to check on Thing One. Apparently, Thing One hasn't pooped the whole time he was at the hospital (almost a week now), so he was clearly clearing the decks. We waited outside. When he came out finally he told Aftermath about that moment in the theatre and how he had no idea where he was for a few moments. Then we decided to go to the park so he could ride his scooter. In the car he burst into tears again and I asked what was wrong. He told me he was just "so proud". I said proud of what? He said proud of Jack. I said why? He said "because when I was in the bathroom trying to poop I could hear Jack saying "you can do it!", I've never had a stuffed animal that encouraged me and talked to me and I'm so proud that he helped me through it". He sobbed away in my backseat.


When we got there, he rode around for a few minutes and then went across the parking lot from us, sat down on the concrete with his back to us and sat for a good 5 or 10 minutes. Then he wanted to go to the playground part, so we did. He slid down the slide once and then laid down on the rocks and just stayed there. I finally took him back to the hospital. I talked to the nurse, who mused perhaps I am a trigger for his anxiety and so is the dark. I looked at her sideways because she's clearly out of her god-damn mind.

He had a good day today, I spent a good chunk of the day with him. Except he really has no interest in me. I get there and he goes off to play in the lounge or the gaming room and wants me to wait in his room till he gets back. I don't understand why my son doesn't want to be around me.

I met with the other doctor (Dr. K) who runs the unit and he's telling me that Thing One's continuing on the Seroquel but he doesn't think this is bipolar or schizophrenia and that Noah's hallucinations are a product of severe anxiety. I don't understand that either, its not like these things happen when he's uber-anxious. They just do randomly. So from the sounds of it, I'm going to have a little boy coming home on an anti psychotic and a new SSRI (he's talking about starting Luvox now), which in my opinion leaves us in the EXACT SAME POSITION WE ENTERED UNDER. I'm so frustrated Ive been crying my eyes out because I feel like I did this to him for nothing. I justified the trauma of staying in the hospital by thinking that they'd get to the bottom of what was happening with him. It clearly is not the case. Also - I don't think the left hand knows what the right is doing, especially because both Dr.s are talking about totally different disorders and totally different symptoms. I'm going OUT OF MY MIND.

I really feel like no one is in our corner or committed to helping my son alleviate what is clearly TORMENTING him.

And it's tormenting me.



Hello to all of you who have commented to me, de-lurked and made your presence known, or have just began reading Between the Crosshairs.

This is just a small note to thank you all for sharing your best wishes, your generous offers and your positive energy. You do NOT know how much that means, to know that somewhere, you are not alone.

Mental illness lives under stereotype and stigma. It is not treated like a terminal illness, yet in some ways it really is. Often you do not have a diagnosis, and most often, no cure. I am fighting for my son because he cannot fight for himself. It's a long hard road, and sometimes - when the day has kicked me right in the heart - when I am paralyzed and feeling UTTERLY on my own - coming home to read that someone else, somewhere else in the world - is rooting for us: it helps.

It's like a hug you can't feel, a casserole on your doorstep when you get home - sometimes - it's the one thing that allows you to set aside your stone face and courage for a moment and just cry.

Thankyou. It is everything.

New post coming tonight.

Much Love


Monday, May 17, 2010

Humanary Stew

Consider this a braindump.
Or a heartache.
A headache.
A heartbreak.
Call it what you may. The lines are nothing but blurred.

Last week, Thing One was hospitalized. After a LOOOONG and scary weekend with thoughts of harm and hallucinations, Dr. Brain decided to admit him to pediatric psych for a "period of observation". This was tough for me. I listened to my 9 year old son tell me he needed to be at the hospital because we weren't safe, and I believed him. So, he rots on the unit.

The idea is that he's under the watchful eye (24/7) of trained professionals, and although this is a traumatic event for my child, the trauma is mitigated by the hope of getting to the bottom of it all. Since I spent the weekend sleeping on a couch barring Thing One's door so he couldn't get out or hurt himself in the night, I agreed.

I have been assured by the staff not to worry or be "discouraged if Thing One doesn't demonstrate the behaviours on the unit". That it can happen often, especially when children are as young as Thing One. I have been assured that "they believe him and me". That there is no set discharge date and its a game of wait and see. That he will have a CT Scan and an EKG to rule out organic causes. That WE WILL GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS.

I f**king doubt it.

So this is Thing One's world now. He has the run of the place (cause he's just a lil' guy). He watches what he wants, plays when he wants, orders his dinners according to what he wants, and SAYS NOTHING to them. They tell me he's having a great day, that he's adjusting well and happy and polite.

Even though he calls me and my father five times a day to check that "we're safe". Even though on the first night he heard voices talking in his bathroom. Even though he heard them again the next morning while he was showering. Of course, there was no one else in his PRIVATE ROOM AND BATHROOM. He's doing just fine even though they've taken away the Prozac and his moods flip faster than a pregnant lady out of pickles. That he hates me and then cries and then is normal and then hates me again. All within TEN MINUTES.

Yeah. He's fine. Fricken PEACHY.

So I should think nothing of the fact that on Saturday he LOST HIS FRIGGIN MIND when I said I wanted to talk to the nurses about his meds. That he didn't become so angry that he demanded that I DO NOT talk about him to the nurses. That if I do, he'll have to stay even longer and he DOES NOT want to stay. That when I took him out to dinner with his Grammy on a day pass he DID NOT stomp his feet and tell me "IF you tell, I STAY". Because we just had a lovely dinner together. He certainly did not burst into tears in my backseat and confess (and Tink was there to hear it) that "the man" is talking to him at night and telling him not to dare tell the nurses that he hears him. That telling them that means he has to stay forever. That my wee little boy is hiding the things that torment him because THEY LIE to him.

Except he did. He cried and he talked about the voices still tormenting him and his belief that "the man" must travel with him because he doesn't go away. That he doesn't feel safe at the hospital because the man is there. All the while, he is stuffing his toy dog "Jack" into an empty cereal box and telling me Jack is scared too. That when his tears come hard and fast and he shares his fears that he ACTUALLY WHIMPERS when he tries to speak.

But he's fine.


So guess who has to tell the nurses the truth??

Yeah that's me.

Miss Munchausen.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Groping through the fog

Dealing with child mental illness isn't easy. You cannot see it, measure its advances or prepare for attack. It's insidious, growing like cancer in the recesses of the mind and I hate it.

I keep hearing that the three most important things a mother does is keep their children happy, healthy and safe. I can do NONE of these things. Superficially I can alter their environment to promote these ideals, but when the "badness" is in his brain my hands are tied. More than that, Thing Two suffers as she continues to be his punching bag, his victim, his enemy. He is the problem AND the victim and I don't know how to make her world safe again either.

The Seroquel had been working to at least sedate him. He had been sleeping through the night without incident the first week and most of last. But its effects are slowly wearing off. Last night I found him asleep in the living room once again, awoken and frightened by "the man". I worry that he doesn't get enough rest from the torment of his demons. I worry more that he wanders while we sleep.

This weekend, Thing One threatened to kill myself and my daughter. He was raging, out of control and screamed "I'LL KILL YOU ALL!! I PROMISE YOU!!". After he calmed down, I spoke to him about that comment. He admitted that he considers killing myself and Thing Two "sometimes, but not everyday". He says the voices tell him to do it while I'm sleeping, but he's afraid I might wake up. It's chilling. Then, he burst into tears and ran from me. I grabbed him, gathered him in my arms while he sobbed that he didn't want to think those bad thoughts and he just wanted to be normal. He worries that his sick brain will never get better.

I can offer nothing to assuage him.

Last night, after one of the biggest meltdowns I've seen with him to date, he went for a walk with my dad and Thing Two. They came across some dandelion puffs and made wishes on the wind. Thing Two wishes fervently that Thing One's brain would not be sick anymore. They cried for each other. I died a little inside.

I feel like I'm sailing on the seeds of those wishes, bending to the wind and the whims of an unkind fate.


Monday, April 26, 2010


As some of you already know, my parenting journey with Thing One has been a rocky one. He was diagnosed last September with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. We tried and rejected Zoloft and settled with Prozac.

Despite those efforts, Thing One didn't change very much. We had some reduction in anxiety but all the anger, aggression, defiance and depression lingered and lingered...

Over the last month, there has been a dramatic increase in aggressive behaviour, both at home and on the school yard. He had many verbal arguments and physical altercations with his peers and became even more unfocused in the classroom. There was less eye contact, no interactions. Thing One retreated into his angry self and pushed us all away with his words and his curses. His grades continued to suffer, despite an acommodated, and then modified Individual Education Plan.

And then the thing happened. The giant red flag, the MOTHER of all red flags that sent me reeling and then rushing to the phone to schedule an appointment with our child psychiatrist (Dr. Brain). It isn't easy to talk about this, to tell others the horrors of my child's first slip from reality. In in interest of helping other parents, helping ourselves and refusing to hide from the stigma of mental illness I have chosen to tell it here.

I discovered that Thing One had been smearing feces on the walls and furniture in his room. He didn't have an answer why he did it, said he didn't know, couldn't tell me, didn't understand. He had NO emotion during this discussion, in fact - behaved as though this was a perfectly normal Saturday morning. That afternoon he began shrinking - anxiety building as he complained about the closeness and crowding of the local market, the issues surrounding any simple daily activity.

And then - the hallucinations. The came from nowhere - a man who wakes him in the night at tells him to sneak out of the house and runaway while we sleep, to jump off the balcony - to do it, do it, DO IT, you won't get in trouble!" The whispery things that make it hard for him to concentrate on what we are saying to him. The bugs in the corner that "the man" makes come. The paranoia that "the man" takes his toys, moves them around or makes them disappear for awhile. When they return, they are broken. The disrupted sleep, waking night after night and wandering about the house. Falling back asleep under the coffee table in the living room.

The Seroquel is helping. He's been sleeping right through the night (sedation is the main side effect). I've seen glimpses of the little boy I used to know (more than 2 years ago). But "the man", the whispers, the voices are still here. We are beginning a journey to eradicate those things that torment him.

He is broken.

The worst of it is that I cannot see where the sickness lives, how it grows, what he sees. I can't fix it or put my hands on it or even evaluate it. I have to rely on the reports of a 9 year old boy who barely understands what's happening to him.

What's happening to all of us...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Dark Day

Hello all (yes, all three of you that read me...)

I've not been around lately. Been extremely busy dealing with a crap bag that hit the fan and drowned us all. The details are to come.. but for now I'll say this:

Our struggles with Thing One (9yrs) have exploded. After many different (and frightening behaviours) in the last month or so, Thing One has recieved a new diagnosis.

He has been diagnosed (as of this morning) - with psychosis. Tonight he had cookies and milk, 20 mgs of Prozac and his first dose of the anti-psychotic Seroquel. What I thought was my child is clearly changing.

On the way home from school this afternoon he burst into tears, crying that he felt so stressed out. He cried and said that his thoughts tell him he's a bad kid and that he so badly wants to be a regular kid like everyone else - a good kid.

I've not yet scraped up the pieces of my heart.

I am frightened.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Let the Wild Rumpus BEGIN!

It's a cause for celebration!!!

Recently I've been tying up some loose ends in the double agent life. I finally officially finished Teacher's College Faculty classes! Although I have some weeks of teaching ahead, the major part of this crazy year is done!

The last two weeks have been a blur - little sleep and more than fifteen assignments to finish. My poor children forgot who their mother was. They certainly disliked the rumpled, frazzled monster who took her place - wielding power and discipline in a polka-dot robe and mismatched socks. We've eased into March Break together - and are looking forward to re-connecting this week.

Today was monumental. For me. Today? I purchased a new car.

Last week, in the mid of the hustle of finishing up at the Faculty, my car took a serious turn for the worst. While turning into a parking lot my balljoint let go. Which meant? Drive shaft halved and the wheels fell off.

Fell. OFF!

Thankfully, no one was maimed. Well, all but my checkbook. I decided that I'd had enough of the death machine and spent all my free time (HA! FREE. TIME. !!) scouring dealerships. Today I handed over a very significant sum of theoretical money, and drove away in my 2009 Pontiac G6.

I? Is a happy agent.

Tomorrow is Wild Rumpus Day. In honour of reconnecting with the agents in training we are making crazy cupcakes (chocolate OF COURSE) and watching Where the Wild Things Are. It will be a good day.

For now, I gaze longingly at the nice car outside my balcony window. In white jammies with lime green polka dots I revel at this feeling inside my chest. Happiness.

Just when I thought I'd lost it.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

All of the words just got in the way...

I've been lying low, dodging bullets, dressing wounds and packing the holes you left in my life. I've been sitting on my words and wrapping my feelings in wet tissue paper. They wriggle and twist and tear into tiny tomorrows.

The past month I have built. I have used those hurts, polished into tiny diamonds in the pit of my stomach, to build a panic room. There is something so useful, so intensely satisfying about a place designed to keep the demons out. I'm in it, with no windows to yesterday and no doors to tomorrow. Safe. Quiet. Calm. I've sat and let your storm rage through my tendons, stretch into sinews and escape through the hollows. Time has stopped and now has happened - and I've survived. Intact.

Around me lies the pieces of who I was. Who you were. Who we were. The burden has lifted, I no longer am responsible for keeping it together, carrying it on my shoulders or choking on its tail. It has left me to lie in shards, reflecting the mistakes we made. I see them. They are pieces of me.

I lie here now and my burden is no longer mine. Parts of me, long forgotten, are falling like feathers from sullen ceilings. I watch them dance in the stillness, fall fearlessly and land on my lashes, tickle my body, cover me in promises. They are still apart from me but the softness breathes upon my shriveled soul. I want to breathe in a new beginning. I want someone to wrap their arms around what's left of me...