We all take turns creating these blog posts for you guys. Today we are lucky enough to here from our amazing manager, Deidre Mason. Read below and enjoy!
WHY PUNCTUATION MATTERS.
October is National Mental Health awareness month and I have a few thoughts on this. You might be asking yourself what punctuation has to do with this and the simple answer is this – the “;”or semi-colon. Here is the story behind what the semi-colon means and what it means to me personally.
There is currently a movement worldwide for people of all ages “marking” themselves with the semicolon.
My second child, a daughter, was born a happy child. I mean not just your normal run-of-the-mill happy baby, I mean she smiled all the time. I don’t care what anybody told me – it wasn’t gas.
She was happy.
As she got older we noticed that she was very independent as well. She wouldn’t ask for help with homework from me or her older sister. I could hardly keep up with her homework and by the fourth grade I was way out of my league and she was learning things I swear I learned in high school at good old Bishop Garrigan High School. By the time she was in high school she was experiencing a kind of stress load that most adults didn’t even experience. She was on the debate team and went to the Idaho State debate tournament and won 3rd place in the midst of all the large and overwhelming Boise schools. She was a first class Lincoln/ Douglas debater! She started complaining of not being able to sleep at night and feeling at times anxious and other times “blue”. I chalked it up to stress. I took her to our family physician and he prescribed an anti-depressant and said to bring her back in a month and we’d see how she was faring on this medication. At one month she was doing better. Her moods seemed a little more even and she appeared to be handling her daily load in a calmer state of mind. I took her to the doctor two months after that and still all was well. After 9 months, and several med checks from the doctor, we discovered that her sleeping habits were starting to worsen. By now she was at the beginning of her junior year in high school. She was also taking more difficult classes and had added a couple of AP classes to her load. Or family doctor told us about a drug on the market that was recently brought to his attention that could possibly help her. We talked about this drug some more and we all agreed to give it a try and we would check in every month and monitor her progress.
I decided that as a matter of course I would have her start seeing a counselor. I thought that is she was able to speak to someone that wasn’t related to her and had an unbiased opinion it would help her in being able to express herself better. I was getting tired of the same old “I don’t know…” kind of answers to the questions that I was asking her every day.
I would say, “Just snap out of it” or “Really? This isn’t rocket science”
Looking back I see how insensitive I was with her. I realized then that we live in a “microwave” society and we expect to have results instantly. I was way too impatient. I was the equivalent of passing someone only to arrive at the same red light up the street at the same time as the person I had just passed!
My daughter was in a counseling session when her counselor came out to see me because she was concerned about her and said that, “Something strange was going on with her”. We both went back to her office and what we walked in on was a memory that won’t ever leave me and still haunts me to this day. My daughter had grabbed a box cutter and had started slicing the inside of her wrists. There was blood everywhere. I immediately ran the short distance to where she was seated and grabbed her wrists in my hands and I watched as her blood soon covered my hands. She was crying and rocking back and forth. I grabbed her and was able to pick her up – she was easily my size – and carried her out to my car and drove with the protection of angels to the Emergency Room in Idaho Falls. We were immediately given top priority and shown into a room. She was 17 at the time and I had to sign all sorts of papers. She was given medication to calm her down because by then she had started to gouge her cheeks with her finger nails and she couldn’t stop. I wrongly assumed that she had control over her actions.
We went through a psych evaluation and she was then admitted to the Behavioral Health Center, BHC for short, and the experience was both eye opening and terrifying at the same time. I can tell you that you would never want to witness your child being stripped searched while they are in a drugged induced haze. The only consolation that I received is that she couldn’t possibly be aware of what was happening to her. I don’t know that I had shed so many tears as I did that afternoon.
We soon were told that she had a psychotic break from the medication that she was prescribed because it was never intended for children. You see, she was the same as an adult physically, just not emotionally or mentally. One child psychiatrist that tried to tell me it was MY fault. We were told that she was bi-polar, then had a “mood disorder” and finally she was just severely depressed. Really?
Now at the age of almost 21 we finally found out that she is autistic – high functioning (think Asperger’s syndrome). Does she still have depression? Yes. Does she still has a problem sleeping? Most nights that’s affirmative, but most of all what we DO know for certain………………… is that her story isn’t over yet!
** We are not condoning, in any way, shape or form that anyone should get a tattoo. Sharpies work just fine.
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