Hello there again :)
I think that its great that you are talking to a support group!!
Hi again. I think it could be fun.
I don't know exactly what to expect though.
Mostly what you are going to talk about is your own personal experience involving raising Kat and what she went through and what you went through as a parent
You are not going to talk about therapies, medicine, statistics...you are going to put a human face to this and that is what is important. Just speak from the heart
You want to give them hope, but tell them that it will be a long haul
I was thinking about talking a bit about the things I did when she was very young. She wasn't very verbal so we played the "best and worst" game every day. Then maybe about the kinds of jobs she had. Perhaps some particular breakthough moments.
Yes, give them hope, encouragement, but that it's a long process and you measure small successes.
That sounds good to me so far, they just want you to be honest with them. Bring up key low points, but also key high points too
Even to laugh at things when they are past.
Show them that even when things get soo bad like it did for you and Kat at time, she still turned out great, this is a high note!
with the low points I want to tell them what worked for us
I think that is a good idea
that's the thing...that success can happen.
but there are no miracle cures, therapies, or drugs. Those things are tools.
The last time I did something like this, Kat was about 14. One of the questions I was asked was what the first page means when it has the axis 1 and stuff. I told them it was a cover page so that another doctor or therapist would have a general idea of what is going on.
Oh that makes sense. Yeah these are just technical terms for us professionals to understand, but even then it is not well understood. Did you know there are over 250 versions of Borderline Personality Disorder based on how the criteria is right now set up, that is a very wide variety
and I was just the type never to get hung up on lots of definitions. I just wanted to know what to do given certain things.
and just as we discussed before, the terms vary from place to place and time to time anyway.
Exactly, so what brought you on to speak at one of these groups now?
I'm not sure why they asked me since I'm not really involved with a group anymore. Possibly that I have experience on both sides of an IEP. I'm just involved on the fringes with mental health.
I'm more comfy talking about IEP's or how to try to get a kid talking then anything else. There are too many variables even between kids.
Well either way i think it is a big honor for you
I do too. I'm excited about it. I know it can help. When I was involved in support groups it was like a lifeline to me but I can't remember a time a mom who had "been there and done that" took part.
Well which is why your unique perspective will be very valuable for them...expect lots of questions!! ;)
That's what I'm thinking and even hoping. Not questions about therapy or medicine as much as the day to day.
I know I can help if they have questions about IEP's.
Yeah they will most likely ask you persona questions, do your best to answer, but if you cannot just be honest with them.
Will Kat be there too? Since didnt she come back home yesterday?
LOL One question may be "How do I get my hubby to come to a support group?"
she will be back on the road Wednesday or Thursday of next week. That's been going great so far. Steve even related to her well this time which wasn't the case the last two times she was home.
That is great for Steve and her :)
We had Japanese yesterday together. Today she got work done on her truck (she amazes me what she knows about diagnosing her own vehicle) and tomorrow night we're going to the rodeo together. I can do that about once or twice a year. LOL
that's why she picked this weekend...she loves the rodeo and it's the last one of the season.
Haha, I do not think I have ever been to the rodeo even though I lived in Kansas for a year
My dad was in the rodeo circuit when he was a young man. That's one of the reasons she is so interested. Papa meant a lot to her.
He rode broncs LOL
That is sweet, i can see why she likes it so much
She did therapeutic riding for a while, then when we moved to Utah, she got involved in Western riding, which both helped her confidence and her social skills. She really became part of a group out there. That may be something to talk about.
Some of our kids have few interests, but I think it's especially important to give them a chance to do whatever it is they're interested in.
I definitely agree, interests can help provide them with self-confidence that they need to help with their treatment progress
Everyone deserves to find hobbies and interests that they enjoy it is relaxing, build character, and self-confidence
and at least for us, it gave us something to talk about. Kat was not very verbal at all. It was like pulling teeth to get her to talk.
I am glad that she likes it, horse riding is very fun :)
One of the best experiences we had when she was younger was that a church we attended, the pastor asked me specifically what her strengths were because while she felt tolerated at the church, she didn't feel like she belonged. He found her strength and put it to work, then she felt like she belonged.
LOL she loves it. Horses hate me with a passion. The most gentle horse at the stables in Utah was about 16 years old. He actually tried to bite me!
That is a good story!! You should talk about that to the support group
All of our kids, regardless of their difficulties, have some strengths. We have to build on that. Success begets success.
Definitely agree, it sounds like you know what you are going to talk about at that support group...you may go longer than 20 minutes, lol
If it helps, I don't mind. LOL
It will help, I am sure you will be welcomed greatly
You just reminded me to go with the specifics that help rather than getting bogged down in the cry baby stories.
Kat is growing in a new way, too. She was unsure of whether what she wants to do is a good thing. After the rodeo, now that her truck is totally fixed (she proud that she paid for all that herself, too) she wanted to go for a couple of days with her dog and just take a break. She was feeling a bit guilty that she should stay home since she's not home a lot. I do love spending time with her, but I told her it's an excellent idea and that's what adult children do, and should do.
The time she has to take care of me may be when I'm in my 70's or 80's. That's when I'll need her visits :)
I agree, even adult children need a break once in a while for themselves. She needs to practice self-care
She does, especially since she doesn't take a lot of time off of work. She needs a vacation.
Maybe, you ever know. My grandfather and grandmother are 90 and still traveling the world and being very active every day
My parents were fairly active into their mid-80's. They didn't travel a lot because they didn't have the money and my dad's dementia (which seemed to get worse a lot more gradually than Steve's is) but even with my mom's health problems, she stayed busy. Neither of them ended up in a nursing home.
It's nice that she is considerate of what I may want, but it's not her job to take care of me. It's my job to meet my needs.
See, so most likely you will be fine too. You should not think negatively that you will need someone there to take care of you. Think positively, that is what you tell Kat to do
She is family and she wants to be there for you, accept her help graciously because you helped her a lot too
That is when I'd want her to stick around for a visit. My hopes are that on her visits, we can still do things together.
Hopefully you both will :)
yes, she is a gracious person, but there is a difference between being gracious, and being obligated.
I know, I do not think she feels obligated. I think she wants to be there for you like you were for her...you set a good example for her :)
I want to keep setting a good example, which means letting her be the adult she's become.
She's earned it!
I know and you are, never doubt that
So how did the dog's agility go?
She did beautifully! They had a mini course set up, and she ran the whole thing 3 times, INCLUDING going into the tunnel.
That is amazing, way to go :)
The trainer said the course the dogs did is even more than a beginner, but they all did pretty well in training. They're most happy that Babygirl is still gaining the confidence she needs to be a happy dog.
That is great, any chance you got any of it on video to show Kat?
There was no one to take video, not even on phones. It's busy doing agility. That's one thing the kennels wants to change so they can put the videos on the website.
Okay, I was just curious because I know you really wanted Kat to see it
They've done obedience training and took videos of that, it didn't occur to them to do it with agility.
She said she may put her truck in the shop on Tuesday so she has an extra day so she can be at the last class next Wednesday. Her truck needs one of it's brakes fixed.
LOL it's so funny to catch an episode of Dr. Phil talking about mooching kids and see Kat happy to pay for her own truck repairs on her personal car.
Haha, well Dr. Phil usually has some interesting guests. Actually a few classmates and I when we were back in school went to a taping of the show...it was interesting to say the least
Let me ask you this. I was thinking about it today. Is the term "emotionally disturbed" more of an educational label and/or "mentally ill" more of a medicine label?
LOL Steve watches a lot of TV now and occasionally watches it.
Yeah emotionally disturbed is considered more educational and mentally ill is considered more medical and legal actually.
that may be something someone asks
It might, that is true
When I was asked, I was thinking in terms of what I would have liked to ask someone. It always came down to asking about the day to day rather than anything else. How to get her to talk? How to get her interested in something? Those kinds of things.
Kat avoided drugs in school saying "I can't drink because of my meds" or "I can't take drugs with the meds I'm on" that may be another issue.
I wish I knew the age group of most of the kids, too. I'll have to ask.
Well I think every child goes through a level of self-consciousness because they cannot be "normal" without the medications and they may feel like less of something. You just have to remind the child that if someone has a heart problem or diabetes, they have to take medicines. This is not different except the medications help regulate your brain.
It would help to know the age group
Kat did. When she first had to take medication, she thought that made her like some sort of sick, weak person. Grandma was on meds for high blood pressure and diabetes, and she asked Kat if Kat thought she was a sick weakling.
My parents helped out a lot that way, and that they both accepted mental illness as an illness just like diabetes or high blood pressure. That took a lot of pressure off of me.
That is good. There is still some stigma regarding mental illness, but I try to help people realize that it is not different than other diseases/disorders, except this one is in the most complicated part of the body...the brain
Yes, and with both mental illness and brain issues like dementia, there are a lot of questions no one can answer because they simply don't know.
That's hard for people to accept in the age of "modern medicine." There should be a simple cure for everything, dontchaknow
Half the time we do not fully understand why the medications work too, we just know they do
I know, i wish there was a simple cure for everything, but the human body is so complex
yep, just like a plastic surgeon doesn't know why compressing burns prevents scarring, but it does.
It's amazing though! Our bodies are amazing in how they work, and complicated when they don't work just right.
One of the things I was worried about with Kat was that when she started dating, she could be easily abused. She almost had an antenna for people who would hurt her when she was younger. She dated a boy for about 3 months, and he pushed her in anger. She told him to never touch her in anger again. About a month later, he hit her on the arm in anger, and she put him on his butt so fast and broke up with him.
Again, the tools she learned in therapy were put to use.
Wow, she does not take "crap" from any guy. That is great that she stood up for herself, you should be very proud of her :)
I was so proud of her, and happy that she wasn't going to take it or blame herself.
Good for her
Definitely the tools she learned in therapy
I'm going to have to make sure I know the age group of the kids, because I want it to be relevant for the age group.
Yeah i think that would be good and only use stories in that age group, but also use stories of the future to and what they parents may expect, but of course every child is different
I'm also trying to think of a mistake I made just to prove that we all will make mistakes parenting and in general, they won't be fatal.
Ask Kat, I am sure she will inform you of a few, lol
yep, like it's not a bad thing that Kat took minimum wage jobs until she had the confidence to go for what she wanted. She was working, and succeeding.
LOL I bet she will!
Well I am sure she appreciates all your support while she was in those minimum wage jobs.
She did, and she did work. She even was promoted in the jobs she had. She did know she couldn't do them forever and do what she wants with her life.
You know, it's strange, but what finally gave her the confidence was that I got really sick, and she handled it without falling apart. More than most people would have, she handled it.
Very true, you were a great support for her :)
And she handled it without my support at the time. She finally realized SHE could do it. She could meet what life hands out and survive.
Well it sounds like she is prepared mentally and also she also knows how strong you are too.
That is a good moment for her :)
It was! It made being that sick worth it :)
Haha, well I would not plan on you doing that again,
I don't! LOL
Once was enough, and it did it's job :P
Good for Kat and you.
It sounds like you are going to have a lot to talk about for your support group meeting
yep, I think I will be able to fill the time slot
More than enough if you ask me
You gave me great ideas again! The kind that will be real encouragements without giving false hope.
well, that means they'll ask me back :)
Anytime, that is what I am here for...to give you good advice :) Hopefully they will ask you back!
LOL every time I think it will be a while before we chat again something comes up. I will let you know how it went. Worst that can happen is I'll be picking tar and feathers off :)
Oh, and I showed Kat how to Skype tonight :P
Haha, I highly doubt you will do bad. Just be honest and tell them the truth. Don't sugarcoat it for them, tell them that it will take hard work, but also tell them that it will be worth it. Now here is a question I get that may be hard to answer..."What if after I do everything right and put in 110% of the effort and it still doesnt work?"
That will be a tough question to answer
That is great!! Skype is awesome :)
Then you go back to unconditional love for your child, and do whatever is available for you to keep him/her safe as possible.
Because Kat is a great success story, but depending on their own child's problems, they may not reach the same level.
That is true, and also sometimes even if you do everything right sometimes it still does not work, but that just means you have to try other options that were not thought of yet
the same level doesn't have to be the goal, though, whatever is possible for their child to achieve is the goal.
yes, and other options might be there that aren't there now
20 years ago, there weren't group homes for adults with Down Syndrome who are able to work, even at minimum wage. Now there are.
Very true, just always keep them with hope and that there are options out there. Good job, I just wanted to prepare you with some tough ones you may get
If you think of other tough ones, let me know. One tough one may be "my husband and I don't agree on treatment" or "one of us don't accept the diagnosis or believe in therapy or whatever" You wouldn't believe some of the criticisms I got from people, especially Christian people, who have the belief that all mental/emotional problems are demon possession
Those are tough too
I was a single mom when Kat was at her worst, so I didn't have to deal with those types of family issues.
I guess that is a good thing, but also you were alone, when I am sure having someone there to support you would have helped
LOL I said that once in a support group and the other moms thought it would be so much harder "going it alone" on decisions, but in some ways, although the buck stopped with me, it was easier.
True, good point. Way to see the positive
I think I would have been in serious trouble if my parents weren't there to help me make decisions and just go through some things with me.
That's another issue, is extended family saying "There's nothing wrong with your kid that a good kick in the ass won't cure" or "Give me 2 weeks with that kid, and he'll be straightened out"
Kat heard some of my sisters say I should just put her in an institution and start over. That's one reason it's so important to her that "my mom never gave up on me"
Haha, oh yes the good old fashioned straightening out a kid. I love hearing those remedies
You are a good mom! Many other moms would have given up, but you didnt. That is awesome
LOL you don't know how many times I was tempted to have a suitcase and put it down in front of them and say "go for it!"
I know. But you didnt
When she was 6, I was told by her psychiatrist that he didn't want to put her in the hospital because by the time she was 8 she probably would have to be institutionalized. Thing is, we took it day by day and I kept trying things to see if they would help.
LOL I wish they could have the experience without completely messing up the kid and putting themselves in a rubber room
Well the important thing is that you held on to hope, tried different things, and were a great support to a daughter that turned out great, which you are a large reason why.
LOL do you have time for a strange story about what I thought of myself as a parent, and how I really learned otherwise?
Sure go for it :)
OK, Steve and I were married 2 years and living in San Antonio. We were getting transferred to NJ. A good friend of mine down there said she was saddest to see me go because she would love to watch Steve and I have a baby, and watch us raise it because of my parenting skills. The first words out of my mouth were "God forbid! I couldn't do this again!"
We talked about Kat for a while, at the time she was in a local residential hospital, and she told me the one thing she noticed about my parenting was that I loved Kat unconditionally. I told her how frustrating it was for me to see other families come to church, who had 3 or 5 kids, and while I knew getting there wasn't half the fun, that at least while they were there, they obeyed, even if reluctantly, while Kat mostly ignored me at best.
She said, "Clara, but none of us are raising a Kathy! You have no idea the job you're doing with her. I can't name a parent I know who wouldn't throw in the towel the way she can be."
LOL I still didn't learn. Another interpreter who was a close friend was over and I told him about that conversation, and how I thought that she was giving me a lot more credit than I deserved. He told me what he noticed most was my ability to communicate with Kat. He also told me what a wonderful parent I was and that Kat wouldn't be as well as she is without me. LOL I STILL didn't "get it"
I went to Kat's therapist at the time and told him about the conversations, and how I thought they were both giving me too much credit, as evidenced by Kat needing to be in residential care. His mouth about dropped open. He asked me if I really understood how severely disturbed Kat is, and told me that she was the most severe child they had ever seen, and that had it not been for my parenting style, both the unconditional love, learning how to communicate with her (we still communicate really well) that she would have been institutionalized years earlier. LOL I began to get that I wasn't a failure as a parent.
Sometimes is takes a lot of people to help point out the obvious for you :)
Her therapist reminded me that while she was in residential care, they weren't planning to institutionalizer her, and that I needed to separate her illness from my parenting.
LOL it sure did! but also, maybe that might be something to talk about depending on the questions parents ask. How many of them may feel their kid's illness is a result of their mistakes. I mean, we do hear it a lot from other parents.
That was a real "aha!" moment for me, though.
That is very true, while bad abusive parenting can cause mental illness, it does not mean that great parenting will prevent it 100 percent of the time
Parents should not blame themselves for their children's mental illness, it is no one's fault
and that while all parents make mistakes, if abuse wasn't the issue to begin with, our mistakes didn't cause it
It's funny that I would have said that to other parents while at the same time, not apply it to myself. I don't know if I wasn't really aware how serious her problems were (especially when she got so much better with meds) or if I listened more than I thought to parents who said they could straighten out my kid in a matter of weeks.
I think that is a great story you just told, it was very touching :)
I think one thing I did pay too much attention to was that the other kids even in Kat's class weren't as severe as she was, and I figured that was my doing.
I'm just so glad those two friends were there for me, and that her therapist mostly just had to confirm it.
You had a good support system for yourself to help you see things objectively
If that issue doesn't come up this time, I hope I do get to continue the dialogue at a different time to catch any parent who feels it's their fault.
That's one I thing I learned in my own therapy, and I did go to therapy myself. Not just to talk about Kat.
LOL and when I didn't see it, my support system was there to knock me between the eyes with a two by four, in love, of course until I did see it
Thats what the support system is there for y
support is a lifeline!
well, now I have enough ideas for 5 20 minute talks :P
I think you will do just fine, no worries there
Thanks again for your support!
Anytime, I am always happy to help and hear about you and the family :)
well, if I don't get to bed, I'm going to test out the question of whether one can sleep through a rodeo
Get some sleep tonight, we all need sleep to function :)
sleep well, yourself!