Posts Tagged ‘coping’

rope bridgeSchizophrenia. Have you wondered if this could be what’s wrong with your son or daughter, or have they already been diagnosed? Maybe you weren’t surprised, but either way it was probably devastating. You may have been on this precarious path for a while. Some days you feel okay and other days you’re not.

A friend of mine, whose daughter struggles with schizophrenia, says she often feels way out of her comfort zone. Sometimes it feels like she’s living in a nightmare.

It’s a little like trying to cross a precarious rope bridge. You have no choice – you have to keep going, even though you’re scared to death. I hope the following information from NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Illness – nami.org) will be helpful on your journey. (more…)


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The phone chimed unexpectedly.  “Dad? What’s up? I didn’t expect to hear from you until later.” What I was about to hear would shake my world. His voice was weak. He could barely speak. I held my breath. “Dena . . . honey”, he choked out, full of raw emotion. Then came the shocking news. My precious mom had died peacefully while getting ready to come go home from the assisted living facility. “Noooo!!!”

shock2Have you been on the receiving end of a call about your son or daughter that left you in shock?

I’ve had those kinds of calls about my daughter, too.

It felt like someone punched me in the stomach; like a rug had been pulled out from under my feet.

I felt nauseous. Stunned. Heartbroken.

I was in shock.

“It can’t be.” “I don’t believe it.” “It can’t be true.” “How could this happen?” “This has to be a bad dream.” “It’s unreal.” “It’s not possible.” (more…)

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Were you bullied as a child or teenager? Are you a parent who suspects your child is being bullied? The dictionary defines bullying as physical, verbal, or psychological aggression or harassment toward others, with the goal of gaining power over or dominating them. If you were treated like this when you were younger, then you remember what it felt like. You know how damaging it can be.

bullying2Some victims become so despondent they become suicidal. A child or young teen might say, “I just wish I could go away and never come back”. Completed suicides directly related to being bullied are rising in number every day. This is such a tragedy.

I’m writing a book about my experiences as the mom of a daughter who has been bullied. She eventually developed addictions, mental health issues (brain disorders) and self-injury. Since this is part of her story, I dedicated a chapter to this topic. I’m including a few excerpts in today’s blog.
My daughter, Renee, was the victim of a bully at a very young age—from first grade through third grade, then some in middle school, but we never knew how severe it was. I believe this experience ultimately impacted how she viewed herself and others. She’s still processing those experiences. She’s almost twenty-eight years old.

One of my friends told me how her daughter developed headaches, insomnia, and an eating disorder as a result of being harassed by her classmates. Another friend shared her story with me. Here are a few portions. Maybe you will mirror your own or your child’s:

“My son has always been a target for bullies. Maybe it’s because he’s a foot shorter than everyone else his age, or maybe it’s because he’s one of the smart kids, or maybe it’s because he never liked sports. I don’t know what it is, but he’s had a problem ever since I can remember. It didn’t seem to affect him too much until his fifth grade year. That was the year we moved and he had to start making friends all over again.
He didn’t seem to click with anyone in his new school.

By the middle of the year, he told me about this kid who was mean to him a lot. He said they would make fun of him whenever he got the chance. He would get their other classmates to laugh at my son and generally exclude him from everything. He told me he hated school and didn’t want to go back. I told him I would talk to his teacher, but he didn’t want me to. So I didn’t do anything at first, but as the year went on, the bullying didn’t stop, so I ended up calling the school.

Come to find out, the kid that was bullying my son was a girl. A big, mean girl who’s mother worked in the school’s office. The teacher had a talk with this girl and she claimed to not know what my son was talking about. She said she never did any of those things. Since it was his word against hers and the teacher had no proof, nothing happened, except now she knew that my son had tried to get her in trouble.

For the remainder of the year she continued to harass him, but he stopped telling me about it, afraid I would call the school again. That’s when my son learned that telling on someone who’s done something wrong doesn’t always help . . . he knew I couldn’t protect him either.

In the beginning of seventh-grade, he broke down and told me he was being picked on in gym class. He never liked sports and he wasn’t very good at them. The kids made fun of him for being short and pudgy; he was always picked last for teams, and they would trip him.
When I say broke down, I mean in tears. It was so sad to see him like that, hearing how he was being treated. He told me he hated going to school so much that he wished he could fall asleep and never wake up. That was a huge wake up call . . .

bullying1I ended up talking to a couple of guidance counselors who were very helpful. I learned about Florida Virtual School: He could take classes online at home and the rest at school, or he could take all of his classes online . . .

We decided to have him take some classes online, and the rest at school. He was so happy to be able to take his gym class online.

I can’t stop kids from being cruel to him and apparently, neither can the school, but I can tell him it will get better. I can share my own struggles that I had with bullies when I was his age and how I dealt with them. And I can tell him how much I love him – how amazing I think he is. And that is what I’ve done.”


Resources for Parents and schools:

The Essential Guide to Bullying: Prevention and Intervention by Cindy Miller and Cynthia Lowen (Penguin Group; New York, NY; 2012)

Bullying: Help Your Child Handle a Bully; article by Mayo Clinic staff; mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/childrens-health/in-depth/bullying

Face Bullying with Confidence; article by KidPower  8 Skills we can use right away. They also have other resources to help parents; kidpower.org/library/article/prevent-bullying

Bullying: What Parents Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe by KidPower Solutions, by Irene Van der Zande ( KidPower TeenPower FullPower International, 2010, Santa Cruz, CA)

What Do I Do When: Teenagers Encounter Bullying and Violence? by Dr. Steve Gerali; Zondervan, El Cajon, CA, 2009

Bullying in a Cyber World, Grades 6 to 8 (also available for grades 4 – 5) ; additional materials available for parents and schools;
Didax Inc., 2012, Rowley, MA.

Bully Free it Starts With Me, nea.org/home/neabullyfree.html; The National Education Association (NEA) program to stop bullying in public schools.

God, Defender of the weak, please protect our children from bullies. Heal their heart, mind and soul from any damaging affects they’ve already experienced. Equip us to know how to help them. Make us wise as we show them how to be strong. Make us willing to be used to make a difference in our communities. Amen.

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October is Anti-bullying month. It’s a major problem in schools all over the country today. It’s huge. And now cyber-bullying is on the increase. This past week I listenedfrustration to a tragic story on the evening news about a teen who committed suicide because of how cyber-bullying had devastated him. How awful.

If your child has been the victim of a bully you know how terrible it is. You’ve seen what it’s done to them. You’ve ached for them, cried with them, worried about them and struggled over what to do.

As parents we want to protect our sons and daughters from every kind of pain. We’ll do anything in our power to shield them from the hurts of life. We’d rather be the one to suffer instead of them. If we could, we’d take their place.

If only we could.

According to a 2009 survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), “almost half of tweens and teens report suffering from stress symptoms related to being bullied: Headaches, problems sleeping and eating disorders are a few. Bullying may be the most prevalent form of violence in schools and is likely to affect the greatest number of students.”

It’s not surprising to hear that bullying can also lead to abusive behavior from the victim – sometimes they become a bully themselves – in addition to causing high levels of frustration, anger, sadness, personal suffering, addictions of all kinds and physical disease. I had no idea it could be so detrimental.

I’m not alone. Only ten percent of parents are aware their child is being bullied or that this is the cause of damaging symptoms they’re seeing. That breaks my heart.

If these individuals never receive any kind of professional help, reports show they can suffer in the following ways well into their adult years:

  • Problem-solving
  • critical-thinking
  • effective communication
  • creativity
  • confidence

My daughter was a victim of bullying in elementary school, but I never knew about it. She suffered in silence. Common to most victims, she believed it wouldn’t do any good to ask for help. Certain it would only make things worse she kept it a secret. Eventually, she suffered many of these symptoms and long-lasting effects.

But don’t despair. There’s hope for anyone who wants it.

If you suspect your child is being harmed in this way or has been in the past, take them to see a counselor.  Your son or daughter may not open up right away, but encourage them to give it a try. It can’t hurt anything. The sooner they get help, the better.

Are you not sure what else you can do? Here’s an excellent source of information to help stop bullying for both parents and schools. Together, we can make a difference. Check it out and if you like what you see go to a key administrator in your child’s school and talk to other parents. Change starts with us.

The Bully Project

The BULLY Project is the social action campaign inspired by the award-winning film BULLY. We’ve sparked a national movement to stop bullying that is transforming kids’ lives and changing a culture of bullying into one of empathy and action.  The power of our work lies in the participation of individuals like you and the remarkable list of partners we’ve gathered who collectively work to create safe, caring, and respectful schools and communities. Our goal is to reach 10 million kids or more, causing a tipping point that ends bullying in America. 

Dear God, please protect those who are being bullied today. Give them courage to stand up to the bully. Convince them they need to let someone know, that others really do care and that they shouldn’t stay silent. Then give the person they go to courage and determination to get involved. Give them wisdom to know how to help in the best way. Equip parents, school personnel and fellow students to defend and come to the aid of those who are being hurt in this way.  Amen.


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Do you have days when you feel helpless to do anything for your child who is suffering with an addiction, mental illness, self harm or some other sunsetself-destructive behavior?   Join the parents-in-pain club.  We all struggle with these feelings and at times they can be overwhelming.   It feels like there’s nowhere to turn.  You become desperate to do something to help your son or daughter, but you realize you’re powerless to do so.

Here are three helpful thoughts (more…)

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Broken.  Crushed.  Lifeless.  Grief-stricken.  Depressed.  Heartsick.  Sorrowful.  Sleepless.  Incapacitated.  Stunned.  Immobilized.  Numb.  Inconsolable.  Despairing.  Dejected.  Distressed.  Downcast.  Hopeless.  Miserable.  Torn-up.  Devastated.  These adjectives describe how many moms and dads feel whose children are abusing alcohol or drugs, in jail or prison, have an eating disorder, engage in self harm, have a mental illness (Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive, etc.), are involved in same-sex attraction, pornography or a sex addiction . . . the list could go on and on.

It’s like you have just been in a serious accident, yet your wounds are invisible to the naked eye.  Comparable to experiencing a death, but no one knows.  On the outside you look okay, yet in reality you are dying inside, you are hurting beyond your ability to describe.  You are one of the walking wounded . . . the living dead.  You aren’t getting the special care you need.  Or people know, but they don’t “get it”, so they do and say they wrong things.  They mean well but they just don’t understand.  They don’t know what to do for you.  How could they?

Does this describe you?  Did you see yourself here as you read over those adjectives? (more…)

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If your son or daughter is rebelling, experimenting with drugs or alcohol, is already an addict, suffers from a mental illness (bipolar, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder or schizophrenia), engages in any form of self-harm (cutting, burning, etc.), has anorexia or bulimia, is expecting a child and is not married, has been in jail or prison (or is there now), has been suicidal (attempted suicide) or struggles with their sexual identity/has a sex addiction(pornography, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) then you need to ask yourself the following question . . .

How well are you taking care of yourself?

If you are anything like me when you are going through times of tension, stress, trauma and heartache you tend to get caught up in surviving to the next day, the next moment.  You are simply coping to the best of your ability.  You are doing all you can to hold yourself together and keep functioning.  I tend to stay up too late and then not sleep very well.  I either forget to eat or can’t eat due to having no appetite.  I don’t want to exercise.  I begin to isolate.  I try to work harder and do more to distract my thoughts.  Or I work less and let things slide.  My relationships suffer, too.  I ignore my own self-care.  In a way it’s because I don’t care about those things at that point.  They seem so unimportant compared to what I am dealing with.  At the time when I most need to take good care of ourselves I tend to do the opposite.

And if it’s been going on for a long time in your life – – weeks, months, years — you may have developed some pretty damaging coping strategies.  You may have become quite unhealthy.  You have been consumed with your child.  You may have become a martyr.  You put yourself at the end of the list of those needing care.  You are thinking about everyone else, not yourself.  You would probably like to have a full-blown pity party.  However, if you sent out invitations no one would come.

Be careful not to fall into the trap of neglecting yourself!  Give yourself the same TLC you would give anyone else going through a season of trials and troubles.  If you don’t, I promise you, it will take a toll on you.  Instead, you need to be as healthy as possible.  It really will help you cope better.

Here are a few suggestions:  Get adequate rest.  Take a nap if you can.  Go to bed a little earlier.  Make yourself get some exercise – at least get some fresh air.  Be sure you are eating 3 meals a day and having healthy snacks.  Drink more water.  If it’s been a long time,  go see your doctor for a check-up.  See a counselor.  Go to a support group meeting.  Slow down.  Simplify your life.  Do less.  Be kind to yourself.  Do what renews you.  Read something uplifting.  Spend some quiet time with God.  Go have some fun.  Engage in one of your hobbies (if you have one) or pursue one you have never had the time for.  When was the last time you laughed?  Watch a funny movie you know you enjoy.  Maybe invite a friend or two to join you.

We focus so much of our time and energy on our beloved, troubled child that we often forget about ourselves.  Mom — dad — You are important, too!  As Al-Anon says, if you put out some extra effort to strengthen yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually “it can make a difficult time a little easier.”

Here are a few Bible verses that came to my mind as I was typing this:

“Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.”  (Pslam 54: 4)

“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”  (Psalm 55: 22)

“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”  (Psalm 105: 4)

“My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.”  (Psalm 119: 28)

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