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Posts Tagged ‘true story’

Is Mother’s Day going to be difficult for you this year? If so, then this is for you.

It’s not a day many moms look forward to. It only brings pain. Sadness. Heartache. When your relationship is strained or mother's daynon-existent you’d rather skip it. You know you probably won’t hear from them, much less get a card.

You won’t see their smiling face greet you with affection, hand-made cards or thoughtful gifts. They’re too self-focused and oblivious for such loving gestures. They may not even know it’s Mother’s Day. They’re clueless.

Where does that leave you? Set up for a lot of hurt and pain, anger and resentment. (more…)

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I’m a hurting parent. If you’re reading this, you probably are, too. My daughter has struggled with addictions, mental woman-cryingillness, self-injury and more for over ten years. It’s been a rough road full of ups and downs. There were many times I didn’t think she would make it – or myself, for that matter. She survived and I did, too. Although I have a lot more gray hair and not a few wrinkles. My marriage even made it.

How? It wasn’t easy. There were things that contributed to my survival. I found help in many places and people. One of them was God. (more…)

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I am the mother of Renee Yohe. Who is she? She’s the troubled young woman whose story became a phenomenon when itTWLOHA movie16 birthed a global, non-profit movement called To Write Love on Her Arms (twloha.com; also on Facebook). They bring help and hope to those who struggle with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. Their website explains their purpose: “To encourage, inform, inspire, and invest directly into treatment and recovery.”

These are the issues my daughter has struggled with for years. She almost lost her life – more than once. My journey as her mom has been, by far, the most difficult experience of my life, yet the most transforming. And now her story has been transforming the lives of thousands, if not millions, around the world. We marvel over this.

A little over three years ago another amazing thing happened. A movie was made about Renee’s story and the five life-changing days that snowballed into what we know today as To Write Love on Her Arms (twloha.com). Yesterday, March 3rd, that movie, titled after the name of the organization, was released by Sony Pictures! (more…)

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My daughter is a cutter. She hurt herself the first time when she was only twelve-years-old. I wrote this poem for parents who, like me, bear hidden scars in their hearts because of their children who suffer with self-injury, also called self-harm, self-mutilation. My daughter has struggled with self-injury for over ten years. It’s hard for someone who hasn’t experienced this to understand what it’s like for a parent. Maybe my words will describe your feelings, too.

tears - artwork by Jonty HurwitzCuts on your arms
With more hidden from sight,
Countless marks of madness
How can it be?
That your raging self-hatred
Becomes my insanity? (more…)

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MaldivesTen years ago my daughter was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She was eighteen. I was clueless. A few years ago I attended a lecture on the subject at a local college campus. The speaker was Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, one of the leading experts in the field. Author of An Unquiet Mind, she knows her stuff. Jamison was diagnosed with bipolar in high school. She fought against it for years.

Her comments will give you a better understanding and more compassion toward your loved one. These are my notes from her lecture. (Part 1 of her talk was the subject of my last blog on 2/4/15. It focused on the reasons bipolar sufferers resist or stop taking medication.)

Q & A:
1. Words of hope given to a twelve-year-old diagnosed at age eight. “There’s no end of hope to offer you. (more…)

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Has your child been diagnosed with bipolar disorder? My daughter was. Have you struggled to understand? I did. A few years ago I had the privilege of attending a lecture of one of the leading experts in the field,  Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison. She suffers with this brain disorder herself, so she really knows what she’s talking about. She wrote the book An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, about her experiences. Here are a few highlights.isolated

One of the biggest challenges is that people who struggle with bipolar resist or stop taking medication.
It’s hard for doctors and loved ones to understand why patients do this. Some of the common reasons are:

– Mania is an intoxicating state. Exhilarating. Being on medication cuts into that.

– Side effects of medication can seem intolerable.

– Mania destroys the basis of rational thought. While it brings some pleasure, it also brings untold suffering (the things you do/choices you make when in this state. Often, you don’t even know or remember what happened. You wonder if you will ever be free of the cycles – mania and severe, often debilitating depression. When will it happen again? You never know.

– They affect memory and coordination.

– It’s hard to accept you have a disease and must be a patient for the rest of your life. Pride is involved. Even mild mania is quite alluring. Can be compared to how cocaine makes you feel, only the mania does a hundred times more; wild highs. And you don’t forget how you felt. So this becomes an illness you don’t want to give up. You deny you have an incurable disease.

There’s a great sense of loss and the very real chance of losing your life if untreated. You must accept this. It’s a difficult process. It took Jamison all through high school, college, 2 yrs of grad school and into her second year as a professor of psychiatry at John’s Hopkins Medical Center to finally accept it.

brokenIn the lows of suicidal depression everything feels dull, lifeless, no joy, can’t feel anything, or think clearly or feel loving.

One of the most powerful things anyone ever said to her was from one of her fellow professors,
“Keep taking your meds; learn from your experience; teach from it and write from it.”

People who are treated and do well tend to keep quiet about their experiences. They don’t want anyone to know. Pride stops them. So people have an unrealistic view about bipolar. Being treated by a great psychiatrist and psychotherapist are crucial. Find ones you know will be honest with you, but offer hope. Tough but kind. Get second opinions if you can afford it. If you don’t have a good connection with the one you’re seeing, find someone else. Not all psychiatrists are good in this area.

After she was in recovery a long time she always missed her highs in mania. But she came to realize that she must choose between life and death. Bipolar is that serious.

In my next blog on Sunday, February 8th, I’ll share more insights and words of hope from Dr. Jamison . If you need a little more hope, it may help.

God, we need fresh hope. We need more understanding. More compassion. Please help us. Only You can. We’re relying onhope27 You.

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praying2As I have journeyed down the road of being the mom of a child with addictions, self-injury, mental health issues, sexual trauma and suicide attempts most of the tine I traveled alone, in isolation. It’s a horrible time to withdraw, but that’s what we tend to do. Three things that cause us to stay to ourselves are embarrassment, shame and guilt. We can’t bear for anyone to know the truth. What would they think of us? Of our parenting? What would they think of our son or daughter? We want to protect ourselves. We want to protect them. We want to run and hide. We want to keep it all a secret. Shhhhh!!!!!! Don’t let it slip out!

Keep pretending your fine. But the truth is you’re dying inside. “Secrets keep us sick”. And alone. (more…)

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