My Progress!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

If you don't have something nice to say...

NOTE: most of this is bitchy and depressing Michelle. If you come for the laughs, skip to the bottom :)
So I kept saying I’d blog when I had something nice to say. Today I figured I better just blog. This is probably going to be one long rambling vent, but what’s new?

Let’s start with the fact that I am back up to 440 after finally making it back town to 436. Why? No clue. Outside of about 4 tortilla chips I had when we went with Tanner’s lawyer to lunch after the hearing, I have not gone off the diet at all. The Mexican place we go to often has whole grain tortillas that I’ve probably been enjoying a little too often, but I called them today after weighing myself to see what the carb count was; Supposedly its 3g. I don’t know if that is before or after fiber or if it’s even accurate. Let’s face it, they can tell me whatever they want really. Outside of that and a few low carb beers now and then, I honestly can’t tell you what might be doing me in. I haven’t felt like I’m in ketosis though since making the tortillas more of a staple in my diet so I’m going to just discard those and see how I do.

Erik and Tanner made a concerted effort to support me in low carbing by actually eating low carb, but then erik got sick a few days ago and I think it was maybe easier for him to throw in the towel. I can’t blame him really, I’ve thrown in the towel on a diet for less. Tanner hasn’t been especially pleasant to be around and he can be difficult to handle on a good day. When you are not feeling good, the last thing you want to do is argue with him about what he’s going to eat. I just told Erik that we can’t have him low carbing with one regular/low fat meal a day or his body will never get into ketosis which will mean him eating low carb occasionally is really just feeding him a high fat diet. He will gain weight unless we have him on a low carb diet all the time.

We’ll see what he does when he’s feeling better though…I really don’t think Erik wants to be on a low carb diet. He still acts completely puzzled about what he can and can’t eat and honestly, sometimes it just irritates me because I know he hasn’t googled “low carb” or tried to figure it out on his own. I’ve sent him direct LINKS to information and based on his questions and other things he “thinks” it’s ok to eat, he hasn’t read them. This is the first time he’s put this much effort into changing over to a low carb eating plan so I’m going to give him the credit and hope that he gets back on the wagon with me when he’s feeling better. I really do think he wants to support me as much as he can.

We had the hearing on Monday and will meet again in a month to see how the new options go with Tanner. We basically moved him into the AI classes (where most of the deaf kids are) to see if that helps. I’m kind of excited for him because I know he will pick up more signing and I think it’s important for him to be around other kids with hearing loss. I can’t tell you how glad I was when I walked into that hearing with our advocate. I’ve been to many many many ARDs in his educational life, but something about this one was intimidating. The man who was running the disciplinary hearing was an ass. It wasn’t so much what he said, but how he said it. He definitely didn’t care what was in Tanner’s medical file and had already decided that whatever was in there didn’t matter. He pronounced Tanner guilty and recommended 30 days in the alternative school which is basically the school equivalent to “jail.” I was very glad to have the advocate with us even if it meant we had to pull $300 out of our ass.

See, this is a dirty little secret I’ll clue you in on. Eventually, most of these kids wind up in jail. They spend their childhood ignoring them, passing them around in school, putting band-aids on things until the kid moves on and becomes somebody else’s problem. There is very little help for you when your child has mental illness or brain injury. If they were visibly sick and miserable, maybe we could make a commercial to solicit the help they and we, as parents, need. You know, something along the lines of St Jude’s or one of those “Feed the Children” ads; the sort of ads that reach into your gut and stay with you unless you pick up the phone to give a few bucks. We all know that’s really the only way we can get back on with our lives…give and forget.

Unfortunately, I don’t think our children would elicit the same response. If we invited a film crew into our home, they wouldn’t see a child who was weak and lethargic, fighting for survival. They would see children completely out of control through no fault of their own; trying to cope in a world that is inexplicably 100 times harder for them to live in than it is for anyone else, but of course it wouldn’t LOOK like that. They might see the parents struggling to hang on to their own sanity, struggling to make it through one . more . day…sometimes just trying to make it to the next hour. They’d probably shut off their televisions around the time they saw my son banging his head into our ceramic tiled entry way as hard as he possibly could after what had already been a full-day meltdown. If they weren’t around to witness that, they sure wouldn’t see me crying my heart out in the shower and dreaming about a myriad of ways I could just end it all. When you have all your hopes and dreams crushed and then the world continues to heap more shit on you, it’s very hard to “keep on keepin’ on”; especially when you know you really just have more of the same to look forward to tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after, and the day after…

Oh no, people turn off their TV’s for stuff like this; either that, or they tune in in droves, but only if it’s billed as “reality” programming. Then they can point fingers and wince and thank their lucky stars their kids are “normal.” They don’t like it if we try to get them to sympathize with us; oh no, because mental illness and these types of behavior disorders are one of the last great taboos. It’s why most of our children are filling the juvenile detention centers and prisons of the nation and the other half are walking the streets lost and homeless.

So, what happens to these kids when they are too old for the schools? We incarcerate them of course. It is supposedly much more cost effective to funnel them into the criminal justice system than actually PAY for the mental health care they need or the ongoing support they need. If you don’t believe me, read this .

In Texas, something like 75% of children in the Juvenile Justice system have special needs. If you really want to know what life is like when you are struggling to survive every day with a child like this (not to mention the actual child who is simply struggling to live their life the best they can with the very crappy hand they were dealt), read this too . The first paragraph basically sums up our lives for the last decade or more:

“The tragedies of school violence around the nation have alerted all of us to the risks our children face. While national consciousness of the pressures our kids confront has been raised, I worry that the enormous difficulties that children with serious mental illnesses and their families confront day in and day out, year in and year out, are being overlooked. The results of this survey of families with youngsters with disabling mental disorders show without question the barriers these families face just to obtain basic and necessary medical treatment. NAMI's survey reveals the struggles these families must endure to get essential education for their children and much-needed supports for the whole family. As the title rightly states, so many of these families are on the brink of survival. The suffering that this report gives voice to deeply saddens and outrages me, not only because these are the voices of mothers and fathers who must try to comprehend why their loved one, their child, has a brain disorder, but because they find themselves all too often having to fight for every shred of medical attention, school system support, and acceptance from their neighbors and friends. In the face of this struggle, they confront the unimaginable but all-too-real risks of family dissolution, financial bankruptcy,
wrongful imprisonment of their child, and even the prospect of having to give up custody of their child just to get him or her treatment.”

I’m sorry to be going on and on about this. I really hadn’t planned on getting on my soapbox. Believe me I had LOADS more I was going to bitch about in this blog. Perhaps it was having a creditor who is calling me every 15 minutes, all day long for God knows what bill immediately following the week my car is repossessed sprinkled with bits from the email I just got from our educational lawyers saying that they’d be happy to go on representing us; we just have to pay them $750.00 on top of the $300.00 we already owe them which effectively exhausts all money I had set aside to file bankruptcy. Sometimes, I honestly feel like I’m the ONLY person that even thinks about where all this money is going to come from and I am about to freaking SNAP. Of course we are going to find a way to pay them. This is our child we are talking about. This is his futureand unfortunately the government only cares about helping you out financially if you squeeze out a few more kids. If you are sensible and stop when it's obvious the one child you have birthed is going to be quite enough to keep you busy for one lifetime….well then you have to sort it out yourself. So, yes…I will work more hours, take on another job. Put off that trip to my grandfather’s, forget about taking the vacation I hoped I’d be able to take for my 40th. Once again, anything I might have been looking forward to will die a rather slow death and I’ll find a way to keep on, keepin’ on…because what choice do I have?

Needless to say, I went back on my regular dosage of crazy meds today. I don’t know if the way I’m feeling is the normal reaction to all of this CRAP (lord knows I should honestly be immune…this IS my NORMAL for the last 15 years), the dieting, or the reduction in my depression meds. All I know is that the meds are the ONLY thing I can do anything about.

And here I am apologizing because my life sucks. Apologizing for inflicting it on whomever might read this. WHY? I guess I may be guilty of some of the same prejudice I assume is in the rest of the population when it comes to mental illness. Somewhere deep inside I am ashamed of my own battles with depression and my son’s battle with ….well EVERYTHING really.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to use this as an excuse to fall off the wagon; even though I’m not losing a darn thing. At least not today. I DO have a few things going on at the moment that are positive and maybe I’ll feel like posting about them later in the week. For now, let me cheer you up with this humorous exchange between Tanner and Erik upon Tanner’s arrival from school yesterday. Hopefully it will help tide you over until I can work on the next Tales from the Scale.

Tanner gets home: “Hi dad! What are you doing home?”
Erik: “Oh, I’m not feeling good, how was school?”
Tanner digging in his backpack for something: “Oh ok, a girl gave me this today…” handing Erik a piece of paper that’s been folded over and over again. Looking at it, he sees that it says “Boyfrined” (sic)
Erik: hmm, “Who is this from Tanner?”
Tanner: “I don’t know, some girl at school.”
Opening it up, erik sees that it says the following:

Name: Tanner
I love you. Give Hug?
Yes or No

(For the record, “yes” was circled for him.)

Erik: “you don’t know her name?”
Tanner: I think it was “lisa?”
Erik: The note says “Jennifer”
Tanner: “yeah, that’s it. She wants me to be her boyfriend. I told her I’d be her friend, but she said ‘NO BOYFRIEND.’”
Erik: “So what did you say?”
Tanner: Shrugging, “I said sure.”
Erik: under his breath so only I can hear “Sounds like our love story ;)”

I would have smacked him if I hadn’t been thinking the SAME DAMN THING right at that moment LOL! No matter how shitty life is for us, I’m very thankful that we can make each other laugh; even if we are laughing at ourselves. I seriously think we would have lost our damn minds long ago if not for that. Maybe that’s why we ended up together.

Want to leave a comment? Click on the word "comment" below.


Anonymous said...

I can totally relate. I know what it's like. I've been there. I do have to tell you there's hope. Kids with mental illness get a tough rap for sure. Usually they're put on the medication merry-go-round and given multiple sequential diagnosis until they're adults. Yes, a lot of them can end up in jail, and it takes a LOT of effort and courage to keep them out of jail.

Let me tell you, my son was the worst of the worst. Legal battles, various treatment centers (inpatient and out patient) and on and on and on for years. Then when he was 18 they finally gave him the right diagnosis (schizophrenia) and started him on anti-psychotic drugs.

His life isn't perfect. He did get his GED and went to college for a bit, but medication issues made it difficult for him to continue. He's not in jail (not even close). He co-owns a mobile home with a friend and has a job e-cycling (recycling computer and electronic parts).

I'll tell you, it's no surprise to me that I STARTED losing weight when I had the hospital take over case management and social security payee responsibilities (something I'd been doing myself). It's rough to keep together all the emotional and family stuff AND deal with your son's illness AND the finances AND your own diet and health.

and it's no surprise that so many of us end up in poverty because of the lack of support (not only in terms of treatment, but financial assistance and social support) for families with mentally ill children.

I love NAMI. I sat on the board of NAMI in Erie County for a while. I'm not sure if you know, but they do have a sub-group called CHAMI, for advocacy of children with mental illness. The chapters do tend to be few and far between, but it may be something you want to look into.

Also, have you ever been to a NAMI meeting? They generally have advocacy, education and support meetings. They were a big help to me (big enough that I joined on).

The other thing I have to say is to be grateful every day that you have Erik. None of the guys in my life ever wanted to deal with handicapped kids, especially my mentally ill son. Although things seem like they're totally in the crapper, you still have each other. That's pretty special.

KrysTros said...

I am so sorry that life is kicking you in the ass so much lately. You need a really big hug (and a million bucks!) I hope that you can find the help you need for your son. Where in Texas do you live?

cmoursler said...

I don't know what to say other than maybe you should get eric to take care of tanner for a day or in sick to various work places and grab a tent or a hotel room and do something you love, or just read and sleep.
Oh, by the way, I loathe low carb diets. I will tell you why. Most of the loss is water weight. You eat anything over your alotted carbs and bam, you retain. It's almost always unsustainable and it is expensive. I don't say this to down your efforts, low carb is extremely difficult. I did induction for six months. I have done every dumb *ssed diet you can name. The only thing that has worked for me is weighing my portions and counting calories and making sure calories in are lower than calories out. Anything else turned it into this magical incantation that I could never seem to get right. My low carb experience led to a three year quittage of any weight loss effort whatsoever. I thought I was doomed to be perpetually fat. I finally woke up and realized that I was just going to have to watch what I ate and exercise. I hope you get everything you wish and hope for. I am praying for you.

Karen said...

I was just stopping by from SITS to say hello.

I can not relate in the slightest to what you're going through, so I won't even pretend to have any halfway decent advice for you, but I hope things get better really soon and that someone can brighten your day!

Fahrenheit 350° said...

Good for you sitsa! Stopping by! Will be back! You might not like my site...

Shh said...

Like Karen, I cannot relate. But I can support you anyways. I'm here, reading your words. You aren't crying out in vain.

My Big Fat Super Super Obese Blog said...

Kate: thank you so much for sharing all of that. I will look into CHAMI, I wasn’t aware that they had a separate group specifically for children. I know that there are some meetings here in my area with some kind of group, but I can never go because of work. As for Erik, I am thankful for him that’s for sure. Not for sticking around…he is Tanner’s father after all so that is expected, but for being my rock the last decade or more. I’m sure he’d say the same thing about me (in my rather immodest opinion ;) I think we were really put together to parent this kid!

Krys: I live in San Antonio, TX 

Chris: You will probably be happy to read the blog I just posted today. I’m back on low fat. Thanks for your prayers.

To my sitsas that stopped by, thank you so much for just reading and letting me know you heard me. Hugs