Friday, December 14, 2012

Soul Cancer/The hands and hearts behind the guns

Oddly, I find myself yet again in my Kitchen, days before Christmas, this time making sugar cookies for my daughters Christmas singing review.
With the news of Connecticut tragedy adding salt to my batter, there is a part of me that disconnects and travels to the other part of this heart breaking issue at hand.

The death of so many children makes every parents heart and mind explode with fear and grief....the echoes of “This could have been my child lost at the hands and gun of that monster it could happen to anyone of our children at any school, mall, church, city, country...none of us are safe from this kind of tragedy.”

There are also few of us that whisper behind closed doors,  to one another in special closed support groups, looks passed between one another during parenting workshops, trauma parent to parent,that are parenting children with severe mental illness.. we nod our heads sadly and admit to ourselves...”My child could be that Monster.”

This fear for me is a double edged sword.
So many of us want to make this tragedy and others like it a “Gun Control issue”, yes, maybe. Many argue "this would be  prevented if less guns were being circulated and easy to get", yes,maybe. Others would say, "bad people will walk through any law to get any weapon", yes, maybe.

But may we talk about the hands holding these guns?

I have read over and over again:

and I answer;
A very, very sick, mentally unhealthy person.
A person so sick, so damaged, so deeply incapable of remorse and full of darkness ...that KIND of person.

A person that did not get help when they needed it most.
Possibly a child like mine, with Trauma or Mental Health illness that grew up without help, without a diagnosis, with out available services, with out those things he would need to heal and get help. With out prevention.

What our country needs, right now, to see this Tragedy for what it is, lack of mental health care, healing the hands and the brains behind the tragedy's.
Right now, mental health MUST become as much as a priority as physical health care...without out adequate mental healthcare we will continue with or with out new guns laws to see these tragedy's, any other solution is putting a band-aid on a gaping chest wound.

Our country is losing a battle to a disease they don't even see...

Soul Cancer
                                                                                               Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tonight as I bake cupcakes at mid-night for Bugs play ( because isn't that when most sane people bake cupcakes.) I started thinking, and then the thinking got passionate, and then while my confections baked...I decided to word vomit up the feelings I keep on pushing down...AND HERE YOU HAVE IT...

lucky you.

In our community there is something so heart breakingly tragic going on with a teen girl that we know and love personally. She is an AMAZING, talented BEAUTIFUL young woman, that is such an incredible leader and example to the youth in our area, just last year this girl organized a dance for relay to life, because she was inspired. One year later she has been struck down with a debilitating disease, that has been touch and go daily for weeks and weeks. I and our family pray so much for her daily. It has been such an incredible opportunity for my kids to work on building compassion. Through service, they have helped me plan and put together freezer meals, recommending their favorites. I love this girl and her family.

And as I read another update and saw so much love and support and amazing rallying behind this angel of a girl....I got jealous.

Yep, I did.

Not that ANY of the support, love and prayers that have been showered upon this sweet wonderful girl are not incredible, I continue to add my own, it's just that I began thinking about our battles last summer, with our teenage daughter...and my heart started to hurt.

You see, losing Papillion was hush, hush. The 10 hospitals, multiple suicide attempts, all of the pain, and scares, and scars, all of the visits, and hopes up, and then dashed were weathered alone.

When she finally disappeared from our home and community, there were no questions asked, no prayers of support, no phone calls...she just materialized into thin air...because well, we just don't talk about mental illness now do we?

It was the loneliest thing I have ever been through, with very little validation out side of other trauma parents...I get the “People don't know what to say.”....but even if they just saying THAT...”Linds I am so sorry I don't know what to say" would have been something...instead of avoiding me in the hallways at church, or changing direction when come face to face with me in the grocery aisle. Or completely stop being my friend...

Mental health is so isolating, but it is time in 2012, for it not to be...really.

If my daughter had, had Cancer, broken both legs, even terrible asthma, we could talk about it, and everyone would nod their heads sympathetically, ask questions, offer prayers, help, love...

But when it is a cancer literally eating away at someones soul, future,emotional health...when it is a broken brain, when your child can't take a full, deep breath because trauma has stolen it, well, that is something put in a corner, whisper and generally not ever bring it up.....and

It's not like everyone on this planet has never known someone that has not suffered from abuse, depression and even post pardum...we all know someone...whether it be a former soldier that gets skidish around loud noises, an Uncle that gets angry faster than needs be, a sister, Aunt, Grandmother or Mom that has quirky things she has to do, for “things' to be alright...getting hurt, being a little messy in the head, is part of the human condition we don't talk enough about, and we need to.

Medically in the last 100 years we have made leaps and bounds in the physical needs and healing of our bodies...but what about our brains? Our souls? There isn't enough demand, because no one is standing up and saying THIS, THIS NEEDS WORK, this need to be fixed, THIS needs to be a bigger priority than magic diet pills. It is not happening fast enough, it is not being prioritized.

I agree some amazing, AMAZING work and books have been written in the name of R.A.D., P.T.S.D, O.C.D and all around trauma and the effects of it...but why? Why is is so much easier for a parent to get a 504 for a child with A.D.H.D. That is hyperactive and struggles concentrating, than a child with severe trauma and behavioral and attachment challenges?

one word, shame.

Our shame as parents being judged for our kids behavior, or that we "did" this to them, our fear and shame as a community, that if all start talking about our emotional and mental health, that judgment will be passed. No one judges someone with Cancer, “well obviously they weren't doing something right.”

That does not happen, why? Because what they have is physical, and obviously not anybody’s fault.

BUT, Nor is what happened to my child...Or to me for that matter.

My name is Lindsay. I am parenting children with severe trauma, anxiety, depression, psychotic tendencies, suicidal ideation, addictions, bulimia, anorexia, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder,Hording, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and they are surviving by the skin of their teeth, everyday. Their diseases are devastating, everyday is an Emergency room of Soul Triage, deciding which “bleeder”/trigger must be dealt with first.

My children have soul cancer. Their illnesses and struggles are not their fault or a result of my poor parenting. The statistics are stacked against them. There are not nearly enough resources, well trained Dr.'s, or therapists around to suffice...but we are fighting this with everything we 've got, and not quietly. I am not going to be ashamed with or for my children's needs and illnesses. I am going to talk about them, I am going to get the word out.

And hopefully someday the help that will heal them, and help heal other kids like them will come to fruition...because when we don't shout, and demand, and talk about what needs to be done, without shame, without fear of judgment, that is when the possibility to be heard and have change can really come...


  1. Amen, sister. I've found myself saying many of those same things today. I will admit it. My heart didn't go first to the innocent kids. It went to the monster...the one that could have been my kid. I find myself caught in a web of grief for all involved, anger at the system that is so woefully broken, fuming anger at the lack of and inaccessability of care and resources, utter heartache for the victim's families who will struggle desperately to understand and to make sense of any of this, guilt, frustration, and a sobering slap across the face with that two edge sword of reality because I CAN and DO understand what drives a person to do thi, all coupled with intense frustration that I feel so powerless to do anything about it...except keep speaking out and making my voice heard and never giving up.

  2. Lindsay, SHOUT out the need to bring mental illnesses out to the back closet and get our kids and ourselves the help needed. I am with you as I daily live with chronic depression and its afteraffects to myself (mainly) and my family. I also am now dealing with ADHD and post stress trauma in kids who had no choice in the matter-it was life happening to them. They do not at this time want to admit to having mental problems and so the world has to deal with their behaviors that they do not even understand themselves.
    I am a pharmacist and when I see someone on an antidepressant for the first time, we have a good chat about living with the disease. How other people will know if the meds are working before the patient will, how managing lifestyle (simplified) until chemical imbalance improves and how not to give up on bad days (yes, lots of them). I have to be very open about my disease to others so they know there is hope and life with the diagnosis. they can see I am a functioning professional and life goes on regardless. I feel at times that God has given me this disease so I can bring His love and grace to others who may not have a compassionate family or doctor. So, those of us who live with it on a daily basis have to let the world know it in not the end of the world, but a gate to a deeper and better way of living and loving others.
    My heart cries for all the families who are hurting and torn apart out there. Even the mother of my children-on the other side of the world-she must be a very lonely person without her children. But, as an alcoholic, she drowns her sorrow and does not face it and therefore, cannot live a life of joy. What a sad way to live!

  3. I am weeping.

    Thank-you from those of us in the trenches.

  4. Until people use there voices to proclaim that it is a cancer of the soul and everybody needs to help change it, these tragedies will continue to happen.

  5. Thank you. You...again...said the words I wanted to say but didn't know how. I'm praying even harder for my J. today, and that those around him will be kept safe.

  6. Thanks so much for writing this. My kids too, suffer from FASD, RAD, PTSD, ADHD, MR, etc., even after being in our home for nearly ten years. We have fought hard to give them the help they need, but it's been so difficult! What troubles me is that it wouldn't surprise me if someday I get a call about my son or my daughter that will break my heart. When I see events like the ones this week, I have compassion on the shooters and their families and wonder what kind of mental illness is behind the tragedies. No sane person would ever do such a thing! Unfortunately, I've received push back when I write about it. One man said I feel negative about my kids and should put the books down and love my kids. Yes, like ignorance, denial, and ignoring my kids' problems would make them disappear and all I need to do is love them more. Also, a relative who has a son that is schizophrenic feels defensive when I mention mental illness being the cause of some shootings and gets angry at me and accuses me of not loving him. There is so much misinformation, shame, and neglect regarding mental health. I'm happy you are not quiet.

  7. This is the first thing my husband and I talked about when we saw each other Friday afternoon....

    mental health... how important is it (VERY! MOST!)... how does our government and the health industry treat it... ya, not so much.
    So much education needs to happen. Support (free/cheap) needs to be available... and the stigmas need to be done away with.
    Love you!

  8. I linked you on my blog today, including this post in resources for those struggling to understand.
    Marty@Marty's Musings

  9. Oh. So. True.

    We adopted 3 older siblings from Africa in 2008. Sixteen months later, we had to find a new home for the older brother, as we discovered he had been abusing his youngest sister for many years. (He was over-the-top RAD, and a whole host of other things.)

    This past summer, we had to put our youngest daughter in a Residential Care Facility, in order to protect the rest of the family (and herself). Her RAD and Major Depressive Disorder were tearing our family apart, as we lived in fear.

    The adoption journey with these troubled children has been the absolutely loneliest walk to walk. We have lost nearly all of our friends. We lost our church family. NO ONE wants to hear that our "cute little African children" have severe mental illness. NO ONE wants to come alongside us . . . to pray with us, to support us, to encourage us. No! We have been judged, condemned, and nearly thrown out of town (in our small rural farming community).

    To top it all off . . . my husband lost is job . . . we lost our insurance . . . and NONE of the therapists who specialize in treating RAD will accept State Medical. With no job and no insurance, we had NO help as we have walked this most horrific of adoption journeys.

    Soul Cancer . . . yes. It is ripping apart our children . . . tearing apart families . . . and, in the end, putting innocent lives at stake.

    Thanks for writing.

    mama of 12

  10. I don't really understand what this is getting at. This is beyond a mental health issue. This is someone being controlled by evil forces. I know many people with mental health issues (myself included) that would never kill someone let alone 27 people. 20 of which being young children. I believe that we shouldn't hate the individual but shouldn't excuse the crime either. I believe we should have empathy for the family of the gunman but I don't think blaming mental health care is a good crutch.

    1. It's not blaming or "crutching". Just discussing the painful realities of "soul cancer" as she put it, in this world where most people are broken and some much more that others. I agree that evil forces were involved and that there was a long tragic history before the shooting took place. Many people can be helped to heal and be so much more functional if that help was available. In a world where you can't be seen by your medical doctor for more than 10 minutes for a medical condition..... don't get me started there..... and mental/emotional pain and illness takes hours of time over years.... there are very limited options for true treatment. Here is a woman/family who are reaching out to touch those in their closest circle to make a difference. They have my prayers and compassion. Anonymous, there were no excuses in the above blog.

  11. I read many blogs of families raising challenging children. I see the posts you guys make about the mental health options (or more aptly the lack thereof) you seek for your kids. I have not had to use any mental healthcare options for my kids but I know that there is a strong possibility that one day I might. My question is really genuine and I'd love a whole host of answers: What is it exactly that we need for these kids in terms of mental healthcare? Is more research needed in discovering ways to try and help kids heal? Is it that more therapists (whatever their "lettered" credentials might be) that are trained to help deal with someone that is truly mental ill, not just someone to help you talk about some bad feelings? Is it facilities where you can get this help? Does these facilities exist but the cost is prohibitive for many to utilize? Is it parent/teacher training? I just want to be able to understand better and see how I might fit into the puzzle of creating "help" for families in need of mental health care for their children.

  12. Boy, it would never occur to me to call the shooter a monster. Obviously, a very troubled and sick individual but a monster no. Can;t figure out why these people don't just harm themselves but are driven to the extreme aggression towards others. But that is me thinking they are thinking rationally when they are not. It is definitely a mental health issue.

  13. Amen toward more mental health treatment options, more available to those who need it most, less stigma toward the sufferers and their families. More familiarity and less fear.

  14. I wrote a blog post today, with an excerpt and link to your post. Thank you for such a well-said post.

    mama of 12

  15. Bravo for every words you say! We are so afraid of mental illness, so ashame... I often say that is crazy because we can go to the moon but we don't know very, very important things about our self...
    Thank you!
    From Montreal

  16. I read this post back when Christine linked to it in December. I've been thinking about it at a lot. My son, who is from hard places, has been dealing with both physical and emotional issues this year that have been testing, trying, and refining me as a mom in ways I never imagined, even though I was familiar with RAD, PTSD, and all those other initial diagnoses before I became his mom. I have to fight for him with doctors, therapists, the school, peers, and everyone else. I don't care if people ever get it or don't get it, but I want them to accept him for who he is, which is never going to be like everyone else. At the same time, one of his classmates is undergoing a bone marrow transplant for a cancer-type disease, and I see all the same people I'm trying to work with rally around this cute little girl who is "sooooo inspiring" in her strength. I can't tell you how many times in the last few months I have remembered this post and been grateful that someone else gets it.