Toad has Found the Pen

As long as I could read and write, I’ve wanted to be an author. I wrote fiction, mostly short stories, some poetry, countless journal entries, and attempted to write two novels. Somewhere along the way I believed that I lost my writer’s voice. At some point there came a day where I would look at the page or screen and characters remained silent. The stories wouldn’t flow.

I despaired. A huge part of me rotted away as I pointed the finger at so many things. None of that mattered. None of that brought my creative fantasies back.

Life carried on and I found other things to do. I got into food service, became a parent, and started a Bachelors degree. Very long story made ridiculously short: I ended up finding out we are all special needs.

It began with my second son being diagnosed with Autism. I grieved, I learned, and I managed. We thrived. Then my third son was born and I was hit with what I later learned was postpartum psychosis. I dropped out of college, kissing my degree in Human Nutrition and Food Service Management with a minor in Business Administration goodbye with only two courses left to go. (But what the hell was I thinking when I signed up for all that as a single parent in the first place?) I seriously could not function, like to the point I was convinced that the state was going to come and take my children away from me. My only choice in my mind was to move us all in with my parents to ensure that we were all in good hands. I’m glad we did.

This move led me to being diagnosed with Bipolar Type II and later Chronic PTSD. I already had been diagnosed with Migraine Disorder, but I now suspect that the migraines are actually a symptom of the PTSD. Two years later, my oldest son was diagnosed with Bipolar Unspecified. I had tried to get him diagnosed back when he was 8 years old but they told me back then that as long as he is reporting that everything is fine and that his grades are good, that there was nothing they could do. Six years later he goes to shit and that’s when people suddenly start taking me seriously. Pisses me off.

Finally there is my 6-year-old son that we are still trying to get stabilized. I’ve been trying to get him help since he was a year old. No one took me seriously until he was about 4 years old. That was when an in-home therapist working with my Autistic son reported my youngest son’s behaviors to DHHS. Of course they came to investigate. They had to. It was determined to be unsubstantiated, but she at least listened to my concerns and asked to speak with my youngest son. I said yes. She spoke to him for 15 minutes.

You know what he decided to talk to her about? How much he liked catching flies and pulling them apart to watch them die. Yes, my youngest son at 4 years old for whatever reason decided to talk about this of all things with this woman. I was so relieved when she offered to get him a referral to an agency that would screen him. Sadly, they only screened him for ADHD. He failed that. He doesn’t have that. I knew that. We sent him to Kindergarten. They freak out. So we pulled him out and put him in Pre-K. Due to that we got him over to the mental health hospital and got him diagnosed. School promises an IEP and speech therapy but the following year retracts both. He destabilizes and we have to pull him out of Kindergarten again to put him into the hospital’s Intensive Outpatient Program. The school refuses to pay for his education while he’s there and he will have to repeat Kindergarten again they say.

His current list of diagnoses: Impulse Control Disorder Unspecified, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Conduct Disorder, and Consider Bipolar Disorder Unspecified.

Seriously people? When a child has a family medical history of Bipolar Disorder like he does, why the hell are you so reluctant to diagnose him with it? Bipolar Disorder is the same boat as Autism Spectrum Disorder: the sooner you get interventions and supports in place the better outcomes the person has. We need to stop being afraid of labeling people with “scary” illnesses that are GENETIC.

And this is when I have realized that all this time I never lost my writer’s voice. When word Autism was introduced into my home, I discovered Facebook. I joined and took it by storm. There are support groups everywhere. People everywhere. Then I found out I was Bipolar. Again the support groups were found. Now my youngest is going through his crisis. There are support groups for that too. All the while I have been posting on my Facebook wall. About everything.

I’m not talking about simple little status posts. Articles about disability rights, education laws, civil rights, mental health, mental illness, schools, Common Core, parenting, etc. My voice is still here, loud and clear. Apparently I just haven’t been paying attention.

So I have been receiving encouragement to start my own blog since social media is not the appropriate platform for that. I’ve resisted this move for quite some time, mostly due to the belief that I lost my voice. I even talked to my therapist about it. She asked me “What would it be about?” That’s a damn good question. This blog will be about my life and what’s important to me.

What You Can Expect to Find in Future Posts

  • Mental Illness
  • Special Needs
  • Education
  • Life Stories
  • Creative Writing (maybe?)

I will leave it at that for now. Honestly I do not know what the future holds for this blog. You are welcome to leave in the comments below any topics of interest that my post might have sparked that didn’t make it in my list.

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