Parenting A Teen With Depression ~ YOU Are Not Alone


Posted on by Patricia Leever

I’ve been sitting here, staring at this post all day, wondering if I had the courage to push the “publish” button. What you are about to read is very personal and was very hard for me to put into words. So why am I doing it? Ultimately, I guess I don’t have to. But even when you have an awesome support system (thank you Jasen and Mom!) sometimes you feel like you are alone and I don’t want anyone else out there to feel that way. This is as much for me as it is for anyone else. Maybe more. So, here goes!

When you become a parent, I think most of us try to prepare for what may come. At least in some way, right? I mean, we try to prepare for things like, the “Terrible Twos” or the first day of school or potty training or insert milestone here. I think it’s in our nature to try to brace our psyches for these things. What’s the saying…hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Or is it the other way around, prepare for the worst and hope for the best? Regardless, it never works, does it?

You can prepare and plan all you want. Things are working out according to plan, everything is going great…until it isn’t. Something’s off.

All the plans you made go flying out of the window because how do you prepare for your child to be diagnosed with mental illness? Depression? Anxiety? Possible Bipolar Disorder?

I’ll tell you how you prepare for it…you don’t. You can’t. Those are scary words. Verboten words. Words that are whispered into ears behind cupped hands.

Let’s face it, being a parent is hard enough, especially in today’s world. It’s not the same world we grew up in. It’s bigger, louder and more complex than anything we had to deal with.

Now imagine, for a second, that inside this big, loud, complex world you are not only raising a teenager that’s starting high school, but you are also trying to navigate and come to terms with, as well as help them navigate and come to terms with, those scary words.

Depression. Anxiety. Possible Bipolar Disorder.

People don’t talk about these words when it comes to teens. These are words for adults. Teens are just being over dramatic, vying for attention, trying to get their way, parents need to be tougher on these kids.

But these words need to be talked about. They need to be brought to light when it comes to teens. Look at what has come to light with children on the Autism spectrum. Something that was so overlooked for so long is finally given validation. The same needs to happen when it comes to teen mental illness.

Don’t overlook your child’s feelings. Don’t disregard them because they are kids. Don’t tell them to “get over it” because if it were that easy they would have. Don’t ignore. And don’t feel like it’s your fault. It’s not. Let me say that a little louder.

IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!

You aren’t a failure. You are doing the best you can with what you have to work with.

Get help for your child. If they were hurt you’d take them to the doctor, right? They are hurting. On the inside. Some of them are hurting themselves on the outside.

I’m not an expert in any way, shape or form. I’m just a mom, trying to do the best I can with what I have to work with. I am the parent of a teenager that suffers from mental illness. I’m not harping on my kid because she didn’t get an A on a test, I’m happy she had a smile today. I don’t sweat bad grades or missing homework, I’m glad she didn’t want to hurt herself today. I look at what people say about their kids on Facebook before I head upstairs to get her latest set of meds together, hoping that this is the combination that is going to help her.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for my friends and their kids that are in extracurricular activities, I actually love seeing pictures and reading stories on Facebook and I don’t begrudge any parent for bragging on their kid for any accomplishment in any way. I would “like” those posts a thousand times if I could.

But I’d be lying if I said they didn’t tug at my heart.

I’ve stayed up all night, watching her, hiding sharp objects and pills. I’ve had to stand outside the unlocked bathroom door while she uses the restroom. I’ve had to sit in the bathroom with her while she took a shower so she could shave her legs.

It’s hard. It’s exhausting, both mentally and physically. And if I’m being honest, sometimes I want to quit. Quitting would be easy, but it wouldn’t help her, if anything it would exasperate an already difficult situation. It’s excruciating to watch my child go through this. I feel helpless. Sometimes hopeless. And yeah, sometimes I do feel like the biggest failure as a parent.

The only thing I can think to do is let her know that I see her. I see her struggle. I see her pain. I see her trying to survive the forces inside her own head. I see the things she’s written on her body to stave off the urge to harm herself.

Please, don’t feel like you shouldn’t post a brag about your kid, post away and know that I’m going to like it. That was a win for you, everyone’s wins are different and as parents we need to start celebrating each other’s wins, no matter what they are, because this isn’t a competition.

This is a journey. A long, arduous journey that has a lot of bumps and road blocks in our way. We need to help each other instead of judging each other. It’s easier to judge, I know that, I’ve done it. We all have. But try to remember that all you really know is your circus and your monkeys. You don’t know what someone else’s circus is like. You don’t know their monkeys.

And one more thing, don’t forget about yourself. I have the hardest time with that one, but I’m trying. It feels selfish and you’ll feel like the guilt is about to eat you alive, but you have to take care of yourself.

You might wonder why I’m sharing all of this. I’m sharing my experience because I have looked for something like this online and couldn’t find it. I found many articles on teen depression and how to handle it, recognize it and all of that, but not what it felt like from the parent’s side. I wanted to let other parents know that they aren’t alone. That it’s scary and hard and not to give up hope. We are on med number three and believe me, meds aren’t going to make everything sunshine and rainbows. It’s a work in progress.

But I can tell you not to give up on the sunshine and rainbows, they’re still in your kid and when they let that light shine, soak it up. And don’t be ashamed. Don’t let your child feel ashamed. Be open. Be accepting. And in case you forgot already, you are not alone.

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To Fangirl or To NOT Fangirl…


Posted on by Patricia Leever

Hidey ho my wee little love monkeys! I hope this big, bad world has been treating you well.

So, my girls recently turned 14 and for their birthday the hubs and I got them tickets to Vans Warped Tour. You see, one of their favorite bands are going to be there and I really want them to have a live music experience because there really isn’t anything like live music. Especially when that live music is from a band you love. I’m super excited to watch them have fangirl moments because I’ve had those moments and it’s a feeling that you never forget.

Now, in my efforts to be a good parent, I have researched said band and listened to all of their music. I follow them all on Facebook, Twitter and the Instagrams. I’ve watched their music videos and subscribe to their guitarist’s vlog. And somewhere along the way of my stellar parenting, I have become a fan of these young men MYSELF. I say young men because I am of an age that I very well could have birthed them. The lead singer for sure.

Here’s my dilemma…when the concert comes, and I’m in the live music moment, do I fangirl right along with my girls or do I keep my cool? Do I rock moderately, clap respectfully and maybe woot a time or two?

Here’s a BIGGER dilemma…will I have any control over it? I have fangirl tendedncies. I know this. I’ve owned this. Will I be so wrapped up in the live music that I turn in a complete fangirl? A screaming, wailing, headbanging, rock-horn-throwing fangirl and make a complete arse out of myself?

THIS IS A SERIOUS DILEMMA PEOPLE!!

Okay, in all honesty, I’m not all that worried about making an arse out of myself. I’m 99.9% sure that this will indeed happen. It’s virtually inevitable. I mean, this song of theirs was one of the driving forces behind the last book in the Divinity Series.

In fact their album, Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones, was pretty much all I listened to while I was writing. And I’ll tell you what, that is rare for me. I may find a song or two that speaks to me about what I’m working on, let alone an entire album. ESPECIALLY an album that has actual singing. For the most part I find lyrics distracting when I’m writing and try to just focus on the music but this was the whole shebang! The songs and the speaking parts in between the songs. Oh yeah, there’s speaking parts in between the songs and I’m not gonna lie, that little lead singer has quite the pleasant speaking voice in addition to a very nice singing voice.

And I have a confession to make, the lead singer kind of reminds me a skinnier version of Daniel. Holy crap! I’ve never actually said that out loud! Okay so this isn’t really “out loud” but it kind of is! Maybe it’s just me because Daniel lives in my head and I’ve tried like hell to find someone that looks like what I see when I write him and while I’ve used Chris Evans as an image before, Andy Biersack (that’s his name) is closer to what I see in my head than anyone else I’ve seen in real life. I mean…well shit, just look…

tumblr_nl0p11tvVj1u9ozvpo2_250

Balls. I can’t believe I just posted this.

But here it is. Out in the open. I feel slightly freed by this.

I also feel like a giant pervert for admitting this because homie is only 24.

24!

I’m most likely going to hell.

Well, there you have it. Way more than I intended to share, but there it is, don’t judge. Okay, judge. I judge myself. I’ll wave to you all from hell.

Until Next Time,
Patty <3

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Three Things for the New Year!!!


Posted on by Patricia Leever

Hidey ho my little love monkeys!! I hope you all had a safe and joyous New Year’s Day!!

Some exciting stuff happening in 2015 for Yours Truly. Here’s three things…

First off, I’m going to be at the 2nd Annual Celebration of Local Authors here in Santa Clarita on Saturday January 17th from 10am to 3pm at the Old Town Newhall Library!

fol

Thank you, The Friends of Santa Clarita Public Library for making this event happen!

I gotta say, this is my first event like this and I’m SUPER nervous. I think I’m most nervous about the panel. I’ve never been on a panel before, y’all! What if I get diarrhea of the mouth and just start spewing forth nonsensical words? That happens to me when I get nervous. I just start rambling and I can’t stop. Kind of like right now. I can’t stop typing! Anyway, I’m told my panel is at 10am but I don’t know what the subject of my panel is. Stay tuned for updates on that! Nerves aside, I’ll be there with bells on and bookmarks and some books so if you’re in town, stop by and say HI!

Secondsies, NaNoWriMo was intense but it did get me an awesome start on the third book in the Divinity Series!!! That’s right, it’s happening so stay tuned for updates on that!

Thirds, I’ve had this song rolling around in my head because, well, it’s pretty obvious…

Black Veil Brides – New Years Days from Abel Carita on Vimeo.

As you can see from the little linky thing there ^ this song is New Years Day by Black Veil Brides. One of the twins, Emma (aka Thing 2) started listening to Black Veil Brides at some point late summer/early fall and like a good little parent I had to check them out. I do this when my kids get into something new, I work my research skills just so I know what they are listening to. Turns out, I found my the soundtrack for the third book in the Divinity Series! Seriously you guys, it was like these boys reached into my brain where this book was stored and wrote music for it! I love it when that happens, it’s almost as if fate threw us into this crazy blender and hit the smoothie button because this music was absolutely what I needed to get my writing juices flowing! These guys are very reminiscent of the glamrock hair bands of the 80s, which I love, so if you love rock and roll go check out Black Veil Brides. They’re not unfortunate looking young men, so that’s a bonus 😉

There’s my three things! Do you have three things for the New Year, my sparkly little love monkeys? Let’s hear ’em!!

Until Next Time,
Patty <3

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Stop The World, I Wanna Get OFF!


Posted on by Patricia Leever

Greetings my gorgeous little love monkeys!

It’s been a crazy week and it’s only halfway through AND I don’t see it slowing down for the remainder of the week OR next week. Man alive! For one thing, my oldest son graduates high school in a week. ONE FREAKING WEEK! Okay, who stuffed me into the super fast-forward machine and set it to hyper-drive? I mean, just the other day he was like this

kyle 3

 

And then before I could blink he’s like this

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Where does the time go man? So, needless to say I’m running around like a maniac, trying to wrap my head around all of this. I feel like Kate Winslet on the bow of the Titanic but instead of leaning into the wind and feeling all free and easy I feel like I’m careening toward the iceberg and 11ty million MPH. And on top of that my girls, my BABIES, are getting ready to head into junior high the middle boy is getting his learners permit this summer.

Seriously, someone stop this thing!

Okay, yeah, it’s nice to have virtually self-sufficient kids, I’m not going to lie that part is nice. Years ago, when the kids were really small, my mom told me to enjoy it because it all went by so fast and she wasn’t kidding! Time screams by you before you even realize that it’s moving faster than light speed.

Alright, let’s stop this mushy crap before I burst into tears. Again. How about an update on my quest to be fit? Okie dokie.

I’m still walking every day, a minimum of 2 miles. I say that because earlier this week, Monday night to be exact, I sneezed in a weird position and pulled my abdominal muscle really bad. Yeah, I couldn’t pull it doing something cool, I’m the dork that gets thwarted by a sneeze. So, yesterday I contemplated not even walking because the pain was really severe. But I thought about it and decided that I needed to at least try. About 5 mins into my walk, I almost gave in. I almost threw away 2 weeks of progress because I wasn’t keeping up the pace I had been and as I was pushing toward the bridge over Orchard Village Drive (super steep incline) I nearly turned around and headed for home. I was three steps away from it, to be precise. So instead of giving up because I couldn’t do what I had done, I thought on the fly. Instead of really hurting myself by trying the bridge in order to keep with my usual route, I took the round about at the end of the bridge and made three laps around the park instead. Instead of beating myself up because I had to take a step back, I allowed myself TO take a step back to be able to take more steps forward in the future. I realized that a backward step is better than no steps. Taking it down a notch and slowing it down was better than stopping all together.

In short, I needed to get out of my own head and take a look at the big picture. If I would have given in yesterday, I may very well have given in today and tomorrow because I’m hitting a hump. I can see it, I can feel it. It started over the weekend, at the two week mark. It’s harder and I don’t want to do it. I don’t WANT to get up and walk right now. It feels like the “enjoyable” window is closing and I could give in and let it close or I could pry that mofo open and nail that bad boy up because I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop now!

One more thing before I go, I know I’ve been remiss in posting photos for the Photo-A-Day in May, but I have been taking photos and they are all up in a Facebook album HERE!

That’s all I have for you today my sparkly rays of love monkey sunshine! Be good to yourselves and get out of your own way 🙂

Until next time,
Patty <3

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An Ode to Mom


Posted on by Patricia Leever

Greetings my sparkly little love monkeys! It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday so I’ve gotten together with my fellow Omnific Sisters to pay homage to those special ladies in our lives.

I’m here to talk about this lady

mom2

 

Wait, hang on, as much as I love this beautiful photo of my mom, I have to be honest, that isn’t the real her.

Mom

 

THERE SHE IS! This, ladies and germs is the lady I know. My mom, a lady that isn’t afraid to let the wind in her hair, literally!

In all seriousness there aren’t words to express my love and adoration of my mom. She’s not only my mom, but she’s my best friend.

Yeah, when my brother and I were kids we drove her bonkers. But beside all the times we made her want to pull all her hair out, move to Outer Mongolia, change her name and take up sheep herding, she taught me a lot. She taught me how to be a strong woman, to stand up for myself and not take anyone’s crap. She taught me that being a mom may not be a “glory” job but it is the most rewarding and sometimes the most heartbreaking one that there is. She taught me that it’s okay, as a mom, to feel like you want to pull all your hair out, move to Outer Mongolia, change your name and take up sheep herding. She’s lifted me up when I needed a boost and taken me down a peg or two when it was needed. She keeps me grounded and I know that no matter what, she has my back. She has stood beside me every step of the way through my journey into publication and I’ll tell you what, she is the best little pimper out there! I don’t think there is a person that has met her in recent years that has not heard the words, “my daughter, the author/writer” come out of her mouth because God love her, she will work that into a conversation if she has to bend over backwards and do a cartwheel. She truly is the best not to mention she’s not afraid to do this…

Boys Bday 003a

 

Or this…

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Or even this…

Momz

 

Yep, couldn’t ask for a better role model, I just hope that I’m doing her proud.

Until next time,
Patty <3

Oh yeah, I almost forgot the Photo-A-Day in May photo!

Day 9: A Snack

5-9 Snack

 

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Days 7 & 8!


Posted on by Patricia Leever

Okie dokie my special little love monkeys, just popping in for Day 7 & 8 in the Photo-A-Day in May!

Day 7 was: Something Beginning With F

5-7 Something Beginning With F

 

I chose this because it’s a frame, it’s my favorite and it’s filled with photos of my family! That’s four Fs!

Day 8 is: Shape

5-8 Shape

 

This is the space above my fireplace and I chose this because of the copper leaf piece. I found that first and just fell in love with the shape of it 🙂

That’s all for today!

Until next time,
Patty <3

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Day 6-Broken


Posted on by Patricia Leever

Greetings sparkly little love monkeys! I hope the weekend was good to you!

Just popping in for today’s Photo-A-Day in May!!

Broken

5-6 Broken

 

Yep, that’s my crock pot. Actually, it’s one of my crock pots. Yes, I have more than one but in my defense they are all in different sizes for all of my many crock pot needs. This is my medium size one and the handle is only broken on one side and really, I’m not running around the house carrying around a crock pot. You plug it in, fill it up, turn it on and leave it. So yeah, I’m hanging onto this bad boy for as long as I can.

That’s it darlings, have a great Monday!

Until next time,
Patty <3

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Days 4 & 5!


Posted on by Patricia Leever

Hidey ho my shiny little love monkeys! Just popping in for my weekend edition of Photo-A-Day in May!

Day 4: In My Cup. Yes, there is coffee somewhere in amongst the cream 😉

5-4 In My Cup

 

Day 5: Paper. So naturally I took a photo of my paperback. One that I wrote, with the people that live in my very own little brain 🙂

5-5 Paper

 

Have a great weekend!

Until next time,
Patty <3

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Happy Friday~This Is Really Good!


Posted on by Patricia Leever

Happy Friday my splendiferous little love monkeys! Did you grab this week by it’s proverbial horns and take it down like the bitch that it is? You’re fling-flanging right you did!

Dang I hadn’t realized how much I missed doing the “Happy Friday” until just now. So glad to be back in the swing!

Okay this week I started a self imposed fitness program. Why? Well, ever since I got sick in March and had to change my diet I figured, if I was changing what I ate to keep myself healthy, why stop there? And because I was tired of being a sedentary creature. Luckily I’m quite a realistic thinker, shocking I know since I’m a novelist, but in everything outside of my books I am very steeped in reality. I know that I’m not fit and I know that this isn’t going to be an overnight transformation. I also know that I’m going to have to sweat, which I hate to do, and I know that the biggest obstacle that I’m going to face is myself. I know that this is going to be the hardest part, the fight with myself to get off of my ass and get out there and move.

I also have to remind myself that I crawled before I walked, I took baby steps before I walked sure, and that I walked sure before I ran. Period. It isn’t brain surgery. So why is it so hard? Partly because it just is. It’s harder to stand up and do something than it is to just sit back and watch. It’s like that with everything in life so why should this be any different? The answer is simple, it’s not. I need to take the words of Tallahassee from one of my favorite movies Zombieland, “Nut up or shut up” or as I like to say, “Grow a set of tits and just do it!”

Granted this isn’t the first time I’ve tried to get fit but I really think that this is the first time I’m actually serious about it. In my past efforts I let the smallest thing thwart me. A cold, the weather, time, a hangnail…anything that I could think of. I always thought that it was the universe’s way of telling me that it wanted me to stay sedentary and I accepted that. Until now. Take last night for example. Last night I did a faceplant in the front yard. Seriously, I went down hard. Yeah this morning I feel like I got into a fight with a baseball bat and lost but I dragged my ass out of bed, I got dressed and I got out there. You know what? I went farther and faster than I had all week. Today I looked the universe in the eye and gave it the big ol’ bird! Today I said, you may want me fat, dumb and happy, universe, but you are going to have to settle for FIT, dumb and happy!

That is going to be my new slogan!

Oh! I got so worked up about that that I almost forgot about the Photo-A-Day in May! I don’t know why because it’s in the title of this blog,

This Is Really Good!

5-3 This is Really Good

 

I know, you were expecting food right? I thought I’d go outside of the box with this one because sunscreen IS really good and this is my favorite. Okay so I guess when you are looking at SPF 50 it is not so much sun SCREEN but more sun BLOCK but remember, I’m a pasty white, Irish/English girl. My people don’t tan, we hail from countries with no sun. I have two colors, white and red. If I want any shade of “brown” I have to buy it and apply it.

Well, that’s all I have for you today my darling little love monkeys! Stay tuned because I will be posting photos over the weekend as well! Stay safe and move, no matter if it’s for 60 mins or 6 minutes just move!

Until next time,
Patty <3

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Day 2-Morning Ritual


Posted on by Patricia Leever

Hola my sparkly little love monkeys! It is Day 2 in the Photo-A-Day in May challenge and today’s photo is “Morning Ritual”

5-2 Morning Ritual

 

Yeah. Aren’t I a lucky duck? I mean, who wouldn’t want to start their day with a glass full of baby aspirin flavored sand? But, alas, as much as I loathe just the sight of the Citrucel container, doc says I gots ta take it. And let’s face it, the alternative just really REALLY sucks. So here I am, swilling my gunk and sticking to my high fiber diet.

At least my body is FINALLY getting used to all this fiber. For a good 6 weeks I don’t think that there was a waking moment that I wasn’t farting. Seriously! I mean, I’m not even gonna sit here and tell you that I’m not a farter because I hope to shout I fart more than the average person. And I own it! Hell, I established that fact with the hubs whilst we were still dating. I figured if he was going to marry me, he’d have to marry me farts and all and I wasn’t about to go scurrying off into the other room to crack off a fart. We’d never be in the same room for crying out loud! I know women that wouldn’t even DREAM of farting in front of their man, but dadgum, I’m human and I fart. Guess what, I poop too!

Life’s people, fart it up while you can!

Until next time,
Patty *pphhfft*

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Patricia Leever