Ducky Diaries

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The face of Mental Illness: We are not your excuse.

Where have I been? You could say, somewhere between despair and just trying to live life. I have been down, and down some more, and seemingly okay, and flitting between small glimmers of happiness and "I'm okay".  

Over the past year I have worked to claw my way to the surface of mental health. You see, I have lived through every major trauma as a child, at the hands of people who were meant to be my protectors.  I have PTSD.

 I AM MENTALLY ILL.

-Physically abused
-Mentally abused
-Emotionally abused
-Sexually abused

I am technically an 'orphan'. 

Here's what I'm not doing:
Shooting down innocent children/people.

Here's what I am doing:
Therapy with a knowledgeable trauma counselor.
Coping strategies.
TALKING TO MY SUPPORT NETWORK.
Reaching out at vulnerable times.

America, I am not your excuse.  

Please don't use me to justify heinous actions. Please don't coddle me and my broken brain by making premeditated murder seem like a cry for help. Don't use mental illness as your catch all. Don't lump the 99% of us who are not a threat to anyone but ourselves in with the 1% who wish to harm others. 

What we could do instead of blaming guns and blaming those with mental illness, is to make mental health a bigger priority in our fast paced stressful nation. We could make counseling and therapy a more affordable, easier to obtain option. We could take away the stigma. We could do more to reach out. We could offer our employees time off when needed. We could do a better job of checking in with our students and young people. We could fix the gaping holes in our welfare departments and Children Protective Services. We could do so much more for the lost. 

However...... what we're not going to do here sis, is try to make a monster into a saint. 

It's not the guns, it's the people behind them. Unfortunately.... Some people are capable of evil things simply because the evil in them is greater than the good. 

Anyone who would devise a plan, a thorough plan, with a history of violence, who has knowingly made threats, doesn't seem like someone with a mental illness to me. Sure they sound mentally disturbed but they also seem highly intelligent and capable of putting a solid plan in place to do malice. 

Those of us with actual mental health issues are having trouble doing things like getting out of bed, going to the store, facing people, quieting racing minds, breathing through a panic attack,  not taking innocent lives. 

                                            This is mental illness. This is not an excuse.
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Saturday, August 19, 2017

It is okay to say "Different".

 A few days ago I took the kids to their favorite place in the whole world.... McDonald's. I had promised them all week and finally the day had arrived.  As we were walking and rolling up to the doors, both kids shrieking in excitement about Happy Meals and guessing what toys they would get when I heard it.

This scenario that unfolds pretty much the same each and every time, the only variant is the adults answer. 

Child: "What is wrong with him, why is he in a wheel chair?" 
Parent: "He's special so (momentary scramble of thought) he gets to ride in a super special chair!" 

Me: ............................

Dear parents, I want you to know, in all sincerity that "Different" "Disability" or the phrase "They HAVE special needs" are all okay things to say in a pinch. It is also okay (within reason and attention to what the family may be doing at that moment) to allow your child to come up and ask.

 Allow your kid  to ask questions like: "Why do you use a wheelchair ?" ,"Why do you use a walker?", "Why do you have those things on your legs?", "Why do you talk with your hands?", "Why do you have those things on your ears?", "Why do you use that computer to talk?", "Why are you spinning around?", "Why are you flapping your hands?", "Why do you have that tube in your belly/throat?"  

It is okay. Let them learn. Let them broaden their world view. Let them include my child. They are curious. Don't take that away.

The problem with overly cautious superficial "special" talk and avoidance is that you are inadvertently teaching your child that my child is 1. abstract  2. fairy tale . 
Both of which carry the connotation that my child is strange, unusual, rare. And not someone he\ she will encounter at the Zoo, community swimming pool, grocery store, local adaptability play park, school. 

As parents we need to do better, allow curiosity to turn into knowledge and potentially friendship.

As we progress as a society and are no longer institutionalizing individuals with disability we are realizing through research and adaptable school testing that physical disability does not always equate to intellectual disability. In fact, much of the time it does not, not even a little bit. Most of the time the disability in question actually does not hinder the persons intellectual ability at all. 

Meaning- yes they are alllllll there and yes the reason they are looking at you in that puzzling manner is because they are asking themselves WTF is wrong with you. 

LOL KIDDING. Kind of.

Jokes aside,  by changing paths on how we teach our children about disability we are changing the way they view these members of the community. How they interact with them, how they learn with them. By leading them away from hearing "That child/person IS special (needs)" and instead replacing it with "That child/person HAS special needs or HAS a disability" we are giving them the ability to look past the disability. To look at the person. We are taking away the mystery.  

Our children are not broken toys, heroes, or anomalies, they are people. Little kids who hear what you say, just as yours is hearing you, so make it count. 

Come up, say hi. Allow us to say hi. Educate yourself. Be open with your children. There are literally millions of people on this earth with some form of a disability. That is not a small number.  

And if all else fails- type a few search words into Google. You're bound to come up with something.
  
-Ducky

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

10 life hacks for the exhausted mom:

1. Wear Tie dye and camo patterns. A lot. Basically all the time, own nothing else. Is that a booger on your sleeve? Jelly? Urine? No one knows, who can tell really. Bonus points if you're wearing camo- it's invisible!

2. Save time on dishes by buying paper plates, bowls, and plastic utensils. Or just never cook. Questionable take-out builds immunity.

3. If your kiddo uses that grown up word they heard from someone (not you, never you) correctly and in proper context, give yourself a pat on the back. Good grammar skills go far in life.

4. Don't clean anything with poop on it.  EVER. Just toss it. Even the baby (Thanks Brandie!). You don't need that kind of negativity in your life!

5. Teach your child/children that wine is sparkling water. This has a two-fold benefit.

You get to day drink and when your child blurts out "Is that your sparkling water momma?!", in public, you look sophisticated and hydrated!

6. Don't bother making beds ever again. No one has time for that. Buy puppy pads instead. They make great sheets. And if someone has a nighttime leak just toss the pad!

7. Tired of cleaning up toys and repeating yourself over and over again? Play the 'trash bag game'! This is especially fun when the wee sprites begin to cry (it's like your very own dramatic Broadway play!).

Basically you grab the nearest trash bag and scream maniacally "YOU BETTER HOPE YOU CAN PICK UP YOUR TOYS QUICKER THAN I CAN!". There are many variations to this game so feel free to let your creativity fly.

8. Trash bags also double as stylish clothing options. Ponchos, dresses, shirts, bag skirts, so skip the laundry! Very Boho chic.

9. Visit your friends! Take your kids! And then go to the bathroom and sneak out the window. Voila- enjoy that elusive "Me time" everyone is raving about.

And lastly-

10. Smeared toothpaste on bathroom counters doubles as cleaner and actually brings a shine to your fixtures.

There you have it! Solutions to all the problems you didn't even know you had!

Stay classy moms. 

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