23rd August 2011

Post with 6 notes

A tough day being a mom…and being a Canadian

I’ll start with the easier to discuss - Jack Layton.  For my non-Canadian friends, he was the leader of the opposition here, the head of the New Democratic Party.  I am a liberal but I have not like our liberal leaders for a long time.  I’ve never liked a Conservative Leader.

Jack Layton made me want to change Canadian voting laws.  Unlike the US, we vote for the political party.  The party picks the leader prior to an election.  I, for the past elections since Jack was NDP leader, wanted to vote for him (but I’ve always been afraid of NDP pricetags).  He was a true person - he didn’t play up to the media.  While he knew ‘how’ to play to the media, it didn’t seem to better his image - it was to further an ideal which he felt would make us a better nation.  

With his party finally becoming the official opposition, I was really looking forward to Canadian politics this next session.  Now I’m thinking, “why bother?”  I know I’ll get over that feeling.  I’m glad he lived to see his beloved party make it to such heights.  Now, it’s time for others to pick up the flag.  I hope they realize and remember what made the NDP what it is: bettering the country for all Canadians, not just the NDP, corporations, the rich…everyone needs and deserves a voice.  Good luck to you! 

He loved his wife.  This article brought tears to my eyes:http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1043197—jack-and-olivia-their-love-story?bn=1

Jack wrote a good-bye letter to us Canadians.  Grab a drink, and read.  It is beautifully written…especially when you know he meant every word of it. God bless Jack Layton.


In a few months, I’ll give another reason why his death is resonating with me.  I’ll say when I can.  Life is too short for so many of the people we love….

Onto the other story of my day…

I have mentioned in a previous blog that there my family has a history of mental health issues: my mom, my brother, my husband, his mom, myself…and one of our son’s, Braeden.  I have worked tirelessly to end stigma because of this.

A dear friend of our’s noticed something in Braeden, when he was 2.  He said Braeden has Jeff’s OCD. We laughed - how could a 2 year old have OCD?  All kids have their weird and wonderful tendencies.  But, we kept on eye on him.

One day, when Braeden was 7 or 8, he came home from school without half of his eye brows.  He said his older brother, Dakota, cut them off while he was sleeping.  I’m pretty sure I would have noticed him without eyebrows before he left for school.

Jeff and I looked back over the summer with Braeden - staying up after we sent him to bed (up to 4 hours afterwards - no tv or radio in his room).  He was, uh, very focused on things he deemed important.  Swords, perhaps? 

He always did strange things with his hands, probably since he was 2 - using his index fingers into the middle of his opposite hand over and over again.  He became sneaky by the time he was 7 or 8, and did this behaviour without the gross movements.  

But, the day of the missing eyebrows was it.  We sat him down and had a serious conversation…then when the secrets started to come out…missing recess because he had to run his fingers down the brick wall just right…lying to friends so he could go back to the wall and do it…the reason he stayed up late to count car lights - always having to have the number end in 0 [if it didn’t, he had to keep counting until it did]…counting the number of times our cat went in and out of the room…it went on and on.  If he didn’t do those things, his heart would race, he’d get scared…’playing’ with his hands and fingers made him feel like he had a force field around him.  Since he was 2…

We made an appointment with our family doc to get him to McMaster University Anxiety Clinic.  A year and a half later, he got in….but that was after the time I saw him start to literally freak out in the sand paper section of Canadian Tire..he had to touch them all, in the right now…he couldn’t move until it was done right…he also went through all the toys in the house - every month - to make sure none were lost. He was anxious when I was out of the house, truly worried to the point of not sleeping.  Not a good thing with me being midwife…

I will say right here, that because Braeden went to Mac to see a psychiatrist, my husband decided to go through testing, too.  We had no idea he had/has bipolar.  But…that’s a longer story still

McMaster (MUMC) was an answer to prayers.  He was diagnosed with OCD (no kidding!) and also ADHD (that was a surprise).  The first medication did NOT work.  The second did the trick.

For 2 years, when he was 9 then 10, he gave self-written speeches for the Ontario Mood Disorders Association - to grade 11 students in Toronto.  To quote Braeden, he did it so people would know to be nice and help those who have OCD…so they could see why they need friends, too.

He was on those meds for about 2 or 3 years.  Little did we know what they were doing to his gut - completely slowed down his intestines. Poor kid got so sick…so sick.  He had also put on a lot of weight.  We took him off the meds about 18 months ago.  But in the past 9 months, symptoms started to come back, the not letting go, the lack of sleep, the obsessive behaviours…

Which leads me to today. After thinking and praying about it for a few months,  we saw his pediatrician about medication - treat the OCD, treat the ADHD, or put him on a sleeping pill.  All 4 of us looked at the options.  The Doctor was of the opinion to put him back on his OCD meds.  Jeff and I agreed.  I’m afraid Braeden didn’t take it so well.

This was probably the hardest decision I’ve made as a parent.  My heart was very heavy for hours afterward.  I know how much he does not want to take the pills.  I know how much he needs his brain to work properly, even if he’s just 13 where not many brains work well.

I am against medicating children into proper ‘behaviour’ but that is not why we are doing this.  Braeden needs his brain to slow down his thinking so he can function.  He needs to sleep.  He is so afraid of gaining weight again.  In truth, I am, too.  I’ll put the family onto healthy eating (no diets here).  Braeden, the big hearted kid he is - said making everyone eat the ‘diet’ the doctor talked about isn’t fair.  Oh, my Braeden - you are a wonderful child.  

One day, you will understand why we did this.  I hope you don’t have to be put in this situation with your own children.  If you do, your child will be the most lucky - you will have the wisdom of adulthood plus the memories of your childhood and your meds.

I hope you will see that the meds can make you function better.  Some people need extra help to function - diabetics need insulin (and a good diet), those with high blood pressure, need their medications (and a good diet), those who have Celiac Disease, really need a good diet.  Needing mediations to help a brain to function is not any different.

Having a brain that can rest, can let go, not obsess…it could be a new life for him

Tagged: Jack LaytonNDPLiberalConservativeEnd StigmaOCDBipolarMedicationsADHDmidwifery

  1. mytimeatlast posted this