Tuesday, July 31, 2018

I'm A Believer

The summer before Jordan's freshman year was coming to and end and it may have been the first time ever, that I was the most anxious person in the family. Kevin was going into middle school, Kayla into 8th, Jordan into high school, Adam was starting his new job, and I was going back to work. All of this was going to happen on the same day.  After four more days of freedom, the Beck's were going to be busy!

I wasn't so naive as to think Jordan would remain calm and "even" throughout her entire freshman year, but I was hopeful.  With less than a week of summer remaining, there were still no signs of Jordan shutting down, lashing out at us, or freaking out. This was a big deal.

It was difficult for her to say goodbye to the younger boys in her choir, but if I've learned nothing else throughout my lifetime, it's that change hurts, and basically it tends to suck.  Her reactions and emotions were "normal" for lack of a better word, and I was relieved she was coping so well. She had been happy, upbeat, pleasant, and plowed through her Human Geography paper in one day, without worrying. Without worrying! 

Um... who was this child, and what have you done with our Jordan?

She appeared not only to tolerate the Lexapro, but also benefited from taking it. It became crystal clear to me that chemical imbalances are very real, and they should (and more importantly can) be treated medically.

At this moment I guess I became a believer.

Thank you.

Us Too

Friday, July 20, 2018

Positive Notes

After Jordan took half a Lexapro for three nights, she told me she had two bad dreams. And what conclusion do you think my brain immediately latched on to?  It's because of the Lexapro, aka the brain medicine, I know it.  In one of the dreams a man was staring into her window.  Lovely.  In the other, our dog Ladybug died, and Jordan remembers crying.  Wonderful.

On a positive note-- Jordan said she was feeling more energetic, she liked it, and she was excited. Yay!  Although is this even possible after taking Lexapro for only three days, or was it a placebo effect? I had no idea, but I was glad she was positive and receptive to the idea of taking medication. I looked up how long it takes to feel the effects of Lexapro on the National Alliance on Mental Illness site (NAMI) and it said:

"Sleep, energy, or appetite may show some improvement within the first 1-2 weeks. Improvement in these physical symptoms can be an important early signal that the medication is working."  

Notice it doesn't say 1-3 days.  Regardless, I was thankful things appeared to be moving in the right direction. 

On a more positive note-- Adam got a contracting job. I can't tell you how relieved we were, and how proud I was of him.  Like super relieved and super proud.

On an even more kick-ass positive note-- We went to freshman orientation and Jordan, our Jordan, didn't get nervous or overwhelmed.  What-what?  She was looking forward to high school. I don't think Jordan ever looked forward to anything before it happened, especially if it was an unknown. 

I must have had hope that our tides were finally turning, because I wrote:  I will be so happy if this helps her to lead a normal life-- like beyond-words happy! 

Thank you.

Us Too

Monday, July 16, 2018

Meds For the Brain

It was mid August and I wrote that Jordan had been "even and good". She began seeing her psychiatrist's physician's assistant (PA) who seemed concerned and sweet.

As you can imagine getting Jordan on medication was not an easy step to take, especially since Jordan was having a decent summer.  My mind instantly went into question mode:

  • What if her anxiety was situational and school was the cause?
  • Does she really need to be medicated?
  • What if she experiences some of the possible side effects? (Which I advise not to read because, damn... Some of them sound worse than her original symptoms.)
  • Will she become addicted and need to take these forever?
  • Is it safe and what are the long term side effects? 
  • And last but not least: What if after all this, they don't help her??

For better or for worse, I have always tasted/tried any medication I gave to the kids before they took it. I was curious/worried/overly involved/a bit crazy ;).  But I certainly wasn't going to try her Lexapro.  How's that for a dose of reality? I was afraid to take a medication I was giving to my child. Because Lexapro is different.  It's a medicine for the brain.  Jordan's brain.  To this day it still kind of freaks me out.

I mentioned to the PA that I felt it would be mean if we didn't try medication. She told me something that has stuck with me all these years.  She said. "The best predictors of behaviors are found by looking at past behaviors." Basically, don't let one somewhat-mellow summer negate all your concerns and all Jordan's cries for help. 

It was now time to wait, ask Jordan questions, watch her like a hawk, and hope for the best.

Thank you.

Us Too

Monday, July 9, 2018

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

On August 12, 2012 Jordan was prescribed Lexapro!!

It took over 13 years, but we finally did it.  
Woot woot! 🙋

Thank you.

Us Too

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Puppy Love

"I'm awkward and uncomfortable socially."  Jordan said to me in the summer before ninth grade. She liked a boy and the boy liked her back. :)  We talked about this for a while because she was very uncomfortable with the whole situation. She wasn't sure what made her more nervous, the possibility of rejection or that he may want to hang out.

So what's the big deal?  She was thirteen, which can possibly go down as the most awkward 365 days in any person's life.   

But I think there's a difference between an awkwardly-average kid, and one who may have deeper issues going on.  A child like Jordan worried about being uncomfortable and awkward.  I'm no expert, but I'm fairly certain this could only make matters worse. I may have been ridiculously dorky at this age, but I sure in heck didn't worry about being that way.  I guess I was blissfully clueless.

Could this be what separates "average" people from those who have more serious anxiety?  If you're worried about the level of your uncomfortable-ness, that kind of separates you from the other goofy kids. You're worried about being worried, which ultimately leads to more worry.  This can't be good.

Today I have a much better understanding of how this cycle feels.  As I have written before, life has a way of changing people. 💩

All I knew was I didn't want her anxiety to stop her from participating, and having a "normal" teenage life. 

Thank you.

Us Too

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Single Parenting- A Journey for the Strong

After writing my last post I began thinking about those single parents out there.

First of all, in my mind you are the real life heroes.  Parenting is the most difficult job in the world when there are two people juggling the responsibilities.  I imagine that at times, with one parent, it would feel nearly impossible.  Then throw into the mix a child who may be struggling with mental illnesses.  Damn!  Again, you are my heroes.

That being said, this only helps to drive home the importance of reaching out to friends, loved ones and professionals for help.  Not only might you find coping strategies, gain perspective, feel less lonely, and build stronger relationships, but according to Laura Greenstein who wrote a post in NAMI, you may also be helping to stop the mental illness stigma.

Go You!

Thank you.

Us Too

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Chipped Away

I think I've made it abundantly clear that Adam being out of work and us paying for health insurance out-of-pocket was a huge stressor.  Add into the mix watching your precious thirteen year old struggle with daily tasks such as eating, showering and getting out of bed, and damn... 

It's interesting how when life slowly chips away at you, a person can begin to change.  Here's what I mean: I'm not a risk taker.  At all.  I actually find taking risks to be reckless and irresponsible.  So for me to have written:

"So, is the world pushing Adam and I towards starting up a brewery?"  I must have been feeling totally out of control; like we were running out of any and all other options.

Here's the brief background on this whole brewery idea:  Adam had been brewing beer on and off for around 15 years, and people seemed to enjoy his product.  He had the desire/dream to one day open up a brewery.  In my brain nothing could have sounded more scary/risky/ridiculous, but during this stressful time I wrote:

"Do we have what it takes to do this? Apparently we really need to focus on our strengths without getting angry and putting each other down. I think I'm very close to being able to do this, which is not easy for me Adam can research and brew- be the creative one. It makes him happy to create. I could be the organizer- the doer and the motivator."

What's the point to this somewhat off-topic post?  I guess it's that no matter how difficult it can be to help heal your struggling child, and how close you are to totally losing your shit, if you're fortunate enough to be sharing your life with someone, you have no choice but to rely upon and support each other. 

Adam and I were at least attempting to get ourselves onto the same page, even if this was difficult. I wasn't sure we had any other choice.

Thank you.

Us Too