It's been a while since I've last posted anything on our website and I decided I would do some updating today.
I appreciate all the visits we have received over the last couple of years. It's awesome to know that so many have found this as a resourceful website. I contemplated on letting this website go but, I've decided to keep it going. I will try to update as much as I can.
Let me give you an update on what's been going on. Daniel has been doing well. He had a job that lasted about a month. I don't think he was quite ready for it. I'm just proud of him for finding a job on his own. Right now he is enjoying his summer. He isn't ready for school but, what teenager is? I'm hoping that he will be more focused and determined to get through high school. He has managed to get himself down to taking only two medications. His last hospitalization was about 6 months ago. It's been a learning experience for us all but, especially for him. He will become an adult in a few months and that is a bit scary for me and I know it's scary for him. I don't know what is ahead of us. I just hope that it continues to go the way it is now. It's so important to keep him on his current care plan and I pray that he makes the right decision about his mental health condition.
I have about nine months left of school and I pray I can make it through. It's been a tough 2 years and I can't wait to finish. On another note, I decided a few months ago to keep myself from participating in the mental health community. I made a personal choice for the sake of Daniel. As a parent, I can speak for hours about my experiences with other parents and help them find the resources they need but, I believe that it's Daniel's turn to share his life and experience with the world now. As I mentioned a long time ago on a previous post, I wanted to create the pathway for him and I believe that it's now his time to continue the dialogue. I know he has it in him to help many more people. I think once he gets the opportunity it will liberate him from all that he has feared his whole life. Keep an out for him.
I will still be around to help and if there are parents out there that need it. You can reach me through email or on our Facebook page.
Have a great time week!
It's been a long time since I've followed up on my website. I've been super busy with nursing school and I pray that everything goes well and I can finish by the end of the year. I'm ready for a change.
Let me fill you in on Daniel. As of January, he is now seventeen years old. (Yea, I can't believe it) He has become a very mature teen. Although he still has his moments of uncertainty and still battles those inner demons at times; he has improved quite a bit. A couple of weeks ago, he walked into the house and was so excited to announce that he had found himself a job. Yes, a J-O-B! He made sure to emphasize how he managed to do it on his own. I was really taken off guard but, I was very proud of him. You see all this time he has relied on MOM to take care of things for him but, this time he did it on his own. I guess this is what happens when you have a teen with mental health issues that is starving for independence.
I am very proud of him for it but, I worry. I worry because I don't know how long this will last and I don't want him to end up disappointed should anything happen and he loses his job. I am not trying to be Negative Nelly, I just know the reality of things when it becomes too much for him to deal with. It isn't a hard job but, he also has school to take care of. I still get the messages from school about him hearing and seeing things. Like this morning, I got a text from him about seeing things. It never goes away. Everything affects his illness. The basic necessities of life such as sleep, food and water. If there isn't enough of this in his life; that "monster," that we hate so much creeps back in and disturbs him but; those aren't the only things that aggravate it. The last hospitalization was a month ago and we don't know exactly what triggered it. Triggers that are unknown are hard to cope with and are the most stressful to deal with. I just pray that it will get easier for him as he gets older.
The one thing that I have really held on to is HOPE. Sometimes I'm told that he won't be able to live on his own, that he won't be capable of holding a job, that he will always need to be cared for by someone. I really can't say that they are right without giving him a chance. So far he is on the right track and I thank God for giving him this opportunity to show all those that have doubted him, that he is still a person regardless of his illness and with consistent support by family; he can achieve anything he puts his mind to do.
Hello all, it's been a while that I've been on to give an update. First off, I want to say Daniel has been doing okay. We still have some issues but, they are minor compared to what they use to be. He has been very active and keeping himself busy. He has been working on becoming a responsible young man. Hopefully we can continue on this path. So far our roller coaster ride has been somewhat smooth but, you can never tell when the next bump is coming.
Today I participated on a segment with CNN's Pam Brown. The subject was over the mother of the Oregon shooter and if she should be held responsible for the actions of her son with Asperger's. I don't think I gave a great answer to that. So I will do so here. Whether people read it and acknowledge it and respond, it's totally up to the reader but, this is solely my own opinion and I speak on my own behalf not of others.
First of all, I don't know the full story. Usually we don't ever know the full story but, what I do know is that life with someone that has a mental health diagnosis can really suck. It doesn't matter if they are young or old. IT SUCKS!
As far as I know, Asperger's is not considered a mental health disorder, it is a Pervasive Development Disorder. Anxiety, depression, hyperactivity and OCD are SYMPTOMS and are at RISK for developing Schizophrenia, ADHD. There are no medications for Asperger's but, there are medications to treat the symptoms.
Second, I will not judge another parent. I will not say they are not a good parent and I most definitely will not blame them. Reality is this, our MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM SUCKS. I blame the government for failing to fix this broken system. Instead of focusing on fixing the problem, they focus on gun issues and the bad parenting of someone that also just lost her child. The first question I was asked today was if I was shocked to hear that the mother of the shooter took him shooting and gave him access to guns knowing he had mental health issues...and my answer should have been NO! I didn't give a straight answer but, it should have been NO!! I wasn't shocked at all. In fact, I bet she tried to bond with her son in a way a father would. I've taken my son fishing and shooting. In fact, he learned how to handle a gun and he is a great shot but, once he tried to take his own life, that was all taken from him. As a former single mother, I know what it's like to try to fill the void of my boys not having a father around them. I was the only mom out near the river fishing with her boys and getting her hands dirty; touching worms and handling the fish. I was with him and Jose when we learned how to shoot and were taught how to appropriately clear our gun and put it safely away. Does that make us negligent parents? We knew he has a mental health disorder. Did we expect him to try to take his own life so young? NOOO!!! Just because he lives with us doesn't mean we know everything that is going through his head. Would I have reported him if he made mentioned to me that he wanted to kill people at school??? Hell yeah but, I know what I would have received as an answer if I called a hospital for admission. They would have asked for a plan and if he didn't have one, they would have told me to keep an eye on him. They would have explained to me that unless he had already hurt himself or others, there would not be a reason to admit him. How do I know this????? I know this because I've gone through it. I've been told that many times on different occasions when I had tried to get my son admitted for suicidal or homicidal ideations. The criteria for admission is ridiculous but, yet they want to blame the guns or the parents for our children's behavior. The government has been given multiple wake up calls and yet, they can't seem to get their heads out of their asses long enough to realize that they are the problem. I pray that everyone that lost their loved one that day in Oregon, including the mother of the shooter finds peace and comfort soon.
Well I'm off to teach my NAMI class tonight. Until next time....
This year we will be participating in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention walk. Please help us raise some funds for this foundation that could benefit from our help. If you would like to join our team but, don't reside in the San Antonio area; you can sign up as a virtual walker.
As you know, Daniel has tried to take his own life and we lost someone in our family to suicide. It is something that is so hard to deal with and so many people are affected by it.
For those of you that have submitted the name of a loved one lost to suicide and is listed on our Remembrance page. I will be listing their name on the back of our shirts and we will be walking in their memory.
We have 29 people that have signed up for our team. Let's keep it going. Please help by joining our team.
Have a great day!
It's been about 2 months since I last posted anything. I've been pretty busy with school, running a business, and raising kids. Life is hectic but, I thought I would give an update.
Daniel has been doing great. He has been active and keeping busy. It has really helped him out. When we notice him different; we get him going again. He was pretty active in his brother's baseball team as an assistant coach. It gave him a sense of importance and purpose. We went to his doctor's appointment and since he has been doing well. He may be discontinuing some of his medications. He is also now going to be seeing his therapist once a month. Huge step from going twice a week, then once a week and now once monthly. I hope that it works out. Although, I'm a little apprehensive about it because school will start in August again. That is always a huge trigger for anxiety. Thankfully, both his doctors are great when we need something in case of an emergency. We've been able to manage anything that comes along and so far he has been hospital free for a while. I pray that we can keep it that way. We are definitely a work in progress.
The best advice I can give any parent when it comes to older teens with a MI, is keep them busy. Daniel has been mowing lawns and making some money. We gave him the opportunity to make money to purchase his own school clothes. This seemed to have really worked out. We're testing the waters by giving him some independence and teaching him how to manage his money. He has managed to raise $200 and has successfully acquired some steady work with lawn care. Since he is now sixteen and stable, we felt this was the best time to start teaching him. It will help once he becomes an adult. He has really impressed me with his dedication. As parents, we should never give up on hope. I know some parents are told different by the doctors and are easily discourage to believe that their child could one day be productive adults but, don't fret over that. Always remember that your children have you to help prove them wrong. When you think it's impossible..think again.
On another note, I went to Washington D.C. in May. I was invited by the Treatment Advocacy Center to be a part of the 4% and help support Rep. Tim Murphy, who recently re-introduced his Bill HR-2646 The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act to Congress. I had the pleasure of meeting him and several other families that have loved ones with mental illness. It was a great experience and I was so grateful to be included in this event. The one person I was very happy to meet was Joe Bruce. He and I have a friend in common; Mr. Wayne Drash of CNN. Wayne wrote both of our stories for CNN. His story is a tragic one but, also one that everyone should read to understand how bad the system is when it comes to mental health care. Please read his story on the CNN Website.
I apologize for not keeping in touch like I had been. I have been keeping up with all that has been going on with mental health and I try to keep the Facebook page up to date with the latest information. If you haven't liked our page yet, please go to https://www.facebook.com/savingdaniel13 I try to provide the latest articles on types of mental health information. As far as the organization, it is still a work in progress.
I hope that everyone has a great weekend and stays cool for the summer. It's getting super hot here in Texas.
As always, keep the faith and hope going..you can't go wrong.
Since my last update on Daniel, I mentioned we were back on the roller coaster. Since his last admission, he has been doing better. I have come to the conclusion that we will forever live on this roller coaster even on the good days. The visual hallucinations have returned but, only when stress is at it's peak and that's usually only with school. As any parent with a child or teen with a mental illness should know, school is the biggest trigger. All we can do is continue to be supportive and be advocates for our children.
The best thing about last month, was Daniel finally meeting his older brother for the first time. He was pretty excited. Very nervous but, very excited. They spent a little time together and could possibly be seeing each other again soon. I was very happy for him. I hadn't seen him smile so big like he did that day. Daniel also has been active in coaching baseball for his little brother's team. It's a great way to boost his self-esteem and give him a sense of purpose. I have not heard him say anything about wanting to give up on his life since his last admission back in February but, it doesn't mean that he doesn't think about it. That's a struggle I will always have to live with. It's something many people don't understand. Some people think that it just takes convincing them to stop thinking that way or feeling that way, that will cure the thought of suicide. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. Mental illness is a disease, it will take you when you least expect it. It's a monster that sits back and waits for the most vulnerable and unstable times of your life to take you away from your loved ones. The only way to stop it is to watch for warning signs, symptoms of depression, atypical behavior, mood swings that shift from despair to calm. Click on the hyperlink for more information The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Always remember a simple kind gesture could save a life...
May is Mental Health Awareness month and green is the color to wear for support. Let's raise awareness the whole month of May to stomp out the stigma and to continue the conversation on mental health. Share your stories, they educate those that don't understand the affects of mental illness on families and their loved ones with a diagnosis. Saving Daniel will be turning green for the month of May.
Have a great week!!
Just when you think everything is good. In the back of your mind, you suddenly hear "Put your safety belt on" and then the phone rings and it's your son with a worrisome tone on the other end, telling you that he is in police custody and you need to pick him up. As much as you dread the ride, you find yourself slowly treading up the first loop preparing for the first drop. That first drop for me was hearing from the police officer that my son was under arrest and was going to be put under Emergency Detention and transferred to the local hospital for suicidal thoughts. What prompted his decision was not only my son's statement of having the suicidal thoughts but, witnessing my son miss a passing train by a second. His impulsive idea of "will I make it or not," was "will I make it, I hope not." My first reaction was a mixture of things. Anger, anxiety, and an enormous amount of sadness. I was grateful that he missed the train by a second but, what if he hadn't. I know I can't think like that but, the thought has crossed my mind on multiple occasions. I swallow my emotions to avoid the idea of it but, what does a parent in my situation do? I can't keep him "caged up" (as he puts it) for the rest of his life. I'm not sure if this is considered a suicide attempt but, I know the intent was there. At the moment, I'm at a loss and I can't figure out what else to do. I have done everything I can possibly do to help him. I have laid it all out for him and at times I have even handed it to him but, what do you do when they refuse to help themselves? How do you keep them from hurting themselves? How do you keep death from happening?
On September 23, 2012, my son attempted suicide. Since then; the trauma of losing him when I least expect it is always on mind. The possibility is always there because statistics tell us that once it's been attempted and it's unsuccessful it will eventually happen again. As I have mentioned on a previous post, he tried again but this time at school. We made it 13 months without any hospitalizations but, broke the record when he needed to return twice in November. Since then I've notice that it didn't take long for him to bounce back. A huge step towards the path we need to continue on. If there is one thing I've never given up on has been HOPE. It is the only thing that keeps me going. Our circumstances are so much different than many others but our story started off the same way. We have been fortunate to have the great doctors and the great team at his school that keep him safe and do what needs to be done to help him. I almost dislike saying anything because I feel guilty that many others continue to struggle with their own child/children in the same shoes but, then I realize that our story promotes HOPE. It gives HOPE to those that feel there isn't any in there horizon. Our story continues and even when Daniel becomes an adult, we will continue to advocate for children's mental health and we will continue to help parent's by giving them the only three gifts we can give and that's SUPPORT, EDUCATION and HOPE.
As of December 22, 2014, Saving Daniel Foundation officially became a registered non-profit organization in the state of Texas. It has taken me sometime to get to this point but, I've had a lot of faith that with time and patience I could get here. Our next step is to get our IRS status and with time it will happen. For now, I have a lot of work to do to get Saving Daniel on the right track in the mental health community. I will keep everyone updated.
As you can see, I have a lot to be grateful for but, out of all of that the best thing is that my son has made it through another year of his life. Happy 16th Birthday Son!!! I can never explain with words the amount of love I have for you. I seriously wouldn't know how I could cope without you in my life and I thank God that you are still here. Thank you for being a loving son, a loving brother, and for having such a huge heart for other's in your shoes. I don't know what it's like to walk in your shoes but, know that I understand how difficult your life can be but, never forget that you are always my priority. I love you! ---Mom
I'm a mother with an agenda to save her son from the grips of his mental illness and stop stigma so that those who suffer in silence can seek help without fearing the worse. Join me on this roller coaster ride..you're no longer alone.