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New School Year and an Old Bully

cartoon image of cyber bullying

With school getting back in session soon I can’t help but worry about my oldest daughter and the problems she had for years with one girl and her group of friends. My daughter was bullied for 4 full years until I finally said, “I am done with this like it or not I am going to the school!” She begged me not to she was embarrassed and felt it would make it worse. Well she was wrong, it didn’t make it worse it gave her some relief for me to stand up for her and make the school accountable to stop the bullying. Finally I see some confidence coming back to my daughter and she has gotten her drivers license and become quite independent. Her confidence has risen greatly. I am very proud of her!

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School is Almost in Session

Wow can you believe the summer is almost over! I know we can’t believe it, spent the entire summer closed up in the house being sick. Each one of us getting the flu starting with my youngest the day after they got out of school. She was sick for 3 full weeks then I got it, sick for 3 full weeks and still struggling with the congestion, then my oldest got it, sick for full 3 weeks and still coughing and congested.Image of kids at school bus stop

My youngest starts back to school 27th of August, and my oldest 04th of Sept, so yesterday we were out all day long shopping for clothes. Spent way too much and were all so exhausted at the end of the day we went to bed at 7pm. Not good for me as I slept for 8 straight hours and woke up at 3:30am. Yikes!! Going to be a NAP day for me! We had a great time shopping, had tons of luck for my youngest and got some good things and good deals for my oldest. My oldest has the worst anxiety and usually we have a real hard time getting clothes for her but we had a fun time and found a few things, Yay!

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Blankz Designable Toys Giveaway

Once again I am honoured to be able to share a giveaway of a blogger friend, this great toy you can design yourself will be a wonderfully fun time for your child or grandchild or any child you chose to give it to.  Please see all the info below and enter to win, this giveaway is being offered by CouponFreeStuff.com. Don’t delay get entered to win now!

CouponFreeStuff’s Review:

As a Nana to a beautiful 3 year old boy, I am always looking for new and interesting toys for him to play with and grow his imagination.  Sometimes that is a very hard thing to do as kids now seem to be fixated on electronics and he is no different even at his age.  I want him to grow up like my children did, with very little exposure to video game and such.  Now I know this may be a little unrealistic of me, but I feel kids are now missing out on being kids, playing and using their imaginations to fuel their play.

Blankz designable toys are just what the Nana ordered.  A toy that is a clean slate and allows a child to create whatever their little minds and hearts can come up with.  Hallelujah! No batteries, video screens or controllers, just good old pretend.   I bet when I was a kid the word pretend came out of my mouth 100 times a day: pretend you’re a dinosaur, pretend I am chasing you  and so on.

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A Great Video to Stop Bullying…

I came across this video I believe on twitter. I am impressed by it and the message.

My daughter was bullied for more than 4 years, until I went to the school and reported it and kept going back to report it! The damage has been done and it was so bad that she would come out of school crying. Her self esteem is non-existent which started when the bullying began.

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Packing, Moving and Boat Show?

Wow had an exhausting and Fun weekend!! 

Image of moving boxesMy mom decided to move which you already know if you read some of my other posts. She is living out-of-town and caring for an elderly woman, which she is really good at, has compassion for elderly people.  She came in town thursday evening, and Friday morning, my oldest daughter and I went to start helping her pack.  We had Friday and Saturday to pack and load the trailer. Sunday my brother was coming to drive the trailer out to her new place and unload it.  My mom has a ton of stuff so it was quite a job but we did it, also with the help of my Youngest daughter and then Carl came Saturday afternoon and absolutely rescued us. He helped us move the heavier items like the washer and dryer etc. He is my Hero on so many levels. :) We were so tired that it would have taken us forever to get it all done. 

Even tho packing was hard work and we are all exhausted it was nice to spend two straight days with my girls. Image of Yachts

Today, Sunday we went to the boat show!  My first boat show by the way! I was in awe of some of these boats, and Yachts! They were huge and gorgeous, with every option you can imagine.  Gorgeous is the only word that fits.  It was a beautiful warm sunny San Diego day! Being on the water looking at these boats was an amazing experience Carl was mesmerized by the boats and he wants one so badly!  I know he will eventually have one but he wants to buy a house first.  After the boat show we went to eat at a restaurant called Joe’s Crab Shack, some of you may know it!! 

I love doing this stuff with Carl, it’s so nice to be experiencing different things in town!! I have lived my entire life here and not ever been to a boat show!  Being so comfortable with Carl really lets me appreciate the things we do together. :) 

Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Image: Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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A Victory in Finding a New Psychiatrist Through an HMO

I have possible won the struggle with the HMO to get my kids treated by a psychiatrist!? 

Happy Days!!

I am ecstatic!! I just got a call from the HMO (health Insurance) that I was beginning to despise and they set an appointment for one of my girls to see the psychiatrist today!!
If you read my other posts about the new HMO insurance policy you will understand how relieved I am today!!

I will have to update you all this evening when I get home from the appointment… Lets hope it goes well!! :)

So funny but this feels like a Victory for me!! :)  Woo hoo!!!

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Dinner Out and Anxiety…

Have you ever seen an adult or child out in a Public place with a blank stare, staring straight forward and looking really unhappy? They have that look like they are trying to disappear into the back ground and they don’t make eye contact at all. 

That was my daughter this last Friday night when we went to dinner with some friends.  Unfortunately the restaurant choice was a noisy, crazy, fun and somewhat obnoxious place.  It is a fun place but my daughter, who is 15, has serious anxiety and is Bipolar2, couldn’t take it.

Of course all the adults in the area kept trying to talk to her and the waiter was down right picking at her because she was so blank.  Really, she was petrified and every person that insisted on talking to her and trying to make her smile made it ten times worse but how do you tell people to stop with out embarrassing her? I have never over the past 10 years had any way to tell people to stop with out it being an issue and them wanting further explanation.  If you explain its anxiety they don’t understand and want more information, which turns into a full discussion and embarrasses her. :(

So on this occasion I decided to start the fun.  I picked up a napkin, wadded it up and threw it at my other daughter.  See this restaurant you throw napkins around and do whatever make a huge mess. That started everyone at the table throwing napkins at each other and then expanded to the other people seated in the area.  Before I knew it the entire room was throwing napkins and wearing funny paper hats the waiters were making for them. The waiters and waitresses were throwing entire packages of napkins into the air and they were falling like large snow flakes. It was a ton of fun.

But there was my daughter still sitting in the same place with a blank look on her face and now she is annoyed as she has no tolerance for fun silly stuff when she feels that way.  At least not everyone was watching her and wondering what was wrong and there were no conversations on the fact that she has terrible anxiety and has since she was 5.

I just try to talk to her and keep her present and calm but she didn’t even eat dinner we took her meal home, she just couldn’t do it!  When we got home she was exhausted, that is what that type of anxiety will do to you.  She went straight to bed and slept late the next day! 

I hope that if you see anyone this uncomfortable you won’t keep at them if they don’t respond. I completely understand why people  talk to her at first because they want to help but when she doesn’t respond I wish people would let her be.  If there was something to be done to help her I would have already done it!! :)  

Information

This is a link to NIMH statistics on anxiety in children http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/1ANYANX_child.shtml

Facts & Statistics From Anxiety Disorders Association of America 

 Did You Know?
  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).
  • Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.
  • Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country’s $148 billion total mental health bill, according to “The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders,” a study commissioned by ADAA (The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,60(7), July 1999).
    •  More than $22.84 billion of those costs are associated with the repeated use of health care services; people with anxiety disorders seek relief for symptoms that mimic physical illnesses.
  • People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
  • Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
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Diagnosing my Daughter’s Symptoms…

Have you ever looked at your child and thought something is not right?  Well I had to do just that with my first child when she was around age 5… 

Like I said when my first child was about 5 yrs old, I realized that her moods and reactions toMy beautiful girl, My first born! things were not normal.  I would see her run inside from playing with friends and she would go to her bed and be pulling her hair out while saying she didn’t know why she was so mad.. Well at this point I knew something was wrong with me (although not what was wrong) so it wasn’t far off to think she would have issues as well.  I tried to work with her on it and nothing worked. :( It was so hard to see her be miserable she was losing all her friends and about to start Kindergarten and I knew this wasn’t getting better.  

So I focused on her and getting help for her…. All the while wondering what is going on in her brain.  She hated doctors she had been ill as a 3 yr old and stayed in the hospital a week and it wasn’t a decent experience for her.  She had also been diagnosed with a kidney reflux issue so she had to have tests done annually that were pretty traumatic for her.  

We went to many psychiatrists and some therapists looking for answers.  Why was my beautiful happy child so moody now and unhappy.  Why was she having fits of frustration over nothing and why was she having Night Terrors.  She has them for years she would be crying and screaming and running about the house but completely in her sleep and terrified!  It was impossible to wake her.  We would take her into the bathroom and turn on the light and talk to her and hold her till we could wake her.  That was terrible to see, but then it seemed to be happening to her in the day as well with these fits of frustration.  

Our experience with these so-called Doctors was not good.  They would label her just about anything to make us come back the next week… It was disappointing to say the least.  They would tell me she was afflicted with some disorder and order me to buy a book on it and I would and read it and know it was not what was wrong with her.  I couldn’t believe it not only are we putting out money for these doctors but we are buying books on an illness that she didn’t have ONE symptom from… grr its was frustrating. 

When she was 7 yrs old we went to see the doctor we have now, Dr S. is what we will call him.  Since I was in treatment as well I gave him my history and my family history and what was going on with my daughter.  He knew right away what it was, Bipolar2 disorder.  Heavily depressed and Hypo-manic highs, high levels of anger and anxiety etc.  Ok so now we know what it is, how do we treat it?  We started with meds right away.  I like him because even tho he is giving me medication for my child he tries small doses first as to not over medicate.  He does not want her overly medicated.  It took a year or more really to get her stabilizing but she was better able to deal with her feelings once we had some information on what it was.  She went to him once a week for some time till we had her leveled out.  We have then seen him once a month or on an as needed basis since then.  I am also now seeing him and so is her sister. (a whole other story in itself) 

This daughter of mine is now 15 yrs old.  She is brilliant, beautiful and capable of most things in life.  We have had our ups and down with Anxiety.  There were times that I couldn’t even take her to the store with out her freezing at the door and turning ghost white, she would then go on and on that she wanted to go home. Latched to my hand, tightly I might add, and quietly she would chant I want to go home, I want to go home over and over I would just keep her close and talk to her and once it got too bad we would leave.. then she would regain color in her face and be exhausted.   At this point those anxiety attacks are minimal most of the time she can handle it and function fine but when she can’t we try, then leave if needed.  She is learning more and more about her illness and how to cope and control some of it.  Obviously 15 yrs old means terrible attitude but we love her anyway.. LOL  

Her story is also one of Hope. She went from a disturbed child, who couldn’t concentrate in school to a beautiful teenager that has all A’s and B’s in Honor classes.  She works hard and is also learning to drive.  She excels at almost everything she does!  She is only missing the confidence she needs to exceed her own expectations.  We are working on it and she is improving.  

Well that’s my story in a nutshell there are obviously more incidences but generally this is how it all transpired..  

Remember:  When the World says Give Up,  Hope Whispers Try One More Time!! 

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Impulsive Over Spending Anyone???

Have you ever gone into a store thinking you would wander around but dying to buy something at a time when you have NO money??  You know you’re spending rent/mortgage payment but you do it anyway.. 

One of my many Bipolar symptoms is spending money when I don’t have any…Don’t get me wrong I don’t buy things we don’t need but I don’t have the money and I buy it anyway…  This is one of my many signs of my illness being Off Track, as I like to call it! 

The past 4 months or more I have done this each month.  I used to be able to pay my bills and just do without whatever, make ends meet no matter what!  Maybe we are light on food or what have you as I’m on a limited income and a single mom of 2 teenage girls but we would get by.  

I have done this for these past months and my bills are all late and I’m so mad at myself.  I have never in my life paid my bills late but as the economy dips lower and things are getting more and more expensive, I am losing control.   When I do this I  know it is going to make it a disaster and stress me out completely yet I do it anyway. Ugh the frustration is unreal and yet I do it again.  

Each month I am having panic attacks about how I will pay rent, praying that a family member will help me out.   All the while being utterly embarrassed of having to ask.   I have sold items  from the house , patio furniture etc..  The stress level is killing me, causing my symptoms to worsen. 

I’m frantic to fix the problem before my moods get unpredictable.  I am increasing and decreasing meds (doctors supervision).  Praying all the while that I will level out and not make a huge mess out of my finances and my life.  Every medicine change could mean deeper depression or further agitation but I have no choice I have to pray the outcome of a medicine change will be positive.  I am afraid, afraid of going back to the days that I couldn’t stand myself and losing my bit of control over this Bipolar depression. 

I am so mad at myself and exhausted as I struggle to get control and fail. I’m depressed along with agitated and that is frightening for someone with my illness.  It’s a vicious cycle and I’m sick of it. 

I won’t let it win, I will continue to be me, I will get through this time No matter what!!!  

I have great friends online and off and I appreciate every one of you, I couldn’t get through this life without you all.  I have met so many nice people and I am always amazed at how many people are affected by  mental illness whether it be their issues or a loved ones or a friend…. 

Thank you everyone! Your my rock!! 

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Bipolar & Relationships…

Have you had BAD relationships that you stuck with for an unknown reason?  I have!  My now ex-husband is one of them.

 Let me explain a bit; When I met my now ex-husband, it was through my brother (older).  They kept telling me how nice he was and how his wife walked out on him for her boss.  They had a one year old son and I felt bad for them.  Anyway, I met him and we had awesome chemistry and soon, very soon, decided we were in love.  What I didn’t realize was that I needed to belong somewhere, needed someone to love and someone to love me, but he wasn’t the one. 

Wanting to belong, and be loved was because I didn’t love me or even know me.  All I knew was this bipolar mind but I didn’t know about my illness it was still untreated.  Our relationship was rocky to say the least. We had this pull between us to each other but we didn’t agree on much and my moods got worse and worse.  I would fly off the handle at every turn over stupid things, like leaving the toilet seat up or the lid off the tooth paste, you just never knew what was next.  He didn’t and I didn’t know.   His little boy was adorable but we fought about him a lot. I wanted more rules for him and he wanted none.   

We began to live with each other almost immediately 3 months of dating and we were living together.  Not the best idea!  We were needy people and were in love, so we thought.   Many times of moving out and moving back in after fights, always me moving out.  We would fight and I would get into a rage and break down emotionally at the same time and I would pack my stuff and leave. I don’t know how many times that happened, it was many. 

We decided to have our first child in 1994, we were not married but i had no desire for marriage.  She was born 12/30/1995,  it took us a bit to conceive her.  He had just had back surgery (2nd one) November 29, 1995.  At the time I worked full-time at an insurance agency and only had 6 weeks to stay home.  My ex had to care for our baby till she was almost 1, even though he was in pain constantly.  He began taking more pain pills than he should have, and got really nasty.  We fought and fought but got through that time and decided in late 1997 to have another child.  She was born 02/07/1999.  

Backing up a bit.. When my first daughter was born my depression plummeted.  I had such horrible depression and I didn’t understand why.  My moods were up and down and I went into rages a lot, sometimes several times a day.  After about 3 yrs I began to realize this was just getting worse. Nothing had improved and I found myself raging about her room being messed up and things that in the scheme of life meant nothing.  I had no control, I had what I call out-of-body rages.  It was like I was watching myself do these things from above.  I never hurt her except with words and fear of me.  I think that is just as bad though.   I hated it and I set off to look for help… 

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As my Depression Progressed…

As the years went on my depression and moodiness got increasingly worse. I continued to withdraw from everyone and everything. I would walk through the hallways at school looking at the ground and NOT interacting with anyone. I had some nice people reach out but by high school I was so withdrawn I was like a robot. I didn’t know how to deal with my depression, had no self-esteem and lived in fear. I was afraid of how I would react to anything so I didn’t react at all. Unfortunately when I did I would rage and cry all at the same time. There was an incident in my Spanish glass where a kid was banging an empty desk between us on the back of my chair. I asked him to stop several times but then I lost it… I actually got up screamed at him and threw the desk across the room. Thankfully I didn’t hit anyone. The teacher sent him to the office. I was an emotional disaster area. Kids continued to use that against me and pick on me, I absolutely despised school!

High school was the hardest years for me in school. I withdrew so much that if anyone I did know would call out my name in a hallway I would completely ignore it and walk faster to my next class. I didn’t go to the lunch area for lunch I went to my next class and sat by the door and did homework. The anxiety of my illness was too much to take in a large group of people.

Then my second year of high school my mother made me get a job. That was really difficult as I couldn’t go out of the house alone unless I was going to school. I had been given a car that year but I had to pay for the costs. I attempted looking for a job but I didn’t get anywhere I was too shy and anxiety ridden to impress anyone. My mother knew someone in a local mall that new the owner of an ice cream store and they helped me get a job. I got through the interview and he hired me. That was the end of the school year so I was able to work many hours. It was difficult but I began to realize work

Me on 15th birthday!

was a great thing. It helped me feel worth while. Not like a ‘normal’ person but it got easier and easier to go to work, yet I couldn’t get gas in my car with out someone going with me. I had such high anxiety! If I tried to go to the gas station alone I would drive by it many times then go home hoping I would run out of gas. I was able the next school year to take 2 work experience classes so I was out of school at noon and working till 11pm. I loved it!

My moodiness continued to increase. I didn’t have tolerance for immature people or for people making fun of others. After some time I earned a promotion to assistant manager at the ice cream store. We had some girls that worked their that would actually make fun of the mentally handicapped when they were in the store. It was horrible they did weird gesture right in front of them and it would set me off. I told them many times to stop. It wasn’t good for the business and it was wrong to make fun of a person with a disability. They persisted and this one girl was the worst one and I pulled her aside one day and told her to stop it. She went out and continued to do it and I call her over, she was still doing it and I lost it. I actually smacked her across her face! Don’t get me wrong she deserved it but you cannot do that to people, I just lost it.

My employer obviously had a stern talk with me and I cried the entire time. I could not control my emotions no matter how hard I tried. He did not fire me, thank goodness. I worked their for years, then my mother opened a cosmetics store in another mall not too far away… She wanted me to work with her but I had to interview with her current husband who was jerk. I given the job and worked for her for a couple of years. You can imagine the relationship with my mother as an employer was not easy. Well difficult to say the least…..

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School During those years…

OK I just covered basically through 4th grade on what my home life was like and such… I want to explain today what I went through in school,with other kids, as a depressed child.

I was bullied by every confident child in the school… OK maybe not all of them but a lot of them. From the time I was in 1st grade and walked to school I had problems with being bullied. I got chased home daily by a couple of boys that would push me, smack me, poke me, and say really nasty things to me. It was so awful and I couldn’t figure out what I did to deserve it. Then one day I snapped, when one of the boys pushed me I stood up went directly to him and kicked him in his privates, hard. So I went home and told my mom and next thing I know the principle is calling. They were going to punish me for standing up to these boys that had bullied me for the school year. My mother had reported the issue to the principle before so she put him in his place, and I wasn’t punished just reprimanded. This type of thing went on through my schooling different kids and different schools but the same treatment.

These kids that are naturally bullies seem to have a knack for choosing the emotionally week kids to pick on. It is so hurtful to your self-worth and just made my depression worse. I did learn to stand up for myself more but always feared getting in trouble. I wanted people to like me so badly, but felt so worthless. Depression makes you feel so lost and different from others. I carried anxiety and fear with me every where I went. I was one of those kids that rarely spoke and always looks down when you are walking.

In these years, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade, I began to withdraw. I had less and less friends and just wanted to be left alone. Hated school, was gaining weight and getting made fun of by, what seemed at the time, everyone. The anger in me and that tornado of anxiety, fear and rage was growing and I would start to react strangely. Typically with Anger or Emotions, there were times my emotions were so out of control that I cried almost non-stop.

This wasn’t necessarily because of the way I was bullied but the way I interpreted my treatment by everyone in my life. Depression is like seeing the world through negative, dark foggy lenses. You really don’t see anything like others do, not at this age with the depression I had. My mother actually recognized that things weren’t good for me and I began having troubles breathing, Panic attacks I believe, so she took me to doctors but they couldn’t find anything wrong and it wasn’t alright then to discuss depression in a child. Thankfully for my children that has changed in our society, my girls both have inherited depression issues. I am more easily able to get them help since I have done research and found an excellent doctor to care for us all.. But once again I will talk about that later in my posts….

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Life as a Depressed Child…

Alright, I have caught you up on my Mother, who raised me. Thinking back my mother had severe depression, just like me! I want to be clear we actually had a good life outside of the emotional issues that were dragging us all down. We had pets and the general things kids need.

My depression started very young and it just grew and grew! I remember wanting to commit suicide, I was in the 4th grade, my friend knew I was really unhappy and I ended up telling her how I felt. I hated the way I was feeling but I felt ending my life would give me the relief I so desperately wanted. Depression fogged my mind so I couldn’t see beyond the darkness! We had moved many times and I never had friends due to my low self-esteem, but this year I had

Stephanie my life saver, this is her!

this terrific friend, Stephanie. Stephanie saved my life that year by caring about me, showing me I was lovable and could be cared about. After that I never considered suicide again, it just isn’t an option! (If you feel suicidal please talk to a good friend, call a doctor or a hotline. There are caring people who want to help simply look in your local phone book or search the internet for your local suicide hotline)

At about this age I began putting on weight. My mother really harped on my weight but that made me eat more, sneak food when she wasn’t looking. I had absolutely NO control over my emotional eating and I continued to put on weight. When I felt life was hopeless I would go out to the horses and sit in their corals with them. I talked to the horses and hugged on them, fed them grains and treats like sugar cubes. It made me feel better every time but it was short-lived. As I continued to gain weight I had to start wearing women’s sizes, that made me feel different from other kids. I couldn’t get the styles everyone was wearing and things just didn’t fit me right, and I already felt different from every one.

Every year I gained more weight, my self-esteem continued to plummet and I began feeling angry. The only way I could describe it was like a tornado of anger inside me constantly swirling. I could get no relief! I began to lash out often, and was on my moms bad side all the time! Never a good place to be believe me! I began hiding from my mom by sitting in the chicken coop or in the stalls with the horses so I wouldn’t have to deal with her. I spent many hours with my pets crying.

Then about 5th grade I began stealing cigarettes from my mom’s purse, and would sneak out into the field behind our home and smoke. Contractors were building homes in the field and for a long time they had deep ditches for the pipes to go in and I would hide in those. I thought maybe the cigarettes would help me feel better about myself. I know a child’s mind is a strange place, especially a depressed child. Honestly that’s what I thought would make me feel better and I was rebelling. I also started experimenting with a bit of alcohol I would sneak out of the house but I didn’t like that thank goodness.

There were times I would go to my dad’s for the weekend and I would come home to my room completely torn apart by my mother. Every drawer would be removed from my dresser and dumped in the middle of the room. Every item from my closet would be in that same pile on the floor, and my bed would be turned over then placed on top of the pile.

I am mentioning this because my mother was ill, she didn’t know it but she raged out of control often. These are symptoms of depression and I’m hoping to help people understand mental illness better. I’m honestly not whining about the abuse we suffered by the hand of my mother, I am over that and I accept her for who she is and know she did her best with us kids. She worked very hard all our lives. We turned out good so she must have done something right! These behaviors of my mothers were what I would swear every time they happened I would never treat my children the way I was, but you will hear about that later…

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