Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Ashlynd's Post about Body Image!

It's Ashlynd again! I hope everything is going well for everyone! This post is for those who struggle with body image. Everyone has felt this before, some more than others. I have felt it before, especially when my anxiety was bad! I have felt worthless before, as well. But that was when I turned to God! And He has helped me to realize that there is no such thing  as a physically ugly person, because He makes no mistakes! He made you perfect, just the way you are!  Those added features that He has given you, some which you may not like, are what makes you beautiful and unique!  If He hadn't of added those features, you would not be unique, and different from everyone else!  And if He hadn't of made us unique, we'd all look the same! If you are struggling with body image, just know that you are beautiful, no matter what you look like or what illness you suffer from! You don't have to try to look different for anyone, because you are already perfect in God's eyes, and that's what matters! Share this to anyone you feel needs to hear this, and feel free to let me know your story and if what I've been writing has helped you! <3 XO, Ashlynd

Friday, 13 March 2015

Irate teacher

Accomodating our expectations of students with mental challenges.

This post is geared towards those working with children within the school system. It amazes me how obvious it is for us to acknowledge the needs of students with physical needs (Although probably could be better) but not the requirements of those students suffering from mental challenges. There is still much work to be done.

For example, if a physically challenged student is not capable of partaking in gym class, I would expect that he/she would not fail this class because they were not capable of participating. In the same light, I would hope that my daughter with Tourette syndrome, OCD and ADD would not be expected to pass every class by the same expectations as those students without these challenges. I, by no means, expect my daughter to cruise through school without any effort on her part. I expect her to do her absolute best. Unfortunately, her anxiety often times takes up so much of her thoughts and energy that it makes retaining any extra info nearly impossible.

This is not a post against my daughter's school. They are accommodating and continue to keep me informed of her progress. This is a post to enlighten schools on how to help those students with mental challenges that inhibit they're ability to learn.

The following site shows many ways that schools can help their students flourish.


Response to previous post by a school teacher:(
Teachers know that TOOOO OFTEN the kid is just hiding behind these labels. They use add and adhd as an excuse to get out of trouble. How is it that schools ran perfectly for hundreds of years before we started making excuses? Did add just recently develop? I think PARENTING is the biggest thing that has changed. For hundreds of years a paddle solved 99% of school problems and the belt at home took care of business there. Now schools cant even expel SERIOUSLY BAD KIDS because they can hide behind a "behaviour disorder"
so they get to disrupt a class DAILY and the other kids suffer.....but its OK BC we have to accommodate their needs.

My response:


Teacher's final response:

That is why we need 2 tracks of schools. One for special needs and one for the regular kids. But liberals pushed for inclusion, which hurts everyone and helps nobody

What do you think?

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Ashlynd again!

Hi! I just wanted to ask if people would be willing to share their stories in the comments, and if what I wrote has helped you! I'd love to hear :)


Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Ashlynd's Update!

                                      One Year Ago...

One year ago, in January, was the last time my mom wrote on this blog, to share about how I (Ashlynd!) was doing. But let me back up!

Before November of 2014, I wasn’t doing very well. Worry was on my mind 24/7, and it didn’t leave much room for anything else! School was an issue; I was barely in class because I was so worried, therefore I was missing a lot, which then made me even MORE worried, and overwhelmed at the thought of all the work I was missing. I desperately wanted to be like “other kids” who could go to school, and go to friends’ houses without worrying. I was missing out on a lot with my friends too! I felt like I always had this “dark cloud” over me, with no sunlight streaming through. And then just as I started going to school again (reluctantly, but at least I was going!) my dad picked me up from school (I wouldn’t take the bus) and told me that the program called, and that I would be going on Monday (it was Friday!) This program was one that took me 10 months to get into. It was the one that caused me to ask questions from dusk ‘til dawn, (like I usually did!) But it was also the one that would, as cheesy as it sounds, change my life. For the better!

I went to that program on Monday, had a meeting with some of the team that worked there, and signed LOTS of papers!

Skip forward to a while later, I still had anxiety, and it definitely wasn’t easy being 3 hours away from home, living 5 days a week in a hospital-like setting with people and kids I didn’t know. But I was coping, and although I didn’t notice it yet, I was gaining independence. Something I hadn’t had much of in years (that makes me sound old :/ ) I wasn’t going to the staff there to ask question after question. I was more or less figuring it out on my own. If I became worried, I went to my room where I would be able to breathe deeply for a while, and once I felt better, I’d go outside of my room, and talk to the staff or my new friends about something OTHER than my worries!

 Now, here I am, done the program, and feeling amazing! Worries really only cross my mind like other people’s would, although my family is a worrisome family! I wanted to give advice to anyone out there feeling the way I did. It really hurts my heart to hear about people who are going through what I did, because I know exactly how they feel! I’ve been there. And my advice is one that you’ll hear all the time: Never give up. That’s easier said than done, but just know that these experiences are shaping you into the person you were destined to be! And God has big plans for everyone! Something that’s also helped me is dreaming through rough experiences, because then you’ll realize all the amazing things you’ll do with your life once you’re better, but wait until you’re fully better before going for it, because then you’ll be able to fully enjoy it! My dreams are to be a singer, be on Ellen, and be one of those inspiring singers who help others, and help them get through whatever it is they’re going through! And I wouldn’t be able to help people had I not gone through what I did! So to anyone out there going through severe anxiety, keep your head up! God has BIG plans for you! Share this to anyone you feel would need to hear it! BTW, check out my YouTube channel for singing videos coming up! -Ashlynd Surette!

<3 Sincerely, Ashlynd Surette!

Friday, 24 January 2014

I think I can. I think I can...

Today is not a terrible day, but one of neutrality. I'm not feeling great nor am I feeling bad. It feels like my body is going through all my day to day tasks, but my brain is on autopilot.

My daughter has been experiencing depression for the last few months, which is a complex enough matter for any adult to comprehend, let alone a twelve year old child. Needless to say to those of you walking in similar shoes, repetition has not been only "the word of the day" for weeks now, but my nemesis as well.

By the word repetition, I mean I must repeat the same answers over and over again. When she asks "When will the doctor call back?" my answer is "I don't know for certain, but I trust it will be sooner than later." When she asks "When will I feel better?"  I answer "I don't know for certain, but I trust it will be sooner than later."  When she asks "When will I notice an improvement from the increase in my medicine?" I repeat the same thing, knowing its not the last time.

Out of curiosity I googled  mental health of parents of children with special needs to see if I was alone in my emotional exhaustion. I found this article written by Seth Meyers and Katie Gilbert entitled "Pity the parents of special needs-Part one" (The demands of having special needs children have a definite effect on parents.) What an insight it was to hear my emotions mirrored in, not only a parent of a child with special needs, but a clinical psychologist none the less.

This excerpt from his article put a bit of wind back into my sails. It also reiterated the importance of  training mental health workers to sympathise, empathise and better understand not only the emotions of the youth they are attending to, but those of their caregivers as well.

2. The moods of the parents of SN (special needs) kids suffer in a major way because the daily home environment is so demanding.
Elgar and colleagues (2004) found that being the mother of a child with mental illness is associated with high levels of distress and depression. In addition, Barkley and colleagues (1992) found that mothers of children with mental illness were two to three times more likely to be depressed than mothers of healthy children. Well, this research comes as no surprise to me. Half the time, I don’t know if I’m exhausted, frustrated or depressed—I just know I’m not myself. When you are a working adult without kids, you have the ability to come home after work and unwind. When you work and come home to kids, there’s always work to do. But when you come home to SN kids, there’s rarely a moment of peace until it’s time for bed—if you're lucky. 

How true.

Read the full article here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-is-2020/201310/pity-the-parents-special-needs-children-part-one

Monday, 20 January 2014

Medical or mediocre?

My daughter spent close to a month in the psychiatric unit at the IWK as to better diagnose her anxiety. After seven long years dealing with this debilitating aversion, the doctors there prescribed her the medicine that changed her life for the better.

Unfortunately, along with positive outcomes with anxiety, depression reared it's ugly head. I am not completely convinced if the depression is that which doctors were concerned would develop during her teen years or if it is some form of premenstrual dysmorphic disorder.

To better help my child I called our family doctor, expecting to make an appointment to discuss the matter. I spoke with the receptionist who asked me to explain my reason for calling. After doing so she answered that there were no openings at this time, and that my best bet was to ask a pharmacist for some homoeopathic remedies to the problem. What?

A few days later I did just that. I felt silly asking the question and the pharmacist appeared dumbfounded. I explained what my family doctor's receptionist had told me to do. The pharmacist told me that homoeopathic remedies were basically for period symptoms such as cramping and bloating... Now what?

Refusing to let my daughter's depression go unattended, I eventually spoke with a child psychiatrist who gave me the "ins and outs" of childhood depression and the capabilities of diagnosing the reasons and severity of it. Ok, that matter is settled, but what about that of the physician's office?

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Playing doctor (of psychiatry)

As is customary, the information collected at the IWK was forwarded to our family doctor's office. To reduce the need for us to travel back and forth to Halifax, and keep the fluidity of her progress going, the doctor at the IWK asked our family doctor to keep my daughter's prescriptions up to date.

Its funny how our family physician had no time to see us just a few weeks ago (and "sent a fool further" by suggesting we speak with a pharmacist about her progressing depression), but had the time to fit us in once the IWK asked that they do so.

What does that say about my doctor's perceived importance of a 12 year old's ongoing battle with depression, or any mental illness for that matter? If her receptionist would have been blatantly honest by admitting that they were unsure or unable to help her, It would have been a much easier pill to swallow.

To the dismay of my daughter and I, we reluctantly made our way to her doctor's appointment, knowing full well it was a necessity in order to have her prescription elevated. The doctor spoke on and on about how we may want to purchase a $300.00 light that would replace the common sunlight we absorb during the warmer months. Perhaps her depression was due to the stress of school. "Was she being bullied?", she asked.  She said no.

The clincher! The doctor began talking about self harm and suicide. Not for just a few moments, but on and on. My daughter who has three types of anxiety and OCD got quite uncomfortable but the doctor never noticed the fright in her eyes. She continued to suggest that if my daughter had any plans of killing herself that she tell us about it, (wait for it) so we could hide our knives and/or rope or anything else she may use to end her life.

If her depression developed into a plan for suicide I would not be hiding possible self harming paraphernalia, I would be admitting her to the IWK hospital to receive much needed therapy!

We both left from the appointment deflated and stoic. It was apparent to me that the doctor lacked understanding of her illness. In this case I believe she should have just written a new prescription as she was advised to do, and not played psychiatrist. In a perfect world all doctors would have a better understanding of mental illness and have sympathy, compassion, and perhaps even empathy for their patients. 

Luckily the psychiatrist from the IWK wrote us:

 "I am concerned as to what is occurring and your seeming lack of follow up from psychiatry. I am also in bridge water some Saturdays and would be willing to see her there if u do not find services elsewhere. Send me your concerns." 

We are delighted of this news and are happy to meet him closer to home.

Being my child's advocate is my most important role in life, and hers.