Aug 26, 2013


Monday: Took day off from program. Went to Psychologist to line up appt. Found out that his testing did NOT diagnose mental illnesses. I asked what the purpose would be for any testing. He said it would be for the purpose of finding brain damage and to check memory levels. 
Tuesday: Got call that the outpatient program was finding that the current levels of medications were not controlling the paranoia and delusions. Found out about problem on the bus. Counselor in charge told us that the psychologist needed to change his medication levels and that our son would need to go BACK into a psych ward. This was very sad news at first, but since Tuesday I have to admit that this is the best of any mental hospitals in our city. The gardens are nice, the staff VERY professional, and the facilities extremely clean and well run. Natural lighting comes through all the upper windows and side windows. Unlike the last two places, there are trees and grass to look at. The paintings on the walls are well done and there are positive mottoes painted as murals to encourage the patients.
Wednesday: In hospital. Visitation is during the evening meal so there is something to do with your loved one.
Thursday: same
Friday: same
Saturday: same
Sunday: Got call from our psychiatrist asking how we felt about our son's progress. It is great to find a doctor who actually asks this question. Most just call the shots and a nurse's aid calls later to report what's happened. Instead we were part of the process. We both agreed that the medication was now at correct levels to control the delusions and paranoia.
Monday: Our son is released from the hospital and signed up again for the outpatient program.
He seems much more driven to change for the better. We are seeing progress for the first time since the mental breakdown in late June.
He is still off of caffeine and other stimulants.
Today's 5 minute break has the best of titles. It's Terra Naomi's "Say It's Possible."
She's got an intoxicating voice as if she's singing just to YOU and know one else.
I like that.

from my garden

Aug 19, 2013


The third week after being released from the psychiatric ward had its ups and downs. Thankfully, it ended on a positive note.
Monday....Always wants to know if he has to go to the classes (PHP) and if he has to take his medicine. Took a long time to get him up in the morning. He stayed out way too late with friends.
Tuesday...Worst morning since out from the clinic. Was hostile towards and refused to take his medicine until we told him we would take him back to the lock up facility. Had to go outside to cool off. Hates everything. Had meeting with psychiatrist and staff. 
Met with new psychologist so that we could develop a safety plan and a plan of action for extreme threats and violence (when off meds).
Wednesday...Much better day. 
Thursday....Best day of the week. Had great time at YMCA playing basketball with old friend.
Friday...Had very hard afternoon. Wants car back. Skipped meds and stayed up until 3 am due to heartburn. Feared meds were killing him. Finally went to sleep.
Saturday...Slept all morning. Had family over to celebrate an event. Our son stayed very quiet the whole time. Eating out was not fun due to too high of expectations. Night was OK.
Sunday....Was too depressed to go to church. Had party in afternoon. Part of it was OK and part was to overwhelming emotionally.
Monday....Went to testing center to set up psych test. Had difficult night. Thought everyone was evil at YMCA. Thought hamburger patty was a form of cannabilism. Worried about sharks attacking him. Some mild delusions about food being old because it didn't have the newest bar code on the label.
Called brother to explain it to our son.
Time for a 5 minute break.
Here's a great guitar soloist names Sungha Jung. I used to play like this back in my younger days, but was never this well-versed. Great job!

summer 2013 is over
a flower from our garden

Aug 13, 2013


Today was difficult.
So much of me wonders if this is going to last forever.
We see a glimmer of hope only to
find such sudden and overwhelming regression the very next day.
I don't see how those of you working in mental health hospitals
can do what you do every day.
I can barely keep up with one patient (our son) let alone
My prayers are with you all.
As promised, I have a special song for you.
It's by Sidewalk Prophets and it's entitled "Help Me Find It".
Enjoy you break.

A flower from my garden

Aug 12, 2013


I'm so glad I'm writing all this down so that I can see where we've been and where we are going.
Our son is on week two of a Partial Hospital Program as part of his treatment for a mental collapse during this summer. Here's this week's review:
Week 2
Monday: Did not want to go to the treatment program. Did not want to take his meds and asked why we were doing all this. He is on 4 meds right now during this fragile time. Afternoon was good and he was in higher spirits.
Tuesday: Was more agreeable. Doctor added an med he used to be on for mood stabilization. This made a remarkable difference in a positive way.
Wednesday: Better day. Good night. Physical workout each night helps immensely with depression.
Thursday: Same good day as Wednesday.
Friday: Asked why he had to go to program. Difficulty taking meds, but finally agreed.
Saturday: We stayed home for most of the day and relaxed.Went to small party for a friend but was overwhelmed by noise. Went with brother to a coffee shop. This was better.
Sunday: Went to church for the first time in months. Better day.
Went out with friends all day and up until 10:00 PM at night. Too long of a day, but positive until having to take meds. 
Monday: Could not wake up in time to catch bus. Had to take him to classes.
All in all, there's very little depression this week and no violence or outward yelling.
He needs lots of space.
Downside: Short term memory is being wiped out by his medications. No long term effect, but still scary.
For today's 5 minute break, I'll take you to a wonderful song by Mandisa. If you've never experienced Mandisa, then hold on. She's a powerful positive influence in this world and I love her music!

drawing by Paul Klee

Aug 6, 2013


Our son was released from the hospital one week ago. A week that felt like a month.
Minute 1: Upon our greeting he declared that he'd rather live on the street than live at home with us.
Nice start.
Minute 2: We found out that he had skipped his medicine the night before. Great hand off.
Minute 3: He wanted to know how we were going to make him take his medicine now that he was out.
Hard this point we were wondering if we were even going to make it to the door
and into the car.
On the way home we tried to hand him a medication for anxiety and he hit his mom.
We were on minute 14.
We stopped by his psychiatrist (miracles do happen...we could get in and were in the area)
so that we could restate how taking the medicines would save him from going back
to a lock up facility.
We also got the OK to up the dosage since the hospital was going to do it anyway, but instead released him.
(...which now made us the guinea pigs from here on out)
Day 2: Better
Day 3: We found the Partial Hospitalization Program that was on our insurance. We filled out the paperwork then went home.
Day 4: We got our son to the program. The counselor met with us and we formulated a plan.
He joined the Second Chance group for those who are survivors of their own suicide attempts. 
(Yes, it's that serious)
Day 5: Lots of rage, depression, anger about the unfairness of life. But still taking meds.
Day 6: Horrible out of town trip. Endless battles with bad attitudes. Trip ended with his idea of wanting to jump off a pier to drown. (Wow, fun trip for all us....wonder if things are going to get better....ever)
Day 7: Better day. He apologized for the 'jump off the pier' ordeal. Lots of exercise and outdoor activities helped. Had friends over. Nice, but a bit of an overload. Build in 'alone' time concept into each day.
Day 8: Second week of Second Chance program. Great talks with counselors and with their psychiatrist. He is formulating ideas of what's going on. Our son is still having huge fears of slipping back into unreality.
We read the Bible and pray each night before bedtime. Psalms 40 is our favorite.
And there ends week ONE & I need a break.
Today's 5 minute break brings us back to Vasquez Sounds with a beautiful rendition of Demi Lovato's 'Skyscraper'. This girl can sing...she's got the magic touch. And her two brothers don't miss a beat. What a wonderful family band!

my garden fence

Aug 4, 2013


Music can be a real help with OCD thoughts.
A comforting message,
a smooth rhythm,
a lovely voice.
These can be soothing to a mind on overdrive.
My son has OCD and other mental health issues.
We both agree that music therapy has positive benefits.
What are his favorite songs?
I don't know. 
But I'll tell you one of mine.
Today's 5 minute break brings you a new face and a new group from Mexico.
Vasquez Songs consists of 3 siblings....two brothers and their younger sister.
Dad runs a sound studio, so the trio has been around music all their lives.
The videographer works magic here.
All around, this is my FAVORITE music discovery of the year.
Hurricane simulator in Galveston, Texas

Aug 3, 2013


My son did not have a good day. 
I will spare you the details, but let's just say
a vacation day can be ruined in an instant
when  paranoia turns into the idea that 'people are watching you'
all the time.
So now what....are we to take a vacation on an uninhabited island?
Geez....yes, people are going to watch each other at a beach....
but mental disorders take no vacation.
Still, we are back in one piece and the water was a beautiful blue green color.
When I'm about to go crazy with my son's mental disorder,
I reach for accordion music.
For some reason, accordion music seems appropriate.
Watch the player on the right's facial expressions.
He's a lot of fun and REALLY gets in to his music.
I could be automatic friends with this guy. 
thank you Mr. Huib Holzken!

on the way....

Aug 1, 2013


Our son is out of his second round in a Psychiatric Hospital.
He is now in a Partial Hospitalization Program
and he is fighting hard to not be depressed.
It's our job as parents to always stay OPTIMISTIC
to stay POSITIVE
to PRAISE the small accomplishments.
Mental illness is not anyone's fault,
and it can happen suddenly
to just about anyone.
Read some of the online stories and you'll see.
We take no small victory for granted.
The idea of JOY is slowly returning.
The idea that there is a BETTER FUTURE is creeping into the dark cave
that we call mental illness.
The medicines can meet us half way,
but there needs to be a circle of smiling faces
around the campfire
looking back at each other
and PUSHING BACK THE DARKNESS...which leads me to this song...
It's called 'Pushing Back the Dark' by Josh Wilson
Light a Candle and listen
and then listen again and again.
My gift to you, my friend.
You do not sit there in the darkness alone.
I'm here with you.
"The Simple Version" of the song:
The "Fancy" Version of the song:

butterflies in a store

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