Sunday, March 26, 2017

Not All Children Learn from Natural Consequences

This article speaks powerfullly to my experience. Some children need extra support and guidance to keep them safe and give them an opportunity to mature enough to live independently. SB 5706 gives parents the ability to help their children when the child doesn't have the ability to help themselves.
The following excerpt gives a good idea of the rest of the article:
"Natural consequences do not work like they do for “normal” kids. A kid on the autism spectrum will NOT necessarily eat if he gets hungry enough. A child with anxiety will NOT necessarily learn from her mistake of forgetting her homework. Instead, she will most likely give in to all of her anxieties and insecurities and just give up completely, berating herself for being such a failure."It might look like we’re coddling our kids. It might look like we’re indulgent helicopter parents. But it is just not that simple. We can’t always just let our kids have free play and learn to resolve their own conflicts, because they don’t react and learn like “normal” kids do."
I once had a King County Designated Mental Health Professional (DMHP) tell me that she agreed that parents of children with certain diagnoses, such as autism, should be automatically given the ability to make mental health decisions for those children.Does this resonate with you?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Psychitzo, psychitso, skitso, schizophrenia-------

Today I had coffee over in Redmond with Lisa. I met her when I spoke to the NAMI Eastside public policy committee about SB 5706. Lisa has been on the same lonely journey as all of us. I know she'll be sharing her story with all of us on Support SB 5706 soon.
She is supporting our bill because she's been there. Her daughter is now an adult and still struggles. Lisa said something profound that is relevant to the long term impact of our work:
"Now that our daughter is in her 20s, mental health is asking where the family is. We say, we have been here all along, but you kept pushing us away ever since this all began almost 10 years ago. "
Our state mental health system has an absurd logic of not letting parents of 13 year olds make medically necessary decisions for their minor children, but coming to the parents of a young adult with mental illness who is unable to take care of herself.
This inability to supportively launch our children who struggle starts at age 13 when the state starts sending the message to children that they are on their own. It continues in jailing our mentally ill instead of treating them and killing our sons and daughters who suffer from psychotic episodes we seem to be unable to prevent.
I'm not speaking in hyperbole about death. The following is from an email I received from NAMI Seattle yesterday:
One of our Youth Mental Health Awareness Month Committee members... "experienced a terrible tragedy. Her brother Alex, who was living with schizophrenia, was killed by police last night [Tuesday] when their family called for assistance in getting him to the hospital. He was unable to be revived after being tased."
My heart aches for the families of children, young and old, who struggle to live with debilitating mental illnesses. I am filled with gratitude to connect with others who share my journey, even if it means the heart breaking condolence shared with a grieving sister because I know if I can see her, she can see me.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Rebuilding Community One Connection at a Time

Today I made an amazing first-time connection with a woman I met because of my work to help our children and families. Annie and I overlapped at Northfield Mt. Hermon. She knows at least 3 people in this community of ours who I know through 3 different past lives. She knows Mary who I met at Washington Mutual. Jerry, I met via my son's stay at Mountain Springs Prepreatory Academy. Laura was hired while I was on the board at Pride Foundation. I know several of you will see a Changes Parent Support Group theme as well.

Annie's daughter and mine sound like they have much in common tempermentally. Her daughter is about to be 18, mine 16. My son will turn18 just 3 days after her daughter does. I moved to Seattle in 1981. She came straight from high school in 79. I did my first yoga practice in the Northfield ballet studio in 1975 and still have a living practice. Annie has a yoga studio relatively nearby -- considering our interconnectedness, it's quite amazing our paths have never crossed before.

I feel blessed to have connected to all of you and am looking forward to building a movement together with each of you. I can't express my appreciation for how quickly you stepped up to back my voice in Olympia.

My work on this issue is extremely close to my heart. My daughter is still in treatment and I am activelly working to bring her safely home. Eli has not lived at home for 3 years. I have a 190 page evaluation that I will be submitting with my enrollment application for attending Seattle Public Schools in the fall. I'm going to push to see if I can get my daughter a Free and Appropriate Public Education.

Today I set up a meeting with a school I learned about through NAMI Eastside's (Lisa) incredibly fantastic children's conference earlier this month. [Aside: it's amazing how "the work" that I'm doing is so interconnected with the actual work of getting my child better ... or at least able to function in society. More on that later.] I'm cautiously hopeful there may be a path opening. Hold us in your thoughts please.

If you have read this far, I really appreciate it. Please let me know who's out there with a "like" or a comment. Each of us has walked the path alone. Thank you for joining in community. Working together we WILL get the billed passed in 2018!

(I also plan a happy hour at my home soon. There's plenty of work to be done before next year. Watch for a Doodle scheduling poll soon.)


Saturday, March 11, 2017

We Aren't Done Yet

Fear not my friends, the bill isn't really dead, it's just in a statis state until the current legislative session ends.
I had two very positive experiences today. First, I attended the NAMI Eastside children's conference. First off, incredibly well planned and a strong attendance.
Thank you to the Pride Foundation for sponsoring this conference! I hope that has something to do with my outreach earlier this year.
I had to forgo the LGBTQ Gender Diversity session in lieu of hearing the first hour of a presentation by Overlake Specialty School. I am seriously thinking about it as an option for my child, Eli.
I handed out cards with address of the Facebook Support SB 5706 Group. I'm posting the pdf in the group docs. I heard a TON of support from this group of professionals, parents and educators. Parents SHOULD be making medically necessary treatment decisions for the adolescents in crisis!
I couldn't stay because I had to jet out and book it back to Ballard for the 36th Washington State Legilstative Town Hall in the Leif Erikson Lodge! I heard Reuven Carlyle say that 20 years from now we'll look back and wonder why we kept mental health separate from physical health. Visionary!
I told him that I had heard ffrom a Republican Caucus staff member who will be leading a roundtable discussion on the issue in the interim. (Look to this group for news of any dates or actions over the summer.)
The town hall was truely inspiring. There were seats for maybe 400 and there were 100 people standing along the perimeter of the room. Sold out! People are thinking about and questioning the issues.
Carlyle also extolled the crowd to get involved with a cause you care about. Consider yourself ahead of the curve!
Thanks for reading. :)