Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fall Fail

I dislike this time of year.  It's not because summer is waning and, here in the Midwest at least, leaves are starting to fall from the trees. It's not because summer hours at work are drawing to a close (not that I have much opportunity to use them anyway). It's because I feel like such a beast being resentful of all of the pictures of my friends' children going off to college.

It's petty, I know.  But it's a reminder of what will never happen for Tim, and it starts the cavalcade of mourn for what Tim will likely never be able to experience:

  • College
  • Marriage
  • Kids
  • Career
  • Independence
Tim "graduated" from high school in June. He could have gone to his life skills program another year, but frankly, there wasn't much else they could teach him about taking the bus and grocery shopping.  It felt like we were warehousing him six hours a day.  Sure, Tom liked the break of not having his shadow with him all the time, but it was getting harder and harder to justify why  he had to go, particularly on those mornings when he really didn't want to. So he got his certificate of completion in the mail, I ordered a graduation tassel for him on Amazon, and with no pomp or ceremony, his education was complete. 

There's no supportive housing available for Tim in the entire state of Illinois, so instead of shopping for what he will need for his dorm room, we are redecorating his bedroom, with the caveat that money won't be spent until he can be "grown up" and prove he can keep it neat.  It's taken all summer, but he's finally doing fairly well in that department, so we've been scouring Craigslist for some furniture and pinning pictures of what he likes on Pinterest.  

Instead of buying books, we are looking for animal shelters and dog kennels that will let Tim volunteer a few hours a week so he has a "job".  I've written to several doggy daycare places in our area, and none have responded.  Most rescues don't have a shelter so there's no where for him to go to volunteer.  Even our county animal control doesn't have a kennel.  So, for now, he's helping his dad with yard work and chores around the house. 

The good news is I found out that Tim is eligible for a card from the State that gives him free rides on all mass transit in our area.  So we're not looking for a car that is reliable enough to take him around campus. Instead we're applying for free ride passes from the CTA and Metra. He takes the train, by himself now, every few weeks down to the city to visit a friend he made at his life skills program.

My friends' posts reek of the joy and promise of their children's bright futures.  I can't even give my son find a viable reason to get out of bed in the morning.  But I refuse to believe this is all there is for him.  Once my pity party is over, I will re channel my jealousy into finding a way for Tim to share his passion for art, animals, and music with the world in a way that enriches his life as well as those with whom he interacts. 

But for right now, please bear with my frown when you share your precious photograph.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


I thought I could go off of my meds.  I thought I was stronger than depression.  But the black dog is back and he's sitting on my chest, daring me to leave him off leash.  I tried. I thought the exercise would be enough.  But five weeks off my meds and his teeth are bared and I keep thinking that ending it all would keep him from getting me.

I don't know why admitting it to myself is so defeating. I've spent years giving others the lecture about getting treatment and that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of.

So today, I go back to my shrink today and admit defeat.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Patient Advocates and Strength in Numbers

I spent last weekend in the beautiful Hyatt Hotel in Jersey City, New Jersey, directly across the Hudson from Manhattan (check out that view!), at the HealtheVoices 2015.  This conference, sponsored by Janssen Pharmaceutical and Everyday Health brought together more than 60 of the best bloggers and patient activists from across the country to network and learn more about how online patient advocacy is impacting healthcare.

Before I recap, I should say that Janssen Pharmaceutical paid for my travel, hotel, and meal expenses to attend the conference, but all images, comments, and opinions are mine and are not sponsored.