Jsack's Mom's Blog

Welcome to my blog where I share my special needs parenting journey with my heart, truth, and love, one story at a time. ❤️

#1000Speak-Building from  Bullying 

I’ve been through a lot in my life but you wouldn’t know it unless you read my blog, or I decided to share with you. I’ve lived my life to be a kind, honest, and caring person. I was taught to be loving and patient even when others were not. I was taught to protect the weak and vulnerable, and cheer for the underdog. I’ve learned to turn the other cheek, and push through the pain and turn it into power. 

When I became a victim of bullying it turned my world upside down. I lived in a very small community so if anyone found out you were doing things outside of this bubble you became local gossip fodder. It wasn’t like I was doing anything wrong I was hanging out with my cousin in a bigger town, going to hockey games, and dating a hockey player. When the kids in my school heard about these things it became a mission to tear me down for having a life outside of my country existence. I can’t even begin to describe what I went through day in and day out with the taunting, teasing, and bullying.

I was only thirteen and the things I had to hear, defend, and ignore about myself were devastating. There was a group of boys and they had a ring leader and he made it his mission to make my life miserable. I wasn’t ugly, mean, ignorant, or self righteous but he was. He had everyone convinced that I was gutter trash and wasn’t worth the kindness of a smile, pat on the back, or acknowledgement for any talent. I was a volleyball player and I was good at my sport. I had all these girls from my grade and one above as my team mates. But no one spoke to me except my coach and my assistant.

If my lead bully saw anyone talking to me then they would suffer his wrath as well. So no one dared incur that, and it was easier to make rude comments or ignore me completely. I still continued to play volleyball and I had a couple friends that would talk to me and be seen in public with me, that were in a grade below me. This disgusting, defeating, behaviour only occurred in my classroom. In between classes I could mix in with the swarm of other kids filling up the hallway to get to their next classes. I enjoyed that anonymity even with however brief it was.  There was this time I went to my locker before gym and had noticed that it  had been tampered with.

Someone had splashed something on it and smeared across the door was the words bitch slut! I was born and raised Catholic so I was the furthest from those derogatory terms. I opened up my locker and saw my binders had all been opened up and papers were everywhere, and my wallet was also missing. I was pissed off and I felt the hot, salty, tears run down my face. My teacher came up behind me and told me to go to the office to report it, so I did. Then I walked out to gym class and in between there and the school was a corridor and I sat there on the steps, trying to process my anger. I had my head in my hands wondering what I was going to do I was ready to cry again, when I felt I was being watched. I looked up and this girl who was a fair weather friend came up to me. She leaned over and said “I saw your locker and it’s too bad that you didn’t get your wallet back, I guess you won’t need this anymore!”

It suddenly clicked in my head that she was responsible as she was holding a picture of my boyfriend in his hockey gear. I flew across the stairs and grabbed her and started punching her in the face. I then grabbed and pushed her into a wall and started banging her face off it. She was frantically trying to fight back but I was possessed with a rage of a thousand moments of being bullied. Classes were ending and people started coming through the corridor. I was still punching and kicking and she began crying and screaming for someone to help her.

Suddenly the principal was there and he was pulling me off of her. He was shocked as well as the school secretary, who always knew me as being kind. This wasn’t the same girl who walked into the school and said good morning to all the staff. In the office, passing them in the hallway, and each of their classrooms. I had attended this school system since Kindergarten so I knew everyone very well. I had to sit in detention with the bitch/thief and she sat there with an ice pack over her eye and glared at me, as we faced each other across the room.

I still wanted to bash her face in as she looked at me smugly as our parents were called to come pick us up. My Dad was working and my Mom didn’t drive, and I refused to go anywhere with my Step Mom so I sat in the office the rest of the day. I had to write out an apology letter to my victim and I was still very angry so I remember wording it as I’m sorry you couldn’t defend yourself after you broke into my locker. I’m sorry that you were such a bitch and I had to kick your ass and I got caught. I was suspended for five days and my Mom sent me to my Grandparents so I could have a break from our community gossip circle jerk.

I welcomed it, attended church, looked after the garden, and helped my Gram with meals. She knew I wasn’t a bad kid I was just tired of being bullied. I just wanted to live my life and not hurt anyone. Enjoy seeing my boyfriend play hockey games, go to his house for homemade Italian meals while his Grandma said “mange, mange your’e too skinny.” While I was at my Grandparents I saw a lot of him. He lived not too far away and he’d walk up and meet me after school. I also went to church and asked God to forgive me for my sins, anger, and bad temper. I was taught by my parents that I didn’t start a fight, but I sure finished one if it was brought to my side of the equation. I didn’t get punished from them as I think they were surprised that their sweet, smiling, studious, daughter finally snapped. The victim that had taken the ignorance, defamation, and horrendous behaviour for a year became the bully.

This is not something I’m proud of but I’m neither ashamed. I feel compassion for that confused, hurt, pissed off, teenager I was. I learned my lesson and today I’m a stronger, capable, and confident adult. I don’t let anyone step on my feelings or crush my spirit. I know when situations and people aren’t good for me as I trust my intuition a lot more. Now knowing my own child had to experience being teased, hit, and bullied, has ignited the fire of that child I was. I’ve advocated with the office administration, his teacher, and have even reprimanded his bully. I will not let the sins of the Mother, visit the son.

I teach both of my son’s to stand up for themselves, don’t instigate the fight, but definitely protect themselves. Now in the school system students use the W.I.T.S. program. The acronym stands for walk away, ignore, talk to someone, seek help. Since my son has been playing hockey he’s more confident in himself. And no one gets away with hitting him, teasing him, or bullying him. I will be that parent on the playground watching and waiting and he knows that I have his back always. My cup of compassion runs over with my children, and I am that Mama bear protecting my cubs. But my patience bucket is empty when it comes to bullies, their lack of intelligence, their own self hatred, and fear of not measuring up in society. So I pass down the golden wisdom to my kids that my beloved Mama would always say to me, “love many, trust few, and always paddle your own canoe.” I’m spending more of my time doing this. It’s so easy to get wrapped up into who we were in the past. The true courage is surviving that, and thriving with that knowledge in the present. ❤️

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Letting go and Letting God

Today in Canada is #BeIl Lets Talk campaign to raise awareness for mental health. For every tweet with #BellLetsTalk Bell Canada will donate five cents to Clara’s big ride across the northern part of Canada. I’m a great supporter of this cause as it’s one close to my heart. I had a very amazing and fortunate experience to meet one of it’s spokeswoman last year Clara Hughes.

Last year she stopped into the town of Hope, BC while on her ride for Hope to share her message. Clara was on a mission to cycle across the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia to end the stigma associated with mental illness. This year she took a 110 day journey and 11,000 kilometers visiting 95 communities, and over 80 schools along the way.

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She has been the only athlete that had won gold in both summer (cycling) and winter (speed skating) in the Olympics. She has also struggled with her own mental health and she spoke of her journey with courage, kindness, and bravery. She spoke very candidly about herself and I hung on her every word that night. And when I had a chance to meet her and shake her hand I was literally in awe of her beautiful spirit, honesty, and sensational smile. The most recent quote I read of hers is my favorite.

“I cannot be the only one and I’m not the only one trying to make a difference,”
“We have a long way to go but the shift is starting to happen.”

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Today I’m going to share my personal journey with my mental health. I was a happy, curious, bright, and rather serious child. I was in family therapy at the age of twelve to deal with some family issues regarding my parents separation. I was to decide by then who I would choose to live with. I chose my Mom and I grew into a sullen, hell raising teenager who was sent to live with my Dad and step Mom By the age of fourteen, I was diagnosed with depression and insomnia.

I refused to take medicine for it and opted for eating healthier. I struggled with it right up to the age of sixteen. I still opted for no antidepressants and chose a healthier lifestyle. It was when I had graduated, moved out my house and gone to college that I realized I couldn’t keep my demons inside my mind silent any longer. I saw my family doctor and she diagnosed me with anxiety at the age of twenty. I got through my first semester of college and then I decided it was enough and returned to working.

The deadlines, going back and forth to my boyfriends while living on my own, the loneliness and stress got to me so I dropped out. Fast forward in time when I was married and expecting my first baby at the age of thirty-three and I was suffering with anxiety, stress, while working full time on a part time job. My saving grace was my yoga classes that I was teaching at the time. I could relax, meditate, and put myself and my clients first. My son was born via an emergency Caesarean section. About three months into Motherhood I developed Post Partum Depression. It was a difficult journey and I made it through only to have my Dad die two years later.

Grief, raising a toddler, and living far away from my family were the conditions that created a time bomb; that was ticking and waiting to explode! I went into therapy with a PPD support group for two years. I then became pregnant with my second child after trying to conceive for a year when my son was almost four. My Mom became very ill and died while I was eight months along. My world was sent into a tailspin and I prayed I would survive it. My baby was born at nine months, a month premature and spent two weeks in the NICU.

I realized then that no Mom was an island and I went on antidepressants for the first time and enjoyed a bubble of calm while raising my sons. I got through that grief period by attending a grief recovery program and really leaning on my family and friends. I’ve had insomnia since I was very young and gave birth to non sleepers. Eventually my oldest slept through the night at fifteen months, and by the time he was three he was sleeping through consistently. We had moved right after he turned five, and my baby was ten months old. This was our third move due to my husband’s career. 

Life in a hotel, no friends, lack of sleep, lots of stress with an incessant rain clouding my mind and heart; I sank into a deep depression. I found a doctor and she renewed my prescription and then diagnosed me with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I was only a year into my grief journey with my Mom when we moved into the hotel, while attempting to sell our house in another town. At that time I had noticed developmental issues with my baby at eighteen months. He was meeting milestones albeit later than most. Although he did walk early bouncing between beds in the hotel room. So there were some bright moments for me to hang on to.

I took him to the Doctor and was given a pat answer he’s a busy boy who’s hardly sleeping, you’re sleep deprived here’s a handout. After being fed lip service and sent on my way, I talked to my health nurse and she directed me to resources to look into ideas to help while coping on team no sleep. There was my youngest son speech delayed, having trouble with pronunciation, and moving constantly. Climbing everything, high tolerance to pain, eating ten different foods, and hardly sleeping. Then I began the long six month journey to get him assessed at two and half years, while waiting to see a developmental pediatrician.

He saw Child development counselour, Occupational therapist, Speech and language pathologist, and finally the Development pediatrician. Then with the extensive list of concerns came up he was snoring, he had oral fixation issues, hypotonia of the lower jaw which caused him to stuff his food in his mouth till he choked! I still have to watch him closely when he’s eating. After a thorough assessment the doctor said there’s no doubt in my mind that he has sensory processing disorders with Sensory Modulation Disorder being the official diagnosis. At the time he said he didn’t see any signs of autism, but you may want to have him assessed as he gets older.

So I was relieved to finally have something to work with. I went home googled SPD and took the book Out of Sync Child-By Carol Kranowitz out of the library. I finally saw my child on every page and didn’t feel so alone or lack of a better word, like a crazy hypochondriac dreaming up diagnosis’s for my son. Another month went by while I spent late nights researching and listening to my son on a baby monitor. I was on a waiting list to see an ENT and he was diagnosed with a Obstructive sleep apnea. I’ve been on team no sleep for nine years. Between anxiety, post partum depression, grief, insomnia, and heart ache I’ll admit I’ve wanted to run away and hide.

Here I stand today working through the issues one day at a time; as I take a new mental health journey with my sons and keeping my own sanity intact. I don’t have all the answers but I’ve learned over the years what works and doesn’t work for me. By taking care of myself every chance I get is the key to my emotional stability. By keeping hydrated, eating healthy, taking my vitamins, exercising, and catching up on my missing increments of sleep I’ve started to feel more hopeful than hopeless.

I’ve also started to use essential oils to help my children and myself with our anxiety. As that was what got me off of my antidepressants two years ago. Last night I was anxious and couldn’t sleep, I felt wave after wave of emotional energy coming at me as I recently had a wonderful friend pass on. I held my son who was hurting with his restless legs syndrome, and massaged his feet and legs with an oil blend for pain and let him fall asleep on my chest.

I felt like my heart could just burst from my love, grief, worry, and pain. I thought of my beloved Mama who would say this too shall pass honey child. Don’t forget to smile through it, and take care of yourself too. Day by day I listen to her wisdoms chiming in my head and singing the song I wrote for her. I feel a little more closer to her, God and heaven. And I feel blessed as that’s a team that can help me through anything, by letting go and letting God deal with it.

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