What I didn’t expect from all of you was the outpouring of support when I write publicly about all the stigmatized illnesses we suffered through with Charles– as well as my own grief. And I didn’t expect to be encouraged to keep writing about it.
I was not rejected or ostracized. I was not “unfriended” for bringing up unpleasant subjects. Maybe some have unfriended. But I’ve gained more than I have lost.
But I’ll be honest with you, I did not think it would be that way. I was fully prepared to be written off as the person always posting depressing … Read more...
This is such a hard question. But one thing’s for sure, you’ll get an answer one way or another when you set your boundaries.
Someone asked me if I felt like I should have approached my son’s depression and addiction differently?
Is tough love the right thing to do?
Keep in mind that I encouraged her to ask the question she was wanting to ask because she hesitated. It’s a good question with no “right” answer. Given that my son’s rock bottom was suicide, I’ve asked myself this a hundred times. But here’s what I can tell you.
Addiction. Depression. Suicide. Our family suffered the triple stigma, all of them with our son Charles. He didn’t want to admit depression due to stigma and was even more hesitant to accept help.
What characterizes stigma?
I asked friends about how to raise money to get help for Charles addiction and depression since we were tapped out. When I mentioned that a friend wanted to do a FundMe campaign of some kind, all eyes were downcast. Silence. Squirming. Awkwardness. An uncomfortable feeling overall. That is stigma. It’s that very moment when your eyes cast downward and you sort of freeze … Read more...
Charles was a Rap artist among his many talents. His notebooks and music were his salvation while he was alive and probably the only reason he lived until 20.
When he was away at a therapeutic boarding school, they did take his notebooks which made me angry. Writing is therapeutic. I don’t hate the school but I didn’t think taking his writing away because they didn’t like what it said was the right move. There were many good people who went there and worked there. It saved lives. Others didn’t make it. Some still struggle.
“I’m the last piece in a broken puzzle To a broken puzzle Never fittin’ I’m just sittin’ near the trouble It’s difficult findin’ air to breathe concealed within a bubble Can’t sleep Death is the only way to keep peace from the struggle” —Charles Aubrey Rogers
Charles never slept well, even as a toddler. He was “always on, never off”. If that is an official indicator of something to come, I am not aware of it but lack of sleep definitely contributed to all of his issues and his creativity peaked at night.
I know Charles thought this. He wrote it. And my wondering it is not the same as wishing it. I never wished it. But I did have this as a fleeting thought after a particularly difficult crisis. Was my intuition trying to warn me what was to come?
When you have struggled with a child’s mental health issues combined with drug abuse problems for many years –and you’ve watched that struggle, at some point, you wonder if they are going to make it. All those crisis calls and … Read more...
Part of my grief process is to let go of such insane resentments and just do something about it instead.
It sounds crazy. It sounds inhuman. But there were times when I felt jealous that others got such overwhelming financial and even emotional support in their struggles to get medical help for a child who was ill. My resentment was never directed at a specific family. It was resentment that society could turn their backs on mental health while embracing physical health so passionately.
The outpouring of support when your child has a physical ailment … Read more...
Charles in Wilderness Program for troubled teens. It was here that we finally got a great diagnosis. He did embrace the program after 4 weeks or so.
I learned a lot about Charles after his death by suicide from his RAP diary where he wrote his songs. You can see his notebook in his hands in the picture on this page. Many of his friends know what I’m talking about since he carried them with him. They were his lifeline.
It’s in those pages I saw just how much he hurt. Every single day.
Signs of depression are different for teens than they are for adults. Some teens can look so happy and well adjusted because they are masters at hiding depression.
Charles could be moody, sullen sometimes but he was actually hypersocial– always needing to be surrounded by people.
He was often described as “unmotivated,” another telltale sign of depression.
Charles always got sick. He caught absolutely everything.
I never knew it until recently but getting sick all the time is a sign of depression– especially in teens. Charles was diagnosed with depression at wilderness but he never admitted it. Too much stigma. … Read more...