Category Archives: depression

You are not alone

A year ago, Kelli Stapeleton failed to kill herself and her daughter. Issy recovered from her injuries and Kelli went to jail awaiting trial. Yesterday it is reported she plead guilty. Before you judge her and her situation, I ask that you read today’s Throw Back Thursday Post: Remember the Parent. Remember to offer to help before you offer to judge. Talk to that woman in the elevator. Offer support, a shoulder or empathy before offering judgement of a life you know nothing about. 

More importantly to the mom who is facing a situation like Kelli, remember you are not alone. I’m here. I’m listening. Reach out now before it is too late. There are ways to get your village of support. There are people who understand. If you are desperate, know that you are not alone. You just have to call. You might not think so, you might be in such a dark place that you think you are alone that no one understands. You are wrong, so wrong.

The Good Smaratians  1-877-870-4673 or the National Suicide Prevention  24/7 hotline for assistance: 1-877-273-TALK Or please utilize the Autism Speaks Crisis Intervention to find more avenues of support. 

Or contact me, Kerri at firebailey@gmail.com  I might not be able to help but I can listen. I can be there. I can help you find support.

Just know that you are not alone.

The post below was originally posted 23-SEP-2013

I’ve been really hesitant to write this post. First, I hate to jump on a bandwagon. I also hate being late to a party, even a pity one. Mostly, though, I do not ever want to come across as ungrateful or one that complains.

Truthfully, I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I am beyond lucky. I acknowledge that my situation is as wonderful as it is rare. I have a terrific village who supports my sanity. When life gets overwhelming I have some one within a text, an e-mail, a call or a walk to lean on. I get date nights with my husband and girls night in.

Not everyone is this lucky. They are isolated. They stay at home with their child, change how they go to Worship, do not attend family events, cannot find a babysitter and not even think about getting a pedicure. Moms like Kelli try to do everything right. They think that it is less disruptive for their child to stay home. They feel family gatherings are too hard to keep everything together and peaceful.

I do not know Kelli and only know about her circumstance from JulieJill and Kristi’s blogs. But I do know that not every child is like Boo. Some children with special needs are violent. They hurt themselves and those who love them the most.

When Kelli tried to kill herself and her daughter there was a lot of condemnation.  People have a difficult time understanding suicide. Let alone a mom who tries to harm her child.

The sad truth is, Kelli is not the only one out there. Statistically children in the US with special needs account for almost 10% of those who are abused. And they are abused by their caregivers. This is not just the US. World-wide disabled children are harmed more often than typical.

This is just supposition on my part, but I believe the abuse and the killings and the suicides happen because the parent has little or no support. We are very lucky where we live. Our Boo has a terrific school, after school therapies and other support. But those therapists and teachers deal with our children hitting, spitting and hurting them. Yet they love our kids. They want our children to succeed.

Parents and caregivers are becoming the walking wounded, suffering from post-traumatic stress of living and working with a child who punches, kicks, sets fire to the house and destroys relationships. We love our children. We hate what their disability makes them do.

There is a difference.

There is also a reason why persons who work with children and adults with special needs have an extremely high burnout rate.

While our children in the US have a tremendous amount of government support available (if you know where to ask) for them, there is zero support for the caregiver. I am not talking about financial. I am talking about emotional support. That shoulder that you need to lean on.

Since I have that support I know full well what those of you without it must be feeling. Know that you are not alone but you have to let us know you need it. My friends know because I go to them. I break with Boo’s therapists and vent to her aides. Sure a few will reach out, but the responsibility is mine to say I cannot do it on my own.

So I implore you, the Kelli’s out there, to know you are not alone. But you need to scream and raise the white flag.

And if you know a parent out there with a child who has special needs reach out. Stop by their house tonight with a pizza and a bottle of wine. Stop by and check in on them. Keep inviting them to events, even if they have to say no. Remember that e-mail is great, but you can hide there. Call, speak to them. Make sure they know you are available to listen without judgment.

Let what happened to Kelli be a lesson to all of us to reach out before there is no one there to catch.


My Challenge — Lizzi

Today I would like to introduce Lizzi the author of Considerings where she actively tries to find the good in life. A blog that is sometimes fiction so good you think it is true, some days full of humor and some days despair. It’s a wonderful mix of writing and feelings. No matter what Lizzi faces each week she is determined to end on a high note with her Ten Things of Thankful post. A wrap up each Saturday where she sees the light in all of her clouds.


My Challenge: Despair



Several hours ago:

My challenge right this second, as I write this in an empty house steeped in melancholy and shattered expectations, is not to go to the cupboard in the kitchen and fetch down that shining bottle from the top shelf.

My challenge is to convince myself that it’s a sufficiently slippery path to prove deterrent – that taking the edge off with alcohol isn’t the answer. At the moment the only thing holding me back is the knowledge that I’ll regret the number of calories it contains. Ah serendipity, thou art disguised within even the soft and pudgy linings of low self-image.
My picture speaks for itself, but it doesn’t say how interconnected so many of those things are. It doesn’t tell of the (thus far) unbreakable bonds between an abusive childhood and my inability to disconnect and stop assuming responsibility (or blame) for aspects of my current situation. Or those between spousal illness and miscarriage. And infertility. And rejection, leading to further low self-esteem. And depression, which is riddling our relationship like woodworm, gnawing away at the things we thought we held dear, and now call into question, time and time again because “what if we hadn’t…”

It’s harder after the high of such a wonderful, fleeting day, where a bloggy friend and I met in person for the first time. We stood in glorious sunshine on the beach and let the warm ocean bathe our feet as we talked and talked. And later we went for cocktails and gelato and things were wonderful. And now she’s gone.

And it’s harder because the day before that (my fourth anniversary) I lay crying, once again rejected (because his illness allows him no other option), utterly desolate and we discussed whether or not our marriage would last. Because we ‘clinked’ our fries together in the restaurant in a desperate show of silliness and recognition of the occasion as tears bathed my cheeks and his eyes turned to pools of despair. Because we had cocktails and got buzzed and all that went away for a while, and with the corners of the situation tamed by tipsiness, we hugged and laughed and the shit went away for a while.
And it’s hard because I have to find a silver lining and even though the sun is up and Maslow would be convinced I should be content, at least, I really, really, really want that drink.

Now:

Writing is cathartic anyway, but particularly from a place of hurt and desperation, because it forces some of the challenges to come into stark clarity, their contrast perhaps shocking, as I lift them out of the tangled mire of mind, determined to examine them in the light of day and describe their form.

In writing this, I was able to trace those unbreakable strings which bind me so tight. And having traced them, I was able to explain them to Husby, who *listened* and cried with me as he realised the extent to which his illness and my smorgasboard of challenges crash headlong into one another, leaving us both trainwrecked and licking our wounds.
I reached out, not for a bottle in the end, but for a friend, who was in the right place at the right time to talk me down and just hear me, and make me feel less alone.
The aloneness is hardest, especially when part of what’s trapping you is your own mind, your own thought patterns and your destructive, determinedly negative perspectives. In point of fact, the (seemingly relentless) shitstorm of life is one of the main reasons I’m part of a new blogging initiative – the SisterWives (http://www.sisterwivesspeak.com) – a group of writer friends whose collective history reads like a manual for surviving almost every kind of crap that life can throw at a person. We are damaged goods, but determined to live life in Silver Linings, and *somehow* turn our hurts to helps. We don’t want others to feel alone. We want to find strength in being vulnerable and honest and sharing our truths in the hopes that they’ll somehow be useful to Someone Out There.

Our motto, (the former part I struggle with, but am trying to take on board): Alone we are enough; Together we are stronger.

Thank you, Lizzi for your honesty with your challenge. All of us find moments of despair. When it gets too much. When you wonder if that shiny bottle will dull the pain. Trust me, it just makes you puke if used for that purpose. There are so many challenges interlinked, as Lizzi has shown. But there is support out there for just about anything you are facing. This virtual world is sometimes all you need to realize you are not alone. I’m glad she still sees the hope in all the clouds.

What's your challenge is a series that was inspired by a program I created at Abby's school. I am amazed at how honest and hopeful the challenges have been. Thank you to all who have contributed. To submit your challenge, please e-mail me at firebailey@gmail.com

My Challenge: Jessica



I introduced you to my friend “J” about two years ago. She was Boo’s Yogi before life got too crazy to keep up with it. I am happy to officially introduce Jessica, the mother of four beautiful daughters. She practices and teaches Yoga for the Special Child. In her “spare” time she organizes The South Shore Buddy Walk  and Co-Founded a non-profit Heart Beats for Down Syndrome

Her challenge?

My Challenge: Being Present

All of my life I have always looked to the future, planning and making lists, trying to be older. I used to sign up for things in magazines so I could get mail (at age 10). I couldn’t wait for responsibilities and bills and being an adult. I didn’t have to wait long. At seventeen, I became a mom, and not just a typical teen mom-but a teen mom to a baby girl with Down Syndrome.  This is not my challenge. As I write this, it’s nine years, four more daughters and plenty of bills later, and my challenge has nothing to do with the circumstances of my life. The responsibilities I always wanted are in abundance, and can be overwhelming and stressful. There are lots of things in my life that are challenging, but not internally, causing damage to my spirit. My biggest challenge is that I struggle to be present, to truly live in the moment.
I set my intention for this summer to be present, to be grateful for each moment, whether they are good or bad.  Not even two weeks in, I find myself at 8am counting the hours until bedtime. I spend so much time planning and rushing for the future: bedtime, back to school, vacation, that I am unable to be happy in the present. I have a history of anxiety and depression, and looking to the future has always been a coping mechanism for me. It has served its purpose, and I have better techniques now that I can use to get through rough patches. Unfortunately, as the saying goes: Old habits are hard to break.  By looking to the future, and planning, and making lists, I am depleting so much joy that is found in sitting back and watching my girls grow up and explore their world. Sure, I can get so much done when they are playing outside and doing crafts, but I lose out on seeing what interests them and how they accomplish things. I miss out on bonding and teachable moments by choosing to write lists instead of coloring and penciling in playtime rather then always making time for play. I want to wake up, and instead of rushing the day away, I want to be content just letting the day unfold and not view that as being unproductive. I may be too hard on myself, which is another challenge I face J, because it’s not like I don’t do all of these things, it’s just that I wish it could be more natural for me so that it could be more of an occurrence in my daily life.
There are so many times I am in the grocery store, frustrated and losing patience, when someone stops me and tells me I’m going to miss these days. I am grateful to these people, because I know it is true, but I usually have so much going on, I forget. By not being present in the moment, but rather operating on auto pilot, I miss out on what my girls are finding to be so funny and why they think the grocery store is a giant play place. If I were present, I might enjoy the shopping trip a little more (emphasis on little) instead of being preoccupied and snapping at them, which only leads to guilt and discontent on my end.  By committing to too much, and having to rush around, being present is impossible. I want to accomplish this goal by being easier on myself and reduce the expectations I set that cause me to lose out on the little things that happen when I am physically present but too preoccupied to notice and be grateful.
I’m sure that many people face this challenge, and some may not even view it as being worthy of such a title. It’s the way of life today.  For me, though, it is important and it is something I have been trying to work on, and fail time and again.  Again, setting the expectation for myself to change right now, this summer, and all of a sudden be present in every moment, is unrealistic. I just hope that some of the time, instead of rushing to the next moment, I will have the strength to just stop and watch it all unfold and find my happiness in that. 

*****
 Don’t we all, working moms, stay at home moms, dads, those without children…don’t each and every one of us forget to stay in this moment. This precious moment in time? We struggle with being HERE, right here watching the sunrise because our child woke up at five freaking am. Instead our thoughts race ahead to the coming day wondering how we are going to deal with this child who will be cranky in two hours. Rather than just enjoying the moment of their smile.

Even if it is five freaking am.

What's your challenge is a series that was inspired by a program I created at Abby's school. I am amazed at how honest and hopeful the challenges have been. Thank you to all who have contributed. To submit your challenge, please e-mail me at firebailey@gmail.com