Aug 012017
 

Some time ago, a relative buried his mother. Not long after, he and his brother and father went to the gravesite to see the newly delivered gravestone. They took pictures, and he showed me a photo of the headstone on his cell phone.

It was an ornately carved, big, beautiful piece of marble. But something was wrong, and I noticed it right away.

“Your last name is spelled wrong,” I commented.

He thought I was joking, and I had to tell him to LOOK at the picture.

He was shocked. “I can’t believe it! How did we miss that?!”

I understood how three people could miss something so obvious. And it was their own last name, for Pete’s sake. It was because emotional turmoil blinded them.

That’s why those of us working with people who have mental health problems need a team of people to shape how we view things. I don’t know how we could have seen our way all these years with Lilly, without the different team member’s input and insight, because of the continual emotional upheaval and exhaustion. These team members have been guardians, social workers, doctors, medication RN’s, and therapists. And sometimes, it’s a friend who visits Lilly and notices something I don’t, because I am too close to the situation.

My advice is to take advice, as long as it goes with your gut feeling of what is right. Don’t try to be all and do all. You will need help along this journey.

<3 Nealie

 

 

 

 

 

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Over the Edge

 Chasing Lilly, Life's Difficulties  Comments Off on Over the Edge
Apr 112017
 

When Bruce and I were at the Grand Canyon, I honestly enjoyed the clouds more than the mile-deep craters that a person could fall into. I had no interest getting close to the edge of anything remotely high.

Nealie Rose

Bruce kept telling me there was nothing to worry about, while I stayed seated on park benches as he got closer to nature.

Later, we were in a Grand Canyon  restaurant and gift store, and I saw a book for sale. Guess what it was called?

Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon by Michael Ghiglieri Wow! I didn’t read it, but the title confirmed a few things for me.

That brings me to what I want to mention.

This month is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. And sometime average people under severe stress (and without needed supports) go over the edge and become abusive to their children.

Here are four scenarios that demonstrate how that can happen, and interventions. If you are interested in preventing child abuse, see what you can learn from these scenarios.

Love my readers, Nealie

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Mar 102017
 

                                                                                                        Chasing Lilly

Chasing Lilly is meant to be a teaching tool for students in Psychiatry, Psychology, Counseling, and Intervention Specialties. That’s why there is a companion Discussion Workbook. Profs can use this true story as a case study. Students decide whether to confirm or disagree with Lilly’s diagnosis, talk over what could (or should) have been done in certain situations, medications, etc.

If you know a Professor or University Chair in any of these studies, please pass this on to them as they plan for the coming year. The books are available at Amazon or Barnes and Noble online.

Love my readers! Nealie

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Jan 292017
 

Taking Care of Children by Ari Kuzmik

Remember the swimming pool mental picture from Chasing Lilly?

Picture an empty swimming pool in your mind. It represents a damaged child’s life. Then someone dumps a bucket of dirt into the pool. That dirt is the abuse and trauma experienced by the child.

Your job as a healer is to dilute the dirt by adding bucket after bucket of (healing) “water” by loving and connecting with that child.

The trauma (dirt) is still there, and always will be in that pool, but the healing water of goodness, love, and acceptance will dilute the the bad things, and that child will be empowered to have a better life.

The healing will take much longer than the period of abuse did. Sometimes it takes forever.

Forever is a long time, but if I have done anything in my life, let it be that I have helped an injured child heal.

But not at the cost of damaging and traumatizing other children. That’s the catch.

You must protect other children from being harmed, and don’t assume that kids are resilient and everything will be okay, just like you don’t assume that your pets will be fine without added protection.

-Nealie

P.S. Don’t you just love Ari Kuzmik’s art? 🙂

 

 

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The Lone Rager?

 Chasing Lilly, General Humor, Uncategorized  Comments Off on The Lone Rager?
Jan 012017
 

The Lone Rager

The art work is Tommy’s. He just turned eight and is a prolific artist.

This picture stood out to me, because not only is it funny, it can represent several things. One of course, is the real Lone Ranger. 🙂

Then, there is the Lone RAGER, who could be an adult who is always angry about something.

But what about a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder? That child rages all the time, it seems. Unfortunately, there are more than one of these ragers, and the numbers are growing. There are a whole lot of angry and hurting children out there, and most teachers and social workers don’t know what to do with them.

That’s why I wrote Chasing Lilly and the Curriculum. Please pass the word if you haven’t already.

I would love to do a kid’s book on the Lone Rager. I’ll add that to my list of what I’d like to accomplish in 2017.

And if you are parenting a lone rager, don’t forget to check out the resources offered on my website. An especially good one is  Dr. Karyn Purvis and the Connected Child.

Love my readers!  -Nealie

 

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Aug 292016
 

When we moved to a new house, Lilly wanted to visit as soon as possible to check it out. She wanted to make sure certain things were still in place.

Things like Bruce and I. And where are the pets -Dunkin’, Noodles, and Moses? Never mind about one single piece of furniture or decoration. Lilly needed to know that all that lived and breathed were fine.

Then she was okay.

She had it right, you know. Sometimes we get the things that don’t live and breathe ahead of what matters.

Love my readers, Nealiecats

 

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Aug 062016
 

Chasing LillyThe beef and broccoli was fantastic, and when I cracked open the fortune cookie, it said, “Comfort zones are most often expanded through discomfort.”

Boy, isn’t that the truth?

I was definitely wrapped a little tighter when Lilly first came to us. It didn’t take long for her bizarre antics to force an expansion of my comfort zone. Before I knew it, I was wresting in public with a tiny girl, chasing her down, and once even jumped  fully dressed into a pool to grab her.

I can’t say that I ever got comfortable with all of that, but there was enough of it to loosen me up a bit!

My end goal for Chasing Lilly and the discussion workbook is for colleges and universities to use it to equip students in Intervention Specialties, Counseling, and Psychiatry. When you read the book, you will feel my discomfort, (as well as laugh your head off), and you will understand better how to respond when children with similar issues come your way.

And they will.

The Curriculum and Discussion Workbook offers some lively and engaging classroom discussion, and this two book set will prepare you for the Lilly’s that will be in your classroom or office someday, like nothing else can.

Love my readers, Nealie

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May 222016
 
Cat in Seed Beads by Ari Kuzmik

Cat by Ari Kuzmik

We all know what we’re supposed to say when asked, “How ya doing?”

“Fine.” “Good.” “Okay.”

Are you lying? Are you really hurting or barely breathing because of stress? I have been there with Lilly, even recently, as well as a series of family crises. In past months I’ve said more than once, “Someone just shoot me!”

What makes the difference in surviving or navigating these craters (I’m not calling them bumps!) in the road is SUPPORT. You can’t do life alone when awful stuff happens. You have to have the support of others, and don’t be too proud to ask for it. I did a short blog about this in March of this year. It’s been a tough 2016! Reach out for help if you need it.

Nealie

 

 

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Apr 242016
 

For a long time every morning I would pass a sign that said, “Miss a Day, Miss a Deal.”

I hated that sign. I don’t even shop there. But that slogan … it made me slightly anxious, because it implied that I was missing something.

Stupid, I know. It goes in the same category as comments such as, “Why did you do that?” Why did I do what?

I remember being at my sister’s house when she was dying. She ordered me to pack her things in boxes, and to use packing tape to seal them. I haven’t been able to hear that rip of packing tape without sadness since that day.

Think of something that causes a little anxiety for you. If little things like these can get us going sometimes, imagine what might trigger a traumatized child.

The color of a room may bring back bad memories.

A certain noise may be a trigger. Maybe it preceded abuse.

Seasons, holidays, people with dark hair/light hair -who knows? We need to be sensitive to the things that may seem to be triggers, and not just chalk-up behavior to disobedience or defiance.

If there are problem behaviors that defy reasoning, then maybe something like this is at work. Pay attention to repeated reactions to certain people or things. Trauma kids often don’t even know why they get upset, so we need to help them by paying attention. Say a child has a memory of dropping their ice cream cone and getting beaten for the mess it made. It would be easy to assume that ice cream could be a trigger. Who would think that something that is good and fun to you, could be a negative for a child?

Keep a log of episodes and what went on those days. What season was it? Where were you? Any sounds in the background? Any different foods served?

A therapist with trauma training and knowledge can be valuable.

Listening to other trauma-parents can also be helpful.

Love my readers, Nealie

 

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Apr 122016
 

Lilly is in her twenties and wants to smoke. She’s told me that she has the right to smoke cigarettes, and she is correct.

The only thing that I could come up with (to deter her), was to say that I also have a right. I have a right to stop bringing sweets when I visit her, if she starts smoking cigarettes.

Today she asked me again about getting a hooka pipe. That was probably the 20th time she has asked. Picturing Lilly with a big hooka pipe makes me giggle. Can’t help it. I think that she means an electronic cigarette.

So, do my readers have any input here, other than getting religious on me? (I don’t think that smoking will keep you out of heaven, but you will get there faster if you smoke.) What about an electronic cigarette? What are the potential dangers to Lilly and those around her, and what are the costs?

Do you think that she should smoke an electronic cigarette? Do you think she should get a hooka pipe?

Can you think of other ways to talk her out of it?

Developmentally disabled people can and do drink, smoke, and become addicted to drugs and alcohol. I added a new resource that will help families of DD people navigate when this happens.

Love my readers, Nealie

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