…well I haven’t really, but sometimes it sure feels like it, particularly when I have a fibro flair or when there is some new or additional demanding situation, such as having my mum in hospital and needing daily visits. But I’m going to follow Andy’s example, and enjoy my next blissfully relaxing nap!
Do you practice self-care? Do you enjoy a siesta or cat-nap (sorry Andy… dog-nap)? What do you do to recharge your batteries?
It has been just two weeks since I shared my last post in this Bullying & Beyond series. It is not an easy read and comes with a trigger warning. You might like to access it, to give you some background to today’s post… you will find it here… Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the Pain, part one.
Those past two weeks have been very challenging for our daughter as she tries to cope with her anxiety but she refuses to give in and her resilience is remarkable. She has been pressing political representatives and support organisations for many months to try and access the support of a Psychiatric Service Dog. Sadly in Ireland this support is unheard of. While there are guide dogs for the blind and companion dogs for autism, access to Psychiatric Support Dogs does not exist. To understand the whole area of Psychiatric Support Dogs, Emma has been busy educating and informing herself via books, online sites and Youtube and has decided to go it solo for the moment.
She hopes that in time and with the correct training Andy will be able to pre-empt the onset of panic attacks which are having a life limiting effect on her.
She has just started an Instagram account and she would love you to visit her and Andy @reallyhandyandy where she will document and share their journey towards improved mental health and where she hopes to fulfill her dream and goal of paving the way towards the availability of Psychiatric Service Dogs in Ireland.
Do you struggle with mental health issues? Do you have panic attacks? What do you know about Psychiatric Service Dogs? Do you know anybody who would benefit from reading this post, if so, please feel free to share.
I’m normally quite risk adverse but it’s one of those days…
Where I’m just going to call it… on the subject of ‘likes‘ and ‘follows‘…
If you just ‘follow’ my blog, I’m not going to follow you back. I’m not interested in numbers…
And let’s just call it again…
If you ‘like’ one post from my blog, and it’s a post I re-blogged, because I liked it enough to want to share it some more; and then you ‘follow’ me, I’m still not going to ‘follow’ you back because although I’m glad you liked my re-blog, you still don’t know anything about me and I’m not interested in building numbers, I’m interested in building connections with real people, so please…
Read at least one of my posts, you don’t even have to ‘like’ it, if you don’t think it warrants a ‘like’ but talk to me… so I can talk to you,
I’m Irish… I love people and good conversation. Tell me what you think of my post. Maybe, even though I know you are busy, read two posts of mine and leave me some feedback. Tell me what struck you about my post, first anything positive and then a little, gentle constructive feedback; so I can try to improve how I build my words and how I build a community that really cares.
Thank you for reading. What’s your opinion on ‘follows’ and ‘likes?’
Trigger Warning – Bullying, upsetting read, almost 1.3k word count and only a synopsis.
I would really appreciate if you would consider sharing this…
If I could paint a picture of the pain of bullying I would because a picture can say much more than any amount of words. But I hope my words can help you instead, paint your own picture of young lives tainted, damaged and almost destroyed by bullying.
Begin by taking a nice relaxing breath and feel the peace and contentment of a happy life…Just breath.
Now add two children to the picture and see the eldest overcome some challenges, such as being shy and changing school after one year. See the youngest child beginning life weighing 2lb 9oz and being the best Christmas present we brought home that Christmas, three months after he was born. Now laugh and imagine the relief of a diagnosis of full health at the age of one. No heart murmur. No lung deficiency. No eye sight problems. See him run into school without a backward glance, loving all the new activity and company.
Take another relaxing breath and practice gratitude for two happy, healthy children aged five and seven. Follow your heart, values and beliefs and raise them to be loving and kind; to watch out for the welfare of others and to go out of your way to be inclusive and help others feel they belong.
Now picture a knot in your stomach as you notice things begin to change… upset going to school, lunch not eaten. Hear her tell stories of constant name calling, jibing and mocking. Feel her pain as they make fun of her prominent teeth and her love of galloping around the playground instead of running because of her infatuation with horses. Approach the teacher. Confront a young boy’s carer for his bullying of her on the school bus.
Notice the tears, bitter tears of being excluded by one or two girls. Soon more of her circle follow their lead and she’s left feeling frustrated and lonely. Watch as school anxiety develops, tears and tummy aches rack her body and people comment how thin she is. See her push her food around her plate…and then around some more. Observe family trips to cafes or restaurants become a nightmare.
Soon separation anxiety develops and you carry her into school and peel her off you as you try to reassure her that today will be better; the children will be lovely and friendly. Add in lots of GP visits, referrals to counsellors, psychotherapy and meetings with teachers. Watch homework suffering and educational milestones not being achieved. Listen as you are advised to have an educational assessment done but in the same breath advised that you’ll have to arrange it privately and pay about 400 euro as the government only fund two per year and more disadvantaged children need it. See some school supports come onboard, extra learning support, confidence building and be advised a follow-up 400 euro report is needed before she enters secondary school, needed they say to access extra support there. Watch her relatively happy during 1st year with no supports offered or thankfully needed.
Feel the kick in your gut as a happy 1st year turns into an upset 2nd year and more of the same, more tears, more anxiety, more loneliness and exclusion. Send her to pottery classes and see her flourish and then watch as even in the privacy of her own home she is a victim, as we laugh and enjoy the company of relatives over Christmas, she is hounded. Witness her stress as two girls send texts with nasty, abusive messages. Contact the Gardaì and find there’s not much you can do, change her phone sim.
Advise the school in case she should be targeted by these girls in person. Hear that the two girls are reprimanded. Listen in shock when you’re summoned to the school to collect your emotionally upset child having been physically attacked, dragged to the floor by her hair and kicked and punched by one of the girls. See the nasty black and blue bruise leave its mark on her skin, knowing full well the ongoing abuse is leaving its nasty tentacles entwined even deeper within. Read nasty lies posted about her on a social media site to slander and ridicule. Approach the parents. Be kind, ask for respect, say you won’t involve the law.
In the meantime watch her at home, refusing school for weeks and support her decision to change school.
Breath another reaxing breath as she flourishes, feeling accepted, part of the group. See her take on new experiences and even a school adventure trip for five days away from home.
Gag and dry-retch, choke and sufficate, imagining how she felt when they poured water down her throat while she slept; minding her own business, doing no harm to anyone! See her retreat into herself, go to school and get phone calls to bring her home sick, refuse school. More GP visits, psychological appointments and point blank school refusal. Mountains of paperwork to obtain home school hours and achieve her Leaving Certificate despite all the torment and abuse.
Years later get messages from the bully who physically asaulted her, telling of her regret, her distress, her depression, anxiety and attempted suicide because of what she did. Feel a horrific and tangible need to rip her apart but instead hear our amazing daughter say how she has forgiven her…breath deeply and learn a lesson in compassion and tell the girl it’s ok, don’t worry, access supports, do well in college.
And later still witness the distress, the panic attacks, the anxiety, the new courses; some completed some not. See her clothes become two sizes too big as the anxiety grips her throat and messes with her appetite. See her busy herself baking and sculpting, creating things of beauty and remind yourself that you don’t care about an unfinished course or a career or thoughtless people who don’t ask how she is doing but instead ask “what’s she doing with herself” and proceed to recount how their daughter, her peers, achieved their third level qualifications. See her reach out and be told it’s five weeks to see a new counsellor – pathetic Irish healthcare. Marvel as she learns Dutch with her phone app. Admire how she lobbies every politician for a service dog, unheard of in Ireland but which might just enable her complete her course by helping her ward off panic attacks on the train. Encourage her as she appeals to the welfare system for a companion pass so somebody could travel with her on the train. Practice and encourage patience as she waits patiently for a human being to pass her application. But most of all we just love her and admire her amazing resilience because any of those bullies would have crumbled under the strain years ago and that’s the politest sentence I can pen about them.
Oh and by the way, that’s just what was going on for our daughter. We have a son who was bullied too… but he hid it for a long time, to save us the pain. I’ll try to paint that picture in part two.
If you think this could help anyone who was or is a victim know that they are not alone, please feel free to share. If you or anyone you know was a bully or you have been told by your school that your child is a bully, please consider the pain you or they have or are causing. I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!
I’m angry, and it’s not often I’m angry! I’m also amazed…amazed at how a word can evoke such angry emotion. This word ‘Acquiesce,’ gives me such an uneasy feeling because for too long, I remained silent in a system that was disjointed and had no cohesive plan in place. Slowly, I knocked on every door. I struggled to be heard. I contacted every service. Finally, I discovered the flimsy support that was available. I wasn’t told this support existed. I uncovered it, step by painful step. It did not solve the issue but it went some way towards helping me realise that I was not alone, that we were not alone and that there was another way! And now I refuse to ‘acquiesce.’ I won’t, under any circumstances, accept, agree or allow something to happen by staying silent or by not arguing. I won’t acquiesce until I do my bit, no matter how small that may be. I want to ensure victims, bullies, passive bullies (those who stand by gutless, watching and let the victims suffer), teachers, principals, parents, the community, society, and every nationality have a conversation. I want them to see the damage school bullying causes. I want to paint a picture of the pain it inflicts – a picture that leave you in no doubt of the long term effects of school bullying. Please help me break the silence and as we do this, together, please 1.Take Heart!
Today I would like to share T.S’s very emotive, true story from his blog “Crazywriterof6.” As I read T.S’s distressing reality, I felt my body became anxious. I felt his apprehension and fear. His sense of loneliness and isolation is palpable. He says… “Maybe some of you can relate and see that even then, you weren’t alone”. No child should be in dread every day, isolated and living with the fear of bullying!
In my last post I wrote about the difficulty I had in supporting my children, both victims of bullying, because of the pressure on victims to remain silent. You might like to read it… Big Boys…Don’t Cry!
We now hear in T.S’s own words, his deeply ingrained and debilitating belief as to why he was bullied… “The torture continued. Many moments before this event, many after. I have written some of them out, just to get them out. All this because I was different than the “normal people”, different from what society says I should be. Different because I was overweight”. I believe he was not different… everybody is different and everybody has the right to be respected for who and how they are.
Please enhance your understanding by reading his story…
This post has been updated with a therapist’s viewpoint…
Your son or daughter arrives home from school, you know by their mood and verbal and non-verbal behaviour that they are upset. Maybe you notice they are avoiding you, they resist talking to you about their day or they might even tell you lies, pretending there is nothing wrong.
You might witness their mood deteriorating further and that might include them turning their frustration on you by shouting, blaming and generally behaving disrespectfully.
You are likely at this point to notice your temper rising and your patience being tested. This is the crucial moment…try to avoid the hook, try to resist being sucked into the argument. Getting caught up in a two way shouting match serves no purpose!
Try to be mindful that this behaviour is your son or daughter’s way of coping with the upset they are feeling as a result of being bullied.
They are trying to cope by literally tossing some of their upset off themselves and onto you. The very best thing that you can do is avoid becoming emotional.
Instead, calmly and patiently see if you can get to the root of the problem. What is the underlying issue? If the emotional outburst continues, again, calmly but firmly inform your child that you refuse to deal with them and set a time to talk later, when they have calmed down. Then walk away, leave the environment.
Importantly, now is a good time to think of self-care (you might like to read my previous post Here)
Once you have practiced some self-care you will be feeling much calmer and in a better place to help your child.
It is vitally important that at the appointed time or when your child has calmed down that you follow up with them and try to ascertain the difficulty they are having. If you do, you are showing them that their issue is of concern to you. You are also building trust.
I would like to thank Jennifer @ Tea With Jennifer for this insight which she kindly gave me permission to share with you.
“From a therapist’s viewpoint the behavior of the child is a form of communication, communicating that they are in crisis & can’t verbalize it correctly.
So they start acting out subconsciously, thus bringing attention to the crisis within them. Fear often manifests itself as anger in many especially males.
Christmas has been family orientated, restful and restorative. Today I want to wish you a very happy New Year and share my word for the new year ahead.
The word I want to focus on is JOY. I want to continue what was my new focus on GRATITUDE over the last twelve months and develop it into GRATITUDE that highlights the JOY in my life!
I want to find JOY in the ordinary. I want to find joy when I wake up every morning to help me shift the NAT (negative automatic thought) that always tells me I’m exhausted despite what should have been adequate sleep. I want to find JOY at every opportunity, no matter how my body feels and I want to do my best to bring that feeling of JOY into the lives of those around me!
Here is some of the JOY that I found already today…
A lie on in bed, reading blogs, reading and replying to amazing comments, a lazy breakfast with no eye on the time and surrounded by family, an unexpected hug of appreciation and writing this post to share with you!
What brought JOY into your day? How did you share it with others?