Canada Day….

Well, here we are again…..  Canada Day…  A day to celebrate this great country of ours and hopefully take a moment to remember all of those people who have stood for this country and have kept it so amazing.  

And, in the United States, running right up on the heels of Canada Day, is Independence Day…  Again, another great day.  

Because our two countries are so close; not only do we share borders but we also have a very close and civil relationship with the United States, there are often many celebrations that combine both Canada Day and Independence Day.

We’re very fortunate to have such a close bond with our neighbours, the United States.  

That does not at all mean I would want in any way for Canada to stop being Canada; that just means that I am very very happy that we don’t have the unrest that other countries have with their neighbours that they share borders with.  

I love Canada….  We are, really, in general, quite a peaceful group.  We know what it means to value our country.  We appreciate the beauty that can be found in all corners of this great country of ours. We take the time to marvel at what nature presents us with…. And appreciate what we have.  

In general, most Canadians at any moment in any given day will take the time to look around and say “WOW”….  Even if it is just the blanket of fireflies on their lawn or the stars in the sky that they’re appreciating and marveling at in that moment.  

All I can ask right now is that while you are celebrating this Canada Day…  Or any combined celebration of Canada Day and Independence Day, take a moment, just look around….  And find one thing to marvel at… 

And if you know someone who has served in either of the great countries, remember your celebrations can bring on a whole flood of memories and emotions for them.   Reach out to them, call them, leave a note on their door, or walk up and shake their hand…  And offer to be an ear and a shoulder.  

Because as much as we love to celebrate right along side you, some of the sounds and smells take us back to places we’d rather not remember….  And moments we would love to forget.  

So offer to be an ear, be a shoulder….  Offer to check in on them over the next several days during those celebrations.  Offer to make sure they’re okay.  

And if you’re out celebrating and you see someone begin to act oddly, offer them help.  Offer to get them to somewhere where they’ll feel safe.  

Take this time…   Enjoy your celebrations…  Marvel at something that you may otherwise normally overlook….

And let’s makes sure all of our Military make it through this round of fun safe, secure, and smiling.  

And This Has Been Screaming To Be Written….

Sometimes something gets in my head and just screams until I write it out…

I had been trying to decide ‘to write or not to write’… .

The decision has been made.

Fuck it.  My Blog, my words.  You don’t like it don’t read it.

I recently had a bad moment in time.  It was brought on totally by accident.  I unconsciously remembered how to play something on the snare that I had thought I had long since forgotten.

And it went from there…

It would have been a simple thing had it been handled with a bit of compassion…

Instead it was handled by someone I had started to learn to trust with a ‘Don’t you think it’s time you get over it?’

Hm…  If only it were that easy…

You wanna give it a go???  Try to ‘get over it’???  Here…  Pull these on and walk a mile:

 

Image

 

Those are mine…  They might be kind of small on your feet…  They’re in my basement waiting for someone brave enough to pull them on, walk a mile, and then fucking ‘get over it’.

Now the reason this happened has become clear over the past couple of days…  And has been explained to me again and again by my best friend Rob….

It’s not you, it’s him…. He was just looking for an excuse.

Okay great…  Fine…  But why is it that people who have issues can’t just man up and say ‘you know what, this is all about me, my head is a mess and you’re caught in the storm… Whoops, sorry.’

Instead they feel the need to tear you down and make you feel like it’s all your fault and make you feel small:  “I can’t handle your PTSD, what if my kids can’t handle your PTSD, you have dogs, you have cats, you have you have you have…..”

Yeah, you’re right…  I have…   And you’re digging for any and all excuses to get away from me…  For reasons that I don’t think you even truly know…  So don’t you think you should just gracefully say goodbye, back away, and go on with the life that you have tried to build on the shambles of your past life instead of making me feel like a piece of shit for being able to make it from one day to the next in style?

Instead of going over all of the things that I have that I need to ‘get over’, maybe you should take a look at the things that YOU have rolling around in your head; obvious unresolved issues left behind by your separation and divorce that happened three years ago.

Honestly, if you haven’t been able to redefine yourself in three years, you need help.

Hell’s bells, we all love our kids…  We all love what they bring to our lives…  But when you’re co-parenting with your ex, you need to come to terms with the fact that THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS GOING TO BE THERE.

And if your life stops when they’re not around, you have a problem.

If you sit there and dwell on the time they are gone and do nothing for yourself… To better yourself, to DEFINE yourself when they are gone…. you have a problem!

Do I miss my Wee when she is gone???  HELL YES….  But I get over it… I dust off and realize she’ll be back.  That’s not always easy…  Fuck, sometimes it’s right hard…  When it’s THAT hard, I do something for HER…  I take an hour or two and I do something for HER that I know she will love…  That helps make it feel like she’s here, even if only for a few hours…  And then I pick up and dust off and get back to my job of living life for me.  If I have a hard time with that, I reach out to friends near and far and they help get me up and on my feet and moving again.

Stopping my life because she isn’t around; not an option.  Pushing people out of my life because she’s not around; not an option.

Staying stagnant in life just because your kids are with the other parent should not be an option for anyone… Especially with the access schedules that people have anymore…  A day here, a day there, two days here, two days there…  It’s not like it used to be where dads are coming up empty handed just every other weekend dads.  Most dads are seeing their kids a ton.

So quit your boohooing…  For reals.  Check the day off on the calendar… Take a second…  Cry a tear…  But don’t fucking stop living just because ‘you don’t know who you are without your kids’…  Fuck.. If that’s the way you feel, if that’s the way you view your life… GET HELP!

But don’t pick up shovelfuls of your own shit and try to sling it at someone else just to make you feel better and make your shattered life everyone else’s fault.

No one but you is to blame for the state of your life and the fact that you’re not rebuilding it properly.

If you try to build your new life on the shattered pile of rubble of your old life, your new life, the one you should be loving and living, is going to be a wreck…

And who really wants to live a wreck of a life?

Two Days….

Can you believe it???  TWO MORE DAY…. !!!   JUST TWO….!!!

And I have to admit… I’ve been a blubbering mess since the June Newsletter came home.  

Where has time gone??   

It feels like just yesterday I was driving her from our old home to her big girl school…. 

It feels like just yesterday I was stumbling away from the school trying to hold it together; trying not to bawl my eyes out….

And then came the move…  And the transition to me putting her on the school bus every morning and getting her off the bus every night….  

And then Christmas Break… And her appendix scare….  

And then Spring Break…  

And now it’s TWO DAYS LEFT… 

She’s moving from JK to SK….

She has passed from Sea Otter to Salamander in swimming….  

She’ll be moving up in dance class…  

TWO DAYS…..  

Another mark…  Another milestone….  

My little isn’t going to be so little for much longer.

 

Awareness….

It’s a large part of what life is about…  being aware and informed….  getting all of the correct information on a subject instead of just bits and pieces of it.

Especially if you have to make a decision about something.

You need to be aware and educated and informed to make that decision and to make it well; otherwise you’re just standing at the craps table of life and hoping that snake eyes don’t come up.

I wrote a post a while back.  In it there were some good links and good information; solid information about a subject which we should all be more aware and informed of and we need to be aware because it is only through widespread knowledge and education that the injustices will stop.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Anyone can have that diagnosis…  anyone from car accident victims to witnesses of an event to rape victims to, hell, even anyone who has had their life turned on its ass for half a second.

Anyone can have that diagnosis.

And most people with that diagnosis are looked at with compassion; treated gently by society…

But there is one group where that isn’t the case.

And that fact breaks my heart.

This group of people, they put it all on the line to stand in front of the country that you call home.

It’s just been recently that those people have started actually coming out, going public, saying with strength:
Yes, I went to war.  Yes I came home.  Yes I am different.

And it’s just been even more recently that the stories of the discrimination that this group of people face every day have started to come to light.

But it’s not enough.  Not yet.  Because the discrimination is still happening.  The hiding is still happening.  The shame still exists.  The blood is still falling.

It’s not enough.

Not yet.

This group…  The brave, the proud, the strong..   The Military.

They signed their names on the dotted line to stand in front of the country you call home… To protect your rights and freedoms…  To help others try to rise above oppression…

And they are so horribly discriminated against when they come home…. Especially if it gets out that they have four little letters attached to their personalities:
PTSD.

Soldiers lose their children to the Courts.
Veteran’s Affairs; the very people who are supposed to help; lose paperwork, deny claims, shut their doors if their ‘rules’ aren’t followed.
Soldiers have been denied financial compensation that they are owed.
Soldiers have been turned down for jobs that they have tried to get, that they are more than qualified for, after coming home and successfully reintegrating into society.
Soldiers have LOST jobs that they have held and performed stellarly at after it has come to light that they have PTSD.
Military files have been lost, inexplicably lost, making the claims process for the Military Member that much harder.

Honestly, the list of wrongs goes on and on and on…  And it’s heartbreaking.

All because people fear the fact that the Soldiers have been trained…  That they have seen the darker side of humanity…  And they came home.  It’s like society must punish them for coming home.

And I even know of cases where soldiers have PTSD, but they never, ever saw combat, but their PTSD is due to something they saw in their job, or worse yet, from Military Sexual Trauma, and they are still being denied everything that Combat Soldiers are being denied.

Why?  Because they’re Military.  They’re trained.  They might be a loose cannon.

But the Civilian rape victim isn’t treated with this discrimination.  Why is the Military rape victim?  Where’s the justice in that?

So the Military Members hide…  They hide their past…  They hide their trauma…  They hide their truth.

They form support groups that, if you’re Military, you have to ask to join.  You hope hope you can gain admission and acceptance just to get some support from your brothers during the darkest of times.  The admission process to these groups is pretty tight because there is the stigma, there is the fear.

And while we hide…  While we secret away…   We die at an alarming rate because the supports aren’t there.

Most of us are living meager lives because we can’t get financial compensation.  Many of us are adrift in a sea of paperwork that never seems to end because Veteran’s Affairs will not listen and will not help.  Many of us are watching our relationships, our friendships, our lives trickle through our fingers because people just can’t understand and would rather hold who we are and who we have become against us than stand by us and try to understand.

And we die at an alarming rate.

The US has a suicide rate of 22 Members per day.  I don’t know if anyone knows for certain what the Military suicide rate is in Canada but I can tell you this, one death of one Service Member because they feel they have no supports, they have lost everything, they feel they have nothing left…  That is one death too many.

One death is one too many.

I can also tell you this:  In the last 6 months, I personally know of 9 Members who have taken their own lives.   That’s just 6 months.  And these are people that I would welcome into my home.  Nine in six months.   If i were to go through the 12 month total; the number would be much higher.

And those are just people that I know.

So even our suicide rate is staggering.

So now you’re sitting there; you’re reading this…  this tip of the iceberg of an explanation as to some of the hard facts about the Military and PTSD…  and trust me when I say this is just BARELY scratching the surface…

And you may be thinking ‘Okay, yes, there’s a problem.   But what can I do?’

Educate yourself…  Read everything there is to read…  know what you can…

Reach out to people if you can.  Yes, it is a heavy load to carry, even if it isn’t your load… but let them know that they’re not alone.  Offer to be one more voice in the dark if you can.

Reach out to groups that help First Responders and the Military members.  I posted a link on my last post about them.  They’re a great group.  But they need help too.  If you can’t help financially, find out how you CAN help.

http://www.canadianheroes.com/

Spread the word…  stop misinformation.  If you see discrimination against someone happening, stop it.  SPEAK UP!  The only way we can stop it to stop it when we see it.

Hold the government accountable to the Military Members.  You voted them in; ask them for accountability.  Why are they allowing the VA to treat the Military Members like this.

Contact your local Legion, ask them if there is any way you can help or what projects they have going on to help that you could help with.

Most of all, show compassion.  Show caring.  And make it public knowledge that you care.

The more light that the public shines on our issues, the more the public understand and accepts us for who we have become since coming home…  The less our demons weigh.

Help us carry our load.  It’s a heavy load and a long and lonely road.

ptsd-parchment1

I Know… Trust Me, I Know…..

Yes, I know I promised a blog post…  I KNOW!!  

And one is definitely needed considering it is PTSD Awareness Month and that is a topic…  well, let’s be honest, one of MANY topics that not only do I feel strongly about but that I can literally go on and on about because it is one of the many things that I am very well-informed on.  

Unfortunately life has been busier than normal lately…   I’ve been juggling 2 jobs…  and of course my little and all of her lessons and various other things that she likes to do…  pile on top of that some illness and my seasonal allergies going BONKERS (what was the name of those god damned trees again Greg??)…  add a dash of trying to have some fun and take some time for me…  and spending time with friends….  and my PTSD going bonkers on me for almost a damn week for some damn reason or another….  oh, and add on the fact that I am becoming quite smitten with and trying to find time to spend with someone who I really am very fond of….  and, well, it all adds up to not enough time in the day for ANYTHING!

But that’s okay; I have a feeling I’ll be able to breathe again soon.  

My life is never this chaotic for very long…  I won’t let it be.  

So, that post, it is coming…  it is…  but while I am busy crafting it in my head so that I can get it out here for you to read, I would like you to start thinking and doing some of your own homework on this subject…  because it is a large subject full of much misinformation and many misconceptions….  and it is well past time to erase those misconceptions.

So what I would like to ask of you is take a few moments of your time, Google PTSD.  Read what it is and what causes it.  And I’m talking the term PTSD.  Don’t get into any of the other shit out there…  don’t dig…  Just PTSD.  That’s it.  Stay basic.  

Oh here, let me help you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posttraumatic_stress_disorder

http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/#.U56CG_ldXpA

Two very good links from me to you.  You want more…  Google…  

And then think about any misconceptions you have heard about PTSD…  or even ones you may have yourself…  

And then take the clinical explanations of PTSD that you just read and think about the number of people that you know who have experienced some form of frightening or stressful situation who could potentially, if the cards fell differently for them, could have developed PTSD because of that….

And then do me a favour and ask yourself how you would have treated them…  how you think SOCIETY may have treated them if they had developed PTSD because of a frightening or stressful event.  

And, if you have the time…  i know, I KNOW…  more time!!!  It’s always about time…  

IF you have the time, take a moment and listen to Boone…  http://vimeo.com/97268399

The entire video is very informative but the most startling and painfully honest information is within the first 3 minutes.

Now yes, he is in the United States.  Yes, he is speaking on behalf  of the US military and the US Veterans..  but there is a lot of information and a lot of scary truth in his words…  and that information and those truths…  they can be applied to the Active, Inactive, and Ex Military Members here as well.  

And then one more link…..http://www.canadianheroes.com/

And I promise…  my next post will tie all of this together…   

But do this for me…..  do the reading…  do the thinking…  and really think……  What can WE do to stop the misconceptions and the discrimination that exists?  

Anyone can get PTSD… 

Who cares where it came from…  

So why treat one specific group, a group that pulled on a uniform to protect the freedoms that we have today, why treat them any differently than any other person out there who has a diagnosis of PTSD?  And how do we stop that?  How do we stop the fear and the discrimination?  

Think about it.

Ug….

That’s all I have…  

That’s it… 

Just Ug….

So Wee came home from school today….  And as usual was all ‘I don’t know’ about what she did at school…  I opened her backpack to dig around before we ran out the door for swim class and what did I find that brought me to tears??    

Guess!  I bet you can’t!!!

The last newsletter of the school year.  

I looked at my Wee who was finally gushing about her art for the day and her teachers and what she learned and her friends and….  

And I started to cry.

“MOMMY! What’s wrong?  I know you haven’t been feeling well.  Are you getting sick again?  Should I call Uncle Rob?  I can.  You taught me how!!”

That made me cry harder.

How to explain to your four year old that no, you’re just being a fool…  That it’s just the end of her first year of school is coming up… That it’s a HUGE DEAL…  In your mind anyway….  

“No dude, you don’t need to call Uncle Rob….  I’m okay.  I’m just being silly.  It’s almost the end of your first year of school.  You’re getting to be such a big girl…..  It just makes mommy kind of sad.”
“It’s okay mommy.  I understand.  You want me to be your baby still.”
“Yeah dude, I do.”

Dry my eyes, off to swim class…  And I’m slapped in the face with it again.  

Walk her up and introduce her to her teacher.  Go to explain that I have trusted her teacher to take care of her so she needs to….

“I know mommy.  I’ll listen.  I’ll listen to my teacher and I’ll do everything she says.  Just like if she’s you.  You can go sit down in the shade now.”

SHIT.  

When did she grow up???!!!!

Then over dinner:  

“Mommy, I want more water but I’ll get it.  You just eat your dinner while it’s warm.  I can do this.”

And she does…  She gets her own cup of water.  

STOP.  JUST STOP IT!!!

“Mommy, I want dip.  I’m going to go get it okay?”
“Yes Bear.”

My head hits the table.

She comes back to the table with everything she wants.  

“Mommy, I know you’re sad that I’m not your baby anymore.   How about we hurry up and finish dinner then we can put on a movie that you want to watch and snuggle on the couch.  You can hold me like you used to do when I was really little.”
“That sounds like a deal dude.   Thanks.”

And we did…  We snuggled on the couch like two little peas in a pod and watched Despicable Me 2.  

And the entire time I just wished she would never grow up.  

All I Have To Say….

Here’s to a new week….

Last week can kiss my ass.  For reals.  There were a couple of high points, but on a very general level, last week sucked.  

Really sucked. 

And I’m not just talking ‘whoops I broke a nail’ or ‘fuck I lost my wallet’ sucked…  

I wish I was talking about those kinds of sucked.

I’m talking about the kind of sucked where, by Monday at noon, you’ve gone through a box of Kleenex; it feels like the sky truly is falling; and you honestly don’t know which way to turn.

Thankfully, I had Michelle talking me through it, offering some advice, and just being a bit of an anchor through that storm.   

She does the same work that I do so she knows the day-to-day frustrations that come with the job…  And she knows how poorly people in my field can be treated sometimes….   and how, sometimes you just don’t want to even turn your computer on because, well… You’ve just had enough.  

Thank you for being my life raft Michelle…  And, as much as you say it was my own skill and knowledge that got me my new job offer….  Thank you for sending off the email that you did…  Most people would not take the time to do something so simple yet so profoundly meaningful for someone…  Much less someone they have never actually met face-to-face.  Thank you.  

So, yes, you read it right….  I have a new job offer….  I don’t know specifically what is going on with the company that I currently do work for but, well, they’re no longer giving me enough work to pay my bills.  

That can’t happen.  

I’m a single mom.  

It’s more than me that I have to worry about.  There’s my Wee too.

The bitch is, I asked them about it…  And in response to my questions I would either get bullshit answers, some candy-coated bullshit, or I’d get shit on.  

Gee, thanks.

So move on I will..  Because it’s what is best for my Wee….  

Pick up and dust off I will…  Because there is no option B.  

Other than that….  

I’ve had a few mental bumps over the weekend….  I can’t put my finger on exactly what it was that sent me downhill and caused my PTSD to kick into overdrive…  All I know is that Saturday night I HAD TO see Geoffrey….  

Thankfully I know people…   

Thankfully I was able to get in touch with the caretaker…

Thankfully he was kind and understanding and let me in.

But that visit… That turned into more than just a visit with my dearest friend…  It turned into a visit with his mom too…  They both had a lot of words dumped on their graves…  And a lot of tears fell on the ground there…  A lot of emotions left me and were left with them. 

Did it help…..?  

Well, that depends who you ask….  

You’re obviously asking me so I guess the answer would have to honestly be that unloading like that was therapeutic….  And having them so close was comforting….  But at the same time…  It was sad…  A sad reminder.  

I think the thing that really helped the most was when I was told today ‘Any time.  Anything at all.  I’m happy to sit with you through the hard times because I want to be there till the happy memories outweigh the bad’.  

Now sure, I have friends who say that I can call anytime day or night and they’ll be there…  And I have had to make those calls… And those calls to those people who I know mean it are always answered…  

But this particular speaking of those words meant so much to me….  

They came from someone very new to my life…  But someone who I feel a pretty strong connection to.  

He’s eager to learn about me…  And he likes me for me…..  And he genuinely cares about me.  

And I care about him too….  

He’s a very kind person….  And very genuine…  And his smile lights up a room…  

And he’s very perceptive….  

We’re both looking forward to a lot of good times and laughs and great memories in the future….  

And I’m thrilled to have another person that I can call when times get dark…  When the demons start to walk….  

Or when I just want to get up to some shenanigans….

A partner in crime is always a nice thing to have.