65: Children’s Mental Health – What Do We Do For Our Struggling Kids? (Sort Of)

We have Stephanie on to talk about the mental health of our children. Mental health is generational, and also involves epigenetics. Many of the issues in our personal childhood homes get carried over into our adult families, leading to our kids getting a lot of the same inputs we had. This can happen during our using or even after finding recovery, before we learn healthier ways to parent. Even if we get everything right, there is still the danger of our children struggling with their mental health. What do we do about it? We explore how to recognize, how to help the best we can, some resources, and mostly how to take care of ourselves while trying to help our children, since we will be of little use to them if we can’t find our center.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

welcome back it’s recovery sort of i’m jason i’m a guy in long term recovery and i’m billy i’m a person in long term recovery and today we’re here with stephanie welcome stephanie hi i always want to say i’m an addict named jason i that whole long-term recovery thing just throws me off i was trying to figure out what i was going to say and i’m going to go with i’m stephanie i’m a recovered alcoholic oh a recovered alcoholic cool now we need an episode that’s not a thing and i was thinking about that and it’s because my situation is no longer hopeless ah it’s so interesting i love the recovered versus recovering versus in recovery debate honestly just because it’s interesting i i don’t truly at the end of the day give a [ __ ] what anybody says about what they personally identify as but i actually heard a group of a few guys on the milk and whiskey podcast have the debate and i was like man i just wish i was there i want to be in this debate just to argue a point yeah just because it’s fun right because i i think everybody’s got valid points like every side has some real good points to it but it is interesting you know whenever i hear somebody say that they’re in recovery i’m like have you learned nothing you know that’s so funny so i guess for me i feel recovered from the substance use but i don’t consider my original problem to be the substance use like because i identify as an addict that encompasses all the different ways that addiction can interfere in my life and i don’t feel recovered from all of them that’s for [ __ ] sure like i still struggle with anything like i’m addicted to this podcast yeah i think so too i spend a lot of time doing this every week and it like takes front and center presidents over other [ __ ] i want to do so it’s ruining my life yeah does it have negative consequences didn’t we it has to have negative consequences i mean some my family would probably say yes what are you doing life-threatening negative consequences because i feel like you could argue the levels of negative consequences and say how bad is it really yes so so we have stephanie with us here today because we’re going to talk about the mental health of children and in specific this is like the mental health of our children as parents who are recovered or in recovery depending on how you look at it how do we handle because look we know this is a generational thing we know all this kind of stuff gets passed down trauma can get passed down from generations even before us substance use addiction however you want to refer to it mental health in general gets passed down from generation to generation it runs rampant through families this is probably something if you have children you are going to end up dealing with at some level of the spectrum right it might be a very mild your kid has some mild symptoms of mental health or it could be some extreme cases where you know many people i’ve heard tell the story that their kids get into drug and they lose them sometimes or the struggle goes on and so that is what we’re going to talk about today it seems very relevant topic way more relevant and close to home than i realized when i thought this would be a good idea for a topic stephanie actually was telling me about her situation back in early november i believe it was i think it was and i was like oh my god you should totally come on and we should talk about that it seems really relevant and then i had my own situation you know like two weeks later which was odd as hell but why don’t you just tell us a little bit about your story and how you got to be alive and recovered how i got to be alive and recovered let’s see well that’s always such a hard place to start i guess i would say at a young age one night when two people really love each other right so let’s see i started drinking when i was about 17. my parents are divorced and i grew up with a lot of feelings of lack of security a lot of feelings of insecurity growing up it just kind of feeling feeling less than and like i wasn’t good enough you know there was some some abuse in the household as well you know when you’re a kid that’s very hard to process and deal with and you’re completely powerless in those situations and then i tried alcohol and it tasted delicious and it made all those feelings go away just like anything i mean it was great until it wasn’t you know and then you just kind of fast forward 12 years and i had some self-destructive behaviors before i started drinking when i was 17 i overdosed on medications because i felt like my parents didn’t love me anymore and then when i was in the military i had cut my wrist several times when i was getting drunk on the base because i was just so disgusted with myself and like just where i was at in life towards the end of my drinking i remember i was standing in the kitchen and my husband i felt like he wasn’t paying attention to me because everything like hinged on how much attention i was getting and so i was standing there threatening to cut my wrists if he didn’t pay attention to me and i was just miserable and i was in that spot where i was too scared to kill myself but i didn’t want to live anymore because i didn’t know that there was any other way when i was in the military i got sent to a 30-day rehab but i was only 18 so that didn’t really do anything and then towards the end of my drinking i went to an aaa meeting and i didn’t like it i felt that it was super cultish and everybody was too happy and i didn’t like it it made me really uncomfortable so i went for two weeks and i decided that i learned everything i needed to learn and then i went back out and i lost two more weeks of my life and then i finally came back and like in the big book it talks about like i was basically beaten into a state of submission because i had no idea how to live so i started going to meetings i went like six days a week for the first year because i always drank at home so i went to meetings instead so i went to work i went to meetings and i came back home you know i went through the steps but i still had a hard time because the meetings that i went to they they talked about god a lot i guess if i had to choose something to identify with like i i guess i would say i’m an atheist for the sake of a label and i always found it so insulting when they would be like oh yeah you know uh the doorknob can be your higher power and i’m like what is that is that even mean and it really bothered me and it got to the point where it felt like if i didn’t subscribe to like what they were selling that like my sobriety like wasn’t valid enough and i think a lot of that ties into my own feelings of feeling less than and stuff like that so i kind of went off on my own path and i started reading a lot of books about like awareness and mindfulness and just trying to be like the best version of yourself and realizing that you’re not your thoughts and because i remember hearing you guys talking about that and how like you’re the observer yeah and just kind of going from there and oddly enough when i kind of trekked off was when i found this podcast and i started listening to it and when i heard billy what i heard you like talking and i was like oh my god it’s somebody like me like it just it made me feel so good to finally hear somebody like share those same thoughts and so the big thing now is i got into psych nursing and i work with addicts and alcoholics and that’s essentially my service work and i absolutely love it it keeps it green for me but it just it lets me see where i started from and it really helps me to see that it’s not just about the drugs or the alcohol it’s about all of the emotions and the trauma that was underneath that and until we learned how to like dissolve those things then we’re always going to choose drugs or alcohol i have so many comments and i didn’t want to interrupt are we a recovery modality now that’s funny i was thinking how did you relapse after your two weeks in a.a i thought you only needed two weeks to work the 12 steps in a.a yeah right well i decided that i had learned everything i needed to learn and that i would be fine and i remember we went to our friend’s house that night and we had a bonfire and i was sitting there drinking and i was talking about the fact that i had been in the past i was like i don’t know why i’m sitting here drinking right now you know this is terrible i was supposed to learn more but it’s because i realize now i wasn’t ready i wasn’t ready to deal with my stuff you know and even now like i have i celebrated three years in september and i went back to therapy you know because i’m not as far along in my emotional sobriety as i wanted to be so like we’re dealing with traumas from the past dealing with how to deal with my kids because i lack compassion and my husband will be the first one to tell you that you know so it’s um it’s a big one and i’m learning a lot i got back on medicine again which has been really helpful right so yeah my brain just kind of like leveled back out again and and what alcohol did you drink that tasted good i was really i was like what the drinking wine coolers ah nothing so i drank wine whiskey and coke oh rum and coke whatever got me drunk or faster because the whole point was just to disappear so i’d whatever would get me there faster was what i did my father was a rum and coke drinker and for my very short bar drinking stint which was extremely short because i was a mess but it was rum and coke but i never ever thought alcohol tasted good not once ah see i loved it i love it really drink it oh yeah that’s disgusting wrong with you people so we’re glad to have you here i’m glad for people like you that informed me that 12 steps isn’t the only way to go i’m thrilled with this podcast just to be able to do it because it’s fun for me but it’s also been so informative of how much else there is out there right how small my world view was i remember being exposed just to the idea that n a like i came in sponsor hardcore all that great stuff and they was like yeah one program one disease one fellowship like one solution for your everything in your life and and then it was like you know through therapy and being exposed to like if one 12-step fellowship’s good how come five isn’t better right and i was like okay let’s try that theory for a while and and i love that and now just being exposed to the world beyond 12 steps at all like that’s not the only way to recover or be recovered or i i need all that right and i don’t tell you frequently enough generally everyone who comments comments that what you said was good i i’m like comic relief or something i don’t know stephanie yeah reaches out frequently and and talks about oh my god billy mentioned this in episode billy mentioned that i’m like [ __ ] billy i really do appreciate the fact that you reached out and reached out to us and we’ve been able to have conversations one of those interesting side conversations happened to be that you reached out that you were struggling in early november because of a situation with your child do you want to fill in the audience about that sure so one of my children’s name is brianna when i got sober she was 10. for the majority of her life she was basically emotionally neglected for lack of a better way to say it because as soon as i would come home i would start drinking right away and i would send her away for me you know and i would have her use electronics or whatever it is i needed to do to just get her away from me so that i didn’t have to deal with being a mom there’s been several times over the years where she told me where i’ve said some not very nice things to her but because i’m a blackout drinker i don’t remember but it emotionally stunted her tremendously and her older sister took care of her she you know cooked for her made sure she got her showers like she pretty much did the whole thing so brie didn’t have that support which oddly enough was something that i didn’t have as a kid either and it’s like those cycles how they continue so after i got sober i was looking at my kid and i’m like man she’s like she’s kind of goofy like i couldn’t figure out exactly what it was but i noticed that in social situations like she very rarely makes eye contact you know she’s very isolative to herself she has a super flat affect when she talks she uses the wrong tenses for words and i’m like man what is going on with my kid and so first i thought that maybe she was on the spectrum i thought it was just like a social thing and i took her to go get tested and it was hard because they kept asking all these questions about when she was a kid and i was like i was drunk and they kept saying what were her milestones and i’d i have no idea right so they ended up diagnosing her with anxiety which i said okay that’s fair we went back home and just kind of went everything was fine for a while and then um she just started declining like she got very isolative to herself she was having trouble in school she has a little bit of like an obsessive personality so she was kind of overwhelming her friends and then they didn’t want to be friends with her anymore so then she started going online and saying that she wanted to kill herself her life was over you know it had no meaning she should just die she’s a disappointment to her parents because she’s always messing up so we found all of those things online which she had been sneaking online to do this too which and we had no idea so we tried to talk to her and as a psych nurse you know i’m trying to get her like contract for safety and stuff like that and she wouldn’t do it and she kept saying you know i’m i’m gonna like stab a knife through my chest and then i saw the marks on her arms where she will bite her skin and then so she’ll open it and then she’ll dig in with her fingers and then she’ll dig it out i found a pair of scissors in her drawer and it was like everything just like came crashing down and i got really really scared so initially we took her to my job because i was like oh well if she has to be institutionalized i can totally check on her and it’ll be fine you know and they said it was a conflict of interest which i guess is fair so i know so the next day we took her to a different place and they admitted her and that was probably the hardest thing that we’ve ever done and being at home without her it was like she was dead not having her you know because we’re a family of five and you know she would call and she would be crying at night and she was paranoid too because she had a lot of racing thoughts and she would say you know people are talking about me you know i know what they’re thinking and she couldn’t stop and she had like rapid speech it was very hard to hear her like that and not be able to be there for her and then she got assessed by the doctor because when we admitted her i was like i think she needs to be on an antipsychotic because i thought that it was maybe a little bit more than just like depression or anxiety he called and he was like yeah i just saw your daughter and so i was like well what’d you think and he’s like she’s different and it felt so good to be validated by somebody and he suggested an antipsychotic which made me really happy and then they started her on it and her brain started slowing down and she got calmer you know she got discharged she did outpatient therapy where they’re supposed to learn coping skills but we know coping skills that’s a lifelong thing and so often especially at work too i’ll hear kids say yoga meditation i’m like you don’t even know what that is you know they’re like deep breathing and i’m like what kind of deep breathing so we’re trying to focus on like personalized things for her and then just over this last week she’s just declined again and it’s so hard to watch like she’s been self-harming almost all week and part of it is she’s supposed to come and talk to us first i had a patient at work tell me that if you take a red pen and mark up your arms you have the the pressure from the pen and the red is like blood and that that’s relieving so brie does that so now she has all these marks on her arms but if her skin will just heal i figure that’s a good thing she has a lot of false beliefs too like she thinks that we’re out to get her that we don’t love her her latest one was that she was gonna run away and join a foster family you know she tells us that that she hates us and that nobody really cares and that we don’t really spend time with her and she tends to backslide to three years ago and she’ll get stuck in that narrative of how things used to be and she has a really hard time separating like the past and right now so that’s a big thing that we’re working on yeah that’s a lot sorry i just like kept going but i was just trying to to catch up we’ve been watching her very carefully i guess it’s kind of selfish you know i got like a six thousand dollar bill from the institution she just came from and in my head i’m like oh my god if she has to go back again like i am never gonna get out of debt and i don’t even know if they’re gonna take her because i haven’t even made any payments yet right and it’s stressful and then with the online schooling it’s a joke because when she gets upset that’s like an hour and a half and then she sleeps for two hours afterwards because she’s emotionally exhausted and it’s just this whole thing i feel like this year should be a gap year yeah if this is the first episode you’ve listened to i get this message from stephanie in early november and i’m like man we should have her on i think this topic is probably relevant to many people in our community because unfortunately we’ve harmed our children we’ve passed down that cyclical problems that we grew up with and the traumas from our household and even me all my kids are from after my clean date i still gave them a lot of my father’s parenting for the first 10 years and i look back at it now and i’m like god i was [ __ ] awful and clean like i don’t even have an excuse i was just a piece of [ __ ] really it’s not an excuse i didn’t know better right and now that i do know better i do better but i can still imagine in 10 years i’m going to look back and be like oh my god 10 years ago i was still [ __ ] up when i thought i was doing well like we just don’t know and we passed down what we were naturally given and so many people either have the time in recovery where they’re screwing their kids up or the time while they’re still using screwing their kids up like we’re screwing our kids up partially and then they got the epigenetics to go along with it so i get i’m like yeah this is really relevant when you mention like the milestones with your kids i was completely clean with all my kids i couldn’t tell you any of their milestones i don’t they were normal kids i don’t know that makes me feel better yeah i i don’t remember yeah i didn’t remember the track i know my kids were like what time was i born yeah i barely know the day there’s four of you have to remember birthdays that’s hard enough yeah so i i’m like it’ll be super relevant it’ll help people and then even further it gives you an opportunity to come on and talk about it right and and i know that’s always a healing process so i’m like this would be so great and then two weeks later my daughter’s taking 80 ibuprofen and and 10 tylenol extra strength and and trying to harm herself and i’m like what the [ __ ] this is stuff that happens to other people not me and you know you mentioned the disappointment my daughter expresses a lot of feeling like a disappointment like nothing she does is good enough for anyone and it’s hard and and this is what my buddy always used to say about the disease of addiction i’d be like oh my god it’s so [ __ ] stupid it doesn’t make any sense and he’s like the disease of addiction doesn’t make any sense and that’s what i’ve learned about mental health too so like trying to understand a child going through a mental health experience from a rational standpoint is useless right it doesn’t make any sense it’s not going to it doesn’t matter that i show her that i love her and then i try to spend time with her and that i say nice things when she does good things and all that like none of that matters she feels how she feels and that’s her interpretation of the world right now and what do you do with that we had to have my daughter and honestly we didn’t have to i would have chosen against having her committed i look in hindsight and say it’s probably a good thing kept her safe for a week kept her able to be stable and monitored while her medicine continued to take effect but at the time i was against it i was like we don’t [ __ ] need that but because we went to the emergency room we didn’t get an option they told me if i said no they were going to do it anyway with a whole lot more complications involuntary yep that was its own issue and you know i’ve complained about the emergency room staff because i don’t like the way they helped people in crisis but i do think ultimately that was probably the right thing but it was still hard especially i mean the place was goddamned two hours away so it might have been for the best that we couldn’t visit because of covid but not visiting because a cove had felt shitty it was like man she’s never been away from us like this she’s never been away from her sister at all she’s a twin she’s never been away from her sister for more than you know five minutes much less seven [ __ ] days and now we can only call we can’t even visit and then we went to pick her up and i was like thank god we couldn’t visit it’s a long ass drive it’s like four hours round trip but yeah the insurance costs like there’s so many added stressors to this for the parent so much you’re trying not to put on the kid even though you’re stressed about it it’s like what do we do with this where do we start how do we help this has probably been my biggest realization of powerlessness yet in my life yeah i’m powerless over drugs yeah i’m powerless over girls cheating on me yeah i’m powerless over all these other things that i’ve run into but powerless over if my child is gonna be alive tomorrow now obviously we’re all powerless over that there’s car accidents there’s falling down the steps wrong but facing that because that’s something i think we often ignore facing that today knowing that i don’t know what’s coming when i wake up tomorrow next week three years from now that’s as powerless as i’ve ever [ __ ] been and especially when they self-harm and you start looking around everything becomes a weapon like and that was something when i looked through her bed she had ripped off the top of the hangers so that there was like that curved part with the point and i’m just like man and every yeah everything’s a weapon so then you’re like are you supposed to put her in a bubble am i supposed to box up the whole house and it’s hard and even too like since you said that you have other kids like the way that it affects the other kids in the house is is huge because they’re like man what’s what’s wrong with my sister and i have a five-year-old and her name is evie and she is so worried that brianna is going to hurt herself again and have to go back to the hospital so she’s developed she’s a five-year-old running around with anxiety now and her anxiety is that she tries really hard to get everybody to have fun and to to stay focused and to be happy and say everything’s fine and she just jumps around because she’s petrified of what could happen to her sister and that’s really hard to see too yeah i know for me i like i have a 11 year old boy six-year-old boy and i was like they’re not going to give a [ __ ] that she’s not here they don’t talk to her when she is and then they both cried while she was away and i’m like huh who who knew like we don’t i guess we take for granted looking from the outside like oh you don’t really talk to each other you don’t really hang out you’re different ages but you still just get used to people being around and there’s like a connection and a safety and a comfort that they’re just in the house with you they don’t have to be talking to you or in the room yeah it was like a traumatic experience when we had to pack up her stuff and i’m sure you can relate like in taking her out of the house you know and she tried to put on like a brave face and act like she was excited and everything was going to be fun i almost felt like she was kind of hypomanic at that time and you know and then the kids the other two kids are crying and we’re crying and i feel like i’m gonna vomit and it’s just it was this whole thing i give you so much credit because i don’t think i could have done it she was at the emergency room already i took her there but her leaving from there and then facilitating that process was way better for my life like i don’t know if i could have in my house made that call and taken that drive and forced it to happen like that seems really really tough i agree and i think too like if you have things from your past that kind of relate to it like it brought up a lot of the feelings when when i had overdosed and and how i had felt like in my home and again that powerlessness and realizing that you can’t keep your kids safe and like for the the selfish part of me which of course is always there i’m like well what about me you know what about how this is affecting me as a mom you know like i’m trying my best like why can’t she just be happy why can’t she just be healthy you know i provide for her i love her i hug her now i’m present like why can’t that be enough and back to why am i not enough yeah and it caught my therapist brings it up all the time she’s like and what does that remind you of and it’s always the same thing of those those feelings of inadequacy and it’s interesting to see how much they show up like once you become aware of it yeah we have that trauma response it takes us right back to our childhood and takes other people back to their life and wow and i think too it really shows the like in the rooms we we called it uh our isms and how like you have these certain um personnel like uh traits and behaviors that you display before you ever pick up or use and watching it in my daughter it’s shocking and i just keep thinking to myself like oh my god if she starts drinking or using like i don’t know what’s going to happen because she self-harms for that quick fix and i’m like man when she finds out that there’s another quick fix out there i don’t know what we’re gonna do and of course because i’m gonna think you know 18 years in the future because that’s what i do instead of just being right here but it’s scary to see all of those those isms because we learn too until you learn to love yourself and care about yourself like you were saying it doesn’t matter how much uh positive feedback we give her right it just it’s like it’s almost like a shield it just like bounces off of her except for the negative feedback which of course goes right in through all of the cracks and they absorb all of that so there’s a cognitive behavioral drawing that they like to use it looks like pac-man basically and that’s your core belief system and so if your core belief is you don’t like yourself you know that’s in the center of the pac-man and basically anything filters through that right so anything that’s negative and and reinforces that world view comes in through the pac-man’s open mouth and everything else is around the other sides of the pac-man where it just bounces off you can’t hear good things and anybody that’s ever dealt with that feeling knows it because as soon as somebody compliments you you shrug it off you make a joke about it you belittle it you can’t take compliments those kind of things it’s just your world view there’s no way i have a really hard time with compliments still like i’ll ask especially my husband so his name is bruce because i don’t want to say my husband anymore um hi bruce bruce i’ll be like you know hey do i look okay and he’s like yeah you look great and i’m like tell me what looks great i’m like i need like a from top to bottom i need a play-by-play and what looks great because yeah i still get insecure you know and i still crave that validation from others even though logically i know that it’s not going to make me feel better but i still find myself looking for it damn maybe i need to get better my wife’s always asking about her outfits and i’m like i don’t give a [ __ ] i’ll tell them i say i need specific examples you’re not naked it’s perfect great we can go out

this episode has been brought to you by voices of hope inc a non-profit grassroots recovery community organization located in maryland voices of hope is made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity and respect of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment support resources and mentoring please visit us at www.voicesofhopecilmd.org and consider donating to our calls

for us as parents like we had an issue with my seven well she was 15 at the time we were having a family discussion argument about some things and my 15 year old kind of blurted out you know i just think i should just kill myself and she was pretty serious she was pretty upset and crying and you know we were like wow where did that come from you know we weren’t expecting to hear that at all and so we kind of let everything calm down and we followed up and we ended up getting her into therapy one of the big things for me that i had to swallow through that whole process is even as smart as i think i am with all the answers that i think that i have i still don’t have the answers to everything all the time for my kids and when we put her into therapy you know we met with her therapists and i was kinda i don’t wanna say antitherapy but i was like ah this is for people that have like diagnosed mental illnesses and you know just i had a jaded perspective on most of that and the therapist said the most simple thing that helped me understand that process she said sometimes we just need other people to help us figure out answers to problems and i was like from a recovery perspective like that made a lot of sense and you know my daughter was able to go in there and meet with this woman who was able to give her some coping skills i guess what i was giving her what i learned through recovery just didn’t relate to a 16 17 year old girl in today’s society what i was giving her wasn’t exactly what she needed and realizing that like that’s okay that we seek information outside of ourselves in our parenting and so to go along with that my friend jack and i got clean around the same time originally we were sponsy brothers lived around a corner worked together we even had the same sponsor for a little while and we ran into the same problem in both of our lives that our fathers after we had gotten clean and gotten into recovery and worked some steps we would be talking with our fathers with information and our fathers both said to us i’ve been telling you that for years but you couldn’t listen to me and so it’s just the fact that that individual that father figure that parent that close individual it was just too close to hear it that’s not who we were getting our information from but once the information came it was good information right like what you were probably telling her was great she just couldn’t hear it from you she needed to hear it from a different place and i think that’s an experience a lot of us have like it’s not like the judges the parents the anybody generally they had good advice i just couldn’t take it that’s happened before when uh bree’s done the the telemed and the therapist would say something similar to what i’ve said and i wanted to take the computer screen so bad and put it on me and be like i said that i’ve been saying that and yeah that’s just the part of wanting to validate myself well and your pacman example is what reminded me of that it’s like certain information coming in a certain way just they miss it it doesn’t come in but the same thing from someone else or a peer or a family member could say in the same message which and this is anecdotal but i think you know our i believe my parents giving me praise and love and all that stuff even when i was going through my addiction like i think that all mattered i didn’t hear it i didn’t feel it at the time but later on in my life i could look back and realize like i am someone who people loved and cared about and appreciated and i didn’t feel that when i was a teenager but i feel it now you know and i can recognize being lucky to have that because there’s a lot of people that don’t even get that you know in their life they don’t have parents that tell them they love them or that they’re there for them even if the kids blow us off and ignore us i don’t know that everybody always does but i think one of the incredible parts of therapy is the ability to go back and rewrite your whole life with a new understanding so you can come into therapy at like 60 years old and feel like you have all these regrets and you missed all these opportunities and yet when you change that core central belief it not only changes your life moving forward but it changes the way you view your past like you said like you can go back and see oh [ __ ] they they did say nice things about me they did love me my childhood was good right like we can alter the perception of our whole life and go from somebody who lives with regrets and miserable experiences and because of our new understanding of how we believe the world works whatever that may be for any individual we can go back and say no that happened for a reason because i needed that experience to do this or this is what pushed me here and it all makes sense and it’s i just think that’s incredible like we can change our whole life past tense that’s been a really big part for me with staying sober was being able to look at the past you know with a different perspective and although i’m not i get funny it’s the same thing about how things have to be phrased a certain way to penetrate us but like i don’t like it when people say things happen for a reason but then um i think it was the second matrix movie when morpheus when he’s like you know things happen the way they happen because it couldn’t have happened any other way and i’m like okay great and it’s basically the same thing but that that was very freeing for me because i stopped being so fixated on the past and kept thinking that if this would have been different i could have been a better person because that’s so like debilitating to think like that instead to just say this is how it happened because everything that led up to that point is like how it culminated and that it’s just it’s the way that it was and that that’s okay so that was a big one i live in the past tense with that i’m like that happened exactly how it was supposed to happen and people are like well how do you know that and like because that’s how it happened yeah yeah it was supposed to be different it would have been it would have been it’s tricky when you’re in the moment though when you’re in the tough situation to accept that it’s easy to say and it’s easy to appreciate later down the line once you’ve kind of you know acknowledged the feelings and processed them but yeah when you’re in the moment somebody says that you’re like shut the [ __ ] up it’s just little stuff like instead of saying uh like i read this on facebook all the time where it says like instead of saying why is this happening to me what can i learn from this or how can i like what am i able to manipulate you know of course in a healthy manner that will benefit me from this instead of saying oh god this is so horrible and because i know for me like i’m i love to be a victim that’s a big part of that’s definitely one of my my isms and so like with everything that happened with brie like that was such a great i was like oh this is so terrible that this is happening to me you know the alcoholic part of my brain was like and this is a totally valid reason to relapse too like that also went through my head i was like because if this isn’t then what would be i didn’t though but it went through my head a lot yeah thank god what do they say you could have 99 problems and use them to make a hundred yeah but it’s not going to fix the 99 things with my kids that was the only issue that ever really triggered me to want to use like really badly was my daughter was sexually abused by her grandfather which is part of probably her problems later in life but when that happened i really wanted to use not because i thought it would fix anything i just didn’t want to feel the way that i felt right then and i thought i don’t give a [ __ ] what all the consequences are i don’t want to feel this way i don’t want to deal with this and i know that i could go get high and i wouldn’t have to feel this and whatever problems come along i didn’t really care right the [ __ ] it button is pretty it’s brutal when it comes into your head and it’s interesting like with mental health because it like it is it’s such a mirror and i’ll see that in my daughter like when she’s when she does wrong and she could have done better like you would think that the first thing you would do is accept responsibility for your behavior right but instead man she just keeps digging and she’ll go and go and go and then she got in trouble like two days before christmas and she’s like fine just don’t even give me any of my christmas presents for like you just go so far with things because you can’t regulate your emotions yeah from 100 feeling happy to negative 100 i’m completely shut off from the world and want nothing from it and we went through that with my son when he was a lot younger so from the age of probably about seven to maybe 10 or 11 he went through really extreme emotional stuff to being incredibly violent and angry all the time i mean he would tell us he was going to murder us in our sleep and he was going to get a knife and cut our throats to the point where we ended up seeking counseling for that because said to jen you know these are how those kids that shoot up schools like that’s how that starts you know you hear their parents talk about that and you know i was like we gotta get him into therapy or counseling or whatever and and we did and he’s you know thank god we don’t deal with that anymore but it was scary and it was like say just the least little problem he would flip out and go right to a hundred and want to kill you in your sleep because you wouldn’t change the tv channel or something bizarre and even to this day like we have no idea where he got that from or where that came from we aren’t violent in our house you know we don’t have guns or you know we don’t watch like a lot of violent things like and we just couldn’t figure out like where did that come from i don’t know exactly how it worked out after a couple years we went to therapy a lot and i think he just hated therapy so he corrected his behavior see but it worked yeah it worked though yeah i think sometimes kids and even us have a hard time separating those feelings of like guilt shame and remorse and said we’ll just jump and go okay well i just want to die now instead of like dealing with those feelings like i see that a lot with my daughter like when she feels guilty she’s like i feel like harming myself right now and we’re like whoa that’s it that’s a huge leap and the big thing is like getting them to talk about those feelings what you said reminded me how you felt like that’s one of those questions or things that people do before when bree was like three she killed our rabbit and it was an accident it was next to her in the bed and she i guess put him under the covers and was sitting on it and she broke its neck and i remember the day that that happened and i was like i’m going to be doing an interview for this in a few years like for why she shot up to school yeah oh my i just felt selfish when you were talking i was like you know this is traumatic that my daughter wants to harm herself and it’s sad and and it makes me feel powerless but if she was talking about harming me oh [ __ ] no you gotta get out like i love my life today that’s not gonna happen i have a stepdaughter who has a mental and physical disability she’s actually in a institutional living facility and that was one of the major warning signs so they told us when she was young we kind of knew that at some point she would probably need to go institutional for her living that she would never be able to live on her own or take care of herself but we had young kids at the time she was 15 or 16 our other two daughters were like four and i think two and she had some pet rats and she ended up killing both of them one because it bit her hand so she just strangled it and then the other one she just killed it right we’re not sure why we’re like okay this is time to instead of my professional help now and prompted sort of the next couple of steps to getting her now she’s in a facility up in massachusetts it’s wonderful you know she loves it up there but i remember you know you talked about like packing up her stuff and taking it up there and making the trip up there and going through all that it was it was pretty tough at the time it’s still tough all my wife we still make visits up there probably three or four times a year you and this year’s been really terrible because we haven’t been able to go we usually go up around christmas then her birthday’s in february so we usually go in february we go up there in the summer and kovid’s really kind of messed up visits with her so she’s i think she’s 29 now she’ll be 30 this year and it’s still difficult you know living with her in a facility far away all the time where she can’t just come home to be with us during christmas and i hate to say it gets more normal but it’s definitely easier now that it’s been i think she went up there when she was 16. so it’s been 14 years she’s been in a facility and you kind of i guess you learn to live with it but it’s always still tough you know it’s always still a struggle especially for my wife she really has a hard time with that yeah yeah you don’t want to feel like you let like you failed or like you you let your kid down it’s worse and especially like as a mom because we carry our kids and we give them life and and all this stuff so it’s like we have this uh sense of proprietary ship over them almost my wife is is pretty humble to the fact that my daughter’s needs are way more than most normal people could handle and she’s in a amazing place that gives her a life that’s way more opportunities and benefits because they understand her mental struggles and her limitations physical and mental limitations and they have a whole facility that’s set up specifically for people with that same disability so her quality of life there is way better than we were able to offer her here and that helps you know for sure and that’s a big fear like of ours is brianna’s quality of life because with what she has going on with her mental health with how her thought process is a little bit different her being institutionalized again is going to happen it’s just a matter of when and so it’s all about like trying to give her the best quality of life until that happens again you know me and bruce were talking we’re like oh my god she’s probably never going to leave the house like or what if she you know what if she never never meets somebody or or is never happy or can’t pursue what she wants to do and again that’s going too far in the future but it’s a huge fear you know that we have because she needs so much help right now and it’s a lot you know so my daughters uh both of them ended up in therapy because in august their mother od’d and passed away and we were like man it’s time to start therapy again like right now and so at least thankfully like they were already in that pattern of going there weekly even after she came home from the facility we found some more self-harm evidence and had to bring that up and so now she’s in seeing her therapist twice a week for the moment it seems to have passed for the moment but like you said yours just came back in the last week and i’m like that’s how it feels dealing with this is like when is it going to come back when is it going to raise its ugly head again it doesn’t really feel like oh thank god we dealt with that one man we can move on it’s like addiction it’s like what the [ __ ] do you even do like i’ve already got her in therapy every week she still did this while she was in therapy every week she’s contracted not to hurt herself before she did it and that didn’t help a goddamn thing she’s contracted to wait 15 minutes before she self-harms and she doesn’t she’s contracted to use ice cubes like the ice cube trick right but she won’t and it’s like what can we do this anymore what do we do just take them to a facility and be like here they’re your problem keep them till they’re fixed like and there are parents that do that there are but those facilities that are operating under government funding are they’re not where you want to be is she honest with her therapist she’s getting more honest i think more of her problem isn’t her lack of ability to be honest it’s her lack of being in touch with her honesty

i i guess i feel like we don’t have many real good options in this like we’re kind of stuck you can stick them in somewhere that’s going to fund it because you can’t afford to stick them in somewhere long-term if not which is ridiculous that we even need to worry about financing helping our children we talk all this [ __ ] in the world about how the kids are the most important thing which i’m not completely sure about anyway but we talk it we say we believe it but we don’t finance [ __ ] like this yeah there’s no money or education about mental health in school and high school or you know your guidance counselors just to help you get into college you know they don’t really deal with emotional or physical traumas going on in your life yeah so you can’t fund it yourself you can put them into a facility long term that is really putting them around people who they might learn even worse practices from and i’m not saying they’re bad people but other people’s kids who come from somewhere even worse and a harder place and more trauma like it’s kind of like going to prison you come out a better criminal if you don’t do anything if you just talk to other criminals like you come out with better ideas about how to be a more functional criminal same thing or you start to get labeled you know it’s being institutionalized or you’re the person that went into that place or you are institutionalized like all these things so or we can keep them at home where okay they’re in regular therapy but even as a therapist i i say therapy with teenagers is [ __ ] hard kids in general and even when you do get some headway a lot of childhood family trauma stuff really can’t be dealt with while you’re still living in the childhood family home it’s just not possible i just feel like we don’t have any many options of good things to do well can i ask a question in a little different way for both of you guys it’s a little off that subject but as an outside observer so when you had to put your children in these facilities do they give you like warning signs or do they educate you at all or do they expect you to educate yourself when they send your child home with you she did part of her discharge plan was where she filled out this worksheet for what her triggers were and i feel like that was the case where she got influenced by some kids because one of her triggers was loud noises and i was like that’s not [ __ ] true i was like you don’t even have a problem with loud noises but so that sounds good and that’s the po yeah and so that’s supposed to to help them but on my end like because i am a nurse like i kind of went in and like i told them sort of what i wanted to happen you know and i was you know and i’m like you know treat them like you know she’s your own kid and and i had like a whole plan in my head but it’s just a piece of paper honestly i just meant do they sort of say all right you know we’re gonna send you home here’s kind of a little bit of a game plan but these are warning signs where you need to do something else and this is what the something else is like no and and that’s one of those things and kind of like stephanie’s talking about i have a knowledge of mental health and treatment and crisis and this kind of stuff so like i am sad for the parent that goes in to the emergency room or to one of these facilities and doesn’t know better which i think is most people who aren’t in this kind of field because a lot of what i saw was ugly and i had to stand up and say this is no you’re not going to talk to my daughter that way there’s definitely some some bad [ __ ] that happens and especially in institutions too the way that staff will be i feel like if they’re not trained properly they staff get sucked into a power plays a lot with especially with children which doesn’t make any sense but so then they’re just lording all this stuff over the kids and they’re not actually helping them and the kids are just scared for most of the time and because i work in that environment that was one of the biggest reasons i didn’t want to have to put her in it because i know how they can be and i know how other kids can be like when they get violent with each other and that you know even though they’re supposed to have group x amount of times a day that doesn’t really happen right and it was it was hard i don’t have any real beefs with the place my daughter went they kept her safe they kept her stabilized she came home that’s great i questioned a lot of times like i didn’t feel like they did a whole lot there except we’re just there they ate good okay that’s nice they slept made sure she didn’t kill herself right i’m like man there’s no there’s no one-on-one therapy here whatsoever like it’s only groups i don’t know how much you’re getting out of that when the the psychiatrist called me to talk about medicine he was open to my input which that was nice because a lot of doctors aren’t they they’re smarter than you and don’t want to hear it but he also kind of rushed me off the phone after like three minutes because he had a billion other things to do right he’s seeing everybody they called the first night and asked if i was okay with them giving her certain medicines and i denied one which she never got thankfully but there was another one they said they would only give her in an anxiety attack kind of thing like if she really needed it i was like that’s the only way i want you to give her that first night she doesn’t get it second night they made her take it third fourth and fifth nights they offered it to her and i’m like that doesn’t seem consistent at all right none of it really looks like what i said um and then for her to come home like we had a zoom family therapy session that lasted about 10 minutes they never asked us anything about the family home they never asked us if we had proofed it for safety like i’ve even thought about that i’m like should i put away the steak knives like is that useful like you said everything’s a [ __ ] weapon so it’s kind of useless to even bother right but they didn’t even ask what kind of parents we were like they had no clue of what environment they were sending her back to whatsoever and they were like well based on the fact that she’s learned some coping skills here we think she’s ready to come home jackie why don’t you tell them what coping skills you’ve learned she’s like yeah i can color like are you [ __ ] kidding me i can count right i’m like it’s not that i blame the place there’s only so much you can do in a week with all these people i just that doesn’t seem like a very effective treatment and that’s the point they’re not for treatment they’re crisis stabilization that’s it yeah and so that’s where i was sort of confused like i think if i go to a doctor for a broken arm or cancer they’re gonna say okay first we do this then we do this then we do this and then you’re back to normal healthier you’re you’re fixed as best as we can fix you and it doesn’t sound like that was either your experience with the mental health and if not i mean both of you working in that field like where would you go to find that or is it just up to you to sort of start googling a bunch of [ __ ] and reading and trying to figure it out on youtube where brie was they had a outpatient program that she went to for a couple of weeks where they had therapy and stuff during the day but it kind of reminds me of like the unit i work on it’s a detox unit right so like all we’re doing is we’re stabilizing them we’re getting making sure that their their bodies are clear and their brains are clear enough so that hopefully they will make better decisions leaving and a lot of times they’ll be like nobody talks to us about recovery here and it’s like well you’re not even in the state of mind to be able to hear about it and i feel like with this it’s kind of the same thing and that that’s the part where it’s up to us to like make sure that they go to therapy regularly and stuff like that but it sucks that that’s the only thing i can think of well right now but so when we had jessica on from addiction policy forum i think this is part of the problem she was talking about if we start recognizing mental health i know we diagnose it but we really don’t have it included in our doctor view in our medical view of the world right you don’t go see your primary care doctor normally for mental health problems right you’re over here in the mental health arena somewhere else and because it’s separate that’s why it looks different right if you went in with a broken arm and the doctor kept you for seven days so that you didn’t die and then sent you home with the same broken arm right we’d be like well what the [ __ ] you didn’t fix anything suing them yeah exactly and so that’s why we’re not getting the treatment right then they’re two different models the doctor’s model is to fix the situation and the mental health drug addiction substance use treatment model is like follow up with your primary care provider yeah something else and so there are facilities where you can go for long-term treatment i mean rockford has that shepherd brat has that down in baltimore they’re just the local ones that i know of my stepdaughter with her disability she she had on and off a lot of behavioral issues that came with her disability and so you know she had ended up there at one point i think she was impatient there for like a week or two i remember we were at a a lot of different places that was pretty traumatic going through a couple years with her but i remember that being i mean at least from her experience like that was a pretty scary place for her because there was a lot of so she wasn’t severely mentally ill she had some behavioral problems and she was in there with like severely mental ill people and so she was totally freaked out by that experience like a snake pit yeah yeah yeah she’s like why am i here like this isn’t i’m not literally like i hate to use the word crazy person but i’m not a crazy person you know and you got me locked in this crazy facility it was yeah i mean that those facilities are generally for people who are experiencing the worst of the worst crisis and it’s like that’s where you go there’s nowhere else to go you know unless you can do it on an outpatient basis like stephanie was saying which is hopefully the way we can do it we want to include the family in the treatment we want to include the family environment and the safe comfortable home in the treatment because that all helps but unfortunately sometimes the family is the worst thing for the person i only dealt with a few kids in my internship doing therapy thank god because i am not a child therapist whatsoever i don’t have any desire to be but dealing with the parents it was like well no [ __ ] wonder like i get it we say that all the time it works yeah no questions asked here as to why i wonder if the rest of the parents are like us though like i feel like i’m a great parent

i think parents look at kids as property their own they should listen they should do exactly what they’re told like a computer your [ __ ] phone don’t even open up the right app when you wanted to all the time like can you expect your kid to like i think because it requires a level of patience and attention that and i know for me that like that i just don’t really afford my kids like instead of nurturing you know their differences and what makes them unique yeah it’s mostly just sit or i’m like go read a book go do something you know they’ll be like do you want to play a game with me and i’m like no right or like my five-year-old will be like let’s role play and i’m like that is way too much effort and i just don’t want to do it i’m feeling [ __ ] super dead right now i played a board game with my kids last night like yep i do that stuff yeah cross it off the list i haven’t done it in months but yeah i do that did it last night yeah i would say the same reason children are traumatized and it’s a messed up situation it’s the same reason the divorce rate’s so high things take work and work sounds [ __ ] awful well and it’s hard and like as you mentioned with children like they’re all different you know my kids i have three well four they’re all completely different individuals like their needs are different their wants are different their amount of attention and demand and and that is they’re just completely different people my middle child my 16 year old she’s the most independent kid ever she does most everything for herself she doesn’t really ask us to do a lot other than finance her endeavors you know like she just needs money but you know when it was time for her to do driver’s ed she went out and found her own driver’s ed classes and signed up and then just asked us for the money and she keeps track of her schedule whereas my older daughters she’s getting better now she’s 18 and she’s learning to take some responsibility but she was not that way and then my son’s very emotional like completely different from his sisters and that he’s incredibly emotional they’re just way different and it’s like at what point do you start to teach your kids to like take responsibility for their behaviors and for their actions and to sit down and just tell them like you’re being really [ __ ] unreasonable right now and let’s discuss why and i think that that would help a lot like especially with with addiction and mental health like if we have these kids and they’re having these issues and they go to these places like that’s almost a way of like bringing the bottom up and you’re like way in front of it but we just don’t have have enough resources that’s a big one i feel like if we could get if i won the lottery i would definitely do something about that because yeah that’s you hear that god

if you don’t put it out there you won’t get it do you play the lottery because i always want to win and i don’t even get a ticket yeah i’m like i should win why don’t i ever win the lottery god damn it i don’t you know buy a ticket that would help we are getting a little low on time so let’s just check into some of these things that the experts say talking about some signs that your child could be experiencing a mental health crisis rapid mood swings extreme energy or lack of energy sleeping all the time unable to sleep severe agitation pacing talking very rapidly or non-stop not six-year-olds because they do that anyway confused thinking irrational thoughts thinking everyone’s out to get them seeming to lose touch with reality if they’re experiencing hallucinations or delusions making threats to others or themselves isolating themselves from friends and family not coming out of the room not eating or eating all the time rapid weight loss or gain right is your child alive they’re in a mental health crisis suicidal thoughts and statements such as i want to die or even possible vague statements such as i don’t want to be here anymore and every last one of those is pretty much a natural childhood slash teenage life daily thing like so how do you tell when it’s too bad that information doesn’t exist it’s like a gut feeling it’s like uh or it gets to the point where they actually hurt themselves and then you’re like okay you really meant that yeah and unfortunately that’s that’s when we realized it right nothing my daughter did stood out as out of the norm and we already had her in therapy she did talk about the idea of not wanting to be here or wanting to hurt herself and i’m like well she’s talking about it she’s talked about it with her therapist they’ve contracted i feel like we’re in a pretty safe place until five minutes after dinner i’m being told she took all these pills and i’m like what the f how how do i not see this you had mentioned she self-harm too right she had been cutting or something well yeah we didn’t find that out we didn’t catch on her sister actually told us that the night she said she was she had been feeling like she wanted to harm herself her sister caught me in another room and was like look she’s been self-harming and cutting and telling me not to tell you and she came out with it but like even that okay well you’ve done that now we got to do something and so i took it serious i acted immediately i’m like you know what if this is where you’re at we need an antidepressant like yesterday and so we made a doctor’s appointment like the next day we talked to her therapist made sure she was on board with us doing that because you know i don’t want to just sit here and be my daughter’s therapist that’s not smart for me and everything went smoothly and we got her on it and then this was like 10 days on to it that she tried to od and it’s like i don’t see it coming so yeah we can read this list of suggested things but what [ __ ] good is it honestly and i guess it’s a lot like like recovery too you know it’s just we we go day by day because i tell her because she gets a lot of anxiety still like where she’s waiting for the other shoe to drop because it’s only been three years you know so she has a lifetime she still has more bad time than good time and she’ll say are you gonna have a drink today and i go well not today check with me again tomorrow and so i feel like with her i try to touch base with her every morning and throughout the day and like we talk a lot about first thought first action like you can’t control the first thought but you can control the first action so it’s okay that that popped into your head that like you want to die or you want to hurt yourself but what did we do about it and then to like congratulate yourself for doing the right thing right and hope that that starts to take effect after a while it’s either that or i’m saying god damn it brianna you know it’s like one or the other couple more symptoms often talk about fears or worries frequent tantrums are intensely irritable much of the time complain about frequent stomach aches or headaches with no known medical cause that’s when a lot of times if we have undealt with mental problems they expose themselves through physical pain and we can’t explain it a lot of times that happens in the mental health world and we talk debris about that a lot like we’ve noticed that that’s kind of a tell for her now is that when she sneaks something or does something that she shouldn’t she starts complaining of uh either having a headache or a stomach ache because it’s manifesting and so we we try to talk to her about that and we’re like when you do good you feel good and then i just hope that she doesn’t randomly get headaches but it’s a good idea and i don’t know how i never picked up on this before but we’ve made fun of my daughter jokingly and lovingly of course for being a grandma since she’s been like six because she has i’ve never met a child that has more like aches and pains and oh my leg hurts my hip hurts my back it’s something like every day and i’ve always been fascinated i’m like i never felt pain when i was a kid i didn’t feel [ __ ] it was just go go go and especially when we work out she’s like you know my my left foot hurts the top of my left foot hurt and i’m like you’re like an old woman like get it together now looking at that now i’m like oh maybe that’s yeah and we were mocking them yeah and i think the same thing with my well now he’s 12 but a younger he was the same way my stomach hurts my head hurts i’m like you’re just trying to get out of something just knock it off exactly i just thought my daughter was a complainer i was like god you just complained about everything like life hurts suck it up that’s always the suck it up the terrible information that’s what i did look how i turned out so what do you do when when you see some of these signs we’ve talked about right you got to get help and how do you get help that’s the tricky part right yeah i mean it depends on the severity of the situation how urgent the need is you know there’s always the emergency room if no other place that you can go obviously as a guy who believes in therapy i would always recommend having a therapist that’s when you’re healthy or not healthy or in a bad spot or in a good spot i think have a therapist because that’s great for your life it’s always good to have extra eyes and and ears helping you what other critical steps like how did you find the place to take her how did that come about because it was close to where i live and i had worked in another mental health facility and i was like i am not taking her there right so i took her to the sister facility that was in town and it actually it was really good for her and i noticed they had there’s a lot of structure and she really thrived in that structure when we slack off at home is when she starts i don’t know she starts like drifting it’s weird but did you only know about this place because you’re in the field like would would the random average person know you could google mental health facilities in dover and and go from there

yeah i mean you definitely want to you want to seek something right and and i would say i think from my standpoint and i pose this to you i would say it never hurts to seek too soon right like we talked about these behaviors look like normal kid behaviors and it’s hard to tell the difference between when they’re having a mental health crisis but i would say err on the safe side like like no harm can come from yeah but i guess two you have to gauge because like if you like you were saying if if we have kids who self harm and if we took them and institutionalized them every day they solved harm bree would never be home right so that’s a that’s a tough one too well i’m thinking more of like i mean if your kid sleeps 12 hours a day don’t run them to an inpatient week-long treatment facility but you might want to call a therapist like you might want to talk to your kid you might want to talk to your kids teachers you might want to talk to anybody else that interacts with your kid [ __ ] it talk to their friends just ask hey do they seem down like i’m worried about them i’m not trying to get you to disclose anything that’s going to get them in trouble i’m genuinely concerned do they feel like they’re not very happy because i want to get them help right and and have that conversation with your kid i mean i think kids worry that they’ll be in trouble for feeling that way or that they’ll let us down that’s a big one that bree says or she’ll say i don’t want to make you unhappy and i think that part of that ties into like her fear of like me relapsing is she doesn’t want to pose anything that would threaten where we’re at and so then she keeps it to herself but that doesn’t work obviously no i can totally get that the fear of disappointing their parents and when you don’t have any i don’t say you don’t have any self-respect but when you haven’t found the ability to have the self-love and and find your own belief in yourself that makes you feel good you’re looking for others and and the parental one is the most powerful one to come right so if you’re disappointing them then you’re really hopeless i would imagine from that responsibility yeah especially huh look at my own problems i’m like my kids are [ __ ] uh there is a couple of tests out there i found online i might post a link to this one it seemed relatively easy i don’t know how useful it is it’s a bunch of questions about whether your kid feels sad or unhappy and then you answer never sometimes or often and it gives you a score and i guess that could help assess maybe if you’re in a moment of trying to figure out like is this normal teenage behavior or is this mental health crisis this could be another level of figuring that out so that could be useful and of course always with the national suicide hotline 800-273-8255 national suicide prevention lifeline call it before you do anything crazy and when i say crazy i mean like end your life like that’s i don’t know yeah yeah and then you know what it might be the right solution for people i’m not going to sit here and argue about what’s right for any single individual but yeah there’s no take back so you don’t get the chance to decide afterwards that you were just kidding maybe that wasn’t the right path maybe i should like let’s let’s explore every other path before we try that one that’s all i’m saying well i think breaking down some of this stigma around substance abuse and mental health would help a lot like why does it have to be so traumatic that someone checks into a mental health facility for a week or two like that doesn’t seems like in our society we look at people so uh stigmatizing when it comes to that sort of thing like oh something’s wrong with you and and really [ __ ] life nowadays is hard like it’s really difficult find us someone who doesn’t have mental health issues right everyone has some level of mental health issues some way shape or form and you know why don’t we just not do a little better at accepting that and accepting that kids struggle with this stuff i mean we look at suicide rates or through the roof and young kids are killing themselves i think they said it’s the second leading cause of death in kids 16 to 24. it’s like we’re reactive versus uh proactive right and it’s the same as as again jessica was talking about with addiction it’s like we don’t step in and start to do something until you’re at this traumatic phase of wanting to commit suicide or committing trying to commit suicide and maybe a little more preemptive steps would would help that’s a big one too with you saying with like the stigmatizing because sometimes brianna will say like are you mad at me because i have so many problems and like an activity we did with her was uh pieces of me and so we had her write down like different traits or thoughts that she has and explained how like they’re all the same size and they all make up who she is and that there’s no bigger part than another’s to try to help her to understand that just because she has false beliefs or depression or anxiety or she hurts herself that that’s not what dominates like you don’t have to be your diagnosis just like in recovery you know yeah i’ll say you know that i’m a recovered alcoholic if it helps to get somebody to talk but that doesn’t define who i am but it certainly helped right or maybe my struggles in my life like just because they’re not the same as yours like i still have struggles in life i still have issues i still have problems you know we all have these different problems in different areas yeah and and i think it comes back a lot too the the same work it takes to figure out what kind of parenting style your kid needs and what works best for them and what their needs are and what they react to and their love language and all that effort that same effort is the same effort you need to put into questioning are their men is their mental health okay am i doing what i need to do by providing nutritious food and exercise and and not letting them be on a screen for 26 hours a [ __ ] day and like am i putting in the work it’s harder it is harder to do these things but at the same time it’s our kids yeah if you can’t motivate yourself to do it for that reason then i guess i don’t know and i’ll admit like you know when i’m talking to bruce at night you know it’s just us and sometimes i’m like man like i really don’t i don’t like what’s going on or i just get so frustrated with my daughter i’m like and i don’t like that version of her and that’s hard to say and to admit that you know i almost feel like i want to tap out sometimes because it definitely it gets very overwhelming yeah and i think too that like with us being in recovery that it enables us to like identify just a little bit more with our kids too you know because i know i had the you know the feelings of of not being worth it and i still struggle with that and you know hurting myself and things like that so when it’s just like when we share in recovery like if it’s somebody who’s been through what you’ve been through sometimes you’re more prone to talk about it right so i mean maybe it’s like showing our kids that we are human too yeah admitting we’re wrong and we don’t know and and again if you’re really unsure about whether your kid is being a normal kid for their age or having a real crisis going on if you reach out i mean you can reach out through email if you don’t like calling people it’s not like reach out to a child therapist child psychologist whoever you want to talk to and just ask right like people will not have a problem responding to an email and letting you know like hey this is the normal behaviors and activities for people in that age range right what you’re describing either falls in that or doesn’t or we could come in and we can have a free consultation and just talk for an hour and see what we think like a lot of people are in the therapy world because they give a [ __ ] and they’re not gonna have a problem taking their time to respond to you and help you out like you don’t have to worry about that just reach out ask questions learn more like that’s where i think we go from here i i don’t know that there’s any great solution unfortunately i wish we could come on here and be like look this is what you do and it’s all solved right but at least we can talk about it and i think for parents not only putting in the work to help our kids but also finding whatever support groups we need and supports we need to keep going with this like you just mentioned like there’s it’s a lot of [ __ ] work i don’t want to do it all the time i joined like a ton of mental health pages for parents on facebook that’s awesome and it’s kind of bad but sometimes i’ll read stuff and i’m like whoa their kid is way worse than mine and like it comforts me a little bit sometimes we need that so it helps though yeah we do we need supports i mean nobody can do this alone i need a place to go talk about my [ __ ] feelings of not wanting to do this [ __ ] anymore i need a place to go to be able to say the ugly [ __ ] right i don’t [ __ ] feel like putting in the work to save my daughter’s life today it’s getting on my nerves right nobody wants to hear that i don’t want to tell anybody about that but it’s true some days right and i need places to go talk about that so that people can say you know what i get it you’re not inhuman i feel that way this is hard i don’t know hopefully we’ve helped someone i really appreciate you coming on stuff thank you very much for coming on here and that’s it you got anything else to wrap up no no yeah same nothing all right we’ll see you next week share this podcast with people in your life who might enjoy it check out recoveryswordof.com to find our episodes and link up with us on facebook twitter and instagram we’re always looking for new and interesting ideas for topics sort of if you have any ideas for episodes or think you have something to come on and talk 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