Random Ramblings and Weekly Geeks #4

Summer is definitely here in New Orleans…or almost here at least as we’re managing to climb over 90 and that wave of heat is radiating out of my car everytime I open the door…don’t you hate that? My favorite place to read is my back patio, even at night, but I can’t read there at night anymore because of the damn june bugs. As soon as I turn the light on at night it’s like this swarm of june bugs comes attacking me and it takes all I have not to scream bloody murder even though they don’t bite…I just don’t like creepy little beetles flying at me. Summer also brings plenty of wasps that like to build nests under the patio…fun, let me tell you. The squirrels are also out in full force and have been planting acorns and pecans all over the back lawn and we now have oak trees and pecan trees popping up all over the place. I have to weed every day otherwise it would be a forest in a couple of years back there!

Weekly Geeks 4! I was going to skip this week because I’m horrible with talking about social issues, but I figured that I’d go ahead and give it a go because there’s one thing in particular that’s really important to me as you can imagine and that’s the mental health of children and adolescents. The mental health of everybody is important to me really, but children often get overlooked or misunderstood and the resources available to them are very limited compared to those available to adults.

Here’s my thing…doctor’s and psychiatrists are quick these days to give children medication to solve their problems without looking at the bigger picture. I have no qualms with medication if it is truly needed. I’ve seen it truly work wonders with some kids and help them turn their lives around. But some kids just need someone to talk to…they’re calling out for help. Some kids are just going through a temporary rough time. And some kids just need to be rescued! Some kids get a diagnosis that puts the problem on them when the problem actually lies with their home situation or surroundings which is really quite sad. When I was interning on the children’s psyc unit, I’d honestly say that 90% of the children came from very troubled homes. No wonder they were severely depressed, suicidal, self-harming. They had no one to turn to. What this country needs is more resources for children and better education of how to handle children’s mental health. These kids just need someone to talk to.

I haven’t read very many books on the topic but one of the best that I’ve ever read is What it Takes to Get me Through by David L. Marcus. Here’s my review of the book. It’s a non fiction book about a therapeutic home for adolescents that took a great and unique approach to kids with mental health issues and I really think that it’s a must read for any parent or practician or teen. It changed the way I look at counseling and I think it will change the way anyone looks at what people with these issues actually go through and the stigma that’s associated with it.

There are plenty of fiction books that I’ve read throughout the years that deal with some of these issues and show children naturally overcoming some great obstacles. I’ve always thought that Kate DiCamillo does an amazing job with her books of illustrating this with books like The Tale of Desperaux, Edward Tulane, and The Tiger Rising. All feature characters that have to overcome true tragedies in their lives and she handles that with such grace but doesn’t hide the fact that tragedies do occur in life.

Recently I’ve read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson that shows a young girl that has to battle a very traumatic situation and is afraid to speak of it to anyone and she slowly becomes more and more secluded because of it. This is something I saw all of the time in the hospital.

Speaking of trauma, there’s a book that’s sitting on my shelf right now by an author named Lenore Terr called Too Scared To Cry: Psychic Trauma in Childhood. As I said before, so many mental health issues of children are caused by traumatic situations which are basically things that have happened to them that they had no control over. Yet they put much of the blame of the even upon themselves and this can result in a severe depression among many other things. These days instead of sitting down and talking through some of these problems, many doctors just give them a pill which is unfortunate. One thing I love about the hospital that I’m working for is that we do a LOT of therapy and I’ve seen quite a few breakthroughs there.

So there’s my weekly geeks post for the week. I’m hoping to join up for the book awards II challenge this year that was just announced! It starts in August, so I still have some time to make all of my picks and hopefully I can make up a list that encompasses all of my other challenges, because I really can’t fit anymore challenge books onto the TBR stacks :p I regret missing that challenge last year.

And one last note, My dad’s surgery is scheduled for Friday, so I’ll probably be gone for a few days again starting tomorrow. Tomorrow’s all of his pre-op stuff. But hopefully I can get up a review of The Book of Ballads tonight before I head off.

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16 Responses

  1. What a wonderful post, Chris! Truly, truly wonderful. And it gives me a chance once again to say a big THANK YOU to you for what you do. I can personally attest to how much good people like you who take the time to just give a shit and listen to adolescents can do. I got that book What It Takes to Pull Me Through out of the library when you first reviewed it, but I never got around to reading it…I think I ought to try again one of these days.

    Tons of positive thoughts have been flowing your way, and they’ll keep coming! Hope everything goes as smoothly as possible with your dad’s surgery, and that his recovery goes as quickly as possible! Take care of yourself, too, o.k.?

  2. Amen, Amen, Amen! I’m on the fence about whether to participate in this weekly geeks. I don’t really read much in the field of “social” or “political” stuff. But I’m plenty opinionated on some topics. πŸ™‚

    I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers as you go through the prep and the surgery and the recovery. It can be a little overwhelming. Wanting to get it over and done with and all the bad stuff behind you. My mom had surgery on Monday. And most of the scary part was in the waiting.

    I’m glad you’re joining the Book Awards II challenge. I posted my list earlier today.

  3. “I just don’t like creepy little beetles flying at me” *shudders* me neither. But squirrels! Squirrels are fun. I miss the Nottingham squirrels. I miss being at the library and looking out the window and seeing them frolicking in the trees.

    “I was going to skip this week because I’m horrible with talking about social issues”

    Wrong! You aren’t, and this post is undeniable evidence. I’ll echo Debi’s thank you – I’m so glad there are people like you out there, Chris. I really am.

    I hope everything goes well with your dad – I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

  4. ahhh.. my son the geek!! you are good at stuff like this Chris.. could have something to do with the fact you need to be out there and very open in order to try to help others like you do… just my guess you understand.

  5. Debi, Thanks πŸ™‚ I really feel so inept about being able to express myself when it comes to this stuff because there’s so much I’d like to do about it but it gets overwhelming when you realize how big of a need there is and that you’re just one person. Luckily there’s extremely EXTREMELY amazing parents like you out there that provide such an amazing atmosphere for their kids to grow and expand their minds and allow their creativity and give them freedom to explore. You’re every kids dream mom! Thanks for the thoughts on my dad!

    Becky, I definitely think you should do a post! I was nervous about doing my own post because I really have no poise when it comes to social issues and I really don’t do much reading on topics like these which is sort of embarassing…but there are always fictional books you can relate to issues! I’d love to hear your thoughts! I didn’t know your mom was having surgery. Hope everything went ok and will continue to go ok. I’m dreading the waiting too. Thanks for the prayers!

    Nymeth, Squirrels really are a lot of fun! I do love them and I love watching them in the trees in the backyard…I just hate their damn nuts that they plant in our backyard!! No squirrels in Portugal? that’s sad 😦 And you’re really too kind…I hate writing about stuff like this because I never know what to say. I’m lucky to have found this job though because I don’t know what I would’ve done if I wouldn’t have!

    Deslily, I think I’m horrible at stuff like this! But y’all are making me feel a lot better πŸ™‚ I sure hope that I can help people at the new job. I wish I was in a more direct therapeutic position but I guess that will come with time. I’ll start in admissions and work my way up! I’d love to be back on the child and adolescent unit! I loved it so much over there…

  6. I’m so glad you did your post on what children need to help them, Chris. I wish people had known about post-traumatic stress disorder in kids when I was growing up, because definitely my siblings and I exhibited signs for years and no one knew. It would saved alot of unhappiness – but then I think today, everyone is afraid to talk about what is bothering them. It’s a society problem, not a kid problem. Thanks so much for being open and willing to talk about it and give some resourceful aids as well. Very thoughtful. I echo what the others say. You make my world better just by being in it!
    and – all thoughts with you and your family on Friday.

  7. ooh! thats one thing i used to hate about summers in south africa – the wasps nests!

    you don’t get them everywhere, just in the really hot areas. i have this horror memory about wasps:

    there was once a wasps nest that was being built below the railing of my outside staircase – right at the top, where the staircase met the wall.

    it was tiny at first and i used to check on it fairly regularly, hoping it wouldn’t get out of hand and that i wouldn’t have to do something about it. silly thing to think, as it could only get worse – but even with just one wasp in there i was loath to be dealing with it for fear of the bastard lurking inside.

    the only way i could see the progress was from the staircase itself – i had to lean over the railing and kind of duck my head toward it, so that i could see under the railing.

    the nest was staying small and i was reasonably not freaking out about it. and then one day i lent over and oh-my-word chris, i was face to face with a massive wasps nest. it was inches from my face. and it was teeming with wasps, crawling in and out and scurryng and RUUGRHEGHEGHGHGHHGJGJGJ!!!!!!

    i crapped my pants.

    its a horrible memory.

    its weird, ’cause nothing happened, but it was such a scary and vulnurable moment that its lodged itself in my mind now…

    haha! wasp story over…

    its sad you can’t read in your favouite spot, though. that really isn’t nice. and especially in the summer when it’d be nicest to read there…! 😦

  8. Susan, I couldn’t agree more! I wish PTSD would’ve been discovered or I should say RECOGNIZED earlier as well. It’s still something that has to be fought for these days. The majority of the children that I’ve worked with have had some sort of trauma related issues and it truly is debilitating. I hope that you and your siblings were able to get some help when you needed it. People are indeed afraid to talk about their issues and that’s mostly because of the stigma associated with having an issue…you’re automatically deemed as “crazy” if you don’t fit into this perfect mold…well guess what? No one fits into that perfect mold and this world would be such a better place if people just started recognizing that! Thanks for standing up for people who stood up for themselves Susan πŸ™‚

    JP, HAHA!! Great way to start my morning with that story! That would literally scare the shit out of me too, though. I hate wasps with a passion and the sight of bunches of them all going in and out of a nest! *shivers* You didn’t get stung??? I’ve been stung once by a wasp and it was an extremely painful experience! Now I just run away everytime they try to claim my reading spot 😦

  9. Obviously this is an issue close to my heart as well. I have a particular dislike for doctors and psychiatrists who just throw pills at people to combat their mental issues. Many people feel worse on medication or become dependent on it and unable to function at all without it.

  10. Chris, this was such a powerful post I didn’t know how to respond at first because I TOTALLY agree with everything you say. But I figured I should at least make you know that I read this and am glad we have folks like you at least in the medical/psychology world. -C

  11. What an important topic! I think that is so much the case that children who are acting out are often times doing so because of trauma in their lives. When the whole picture gets ignored, children suffer because of it. I knew a play therapist and the way that she was able to reach children through play therapy was quite amazing. Sometimes children just need someone they can trust!

  12. […] everytime I open the door??don??t you hate that? My favorite place to read is my back patio, evenhttp://stuffasdreamsaremadeon.com/2008/05/21/random-ramblings-and-weekly-geeks-4/Fast-growing oak planted or Arbor Day Middletown JournalA day after Middletown was recognized for […]

  13. Wow, Chris, I think these books would help me gain more insight on my boy. It’s becoming clear that the smoking he does is more because of depression than the other way ’round. Curing depression must be the hardest thing in the world, but I’m with you: drugs can’t be the complete answer. I’m comforted that my son has a loving home, with me and his stepdad to talk to even when he doesn’t feel like talking, but surely he has wounds from his father’s death that he must eventually face. I’ll pick these books up. Thank you.

  14. No problem Belezza! I particularly liked What it Takes to Pull me Through and I really think that it would help give you a better understanding of what’s going on. It related so well to so much of what the kids I’ve worked with have gone through and what they have told me and my experiences with them. REally enjoyed it and it’s very educational and insightful. And it’s brutally honest though a bit heartbreaking at times. I haven’t read Too Scared to Cry yet, but I suspect that it would be a HUGE help for you in understanding some of your sons depression. I hope some of these help out. You’re so right though…he is incredibly lucky to have a loving home and a wonderful mother and stepdad! He knows it whether he shares that with you or not πŸ˜‰

  15. Ha! I hate june bugs, too (Houston is likely as cursed as New Orleans when it comes to bugs…). One night, years ago, I was at my dad’s house in Mississippi, and we were eating ribs out on his back deck. All of a sudden, WHAM, a june bug slammed into my face and attached itself to my cheek! I literally threw the rib I had just bitten into across the deck so that I could slap the damn thing away. I can still remember the feeling of its little buggy claws on my face. *shudder*

  16. Somer, Ha! That cracks me up! It’s gotten so bad these past few days…I can’t stay outside reading more than 2 minutes because they just attack like crazy! So sadly I’ve had to abandon my outdoors reading spot after the sun goes down 😦

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