I woke up this morning, hit the snooze button a couple of times then forced myself out of bed to rouse the kids and get ready for work. Standing up was the worse decision I made all day. My head started spinning, my ears started ringing and I had to hold on to the wall to stay upright. It was, du-du, du-du, du-du-du-du-du-du-DU-DU-DU! Attack of the Killer Vertigo!!!!
Thank God for my mother and her ongoing support. She swooped right in and got the kids up and ready for school while I called in sick to work (side note – my apologies to my co-workers) and went back to bed. I slept until the phone woke me around 11:30 am. It was a good call to wake up to; the Learning Support Teacher at my son`s school. She called to schedule a school meeting regarding my son. The goal of the meeting is to set him up for a solid start for the fall as he enters Grade 7. The meeting is in a couple of weeks so I`m very happy about that.
Even though I was feeling rough I had appointments this afternoon that couldn’t be missed so I dragged myself out of bed and made myself look semi-presentable. The first appointment was with CMHA with the hope of accessing some services to help me. It was an intake appointment, if you or your children have ever been involved with a mental health agency then you know the drill. Basically, you sit down with a total stranger and tell them all the intimate details of your mental health. I’ve done it so many times now I can script it.
Professional- “What are your mental health diagnoses?”
Me – “ADHD and Dissociative Identity Disorder.”
Professional – “When were you diagnosed?”
Me – “The fall of 2009.”
Professional – “Do you have Oompa Loompas living in your head?”
Me – “Yes…wait a minute….”
OK, so I’ve never had them ask about Oompa Loompas, although it would be absolutely hilarious if they did. They do, however, ask questions about my kids, my marital status, birth date, who diagnosed me, what meds I take, am I currently involved in counseling or seeing a psychiatrist, have I ever tried killing myself, had suicidal thoughts, do I ever hurt myself, how do my diagnoses affect my day-to-day functioning, my medical history, family history of mental health, my home life, social life, work life, etc. It can be a little intrusive, but I try to be as open as possible because I know these dedicated professionals can’t help me if I don’t give them enough accurate information. And I trust that these folks really do want to help.
The psychiatrist who diagnosed me is of the belief that the ADHD was caused by a head injury I suffered from during my childhood. It’s actually kind of a cool story so I’ll share it. Three days before my eighth birthday I was hit by a 1978 Lincoln Continental. According to my brother, who was across the street waiting for the bus and witnessed the whole incident, I flew through the air landing on the pavement with my head. I bounced off the pavement and put a dent in the hood of the car with my head. Again, I flew through the air and landed on the pavement with my head. I also broke the grill with my leg. Aside from the damage to the car, I broke my left in two places below the knee, had a concussion and was rendered unconscious for a day and a half. When I woke up I knew my name and could add 2+2, it was declared that there was no brain damage and I was sent home with a full-leg cast and a couple of crutches. Little did they know, muwhahahaha!!! (the scene seemed to cry out for maniacal laughter) the brain damage wouldn’t show up until years later.
The Dissociative Identity Disorder was caused by other childhood trauma, which means neither of my mental health diagnoses are genetic. However, for anyone who knew me growing up, it all makes sense now, doesn’t it?
The Intake worker at CMHA is optimistic that there are ways the agency can help me. What I’m hoping for is to get ongoing support in the areas of structure, routine and managing household needs. As I’ve mentioned before, structure is not one of my strong suits and I even have a medical reason for it.
It was a really positive meeting and I’m looking forward to working with the team at CMHA. Now, my son’s appointment was a pretty positive experience too. The doctor said the blood work was fine but the x-ray showed that my son is “really backed-up” so the doctor recommended I get a laxative called PEG to help clean out my son’s system. That should help a great deal with some of the physical ailments Alexi’s been having trouble with. On the the mental health side the doctor also gave me some paperwork to fill out to see if we can get Alexi some help through CPRI. I’m very excited about that. It’s a slim chance they’ll process him, but at least it’s a chance.
Despite the fact that my day was spent in various states of dizziness, it was a good day, I was able to take care of some business and get some possible solutions. And for that I am truly grateful!
Please note – There are numerous agencies in our communities to help people with mental health issues, please contact them. These are not gray, dreary people who are jumping at the bit to use electroshock therapy on you or your children. These are certified health care professionals who have training and experience that you and your children could benefit from. Call them.