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spheres of influence

And now it’s time to get the T-Shirt!  You’ve worked hard, endured things other parents never imagined and you’ve persevered through it all.  No one else close to us can imagine the strength we’ve needed to find as we help our kids back to health.  We have gone places that the angels fear to tread all for the love our our kids.  If we don’t deserve this T shirt, no parent does!

Proclaim your greatness with an official Out of the Rabbit Hole T-shirt.  Available for all of us very dedicated  Mighty Moms and Fearless Fathers at the following link* Moms and Dads wear it loud and wear it proud!!

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I’ve posted before about choosing a therapist and our missteps in our choice of Amy’s first therapist.  The link below is a great introduction in what to expect from therapy.  Really, for Amy, we realized that she needed a coach-type therapist.  Her first therapist just lectured.  Her second, and still current, therapist is more the coach.  She helps guide Amy in understanding her thinking and pointing out unhealthy thoughts.

Depressed people have such a skewed view of the world and that just feeds the disease and the negative spiral.  The right therapist will help your child verbalize those views, explore why they may believe that, debunk the idea and then help them learn to replace the negative view with reality.

This article gives you a listing of what to look for and expect from a therapist.  I wish we had read it earlier in Amy’s treatment.  Maybe we wouldn’t have wasted that  year with the first therapist.

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There were parent support groups available to us for Amy but we were just too exhausted emotionally and physically to take advantage of them.  It’s sad because I imagine that they could have been very helpful.  Unfortunately, when we were going through the toughest times during the first two years, we just couldn’t manage to make them.

We had way too much on our plates – dealing with her unpredictable emotions, driving every night to visit her when she was hospitalized, doctor and therapy appointments and just trying to deal with the rest of our lives made it impossible for us to even remember to put the meetings on our calendars, let alone get ourselves to them!

However, if you can at all arrange it, I would recommend checking them out.  Here’s a link to some national groups and you can search for meetings in your city:

National Alliance on Mental Health

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

I’ve discovered groups on yahoo as well but unfortunately I didn’t think to look for this until after Amy was well on her way to recovery.  You’ll find supportive parents going through the same problems whom you can commiserate, vent or question about your situation. The two groups I have found are Parents of Depressed Teens and BiPolar Parents.

If anyone knows of any other groups, please send me a comment and I’ll include them on the list.

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Spheres of Influence

November 11, 2009 by

I get so frustrated by Amy’s treatment sometimes. Why is it so hard to get a mental health professional to provide advice? After all, isn’t that why we take her there? During the early months of her treatment, we had so many questions and ideas but could not get advice.

After about a year, we discovered that we had to take control of the situation. We had to act as “case managers” for her treatment. I’m a manager by profession and I finally figured out that we had compartmentalized systems all affecting her. I called them the Spheres of Influence.
Amy’s Spheres were 1) her psychiatrist, 2) her therapist, 3) her school and 4) her family. All four had influence over her and her perception of reality. (If Amy weren’t depressed, there probably would have been another, 5) friends).

As Amy’s case managers, we had to make sure each Sphere was contributing to her improvement. Because I’m such a management geek, my husband and I had a brain storming session in front of an old blackboard at home to do this. We wrote each Sphere on the board and listed our thoughts on it.

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