February 19 – Twists and turns of life …

I heard a sad story today.  Another death in our youth population.  I heard that a 17 year old girl in our province took her life.  I don’t know the surrounding details but even without knowing if bullying or cyberbullying existed, there was still a mental health existence.  I want to reach out to the parents.  To tell them how their daughter was loved.  To let them know that people care about them as parents.  To say to them, you are not alone.  Someone said to me back in October, or was it November, or even December.  Everyone can imagine what the death of your child might be like.  People come to your house.  They hug you.  Care for you.  Make sure you eat.  Try to make you sleep.  But no one truly understands or can feel the pain you yourself are going through unless you have lost a child.  The grieving processes are similar but different.  People react differently.  For me, it’s music.  I can hear songs and listen to words and just cry.  With other people, it can be smells and places.  But …

…. even though we have all had differently world experiences. the thing that brings people close is that almost every person that I have met recently, has been touched by some form of bullying and/or mental health in their history or in the history of someone close to them.

…. so many people out there want to help.  Amanda’s legacy is huge.  When I think about it to pick it apart, there are so many facets.  It’s like a pronged snowflake.  As we head into Pink Shirt Day on February 27th, we are gearing ourselves up for Mental Health Week in May.  Is MHW worldwide?

…. how do we get the world to accept the trauma and become more accepting of the entire area of mental health?  I have been involved with and joined in conversations about mental health and it’s causes and concerns.  The hardest question to ponder is .. How do we make a shift in thinking about what mental health is?  Why are people with MH disorders shunned, laughed at and ridiculed?  How can more supports be provided?  Where do parents go for help with their child?  Help for themselves?

I have been talking some of my friends who are also parents of teenagers.  Their teenage girls are causing worry with their parents.  Depression, anxiety, school have bcome factors of concern.  On some days, it is fine.  On others, it is not.  These are similar things to how I felt and worried about Amanda.  It’s the unknowing that is the hardest.  Do I leave my child to go to work?  Or do I stay home?  Instead of going out to eat, do I just stay home every night?  Just make it through one more night.  

These are all genuine worries and concerns.  Imagine living like that.  I did.  Others are.  It is so hard.  It is so lonely and sad for the child.  It’s like a dark grety cloud.  We need to think of ways to make the dark grey cloud into one with rainbows and cotton candy.

Help me to make a happier place for those kids suffering in silence.  They need to talk.  They need vitamin D (in the form of sunshine).  They need to laugh and sing and dance.  In a field, in the street or at a concert.  How can we do that?  If you have a suggestion, write it in the comments.

Night all… xoxo  C

( I miss Amanda but hope that she is still looking down at all of use working away to continue her message!!)

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About Carol Todd

Being the mother of Amanda Todd has lead me on this journey shortly after Amanda's death on October 10, 2012. Amanda's prolific You Tube video has been viewed over 33 million times. Through this video, there has been an increased awareness about cyberbullying, social media safety and mental health. www.amandatoddlegacy.org
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17 Responses to February 19 – Twists and turns of life …

  1. Nola says:

    fantastic post, very informative. I’m wondering why the other experts of this sector do not understand this.

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  2. merle48 says:

    Carol, Barbituates used for anxiety can also cause a vitamin D deficiency…probably a combination of both.

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  3. Savetheworld says:

    What is missing in today’s world is activity!! We lead such sedentary lives sitting behind a keyboard is how a lot of people spend their spare time! Exercise is what is going to cure the world. It increases the levels of serotonin in our brains which in turn makes us happy and more able to cope with stress it also releases toxins. Vitamin D you hit it on the nail! Most northerners suffer from vitamin D deficiency! We were meant to be hunters and gatherers builders workers we have not evolved as quickly as technology ! Please everyone get off the keyboard and go out and get some exercise! That’s how we are going to improve mental illness!

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    • Funny you should mention Vitamin D. It totally slipped my mind but Amanda came out as Vitamin D deficient in September probably due to the fact that she couldn’t go outside in the summer due to her anxieties. So she was on supplements. Yes, Vitamin D is so very important for all of us.

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    • merle48 says:

      I think it’s “trial and error” with meds many times. I can never speak for others, but I’ve seen first-hand in my own family what the wrong prescription can do. Yet each person is different, and that is why it’s so important to be well-informed on the types of medications and other methods of therapy also. Monitoring is most important once they are taking something new, and from my experience this is the hardest part…to be diligently aware of any negative changes, which are sometimes very subtle. I know you did as much as humanly possible for Amanda, I never doubted that…what I doubt sometimes are methods used in the medical and pharmaceutical professions…I guess there are some bad apples in every bag?

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  4. la Punisher says:

    I agree with you Tristan, Doctors just don’t care anymore, I don’t mean all doctors, there are still some good ones out there, But few and far between, I worked in the medical field for 15 years and I have seen the sh_t that happens because of doctor mistakes.. I am just wondering how little Amanda fits into this, was she given the wrong med’s that made her more depressed, Just because you have depression and are taking med’s for it, doesn’t mean its what you should be taken, She could of been given med’s and told that they were what she needed when in fact they would pick her up and than drop her down hard, Being young she may have accepted the doctors word for it and took the ups and downs… In Amandas case we will never know.

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    • Just my words on the medication Amanda was taking. We had to find one that worked for both her anxiety and depression. There were many to choose from. I read up on all of them as best I could. I asked around. I had friends who are doctors, nurses and psychologists. Also other parents who had been through similar circumstances. We came up with one to try. She was monitored closely. Because meds like this usually take 2 to 3 months to work, it was even more important to watch Amanda closely. Being Amanda, she had wanted meds to help her. But she also wanted them to work instantaneously (which they don’t). The increase of the meds was gradual and had to be also monitored in accordance with her age, weight, etc. I am not sure if her medication intake was ever the right dose as she was still in the dosage increase stage. 😦

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  5. merle48 says:

    “…who is to question a doctors authority. Doctors quit caring along time ago, every
    person has become a dollar sign to them, And they keep pumping these precious children full of chemicals.”
    Almost every teenager goes thro’ turbulent times, some go to Dr’s for help and end up worse than before.” My response to your two statements: Many people are conditioned to believe what medical professionals tell them point-blank. A lot of people are so preoccupied with “life” that they are not trying to dig any deeper to alleviate the condition. I think some people are finally getting privy to the many falsehoods of these so-called medicines. In many cases they are needed, however, without thorough examination and talk therapy, how can a doctor make such a quick diagnosis, and prescribe something so strong that it could possibly make for worse problems? There must be more education in this area of mental health, but it probably won’t be advertised as much because of the large hand the pharmaceutical industry plays in it. This is what I have seen thus far. Whenever I blog on a site where people discuss mental health, my comments on the above, go by the wayside…why is that? As for teens living through turbulent times…granted they are more complicated now, but a pill to alleviate the effect doesn’t find the cause. Our society is conditioned to find the “instant fix”, the “quick cure” for every little “ping” in our lives….God forbid we take TIME to talk with these kids and nothing else!? This is a subject that really perturbs me, as I have seen the damage done to so many close to me, because of the lack of education to the general public in the mental health field.

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  6. la Punisher says:

    So than Merle the question is this…How than do we help young people overcome MH, when Dr.s are pushing the wrong med’s on these defenseless children, I can’t say all doctors, but a good portion of them really don’t give a freak about anyone except their high rolling lifestyle, and screw the child…, who is to question a doctors authority. Doctors quit caring along time ago, every person has become a dollar sign to them, And they keep pumping these precious children full of chemicals.
    Almost every teenager goes thro’ turbulent times, some go to Dr’s for help and end up worse than before. Has anyone ever wondered why we have more MH in young people now than ever before,??? I blame a big part on Dr’s,…. Instead of listening to what the child is saying and help to resolve the problem and than taking the 175$….Its take the 175$ and send the child home with a prescription for another 100$. How did this world become so screwed up?

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    • Tristan says:

      There is a lot of truth to what you are both saying. I dont believe all doctor’s are bad, but the one’s that are, can be really bad. My sister had some back problems from when she was about 16. They attempted a few operations and the doctor she had , and still had up until just recently, had her on all different type’s of pain killers and prescription drugs. The doctor had no problem in handing out prescriptions to her and up ing them all the time. It got to a point , that i dont think it was so much the back pain anymore, but now she had pill problems and needed treatment to get off some of those. 15 years later that doctor is being investigated for pushing too many drugs on to people along with many other reasons. Also turns out that some of the prescriptions she was precribed, was way over the amount she was supposed to have, and some of them wern’t supposed to be put together. That doctor today is being investigated from what i understand due to many other cases as well.My sister has a new doctor today, and is suffering kidney problems due to all the different prescriptions she was on for so long. It was also said that this doctor was known to keep the kids coming back for more.

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  7. merle48 says:

    Our world has changed so much…it scares the heck out of me sometimes. but I believe what you and I both said is one of the major problems in dealing with mental health. I’m relieved to know that there are others that feel as I do. I also got a degree in psycho-social rehabilitation, and have seen first hand what the wrong prescriptions can do to a person who trusts their doctor 100%!

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  8. la Punisher says:

    Con’t to above post… One more thing to point out, The reaction of the psychiatrist on a visit to him by the boy was… Quote ” Do you feel like you have 2 personalites ” unquote, At that time there were lawsuits in the USA against the makers of Ritalin because it was found out that it splits the personality, But still yet they shove this down young peoples throats, Like What the hell are they thinking??

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  9. Renée Bégin says:

    When I first saw Amanda’s video (in October) I didn’t know she had passed away. She reminded me of my younger daughter who is also named Amanda. I find it unbearably sad to lose such a beautiful soul. Amanda was indeed a very talented young person, she was pretty, articulate, kind-hearted, and she could sing. She could use a few words and create a whole picture.
    Just as the name of Terry Fox is linked to the fight against cancer, I believe that Amanda’s name should be forever linked to the fight against all forms of bullying.

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  10. la Punisher says:

    I agree with you Merle48, There is no easy fix for MH, I have worked some MH for Van.island health authority mostly with young people on the street, The outcome is almost always the same, Doctors either diagnose wrong and give the wrong medication, or they give too much of stimulant medication like Ritalin or oxycotin, and its than abused… My oldest son was diagnosed bi-polar Doctor gave him well over 300 Ritalin a month, He abused it, and ended up in an even darker state of mind, He got to the point of attempting suicide (2) which I am thankful he failed, It is hard to find a doctor who does not hand out med’s like jelly beans, all because they get a kick back from pharmaceutical companies, that situationneeds to be dealt with,
    When you are uncertain about the actions of your child, It can and will be very frightening, I know that feeling it’s scary as hell… I been there first hand
    Love the Teddies….Hugs 2U Carol

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  11. merle48 says:

    “Take a child by the hand, and go walking into your nearest forest or woods. Let them free for an hour. In my world here of cookie cutter concrete suburbia, a child’s mind is stifled and mangled in so many ways.”
    “I swear, without nature its so hard to see how real children should be. Instead, we see mini-adults worried about how the person in the mirror will be perceived by others.” These are some comments someone posted on a site that I go on about how it’s so important to escape the pressures of the fast-paced, and many times unforgiving world we live in. This can and does apply to these kids who are so wrapped up in the wrong kind of “make-believe.” We as adults have to show by example what is really important in our lives…them, caring for others, appreciating nature, learning new things. Although mental illness is very complex, and diverse for each person, I do not believe there is a single being suffering with it that cannot benefit in some way, from a peaceful environment. Kids in general, must learn of the “bigger” world that awaits them, and not be stifled by the surroundings that bring only pain and distress. I personally believe in “talking” more than the “medicate” approach for these kids, because in many cases these strong drugs are mixed with other recreational drugs which in turn, damage their fragile minds even further. Talk therapy is frowned upon by insurance companies where I live, because it costs more for these sessions than prescribing pills for the quick fix. The reality is too many kids are not getting to “talk” enough, therefore their problems remain the same. The teenage years are hard enough, physically, mentally, and with all the hormones floating around….should these very strong meds be given out so nonchalantly to our precious children? We must ask ourselves why the suicidal rate is so high in children these days….what is different now, from 40 years ago? I hope I didn’t offend anyone with this writing… just my true feelings about this impulsive world. Thank you Carol for asking the tough questions that we as parents need to ponder.

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