Hi Kat 70, Thanks so much for joining our parent forum. I like to think of us hanging out at a cafe somewhere having coffee together and helping each other out. I have some serious health issues and have to be careful with covid. So, coming here made a lot of sense. My husband and I are still married, but our family has been through a lot of trauma around more acute phases with my health and the repeated and ongoing threat of losing a parent has impacted out kids. Not all the time, but I've found that we need to revisited things about every 18 months to update their understanding of things to their current stage of maturity. Our kids are just about to turn 17 and 15. Both has anxiety and there's some depression there as well. Our son has tried to take his life in front of me once and has threatened a number of times. Our Last year our 15 year old daughter was caught taking a bottle of vodka to school and also drank a fair amount of it. That came as a huge shock because I had no idea she was drinking. She was suspended for 4 days after that. Found out she'd been having vodka cruisers at parties. That was like a bomb going off, and it was hard to know what to do. I ended up going back to advice we had when the kids wee really small about spending "special time" with them which last 15 minutes and you focus on what they're doing. With her being older, it was different. However, we've been shopping, had coffee together, and I've had to drive her to some dance competitions and the time in the car is always beneficial. To me, it's about building and maintaining those grass root connections with our kids. Getting them comfortable to a point where they're talking about their friends and what's going on at school and it doesn't al come at once but every bit counts, especially when you're starting out. It's like playing Scrabble and pulling a letter out of the bag, but after awhile the board starts to fill up. Addressing the sense of abandonment you all feel, that's a tricky one. Many of us have these traumas which seemingly live with us like a backpacker whose taken over your couch and next thing has taken over your house. For me, there are some really traumatic memories of when I was first diagnosed and put into hospital in a wheelchair and didn't know what was happening. You wouldn't know looking at me now, but that trauma flares up and I wonder why. Why have you come back out of your box and why can't you go away. Well, like you I'm dealing with lingering fallout, especially as I haven't been in paid work for a long time and I have mixed feelings about that. While it might seem like it's impossible to heal from this, and it's much harder when your husband and father has left and abandoned you than dealing with a inanimate illness, I do believe that improvement, recovery and healing are possible and that we have to keep chipping away and not accepting this intruder in our lives. Not letting it become us, or take over who we are. Yet, at the same time, I've also found acknowledging what happened and how you feel are important. That could look something along the lines of "I know you're here but you're not going to get the better of me. Or, the best of me." All you have to do is stay a step ahead. I probably should explain that last bit. I've always seen my health issues as a separate entity. They have never been me, although I often refer to it as my disease, simply because it's very rare. This perspective came from working in HIV/AIDS communication many years ago where the correct lingo was the someone was "living with HIV/AIDS". I can be a literal at times, and am when I became ill myself I saw my disease as an obsessed stalker who'd moved in. I then wrote a short story about that and there was this bizarre twist at the end...I introduced him to someone else on RSVP. Anyway, I hope I haven't digressed too much there, but I thought this might help. Best wishes, Birdwings
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Hi @Mitzi, I actually had a similar conversation in a different topic so feel confident in sharing and knowing that it is appropriate. At times of suicidal ideation it was suggested to me that I ask my daughter if she wanted to actually die, or if she wanted to escape the pain and struggle she was experiencing. It let me know where she is at and what I'm dealing with. As well as that, as I've learnt, it also takes away any shame for how she is feeling if she can use and hear the words 'die' and 'suicide' openly instead of feeling like it all has to be kept a big secret. Thanks to @Ngaio-RO for these true words. How is everything going with your son now? I realise I'm a bit late with my response! I just think it's a great question you asked, and one that parents are still asking.
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