Sunday, June 25, 2017

Carrie Fisher will always be a Herorine in my eyes...

On screen to most she was the Princess of the Rebellion, a Leader to the good fight, fought valiantly by the Rebel Alliance. She was the quirky friend to Meg Ryan, when Sally met Harry and the patient wife to Tom Hanks, when he did battle with evil neighbours. It wasn't her on screen personas that made her hero in many's eyes, but her open struggle with her own mental health that many saw as valiant and commendable.

Her passing had shocked the world, not just in the Star Wars realms, but also in the those of us who saw her as a Warrior for mental health. Finally we had an advocate, who didn't give a shit about what the world thought of her battle with mental illness. Her frankness and her humor, proved that just because someone is battling demons within their own head,  it didn't mean they were any less of a person. Robin Williams was also like that, different mental illness but same mentality. Two famous people who tried to conquer demons while at the bottom of the hill. Fisher, was different from most of the Hollywood elites. She wanted to have a conversation about mental health, she encouraged it. In fact, she challenged people to talk about it, which is why, when she passed, her loss was just more than just another celebrity dying. Her passing meant so much more to so many people, that I don't think she would have quite realized.

Like most of us, she struggled with trying to find the right path to healing, again she wasn't shy about talking about it either. Her frankness about drug addiction to seeking therapy, made her a hero. She dared people to call her out on it. She took the stigmas that surrounded mental health and said, "Fuck you". She was open about her childhood, growing up within the Hollywood sphere. It wasn't easy being the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher.

A couple of weeks ago, Ms. Fisher's autopsy report came out. It stated she had drugs in her system when she died.What is disheartening is the backlash over that. Yes she had cocaine in her system. Yes she had Heroin in her system, but who are you to speculate how she managed her mental illness? Who are you to tell someone how to manage their depression or bipolar disorder? It was her path and hers alone to manage how she saw fit. Like anything, you have no idea what she had been dealing with at the time of her death and for that you would have to be close with her or the person managing her health. There is a saying that some of the most dangerous illnesses are the invisible ones.

For many of us, she was our Queen. Like her, we struggle and still do, with our mental health. It is sometimes hard to find what helps or what combination of things will lift your clouds. Most of us are in denial about what really needs to be done to what drugs and therapy we need to have in order to feel better. And there are some of us who acknowledged it, we take it by the horns and we do the best we can and that is what Carrie did. She knew she had a mental illness, she tried her best to do what she could with it, even it meant take drugs to manage it. If cocaine and heroin silenced the demons within her, that was her choice to feel better. You can't take that away from someone, the right to feel better. Now, I get it there are people who abuse that right and harm themselves, again that is their choice,but to criticize someone because you don't agree because of how they are managing their lifestyle, which wasn't hurting anyone, is just wrong.

A lot of us struggle with the stigma of mental illness, as society sees it as a weakness. It's shameful to be depressed or have anxiety. You are considered feeble if you even mention that you might be on anti-depressants or that you had to take a couple of Xanax because your anxiety is threw the roof. So when we have a famous person come along that states, "Hey,its ok! You are not the only one!", we tend to be overjoyed that this person might shed a light on something that most people are ridiculed for or forgotten about.

This is why Carrie Fisher is and will always be a heroine  in my eyes. She basically said "Fuck You" to the people who ridiculed her for being Bipolar. She didn't care what people thought about how she dwelt with it and that she did it so publicly, that it gave the rest of us courage to do the same. It is because of her that I can openly talk about my mental illness. It is because of her that many others can do the same. I get that she didn't die by suicide, like sadly most people with mental illness do, but like her it put mental illness back into conversation, for so many reasons. Management, living with it, talking about it and most importantly, acceptance.

Thank you Carrie Fisher for your strength and wit.






Saturday, April 1, 2017

Autism Acceptance is a human right, so please stop with blue awareness.

I know that we have just started the month of April. For many of us who live and breath Autism 365 days a year, this month is supposed to be Autism Awareness Month. During this month the sea of the "Light it Up Blue" light bulbs will be present at every turn. While most of us are grateful for the acknowledgement, many us are just happy when that acknowledgement presents itself during the rest of the year instead of just April. A lot of us are hardened to the fact that a vast majority of the population still has no idea what autism actually is or what it is like to have it or love someone who has it. Every year we all sit back and watch people go nuts with painting the world blue. This year, however, I am not inclined to do so. It comes down to two factors. The current political climate and Autism Speaks.

Let's start with the first one. I honestly thought it was a joke when I read in my international news that the White House was going to "Light it up Blue" for World Autism Day. Seriously, I did. Now lately I have been trying my damnedest to keep my mouth shut when it comes to this administration, but a very audible *Snort* came out of my person when I read that this morning. APRIL FOOLS! I am for the life of me trying to wrap my brain around why this current Administration wants to light the White House up blue when they have just spent the majority of the POTUS's first 100 days in office trying their hardest to get rid of just about everything an autistic child ( who will someday grow into an adult) will need to succeed. Education, Medicaid or Medicare, Social Security, housing, or how about just resources. Education. For many of us parents, we were shocked when the woman who hadn't a clue to what IDEA or FAPE was, got the job of Secretary of Education. SHOCKED. A woman who is not qualified to even enter a public school, let alone run one, is now in charge for the education of our special needs students. Oh yes they are very aware, so much so that the POTUS calls it " The Autism"and or " The Horrible thing". Medical. The appeal of ACA. Now listen I get that it wasn't prefect, even Canada's healthcare system isn't prefect, but at least it gave people something, rather than nothing. For those kids who needed things like ABA, speech, or OT,  when they either couldn't get it school or they need extra, ACA covered that, again not prefect, but it was something. To successfully appeal it, and  not having anything to replace it, is a very dangerous road to be on. So let's talk about the replacement, AHCA or American Health Care Act. What does that mean for people who have autism. In 2014, Medicaid spent approximately $151.8 billion on support services for seniors and people with disabilities — 53 percent of which was spent to keep those receiving support in their own homes rather than in nursing homes or institutions. So when there was the implication that Medicaid was going to be more state run with less funding under this new Healthcare act, a lot of us wondered just what that meant for people with disabilities. A good number of us will have grown children, that some might need group homes or some might be working those minimum waged jobs, who then will not have the government's support nor anything else. A lot of us were made to wonder just what will happen to our children, when things like Medicaid and Social Security aren't going to be there to help our grown children when we have long since passed on. Now I get that the average parent might not worry about those things, but this one does. I do have a child who has an Intellectual Disability, one that even with the best foundation, will still need help as an adult to live his life. These are just a few things that this Administration has done to try and erase my hopes for my autistic children's futures. I don't think I need to make note about the POTUS' making fun of disabled persons. And before I get the "Well Obama did it too..", yes he did. Once and he apologized for it. I have yet to see an apology from this administration for mocking a disabled person or calling a deaf woman"Retarded". Again very laughable that the White House is going to be 'promoting" Autism Awareness. It's very tone deaf. At least if you are going to do that, have some education about what Autism is and what the rates mean, so you don't have to ask a special educator that question during a sit down meeting with teachers.

On to Autism Speaks. Listen I get that they are a nationally organization that is supposed to be at the forefront on Autism and everything that has to do with Autism. Since my daughter, who will be 12 soon, was diagnosed with Autism, I have learned very quickly that Autism Speaks doesn't speak for myself, my daughter or my son. While they promote their "Light it up Blue" Campaign, the whole "people need to be aware", most of us who have read the rhetoric and have found that they, themselves have yet to fully accepted it. Finding a cure is what most of it states. While Autism presents with some interesting twists and turns to one's life, it isn't something that defines that person. Autism is part of that person. There is a lot of people who are on the fence about their feelings concerning Autism Speaks. Some will say that the organization does great work in spreading awareness during the month of April, which undeniably does, but the question has to be asked is Does it promote Acceptance? For most autistic adults, acceptance is something they want. I mean doesn't everyone want that? To be seen as we truly are, without judgement? So when you have an organization that promotes the struggle and the pain Autism causes, you aren't really accepting it. The other issue with Autism Speaks, is the leadership. Some have pointed out that there really isn't much leadership with people who have Autism. It would be like if there was a group that promoted Women's health, but was run solely by men. See what I did there? Just like the other big organizations that promote "Awareness", one needs to take a step back and really look at what exactly is being promoted and how does it benefit those it's supposed to.

April has always been a mixed bag for me. This year, especially, I feel the Autism community has been hit hard. It isn't even just the Autism Community, but those who are unique. So while I am amused by the White House's choice to "Light it up Blue" despite all the challenges they have brought forth for us and whole " Be Aware of this and Be Aware of that" campaigns, I urge you all to take a stand. If you have loved ones who are on the spectrum or you are on the spectrum yourself, please pay attention to what the government is doing, with regards to your rights. As for April is Autism Awareness Month, we are all aware, but are we all accepting? Are you going to support local autism organizations, instead of the big money making ones? Are you going to accept that the child sitting at the table next to you in a restaurant who is stimming away because the lights are too bright, is just trying to self regulate or is it going to be the reason you are rude to their parents? Or are you going to mock the adult that stand before you having a hard time asking a question? It has always been about Acceptance, as the world is already aware.
     

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

If you Care, voice your concerns.

Ok. I am going to be brutally honest here. I honestly don't care what flippin' side you are on because at this point forward, it isn't going to be Republican vs Democrat.

As I sit back and watch the hearings going on for our "New" cabinet, it truly saddens me watching these people who have no business sitting in the seat they are sitting in answering questions they refuse to answer in front of people who will decide whether or not they get the nomination. I think the only person, who's hearing actually went well was Mathis. I can't in good conscience sit and watch another hearing without screaming at my PC or TV in a fit of rage.

Look, I have one concern when it comes to the politics this country. Its my children. They are American citizens and deserve so much better from the people who claim they care. I honestly don't care if you all get tired of my posts about what is happening in Washington. Since I have already lost a few because of my outrage, I don't care. To each their own. Mazel. Anyone who has children can't sit there and think that any of what is going to is going to beneficial to their lives.
So far the Republican controlled Senate and Congress has voted to take away health care. Awesome guys. Truly. See that is just the tip of the iceburg. Now as I sit back and watch these hearings,it just makes me angry. More and more Angry.

For anyone that had a child with an IEP, the nominee for Education Secretary is a dangerous person. Let's look at the voucher program that she has supported. Vouchers that don't support special needs children. She supports programs that make a student sign away their legal rights in order to be accepted into that program. IDEA or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which is a federal law that federally mandates that children with disabilities are entitled to proper, quality education within schools. In other words, special education, which is one of the reasons an IEP is a legal document. So if you thought your children's school wasn't holding up their end of an IEP, you can take them to court. IDEA is what protects our children. Ms DeVos has no idea what IDEA is. She thinks that states should have the right to mandate their own laws concerning education. Now as I have said before, not all states are equal when it comes to education. That line of thinking is very dangerous to every child with special needs who is getting an education. It blows my mind that she would think that is ok. She herself was never educated in a public school, nor has any one of her children, but wait, she did mentor in a public school. *rolls eyes* That is like someone telling a special needs parent that they completely understand our hardships because they read a book about it once. But yet if you bring any of this up to those who thought Trump and this cabinet would be good for the country, we get told off and called a bunch of unsavory names.

I guess what I ask is this, if you care an ounce about either my children or other children who are special needs, show that you care. Hold this government responsible, every single time something like this goes down. If you care about your children's education, please take a look at DeVos' hearing. It is quite shocking to how little she knows about this country's education and if she gets the nomination, then you better be prepared for a lot of angry posts and call to action by this person. I will not stand by and let my children's education go down the same road their healthcare did.

If you don't like what you see when you watch or hear about DeVos, you can call the members of the HELP committee every day to ask for their NO vote on Betsy DeVos.

Alexander, Lamar (TN),Chairman
Phone: (202) 224-4944
Enzi, Michael B. (WY)
Phone: (202) 224-3424
Burr, Richard (NC)
(202) 224-3154
Isakson, Johnny (GA)
(202) 224 - 3643
Paul, Rand (KY)
202-224-4343
Collins, Susan M. (ME)
(202) 224 - 2523
Cassidy, Bill (LA)
(202) 224-5824
Young, Todd (IN)
(202) 224 - 5623
Hatch, Orrin G. (UT)
(202) 224-5251
Roberts, Pat (KS)
202-224-4774
Murkowski, Lisa (AK)
(202)-224-6665
Scott, Tim (SC)
(202) 224-6121
Murray, Patty (WA), Ranking Member
(202) 224-2621
Sanders, Bernard (VT)
(202) 224-5141
Casey, Robert P. (PA)
(202) 224-6324
Franken, Al (MN)
(202) 224-5641
Bennet, Michael F. (CO)
202-224-5852
Whitehouse, Sheldon (RI)
(202) 224-2921
Baldwin, Tammy (WI)
(202) 224-5653
Murphy, Christopher (CT)
(202) 224-4041
Warren, Elizabeth (MA)
(202) 224-4543
Kaine, Tim (VA)
(202) 224-4024
Hassan, Margaret Wood (NH)
(202) 224-3324
Oh and I didn't know that public schools had a Grizzly Bear issue enough to warrant guns in schools.