Category Archives: Elusive Tranquility

Elusive Tranquility is my personal blog about parenting a special needs child and her siblings. I started this blog many years ago as a way to share my parenting stories and to connect with other parents of special needs children. I have three children, Jenny who is in college, and Anna and Dominic, both in elementary school. After having Anna, the way I view the world shifted. Anna has PDD-NOS (a form of autism), intellectual disability, epilepsy, microcephaly, hypotonia, hypothyroidism, kyphoscoliosis, sensory integration dysfunction, hearing loss, high myopia, mood disorder, and was failure to thrive from 6 months to 3 years. Bless her heart, her life is hard but she never complains. My son, Dominic, also has ADHD and is intellectually gifted. Anna experiences life at a different pace and with a different viewpoint, and has challenged everything I know about motherhood. Having always been very empathic myself, I feel what she feels and see what she sees… and this gives me a unique vision when exploring my artistic side. I have connected with many other special needs parents through this blog and love hearing from you.

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 Hard to See Through the Fog My sister is having a hip replacement this morning. She is young but has a chronic illness called CVID (common variable immune deficiency) which makes the surgery and recovery quite dangerous, even life-threatening. Prayers gratefully accepted. Anna has been home sick all week and won’t […]

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At the beginning of the year, I see oodles of photography projects pop into my social media feeds, everything from Project 365s, 52s, 12s, and everything in between. I committed to doing a self-portrait project on Instagram called #portraitsofme as well as Macro Mondays that follow themes on a Flickr group. People also begin new […]

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Happy New Year! Let me start by saying I don’t really believe in resolutions… I think if you are going to make a change, do it now! Why wait for a calendar date? If you want to exercise more, go for a walk. If you want to eat healthier, then put a vegetable in your […]

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Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 I started this post the Thursday after Donald Trump was elected and I am finally finishing it now. I don’t want to debate or have any lively discussions or hear why I’m wrong… I just want to share why I needed a social media break and why I feel the way I do. […]

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  • Pamela Graham -

    This is my only comment…..why I would prefer Trump any day over a baby killer! Just so you know Trump may have not been my choice but God was on my side in the voting booth that day.

    Take a long look at President Obama, how he talks terribly about our America….there are two sides, you need to look deeper if you want to see them.

    However, I am sorry your heart hurts…things will get better. You will see. I am looking past the ghastly parts of Trump, I know he will be much better in our house, we see it already.ReplyCancel

  • Sabra - Big hugs, Holly. I’m disappointed and sad that we had to choose between these two, neither is an accurate reflection of what our country has to offer.

    Maybe better times are coming, and the next four years won’t be horrible, but I’m not counting on it.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - I agree with the comments Sabra makes. It was very disappointing that we had these two to choose between. It was the first time in 24 years I was not excited about voting… I got to the voting booth and stared, praying for what to do. I was one who chose neither. I just couldn’t in good conscious do it. And in my local elections I felt the same. This all coming from a political science major who understands the system and who studied political behavior. I see how Trump became popular despite the things he said… Sad… Truly sad. And it’s hard to explain to our kids why and how someone like that gets elected to the office of the president. Like you, I will not be negative. I will pray for him and our country.ReplyCancel

  • jon - I’m posting this because it’s important to understand what went wrong and why. The mainstream media narrative – that trump voters are all racists, misogynists, etc is flawed…

    Trump got in because he was actually addressing serious issues* that the democrats have ignored for 30+ years.

    It’s a shame that he got in and that the democrats rigged their primaries against Bernie Sanders, the only other anti-establishment candidate.

    *Issues like…

    1. Free trade agreements which have decimated the manufacturing sector.

    2. Failure to enforce immigration law and extreme political correctness. Enforcing immigration law isn’t racist, granted a lot of people will go for

    3. Failure to recognize the link between islamic culture and terrorism, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, hate towards any other world view. Islamic culture couldn’t be further from that of most politically correct liberals. It makes no sense.

    There is a problem with islamic culture and saying that doesn’t make anyone hate muslims. The left shuts down any debate by making that claim.

    4. Corruption with the financial industry and failure to enforce the law and prosecute the criminals responsible for the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

    People everywhere are sick and tired of being lied to about a non-exist recovery, sick and tired of globalization.ReplyCancel

Today I am not sharing my regular weekly P366 blog post, I will share that tomorrow. Today I am consumed with sadness and heartache and need to write about it. An 8th grade girl, a student at Dominic’s middle school, took her life Tuesday evening. She was 12 years old. Of course this hits home. It used […]

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  • jon - anonymous - Hello,

    I’ve been following your blog for a while, found you on youtube.

    Sorry to here of this loss.

    My comments on raising awareness, stigma around mental illness…

    What I’ve found is that the greatest obstacle to getting mental health professional help or any kind of health-related help is that the greatest obstacle isn’t stigma, it’s patient rights and poor quality of care.

    No one wants to get their rights taken away.

    Trust is a major issue. The best form of help out there comes in a trusted person one can confide in without fear of being force or coerced into something regardless of how serious the issue is.

    If you tell a mental health professional that you’re considering suicide he or she is legally obligated to disclose it. If you’re deemed a threat to yourself or others you can be forcefully hospitalized/medicated. That in itself would cause more harm than good.

    Mental health professionals can be extremely coercive and manipulative. They’re trained to coerce patients into doing things they naturally wouldn’t do, all while claiming that it’s in the patient’s best interest.

    The other issue is quality of care.

    I don’t know much about the health care system in the united states, but where I am, canada, we have public universal health insurance.

    The insurance covers psychiatrists but not psychologists or other mental health professionals.

    Psychiatrists here are of little help for mental health problems which aren’t bio-medical. In fact they mostly see mental health problems from a bio-medical mechanistic perspective and just pathologize every issue. They prescribe medication to treat so called pathology -> effectively covering up mental health problems caused by bullying, destructive relationships, financial problems, other stressers.

    Another thing is that while intentions are good with respect to eliminating stigma, it would be better to focus on preventing mental health breakdown entirely. By the time help is needed the damage has been done.ReplyCancel

    • Holly - Hi Jon, thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. Giving control over to your medical team is a very scary proposition. How do you know when you can trust someone else to make decisions for you if you are at risk of hurting yourself? It’s easy when the patient is under 18 and the parent is involved, but when the patient is an adult… you’ve raised some thought-provoking questions. Do you have any ideas on how to prevent a mental health breakdown? It appears that there is some genetic influences with regard to my family. How do I stay vigilant and get my children the right kind of support? This is somewhat of a rhetorical question, but I am curious to hear your thoughts. Thanks again for taking the time to leave a comment, I appreciate it very much.ReplyCancel

  • jon - I think that for any mental health intervention to be effective the patient has to be engaged and on board. Forced treatment shouldn’t be an option or legal in all but the most extreme cases.

    Sadly forced or coercive treatment is still a reality especially in cases involving hospitalization. If it wasn’t and rights were respected, more people would feel comfortable seeking help.

    Usually when someone is resisting treatment there’s actually a good reason and the case isn’t nearly as simple as it seems on the surface.

    I think patients under 18 (could be 16 or 14 in certain areas) can actually at the greatest risk because they under the eyes of the law, they don’t necessarily the right to make their own decisions. If a parent refuses the recommended treatment for a child (lets say due to risks and negative effects of certain drugs like anti-psychotics), doctors can easily get children’s aid involved. That’s a very dangerous.

    I don’t know if there’s anything similar to children’s aid for intellectually disabled adults where the legal guardian’s (and the patient’s) decisions can be over-ridden by a government agency, but hopefully not.

    For adults though if there’s a proper power of attorney set up (and everyone should have one) before a mental breakdown, I think a trusted substitute decision maker can step in and take charge of the patient’s care.

    As for the question of how to prevent a mental health breakdown, that’s a really tough to answer.

    If the mental illness is of a biomedical origin, I don’t think there’s much that can be done.

    Even for other cases you can’t really protect family members and friends from external sources of stress which lead to mental breakdown. The person him or herself has to admit that there’s a problem (not the same as concrete internal “disorder” or “defect” to treat) and be willing and open to drawing on social supports to change the situation.

    The best any family member or friend can do is not brush off mental health concerns and check in with people in a respectful** way. There needs to be a lot of trust, and often in a parent-child relationship there isn’t, especially if it’s the relationship itself or problems at home that are causing the mental health problems to begin with.

    **By respectful, I mean making sure that that anything being done is only in the person’s best interest and not just to control or get rid of what’s perceived as abnormal/undesirable/disruptive behavior. (the behavior is just a symptom after all especially if there’s substance abuse involved. ) The worst thing any family member can do is try and abruptly address poor mental health, “mental difference” or behavior as a simple, concrete “problem to be fixed” ->that’s damaging as often the patient is already fragile, has very poor self-esteem and is already all too aware of the dysfunction.

    I know this from my own experiences. I didn’t seek help out of fear of being judged or given trouble or worse being forced into medical or psychiatric treatment. (…and it wasn’t even suicidal depression or substance abuse, far less serious than that)ReplyCancel