USA: Scissors, Gun Control, and My Suicidal Daughter

My teenager has had a rough few months. She came to me with the information that she felt suicidal and had a plan to end her own life.

I brought her to our local emergency room, where my baby girl had her clothes taken away, an alarm strapped to her wrist, and a room right across from the nurses’ station where she could be constantly monitored. After a long day of evaluations, testing, and phone calls, my child was transferred to another hospital that had a juvenile psychiatric ward.

After her stay in the psychiatric ward, my daughter enrolled in a partial hospitalization program.

Her clinician there told me I needed to lock up all of our household medication and anything sharp. Knives in the kitchen, razors in the bathroom, and even child safety scissors that couldn’t cut hair all had to be locked up in a metal container, not plastic, as plastic could be broken fairly quickly. I asked the woman telling me all of this whether this level of action was necessary for a teenager who had only had thoughts of hurting herself without acting on any of those ideas.

My daughter’s clinician told me that nothing would really, truly keep my child safe if she was determined to hurt herself. The goal in locking up those medications and sharp objects was to make it more difficult for her to act impulsively if she felt the urge to self-harm. I have thought about those words frequently these past few days. We live in a society where weapons are easily obtainable. Somehow, our society has not yet realized that legally allowing such free access to semi-automatic weapons is allowing people like my daughter, whose mental states are not where they should be, to be able to make spontaneous decisions to harm themselves or others.

Let me be clear: I am not talking about criminals here. People who want to break the law will find ways to do so, and I will not waste my words bickering over why changing the laws won’t do anything to stop lawbreakers. I am talking about people who are mostly law-abiding but are struggling with serious mental health issues or going through extremely emotionally charged situations, such as a horrific divorce. I am also not talking about infringing on anyone’s Second Amendment rights. I’m not arguing that US citizens shouldn’t be allowed to own guns.

I am, however, stating that any random U.S. citizen should not be able to obtain whatever kind of weapon they desire whenever they want it. No one told me I couldn’t keep scissors in my house while my daughter struggles with depression and anxiety. Her doctors and therapists realized that scissors would be present, much like guns will always be present in our country. Instead, her doctors told me how to prevent my child from using those scissors to hurt herself on an impulse while she battles depression. When my daughter needs to use scissors for a project, I’m going to give her the child safety scissors instead of something sharp enough to cut or stab herself. Our country should likewise exercise caution.

The Second Amendment was written long before the invention of today’s weaponry. We should update our gun laws. Horrible impulses to hurt other people with semi-automatic weapons should not be able to be planned and performed as easily as they are today.

Knowing my daughter’s current battles with anxiety and depression, I am concerned about the day she is old enough to legally obtain a gun. She is medicated and receiving treatment at the moment, but I will not always be around to watch out for her mental state. God willing, my child will fully recover and live a long and healthy, happy life. Regardless, I want our country to come together and make it more difficult for my child to obtain a gun, so if she does ever again have that impulsive thought to end her own life, it will be harder for her to do so.

This is an original post submitted to World Moms Network. The author has been verified by our editing team, but has requested to remain anonymous. 

For more on gun control in the USA and how you can help, see “World Voice: Parkland Students Leading the Way for Gun Reform.” 

Photo credit to Kevin Doncaster. This photo has a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. 

World Moms Network

World Moms Network is an award winning website whose mission statement is "Connecting mothers; empowering women around the globe." With over 70 contributors who write from over 30 countries, the site covered the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Most recently, our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan was awarded "Best Reporting on the UN" form the UNCA. The site has also been named a "Top Website for Women" by FORBES Woman and recommended by the NY Times Motherlode and the Times of India. Follow our hashtags: #worldmom and #worldmoms Formerly, our site was known as World Moms Blog.

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EGYPT: Beliefs and how they impact our lives

beliefs

According to Merriam Webster, a belief is, “something that a person accepts as true or right, a strongly held opinion about something.” A belief is just an opinion, not necessarily the truth or the reality. Beliefs can be imagined as an iceberg. There are some beliefs  we are conscious of, like the tip of the iceberg that can be seen above the water. Meanwhile, there are other beliefs we are less aware of, the larger part of the iceberg that lies below the water.

There are different types of beliefs. There are some that are empowering beliefs, like we are happy, we are successful , life is beautiful and worth being lived, failure is a part of the success journey, and so on. Other beliefs are disempowering, like I am unhappy, I am not good enough, life is unfair, I am a loser, et cetera. Such beliefs can be very limiting. Our beliefs about ourselves shape our lives. If we hold empowering beliefs, we feel more satisfaction and peace of mind. Otherwise, we are frustrated and unhappy most of the time. Most of our beliefs are formed during our childhood and adolescence.

Why our beliefs impact our lives?

Our beliefs drive our behaviors, so anything we do can be linked back to a certain belief we hold. Our perception of a situation creates a thought in our mind. The thought triggers an emotion, and the emotion makes us behave in a certain way. For example, one of my clients felt uncomfortable when her colleagues repeated to her, “You are so kind.” From my point of view, it was a positive comment of praise, while she perceived it as, “You are so naive.” With the positive perception, she would have felt totally comfortable and satisfied. Meanwhile, with the negative perception she felt annoyed and uncomfortable. These two different perceptions of the same situation triggered two completely different feelings, which lead to two totally different behaviors.

When we go through the same experience with the same thought, we feel the same feeling and we behave the same way until it becomes an unconscious belief and the behavior becomes automatic. Unfortunately it becomes the TRUTH while actually it is just our truth that we created due to our perception. If we want to change our behavior, we need to change the angle from which we see the situation.

“Making mistakes is shameful”

I grew up in a family and a school where making mistakes was not an option. We were punished, made fun of, and severely criticized for making mistakes. There were only one way to do anything, the way the elders wanted it done. Anything else was wrong and unacceptable. Living in such an environment was really hard.  I always felt like an accused who needed to defend herself. I wanted to have my own life, but unfortunately anything that did not match their way was considered a mistake.

One of my dis-empowering beliefs that negatively affected my life and harmed my self confidence for many years was, “Making mistakes is shameful.” I was so sensitive, so I avoided many situations and experiences to avoid the feeling of guilt and shame I felt every time I thought I made a mistake. I feared oral exams, trying new things, delivering presentations, and giving an opinion in a meeting or a class. I was so frightened of failure that I had to find help. My coach helped me see my foundational belief that making mistakes is shameful, and helped me to see that it caused me to avoid situations where I feared failure. It took me some time to adopt the new perception and to overcome my fear and my belief. Fortunately, I can now express myself in public easily, confidently, and in a relaxed way.

How we can change a behavior?

When you want to change your behavior in any situation and you want to find out what dis-empowering belief you hold, just answer these questions:

What are your thoughts in this situation?

How do you feel every time you go through it?

Write down your answers, and repeat this process several times. You will begin to notice a pattern. Notice your inner self talks and your wording – it will tell you a lot about your beliefs. To change the behavior, you need to change the angle from which you perceive the situation. Try to find a more positive perception – it will make a big shift in your thoughts and feelings and hence your behaviors.

As moms we need to be so careful with our children. We must pay attention to how we treat them, and also how we treat ourselves or speak about ourselves in front of them. We need to be aware of our dis-empowering beliefs, and work on changing them as they will surely affect our children. They acquire their self confidence and self esteem from ours. Our children see themselves through our eyes and they believe us, so if you tell your child they are not good enough or they are amazing they will believe you and may be they will live their whole life with this belief. Be cautious which beliefs you want to implant in your child.

Are you aware of your beliefs? What type of beliefs do you hold about yourself? How do they affect your life? Do you have a similar story, to share with us, about replacing a limiting belief ?

This is an original post for World Moms Network by Nihad from Alexandria, Egypt. Nihad blogs at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

Image via José María Foces Morán / Flickr

Nihad

Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.” She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.” Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.” Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

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NETHERLANDS: Full

NETHERLANDS: Full

2260347375_3eb4af95c9_zWhen people find out I have three kids, they tell me: “Oh you must have your hands full.” Many mom bloggers rage against this because they feel that there’s contempt hidden behind these words. They feel it means that we have too many children, that we are crazy, out of control and have no idea what we’re doing. Which may be partially correct but not very helpful. Others offer tips what to say instead of “You have your hands full” and except for “enjoy every moment”, I agree with all of them.

Personally, I don’t mind being told I have my hands full because it is the truth.

I walk away and smile because these people have no idea how right they are.

Of course my hands are full. How can they not be, with three kids? They are full of little clothes to wash, dinners and snacks to prepare, toys to buy and clean up.

They are full of little warm bodies to hug and cuddle, of tiny hands to hold and of heads to caress.

In the moments that my hands are not busy with children’s affairs, they can usually be found holding a book, typing away at the computer. But mostly, they are writing about the kids anyway, just like they’re doing now. Sometimes, they’re doing nothing for a change, which is also nice.

But my hands are not the only thing that is full with my children.

No matter whether they are around or not, my head is full of thoughts of them. “Will K. like it?” and “How is J. doing at daycare?” and “M is so active, what a fun little boy!”

I think about them. I worry about them. I miss them. I am happy for them. Sometimes, I am even angry with them or feel sad about something they did. Yes, one way or another, my head is full as well.

And so is my mouth because many words that come out of my mouth are about my kids. I tell them I love them, I ask them about their day, I tell them to clean up after themselves. I talk to them. I read books to them. I sing for them. I kiss little cheeks and noses and make ouchies magically disappear with my kisses. I talk about them a lot, maybe even too much. Sometimes, the words that I say are “I am so tired”. Sometimes, they are not even meant for children, but they were definitely “inspired” by them.

My eyes are full of my children as well, when I watch them play or sing or make a mess. When they want to show me something. “Mama, look, look, looook!” Of course, I have to look to see what they’ve painted or built with DUPLO blocks. I have the kids before my eyes when I look at toys or clothes and try to find the prettiest ones.

Sometimes, this fullness is all too much. Sometimes, I need to step back, lie down, clear my thoughts and just be alone. Be empty, in a good way, even if just for a moment.

To let my hands, my head and my eyes rest.

But my heart will never rest because without the heart’s involvement, the actions of my hand, head and mouth wouldn’t mean anything. My heart will always be full of the love I feel for my kids, no matter how annoyed, tired or cranky I am.

Yes, I am so full.

My hands are full.

My head is full.

My eyes are full.

But my heart is the fullest of them all.

What are some of the ways in which your children make you feel fulfilled?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Olga Mecking of The Netherlands. Photo credit: le vent le cri. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.

 

 

 

 

Olga Mecking

Olga is a Polish woman living in the Netherlands with her German husband. She is a multilingual expat mom to three trilingual children (even though, theoretically, only one is trilingual since she's old enough to speak). She loves being an expat, exploring new cultures, learning languages, cooking and raising her children. Occasionally, Olga gives trainings in intercultural communication and works as a translator. Otherwise, you can find her sharing her experiences on her blog, The European Mama. Also take a while to visit her Facebook page .

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NEW ZEALAND: Silver Linings

NEW ZEALAND: Silver Linings

KarynAlmost three years ago, we had the option of buying a big house in town or an apartment sized house on a small block of land. With three boys who had outgrown the space we had in town, we moved to the countryside. It’s been a great move and I feel very at home here. There is space for energy to be burned and huts to be built. There is mud. A lot of mud. There are fruit trees and a small forest. No, there isn’t enough room inside, especially when it’s midwinter and there are more than our family in the house. (Groups of 12 yo boys take up a lot of space!) I have culled and culled and culled and we still have too much stuff for the cupboards. But all in all, I’m pleased I’m here.

Before the move, one of the things I was dreading was the extra driving I was going to have to do. My boys go to school in a small city 25 minutes from home and I work in the twin small city, 25 minutes drive in the opposite direction.. The boys have friends spread out all around the area, it’s not unusual for me to drive 700km (about 430 miles) in a week and that can equate to a couple of hours each day.

While I don’t mind the actual driving, anticipating what wasn’t going to get done during that time bothered me. And it’s proven to be a justified expectation. There are weeks when the basics are all that get completed. I relish my days when I don’t have to go anywhere and at least some holiday time at home is essential for my mental health. But there has been a major up side to all that time in the car: Time with the boys, either in groups or individually, and time alone.

I get to have one on one time with each of the three boys most weeks; I get to listen to them and their friends yakking about what’s important to them (if you don‘t say anything, you learn all sorts of things); I get to talk to them about life and they get to tell me about life. We laugh, we rant, we sing, we are silly together, we plan what needs to be done when we arrive home. Sometimes we listen to talking books and at other, rare times, there is companionable silence.

I also really value the time I get in the car alone, with my thoughts or listening to cds. I have mentally worked through discussions, organised my day and contemplated the scenery. I have tuned out, sometimes, to the point where the car seems to drive itself.

And, from time with the boys to time by myself, I can see that it’s all been valuable. The silver lining(s), as they say.

Have you ever dreaded something and then discovered that there was magic in the reality of living that experience? How much time do you spend travelling each week?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our writer and mother of three boys in New Zealand, Karyn Van Der Zwet.

Photo credit to the author.

Karyn Wills

Karyn is a teacher, writer and solo mother to three sons. She lives in the sunny wine region of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand in the city of Napier.

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Friday Question: Why do you blog?

Today’s Friday Question comes to us from our founder, Veronica Samuels.  This week she asked our writers…

“Why do you blog?”

And here are the responses from some of our World Moms…

Alison Lee of Malaysia writes:
“I love to write and I’m pretty opinionated and where better than to express it in my own little space?  I also enjoy connecting with fellow moms, learning from their experiences, sharing in their joy, sadness and triumphs.  I get a lot of satisfaction from blogging and have gained some friendships along the way.  What’s not to love?”

Check out Alison’s blog at http://mamawantsthis.blogspot.com. (more…)

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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