In the never after

I kept thinking that once I knew for sure what was happening, it would be less overwhelming, and then I could say “Hey, here’s the story, I’ve finally unclenched long enough to tell you.” I could sit down and figure out what to tell, how to tell it, and then I could assure you that everything was going to be okay and not to worry.

That was a good idea, I guess. I mean, it would’ve been, if it had worked.

It doesn’t work because I don’t know if everything is going to be okay. A rather large portion of my brain is convinced that nothing is ever going to be okay ever again, but even if I manage to turn down the volume on my fears, the fact remains that I don’t know. We don’t know.

Once upon a time I believed that if I loved the stuffing out of my kids and worked only part time… or stopped working entirely… or worked from home… to better afford me the time and space to pack their lunches and do their laundry and tell them to put their stuff away and remind them that I love them beyond measure, the road might be a little bumpy, but it would be okay. I would be a good mother and they would be happy and healthy.

That was a good idea.

What we knew, the first time Chickadee got sick, was that she seemed unable to shake off a recent strep infection. The first round of antibiotics did nothing at all; the second took care of the sore throat, but she never really got better. Her rash—lately solved with the Magic Medicine—busted out again, even though it was winter and winter is usually rash-free. She was tired. Irritable. Dizzy. Feverish on and off. And… weird. There should be a medical word for that (maybe there is?), but all I can tell you is that she was decidedly unwell, but she was also… not quite herself, otherwise. She had trouble sleeping. She was picky about food in ways she hadn’t been before, then refused to eat certain things, then refused to eat at all… because she thought the food was making her sick.

Her behavior was erratic, and so was her health, and things went from weird to worse and that’s how she ended up in the hospital, the first time. No one knew quite what to make of what was happening, but the doctor thought she might have PANDAS. As there’s no standard for diagnosis, really, and no universally agreed-upon standard of treatment, anyway, we were treated to the joy of being bounced from doctor to doctor while they poked and prodded and reached no conclusions. But another antibiotic seemed to resolve the purely-medical stuff, finally, and we were sent home to deal with everything else on an outpatient basis.

By the time they sent her home, Chickadee was convinced the doctors were useless, nothing was fixable, she would always feel awful and always be sick. The doctors assured us she was fine and it would just take some time.

We focused on getting her to eat. It was pretty much a full time job; once you’ve gotten out of the habit of eating regularly it’s hard to find your way back, particularly if you still think food is the thing making you sick.

Things got a little better. She went back to school. We continued to see the cadre of doctors weekly, and they poked and prodded and weighed her and told her to keep up the good work. She put on some weight. She smiled again. She stopped having panic attacks every time she had to eat. I started to unclench.

And then she got sick again. Again, we got the autoimmune-blah-blah-blah speech about how she clearly has some sort of autoimmune dysfunction, they’re not sure what it is, as long as these catastrophic things don’t happen, probably it will resolve on its own, we can run some more tests, this may just be how she is. Probably it’s just a virus and nothing to worry about.

Except that while I was trying to convince myself I was overreacting, she started cutting herself. So we hid all the sharp things and consulted her team and they suggested a different hospital, skilled in dealing with “these sorts of things,” and we brought her there for her second hospitalization. We brought all her medical records, all of the tests and transcripts and information about PANDAS and asked them to please do a comprehensive review of EVERYTHING, because no one had ever really decided if it was PANDAS, and clearly something more was going on than garden-variety adolescent angst. I mean, come on, a couple of months ago she’d been fine. Then she got sick. Then she got sicker.

During the second hospitalization, she started telling us she was hearing things. Also she gave up the shy, scared, “I don’t belong here” routine in favor of befriending the kids who were repeaters—they taught her how to get around rules, how to find things to hurt yourself with, and what to say to get them to let you out. “All I had to do was tell them that I realized hurting myself was really wrong, and I now have the coping skills to avoid those sorts of negative thoughts,” she told me, making air quotes around “negative thoughts” and rolling her eyes.

She went back to school. We went to family therapy and discussed the unbreakable house rules and why they’re important. On a good day, she’d appear to be getting it. On a bad day… she would shriek at us. Stomp around. Throw things. “Accidentally” trip her brother on the stairs. “Borrow” things that weren’t hers. “Forget” she wasn’t supposed to do this or that, or that she was grounded. One minute she would cling to me, and the next she would tell me to leave her alone and flatly state that “people make up love to make themselves feel better about things.”

Her friends had been so worried when she was gone, and displayed, I thought, a tremendous amount of compassion and acceptance for young teenagers. They welcomed her back with open arms, but after the second hospitalization she withdrew from them, telling me they didn’t really care about her, and kids were whispering about her at school. She turned down invitations to hang out. She told me they just felt sorry for her.

We had a complete neuropsych evaluation, and it concluded she was depressed, obviously, and also that she had Asperger’s. Huh.

Getting her through to the end of the school year felt like an endless slog through shark-infested waters. We tiptoed through everything, never knowing what might set her off. We also discovered that she was reporting rather interesting versions of events to her friends—including following a violent meltdown she had here with rushing to tell everyone that I’d attacked her for no reason and she was scared. Have you ever found yourself wondering if DFCS is going to show up on your door and take you away? That was a super few days.

We spent a lot of time with her psychiatrist and therapist. She got strep again; got worse; did antibiotics and got better; got worse again, even with the strep gone. I asked her psychiatrist about PANDAS again. “I don’t think we can conclude a connection at this point.”

With the pressure of school off, she could rest and relax and recoup and next fall would be a fresh start.

But she got sick again (headaches, dizziness, other amorphous physical symptoms) and then started having trouble sleeping again and then the “I can’t eat that”s were back. We discovered she had been playing rather fast and loose with actually taking her meds, which might explain some of her symptoms.

We were already researching residential facilities the morning she walked into my office, helped herself to a pair of scissors while I was in the shower, and sliced up her leg from knee to ankle. I was rinsing the shampoo out of my hair when she ran screaming into the bathroom, bleeding all over the place, begging me not to send her away, fix it, stop it, make the voices stop, I love you Mommy don’t send me away, I hate you, you never loved me, I don’t care what you do, I hate you.

I’d love to tell you I’m awesome in a crisis because I’m cool-headed like that, but the truth is that I was awesome in this particular crisis because I think I’d known it was coming. We hadn’t moved quickly enough, maybe because I’d still hoped things would get better somehow. And by this time I’ve bandaged her up quite a few times.

I got her cleaned up, I finished my shower, we called her psychiatrist, we took her back to the acute care hospital. We spent the next few days on the phone with the insurance company and the residential center. Finally, there was good news and bad news: The good news was that the center finally had a bed; the bad news was that our insurance would not pay for it.

We transfered her, anyway. On her first day there, she wrote me an eloquent letter about how much she loves me, how she realizes that I am only doing my best to take care of her, but she has realized the error of her ways and is ready to come home and live by the house rules. She will behave and not harm herself and she will eat balanced meals and be kind to her brother and respectful to Otto. Leaving her there in the hospital would be a grievous error and only prove to her her very worst fear, that I don’t love her at all and do not care about her happiness.

She read me this letter over the phone. The silence hung between us when she finished.

“Well, Mommy, say something!” she finally said, still in that fake-bright voice she’d used to read it aloud, the same tone of voice that had me gripping the phone so hard it was digging into my palm.

“Baby,” I said to her, tears rolling down my cheeks, but trying to keep my voice steady. “You know you can’t come home yet.”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” she wailed, pure anguish. “NO NO NO NO YOU DON’T SAY NO. SAY YES.”

“I love you, sweetheart,” I said. “I love you so much. I love you too much to let you keep hurting yourself. I’m sorry. You have to stay.”

“Fine. I hate you. Don’t bother calling.” She’d been wailing, but it snapped off like a switch, for this. I wasn’t surprised by that, either.

“I love you enough to let you hate me,” I said.

She hung up.

The first week was a lot of assessment and getting settled and meeting doctors and being observed by practitioners who you just have to hope have seen it all before. Chickadee has run hot and cold with us, all the way from shrieking, “YOU DON’T TALK! YOU! SHUT! UP!!” at Otto during family therapy to days on end of venom suddenly interrupted by a tackle of a hug and a whispered “Love you, Mama.” In-between, we’ve had periods of apparent normalcy and a day spent convinced that a dying boy was trapped on her unit and she had to find him. One nurse told me she’d had some “positive peer interaction” helping another girl settle down on the day after she’d melted down shrieking about how the nutritionist was trying to poison her by sneaking meat into the vegetarian food.

We don’t know how long she’ll be hospitalized. This kind of illness doesn’t lend itself well to the modern American HMO treat-n-turf model, unfortunately. We had a treatment meeting today in which it was concluded we’d meet again in 30 days. Before we left, I turned to the medical director and said, “There isn’t a single person at this table who thinks she’s going to be stable enough for release in a month, is there? This is just the protocol, to meet each month?” He hemmed and hawed a little. “There is much work to be done,” he conceded.

I seriously considered how to talk about this without talking about it. How could I gloss over the times I look in her eyes and don’t see anyone in there looking back at me? How could I accept and acknowledge that despite my best efforts, despite three parents who love her more than just about anything, despite being brilliant and accomplished and beautiful and funny and sweet, it appears my oldest child is suffering from acute mental illness? Maybe I could just say that—Chickadee is suffering from acute mental illness—and not share the details. Maybe that would be kinder, all around.

In the end, I realized I don’t know how to do that. I have never been more terrified in my life than I’ve been this past week. Along with a diagnosis (oh, yeah, not Asperger’s, though she did a nice job of snowing the first doctor) and continued hospitalization, my child has just won some lovely bonus prizes, like that she is now 400 times more likely to kill herself than someone without her diagnosis. Should I not say that? Should I pretend she’s having “a few problems” and that I don’t wake up in the middle of the night to cry for everything she’s lost, we’ve lost, we stand to lose still?

I have hung on the kindness of both strangers and friends who’ve survived this or a similar path. If someone else needs me to be the one who says, “Us, too,” then I want to be able to do that. And yeah, it’s a little selfish. I’m afraid if I don’t, I might stop believing this isn’t the end of this story. Hope is a precious commodity right now.

To add another layer of fun and games, it appears that my ex’s health insurance may provide some coverage which our policy does not. But the only way to switch insurance is to enact a custody change. What this means, moving forward, is still unclear. We have never worked better as a cohesive parenting team than we’re doing right now, all of us—unimaginable crisis for the win!—so it’s not as though giving up custody means something final and awful. But. Giving up custody. For now. For her. It makes sense. It is also traumatic, and leaves a lot of things up in the air for later. Assuming we get to later.

Logically, I know we are doing everything we can. I know this is not anyone’s fault. Emotionally, lord, I am inside-out and upside-down. I should’ve prevented this. Or fixed it once it happened. I am so angry, all the time, about EVERYTHING. I miss my girl. I miss her so, so much. I miss believing that this stuff happened only to other families or abused children. I miss before.

This is probably the longest entry I’ve ever written here, and really maybe I should’ve led with that, or said only that: I miss before.

606 Responses to “In the never after”

  1. 1
    Kemi June 19, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Oh, Mir, I don’t… I… I’m speechless.

    Sending SO MUCH love to your family.

  2. 2
    Ariel June 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    I am so sorry. I wish I could hug you. I don’t know what else to say, other than anything good that I’ve got, be it prayers and good vibes, I’m sending your way.
    You are all loved.

  3. 3
    ccr in MA June 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    Oh, this is not the end of the story, it’s not! And you will get there. But man, so hard and it sucks and I’m so, so sorry. Hugs for all.

  4. 4
    Laura June 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    After a post like that, there’s not much to say, except that we love you. All of your fans, your readers, your invisible internet support.

  5. 5
    Lou June 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    We’re here for you, your fans, and we’re listening!

  6. 6
    Jodie June 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    Oh my. Oh, Mir. Of all the times I want nothing more than to send you a hug and let you cry…it’s right now. I’m so sorry. And we’ll keep piping you hope however we can.

  7. 7
    Chris June 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    Love you. Love you all forever.

  8. 8
    Leah June 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    I’m am so sorry you, your family and Chickadee is going through this. Healing thoughts sent to all of you {hugs}

  9. 9
    lise June 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    Sending much love your way, and holding Chickadee in my heart and in my prayers.

  10. 10
    Maria June 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    Oh, Mir. I can’t imagine how hard this was to write, let alone to live. My heart hurts for all of you.

  11. 11
    Hokgardner June 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    We have gone through a miserable spring with 11yo, almost on the verge of hospitalization. I know, to a certain extent, how hard this is. I am holding you and yours in the light.

  12. 12
    Ingrid June 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    Oh no – I am so so sorry, and completely at a loss as to what to say. Please know that I am thinking about you all right now. If there is anything at all that I can do please let me know (this response sounds trite to me and seems completely inadequate, but I really mean it). *BIG HUGS* Wish I was closer so I could give you a real one. So so sorry you are going through this right now.

  13. 13
    Midj June 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm #


  14. 14
    Sue-dragon June 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    *tears* Thank you for sharing, Mir.

    You have my full support. I love you. And I’m so very sorry you are going through this.

  15. 15
    Allanna June 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    You’re in my prayers.

  16. 16
    Barbara June 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    I love you, Mir. I love you and your family and your beautiful daughter. I wish I could take this from all of you.

  17. 17
    Heather Cook June 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Mir, I am so sorry. I feel like my words are just so small compared to the ocean of pain you must be swimming through. I just wish I had something more that could actually help. “unimaginable crisis for the win!” made me burst into tears because there was something so honestly true about that… and my hope is that one day you are going to look back with Chickadees hand in yours and say, yeah, that was friggin hard but we pulled it off.

    No child comes to a mother by accident. You are just the mom Chickadee needs. HUGS AND PRAYERS for you guys!

  18. 18
    Alison C June 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    I know that there is nothing I can say that will help but I just want to say I am so sorry and you are all in my prayers

  19. 19
    Lisa June 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    I am so sorry. There is nothing else to say. Sending much love and hugs to your family.

  20. 20
    Theresag June 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    I have no words. Sending thoughts prayers vibes voodoo and anything else I can conjure up your way.

  21. 21
    becky June 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Oh Mir. Sending you as much love and tenderness as I possibly can, and hopes that you’ll be gentle to yourself during this time. I wish I could help in some way. Here’s my paltry offer to listen if you ever need to rant, rave, and wail. I’ve had good friends that have done that for me and sometimes that’s all that would help me get through things. Much more love to you and your family.

  22. 22
    Bryan June 19, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    I am so sorry. I want to be able to do something for you–and I could, you know, I sent you an email with a list of things that I want to do for you. This is heartbreaking to read; I can’t imagine how hard it has been to live.

  23. 23
    catherino June 19, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    How utterly terrifying. Your whole family will be in my prayers…

  24. 24
    Veronica June 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    Oh Mir.

    I have no words, no help, nothing to offer. But I couldn’t read this and continue lurking.

    Sending love, light and strength you way. I will be thinking of you all, often.

  25. 25
    Erin June 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    Oh, Mir. I am so so so sorry. I’m sitting here, blinking back hot tears of sorrow for you and your family. I’ve never met you and yet, here I am crying.

    I wish you peace and hope and diagnoses and answers. I pray that the After is even better than the wonderful Before you are missing so much.

    I have been thinking about you often and was wondering what Chickie’s mystery illness was and mulling that it might be Lupus, except that it’s never Lupus. (Please forgive the brief House joke. I hope it makes you smile, even a little.)

    If there is anything I can do from New York, please do let me know. I can ship you Zweigle’s hot dogs! Or Genesee beer! If either of those are your particular cravings… Until then, all I can do is pray and send you my best wishes. And lots of virtual hugs.

  26. 26
    Jacki June 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    I don’t have any words for you, but couldn’t say nothing either. Prayers and love coming your way in full force.

  27. 27
    Chris June 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    Never commented here before, but as a mother of a six year old girl, I cannot imagine the pain you are going through. I have no words except my heart is aching for you.

  28. 28
    Julie June 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    Oh, honey, so much love to you. Another mama across town is sharing your tears, and thinking how very brave and strong you are.

  29. 29
    Chuck June 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    Sending hope that everything improves. Also lots of hugs.

  30. 30
    Kelly June 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Oh Mir. I just wish there was a way to ease your burden. Your family is in my prayers and i would love to help out if needed.

  31. 31
    Jen June 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    We don’t know each other, but my heart is breaking for you. What you’ve described sounds like a nightmare, and I’ve learned that nightmares happen in the very best and most “regular” of families. Stuff happens, and it shouldn’t, and we don’t get to understand why. I’m so sorry you’re going through this, and I wish you the very best in moving forward.

  32. 32
    crazyjane June 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Oh, Mir… us, too. We’ve done the acute care hospitals and the cutting and suicidality. Please, if I can help in any way, let me know.

  33. 33
    jessee June 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    I was that girl. Sometimes I still am that girl. And there are very few days that go by that I don’t feel guilt for what I put my family through. As a parent myself now, this is my worst fear. That I will pass this along to my daughter. Oh how I hoped and prayed for a boy because I am terrified that my daughter will turn into me as soon as adolescence hits. I’m sure this doesn’t help you in any way but I just want you to know that you are not alone. That Chickadee is not alone. You, her and the rest of your family will be in my thoughts. From someone who lived it, it can get better.

  34. 34
    ani June 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    Many hugs from the internet, and prayers that you and yours may find your way through this particular jungle.

  35. 35
    chloe June 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    I have no words, just that I am so sorry. big hugs to all of you. You will get through this. You will.

  36. 36
    Jen B June 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    Oh, Mir. You have a whole world of people who love & care about you and your family – please know we’re all behind you. Wish I could do more.

  37. 37
    Angie McCullagh June 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    Thank you for finding the strength to share with us here. I’m so sorry for what you and your family are going through. I truly cannot imagine it (though you did a good job of conveying the horror). Chickie couldn’t have asked for a better mom to have on her side. And even if you do have to transfer custody, you’ll still be her one and only mom.

  38. 38
    Karen R. June 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    Love, and sympathy, and hugs, and IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Somehow, someday, you will all get through this.

  39. 39
    paige June 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    I have sat up all night with a child who was frightened of the voices telling him that I wanted to hurt him, telling him he was awful and terrible and we would be better off if he died. I have held a child who shakily confessed that he wasn’t sure, all the time, which people in the room with him were actually there and which ones were only visible to him. I’ve sat in psychiatrists’ offices and tried to dispassionately discuss medications, therapies and diagnoses. I’ve had a pediatric psychiatrist say to me ” The BEST outcome here would be a brain tumor. That, we could take out.”

    I’ve bandaged up two children who self-harmed. One did it for two years before we found out. I watch my third child, who is eleven and approaching the age of onset for his older brother’s diagnosed mental illness and I read far too much into innocent statements. Or maybe I don’t.

    I understand your statement of “I miss the before” because I do, too. Sometimes I miss it so much that it makes me faint, jelly-kneed and short of breath.

    But there is life here in the “after.” We are five years out from the diagnosis. One child is stable and off medication and the other will be on meds for the rest of his life, but he is relatively stable. He isn’t neurotypical but he doesn’t see and hear things that the rest of us don’t anymore.

    Watching your child suffer with a mental illness is a special, awful kind of hell and I wish I could tell you that there was some technique or method or mantra that made it not so bad. There’s just not. But there can be an after.

    I am sending light and hope and prayers for your family to reach the “after,” all safely, all together.

  40. 40
    Brenda June 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    There are no words. Love, hope and prayers for you all.

  41. 41
    Christie June 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    Thank you for sharing with us…all love and prayers and good wishes and peace and clarity to you and yours!

  42. 42
    jill W June 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    I don’t even begin to know what to say. But I am praying for you and her and keeping the faith for you all.

  43. 43
    Nancy R June 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    Ugh. I’m so sorry. Continued thoughts and prayers for Chickie and EVERY single person on Chickie’s team.

  44. 44
    maggie June 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

    I’m so sorry to read this. Having just come through my own stressful patch (nothing like what you’re experiencing, though), I wish you and the whole family peace. I understand wanting the before.

    I don’t know much about anything but I know a bit about adolescent mental health. As you will have heard or read, intervention during a first episode is key. You were in tune with your daughter enough to know that something was off, besides her physical illness. That’s good parenting.

  45. 45
    Sarah June 19, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    I don’t comment here often, but I wanted to thank you for sharing and let you know that there is a world of us out here, with similar problems and different ones, thinking of you and Chickadee and Money and Otto and the kids’ dad. Here’s to believing in hope and healing. May it come to your family soon.

  46. 46
    Brooke June 19, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    There are no words…..

    You and your entire family are in our prayers.

  47. 47
    heather June 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    Oh, Mir.

    I’m so sorry. You do not ever apologize for any of your feelings about this, mmmkay? Don’t worry about what you should/should not say and just know that we are here with you for you to simply be. Be pissed. Be desperate. Be exhausted. Be hopeful. Be scared. Be whatever you need to be and we will love you no matter what.

    As a former mental health worker, I have some capacity to understand the frustrations and fatigue that come with living with someone who has acute mental illness. Adding the guilts I carry as mother gives me an imagined understanding, but it is only that, imagined. However, the imagined mental state that you must be in frightens me, and I am praying for you fervently. This is not your fault. Take care of you.
    Praying for you to have peace that surpasses any human understanding. And lots of wine.

  48. 48
    Leanne R June 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    (((Hugs))), love, hope and healing to you & your family. I am so sorry that you are all going through this – it’s just not fair :(

  49. 49
    Jenn H. June 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    I know without a doubt that the Lord brought you to mind this weekend as I wondered, “Gosh… It’s been a few days since Mir has posted anything…”. And I’ve been praying for you and your family ever since. Knowing more details, I will pray more specifically– for the Great Physician to intervene in a way only He can. For wisdom in both medical treatment and custody issues. For peace for you and Otto. For release from any self-inflicted guilt. Oh Mir, my heart is breaking for all you are going through…. God Bless you all.

  50. 50
    Peg June 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Nothing I can say will really help, and I’m so sorry.
    I just want to add my note to the hundreds of others who will tell you we do love you and your family. We’re thinking of you all, praying, meditating, sending positive thoughts or whatever else it is we do.
    If there’s more we can do, just let us know. I can guarantee these thousands of your readers will do anything we can for you.

  51. 51
    maryeileen June 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    You are in my deepest prayers dear sweet mother Mir.
    I miss my before also.
    When you are going through hell–
    it is best to keep going.
    Stay hopeful!

  52. 52
    Jennifer June 19, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    ………..I love you. I’m sorry this is happening.

  53. 53
    vanessa June 19, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    I’m so sorry. Holding you all in the light. I sent you a facebook message, too.

    Also, this sucks. A lot.

  54. 54
    Beth June 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    Mir – we don’t know each other but I’m sending you all my love and support. Praying for you and your family.

  55. 55
    Pam June 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    Mir, I cannot fathom the pain you and your whole family are going through right now. I can only say… I wish I could make it be “before,” but I can’t. And from what I know of you from here, you and Otto and even your ex are all wonderful loving parents who are doing the best you can, navigating the new and choppy waters. It appears that you are making all of the right decisions for your family, at this point in time, and that’s the best you can hope for.

    My heart goes out to all of you, esp Monkey, who must be devastated by all of this, too.

    I wish I could do more, too.

  56. 56
    Pam June 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    I’m so glad you did this. Wrote it. Said it. Whispered it. Whatever. I’m so proud of you for finding the strength to do it. This whole situation is unimaginable and I am so violently sorry you all are in the middle of this, but I am glad Chickadee is safe for now. And I am glad she has a place to be and you have a team to help and, for right now, this day, there is something to be done.

    You are loved beyond measure.

  57. 57
    Karen B. June 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    Oh, Mir. My heart is aching for all of you. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

  58. 58
    eileen June 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    Adding my name to the long, long list of people praying and cheering for you all from afar. I can’t imagine what it took to write all that out. I can only hope that it was cathartic, at least. I very rarely comment on blogs but, oh… This just took my breath away.

  59. 59
    C M June 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    I’m so sorry — sorry for you, for your family, for Chickadee.

    At the age of 12 I began lashing out at life. I cut myself repeatedly. I took bottles of aspirin. I swung between wanting the pain to stop so that I could feel “normal” and wanting to die so that I could end the pain, but the pain was still there and no matter what I did I couldn’t get away from myself. And in my mind, I kept hearing that I was a failure, that I would never be good enough, that I could never succeed, that there was no reason to keep trying.

    Yet there was this tiny piece of hope, and the hope kept me in a cycle where I’d reach out and then I’d shut down and I’d reach out and I’d shut down but I still wanted and yearned for peace of mind and a way to accept myself. Because I hated myself. And in the reaching out, more than once I ended up abused and that abuse fed into the cycle and I honestly don’t know why I kept trying.

    I eventually ended up hospitalized for 3 months at the age of 24. I was diagnosed with PTSD (related to the abuse) and Borderline Personality Disorder. But those 3 months of being in a safe place where I could work through my stories that I hadn’t shared with anyone finally allowed me to move forward. That was 18 years ago, and today while I have memories of pain and while things aren’t always easy it is fulfilling and I’m happy. I started seeing a therapist again last year after 15 years of not needing one, but these days my issues are related to in-laws and are an entirely different can of worms.

    I don’t know if my story helps at all, but I know what it was like to have my life fall apart as an adolescent. I have the scars. I know the things that helped, and I know the things that added to my pain. If any of my experiences can help you are welcome to send me an email at the address required for this comment. And if you choose not to respond I will not be offended either.

    You and Chickadee are in my thoughts and prayers.

  60. 60
    Heather June 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    Your family is in my prayers. Just keep in mind that NO MATTER what decision you make at this point all of it is going to be good for Chickie in the end…

  61. 61
    TC June 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    Even though hearing what you had to say is horrible and heartrending and all of that, I’m so so so glad to hear you saying ANYTHING, because something is better than nothing. Thank you for trusting us with this story. Love you.

  62. 62
    kgp June 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    I’ve been thinking of you since your last post — I’ll continue to keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

  63. 63
    jennamom2boys June 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    Jesus Christ on a cracker, Mir. I don’t even know what to say. I wish this was something ice cream could fix, even temporarily… if it could, I’d drive down from Charlotte with a fifty-gallon tub. But since it won’t, I am sending you and your family all my love and prayers and hugs. Better days are ahead, for sure. Love y’all.

  64. 64
    Headless Mom June 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    This is just unimaginable. You’ve been in my prayers, and will continue to be. You are well loved and lifted in prayer from all corners of the internet tonight. Hugs.

  65. 65
    agirlandaboy June 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    I wish I had something to say to make it all better, but in the absence of that, I want you to know I am one of many people rooting for you and hoping the After is even better than the Before.

  66. 66
    StephLove June 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    Oh my goodness. I had guessed it was a mental illness, but not to even know exactly what you’re dealing with… I’m so sorry and I’m hoping for answers and a speedy recovery.

  67. 67
    Jean June 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm #


    Sending love and it is not your fault. Not the end but the begInning of hope.


  68. 68
    Jaime June 19, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    I cannot imagine how hard that was for y to write. I hope it was somewhat therapeutic for you.

    Sending so many (((hugs))) and lots of love your way.

  69. 69
    Carrie June 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    Jeez. . . I don’t know what else to say except I am so sorry and you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  70. 70
    cardinal June 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    More internet-stranger-love coming your way.

    Thank you for sharing the whole story, because it does help break down the barriers other people are facing with mental illness. The great thing about opening up is that you will now find how many people have been where you are now. Wishing you strength and courage on your journey.

  71. 71
    Angie June 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    Words seem so inadequate in the face of what your family is struggling with – but I hope you can see behind my words and those of everyone else who is posting. I am so sorry you’re going through this, and I’m keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers. Please know this is in no way your fault. And please let this community know if there is anything – ANYTHING – we can do for you.

  72. 72
    Megan June 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    I know I can’t fix even a small bit of this by coming up with the right thing to say. I know I can’t put my shoulder next to yours and just help carry a small part of it. I want to. Because like so many of us I’ve come to care about your wonderful family.

    I can say that there is an after. It’s not the same as the before of course, and it’s not the same as the after you had in mind when you were still living in Before. But it comes, a minute at a time sometimes, but it comes.

    So much love for you and yours.

  73. 73
    Toni June 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    I’m so, so sorry! My prayers are with your family and with your Chickadee.

  74. 74
    Anna Marie June 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    Oh hell, Mir. There aren’t enough cakes in the world to make this better. All I can do is send virtual hugs and good thoughts and hope that…I don’t even know. Hope that things get better more quickly than anyone thinks?

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    Jenny June 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    Sending you love, Mir. I’m so sorry to hear that you are all struggling, and I am hoping that Chickadee will see only improvement through her treatment.

  76. 76
    FreeRange Pamela June 19, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    So sorry to hear this. Hang in there.

  77. 77
    Karen June 19, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    Oh Mir…..

    … a virtual hug to you and a whole lot of hope that there will be a solution, a resolution, and Chickadee can come home when she’s ready and live a normal life again. We live with my daughter’s traumatic brain injury, and while there are still issues, she is living a very normal life once again. Once you know what you’re dealing with… then atleast you are heading down the right road to find solutions. I pray you find them too….

    Much love – Karen

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    Fran June 19, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    My heart goes out to all of you….

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    Sheri June 19, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    This is only the 2nd time I’ve commented; the first time was to offer prayers too. I’m crying for you and for her, and my heart hurts for all of you. Prayers, good thoughts, hugs, all going out for you right now. I’m so so sorry you’re going through this, and I wish there was anything I could say or do to help. Just know you are a wonderful mom, and nothing you’ve done or haven’t done would have changed this. Know that she’s a wonderful daughter and there will be better days. Know that so many people are praying and hoping for the very best for all of you, and while I know that doesn’t change anything, I hope it does give you a little comfort.

  80. 80
    {sue} June 19, 2012 at 7:11 pm #


    I am writing this through my tears. My oldest is the same age and I’ve always felt a connection to Chickadee. I have always been so in awe of your candor in sharing your family’s story and shining a light on so many things from blended families to autism. Thank you for sharing this even though I imagine it was the hardest thing you’ve ever written.

    You and Chickie have been in my thoughts and prayers constantly and will continue to be. I wish I had words of wisdom, but I don’t. It’s unfair, it’s heartbreaking. I know that this is something that you will all struggle with for the rest of your lives, but I PRAY that this… this acute, terrible stage will not be the norm. That you and she will have a relationship that is healthy. That she will have a life that is healthy. That this is not it. This is the bottom and there is much to climb up to from here. I’m praying as hard as I can.

    Love to you, dear Mir. And to your babies.

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    Melinda June 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    Sending light and love to you and your Chickie. Damn. This sucks so hard. Never before have I wanted to fix something so badly for a stranger on the internet.

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    emily June 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    I’m so sorry your family has to go through this. Thank you for your candor. Your family will be in my prayers as you struggle to find a new ‘normal’.

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    Heather June 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    You and yours remain in my thoughs and prayers, Mir. I’m so sorry that you’re facing this incredibly difficult time.

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    Betsy June 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    no words……♥

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    angela S June 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    Not what I thought the problem was. We have mental health issues in our family that have touched 4 of 6 children and mom. I was the sibling to the children having trouble, it was hard and traumatizing and hell. We are all friends now and have come a long way but its hell. The during… Good friends and staying close to the Lord will do a world of good. Mercy, I’m so sorry you have to experience this. You are still pretty though! You are a mama bear who will fight to keep her daughter here and I’m praying for you all.

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    ste June 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    Thinking of you and your family. And especially Chickie as she confronts this. Sending all the love and positive light I can.

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    Stephanie June 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    Please, please know that this could not ever be your fault. It happened (is still happening) and the situation is horrible, but it is not your fault. You have lots and lots of friends, family, and strangers! pulling for your family.

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    Stephanie Stenner June 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    There aren’t words to adequately let you know how horrible I feel for what you are all going through. What a horrible nightmare for you and your sweet baby girl. I’m broken hearted. You and chickadee and monkey have such a special place in my heart. I wish I could wish this away for you. Life is just beyond unfair. Please know that I’m sending every positive thought and hope I can to you all.

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    Diane June 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    Mir. Where to even begin? Thank you for your honesty. I hope it gives you some small comfort that so many of us are reading and thinking of you.
    When I first opened this post, my stomach dropped because I thought she was…gone. I am sure it feels like your girl is gone, but I fervently believe she is still in there.
    I have read a lot of books and memoirs about mental illness (because I am weird, I guess) but the best was from a woman who suffered two schizophrenic breaks leading to hospitalization, and went on to graduate from Harvard law. She now legally advocates for the mentally ill.
    I truly believe this will be ok one day, but I am so very sorry for these very hard days.

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    KateB June 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    Sending love to you and Chickadee. Praying for you all.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    Tara June 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    My heart aches for you and your family. That is devastating. You’re doing all the right things. I will pray for you, Chikadee, Monkey, Otto and the rest of your family. Please let us know how she progresses. Keep faith, Mir. Hugs.

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    cheyenna June 19, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    Love and hugs and thoughts and prayers for chickie and you and all the wonderful people who love her.

  93. 93
    Mary June 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    I am so so so very sorry. Every bit of positive energy and all the comforting thoughts I have is headed to you and your whole family.

  94. 94
    Becky June 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    Mir, you and your family have been in my thoughts. While I never expected your story to go down this path, I am one that can say “us, too.” and the best that you can do is exactly what you are doing. You are an amazing mom! And your sentence about loving Chickie enough to let her hate you is spot on.
    ps, how is Monkey??

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    Ce-Ce June 19, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    Praying for you all every time I think of you (which is often)!

  96. 96
    Renee June 19, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    I am so sorry you all are having to go through this. Prayers being lifted up for your family.

  97. 97
    charlotte media June 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your story and I’m sorry that it is your story, that it is anyone’s story. I hope your future will be better even though it will never be like it was before

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    Kate June 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    I’m so sorry, Mir. I wish I had words to fix it all so y’all can go back to Before. I’m keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

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    Heather June 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    I wish I had some stellar advice or s witty comment to take some of the pain away even if for a moment. But I don’t- but I do have prayers and good wishes for you, your brave daughter and your amazing family. I’m sending them all as fiercely as I can and I hope they do some good. Thank you for sharing, Mir.

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    christine June 19, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    Oh my gosh, Mir. All of my love goes to you and Chickadee and Monkey and Otto.

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    Missy June 19, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    I have been thinking of and praying for you daily. I don’t know what to say other than I am so so sorry. I wish there was something, anything I could do. I feel like I’ve watched Chickie grow up over the years through your blog, and I’m just heartbroken for her and you and your family. Sending so much love to y’all.

  102. 102
    Robin June 19, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    I am so sorry for all that you and your family are going through. Thank you for sharing, that was incredibly brave. What can we (your internet community) do to help? Just ask, we’re here.

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    Lisa June 19, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    I’m so sorry you are going through this. I’m shocked & sad for you. Prayers for all of you.

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    Mary Fran June 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    I hope you can feel us all around you, lifting you up, trying to take away some of the burden, standing behind and beside you. You have helped so many people by sharing your stories – those with children having issues, or friend’s of ours who now have a more understanding friend to support them. It is a dark time, but the light is dawning. You still have your daughter and you are getting her the help she needs. She will come through this and be so ever thankful for your love.

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    c June 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    i haven’t been where you are, exactly, but i have been in the wilderness with my children. I, too, have had the beliefs of providing safety to my children stripped away to nothing, with no shred of ground to stand upon, thinking all along that I was standing on solid ground. I have had the hate and the cutting and the loss of before. I am sorry. Good luck. No advice, not today. Just compassion.

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    Desi June 19, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    You do not live this nightmare alone. My daughter’s diagnosis was made at puberty. Seems hormones can bring on mental health hell.
    If you don’t know cindy. Go visit her. She puts the hell some of us live into real life words.
    You are not alone in this.

  107. 107
    tammy June 19, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    Oh Mir. I’m sorry that I don’t have any words for you, just love, prayers & hugs.

  108. 108
    K June 19, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    Long time lurker, emerging to say I am so so sorry for Chickadee, and you, and the whole family.

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    Redneck Mommy June 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    Oh Mir. I am so sorry. This pain you feel, I know how all consuming and encompassing it is. I wish your daughter health and healing and strength and love for you all. I wish I could do more than offer my prayers but please know that you have them.

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    Clarity June 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    Oh mir…..I don’t have words big enough to express the sorrow, concern, and incredible respect I have for your family. We all want to wrap you in the warm embrace of our collective faith, hope, and understanding and hold your family high to the heavens. (((((Hugs)))))

  111. 111
    Tracyblalock June 19, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    Mir, my heart is aching for you, Chickie, Otto and Monkey! I have thought about you all week knowing something horrible must be happening! Please know that you have a ton of support and a Father that is right there with you. You don’t need to carry this by yourself…He will carry it and all of you. I will pray for all of you and the doctors and most of all for a speedy AFTER! {{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}

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    Janine June 19, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    I am so sorry to hear all of this. I was reading this with tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart. It is so easy to think other’s have such a perfect life, but we all have our share of problems we hide, right? Thank you for sharing and opening up. You have a wide range of readers and I am sure you will find folks with similar issues. Lean on them, hear their stories, they can help and know we are all pulling for you and your family. Things will get better in time. Keeping you and your loved ones in my thoughts…

  113. 113
    Fairly Odd Mother June 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    Crying my eyes out for you, for her, for your family. I am so so sorry Mir. I can only say that she is so lucky to have you in her corner b/c you will do whatever you can for her. But, oh, I wish you weren’t having to go through this. If Chickie ever reads this, I hope she knows how much she is loved too. She is all of our daughters, and maybe a bit of ourselves too.

  114. 114
    divrchk June 19, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    Oh Mir… I am so, so sorry for what you and your family is going through. You are so brave and loved. Keep fighting for your girl. You will all get through this. You have all been in my thoughts every day.

  115. 115
    Mona June 19, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    Oh God, Mir… I am so unbelievably sorry. There are obviously no words that can help make anything better right now. I just want you to know I am thinking of you and that, seriously, if you need anything – if there is ANYTHING I can do for you – please don’t hesitate to ask. I mean it. Much love to you and yours. I wish I could make this go away for you.

  116. 116
    Jess from daysgoby June 19, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    I have never wanted to hug you (hard!) so much in my life. And say, kindly and calmly into your hair that everything will be all right (how could it not?) and things will sort themselves out.

    The truth is, it WILL be all right. But it may be a long hard slog coming to it.

    (I know that’s not cheering, and maybe not reassuring. I’m hoping you can find strength in the huge group of women you have standing beside and behind you, celebrating your triumphs and sorrowing with you.)

    Much love, hon. Take care of yourself.

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    Jodifur June 19, 2012 at 7:36 pm #


    I know you know this, but I’m here. Day, night, whenever. I hope writing this helped in some way.

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    schmutzie June 19, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    Oh, Mir, we’re all here.

  119. 119
    Crista June 19, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    Sending Love, Hugs, and Prayers your way. For all of you.

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    Tricia June 19, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    Oh god Mir. Like everyone else, I wish there was something I could say, something I could do, to make this better for all of you. I hope this is the bottom for your family and that as each 30 days go past, things get better and better and then Chickie will be back, and even if it’s never the way it was before, there will be a new normal – a good and happy one for your whole family.

  121. 121
    Mom24@4evermom June 19, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    There really aren’t words. I am so, so sorry and you will all be in my prayers. I hope and pray that you find answers and that your girl finds her way back to you.

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    amy June 19, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    I don’t even know what to say. Other than my heart is breaking for you, and I wish there was something I could do to help. My daughter is the same age and I’m going to let her read this. You are very brave to put this out there and I commend you. I wish you and your family strength, courage and hope. ~hugs~

  123. 123
    Jackie June 19, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    My heart is aching for you. So sorry that you all have to go through this. Big hugs and warm thoughts for peace and healing being sent your way.

  124. 124
    bonuela June 19, 2012 at 7:40 pm #


    i knew her illness was bad when you didn’t write about it. i think that even if you choose not to post, you need to keep writing. that is how you release some of the pressure.

    you have a whole internet full of people who don’t know you but feel as though they do praying for you and your family.

    please just know that you did not cause it, could not have prevented it and are doing all that can be done to manage it. now you just need to “keep swimming” until things improve.


  125. 125
    Jen June 19, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    I am heartbroken for you and so, so sorry. You are doing the absolute best you can in a situation where there aren’t any easy answers, and that counts. THAT COUNTS. You will find a new normal, someday. Not, likely, as quickly or easily as you want it, but someday. You are so loved, both in your “real” life, and here. So, so loved.

    I will pray as often as I think of you, which has been pretty often lately. Sending you as much light and love as I can muster and when it’s combined with the light and love from the rest of this community, that’s an awful lot. I hope you can feel it. We are in your corner, Mir, and believing the best for you.

  126. 126
    Isabel @alphamom June 19, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    Sending you and your family love and strength.

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    Julie Marsh June 19, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    Crying for you, for Chickadee, for your family, and for before. How I wish things were not this way for you.

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    Alice June 19, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    I am so, so sory for you and your family. Having two close friends who have received different, very very scary mental health diagnoses, I can only begin to imagine what it’s like to be there when it’s your kid, and when she’s dealing with such an acute stage of things.

    I’ve been thinking about you all, and will continue to hold you all in the light, hoping that answers, treatment, and progress all come your way soon.

  129. 129
    Susan June 19, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    Thinking of all of you. I really don’t know how to find the words, but I am thinking of all of you.

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    Brittany June 19, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    Mir you are incredibly brave to write your story like this. Mental illness is very hard to talk about especially when it is happening to someone you love. I have gone through this with a loved one too, but I can’t imagine how much harder it is to be going through it with your daughter.

    Sometimes life REALLY sucks, and you can’t see how it will ever get better. I can’t pretend to know that everything will be alright, but I can tell you it did get better for us. It was a long road, but we did get through to the other side. I don’t know if there is anything I can do, but I am here for you whatever you need. Take care and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.


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    Lylah June 19, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    Sending you love, and hope. Always hope.

  132. 132
    Motherhood Uncensored June 19, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    Mir, I’m not quite sure I can formulate anything in words that would express how hard I can only imagine this is.

  133. 133
    Carrie June 19, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers, much love to your family….

  134. 134
    Amy June 19, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    My 7-year-old is self-harming. She has been diagnosed with OCD and GAD. It is terrifying. There was talk of a facility.

    My heart goes out to you because I know just the edges of what you must be experiencing and it is horrible. It must be said that you are so strong, and because of that you are helping, will help, your darling girl.

    You are brave. Big big hugs from a stranger.

  135. 135
    Kati June 19, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    Oh, baby girl…oh, little miss… I wish I could smooth your hair and wipe your face with a damp towel. This is probably creepy coming from a stranger, but I mean it. I have nothing to go give you except the wish I could be there to offer you a moment to gather yourself before the next battle. There were so many times I clutched my computer mouse as a stay-at-home mom, chanting “C’mon, talk to me Mir” while I fought my own mental battles, and I wish that I could now return all the good you did for me, if that makes any sense.

    Please let us know what we can do for you – penpal Monkey, donate to a PayPal account, work any connections we have. You have touched me, and so many others, with your words and your life. Do not be afraid to ask for help in return. I am, we are, all here for you in any way that we can be.

  136. 136
    Alicia June 19, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    I worked for several years as a therapist in an in-patient program for adolescents. They’re a tough group and sometimes you just wanted to give the parents a hug. BUT since that’s a bit frowned upon, you just go home and cry over your patients’ struggles.

    So now I’m sending you an extra big virtual hug…for you and all the other parents I could never hug during my time there.

  137. 137
    Dawn June 19, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    I know we don’t “know” each other but I send my love too. I am so sorry, and I hope opening up to us has eased your burden in some small way. I wish someone would invent a way to hug people through the internet…

  138. 138
    Momma Chaos June 19, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    Oh Mir.. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Chickadee.. I don’t know what else to say other than we are praying for you!! Hugs!!

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    Dani June 19, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    prayers and love.

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    aly June 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    oh mir. love and thoughts and hope to you and your family.

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    Krystal June 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    I am so sorry. I cannot imagine what all of you must be going through. My heart breaks for you. I have every confidence that Chickadee could not have a better mother to help her through this. Please make sure you are getting the support you need and reaching out for help when you need it too. Love you guys.

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    Nichole June 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    This is heartbreaking. Every bit of it. I’m so sorry, and I’m praying for you, your girl and your family.

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    My Kids Mom June 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve been– we’ve all been– worried. Perhaps that, some chocolate and some wine will help somehow.

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    Lara June 19, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    I guess that must have been the hardest thing you ever wrote – it was the second hardest thing I’ve ever read, had to wipe my eyes several times to see the words (first prize to my own kid’s diagnosis!). It sounds like you and your family are stuck in hell and I hope that you all come out of it real soon. Hoping also that sharing your story brings you some support because I don’t know how I would have survived the last year without my new FOP family and rare disease parent support group. It is an amazing feeling to talk to someone who gets it, really gets what you are going through. Wishing you and your family strength and support and improved health for Chickadee. Big Internet hugs!!!

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    MomCat June 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    I’m here for you, too, even though I don’t know you in person. The anguish you’re describing is unbelievable. Hang on while we pray.

  146. 146
    Rita June 19, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    Mir, I am a faithful reader and I am just gobsmacked by this post. I have no idea what to say except: I’m so sorry. I’m just SO sorry.

  147. 147
    Stacey June 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    I can’t quite express how sad this makes me – for you, for Chickadee, for Otto, for Monkey, for everyone. I am so sorry that this has happened to your lovely, loving family.

    Have the doctors considered that Chickie might be bipolar? My husband, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law are all some degree of bipolar. They’ve had years of treatment – talk therapy, medication, hospitalization in the case of my husband and mother-in-law. They’ve had multiple suicide attempts (again, husband and mother-in-law).

    I saw all this not to bring you down, but to emphasize that they are coping now. On a good day, you’d never be able to tell my husband has had such a hard time of it. Many of our friends don’t know. He’s so much happier now and his illness is mostly under control. He would have never believed it, but it can get so much better.

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    Grace June 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    I am so, so sorry you and your family are going through this, Mir. I’ll be thinking about you and hoping for the best.

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    Mom101 June 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    Oh God Mir, I wish I had the right words. There simply aren’t any–except to tell you I’m here, we’re here, and whatever we can do for you, we will.

    All good thoughts sent your way. Much white light.

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    Saskia June 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    I’m so, so sorry. Sending you love and hope, lots of hope.

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    Jessica McFadden June 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    My prayers to you and your daughter. Sending your family all the good that I have as you work through this.

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    Sarah June 19, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    Mir, We are praying for you, Chickadee and your whole family. No other words seem to suffice right now….

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    Jen H. June 19, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    So many wise words have already been spoken. I just have to add that my family is full of absolutely brilliant mentally ill people. And yes, many suicides have happened. But times have changed and there are so many options now that didn’t exist when I was young, when my parents were young, when my grandparents were young. There is so much hope for the future even when it looks dark now. And yes, there can be a happily ever after, still. Mourn what you have lost, maybe, but embrace that the future can still be bright…

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    Katie K. June 19, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    I am so, so, so sorry you and yours are going through this. You have all been through so much…. I can’t even imagine, although you write so well, I can almost feel it. You all remain in my prayers.

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    Angella June 19, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    I have no words. I am so sorry that you are all dealing with this. Big hugs and even bigger prayers.

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    Paula G. June 19, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Wow. My heart hurts for you and your family. As a mom, I cannot imagine what you are going through right now. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I think that speaking out is the only way to get through; so many families are touched by mental illness and feel too stigmatized to talk about it. I’ve been through related struggles with both my mother and my husband’s ex. Stay strong, and lean on your husband. Shout out when you need to. We’re all rooting for you and your daughter.

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    Sharon June 19, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    Mir, after reading you for years, both here and at want not, I feel I know you and your family. I know I don’t, not really, but it stills feels that way. I am crying for you right now. I don’t know what to say. Just please know that there are so, so many of us praying for you and your family.

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    Karen June 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Oh Mir-

    I am so sorry. I am sitting here in tears for you and your family and your poor little Chickadee. I wish you could have some easy answers. I wish there was some magic words I could say. All I can say is I will keep you all in my prayers.


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    Jewell June 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Mir, I sit here with tears in my eyes knowing just how hard this is for you. I can’t imagine though knowing your child will be away from you at least another month. I know it seems like she is lost forever….physically and spiritually. But she’s there Sweetie! I know she is! Keep focusing on that hope you are hanging onto by a thread.

    I am so sorry all of you are going through this. I’m sorry Chickadee is hurting so very badly. I will pray for your family and will keep hope that there will be an After that is better than the Before.

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    Jamie June 19, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Mir and all of the family – hugs, healing thoughts, prayers and everything else you need to lift everyone, including Chickadee, up. This is absolutely unimaginable. Thank you for the strength and boldness in sharing the details.

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    Kristina June 19, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Just wanted to let you know how sorry I am for all the pain your family is going through and that I’m sending thoughts of peace and healing your way.

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    edenland June 19, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    I just want you to know that I’m thinking of you and your family. How incredibly difficult this must be, and how glad I am that you wrote this post.

    Love and strength to you. I hope you have family and friends who can circle their wagons, for you all.


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    Traci June 19, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    *hugs* Can’t type well through the tears, but felt the need to lend my virtual support, too. (Hope you feel us all here.)

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    Sharon June 19, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    So heart breaking. I do want to tell a quick story. Many years ago, I had a student who went through many of the things you are describing about C. It was rough to watch and I wasn’t even family. She managed to graduate but I always worried what became of her. I was so happy recently to find her on FB, and to learn that she is a well adjusted adult with a regular job and a partner. People do get through things like this, and you all will, too.

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    Tatiana (@AVeryGoodYear) June 19, 2012 at 8:12 pm #


    I first started reading this blog 4 years ago when I found out I was pregnant with my first, and searching desperately for some glimpse into parenting. In those days I was looking for reassurance; these days, I’m looking for honesty. As brutal and as hard to read as this entry is, and as much as my heart breaks for the pain your daughter & all of your family is going through right now, thank you for writing this.

    Thank you for not hiding, and not withdrawing, and letting yourself write this out. Silent or outspoken, there is a whole community here offering unconditional love and support, wishing we could understand and assist.

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    JoAnne June 19, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    As a long time reader, this post makes me hurt along with you. Nothing we can say can make it any better, but know that you have so many people praying for you and your family!

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    J from Ireland June 19, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    Oh Mir, my heart is breaking for you. My thoughts and prayers to you and your lovely family. I pray that you all come out the other side of this awful time. Best wishes dear.

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    Megan June 19, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    I’m so, so sorry. I’m thinking of you and yours often. <3

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    Mandy June 19, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    Oh, MIr,

    We are all here for you, ready and willing to help in any way we can. Except we probably can’t do anything for you and yours, and that helplessness must be only a tiny sliver of a fraction of what you, Otto, Monkey, and Bio Dad feel every day. You are loved. You are missed. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Peace to the entire Mir family!

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    Laurie June 19, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    Mir, I’m in tears. I’ve walked a tiny bit in your shoes two years ago with my little guy when he had a severe reaction to his ADHD medication. And, yes, DCYF visited us. It was by far the scariest time of my life. And what made it scary was my fear that there was no going back, no returning to before, normalcy.

    You, my friend, are so brave. So is Chickadee.

    I hope there is comfort and strength for you in knowing that prayers from way up north where you used to live are streaming to you now and as long as you need them.

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    Mary Jo June 19, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    Mir I am so so sorry. Your whole family are in my thoughts and prayers.

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    Kerry June 19, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    Oh Mir. I don’t even know what to say. I will continue to hold you in my thoughts and will send much love and light your way. I know how hard this is, I really do. I’m so sorry.

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    WorkingMom June 19, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    Add my thoughts, prayers, hugs, and tears to the mix.

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    Jenn June 19, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    I can’t even begin to imagine…you and your family are in my prayers.

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    Em June 19, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Mir, I am so sorry and my heart just aches for you. I can not imagine the grief, stress, pain you are feeling. I’m going to tell you, when I first started reading, I thought (God forbid) that Chickie had died. My heart sank into my stomach and I scanned it first, I had to know to prepare myself for the details. But she didn’t. She is still here. You are still here. And so there is hope. It isn’t over. She is in a place where she is safe and I will pray every day that while she is there, she gets better. I’ll pray for strength for you all. I have hope for you because you are all still here and work is being done. I know from the 145 comments above mine, you must know you are being thought of and prayed for, just add my name to the list.

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    Patricia June 19, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    You know you are in my prayers so the only thing I can add is — if you ever get to the point that the tears run dry, let me know and I’ll cry for you for awhile.

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    Jeannine June 19, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Sending you much love, many hugs, and boundless strength.

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    Pam June 19, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    I am speechless… other than to say my prayers go out to you and your family and that I know it was hard to share all that with us, but we all are grateful.

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    Kim June 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    The only way to say it is my heart hurts right now for all of you ~ sending prayers for strength and healing.

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    Niki June 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    Mir – first, I am so sorry. This is a horrible, horrible thing for Chickie and your whole family to go through. We were at a similar point just over a year ago, though I’m thinking not quite as bad – OCD, severe depression and anxiety, and self-harm.. My daughter didn’t get hospitalized basically because there was nowhere here that would have kept her for longer than a week or so, hospital-wise. We came close to going off to a residential “camp” who swore they could help her, for tons and tons of money, but our therapist was convinced that the majority of kids there would be dealing with different issues and in the end she wouldn’t get the help she needed. In the end, tons of therapy, tears, medication, change in schools, change of schedules, tons of prayer, and a huge intervention from God have helped. Cutting is such a hard thing – it’s that voice whispering in her ear that she’s no good, and nobody loves her (though she knows otherwise!), and that life isn’t quite worth living, but somehow it will be just a little better with a little pain. It hurts me everyday to see the scars on my daughter’s arms and legs, but she doesn’t hide them anymore, from anyone. She says most days she doesn’t see them anymore. As a mom I want you to know that there’s hope, even when it feels hopeless. We are all here for you, and are holding your hand, crying with you. It gets better, and worse, and better again, particularly for girls who are dealing with vicious hormones on top of the rest of it. Please know that if you ever want to talk, I will be happy to listen. I only got through it all without losing it myself because of people who would listen to me without judging me, who would let me cry and talk, and would help me through the ups and downs. We may not have met you in person, but we love you and your family, and we’re pulling for you guys.

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    KC June 19, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    Mir, my heart breaks for you and your family and I’m blinking back tears at my desk. I have followed your journey through years reading this blog and I feel like we could be friends (trying hard not to sound creepy here). I have been thinking of you daily since your last post. As many others have pointed out, you have an army of internet friends trying to hold you up with the sheer power of thoughts and prayers. It might not feel like it’s working, but I really hope it helps at least a little bit. I have family members who struggle with mental illness and it’s just so, so not fair. Wishing you peace and strength as you struggle forward through.

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    Julie June 19, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    Oh, Mir, I am so so sorry. Sending you many hugs and thoughts and prayers and wishes for healing.

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    GetSheila June 19, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    Wow. Just…wow. I cannot even begin to imagine what you are feeling right now. Thank you for sharing this. My heart goes out to you and Chickadee and Otto and Monkey and the rest of your extended family. Hang in there.

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    Helen Jane June 19, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    I love you.
    We love you.
    Sending you all our best for healing and healing and healing and more healing.

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    cameron June 19, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    Sending you all love.

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    MomQueenBee June 19, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    If anyone in the world can put a face on “you didn’t bring this on yourself,” it will be you, Mi, because iff this could happen to you and Chickie, the most wonderful mother and daughter we all “know,” it could happen to anyone. Your story will be important. Thank you for telling it.

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    deva at deva by definition June 19, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    Oh mir, my heart aches for you and for your chickadee, for Otto and Monkey. Many, many hugs.

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    Zuska June 19, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    I want a magic wand, or magic words, or just plain magic. My heart hurts so much for all of you right now and I feel so helpless to do anything. I’ve so admired you and how you’ve parented ever since those early days way back when we were first pg with our daughters. You have been so strong through so much. You will all get through this, I firmly believe it. Plus, I am buoyed by some of the stories others have shared here, and I know that Chickie WILL get through this, she will. But right now I wish I could help you in some concrete way. ((((((((HUGS))))))))))

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    Leslie June 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

    Oh, Mir. More love from a stranger, as someone way upthread said. I don’t know you guys, but I’m sitting here, doing the ugly cry for you.

    I don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said, so I’ll say what I feel, from one mom to another. Accept comfort and help. Take care of yourself, Otto, and Monkey. Take one day, hour, minute at a time. And know that there are many of us out here in the interwebs who support you. Love to all of you.

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    Laura June 19, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    I am so sorry, Mir. I can’t even fathom what you are going through, but I am praying for you.

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    Rebecca June 19, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    No words. So many prayers and hugs. You are amazing and string and exactly what your daughter needs even if she doesn’t know. Even if you don’t. Prayers for health and strength for all of you, especially chickadee.

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    Melissa June 19, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    I am not a regular reader but found my way here via Mom101. I work for MD’s state mental health agency, directing Medicaid policy. I’m not sure when you reside but please know that there are resouurces for you and your family, and for your daughter as she is able.

    Has anyone at the RTC talked to you about the family of 12 rule to qualify for Medicaid? Or conversion to Medicaid based on her length of stay? Does your state have a local mental healthy authority or coordinating council that can assist you? Or governor’s office on children?

    Mental illness is hard. So very very hard. Please rely on othersnwho have tread ground in payment issues and consumer support to help, when you feel is appropriate.

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    ailo June 19, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. Mental illness is so, so, so hard, but you’ve added one more voice to making it something people can talk about. I hope it helps others, and I hope it helps you when others who have been through this contact you. I am so sorry, of course, like everyone here. And praying and hoping and thinking and willing the best for you all. You’ve created quite a group of caring people here, and I hope we can send enough love your way to help in some small amount.

    To Chickadee, your mom loves you, and loving you enough to let you hate her is something you will understand some day. Please, let yourself reach that point. It DOES get better.

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    Rita Arens June 19, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

    I can’t imagine how unpacked you must feel. You are one of the best mothers I know, and my heart hurts for you. Schmutzie’s right, we’re here, even if you just need to know we’re here. I’m praying for you and your whole family as long as you need it.

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    Esperanza June 19, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    I don’t have your gift with words, and so the only thing I can say is I’m sorry, and I’ll keep you all in my prayers.

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    mrshiggison June 19, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    This is an incredible justice you have just done- for her & for you.
    An incredibly hard read, I can’t possibly imagine the pain of writing it, of living it.

    I will lend all the strength I can part with to you & your journey. I have three young daughters of my own…this story touches me deeply.

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    EG June 19, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    Oh my God, Mir. My heart is breaking for you, Chickadee, her dads, her brother. Prayers, prayers, prayers. I’m glad you have the right professionals involved now, and she’s in a place that is best equipped to keep her safe.

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    Christa June 19, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    No words are enough. But here’s hoping that knowing one stranger in the world cares and hopes for the best will make things a little easier.

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    Avie June 19, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    I’m so sorry.

    there are no other words. I’m so sorry.

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    elz June 19, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    Sweetie, I knew it was bad. I just didn’t know how bad. I feel terrible that you are shouldering all this weight and horror. And, oh, honey…I just wish there was anything at all I could actually do. I’m at a loss.

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    MitMoi June 19, 2012 at 8:47 pm #


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    EG June 19, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    PS – I realize that logistically this may seem impossible (time, money), but I would encourage you to get your own therapist if you haven’t already. We’ve been navigating the mental health system with our pre-schooler, and eventually I realized that I wasn’t coping well. And my marriage wasn’t doing too great, either. And ultimately now I have some anti-depressants (which are blessedly inexpensive!) for a while, plus a therapist to talk to, to help me remember that I need to take care of myself, too.

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    Deanna June 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    Oh Mir!!!! I’m so sorry. This is one club you never want anyone else to join. My chickie, now 16 did Childrens hospitals, then acute, then residential. We came to call it “the circuit”. It does get better, it can get better but it is a very isolating circle of hell. If you ever want to cry, or yell and scream, or say things that you think no one would ever understand, please feel free to contact me. Otherwise I will simply sit in the middle if the country and wish you strength and grace!!! Take care Mir. This is a long and dark road but you are uniquely qualified to handle it. Truly, you are a great mama bear and you will get through this!!

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    Anna June 19, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    I so wish you didn’t have to share this with us- that it was just a blip, something that she’s going to get over soon. I so wish your beautiful daughter wasn’t going through this, wasn’t struggling with something so sinister.
    I have a cousin that’s been through this, herself- and her mother, of course. It has been a tough road, as I’m sure you know. She has more good days than bad, now, and just finished her freshman year of college. (With an incident there in the middle. Just being real.)
    I went searching for news earlier today, because of the distance in posting. We may not be able to bring you food and clean up the messes and hold your hand, but we are here for you, as best we can be. I have such a weird impossible love for you and your family. Please feel how much you are surrounded by that.

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    Varda (Squashed Mom) June 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    Oh Mir, oh oh oh. Sorry it took me til so late in the day to read this. I wish I could say that I can barely imagine what you are going through, but unfortunately I imagine it a lot these days, as we have just realized that my son Ethan does not have ADD so much as a mood disorder and is in a manic state most of the time. I have been warned there is usually an explosion at puberty and i now live in fear.

    I hear the love and the terror as you share this with us. All I can say is that Chickie certainly has the right parents. And that this is unbelievably hard, and you have my love and deepest empathy as you go through all of this. Also as it seems the precipitating event that threw the “on” switch seems to have been a viral illness, if you want the name of my incredibly off the charts brilliant pediatric rheumatologist who specializes in spectrum and psychiatric disorders, I would be happy to share. She is in NYC but consults in other places. She herself is tic-y and quirky and I believe knows a lot about PANDAS and understands motre than any doctor i have ever met the complex interaction between body and mind that is modern neurobiology.

    But most of all…. Hugs. A million hugs. And a million wishes for your daughter’s successful journey back to herself and you.

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    Melissa June 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    Sorry that should be family of one rule.

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    Leslie June 19, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    You are so brave to come forward with what must have been the most difficult entry you have ever written. I hope that through the stories others have shared here you realize that you are not alone at a time when you must feel very alone. I think about you and your family every day. Love and strength to all of you.

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    Katy June 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    I’m sure everyone here has already said this, but what the heck, when my boy was sick I wanted all the hope I could find.

    I worked with teens for many years and most of the teens I worked with were dealing with heaps of issues–seeing me for a reading disability was just part of a complicated puzzle. I also have a close family member who went through some very similar things.

    All I can say is that love and support and all of that really does help, and while it can’t cure mental illness, I do think it can give you the best-case scenario. I have seen many, many children come out of residential facilities and get their lives together. It is totally possible. Does it happen every time? Of course not, but it does happen. People don’t like to talk about these things, though, so you rarely hear about the success stories.

    I hope the best for your daughter and really do believe it’s possible. Much love to your family as you go through this. Like I said, a close family member did many of these same things and it’s a living hell when you’re in the middle of it.

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    Frogdancer June 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Oh, I’ve been there. Your girl sounds a tad more severe than my boy but I’ve been there. Fast forward three years and the depression still circles, but he’s learning to deal with it and put pre-emptive measures in place.
    I visited every night when he was in the psych ward, except for those nights when he phoned and said he needed the time alone. His brothers and friends visited with me, so he knew he wasn’t cut off and he wasn’t alone.
    It’s a hellish place to be in and I feel for you. You feel like you’re talking to them through glass and they just can’t hear you. It’s when you have to grit your teeth, dig your heels in and FIGHT for them, because they can’t fight for themselves. They’re too exhausted.
    You’ve done the right thing.

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    Lynda M O June 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Oh Mir, the words are so inadequate at times like these. Know you are being held up, you and your family and esp the Chickie, to the Universal Healing Power every day.

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    jonniker June 19, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Love to you. So much.

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    Stephanie Mayers June 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

    Mir- I know we have never really connected but we are part of a sisterhood and my heart breaks for you. Be strong. You are. You all will be in my thoughts.

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    Amy June 19, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

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    Navhelowife June 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    I haven’t read any of the other comments because I want to type before I cry. I am so sorry Mir. It is a hard road. I am sorry that you have to struggle with insurance on top of it all. We have dealt with cutting here too – on a smaller scale. And we have played the “what if we wake up and our worst fear has come true” game as well. And it hurts, and it sucks and what ever else we can think of. But also – you are not alone. You are not the first family to enter this battlefield. Grab any and all support you can, and jettison those who would not or cannot support you.
    I once offered you any help you needed with Monkey in the education department….I can only offer you the ear of a mom who has gone through this on a smaller scale…and if you have any questions about meds – I do work for a psychiatrist and have learned so much
    about medications and such – so you are welcome to pick my brain. But no matter what, you are all in my prayers, and in my thoughts, and may God give you strength, and peace, and comfort.

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    Cindy June 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    Oh Mir. Tears coming down and prayers going up.

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    El-e-e June 19, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    My heart beaks for you, Mir. I wish we could take all the fear and pain away. I assure you I am praying for your daughter and for you.

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    Liri June 19, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    Mir, I am so sorry about everything that is going on with Chickadee – I hope with all my heart that things will get better for her and for you!!!

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    Mandee June 19, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    I have an irrational hatred of Athens because it’s where my best friend from childhood experienced her first mental break – the place where her mother and I had to accept that leaving her in the Charter facility was the best thing we could do for her – the place where I visited and witnessed her paranoia in action for the first time – the place I first longed for Before. I know that the pain and worry and fear that you are experiencing right now are tenthousandfold. Prayers and love.

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    Kathy June 19, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    I can’t imagine how hard this must have been to share, much less to actually live through. I am thinking and praying for your family. You are so brave to share this and get it out there. You are doing an amazing job and don’t ever doubt that.

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    Rylee June 19, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    So. I have been at the brink of where your Chickadee seems to be. The edges. Behind the fence of that seriously terrifying forrest. And I cannot say enough that you are doing absolutely everything that she needs. Everything. I wish I had had family like you, I still do. Being lost in your head, being lost in all of the wrong and right things to do- it is pure torture. But having someone love you, so completely, so absolutely, it truly makes a difference. In the rare moments of clarity, in the seconds that the fog does lift, she will remember your love, and you, and your family. And maybe- hopefully- and with time she will learn, and be wiling to grasp on to those moments. To hold them, and cherish them for all that they are worth. And by the grace of God she will be able to start to pull her self out of the darkness that I am sure has filled her head. I know it all to well. And as terrifying, and as isolating as it is, it can end. It can change. Sending all my love, prayers, and well wishes to you, your family, and especially your Chickadee. xoxo.

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    Martha June 19, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    Mir and family – there are so many words that just fall flat when I try to write. You are all loved beyond measure and I am so sorry for all that all of you are going through. I am praying for you constantly.

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    Mamacita June 19, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    Dear heart, let it out. And if you need to talk to someone one-on-one, you know where to find me. Something few people know, and nobody online, is that. . . I’ve been where you are now. Retrospect always seems great, but the “now” can be blazingly scary.

    Aaaaand, I guess my online people know now, too. Well, that’s kind of a relief. Actually, it’s a great relief.

    I can also tell you that it gets better. Really. Wait for it.

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    Janet June 19, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    Add me to the list of those sending you love and strength. Thank you for sharing this story…as hard as it must have been, you are helping others by opening up. Be sure to take good care of yourself so you have something to give to her.

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    The Other Laura June 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    Chickadee and all of you are in my thoughts and my prayers.

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    liv June 19, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    crying as my heart breaks for you all right now — i’m so incredibly sorry to read this, mir. i really hope that this was the worst, that the whole situation has hit bottom and the only place to go is up. i’ll be praying hard. thank you for updating us, for writing what must’ve been so very hard to get out.

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    Keryn June 19, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    I am like everyone else: Full of sadness and sorrow and prayers for your family. Your writing is so beautiful and heart-breaking.

    I don’t know what the future brings. I do offer my faith that, no matter what happens, the Lord will fix it for us in the end–whenever the “end” is, in His time. (I hope I’m not offending anyone or crossing a line by saying that.)

    I will keep you and your daughter and your family in my prayers. Thanks for trusting us with this news.

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    Amy June 19, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    Love and hugs and prayers and everything good and right and safe being sent your way, I can feel it. Take care of yourself, take care of your girl…

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    parodie June 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Oh Mir. I never would have guessed this, and I am so sorry you are living this particular form of hell. Please do be kind to yourself as you grieve what could have been – your dreams and hopes and plans. This kind of grief is hard hard hard because unlike for a death, the rest of the world doesn’t always really understand.

    You and Chickadee and Otto and Monkey are all in my prayers. I am so sorry.

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    Father Muskrat June 19, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    Really hoping to see good news on here soon…sorry y’all are going through this.

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    Franny June 19, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    Much love and many prayers for you all! May you find the path you need to take to bring your Chickee back, may your Monkey feel the love you have for him, May you and Otto and Chickee’s dad be strong, but not afraid to lean.

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    Cloud June 19, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    I came over via Mom101, and just wanted to add another random internet stranger’s good wishes. And to share a saying my college physics prof had, which I’ve clung to whenever I’ve hit rough times: “Everything always works out well in the end. If things aren’t going well, it is not the end yet.” I know that it isn’t always true, but even knowing that it has helped me at times, maybe just because it gave me a mantra to repeat when I needed it. And a lot of times it is true. So I hope it is true for you and Chickadee, and your better ending comes soon.

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    Bob June 19, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    I know of nothing I could do or say that could have the slightest effect, yet I still feel compelled to say something. Maybe adding my voice to the others here and elsewhere will nudge the universe just that little bit more toward the direction of positiveness, of goodness, of maybe a brief respite in the storm that is your life right now. It is maybe weird the affection that I hold for you, one borne of years of brief interactions, of watching you and your kids grow and become. But is is affection, and out of it I hurt for your sake. And Chickadee’s, and the rest of your family.

    Come whatever may, know that there is love out there for you and yours. I hope it finds you and assuages for just a little while the pain of the present. Or tuck it away as armor to be pulled out against the dragons in the future. Either way, it is yours, unconditionally.

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    Cheryl June 19, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    Prayers going out for Mir, Monkey, Otto and Chickie’s Dad – and for Chickadee herself. I am so, so sorry that you are all going through this.

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    Lauren June 19, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    I’m so, so, so, so sorry. I was diagnosed with acute mental illness as a teen, too — I’ve long identified with so much of what you’ve shared about Chickie — if it would ever help to talk to someone who’s been there and came through to the other side (the other side is still a daily effort to stay mentally healthy, but it’s so much better), please, please don’t hesitate to email me.

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    Wendy June 19, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    How does anyone have words who hasn’t been there? I haven’t been there to that degree, so I don’t have the right words. All I have is I’m sorry and I will be praying.

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    Caroline June 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    Lord have mercy. I have no words….but I will pray….it is all I know to do.

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    zchamu June 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    Oh, Mir. So much live to all of you, and prayers, and hope.

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    Ickaboo June 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    I’m sharing this everywhere. Your words give the rest of us (who are frozen by fear and the unknown) A VOICE. Thank you.

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    kim/hormone-colored days June 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    Mir, I am so sorry for all that is going on. No doubt there will be many who need to read this and will find it at the right time. My thoughts and prayers will be with you.

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    Planet Mom June 19, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    I’m so incredibly sorry. Your plate is undeniably full and your pain–mingled inextricably with frustration, so very real. I hope you find some comfort in knowing that the thoughts and prayers of many are with you. Just remember that you only have to tackle one day at a time…actually, one finite moment at a time.

    Talk, cry, pray and write if it helps or brings you at least some measure of solace.

    Also, remember to breathe. It’s funny how easily we forget something so basic when the wheels fly off and our lives go to hell.

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    Roxanna (miguelina) June 19, 2012 at 9:39 pm #


    I can’t say anything clever, or that will make this any easier. But I wanted you and your family to know that I’m here — and I thank you for sharing your story. Lots of love to you.

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    Alix D June 19, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    Once, a while back, I told you that you are one of the best parenting examples I’ve come across.

    That’s still 110% true,

    I’ve been in a similar place to Chickie. There is an after, and you’re doing the right thing.

    The best thing you can do, for yourself, is not let yourself get isolated. It’s often the hardest thing you can do for yourself, but the reward is vital to the after.

    Be well, beautiful lady.

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    kat June 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    I am so sorry you have to be going through this. I can speak as a survivor of self mutilation and depression that it can get better. You are a brave parent for taking her where ahe can.get help even though she has pleaded otherwise. I’llbe keeping you in my thoughts. If you ever have any questions i’m more than happy to share my experience. Im not a doctor, but ive been that teenager.

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    Lauren June 19, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    And I should have said, too: thank you so much for being honest about this. I know how hard it must have been, but every story told like this does so much to beat the stigma and the dark around mental illness.

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    Lynne June 19, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    Thank you for opening your heart to allow us in. I pray you and your family find the peace, comfort and guidance through this awful time.

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    Chris June 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    I have no personal experience with this and I hope I never do, but thank you for being brave both for yourself and for Chickie to tell her story. It will undoubtedly help others and if some day, god forbid, my children end up in this boat. I will remember that we are not alone, just as you are not alone in this fight.

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    angie June 19, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    You are so incredibly strong and some day you will look back at this as the start of Chickie coming back from the darkness. I do believe we sometimes have to really hit rock bottom before we can accept help and get better, and my hope is that this is it for Chickie. Deep down, she is still there, and she knows you love her. You know that, and you have to remember it.

    You have also done an incredible thing by sharing all these painful details. Thank you. You are an amazing woman, mother and writer. Hang in there.

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    KarenP June 19, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    Tears streaming down my face. I had been thinking of you all day. Prayers for Chickadee that she can get better soon. That the treatment facility finds a way to help. Prayers for you and Otto and Monkey.

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    LeftofOrdinary June 19, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    I can only imagine how hard this was to write after having been so much. There are so many people who, whether you know them or not, (like me) care about you and your family. All of you. I hope you can find strength in knowing we’ve got your back.

    Big, internet hugs.

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    Momo Fali June 19, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    I’ve started typing this three times. I don’t feel like there is anything I can say, except I hear you and you could, very well, be helping me. My son’s psychiatrist referred us to a PANDAS specialist who I contacted months ago, but who I still haven’t heard from. Thank you for making me aware. I am thinking of you and Chickadee.

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    LH June 19, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    Hugs and prayers to you and your family…

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    Julie June 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    You are all in my prayers.

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    Jen June 19, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    How can I comment? No prayers-I’m an atheist. But, but – oh the prayers I’m sending out. My heart breaks for your girl, for all of you – yes, even the ex. Stay strong in the hope that one day you won’t have to be the strong one. And love. Yes, crazy ‘I don’t know you at all but I read your words and what I feel is’ love. ‘Cause I don’t think ‘hugs’ are gonna cut it on this one – just so much love.

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    Jennifer June 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    I did okay until I got to the very end. Not that you care how it effected me at all. I just wish so hard that I could give you back before. That simple statement. That plea. I know every mother out there wishes so hard she could give you that back. I’m so sorry.

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    Mrs. Flinger June 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    Baby, all I know is this. We are here. We are here. We are here. xx

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    Jenn June 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    I am heartbroken for you and Chickie and for Monkey, Otto and Chickie’s father. I wish that all the love I’m sending you could do something, anything to fix this.

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    Jen June 19, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    So much love for you and your sweet Chickie. You and your whole family are just so loved. For your dedication to your kids, for your honesty, for the strength to share this. I have nothing to offer you other than much love.

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    Lauren June 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this. I don’t even know you and I’ve been so worried. I hope… I don’t know. I hope there is a light in this very dark tunnel. I have loved reading abut your amazing children and wonderful family for years. I wish you the very best and will be thinking of you and your family.

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    Chris June 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    So damn sorry Mir!
    Do not have words to say just how sorry I am for you and your family.
    How is “Monkey” dealing with all this?
    You are a great Mama. Some things just are. Please take care of you too!
    (((hugs))) and prayers are being sent out your way.
    Thanks for sharing, I know this had to be hard and painful.

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    julia June 19, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    love, and prayers, and support…and more love, and more prayers, and more support to you. You are good, and you are strong, and you are NOT ALONE.

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    Christy June 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    I am sorry – so incredibly sorry. Others here are far more eloquent than I….but I will be praying for you guys so much. You are awesome – you are just being an awesome mom. You are doing all of the right things for her….and my heart is breaking for you because I can’t imagine being on the end of the phone and having to tell her no; that she needed to stay there. I am just…it takes my breath away. I am so very very sorry. I want to help…can I do anything?

  262. 262
    Heather June 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    I wish you the very best, and can only send my thoughts and prayers and warm feelings your way. I cannot say that I know how you’re feeling, only that I hope for you that things get better. Thank you for your candor, and much love to you.

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    smarty June 19, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    Hey, long time reader, seldom comment. My beautiful and bright daughter also went through a time of cutting. It completely blew my mind because I never heard of it (much, except in extremely disturbed people) and in my mind we are 100% normal family. Please know that the before you wish for probably will be what gets you through to the after you hope for. All the love you put in is still there inside her and will get her through.
    My girl is 19 now and we are sending her to college in the fall. I can remember having to hide all sharp objects and still she would find something. I almost had to remove the door from her room. and now she is ready to take on the world. It’s so so hard to get through, but your family will be fine. and fine is fine.

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    Holly June 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    Oh, Mir. I have been thinking of you and Chickie and the rest of your crew. I’m so so sorry that this is your “now”. I’ll pray.

    Hey, you probably already know it, but there a lotta people that care about y’all. If you put out a help beacon of any kind, we would. Whatever it is, somebody (or lots of somebodies) would be able to do it.

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    Alissa June 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    Just simply sending love and admiration for your strength and persistence in finding ways to help your beautiful child recover. Thank you for sharing.

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    Kalyn June 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    Oh Mir, so sorry to hear your family is going through all this. xoxo

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    Holly June 19, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    I feel numb, for more reasons than I can describe. My sister was institutionalized as a young girl, so it brought me back a time when I had to make excuses for her not being at school. My own son has a lot of issues and I can imagine something like this happening to me in 5-10 years with him. I wish you easier times and thank you for telling your story.

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    Becky June 19, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    This comment is a mere echo of all of the others, but oh, Mir. I’ll be worrying for you and Chickie, Monkey and Otto, and everyone in your life who is being touched by this. And I will be hoping for things to improve. The road ahead sounds challenging, but you guys are some of the smartest, sweetest, best people I have ever had the honor to get to know via the magic of blogging. I’m so sorry that you all enduring this. My heart is going out to you all so much.

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    Stimey June 19, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    Oh, Mir. I am heartbroken for you and for your precious girl. You must be so scared. You should know that I think you are such a good mom. Mental illness is not something you can prevent. It is not something that involves blame. And there IS hope. I know it is so hard and everything has changed and, oh, so many huge horrible things, but there is hope.

    I love you. I am sending all of my positive energy to you and your precious Chickie.

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    Meg June 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    Oh, honey. Oh, *wow*. I feel for you guys so hard.

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    RinNC June 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    Nothing eloquent to add, just sending you heartfelt wishes for an easier road ahead. The whole family is in my thoughts. xoxo

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    StephMA June 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    Mir, how very brave of you to write this all out so that others may know they aren’t the only ones. Remember you are not alone. Tons of people out here love you (even those you’ve never met). My thoughts and prayers are with you and Chickadee and all family members.

    And … give yourself and the other two parents a pat on the back for working so well together for your sweetie pie.

    (((hugs))) to you.

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    Jenn C. June 19, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    Oh Mir. I don’t even know what to say. I am holding you and your entire family in the light, hoping you will find the love and strength that you need.

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    Rasselas June 19, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

    I’ve been following your writing for years now. I’ve looked up to you, wished I had a mother like you when I was a kid, been delighted with stories of how brilliant and funny and sweet your children are. You are doing it right, Mir.

    This is just so terrible I have no words. I can almost sense how hard it must’ve been to write, to decide whether to even share it with total strangers.

    There is so much good going on in your family, between all of you. I hope that what you had before will help you get through the horrible now, and that it will help you build a great after. You have such a good foundation there, if anyone can actually make it through and get better, it’s your family.

    It sounds like you’re performing admirably under some terrifying circumstances. You’re even strong enough to write about it openly. I know that most of us would rather crawl off somewhere and disappear.

    You have my love, and admiration, and encouragement and support.

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    Kristin June 19, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    Mir, you and your family are in my thoughts. Mine is in the midst of something different yet similar. I wish you all the very best and you are not alone. Much love to all of you.

    Us, too.

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    Meredith June 19, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    I’m so sorry Chickie and you and all the other members of your family are going through such a tough time.. I wish you all peace and healing. Thank you for sharing even though it’s horrible and there is a long hard bumpy road in front of you. Your words may help others to be compassionate with families strugging with mental illness.

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    Lynette June 19, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    I have no words… my heart goes out to all of you.

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    Katherine June 19, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    You and Chickadee and the whole family will be in my prayers. I kept hoping you were going to be able to say she was home and on the mend. I still hope that, but obviously it will be a while. Hugs from the internet.

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    Steph June 19, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    So sorry. Praying.

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    Damsel June 19, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    Oh, Mir…. My heart just breaks for you and your family. I wish I could send you a huge crock pot full of something yummy. Add me to the countless people lifting you in prayer.

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    Melanie June 19, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    I, like so many others, have no words. I am sending good thoughts, prayers, and hugs your way.

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    Melanie June 19, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    No words… just tears and hugs and many prayers.

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    Susie June 19, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    Thinking of y’all. For whatever it’s worth, I had a really rough go of it as a teenager, and my After is so lovely now. I hope you get to the After soon.

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    Gayle June 19, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

    Thinking of you all. You are in my prayers.

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    Alexandra June 19, 2012 at 11:19 pm #

    I can’t even imagine.

    I can’t.

    I love you, I will pray, I am a mother, too.


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    Rebecca June 19, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    praying for you. praying for your family. praying for the doctors and staff working with Chickie…. my heart is breaking for you, with you….

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    Michelle E June 19, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

    Nothing to add except that I too am praying even harder for your family right now. Mental illness is so very hard. After reading about your family for so many years, I feel like you’re all part of my extended family. I’ll be praying for you all and sending much love your direction. Hoping that After comes quickly.

  288. 288
    Brandy June 19, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

    I think I’ve only commented a handful of times, though I am a regular reader. Wish there was something I could do to help, but I only have prayers and healing thoughts and best wishes for you all.

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    Mona June 19, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    Much love, prayer, and peace being wafted over the wires for you, Chickadee, your family, her doctors and caretakers, insurance people and lawyers – everyone who comes in contact with you in these days. There is hope.

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    RebeccaL June 19, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

    I can’t say it better than any of the other people who commented before me, just know that there is another person praying for you, Chickadee, Otto and Monkey.

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    Lucinda June 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    You are braver and stronger and more generous than I think you know. We will all pray and love you through this no matter how long it takes.

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    Laura June 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

    I have absolutely no idea what to say- this is so big, and so wide, and so deep- and I almost can’t let myself think about your terror. I will pray for each and every member of your family every single day.

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    Cathy June 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

    Oh Mir, my heart and prayers go out to you and your family. I can’t offer advice or take away the pain you’re all going through, but I can offer my prayers – for strength, courage, wisdom, patience, and most of all, for peace. I hope you feel the love and prayers that are surrounding you right now, from me and the hundreds of people whose lives you have touched with your words.

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    Andrea June 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

    Much love and many prayers! Thank you for sharing. You. are. strong.

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    jadine June 19, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    This goes beyond what my brain can absorb, and you’ve been immersed in it for so long. I have no idea how you’ll do it, but time will pass, things will evolve, and I’ll be wishing you increments (big ones!) of positive change. How unimaginably horrifying for all of you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I hope sharing your story becomes part of what gets you through it. We’re here to support you. I just wish I could help in some more concrete way. ((((hugs))))

  296. 296
    Meri June 19, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    Thinking of you all.

    I wish I could come down and take you out for an afternoon and you all could have a break and not think about it for a few hours. If I had a magic wand…

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    Mandy June 19, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    OMG!! Mir… I just can’t even imagine how terrified you must be right now. I’m sending strength and healing for Chickadee and for you and the rest of your family. As someone has recently been dealing with a parent with a sudden cognitive impairment I know how horrible it can be to have life turn completely upside down and seem more like a nightmare than reality. I can’t imagine going through that with one of my kids. I’m holding you up from far away.

    Thank you for sharing this with all of us. You are incredibly brave… and very, very pretty!

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    Amy June 19, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have no doubt that it will help others, and I hope telling it has helped you as well. Thinking of you and your family.

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    jan June 19, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    You are doing a wonderful job. You are here, You are trying to cope, You have the love of your family, and you know deep down that includes the love of Chickie, your ex is playing nice, you must keep hope alive. Hope that it will all work out. The blogging world is behind you. Write your heart out we will listen.

  300. 300
    Jayme June 19, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    I do not know you, yet here I sit, tears staining my cheeks, hand on my chest, heart breaking for you and your daughter and your family. Please know that there is one more mother out there thinking of you, and sending you strength.

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    Dixiechick June 19, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

    Wow, Mir.

    For the past few months, I got an inkling that something more might be wrong than an infection gone awry, but this is really beyond anyone’s worst nightmare. You did such an amazing job writing it all down, really, you did. Respectful, honest, and I know that there is someone out there who will benefit from your story one day.

    For now, I will pray for you. I will pray for Chickie and Otto and Monkey and everyone touched by this. Even though I’m sure you feel like it, you are not alone.

    Hang in there.

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    Geralis June 20, 2012 at 12:02 am #

    Praying hard, sending love. Hang in there

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    Kate June 20, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    I’m chiming in to send prayers, hugs, courage, hope, patience and strength to you and your family.

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    Ary June 20, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    hey Mir. My hugs for you. I have been reading this blog for years and I feel so much for you and your family. I wish I could say anything more which would make you feel any better. I always looked at you and how you are so strong and enduring when I was going through the darkest time as a teenager myself. I hope chickadee finds herself again. My prayers and all my positive thoughts are with you. Hugs to monkey too..

  305. 305
    Mom2trplts June 20, 2012 at 12:12 am #

    I am posting to let you know that I care. Deeply. I cannot imagine your ordeal; admire your strength and courage and send a little bit of mine if you fall short.

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    Hall June 20, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    Like everyone else, I’m just floored to hear what you’ve been going through. Sending love and prayers to you, Chickadee, and everyone else in the family.

  307. 307
    Heather June 20, 2012 at 12:22 am #

    Wow. Thank you for writing this. Really, truly. I am so sorry you are going through this, but writing about it, sharing it with us…I feel honored to read it.

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    Lady M June 20, 2012 at 12:23 am #

    Oh Mir. I’m so sorry. Thinking all the best thoughts for you, Chickadee and the whole family. You will come out of this, all of you.

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    Lora June 20, 2012 at 12:25 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us. You are not alone, there are so many of us out here pulling for you and your family. You are brave and doing all the right things. Keep going, one step at a time. The only way out is through, and I know you will get through.

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    Dana B June 20, 2012 at 12:30 am #

    {{{hugs}}} Makes what I’m going through with my son seem a breeze. Thoughts and prayers with you and your family. Take care.

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    sandy June 20, 2012 at 12:32 am #

    Mir I am so so sorry. I can’t begin to imagine how frightening this is for all of you. My family and I are praying for Chickie, you, Monkey and Otto. It may not seem like it now but with the professional care she’s getting and the love she’s receiving from you, Otto and your Ex I think Chickie will be healed. I wish I could give you a hug.


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    C~ June 20, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    Oh, Mir. You are the bravest person I have ever heard of. We all have “stuff”…even horrific stuff…but most of us do NOT have the courage to share with such complete honesty. When things got bad for me…I just crawled into myself and stopped writing. This will help a lot of people. I’m praying for you all.

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    Traci June 20, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    Many have said it, but I will say it again…us too. I have 7 children and 5 out of the 7 have special needs. My oldest daughter cut herself and was hospitalized time and time again for harming herself, refusing to eat, etc. My twin sons lived in residential treatment for 2 years, one of the twins is still there (year three). I used to refuse to talk about the voices my sons heard and their schizo-affective disorder, among other diagnoses…and then I realized maybe someone else needs to hear that they are not alone. So I want you to know that you are not alone. It’s scary and isolating and overwhelming but you are not alone. If you ever need to vent through email or just to talk with someone who is living with a teenager dealing with acute mental illness, please never hesitate to email.

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    BethB. June 20, 2012 at 1:00 am #

    Sending good thoughts to you and your family. And lots of extra hugs to the bravest mom I know.

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    Shades of Gray June 20, 2012 at 1:03 am #


    Delurking for the first time to say thank you for the update. Complete strangers are holding you, Chickadee, Otto, and Monkey in their hearts. I know you miss “before.” I am doing my best to create in my mind an “after”, complete with healing, for all involved.

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    Fiona June 20, 2012 at 1:05 am #

    Sending you hugs, and peace, and strength, and rest, and grace, and wine, and hope.

    Much love for you and your family!

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    Denise June 20, 2012 at 1:34 am #

    Mir – I’m yet another reader who usually doesnt comment, but I want to add my voice to the hundreds here and let you know I am with you, too – reading and crying and hoping…and there IS much to hope for as time and meds and hormones shift things and who knows what special person or influence comes her way. I hope there is some comfort in knowing that so many of us hold you and Chickadee (and all your family) in our hearts..

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    Stephanie June 20, 2012 at 1:52 am #

    Just one mom crying for another mom who is in pain. And I’m sending you and your family hugs and prayers and wishes come true.

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    Gin June 20, 2012 at 2:00 am #

    I am sorry to read this. My prayers are yours tonight.

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    acharlestongirl June 20, 2012 at 2:03 am #


    Really, that’s all I got.

    Love, light and prayers for you, Chickie and the whole family.

    Thank you for sharing this incredibly personal, moving information with us.

    I hope in the sharing it lightened the load even if only a tiny tiny bit…

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    Lisa June 20, 2012 at 2:11 am #

    Thinking good thoughts for you and the whole family… I hope you all are able to find some peace and comfort as Chickadee finds her way through this. She is blessed to have your support and love. Be good to yourselves.

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    E's Mommy June 20, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    Oh Mir, I’m sending so many good wishes and thoughts and love to your whole family. You are all amazing and this is just such an awful scary thing to have to go through.

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    mamaspeak June 20, 2012 at 2:46 am #

    I want to write something to you, that will convey even a fraction of the empathy that I feel for all of you. But I’m lacking the words, and will have to make do w/an inadequate jumble that you’ll see below.
    We discovered, recently, that my oldest, (9) has been partaking in compulsive behavior. What she has done, is not even a blip on the radar of what you’re going through w/Chickie, yet there’s a part of me that understands so deeply the fear you’re feeling. I haven’t written about it, bc I don’t know where to start, (& it’s slightly less real if I haven’t’ put it into words). I’m absolutely terrified for her, of what could be, and not making things worse by doing/saying the wrong things.

    You are so very strong & brave, (& pretty, of course). I’m grateful to you for writing this. I’m also so very, very sorry it was yours to write.Please know that you’re all in our prayers, and add our family to the virtual dogpile/group hug we have going. I pray that the uncertainty will be less than more. And the certainty you do find, will be conclusive enough to be treatable. I wish there were words to convey how strongly I feel this loss for you. (((hugs)))

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    Justin June 20, 2012 at 3:08 am #

    I just wanted to add my support. I’ve followed your writing for years and I think you’ve done a wonderful job of sharing what a brilliant, wonderful girl Chickadee is. I’ll be praying that she finds relief and healing soon.

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    Gretchen June 20, 2012 at 3:10 am #

    I’m sorry to hear this. There is nothing worse than having your child in pain — especially when you feel helpless to stop it. I hope the best for your and your family.

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    birchsprite June 20, 2012 at 3:13 am #

    Oh God. Sending love to you all. I have no words of comfort for this. You are all wonderful people and I have no doubts that she will be getting the best help possible. Look after yourself and each other. I hope before comes back soon.

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    Beverly June 20, 2012 at 3:50 am #

    Oh. Oh, oh, oh.

    Such a heavy load for all of you. Wishing like hell I could send something more tangible than prayers and good thoughts.

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    Susanna June 20, 2012 at 4:40 am #

    Hi mir,
    I have been reading your blog for about a year now and I have never commented before but ever since your last post, I was checking and rechecking your site to see what had been happening. I am so sorry you are going through all this. It’s hard to know what to say, but I didn’t want to not comment, just because I was lost for words.
    I wish you all the very best, I hope you find strength and support. And I very very much hope things will look up soon for Chikadee… you are in my thoughts!
    With love from Germany,

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    sarah June 20, 2012 at 4:53 am #

    Hang in there Mir — you can do it. I am so sorry for what you are going through. Keep looking forward to the times when you can look back. Your strength is amazing, and I add my mental support to you as you work through this. I wish you and your family all the best.

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    BethRD June 20, 2012 at 4:56 am #

    I’m so sorry. I wish there was some way I could tangibly help, but until then, all I can say is that I hear you and feel for you and will be thinking of you and hoping so much that Chickadee will get better.

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    Kaje June 20, 2012 at 5:14 am #

    Oh my….crying…. I am so so sorry; I wish there was a way I could help. I hope and pray you get answers and a positive way forward and that things improve for Chickadee. Thinking of you all. Kaje xxx

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    Lisa R. June 20, 2012 at 5:26 am #

    My goodness, Mir. I hope this all goes away as suddenly and mysteriously as it came on. You have done the best thing you could do in getting her into residential treatment. Hang in there.

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    Barbara June 20, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    Praying that the prayers & love here help keep you & your family afloat. Love is love, even if we’ve never met.

    You are strong. And loved. And brave.

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    Bonnie June 20, 2012 at 5:29 am #

    I’m so sorry for you and for Chickie. This sounds horrible. Thank you for sharing as she and you all have been in my thoughts as these months have ticked by. I’m not a prayer but I really really really hope this becomes a distant memory soon. Hugs to all of you (even the ex).

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    Laura June 20, 2012 at 5:35 am #

    I put this in the wrong darn post, but I wanted it here so I moved it. I haven’t read the other comments so please forgive me if this has been said a million times.

    In December 1989 when I was 15 I was in the backseat of my Dad’s car, my head cradled in my Mom’s lap, sobbing and begging my parents to not put me in the hospital. Like Chickadee I bargained, I promised I wouldn’t sleep every minute I wasn’t in school, I’d stop failing all of my classes, I’d stop cutting, I’d stop trying to destroy the house, my brother and myself. I promised I wouldn’t be depressed any more. My Mom looked at me, tears in her eyes and said the same thing you said to Chickadee: ” We love you and THAT is why we are doing this.” Years of family history, brain chemistry and just general sensitivity to the world around me finally caught up with me and my parents knew they couldn’t love the problem out of me. That first night in Brawner Psychiatric Institute was hard because recovery is hard. Like Chickadee, I tried to game the system but couldn’t keep it up for much longer because I was just so tired of feeling bad. Once my miracle worker of a Psychiatrist found the right drug cocktail, we talked until I got everything out, the inpatient staff started to see through my BS and called me on it. I got better. Not perfect, but better.

    Chickadee is going to get better because she has a family who loves her enough to do the hard things, to call her on the horrible “coping” skills people with mental illness develop. But, please, do not for ONE minute feel bad that her illness is mental. If Chickadee had a physical ailment like cancer, the Internet would throw you a fundraiser but since this is psychiatric in nature people like to shuffle their feet, hem, haw and change the subject. Am I negating cancer? NO! What I am railing against is the fact that because Chickadee’s brain works a little differently than others, it is something that others might feel weird about. The fact of the matter is your little one is sick and you need all the help and support you can get. You are going to find that here. Hell, if you put up a Paypal button today, my donation would be the first. And if you need to scream, cry, sob or just moan a la Billy Crystal in “When Harry Met Sally”, well, we are here for that too.

    My Mom once looked into my eyes and saw the nothingness that you described. Now, many years later I am the happily married mother of two who is doing pretty well. Thanks to my inpatient stay and subsequent years of therapy, I now recognize when I need therapy. I will always have to remain vigilant against the depression, the anxiety and the pain, just like a diabetic will always have to check blood sugar or the transplant patient will have to take immuno-suppresents. Chickadee WILL get through this and come out stronger on the end. She’ll learn when things are getting out of whack again. She’ll learn that despite the hard work, getting help is worth it. Most importantly, she’ll learn she is incredibly blessed to have you.

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    Rebecca June 20, 2012 at 5:36 am #

    I wish I could hug you for real.

    My family has been there. I don’t have words of wisdom, or even anything uplifting to share. My cousin’s story would not be helpful. This was the last thing I expected to hear, and it sucks so bad that this, the monster, is grabbing at your girl. I hate the monster, and I fear it. But in spite of the fear, you fight. There’s no other option. You fight.

    I don’t know what else to say. It’s so, so hard in a way that you can’t understand until you can. I just wish you all didn’t have to go thru this. Much love to all of you, but especially your girl. <3

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    Nicki June 20, 2012 at 6:00 am #

    I know you haven’t heard from me in forever. Shoot, I’ve been lousy with even blogging so…unless we’re Facebooking…no one hears from me these days. We’ve been dealing with our own sick daughter…fourth smallest preemie in the world…ever.

    And I know how precious hope is. And I know how much it means to have people thinking of you, providing love and support. I know that can all move mountains.

    I can’t tell you that I’ve heard of someone this happened to and in the end it was all better. I can’t tell you that I know what you’re going through because I haven’t experienced this.

    Just please know that you have always amazed me with your strength, your grace, your word. Just please know that you (and your family) are being thought of daily with love, that prayers are said, that you have a cheering s

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    Jean June 20, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    I am also heartbroken for your family’s pain and struggle. Much love and strength to all of you….

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    Lauren June 20, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    Sending love and strength to you and yours. If positive thoughts alone could make Chickie well, she’d be better tomorrow. I’m so sorry that isn’t the reality. Until she comes out the other side, we are here cheering for her.

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    Sheppitsgal June 20, 2012 at 6:07 am #

    I’m sorry, Mir, but this is another comment to say that I have no idea what to say.

    It feels strange for me to have such strong emotions over a family I have never met, or even known the real names of!

    All I can say is, stay strong, EAT CHOCOLATE, and please let us know how you are all getting on.

    Hugs xx

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    Tenessa June 20, 2012 at 6:12 am #

    Thank God, Chickee has a mom who loves her enough to be hated. <3

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    Nicki June 20, 2012 at 6:12 am #


    Thank you for sharing your struggles. I know it takes a lot of courage to reach out, to expose the raw wounds, to share the intimates details of your life. We went through something similar with Rachel, but not to this degree…cutting, suicidal, self-destructive, panic attacks, belligerent behavior… There has been tons of therapy, medications, and fights. We seem to be on the other side of it now. She’s 18.

    I don’t know if this is the hope you need, just know that I understand how hard it is to watch your smart, beautiful, promising daughter become a completely unlikable stranger. I know how hard it is to hang in there. Be glad you have a parenting team. We had a team of two and my undermining ex.

    Above all, know that I’m thinking of you daily, sending hugs and love. You have always amazed me with your strength, your courage, and your heart. If you ever need to vent, I’m an email away.

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    Lisa Kay June 20, 2012 at 6:32 am #

    Oh, Mir. I’m so sorry. Like all the others who commented, I wish I had “magic” words to say. I’ll be praying. That’s all I can offer from here in OK, but I promise, I’ll be praying.

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    JMH June 20, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    Prayers for all of you.

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    Gala June 20, 2012 at 6:46 am #

    Thank you for posting, and in doing so I hope it helped you in some small way. Sending you loving thoughts–my heart goes out to you and your family.

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    Sarah @MainlineMom June 20, 2012 at 6:48 am #

    Oh Mir. I am so so sorry! I know you are a fantastic mom but this is way beyond what any mom should have to deal with. I am so proud of you for writing all this, for being vulnerable. Ain’t no way I could do the same. I’m glad Chickadee is safe for now and you love her enough to get her the help she needs. I will pray, because I believe in that, for you and her and your entire family. I hope you have some serious friends close by and not just online that can help support you and be there for you. I just want to hug you.

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    Gennie June 20, 2012 at 6:49 am #

    I am so, so sorry, Mir. I have no words. Only tears as I imagine your pain, and awe at the courage it took to share it.

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    kris June 20, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    Oh, Mir. You are the bravest person I know. Sharing this, saying it aloud, is so incredibly courageous. I hope that in doing so, you have found a small measure of peace during a very turbulent time – there’s a few hundred of us that have your back, it would seem.

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    Christine H June 20, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Thanks for sharing. I’m blanking on the author, but… “You have to be brave in your life, so others can be brave in theirs.” You are, and hopefully she will be too ( and others who read this). I hope she gets the help that she needs, and that you and the rest of the family do too. Thinking of you lots.

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    Michelle June 20, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    I don’t know what to say. I wish a thousand wishes that there was something, anything that I could do for you and your family. I’m praying for all of you, as fast and hard as I can.

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    Laura June 20, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    I hope you are able to draw strength from hearing stories from parents of kids who have gone through similar situations and commenters who, themselves, have gone through them. There is another side to this and you have so many people out here praying and rooting for your family.

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    Donna June 20, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    Dear Mir and Otto and Monkey and Chickie,

    Do you feel lifted up? Because the Internets are roaring with love for you all. Your individual and collective courage and bravery are breathtaking, and we love you more than you could possiblly know. I hope you can feel lit.

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    Julie W June 20, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    I am so sorry. Be brave! And continue to love your daughter as only a mama can :)

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    Holly June 20, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    So many prayers beingbsent your way. You are a great mom devoted to your kids.

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    Elizabeth June 20, 2012 at 7:42 am #

    I have nothing to add that hasn’t already been said, but wanted to add my good thoughts and prayers for you, chickie, and your family.

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    Leigh June 20, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    Sending love your way. Know that you are not alone.

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    Mig June 20, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    My heart goes out to you and your family during this difficult time. Its easy for me to write “stay strong” but the reality is, as the Mom, you have to be strong. You have no choice but to be. You are doing the right thing, you are getting her the right treatment, even if sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. I suggest doing lots of reading about mental illness become the expert in it so you are prepared to provide direction for Chickadee when she comes home. She will come home, Mir. You will get through this. I’ve dealt with mental illness in my brother for my entire life (hearing voices, difficulty in dealing with others, bipolar, manic episodes) and I truly feel that the better handle you have on it, the better prepared you will be to help her make all those important decisions she will face as she grows up. You can do this and I know you can do it with flair and style. And if you need someone to tell you that it will be okay and you will get through it, just read all your comments. These people are truly inspiring with their support. Lean on those around you who want to help. Use your resources and above all … wine and dark chocolate on a regular basis. ~hugs~

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    Joan Allison June 20, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    Thank you for saying “Us, too.”

    My mom, too, so I have some clue what you’re going through.

    I don’t have kids, but I can only imagine how hard it must be to watch your daughter go through this–indeed, to go through it with her.

    And to have to deal with a mental illness while dealing with her undiagnosed physical illness…I can only say that you, Chickadee and the rest of your family will be in my prayers.

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    heidi June 20, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    All of my thoughts and prayers are with you and yours. May this be the absolute bottom of the pit of hell. May you be on your way out of this horror. I’m so sorry you are all going through this.

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    Leslie June 20, 2012 at 7:58 am #


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    Kate June 20, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    Mir, I read your blog every day, but I rarely comment. By sharing your harrowing story here, you have unleashed such an intense torrent of love and support from people far and wide, people crying on their keyboards, people sending your whole family light, love, hope, and positive energy. You don’t know me, but I’m one of those people.

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    emily June 20, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    Mir, I’m so very sorry for what you’re going through. I will be praying for you, Chickie, and the whole family as you navigate this very difficult time. Much love to you.

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    Mrs. Q. June 20, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    To say your words moved me to tears is an understatement. That is one of the most heart-breaking things I have ever read. I am so, so very sorry for all your family is going through and sending prayers, positive thoughts and good vibes your way.

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    Sunshine June 20, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    I’ve been reading here for years (back when your house kept flooding) and rarely comment. But I wanted to add my thoughts and prayers for you, for Chickie, for your whole family. I am so very sorry this is happening. It’s not fair.

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    Kelly June 20, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    Thank you for sharing your life with us. You have helped many people in ways I can only imagine. ~Be strong, be brave.

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    Karen Bertram June 20, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    Us too. And I will share with you what someone shared with me while I sat in a hospital ER waiting to see if our insurance would admit my son somewhere after he cut his wrists open…

    This isn’t the whole story of your child’s life, this is just a chapter.

    And you know what? It was true. There is a BEFORE that you long for and there is the NOW that is so horrible you can’t breathe but there WILL be another chapter and it will be call AFTER.

    You can do this. You can. Even when you think you can’t.

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    Jannelle June 20, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    I was your daughter. I was hospitalized a bunch of times, but myself, had a few eating disorders. Scared the daylights out of my mom and greater family. I’m 32 now, I have two daughters of my own, and while the relationship still feels new sometimes and is still growing, I have one with my mom again. I haven’t had any trouble” in 10 years or so. It is so painful, I know, so terrifying. Hang in there. Take care of yourself. Don’t stop saying “I love you.” I will hold your family and your daughter in my heart.

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    chris in NY June 20, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    My brother’s first wife went through a lot of the same things, but she was in her 20s. She is now a happy, healthy 50 year old (although married to someone else, but that happens). There is hope. It gets beter. Hang in there.

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    Katherine @ Postpartum Progress June 20, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    People don’t understand, do they, how serious mental illness is? How it affects not only the person suffering but everyone else around her. How scary it is. How frustrating it is that psychiatry is not an exact science where the doctors can look at a set of symptoms and say with 100% certainty, “This is what this is and this is how we fix it.” Terrifying. I worry so much for both of my children, who have two parents who have it but are stable.

    I’m so sorry Mir. I have watched my parents worry over my sister, who has been hospitalized more than once since her teens. I have watched one of my dearest friends go through the experience of having her son diagnosed (maybe, since no one is quite clear on it yet) with PANDAS. In his case he has severe OCD that affects every area of his life. I have watched my own life fall apart, albeit temporarily, because of postpartum depression. I’m just so sorry, because I know in some small way the sadness and loss and fear that you feel.

    I’m praying for you and your family. I’m praying for answers, for effective treatments and for stability.
    ~ K

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    Maria June 20, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    You and your family have been on my mind these last months and especially this last week when your blog was ‘silent’. Your strength amazes me. I’m sending prayers your way.

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    Kady June 20, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    Sending prayers and love your way. You’ve got the whole internet pulling for you and Chickie here.

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    Zilla June 20, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    Oh my…I wish I knew what to say…….please know you and your family are in our hearts and prayers.

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    Jamie June 20, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    I’ve been reading you for years, and I really don’t have any words to say. I do, however, want to chime in with the fact that we over here are praying for you over there.

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    Jenna June 20, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Mir; I have words, but I can’t say all of them. I will let you know that some of my story parallels Chickadees and if you ever want to talk, I’m available.

    Thinking of you and yours.

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    abbiejoy June 20, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    So, so sorry Chickie is going through this, and that you all are. Sending warm thoughts and hoping for things to get better. She may not know it now, but she is very lucky to have parents who will do this to help her get better. Thank you for sharing.

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    Kristy June 20, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    So very dreadfully sorry for what your family is going through right now. I will be praying for healing for all of you. Thank you for being brave enough to share this with your “public.” I can’t imagine the courage that took.

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    brigitte June 20, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    Aw, honey. The fates are seeming so evil right now; you are the best mama I know of, giving more and more, and they keep raising the bar on you.

    Love, hugs, and hopes that Chickadee will eventually respond well to treatment. And also some fist-shaking at the fates.

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    Marsh June 20, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    Mental illness is so evil because it’s not like a broken arm where the path is clear, the patient cooperative and friends think it’s normal. It’s murky. You are doing all the right things. My daughter had a similar year a a half, but graduated from San Diego State last month and is completely well. It gets better. Hugs.

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    Lizneust June 20, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    Mir – you and yours are in my prayers. I wish that it could simply be wiped out by a diagnosis or a pill or some medical treatment. You are so strong and so brave, although I wish you didn’t have to be. Please try and take care of yourself as you take care of others.

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    charlene June 20, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    My heart goes out to you and your family. May Chicky find peace and realize that the doctors are there to help. May she realize that the medicine she is given is there to help her feel better. Also, remember to take care of yourself and the family. Everyone is suffering. Take care and know people are rooting for you guys

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    Caroline June 20, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    Joining the hug/prayer circle here in Texas.

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    CuriousParty June 20, 2012 at 8:43 am #


    I am so, so sorry to read this. I had feared a physical illness, which while complicated, and confusing, and often difficult to treat is….well, physical. Mental illness is all of those things and also in some way both more and less visceral. It causes such agony but can’t be “cut out” as a previous commenter mentioned.

    I have not stood in your shoes as a mom, yet. But I have stood in Monkey’s shoes as a sibling (though not with parents who were aware, and proactive, and let me tell you Monkey is so fortunate to have that). I have stood in a young adult sibling’s shoes with juuussstt enough knowledge to have a gasp of recognition and then had to be the not-quite-professional-yet to tell (my own) parents – “Do you see That? That is not this. That is THIS. THIS needs Help. NOW.” I have stood in an adult professional’s shoes and had to tell parents, and other professionals, and kids – That is This. That other thing? We don’t know yet. But we need to do This, That, and the Other Thing, and we need to Learn, and Hope, and Watch and Wait. I have signed hospitalization forms, and argued with teams to keep patients (including my sibling) longer, and had vigorous debates with (not to say yelled at) insurance companies.

    And often I have gone home and cried, because although I am not family to most of the people I try to help, what I do know and what I don’t know is painful on this end of things too. I know that they miss the Before, and I know there are many possibilities for After, but I live with my families in the Through. And the Through sucks.

    I am now a mom, and I know in a very sharp and painful way that I may be living my very own Before. I hug them hard, and watch them closely, and hope and pray that this will pass us by, and that I will stand strong if it does not.

    I am grateful for you that you have support in your marriage, and in all your co-parents. I am grateful for Chickadee that she has people who know they “can’t love this away.” I am grateful for Monkey that he has people who will see, and act, and protect, as well as love. These things are all so valuable, and they will carry you Through to After. It is coming. Keep breathing.

    PS – because I live in the Through I may have some knowledge/resources/information that is helpful, and if you think I might please PM anytime.

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    Melanie June 20, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    From the perspective of the daughter with severe mental illness, thank you. Thank you for not ignoring her problems, thank you for getting her help and letting her hate you. I’m so sorry. I know you want your Chickie back. She is still in there. One day things will settle out. I believe.

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    HG June 20, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    Oh Mir. There is absolutely nothing I can say other than I’ve read you for years and years, loved your family as much as one can with a virtual relationship, and you and Chickie and Monkey and their dad and Otto are all in my thoughts constantly. Praying for recovery and rest…

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    Kristine N June 20, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Hugs for you … I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing your story.. I am praying for you whole family at this time…..

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    Katie in MA June 20, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Oh, Mir. I wish so much that I could help. You are an excellent mother, and Chickie is a beautiful, funny young woman who is so loved. You are doing the right thing; they are not easy things, but they are the right things. You’re doing what you need to to help your daughter and it. will. work. It might be slow-going, it’s probably going to suck – a LOT and for too much time – but Chickie will get better. You will get better. Your family will get better. Don’t worry about the moments when it’s hard to picture, because so, so many of us are pulling for you and sending prayers and healing, happy thoughts.

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    alexa June 20, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    I’m so sorry. I’m think of you and your family.

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    Valerie June 20, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    A friend of mine, a pediatric oncology social worker, once told me a story, the first time I learned her 18 year old son suffered with mental illness. She said if her son had cancer, her house would be filled with friends and casseroles. Her family had suffered for years in silence, that no one talks about mental illness. She wanted a casserole. She wanted acknowledgment for the years of tears and trying, hoping and helping and loving. She needed support. She was right. I had known her for years and had no idea what she was really going through.

    Every parent of a teenager misses that sweet time of blowing bubbles and coming home to sidewalk chalk drawings on the driveway. As children grow, we lose that role as the most favorite person in the world. I am so sorry for all of the losses you are facing. “Before” feels right and comfortable and flawed in a totally relatable way we cherish.

    I find you quite amazing. You are real, despite your struggles. I can’t thank you enough for setting the bar so high, as a writer, as a woman, and as a mother. Take care of yourself while you take care of your family, Mir. You are remarkable and so is your daughter.

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    elizabeth June 20, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    I don’t comment often, but wanted to add my voice to the other nearly 400 people wishing you peace and light and all the magic mojo. I’ve got nothing original, just more of the same.
    (((really awkward internet hugs)))

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    Emily June 20, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    I am so, so sorry you and Chickadee and your family are going through all this. There are no words that will make it better, but I hope things start to stabilize and settle down soon. Sending you much love.

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    Lindsey P June 20, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    Mir, I’ve loved reading about you and your family for years now. I am mostly a lurker, but comment every once in awhile. No, you don’t know me, but I feel like I know you.
    You have overcome so much and worked so hard and inspired me so much. I am scared for Chickadee… and hope that she can get better. I am glad you opened up, because I truly was worried for you and her. Give hugs to all those around you, and accept these virtual hugs from those you don’t know.

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    Jenne June 20, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    There aren’t words enough. Sending love and down-on-my-knees prayers for all of you.

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    Kathy June 20, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    Oh Mir, I’m so sorry for Chickie and for you and all your family. I’m praying for you.

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    Beth R June 20, 2012 at 9:05 am #

    Just a hug and sending good thoughts your way. Wish I could send you some strength and some healing, too.

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    claudia098 June 20, 2012 at 9:05 am #

    I’m so sorry for what you’re all going through. Thank you for having the courage to share this with us. Keep up your strength, for yourself, your son, and of course your daughter.

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    Aimee June 20, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    Oh, Mir. I don’t know what to say. I am so sorry. There is something so terrifying about not being able to help someone you love.

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    anon June 20, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    So sorry you’re going through such a hard time. Things will get better over time and some day your daughter will thank you for being strong and tough and knowing how and where to keep her safe until the storm passed.
    The doctors will find what’s wrong and fix it, don’t lose faith or hope.
    Be sure to take care of yourselves, all of you.

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    Sandra Tayler June 20, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    Thank you for sharing. I’m sending you prayers.

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    wendy June 20, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    Mir….I’ve been following your blog since Yahoo named you pick of the day (a long time!). I always thought our lives where so similar, mine was just being played out on the west coast. I was a single mom of 2 kids (girl & boy in that order) that are just 2 years older than yours. I ended up marrying an amazing man who loves my kids. I found you were dealing with a lot of the same things I was or already had with the kids and blended families. You’ve always been inspiring! And funny! And I love you and your honesty……and so know that you are not alone in this and yes, it does happen to other families far more than you might know. My daughter (now 16) has spent the last year and a half dealing with depression and becoming someone I do not know as well. There was cutting and isolating and lying and meds, and then other meds, and then more meds. There as a stay at a ‘faciltiy’ for a few days while talk of suicide was a serious consideration. There was/is therapy…family, individual. Ours is not exactly like yours, but its still my baby being sick and me feeling powerless. But it does get better. Not perfect, but better. And it’s incremental and slow and shitty. But. its. better. Don’t give up. And most of all don’t let her give up. And yes…loving her enough to let her hate you is an amazing gift she may not appreciate until later. At least I’m hoping so….

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    Rutham June 20, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Cling to hope, and to love.

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    dgm June 20, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    I wish you and your family strength and peace, and the courage to press on. I can’t imagine how grueling this is for all of you. Thank you so much for sharing. Know that we are all pulling for you!

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    cath in ottawa June 20, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Oh,my heart goes out to you. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

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    Mary June 20, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    Oh, I am so sorry. All I can say is I will keep you all in my prayers, especially Chickadee. I just wish there was more I could do.

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    Mandy June 20, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    I’m delurking just to say that I am so very sorry to read what’s happening. You and your family are in my thoughts.

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    Jessica Ashley (Sassafrass) June 20, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    That fucking line of before and after. I am sending up prayers and thoughts to the universe that you have a moment of peace today. xo

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    JennyA June 20, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    My heart is breaking for you. I don’t know if I really pray, exactly, but whatever it is that I do, I’m doing it as hard as I can for you, and Chickadee, and Monkey and Otto and Chickie’s dad and everyone.

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    Angela June 20, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    I am so sorry to hear what a rough time C and your family are going through. You are definitely in my thoughts and prayers. You are a wonderful mother, and I hope and pray that your After comes soon.

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    cindy June 20, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    You are so brave. You, Chickadee, and your family are in my thoughts. I wish you peace and healing for your daughter.

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    Jan in Norman, OK June 20, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    The prayers and good thoughts go without saying. For what it’s worth, it’s pretty clear that you have a world-wide network of support. So, if you need anything tangible or “practical” — information, specialists, medication, whatever — just put out the call. I’m pretty sure that we, the foot-soldiers in Mir’s Army, could locate it in short order.

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    Cara June 20, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    I am so sorry you are all going through this. I will pray for her recovery and the family’s peace of mind.

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    Michele June 20, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    I, too, pretty much spend each day wondering “is this the day the break comes? Is this the day that I send my oldest to residential treatment? Is this the day I have to make the big decisions – or are they going to be made for me?” It is so frustrating and heartbreaking and infuriating to watch the descent. What’s the right move for them? What’s the right move for us? Who the hell is going to pay for this? Oh – and my other kid needs to bathe, eat, and do his homework, too. I’m sorry you’re going through this. But I’m so glad for Chickie that you are her mom.

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    Barbara June 20, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Another lurker delurking. I read your post last night (Europe time) and it has been with me ever since (and probably will be for a while). My heart breaks a little everytime I think of you and your family. The internet is a weird place where it is normal that I feel like I know you and your family (even though that is not really true) whilst you have no idea who I am. But what I know for sure is that you are an amazing woman and an amazing mother. Your family, Otto, Monkey and Chickadee are incredible people as well and I pray and wish that you will alltogether get through this. I pray and believe that there will be an after for you.

    There really is nothing to say, except that I wish I could send you that casserole a commenter above me mentioned and that I hope you know that there are so many of us wishing you the strength to deal with this, whilst knowing you already have it, just because we’ve seen you exhibit it throughout the years we’ve been reading your blog.

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    Grace June 20, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Sending all the love and prayers I can. I wish there wre more I could do, but know I and many others are praying, hard.

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    Mr Lady June 20, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    Oh my lord, Mir. I wish i could take this from you.

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    Heidi June 20, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    You are a wonderful, caring, loving mom. Sending you non-creepy internet hugs, smooches and powerful strength.

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    Andrea June 20, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Mir, I cannot imagine the horror you are living, but as a mother, I can totally relate to the deep, deep love you have for your child. You are so brave and so wise to share this as you have. In just glancing through the many many comments, it is clear you are not alone. You are never alone. My prayers are with you.

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    Andrea June 20, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    I’ll keep on praying for you all…You hang in there and hang onto each other. You have a world full of people out here pulling for you.
    Loving her enough to let her hate you, that is the best example of being a wonderful parent that I’ve ever seen. You have always been, and continue to be an inspiration.
    Your family is all so loved by so many people that you’ve never met. We’ll keep listening when you want to talk, and praying for you when you don’t.

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    Kate M June 20, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    I am so sorry that you’re all going through this. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

    I know that so many people in the comments I’ve read have expressed a desire to do *something*, and I’m with them. We’re all emotionally invested in your family. Please consider having a friend set up a GoFundMe account or something similar to let us offer more practical help too so you can at least have some breathing room financially.

    God bless.

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    beachgal June 20, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Wow. Hugs and prayers to you and yours. You have been on my mind, and while hoping for an update, this is not what I imagined. There aren’t words, at least not ones that I can string together to express my dismay.

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    RegularCinderella June 20, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    I can’t stop thinking about you and Chickadee and your family. Sending you all the Good I can gather. Hugs.

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    Amy@Binkytowne June 20, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    Mir, I held my breath as I read your words. My heart breaks for you and I wish for healing but I also wish for you all the strength you need to keep fighting for your daughter. I know nothing is more important to you than that.

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    Jessica June 20, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    You and your family are all already in my prayers, but this…this is something I understand and can (and will) pray circles around for days. I remember when my mother’s mental illness started standing out in my mind, when it started making her into a completely different person. Most people who know my mom today cannot imagine the woman who was my mother until I was about ten. THAT woman was responsible and outgoing and interesting and caring about everyone around her. THIS woman is childish and irresponsible and cares so little about so few things. Medicated, THIS woman is a bit better than otherwise, but every time she realizes “I’m better!”, she goes off-meds and then isn’t better at all.

    I’ve carried many suitcases in my brain full of the things my mom has said or done, things that most people can’t imagine having happened to me. I’m always amazed when I meet someone who has had such harshness in their life and they seem so happy and well adjusted. And then my husband reminds me that he feels that way about me, about how I came out the other side of this experience. What he doesn’t understand, sometimes, is how I still love my mom, despite everything she said and did.

    Here’s how: She’s my mom. The THIS that has said those things to me isn’t all there is to my mom, and i know what she has locked inside. It’s like a little box of herself that she can’t get to, can’t unlock, can’t seem to let free to be what she really wants to be and what she once was.

    And here’s how Chickie knows you love her: you’re her mom and she is your daughter and you are doing your best for her. Somewhere, something inside her knows that this, this that she thinks she’s just enduring? It’s love. It’s the greatest love imaginable, because you want so much to take her in your arms, pull her to you, and never let her out of your sight again. But you’re willing to let her out of your sight for her to get the help she needs, no matter how much it hurts you, hurts Otto, hurts her dad, hurts Monkey, and yes, hurts her. You are all in so much pain right now, because there’s this little lockbox inside Chickie’s brain that is holding her hostage. What you and I know is that she wants to control all of the stuff going on inside, but what we both also know is that the key was somehow lost. Sometimes, she may find the key and pull the treasure out to look, but she can’t just pull herself out and put that self on again like she wants to. Something keeps it in that box, no matter what.

    I’m praying with everything inside me that you, your family, your daughter’s doctors and specialists, and your daughter can find that key and get the lost Chickie back into her rightful self. I can’t get into my mom’s mind, but I imagine that losing who you always have been and not knowing why or where you have gone has to hurt like hell. For everyone involved.

    Let us know if there is anything we can do to help, even financially. I get that, too. Mental health medical care in this country sucks, Mir.

  423. 423
    Little Bird June 20, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    I’ve got nothing else to offer. Not that would be of any help anyway. I just wanted to tell you that I’m thinking of you and yours and hoping for the best possible outcome.

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    Lisa June 20, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    I just stumbled on your blog by accident a month or so ago, and I’ve been reading avidly to catch up and loving your writing, your family and most of all, you. Even as a mother of four, all grown up now, all I can offer is love and good thoughts, and the absolute conviction that this situation will pass and that you will ALL grow in strength and wisdom because of it. Much love to you and your family, and extra loving thoughts to Monkey, since it is hard hard hard to stand by and watch people you love hurting without being able to fix it.

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    Jessica June 20, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    I’ve worked as a juvenile public defender. I saw a lot of kids in this situation, except a lot of them came from families that didn’t put in as much effort and time and love as you obviously have. I can honestly tell you that you have made a difference for your child. I’ve seen what happens when families don’t, you have done so much for her. I hope you can remember that. Wishing you and your family the best.

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    Linda June 20, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    I wish Chickadee had one of the physical medical problems I imagined she was dealing with, something serious & chronic. But something you could deal with easier than this.

    One blessing is that she got ill now, before she comes of age. Unless a person is a threat to themselves or others, once they are over 18, if they don’t agree to treatment, you force them.
    Our son was over 18 when he starting using drugs. Our doctor said from his symptoms, he was probably bipolar, who often self-medicate with drugs. We tried to get him help, but since he was over 18, I couldn’t even make him an appointment with the Mental Health Dept. I know his life would be happier and easier if he could have gotten therapy then.
    My prayers are with you and your family.

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    Kim June 20, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    I am so sorry. I hope that writing, sharing about it helps. Please do take care of yourself, in whatever ways you can.

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    teachergirl June 20, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    i don’t have any words either, except to say that the amount of love that i have seen in these comments is surely the most powerful force in the world. even if it doesn’t make everything all better, i hope feeling the amount of love, light, and prayers that are being sent your way, from mama hearts and from daddy hearts and from the very brave folks who have shared their own journeys into the place where Chickadee is now, will lessen your burden just enough to allow you to breathe a little more deeply.

    you are loved. you are watched over. you are not alone.

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    Issa June 20, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    I am unsure if I’ve ever commented here in all the years that I’ve been reading. I am today just to say, I’m another person sitting here reading your words, hoping and praying for your girl to get better, no matter how long it takes.

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    Sharon June 20, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    Thinking of you, all of you ~

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    Susan June 20, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    So sorry for all that you’re going through. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Chickie and the rest of your family.

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    Raquel June 20, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    Dear Mir and Family,
    Your family’s travails over the years have made me laugh and cry. And though I don’t comment much, hardly at all, I look forward every day to what you write about. I am so honored, truly honored, that you would share your story with us. And I hope that your story and your daughter’s will be met with the honor and love you all deserve. Please, please keep writing. Support will be here for you.–Raquel

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    Arina June 20, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    Hugs. I’m thinking of you.

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    Gaylin June 20, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Mir, Chickadee is so fortunate that you are all willing to help her, that you are willing to put her in the hospital for her own sake. I am so glad you have Otto and Monkey to keep you centered at home. Remember to eat, try to sleep, accept all hugs that come your way.

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    Annette June 20, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    Just know that I am continuing to pray for all of you….I am very sorry for all of the suffering.

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    Allisone June 20, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Nothing but love and support from me, Dearie. While I am sure you have moments when you feel like you are doing everything wrong, please believe me when I say you are handling this with strength, love and grace – exactly like I hope I would if I were to walk in your shoes.

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    Leah June 20, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Sending you a lot of love and prayers. My friends daughter did and said a lot of what you wrote about Chickie. She was diagnosed bi polar and something else (at this moment it slips my memory). Medication helps, not perfect but helps. I watched my friend go through those struggles and it was so hard.
    I am praying for you, you are making all the right decisions for your daughter. I appreciate your transparency in this post. I am so sorry for what you are going thru. Thank you so much for the update, you have many strangers here that love your family.

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    Janna June 20, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    I’ve never commented before, but I feel compelled to do so now. I am sorry that life has dealt you & your family this horrible turn of events. No one should ever have to go through what you are going through. I am praying for peace & healing, for Chickadee, for you, for your entire famliy. Keep fighting.

  439. 439
    Sheila June 20, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    My heart is breaking for you, like everyone else here. I hope that the sharing in these comments gives you all more hope to hold, and that you feel lifted by the sincere love and caring all your readers have for you, Chickie, Otto, Monkey and the rest of the WCS family.

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    Swistle June 20, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    I’m so glad you wrote about this.

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    Jenine June 20, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    But for the grace of God… is alI can think. I want something even better than *before* for you all. I want *after*. Sending love and concern.

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    Rachel June 20, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    I’m so sorry, Mir. You and your Chickadee have been in my thoughts and prayers. I hope and pray this residential placement will find a solution.

    I’m so glad you’re able to work with your ex for what’s best for your kids. And I’m so glad you have family support and Otto to help you get through.

    Love and hugs to all of you

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    ememby June 20, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    Thank you for bravely putting this out there for yourself and for others and someday for Chickie to see how much you really do love her. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing.

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    Liz June 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    Please put up a donate button, or give us an email address to Paypal.

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    Lisa in NJ June 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    I’m so sorry Mir. I can only offer prayers and hugs… I pray to the Lord above that they figure out what’s going on and you get your daughter back. I pray for you, otto, your ex and of course your son and daughter to have strength to get through this.

  446. 446
    Leanne June 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Here’s another person who you don’t know, but who knows you through years of reading your blog. I am heart broken for you and wish there was something I could do for you all. What I can do is say thanks for sharing – thanks for your honesty and bravery in sharing. I hope it gave you some comfort – if only for a moment – to get these words and emotions out. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  447. 447
    Beth June 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    dammit… just dammit…

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    Meg June 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    Mir, thank you for writing about this. So many families are touched by mental illness and feel so isolated since there is still a stigma about discussing this.

    I, too, am a long-time reader that never comments, but love reading your amazing writing. Sending hugs, prayers and positive thoughts to you, Chickadee, Monkey, Otto and your ex for healing, love, peace and hope. Most of all for the doctors to find the right mix of meds and therapy to get your girl back to you very soon. I hope the outpouring of love and support from your readers helps in some small way.

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    Lori June 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Mir, It seems inadequate, but my prayers are with you and your family. Hold tight to Otto, kiss and hug Monkey, love Chickie enough to let her hate you, but also oh so important…..take care of yourself. Its okay to be angry. Its okay to fall apart. Then as Mother’s we dust ourselves off and straighten our back bone and begin to fight for our children again. They are worth every moment.

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    Jan June 20, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    Man. Really difficult.

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    Jean June 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    Mir, so VERY sorry for what you and your family are having to deal with at this time. My heart was in my throat as I read your post. My thoughts have been and continue to be with you. I can only imagine the hell this must be for all of you. Further words fail me. I wish I could help somehow. Hoping that you find some solace in the midst of all this…

  452. 452
    Christine June 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    I don’t have words, but I do have prayer. I pray for strength and guidance for you and Chickadee, and I pray that you both find peace.

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    Shannon June 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    Thank you for your pure honesty ! Mental illness on any level is terrifying! <3 I'm glad you were able to see the signs so soon and get some help – I know that help doesn't make up for your sleepless nights or the headaches from sobbing or the guilt that some how ths is your fault – your lovely chickadee is in there behind those eyes -she's there and always will be – she knows you love her. Many many hugs

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    liz June 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Sitting at my computer at work sobbing. I am so sorry that you are all going through this.

    Why aren’t they focusing more on PANDAS? It does seem very much to match her history. Did you see that there is a treatment trial going on?

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    Rachel June 20, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Not sure what to say other than you will continue to be in my prayers.

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    Amy June 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    Mir, I don’t know you, other than what you present in your beautiful, raw writings. But I sense a fiercely determined strength about you that will not yield. You already said it best – you love her enough to let her hate you. I don’t think anything is harder than being a parent of someone with a mental illness. My family went through (and in some ways, still go through) years of anguish watching my sister flounder and try destroy herself and those around her. One of the hardest parts, besides watching it all happen and feeling utterly helpless, was keeping that part of your life hidden and trying to cover it up. I’ve come to realize as uncomfortable as it is to uncover it all, it is far more healing to let everything see the light of day. I will keep you, Chickie and your family in my thoughts. Thank you for sharing what you are going through – you are not alone.

  457. 457
    Michelle June 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Just wanted to add to the love for you and your family. Just like there is a before, there will also be an after. I’ve been reading your blog since I was a newlywed 8 years ago, and now I’m having a little girl of my own. If I can parent her with half the love, strength and tenacity you have given Chickie, I will have done something right. Thanks for sharing your story so honestly.

  458. 458
    Karishma June 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    My heart is ACHING for you. I’ve been meaning to write you an email for the past couple weeks, and so much time went by in the midst of my own upheaval, and then I read this.

    Mir, you are incredible. You are an incredible mother, and Chickie is so blessed to have someone who would do absolutely anything to make her better again. I hope you never doubt this, but just in case, I wanted to say it again. Your family is amazing, and has gone through so much. The other side will come! It may take a while, but it will. You never have to explain anything here that you don’t want to, but there is so much love and support for you for when you need it. Good luck to all of you, and I pray that answers start coming soon.

  459. 459
    Jenny, Bloggess June 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    I don’t know what you’re going through but I know what your daughter is going through on some level. I have Impulse Control Disorder and it sounds like she does too.

    What I can tell you is that it does get better. The drugs and therapy eventually help. You eventually learn other methods of coping. You slip sometimes but you learn and you find what works and what doesn’t and you keep going. You learn that your brain is lying to you and learn when to listen to it and when not to. It never goes away completely but it gets so much better.

    There is hope.

    Please tell your daughter there is hope.

  460. 460
    Tanya June 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. It helps all of us when anyone of us share right? My family has a long and complicated history with mental health issues. Some of us have had tremendous success with a micro-nutrient product. I don’t want to seem like I’m doing “advertising” on your site but if you are interested just find me on twitter (that’s how I found you – a friend retweeted a blog to this link!). I just pray you can find some peace and wanted to reach out in case you hadn’t heard of it. It changed the lives of everyone in our family when our dad got well.

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    Suebob June 20, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    Oh, sweet pea. I wish I could make everything all better. This has got to be one of the hardest things on earth.

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    Gwen June 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I am so sorry you are having to go through this, and so grateful you have been able to write it out, as wrenching as that must have been. I am holding all of your family in my heart.

  463. 463
    Avitable June 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    Mir, I don’t have anything to say that’s of any value, but in this man’s eyes, you’re doing everything you can and you have been as strong as a person can be. I cannot imagine being in your shoes and having to make the decisions you’ve made. Lots of love, hugs, and respect to you.

  464. 464
    Julie in Colorado June 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Mir, you are an amazing mom and you have an amazing family! I’m praying your After will be here very soon, and praying for strength, calm, and patience for you and your family. Internet hugs to all of you, especially your sweet Chickadee.

  465. 465
    Nothing But Bonfires June 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry — I don’t even know what to say, Mir. Just know that I’m thinking of all of you and sending as much love as it’s appropriate to receive from someone on the Internet. Hoping there’s light at the end of the tunnel soon.

  466. 466
    ben June 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    I’m number 462; and I don’t know if you will ever read this. Giant hugs for you Mir, I can so empathize with you and your family right now. I’m on a different road but seeing much of the same landscape. I wish you strength for the journey, it will be a long one I’m afraid.

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    Amy June 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Just wanted to let you know I was here and hoping for something good to find you and your family soon.

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    Viviane June 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    I saw your post this morning, and thought about it all day. I have been this mom on this end of the telephone. I am positive there will be better days. Trust her, and trust yourself. Big big big hugs.

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    Dawn June 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    My heart is breaking for you. Thinking of your family during this ridiculously hard time.

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    Diane June 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Another long-time reader here. Thank you for being brave enough to write about this, it’s so important. Sending lots of good vibes and prayers to you and your family.

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    JP June 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    Wow. Just wow. So much to deal with, I can understand it being overwhelming. Your writing is always great, but sharing these difficult things truly lets your gift of words shine and give a glimpse into your life – hence why we all feel like we know a slice of you and your family and why we care so much. Mental health issues, as others have said are insidious, murky things with no clear cut answers and finding our what works best for Chickie drags you all through the long road of therapists, hospitals, etc. This is the Now, which can really suck, but there will be the After. It can’t and won’t be the same as Before, but we are all rooting for it to bring you peace, answers and a new normal. Best wishes to you, Otto, Monkey, Monkey & Chickie’s Dad and of course – Chickie herself.

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    Michelle June 20, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    Good grief!! What an awful burden to carry, I’m praying you can find the inner strength and wisdom you will need going forward. I’m praying for the doctors who are caring for Chickadee and sending you as much peace as I can muster. I’m praying for Otto, Monkey and your ex. Hopefully there are enough of us like minded folks that we can pray this one away. . .

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    Jenny June 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Chickie accomplished one heck of a lot this year, in spite of what her illness was doing to her, to all of you. To me, that says she’s got awesome family support, in addition to her own considerable strengths. Thank you for your candor, and best wishes.

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    Stacy June 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    I’m so, so sorry this is happening to your family.

    As I hit puberty, my severe mental illness came roaring in and everything turned upside down for my family. It was hard.. I hated everyone, but desperately wanted to be held and loved. My mouth would be yelling all these hateful, horrible things but the back of my brain was saying, “shut up, you don’t mean any of this, be quiet”, but I just couldn’t turn my anger off. It took a few years, but things eventually got better.. still mentally ill, but with an understanding of how to be crazy but still functional and successful. Thankfully, my mom was a lot like you and just kept loving me through everything – but still held me accountable for my behavior and didn’t let standards slip just because I was crazy. That was the biggest thing that helped me grow up to be a productive adult.

    I was able to finish grad school, start a career and then leave it to be a SAHM. Happily married for 11 years now. I talk to my Mom daily and couldn’t love her more. You and Chickie will there. Don’t let yourself think there will be no end. Things might be harder for Chickie than most people, but it’s still doable. I’m 38 now and each year gets easier. You guys will get there, you really will.

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    Trish C June 20, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    If only this could be solved by adding some baking soda.

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    Morgaine Fey June 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    Oh, Mir. Love to you and your family. I have read your stories for so long and have always wondered how you could share so much. And now you have shared more than I thought possible. You have support from those of us who read you (invisible box people though we are) and I sincerely hope that between your physical network and us you feel that support.

    I hope so much that Chickie get’s better.


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    Corey June 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    You’re so brave, Mir. You all are in my thoughts.

    Also, you may have already, but check with a lawyer on that insurance/custody thing.

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    Michelle June 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Dear Mir,

    Thank you for sharing this incredibly difficult story, because you are not alone. The number of comments on this post alone shows how many people suffer, mostly in silence.

    I lived through my mother’s mental illness, where she would say anything to get out of the hospital. It hurts when the one you love will say one thing to your face, and then does another thing a moment later. It’s bewildering, confusing and extremely difficult to deal with.

    My mother was diagnosed as bipolar, which she never accepted. She didn’t take her medication. She fought with everyone who tried to help. Her story didn’t end well, but please have faith that Chickadee’s story can.

    We are all rooting for you and your family!


    P.S.: If Chickadee does believe food is part of the issue, you may want to explore an enzyme therapist in your area. I’ve always wondered if simple hormonal balancing and better nutrition would have helped my family.

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    Susan June 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Keeping you and your entire family in my thoughts and prayers. I can’t imagine what you are going through, but I hope you know how much you are loved.

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    Susan in SF June 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm #


    Another long-time reader here (I remember your posts at Fertile Thoughts, then found your blog from a mention there). I wish there was something I could do or say that would ease the pain you’re in. Thank you for being brave and honest. You have a huge network of support that will be with you as you find your way through this crisis. You and your family WILL find your way through.

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    Tonja June 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    Oh Mir, I’ve been reading your blog for so many years that I’ve lost count. I hurt for you and your family.

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    Nancy June 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Mir- I am crying for you and all of you. Especially your girl.

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    squorkymama June 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    Just a lurker here, who read this post twice and cried harder the second time than the first and immediately went and hugged her kids extra tight.

    I’ve been thinking of your family often in the past few weeks. Prayers offered, and know that all of us in the shiny box are pulling for your (very pretty) family.

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    Naomi June 20, 2012 at 3:02 pm #


    I’ve been following your blog for years, and love your honesty and writing. I live on the other side of the world and feel like we’re nextdoor neighbors.

    Thank you so much for sharing this story.

    Wish you and your family all the strength and courage in the world to get through these times. You guys mean a lot to an awful lot of people.

    Big big hugs.

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    Karen June 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    Mir, at this time, I feel like no words I say can make any difference to you, or the amount of prayer for that matter. I feel so sad and helpless for you, and know your feelings of the same must be amplified million times over. My heart breaks for you.

    Regardless, I hope to send you much love and prayers for your whole family. I’ve been thinking of you so often and I’ll continue to be here with support, along with the other 470+ people who love you.

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    Lauren June 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    I’m so sorry to hear about this and can only imagine how scared you must feel. Thank you for sharing your experience honestly. I am sure that many, many parents of sick children — mentally ill, physically ill, both — will find this entry and feel less alone. I hope you feel less alone, too.

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    Emilie June 20, 2012 at 3:43 pm #


    I have a mother who struggles with chronic depression & continues to believe it is some sort of weakness/moral failing on her part. She grew up with the stigma of mental illness: that it’s something that you should just snap out of, that you should be stronger than it. It’s not. It’s a disease & requires professional treatment, just like cancer or any other physical ailment. I say this to thank you for speaking out about Chickadee’s illness & treatment. The more we remove the veil – the more we acknowledge that it isn’t a failing on the part of the individual – that mental illness is just as real as cancer, as the flu, as appendicitis – maybe affected individuals will feel less shame about seeking treatment.

    Like the 500 or so comments before mine, I’m so sorry this particular hurdle has been put in your path. But I thank you immensely for your honesty & detail. It has the potential to help so many. Your family is in my prayers. I pray the light at the end of this tunnel comes quickly. Much love to all of you.

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    Katie in CA June 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    Oh Mir and Family. I wish I could do something to help. My prayers with you guys.

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    ruchi June 20, 2012 at 4:15 pm #


    I have been thinking of you nonstop since you posted that blog post. I am so, so, sorry for you, for Otto, for Monkey, and most of all for that utterly incredible, brilliant, and witty girl Chickadee that we have all fallen in love with over the past seven or eight years.

    I know on her birthday this year you said that you had to believe that sometime in the future you and she would still be a “we that makes sense,” that will giggle together like only the two of you giggle together. Knowing all of this, that letter to Chickie on her 14th birthday makes so much more sense. And while I don’t know, can’t know, I do sincerely and completely believe that there will be a “we that makes sense,” that there will be an After. And maybe that After will be even better than Before, for it will be an After that you and Chickie will have fought very hard for.

    Now, I don’t know why everything has to be so hard won … it seems like the universe is playing an especially cruel joke on you and you should definitely ask it for a pony or two ponies or a UNICORN because really you deserve it.

    I can’t do anything about a unicorn, but I would really very much like to get you a gift certificate to a massage place, or to your favorite takeout, or to coffee, or to Zappos because shoes solve everything, or Amazon or just whatever. I’m also happy to send something to your Paypal acct. I have been reading you religiously for five years and if you published these blogs as memoirs in book format, I would have easily spent a hundred or so dollars on your books. I don’t see why just because it’s the Internet, I the reader shouldn’t pay something for the pleasure of reading your writing for many, many years. So please do let us know if you are amenable to that.

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    lily June 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    Mir, You are my favorite blogger. One of the things that draws me to you is the love that you have for your family. I believe that love will help carry Chickadee through these tough times. There was a time when I felt so depressed that I wanted to end my life. What kept me from doing it was the thought of how much my family and friends would miss me if I was gone. I am praying for your whole family. If there is ever anything that I can do to help please let me know.

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    Crisanne June 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    Dearest Mir-

    We are all here for you. All 500+ of us. I do hope you truly know that we would do anything you asked of us, if there were a way to help. You are such a brave, devoted Mom who has helped so many over the years. My prayers are all I know to offer at this point. But if there ever comes a time when there is something concrete we can do, say the word and it will be done.

    I keep thinking back to the end of last school year, when you feared you wouldn’t find your sweet, loving Monkey again. But you searched, sacrificed, and used all you had to find Hipped School. It’s made such a difference for you all, and it wouldn’t have happened had you not worked so hard on his behalf. I have no doubt that you are working equally as hard to find the Hippie School equivalent for Chickie. Therefore, I have to believe that you will find answers…a new truth and future for you all, better than one you ever imagined. I claim that promise for you and your family now!

    Much love to you, Otto, Monkey, and Chickie.

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    Jen June 20, 2012 at 4:45 pm #


    I’m so sorry for all you’re family is going through. My 11 year old daughter has had multiple psychiatric hospitalizations and is finally in a residentail placement but it was a long battle with everyone from health insurance companies, the public school and my state’s Dept. of Mental Health (DMH) to get her there.

    I hope you don’t mind if I pass some of the info that I’ve learned along the way onto you.

    My first word of advice is to hire an advocate and don’t attend a meeting with anyone without them being in attendance.

    When Blue Cross stopped paying for my daughter’s admissions (generally they would cover about 13 days and then wants to discharge her whether she was clinically ready or not) we applied for supplemental state health insurance (medicaid) just for her. Eligibility is based on her psychiatric disability not income. We pay a monthly premium for it but it’s well worth the expense and much less than the $1000+ hospitals charge per day in a locked psych unit. Also generally, they are much more flexible with admission lengths and covered her retroactively from the date we applied. The hospital should be able to help you look into your state’s health insurance plan.

    My daughter also receives services from my state’s DMH. Before her residentail placement, they provided in-home family therapy, a therapeutic mentor, a therapeutic afterschool program and respite services. Now that she’s in the residential program, DMH cost shares the expense with our public school district. The school pays the educational and transportation portions and DMH pays the residential portion. Again, the hospital should be able to help you look into services.

    I know how scary this is and my heart goes out to you. If you have any questions about anything, please feel free to contact me.


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    Sharilyn June 20, 2012 at 4:45 pm #


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    Jocelyn June 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    I am so sorry for the pain you are all in right now. I wish there was something more that I could do for you than just tell you I am thinking about and praying for all of you. Thank you for your courage and honesty in sharing this with us. Sending you big hugs from afar.

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    g~ June 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    You Are Not Alone. I am not joining you in this particular dark circle of hell in this exact circumstance but we have been there as a family (with my brother-in-law). You ARE NOT ALONE. Just know that. Someone understands. Someone is glad you are writing about it. Everyone is praying, hoping, thinking positive thoughts, sending good karma on your behalf and doing whatever they can to indirectly let you know that you can make it through this and you are NOT the only person dealing with crazy, universe altering, life-changing shit like this. This includes me.

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    Reb June 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    Mir, I’m so sorry. Praying for you all to find the strength and skill to get through this.

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    vicki June 20, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    I am so sorry.

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    elizabeth June 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    Love and prayers. And the offer of anything you need from or a place to stay in NYC still stands.

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    Kris June 20, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    Thank you, Mir, for sharing your life with us, for letting us in. I will pray for your daughter and your family. Hold on to hope. xoxo.

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    Marika June 20, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    Sending you love and prayers from across the seas.

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    Jan June 20, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    I have tried at least a dozen times today to write this comment. I’m afraid I just can’t find the words to say what I’ve been thinking and feeling for you, for your family, for Chickadee herself.

    I just …. yeah. I wish ….

    So I’ll settle for this: you’re very pretty Mir.

    And I hope We All (the royal Internet We) can carry a tiny bit of this burden for you, at least for today. Blessings and love to you and yours.

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    addy June 20, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Mir, You are not alone in this. Your family IRL and here are with you. We went through the hospitalizations, the insurance crap, the meds, emergency rooms, police calls, etc. None of it was enjoyable. Some of it was effective. We survived. All of us. I wish I could give you the before. I really really do. If it helps, there is an after.
    Love to all of you.

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    Beth B. June 20, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    Hugs. Thinking of you and your family and glad that you are sharing your story and hope that all of us can help lift you up when you need lifting.

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    LisaK June 20, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    Hope and prayers to you and your family from a friend inside the computer.

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    Siggi June 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    Hugs. Lots of them. You and yours will be in my thoughts.

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    Karen June 20, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Oh, Mir. I am so sorry. I’ve read for years, and I appreciate so much the strength it took for you to write this post. You are an amazing woman, and I’m sending all the positive thoughts and strength I can your way. You will make it through, and I have faith there will be an after. It will never be the same as the before, but I know you’ll work your butt off to make it the very best it can be for your girl. And some day, I know she’ll appreciate it.

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    bec June 20, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    Peace and love, strength and hope to all of you.

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    Adrienne June 20, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    If you’re not connected to other parents of children with serious mental illness yet, please let me know and I’ll hook you up with some brilliant, kind, amazing people. Ours is a hard, hard road and I don’t know how I would make it without other parents who understand.

    As long as our children are alive, there is hope.

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    erika June 20, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    Oh, Lord.
    There just aren’t words.
    Praying. Praying. Praying.

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    erma June 20, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    Mir, my heart aches for you. Sending you love and hope for a path that will be helpful for Chickie. I too know of the the heartache of the mental illness portion of her illness; our son has suffered for many years now. Get help with the financials. So much expense. Take it slow, question and keep your wits about you. The residential program our son went to is no longer around……it makes one wonder…) Sending love and positive thoughts that things will improve…they will improve. Hugs to you, Chickie and your family.

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    joaaanna June 20, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    I don’t know what else to say except that I’m sorry. I am a stranger in Kansas who is thinking of you and your entire family and sending good vibes in your direction. I wish you all peace.

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    Taxmom June 20, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    One more long time reader just wanting to say how sorry I am you are all going through this and sending you good wishes.

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    Rev. Renee DuBose June 20, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    So very sorry to hear of your pain & suffering-sounds like the trials of the Jewish man, Job, in the Hebrew Bible! Good grief! Please know I – along with all the folks that have read this – are sending you love, prayers, good energy, HOPE & support!

    Whatever we can do…we’ll do! Call if you need us (706-202-3723); email ( & mostly try to believe YOU ARE NOT ALONE & THIS WILL GET
    BETTER! And if you can’t believe that right now…we’ll all believe it for YOU & your daughter! We’ve got you….THIS WILL GET BETTER!

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    Alexandra June 20, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    My heart goes out to you. Truly.

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    Kim @frogpondsrock June 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    I have so many words but none of them are of any use. I have hope, I have empathy and I have been on a similar but at the same time Oh so very different journey. My daughter became sick with a mystery illness when she was 14 and we hopped onto the medical roundabout,and were spun around and around in ever more ridiculous circles. We received a diagnosis of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome a rare connective tissue and auto immune syndrome seven years later. Seven years. EDS is degenerative and there is no cure or treatment. From one mother to another, my heart goes out to you and I am sending all the healthy energy I can muster to your family. xxx

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    Mandie June 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    No words. Just prayers being sent.

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    Julia Roberts June 20, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    We’ve survived it. Not all of it, but a lot of it and different “it”, but the same. You’re not alone, even though it feels like it.

    Our period lasted 2 years with our then 9 year old…

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    Elisabeth June 20, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

    All I can say is, you are doing the right thing. You are not pretending this is not happening. You are not throwing up your hands and saying you don’t know what to do. You are acknowledging the problem and doing the best you goddamn can. Chickadee will never have to say “Why didn’t you help me? Why didn’t you try to make it stop?” Because you did and you are. And God willing, she will not one day be looking back down a long-ass fifteen-year hallway of mental illness, wondering why no one ever noticed that something was wrong. I wish my mother had had your tenacity, courage, and strength.

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    Niki June 20, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

    Dear Mir,

    My heart aches for you and for your family. I add my voice to the chorus of support and love. Your words are so clear, so sharp, so painful, that for a moment I almost believe I can feel your pain. I’m sure it’s just a pale shadow of what you’re going through, but I am amazed at how you have shared this with us.

    I wish, so much, that your family could find a magic bullet to make this all disappear. I will still hold out hope for that. But I will also hold onto hope that your family will make it *through*, to a future time when Chickadee has hold of the reins of this thing.

    One last note, and I hope this doesn’t qualify as assvice. I’ve recently read a report suggesting that ibuprofen may cause psychiatric symptoms (the article referred to a schizophrenic whose disease was under control, but who experienced a paranoid episode when he began taking ibuprofen for a backache). This seems like a farfetched, “only in some people” sort of thing, and I haven’t found any randomized-control studies, but I wanted to mention it in case this might be something that could serve as a trigger for Chickadee.

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    Sunny June 20, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

    I don’t have words, just know my thoughts are with you and your family.

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    Another Dawn June 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    Oh, Mir, my heart goes out to you and your family. No, you are not alone and yes, we all have to speak up about it. Being related to someone with mental illness can be one of the loneliest things, precisely because we don’t speak up because most people don’t understand. But you didn’t cause this in any way, shape or form and you couldn’t have been able to see it coming. You’ve done your best to get both kids what they have needed all along. If none of the doctors could figure it out, you’re off the hook.

    At least Chickie is where she needs to be for now. With therapy and meds, they’ll be able to get her back to a reasonable quality of life again. I wish there was more I could do that wish you all well. I wish it with all my heart.

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    Stephanie June 21, 2012 at 12:01 am #

    So, so sorry. Thinking a lot…not sure if anything I can say would help. I have never been diagnosed with acute mental illness, nor hospitalized. 7th/8th grade was rough, for me. I remember telling people these fantastic stories, made up from characters in books I read. I remember stealing books, just because. Feeling invisible. Maybe wanting to be. Maybe not….I took and wore my mother’s negligee to school. Just because. My mother said I was “terminally unique”. I certainly was different. Self harm came later, but only briefly-took only a few tries before I figured out it didn’t help anything. Emotional outbursts…those lasted years. But….changed to alternative school for 8th grade, and that was better. Saw an excellent therapist, who worked wonders. It got better. I got better. Chickadee will get better too. I believe that. It’ll get easier for her, too.

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    Erin June 21, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    I don’t know what to say, other than to add my voice to the chorus of those wishing you, Chickie, Otto, Monkey and your ex the very best. I hope that just knowing how damn many of us are out here, thinking of you, sending our love and support, will help ease the pain and sorrow and loneliness just a little bit.

    I also want to add my voice to the chorus of folks who thanked you for being honest and forthright. As many have already mentioned, mental illness is something society hides and fears–and it will always be that way unless people who face it come forward and help others understand what it’s really like. But it’s really freaking hard to be the one to do that, I know, and so I thank you.

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    Another Jenn June 21, 2012 at 1:45 am #

    Dear Mir,

    Count me among the hundreds wishing all the love and support possible for you, Chickadee, Monkey, Otto and Chickadee’s Dad, too. I had been hoping that it was “just” a physical illness, something that only required finding the right combination of treatments to make it all go away. Thank you so much for sharing. I know it must be hard, because this might seem like Chickadee’s story and not yours to tell… but your love for her reads as clear as ever, and our hearts break in sympathy. I really hope the out pouring of support helps in at least some small way.

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    Lori June 21, 2012 at 2:35 am #

    I can’t imagine the pain you are going through, but I am praying that God will shower his grace and blessings and healing peace on your entire family.

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    Sharon June 21, 2012 at 6:19 am #

    Prayers and love to you and your family.

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    Ali B. June 21, 2012 at 6:25 am #

    Oof. I’m just so sorry. I’m sorry that this is real. I’m sorry that life can be so effin’ brutal. Sorry, and sad, and grateful for your courage, and for hers.

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    Petunia June 21, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    Lifting you and your precious family up in prayer.

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    Mary June 21, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    Mir – I’ve been reading for years and the place in my heart that I have for your and family is not small. I hope that the collective tears and prayers of your readers are of some help through this.

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    Bob Wilson June 21, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    Welcome to the land of Oz..Borderline Personality Disorder..My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family….You are not alone, support works…..I found much help with the free 12 week Family to Family Education course thru NAMI——

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    Peggy June 21, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    sending lots of prayers

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    Shelley June 21, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    I’m so sorry you all are having to go through this. I’ve enjoyed reading your blogs for a long time, and am now adding my voice, prayers & light to your invisible support net out here on the internets. I hope things get better for your lovely girl soon.

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    DW June 21, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    I am in tears. Mir, I am so sorry that Chicadee is having such a difficult time. My heart is breaking for her and your family.

    When I was a girl, I would cut myself. My parents were busy and didn’t get me any help. I think you are doing a wonderful thing by continuing to fight for your daughter. I really hope that keeping her in the hospital will help her. I really hope nothing else gets worse. I hope that the meds help and Chicadee chooses to cooperate.

    Mir, I will keep your family in my thoughts.

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    Paula June 21, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    Mir…you and yours have been weighing heavily on my mind for weeks now. To be honest, I was almost afraid to check your blog…please know that like all of the others, my heart is broken for you. Please, take care of yourself. Let others help carry the load. Know that others have walked this road before you and know that you are never alone. Much love to you and yours.

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    amanda June 21, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    Mir, I’m so very sorry for what your family is going through. Hugs, love, and prayers from a longtime reader.

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    anon June 21, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    I remember you wrote about an episode of harrassment at your daughter’s school, perhaps her spiral may have been triggered in some way by this, even on a barely conscious level? She’s a young teenager and trauma can manifest in many different ways. Any kind of harrassment when kids are entering adolescence can be very hurtful, just when they’re dealing with so many body and personality changes and development. Just thought this might be something to be factored in when considering possible triggers.
    Considering that she has had other symptoms like the mysterious rash, I would also be inclined to think of organic as opposed to psychological causes. I’m sure the doctors will keep working until they find what is out of kilter. Maybe thyroid? Anyway, I’m sure they’re looking into all the possible origins.
    Wishing you peace of mind and courage. Your daughter IS in there when you look into her eyes, she’s just hiding for a bit while she gets ready and sorts out some issues she has to deal with. Don’t lose hope, keep your hand outstretched to her. She is going to be SO thankful, and SO close to you when this is behind her. Don’t worry about custody issues, I have a feeling everyone will be taking the high road here. It’ll all sort itself out. The important thing is that she should have the BEST care that money can buy. If that means a custody swap until the problem is sorted, then get an agreement in writing and move forward with a plan in place.
    As many others have said, you were there paying attention, you noticed something was wrong and you found help for her when she needed it. There is nothing reproachable about that. You are to be commended as a mother. Look after yourself, too. Oxygen masks and all that.
    I just know that there WILL be a happy ending to all of this and you will all emerge stronger and more united than before.

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    Lori June 21, 2012 at 9:03 am #


    I’ve read your blog for years and it’s given me so much hope, having an aspie of my own. He has a twin sister and I’ve watched her looking for “signs” of anything that could be a little off. It’s certainly not the way I imagined parenting, with this feeling of anxiety deep in my gut. In addition, I’m a therapist and worked in community mental health and now have a private practice. I’ve been on wrap teams with clients just like your daughter. It doesn’t get better faster – and it seems like you know that already – but it CAN and WILL get better. I, like many others here, will be thinking of you and praying for hope and peace in the process.

    Much love from Seattle.

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    Billie June 21, 2012 at 9:11 am #


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    brigitte June 21, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Coming in with another hug, and a small note: Dr. Google claims that this may be connected to the autoimmune issues (particularly if it’s PANDAS), and autoimmune treatments might maybe possibly alleviate the mental issues to some extent. :-(

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    Natasha June 21, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Oh Mir. I’m so sorry. I’m just so goddamn sorry.

    I’m sorry that I’m so late reading this, I’m sorry that you’re living it, I’m sorry that there doesn’t appear to be anything that I can do to help and most of all I’m sorry for your beautiful girl.

    She’s still in there Mir. I believe she is. And she knows you love her.

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    kapgaf June 21, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    You are so honest and so brave to have shared this with us. Of course you miss “before” but I hope that all our positive thoughts will help you face the “during”. Please let us know if we can do more.

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    Kim T June 21, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    I have nothing I can say that will make you feel better. All I can say is that being a mom makes you realize you are stronger than you thought. I will be thinking of you and your whole family. I hope for all of you that someday it won’t all feel so awful.

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    Lori in MN June 21, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    Please add me to the list of folks who admire and would love to support you in any way possible. For cancer or a flood or a tragic accident we would have bake sales and car washes. Thanks to everyone who shared their own stories of despair and recovery. What an amazing circle of hope and energy these comments are trying to weave around you and your family. Love love love you.

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    Genevieve June 21, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    Mir, I commented a little on facebook, but wanted to say something here as well.
    You are the best mom.
    You noticed when something was different with Chickadee, you took action, you reassured her that you always love her, and you did the hard hard thing of resisting her pleas and telling her you love her enough to let her be that angry while you were doing what was going to help her.

    You caught this and you’re doing the hard work to support her and deal with docs and insurance and all to get her the treatment that will help her get better.

    Chickie will get through this. You will get through this. Your whole beautiful family will have a good After, after a while.

    Be kind to yourself. Be as kind as you would be to your best friend if she was in the same situation. Whatever you would say to her, say to yourself.

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    Barb June 21, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    As a long time fan and very rare commenter, I want to say thank you for being brave enough to talk about something that is often misunderstood, in my opinion, because of silence. Beyond that there are no words, only the distant support and love of thousands. As one of them my heart goes out to your entire family as do my prayers.

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    Pauline June 21, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    First let me just say I hope that you all come out the end of this very long tunnel very soon.

    Secondly I would like to tell you about a friends daughter who is having similar mental health problems (I apologies if I’m totally out of line but am just hoping that it may help) Anyway my friends daughter took a medicine called Isotretinoin for somes skin problems (the problem being acne) and this has been linked to many severe mental health problems. I don’t know if this is what your daughter took for her own skin problem but it maybe worth looking into.

    Best wishes to all of you. X

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    Ina van de Vliert June 21, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    So sorry hang in there

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    Carol June 21, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    I know nothing I say will really help, because nothing anyone else says to me really helps. You and I chatted a bit over email long ago about my own child’s mental health struggles. It is physically and emotionally draining. The only advice I can give that I am certain will help if you take it is to take care of yourself as best you can. You need to force yourself to do something just for yourself once in a while. Don’t let yourself feel guilty about it–you will need to do it to continue to be strong. I will be thinking about you.

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    dad June 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    Wow, #550something. I’m late again.

    If I were able to offer a solution, you know that would have happened already. Unfortunately, some portions of life are spent on uncharted waters and there are no suggestions I could offer to improve upon the way you are already dealing. I admire your courage and openous but realize that just being part of a support system is not a lot of help.

    Thanks to all the commenters who offer prayer, not words, but lets not forget that words count a lot. Words have power. You prove that everytime you write something.

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    Pam in VT June 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    I am adding my voice and prayers with so many others. I know you can get through this. Special prayers that you take care of yourself (this goes for Otto too.) Being this strong and loving so much is hard work.

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    Adrien June 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    I have been reading your blog for years, I can’t even put my finger on when I started. I have never commented before, but I just want you to know that there is yet another stranger from the internet that hates that this is happening to your family. My heart and prayers are with you all.

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    Kim June 21, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    I have no words but wanted to tell you that I will pray for your girl and your family as hard as I can. I am just so damn sorry.

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    betsy June 21, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    Oh, Mir. I’m sending your family much love, light, strength and healing…xoxo

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    Miss Britt June 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    Oh, Mir. I am so, so sorry. Sending love and hope from one mom to another.

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    Jeanie June 21, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Mir, I’m so sorry for all of you. It was so incredibly brave of you to share this story, and my prayers are with you all. I truly understand how you feel. I went through something similar with my daughter years ago. I hope it provides some strength and hope to you that she’s now doing fine.

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    Nancy June 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    Mir, I’m a dedicated reader and am sending you love and support. I haven’t experienced what you are going through but I can send you and your family positive energy and good wishes. Facing the truth, whatever it is, and being with it – not liking it or wanting it sometimes – but just being with it and accepting it as what is happening – is something that’s tough to do but so beneficial to getting through it. *hugs*

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    Chris June 21, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    I am so so so sorry. You are strong and loved by your internets who all wish we could do more to help you, Chickie, her dad, Otto and Monkey. I hope it helps to know people truly care and that we can serve as some support to you in this trying time.

    Oh Mir….

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    Jane June 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    Mir, the incredible number of commenters shows how much you are all being surrounded by love and good thoughts in these dark days. I have no adequate words as I write through tears for you all. From another mother, my heart goes out to you.

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    Shannon June 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    Our family has had the never-could’ve-imagined happen to us too. Adjusting to new realities and developing new realistic expectations take a toll on everyone. Hope was found only in faith and the “villiage” who is helping us through. You’re not alone. Advocacy has been its own form of therapy for me. And brings hope that others are helped by it. If you search on facebook for mental health/illness groups, perhaps there would be some good support there for you too.

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    Melissa June 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    I am sorry.

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    3Amgels&me June 21, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    WOW! You are strong and courageous. I have been a long time reader but only commented once (about your beautiful hair).
    I have 3 girls, my oldest is almost 12. As she challenges me, I have used your words….’what kind of person do you want to be?’…..I have thought about removing her bedroom door….You have such wise advice!!! I always thought this is minor pre-teen stuff but feels so difficult when you are in the midst of it.
    You are chartering such difficult waters. I pray for you and your family. I know that you are strong and courageous.
    I pray that ‘this too shall pass’. Be strong Mir!!!

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    Kristina June 21, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    Thank you for writing about this. I’m speechless and sorry but also so proud that you were able to put words to it. Mental illness is big and heavy and horrifying and isolating and more common than we dare acknowledge. I’m so sorry this is happening but now that you’ve put it out there know that you’re helping somebody…even by just saying that they aren’t alone. And by looking at the comments, you’re not alone either. Good luck, friend. I hope you and yours find peace soon. xo

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    Cat June 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    Dear Mir,
    I know that the tears that are rolling down my face right now are absolutely no help to you whatsoever. I also know that the fact that you are sharing what is going on with you is helping ME in unimaginable ways. My family has their own issues and many times I think that everyone around us has their shit together and it’s just us who are dealing with absolute crap and I suck at it all. Than I come here and realize I am not alone and I AM handling it, just like you. I am so sorry this is happening to you and your family. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for making me feel not so alone. Hugs to everyone,
    : ) Cat

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    burghbaby June 22, 2012 at 12:59 am #

    Late to the comment party, but I just wanted to say that y’all have been on my mind. Good vibes and good luck and all of that as you navigate this stage.

    Oh, and I know it doesn’t help The Now, but know that I was good friends with someone in high school who dealt with many of the same challenges that Chickie is facing right now. Right this second that friend is fine. She’s a college professor who is married and she is fine. It was a long road, but she got there. Chickie will, too.

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    jen June 22, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    thank you for sharing… prayers, love and hugs. wish i could do more.

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    Jenni June 22, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    You may not be reading all 500+ comments anymore, but I did have one possibly helpful thing to add about insurance. For my step-daughter, even though her mom has custody my husband is required by the custody agreement to provide health insurance coverage. Every insurance form I have filled about it has said something about children or step children that you are required to provide coverage for. Your situation may have something different due to the type of care you are needing to get, but I thought I would pass that along in case it was helpful.

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    ~zandra~ June 22, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    I am so sorry for all that is going on. Sending immense amounts of good thoughts for all of you. I don’t know if you’ll ever get your before back but I hope to god you get a better now.

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    Susan June 22, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    Just want to remind you that we are out here sending good thoughts, wishes, prayers, requests to the Universe (everything we can think of) on behalf of you, Chickie, Otto and Monkey. You are on my mind and heart in a way that doesn’t even make sense because we’ve never met…but there it is and I hope it helps in some itty bitty way to know how we hurt for you during this struggle.

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    Sarahtoo June 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    Oh, Mir–I wish I could just reach through the internets and hug you! I’m hurting for you, for Otto, for Monkey, but most of all for Chickie. I come from a family in which my father was the one with mental illness, and as my brother has aged, he’s begun to cope with it too. It’s so not easy, but knowing that you love her and Otto loves her and her dad loves her–enough to move mountains–will help her, even if she doesn’t show it. You will get through this, somehow–this is not the end. I’m sending the best vibes I’ve got to all of you.

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    Another Anon June 22, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    So sorry, Mir. As a PANDAS Mom, please don’t dismiss that diagnosis just yet. It is often co-morbid with other complicated stuff. It you can’t access a PANDAS specialist (many work remotely), consider finding a DAN doctor after Chickie is discharged. has a pretty good forum. Hang in there-

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    Angelique June 22, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    I am a long time reader, and I always appreciate the honesty and humor your writing offers. My sister suffers from mental illness. It’s hard on everyone in our family. My best advice (not that you asked) would be to continue to seek support for yourself. I wish all of you the best.

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    Mame June 22, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    I found Woulda Coulda Shoulda on January 19th, with Lost dogs and four pawed messages. My 27 year old son has Aspergers, he is the one with an official diagnosis, I see Aspergers symptoms in a lot of people. I went back to the beginning and gradually read the archives. I gained some insight with the reading. Thank you. Most of my family works in the Mental Health field, many of my friends and loved ones have some mental health issues. My immediate family all have some anxiety and depression. I tend to believe if you don’t have any anxiety, you’re not paying attention, but then it may be best not to think about it too hard. I am so very sorry to hear of Chickadee’s issues and by extension how the whole family is suffering. Reading the comments, learning how many readers have experienced similar situations and recovered is so very hopeful. My older sister had OCD, anorexia and alcoholism. As far as I know she didn’t cut, but she certainly engaged in self destructive behaviors. Yet, she had a very loving marriage, was a cherished daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She was a social worker who facilitated numerous adoptions of hard to place children. She lived a good life. Mental Health issues do not preclude a good life. I hope you continue to search for every physical possibility. The mind body connection is so strong. When my thyroid is under treated, I have more anxiety and some depression. My daughter has Type 1 diabetes, if her blood sugar is not in good control everything in her life is off kilter. When I think about Chickadee’s skin condition I wonder if there isn’t an endocrine issue adding to the problem. Sending my sincerest wishes that things will improve soon.

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    NTE June 22, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    I can’t imagine that I have anything more profound to say than any of your other commenters, but I did want to say this: I’m here. I’m listening, and I wish you and your family only good things.

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    marjory June 22, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    You have written alot of what our family has gone through the past 18 years with our daughter who has Borderline Personality Disorder. It gets better and worse at times and then better. Our daughter is doing much better now that she is out on her own. Hang in there and find something to laugh about.

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    Andrea June 22, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    You are very brave for telling this story.

    I am so sorry for your beautiful daughter’s struggles and the toll it has taken on you all.
    I pray…pray that this time away will help Chickadee find some peace and gather her strength to get well, and that you, Monkey, Otto and her dad are all OK through this.

    I am just so sorry…

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    abbeyviolet June 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    There are no words. The best I can do is remind you that your entire family is loved and we are surrounding you in hope, love, and prayers as best we can from wherever we are in internet land.

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    Kailani June 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Holy crap! I’ve been away for awhile, so I’m just catching up. First, I am so heart-achingly sorry for all that you are going through. Second, I’m so glad that you have shared, here in writing, with your internet family. You are so brave for doing so and you also need to know there are people out here in the magic box that care about you and your family and that we’re here to support you and listen to you and offer virtual hugs and bits of encouragement. YOU. ARE. A. GREAT. MAMA! Hold on. Hold on tight! It will get better! Sometimes, the right thing to do is the hardest thing to do. Wishing you peace. Praying for Chickie. xo

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    Kim June 23, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    Prayers for your family, Mir. This could happen to any of us, and does happen to more of us than any of us realize. You are not alone, and we are not standing in judgment of your family because of it. I’ve been reading your writing for years, and now I believe it was so that I’d be prepared to pray for you all through this struggle. Please know that you have a small army (large army– nearly 600 comments!) standing behind you.

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    momzen June 23, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    Add me to the list of people who think you are a amazing woman and mother and are sorry you and your family have to walk this path and are keeping you in my prayers (run-on sentence non-withstanding).

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    Stacy June 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm #