13 Reasons Why and Mental Health Awareness Week

 

13 Reasons Why_girl at the beach_MentalHealthAwareness_rockinrandommom

This post is coming a week late. I forgot last week was Mental Health Awareness Week. It’s all good though because I’m going to talk about the Netflix TV series, 13 Reasons Why and how this show has impacted my own mental health.

I have gotten very good at managing my triggers in the last few years. When I was first diagnosed with PTSD, I had no idea what triggers were, let alone how to manage them within myself and the every day world. Watching the first season of 13 Reasons Why didn’t set me backwards. I didn’t have flashbacks or nightmares.

Warrior Quote_13reasonswhy_rockinrandommom

Watching season 2 of 13 Reasons Why was much like the first season. But this show didn’t so much trigger me as a survivor but as a parent. I’m going to talk more about that in my YouTube video that I will release later in the week but because the content of the show is so dark, I wanted to write a little bit about it in the context of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Why I like the show:

Topics brought up in 13 Reasons Why are very real in the world we live in today. I don’t believe in ignoring the issue and hoping that it goes away. I like that the show is bringing these topics to the fore front and even if you don’t like the series, you are still talking about it.

This is very important. We HAVE to talk about what is going on with our children today. It’s not just about what is happening at home. A kid could have the perfect home life and still want to die because of bullying at school. Which brings me to the next major theme in the show and a huge taboo topic.

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Suicide is a major problem for our young people. We don’t like talking about it and as a parent we don’t want to even entertain the notion that our children are thinking about it.  I think the show does an amazing job of tackling this issue that doesn’t exploit it. Yet there are people who think the exact opposite.

Rape is another huge topic and this is the one that can still trigger me but not in the way that it used to. I thought the first season was brutal in the rape scene. I had a moment of intense thoughts that plagued my mind but it was a scene at the end of season two that I have felt the most triggered.

The Downside to 13 Reasons Why:

13 reasons why_spoiler alert_rockinrandommom

This time a male student gets raped in the high school bathroom. While the scene itself was brutal, as soon as I realized what was about to happen, I walked out of the room. This is something I have to do sometimes to keep from getting triggered. I just couldn’t watch it. I couldn’t hear it.

Maybe it’s because I did that, that I didn’t experience a trigger. Or, more to the point, I managed it. I knew what I could handle and what I couldn’t and dealt with it accordingly. However, it was the scene that came after that triggered me. The scene where his mother asks him if he had a good first day back at school.

This was the scene that hit home to me because I ask my boys this question every day when they come home. The boy completely changes his body language and the tone in his voice to sound like he did have a good day. The mom, who was prepared to hear him say no, instantly cheers up and walks over to her son and gives him a hug.

This entire scene broke my heart. Not just as a survivor but as a parent. His mother had no idea what had happened.  That was the scariest part for me as a parent. Rape is filled with shame. So much shame and guilt overtakes the mind. It isolates people and keeps them from getting the help they need.

13 reasons why_It has to get better_rockinrandommom

As parents, we want nothing more than to protect our kids. We want to help them deal with any pain that may come their way. But children, and especially teens, don’t always know how to articulate their emotions, nor do they always know that they can say something even when they don’t know how.

So yes, this scene triggered me more than any other scene in the show. 

I talked with my boys. Both of them. While I didn’t go into details about the show because it’s just not appropriate, I let them know about bullying at school and that I always want them to come to me, no matter what. It’s such a scary thing though when your children reach a point in their lives where they might feel they CAN’T talk to you. That is absolutely terrifying.

So as a parent, even if you’re not sure, just reach out to your kids. Every now and then take the time to let them know you’re there for them. It might not do anything for them. But then again, it might. It might just be the one thing they need to hear in that moment. The one thing that encourages them to speak up. Either way, never stop reaching out.

Thanks for reading!

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My Mother’s Day Weekend: Strong Like Mom

my coffee cup and a fairy figure_mymothersdayweekend_rockinrandommom

My Mother’s Day weekend this year I did nothing. Honestly, I actually forgot about it until it was staring me in the face. I made no plans except to do what I was already planning to do – Grind my Destiny 2 characters in the new Warmind expansion that just came out – and it didn’t help that one of the kids is not feeling well.

My Mother’s Day wasn’t a total bust though. We moms get to spend this day however we want and given that one kid was sick (and still kinda is) I did my own thing. Like old blue eyes said, I did it my way. Mother’s Day doesn’t need to be this elaborate thing. In fact, most of the time I choose to be low key about it. I prefer to spend a quiet day at home or going for a hike. I’m not big on the whole, “Let’s go celebrate” thing.

While some moms choose to spend their Mother’s Day Weekend planning outdoor activities to share with their kids and others choose to spend a day at the spa, I chose to play video games. To add to my game filled Mother’s Day weekend I had finally received my package from Bioware. Their online store was closing so I splurged a bit and ordered a bunch of hoodies and other little things. They came in just in time for Mother’s Day.

MassEffectMerchandise_MyMothersDay_rockinrandommom

Plus, a Dragon Age Sweat Jacket and Andromeda socks not pictured and my Mother’s Day gift to myself was complete. Despite the weekend being about gaming though I did still spend time with my boys. We had our normal weekend routine where I get one day with Adam and the next with Conner. Adam and I went for a walk and Conner talked me into watching Captain America: Civil War again. Thank God I love those Super Hero movies eh?

But first I have to interrupt this gaming talk…

I do want to take the time to talk about the other part of my blog title, Strong Like Mom. My son Conner says things like that to me every now and then. He sees me as the strongest woman he knows. He admires me for my strength and that is going to go a long with for him in his life. He will become a man who not only sees women as strong individuals but he will value that strength.

Adam is less vocal about this but even he, the teenager, will sometimes point out to me that I am strong. I think this is very important for my sons to learn and to understand as they get older. This has been my goal since they were born. Being raised around men who only see women as property or “less than” I was determined to raise my boys to have a different point of view.

Except that I didn’t really know how to do that. It wasn’t any one thing I did intentionally that set them on this course. This is more about what they have observed in me. Their observational skills of the people in their lives, to determine who others are through observing behavior, is a unique and amazing skill to have. I’m so proud of them.

Now back to our gaming talk…

Gaming with other moms is also a great treat. The best thing about Destiny 2 is that I have met some amazing women. The ages span from early 20’s to 40’s and we have a blast gaming together. I will be posting a YouTube video about my Destiny 2 experience later in the Month but my Mother’s Day weekend wouldn’t have been complete without these ladies to make me laugh my ass off at our crazy antics. Check it out below.

So that was my weekend. How was yours? Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing moms out there!

Thanks for reading!

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May’s Book of the Month: Three Sisters, Three Queens

Book by Philippa Gregory_ThreeSistersThreeQueens_RockinRandomMom

I am so excited to finally write my take on one of my favorite Authors, Philippa Gregory. Three Sisters, Three Queens isn’t her latest book but it is the most recent that I have read. I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you on this book. I love reading about the Tudors. As I have mentioned in past posts, they fascinate me. Even though this is historical fiction, I loved it all the same.

So What’s this book about?

Three Sisters, Three Queens is about the two sisters and the first wife of King Henry VIII. It is written from the point of view of Margaret, who becomes the Queen of Scotland.  I’m going to leave the description on the back of the book because it does the best at describing what this book conveys to the reader:

As sisters they share an everlasting bond; As queens they can break each other’s hearts…

When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure. With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined – with Margaret’s younger sister, Mary – to a unique sisterhood. The three sisters will become the Queens of England, Scotland, and France.

United by family loyalties and affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. But as they experience betrayals, dangers, loss, and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.

What’s my take on the book?

It’s really hard not to be a bit biased when it comes to Philippa Gregory’s books. I have been a fan for a long time. Each new book I read makes me more of a fan than before. Three Sisters, Three Queens is no exception. I really enjoyed reading this book from the point of view of a woman who I, and most people, know very little about. Philippa Gregory has an amazing way of transforming these unknown women from just another mysterious historical figure to a human being with thoughts, emotions and real experiences that are completely relatable.

At first, I didn’t like Margaret. She starts off as a young spoiled little princess raised for one purpose: To become a pawn in a dangerous battle between kings. To her though, becoming queen is her birthright. She sees and knows nothing else. However, as I saw her evolve and grow I related to her more throughout the book.

I also learned more about Katherine of Aragon and the youngest Tudor sister, Mary. Even though they are queens, I found it hard not to relate to them in various parts of the book.

Why I think you should read this book:

Three Sisters, Three Queens is hands down, one of my favorite books. While I love reading about Queen Elizabeth I, who is my favorite Tudor, I also love getting to know these other fascinating and complicated people from the famous family through Philippa Gregory’s books. This book prompted me to do some research on Margaret and her sister. Very little is known about Margaret but I feel I have gotten to know her all the same.

Even though this is historical fiction – and because of that no one can really know what was in the hearts and minds of these women – I learned a great deal. So if you love historical fiction or if you love History, this is the book for you. Margaret, Mary, and Katherine were all women who were Queens yet they were nothing more than pawns in the game of political warfare between men who did not value them.

So, if you are interested, dive into the world of Kings and Queens and discover the danger, the passion and the loss of these three Queens.

Thanks so much for reading!

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A College Tour for Autism

Universitybuilding_collegetourforAutism_rockinrandommom

This past week, the teenager and I went on our first college tour. This wasn’t just any old college tour though. This was a tour specifically for potential students on the Autism Spectrum. So, I’m calling my last post of April, College Tour for Autism. This is also the last week of Autism Awareness month and what better way to end this month than with a talk about college for our children on the Autism Spectrum.

Our first tour was at a local Community College. Holyoke Community College (HCC).  I will admit that because I knew nothing of this college I was apprehensive. Truth be told, I was not ready to take my high school sophomore on a college tour for Autism. I know this played a big role in my apprehension. Adam really wanted to go though. He signed up for it a few weeks ago and was really excited about it.

I am one who really wants to support her children in their endeavors so I agreed to take him. 

The directions to get to the college was easy. Once there though, I realized that we both forgot the flyer to tell us which building we were to meet at. So on this rainy afternoon I parked in visitor parking and went into the Administration building. The lady at the desk was very helpful and friendly. She directed us to the building down a short hill.

words_collegetourforautsim_rockinrandomomFinding the floor to the auditorium was a challenge but we found another student who was nice enough to direct us again. She was also very friendly. We like friendly. I was stressed by this time too because we were 20 minutes late and I hate being late. So finding friendly people when you’re stressed helps a lot.

Finding this college tour for Autism wasn’t so easy but at least the students and staff were helpful to us and we eventually found our way. When we got to the auditorium we were handed packets by even more friendly students. On the stage were a panel of six students. All of them are on the Autism Spectrum.

my son standing by a tree_collegetourforautism_rockinrandommom

I loved being introduced to this tour by students on the spectrum. It was amazing to see these young people up on stage speaking about their college experiences. Some had transferred from other colleges that didn’t offer the services that they needed. One student, who transferred from Virginia, spoke about one of her early experiences at HCC where she had a melt down in class.

She was so overwhelmed and stressed out that she couldn’t communicate her words. Any parent with an Autistic child knows what that is like. The amazing thing is how the professor and counselors helped her. They were understanding and empathetic. Because of that she was able to calm down and speak to the professor and together with the counselor, came up with a coping strategy for her.

I was very impressed by this. It’s one thing to be in a high school with all of the supports at the ready when a child has a meltdown and even then it can be difficult because it disrupts the other students. College is a whole other ball game. The fact that she had these supports and was able to advocate for herself afterwards, then to add that the professor was also understanding and helpful blew my mind.

Then came the Q & A portion of the college tour for Autism. I didn’t ask any questions during this because I was still just taking it all in. Adam did have a question though and I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous for him. Usually his questions are really just comments accompanied by a fictional story and not always related to the topic at hand. My boy really surprised me though. He ask, “I am a literal person and I don’t always understand innuendos, idioms, and sarcasm. How does the school handle that?”

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Then came the tour part where my son went with the students on a tour of the campus – WITHOUT ME. It was surreal. I’ve gotten so used to always being there to back him up that it was hard to stay behind and speak with the staff along with the other parents and educators.

By the end of the tour he met back up with me and he is in with love with the campus. This won’t be our last college tour but it was a wonderful first experience and I learned something very valuable. As any parent who is about to send their child off to college can probably attest, he is growing up. I don’t need to hold his hand anymore. It was a bittersweet moment of realization for me.

The reason I wanted to talk about this College tour for Autism though is I want other parents out there to know that there are colleges who will support your son or daughter. Many parents think their kids can’t go to college. For whatever reason and not all kids can. Even with neurotypical kids, not every kid is built for the college life.

me and my son_collegetourforautism_rockinrandommom

But the option is out there if you and your child want it. It is possible to send your child to college. I found many colleges throughout the U.S. that do provide services and programs for those on the spectrum and Asperger’s.

I walked into this with apprehension and fear.  I walked away with a new found hope for my son’s future.

Let me know your opinion in the comments.

Thanks so much for reading!

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The Versatile Blogger Award: 7 Facts About Me

me at a waterfall while hiking_versatilebloggeraward_rockinrandommom

I was recently nominated for this award by Helen at Welsh Mum Writing which was a pleasant surprise. it’s been awhile since I’ve been nominated for one of these so it was nice to get this. It’s also nice to write something else here on my blog to break things up a bit. She nominated me awhile ago and I’m just now getting to this so sit back and get to know a little bit more about me.

Here we go to the The Versatile Blogger Award, 7 Facts About Me:

The versatile Blogger Award_rockinrandommom

I recently got back into Sarah McLachlan. Like, today actually. She made a guest appearance on a show I just binge watched on Netflix and I was reminded of how much I love her voice. Seriously, she has an amazing voice. So, I downloaded some songs on my phone and just slipped back down memory lane. Seriously, I love her voice. It’s just so soothing.  I love relaxing in a lavender bath with a glass of wine, some candles, and Sarah Mclachlan.

 

If I could marry a video game – and if marriage was my thing –  I would totally marry Mass Effect. I’m just so in love with that game lol.

Speaking of video games, over the last week I was grinding hard in Dragon Age: Inquisition and I’m proud to say that after 4 years I finally got all achievements. I really only needed one but I couldn’t find the damn secret door to the secret statue. I played four different characters before I finally found it. Yeah, that was a challenge but I finally got it. Woot, woot!!!

Dragon Age photo_versatile blogger award_rockinrandommom

Like Helen I have had a lot of different jobs. I have been a waitress, auto parts stocker in a warehouse, caterer, movie theater attendant, babysitter, daycare teacher, preschool assistant teacher, worked at Walmart…. The list goes on. You could say I’m a jack of all trades, haha!

I just started writing a series of short stories of ghost tales based on some childhood ghostly encounters of two sisters. I’m hoping to get this one finished by Summer.

My favorite scent of body spray is Japanese Cherry Blossom I buy at Bath & Body Works. Love that stuff. It smells like Spring in a bottle.

Japanese Cherry Blossom bottle_versatilebloggeraward_rockinrandommom

I’ve been collecting books by another favorite author of mine, Philippa Gregory. She writes a lot of historical fiction and many of them are based around or are on the Tudors, which are a fascination of mine.

There it is. In honor of the Versatile Blogger Award are my 7 facts about me. Now to nominate a few of my favorite bloggers for this to pass it on:

Tracey @ Hooks and Dragons

Annette @ 3 Little Buttons

Alana @ Burnished Chaos

Heather @ Shank You Very Much

James @ Blog of Dad

Debbie @ My Random Musings

I’m supposed to nominate like, 15 but this is all I have for now. Hope you all enjoy!

What are your thoughts on my facts? Does this help you get to know me better? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks so much for reading!

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