The Space Between

August 24, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lately, I’ve been in the space between.

A space between a thought and an action.

Sometimes it is a short space, a quick knee jerk reaction, sometimes it is longer, much longer, like slowly stretching taffy.

Sometimes thoughts grow into actions, sometimes they don’t.

But there is always, ALWAYS a space between.

A space between wanting to hurt yourself and actually hurting yourself. A space between wanting to hurt another and hurting another. A space between thinking about your body image and developing an eating disorder.

In New Zealand Mental health services, there is no space between.

You are seen after the action. After you hurt yourself. After your eating disorder is threatening your life. After you have attempted to kill yourself.

If you are merely THINKING of hurting yourself, you will be on a list, a long long list. Then you will spiral then you will finally collapse, THEN congratulations, you will finally be seen by a  mental health professional.

Does NZ keep track of how many people ask for help, but are dead before their name comes up on the list?

The answer is no.

They don’t know.

They certainly don’t like it when you ask.

My daughter has been in and out of mental health services since she was 7. Her list of diagnoses is long, her suffering unimaginable from my neurotypical perspective.

In January I received notice that she was returning home to me from the states after a harrowing experience in a mental hospital.

I was relieved she was coming home to NZ, home to her Psychiatrist and counselor who knew her. She was keen to get sorted so she could move out on her own and study in Auckland. She wanted to move on with her life, but moving on with your life is extra complicated when you are plagued with mental illnesses. She needs support.

Knowing that there are waiting lists for counseling, I called immediately (JANUARY ) to let her Psychiatrist and counselor know she was returning. (She had been gone 6 months.)

The receptionist at the psychiatrist office told me that I would have to take her to a GP to get referred when she came back to the country in March. “But she has already been a patient’ I explained. That did not matter, I was informed, she needed another referral.

Even if she just shifted districts, she would need another referral.

Even from Christchurch to Nelson.

Even from Invercargill to Dunedin.

In the year 2018,  there is no way for Mental Health New Zealand to share information from one place to another. The technology is there, the priority isn’t.

Today is June 13. My daughter has been 2 times to the Psychiatrist. (Once in March, and yesterday)

She has been 0 times to a counselor.

0.

Zero.

Depression is treated with BOTH medication and counseling. No one in Mental Health Services will dispute this, yet, six months after notification she has yet to see a counselor.

Why?

The counselor explained it to me like this: Imagine everyone suddenly went out and bought a Mercedes and there was only one Mercedes mechanic in Nelson, people would have to wait.

But people are not cars. And if they were, they would have to function even if they didn’t work properly and they would break down. Sometimes when your car breaks down, it is irreparable. Sometimes we say, “My car died”.

Died.

Died waiting.

Died waiting for the mechanic.

Am I the only one who sees and feels the inhumanity of this?

When I am low in iron, nurses say get over to the hospital immediately, you need an IV.

The same thing with dehydration.

There is not a list.

I don’t have to stay in bed for 4 months, pale, explaining I am on a waiting list for Iron.

I am the only career for a young woman (20) who obsessively wants to kill herself. I have sat through 5 years of her attempts, her plans, her descriptions, her crying, her begging.

I have just sat through another 4 months.

I now can’t remember when I didn’t wake worrying. When I didn’t feel like I was going to do or say the wrong thing.  I can’t remember when I wasn’t angry at the waiting list.

Trying, trying, trying to hold it together in the space between.

I should go to the Dr and get a prescription. Something to STOP me from feeling. 

Maybe if we are all drugged enough we will ignore how underfunded and under-prioritized New Zealand mental health is actually despite the pretty commercials and glossy brochures that beg us all to call and ask for help that does not exist.

My daughter does have an appointment with a counselor. Next week. 6 months after I first wrote him a letter, called and begged for an appointment for her upon her arrival.

She will see him 1 time before she moves up to Auckland the following week.

Then, she will go back in the que for another counselor.

She will no longer have any safety people in place.  Unless, of course, she acts.

Then the professionals will respond.

Hopefully, their response won’t be too late.

Meanwhile, she and I sit

in the space between

March 17, 2014

hitchhike-signs-smJames called from the deep south, confident he would find a ride with a borrowed a piece of cardboard and a marker from a farm he spotted off the highway. The generous farmer even offered him a spot of tea.

He reckoned he’d find a ride soon to the airport in Queenstown two hours away and catch his flight.  He’d be home within the day.

As the partner of a free spirit, these are the sort of scenarios I find myself in.  Long gone are the predictable paychecks, the 401k’s, and the tupperware parties.

I could have fallen in love with a CEO, but I didn’t.

I had yet to hit the jackpot with Arithmetic Village (although support growing and consistent). The time and energy that it consumed now seemed frivolous.

Something had to give. Read the rest of this entry »

kim beachDear Kim New Years eve 2012,

Here is some helpful advice for any resolutions..…

1. Don’t spend too much time obsessing on losing those the last five pounds. You will actually gain ten this year. Just be grateful it wasn’t 20.

2. When the California Child support gets fuddled up, insist that they go back to the date you originally applied. Really. It  will make a difference.

3. You eldest will be fine in College. In fact, she will thrive and to your surprise that will bring you more joy than you ever anticipated.

4. Don’t let your 15 year old  go to the birthday party in August. Don’t ask, trust me, just say no.

5. Say yes to your youngest more often. She gives you one hundred opportunities a day, it shouldn’t be difficult…

6. Take  supplements and eat right. Hormonal inflections at your age can get complicated. Think about the biggest, scariest roller coaster ever, call it Menopause.

7. Fyi- This is not the year that you will make millions on Arithmetic Village. Be gentle with yourself if you do need to go to plan B.

8. Update your resume. If you don’t, plan B may be working in a childcare setting that may not share your same philosophical leanings. You may find yourself humming the same songs and nursery rhymes that you hummed 25 years ago. Yes, 25 years.

9. After you wean yourself off of caffeine, do not go back. Doing so will ensure you spend a “retreat” exhibiting the same symptoms of a heroin addict.

10. Spend less time on facebook. Really. Get. Off. Facebook. I know it is your “job” and that Arithmetic Village has created a beautiful place for you to meet people and share a positive vision of the world, but it is a porthole into nothingness.

11. Go out with James more often. Much more often. Much, much, much more often.

12. Breathe, be, and tell people you love them.

I love you,

Kim (January 1, 2014)

Passing the pen….

March 4, 2013

princess elise

I started writing her life in my  own childhood… “My kids are going to… (insert anything amazing here)”.  After over a decade working with babies, my first child was born to my 29-year-old self . I was well ready for her, I wanted everything to be perfect, and she was.

Her entrance was joyful, even the young doctor cried happy tears. She was named after a song. Not the classic Fur Elise, but The Cure song “letters to elise”. A song which mirrored her parents relationship far greater than they would admit.

She was quickly known as the “Golden Child”, not  because of her golden curls but because of her sunny disposition and her adventurous spirit. Her youngest cousin renamed this child “Elise Victoria Sparkle Diamond”.

We carefully choose this child’s life, we ground her early organic food by hand, we practiced attachment parenting before we knew it had a name. The preschool teachers endured endless interviews, we considered everything from every angel when choosing anything for this child.

Despite this, she did not have a silver spoon.  She relied on her own creativity t early on to make her own pink Barbie CD player,which she made skillfully with a stapler and paper. The same for a game boy that changed with different games and was made of cardboard. Her first homemade outfit was a costume made entirely out of paper, including the shoes. Years later, she created her own prom dress and paid for her  school trip to Paris.

Every choice I have made the last 18 years has been with this child in mind. How will Elise react? What is best for Elise now? What does she need from me at this moment?

Our last decisions together were choosing a University and a dorm. And last month, I moved her there, to a city three hours away by ferry, bus and plane.

And today she turns 18.

And I can finally let go, knowing I did my best. i wrote the best story I could for the first chapters of this child’s life.

Now, I hand her the pen.

It’s an easy thing to do, I know she is an absolutely  fabulous writer.

Happy Birthday, Princess.

My blog is peacefully sleeping, I dare not wake it.

The stories I could wake it with, have already been told.

My child care perspective is summed up with Carrie and not just cute, my ideal life (and far from myself) is with Soule Mama, my previous life of sarcasm is with “because I said so“, they way I wish I could write is with Joe…. so many others do it so beautifully and honestly. I have no desire to be an expert, to limit my expression to one thought and focus. The stories that make up my life now are not ready for public consumption. Read the rest of this entry »

May 26, 2012

Zuva finally found a use for the helmet ornaments we got for Christmas. These little dolls perfectly represents the dichotomy in which I live.

I love both the Waldorf environment and philosophy. The the smell of wood, the pink translucent walls, the pastel muslins draping every harsh corner, and of course,  the handmade dolls and blocks. I also resonate with the philosophy of learning gently through role play and respect the seven-year cycles.

On the other hand, I live in the 21st century with teenagers, and internet and life..  and even though I live on a little island in a little country, it is still westernized, and access to a mall, or tv 24/7, it is at your fingertips.

 So, I shouldn’t have been surprised when my little one came home from her Steiner kindergarten with this beautiful sculpture of handcrafted art with its flower petals, shells and treasures. It is, of course,  a computer.

Storm.

May 9, 2012

I knew first time I saw the poster that I would make the event.

No plan, just a quiet knowing.

That morning my youngest asked to go on an adventure.

A big one.

We sat for a while contemplating a boat ride across to the big city we see from our windows. The clouds were dark. The deck chairs glided gracefully across the deck. The white water crashed below.
Hmmm..Maybe another day…
But then somehow the day turned and I found myself there. In the City, at 3 o’clock in the middle of the city street, a five year old on my shoulders. Her new boots kicking me softly, her lollipop narrowly avoiding my hair.
People around us were loud. Many of them were angry. Flags were waving, drums were beating. Read the rest of this entry »

Believe.

May 2, 2012

I am known for my irrational thoughts. The belief that anything is possible and there is always a way. My handsome partner is known for his practicality. His belief in reality. There here and now ..only the facts please.

There are lots of reasons why the new Arithmetic Village edition is taking a long time to finish. I believe that in the end, it will all be for a reason and everything will be fine. The illustrations were drawn quickly as I decided to shove my perfectionist self in a closet for a year or two, so the graphic designer received only first drafts. She has a very busy family life so, has worked just a little over 100 hours in the past nine months. If we were simply two women with nothing else on, we could have finished the project in a month or two, but we are not, and that is OK. Read the rest of this entry »

“You know what?” she asks casually from the passenger seat.

“What?”

“I don’t think I should have a baby now,” the pretty young teen answers.

“Is this a consideration?” I ask in my calmest mom voice.

” I thought about it, but now I’ve realized something” she says continues cheerily.

“What’s that?” (calm still).

“I only really want to buy lots of cute little  baby shoes.”

“Oh, that’s very different from having a real baby,” I add ever so gently.

“Yeah that’s what I think too.”

I still drive my teenagers obscenely short distances just in case we need to have these little impromptu chats….It’s worth every ounce of gas money.

little beach

April 14, 2012

“There is a surprise for you, but you have to come with me to see it!” the excited five-year old informs me.

I stopped doing dishes and follow her. I have no choice.

She leads me down the rickety path from our yard to the small beach.

And there it is: a teepee make of driftwood.

She’s been working on it all afternoon with her dad. We continue to add to it for a while longer, stringing fairies and feathers with flax..

Later, when friends visit, we cannot resist taking them down for another look.

I think this beach will be well visited..