Every day in my classroom, Gary fell asleep, and Miranda and Cameron went to the nurse; Cameron, to report his ever-changing mystery symptoms that only peppermints could quell, and Miranda, at noon, for her pill. Drew picked out his eyebrows one at a time, and by winter break, he’d moved on to his lashes. Charles chattered nonstop, eager to share what he’d read or learned or wondered; but then, he would suddenly burst into tears, inconsolable, and was chronically
Like a lot of parents, suddenly I’ve found myself simultaneously a full-time work-from-home and stay-at-home parent due to new Coronavirus restrictions that have shut down my state and are requiring all non-essential employees to work from home. As the two-week timeline was extended to a month and then two months, my thoughts went from “We can do this!” to “Oh boy” to “How are we ever going to get through this?”
One thing quickly became clear: for my own sanity I needed to settle into this new normal and figure out how my family and I would make these circumstances work (and hopefully do so with a sense of happiness). My first thought was to intentionally set up positive behavior supports for my family (which includes my 5-year-old son, Thomas, and my husband). My training is in school counseling and I’m currently employed as a project coach with the Delaware Positive Behavior Support Project at the University of Delaware’s Center for Disabilities Studies. So, I should have all the tools needed to make this work, right?
In today’s world of fast-paced information sharing, it can be difficult to sort out which information is based on opinion, politics, science or data. Adding a global pandemic to the mix has made this increasingly difficult for our Delaware community members and individuals throughout the world. At this point, it is important to acknowledge that this novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, is not something to take lightly. And, for certain groups, it may have more of an impact on
To go from her second-story bedroom to her second-story bathroom, Christine Hoag had to crawl. The bathroom doorframe was not wide enough for her wheelchair to fit through, the hall was too narrow for her chair to turn around and the bathroom itself was so cramped she could barely move between the tub and toilet.
“It felt like I had lost every shred of my dignity,” she says. She also, because of the crawling, had suffered multiple back injuries.
Hoag has Shy-Drager syndrome, a nervous system disorder with symptoms that resemble Parkinson’s disease. A related condition causes low blood pressure and tachycardia, which can produce lightheadedness and put her at risk of falling every time she transitions from sitting to standing. For a proudly independent entrepreneur who once founded her own home care company, the prospect of moving to a nursing home was not appealing. “I want to stay in my home,” she told me, and “have a nice quality of life as long as I’m here.”
The question, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” feels rather unsettling. A few months ago, I became a Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) instructor with 13 of my colleagues in the state of Delaware. We practiced asking our peers this challenging question and it didn’t get any easier each additional time we said it out loud. In 2017, more than 47,000 people in the U.S. died by suicide, making it one of the leading causes of death. There were more than twice as many suicides that year as there were homicides. The more that we empower the people in our community to get trained in YMHFA and learn how to speak to someone struggling with suicidal thoughts, the more likely the number of suicides will start to decrease.