Saturday, January 28, 2012


N is getting ready to have a special blessing in the next few days. Several months ago, he decided that he wanted it and that he was ready. This blessing is similar to the ones that Jacob gave to his sons. [You can read about these blessings in Genesis 48 and 49.]  It is similar to a blessing of health or a father's blessing, but this type you receive only once from a specially-ordained patriarch with the priesthood. The blessing is recorded and you get a copy. Think of it as having your own personal guidance from God. It has been a wonderful few weeks as N has been thinking ahead and looking forward to this blessing.

Talking about the blessing has opened up a very productive discussion between us.  N has been so cynical lately.   He has been letting himself become defined by the discouragement and depression that he often experiences.  He has been exploring some edginess and darkness that I have been concerned about.  It's that part that could easily descend into drugs or alcohol if he let himself go. 

Anyway, I mentioned that I thought he was letting his struggles define him.  I talked about two different people with cancer - both experiencing horrible pain and trials.  Yet each person still able to decide (even if in only small ways) how they will respond.  I reminded him that he is not anorexia - he is not depression.  Yes, these are real and painful illnesses that he has - but they don't have to define him.  We contrasted that with this blessing that he is getting.  This blessing is all about who N is and who he can become.  It is about hope and looking forward to the future. 

In midst of this conversation, I saw N's eyes open wide.  It was amazing to see him realize that he could choose hope instead of despair.  In fact, he even said, "but I've been doing this (despairing) for so long, I'm not sure I know how."  It was a huge turning point.   I could see a new enthusiasm about the future, which was so wonderful.  We did remind him that hope doesn't eliminate trials or pain, but that it can change the way that you look at each day. 

Now - to help him implement hope into his life instead of despair.   I realize that change isn't easy and will be hard to conquer when depression is constantly trying to deprive him of any hope.  He already prays regularly.  I know that gives him peace and comfort.  We're going to try a gratitude journal, where we list things we are thankful for every night.  It won't solve the problems of the world, but I hope it can help him change the way he looks at things. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mystery Illness Baffles Doctors

I was amazed to read this story this afternoon. My initial thought was PANDAS. Someone else suggested Sydenham's Chorea, which I looked up and read about (similar to PANDAS but has more latent time between the strep infection and onset of symptoms). As I read about Sydenham's Chorea and the mention of connections with strep/rheumatic fever as well as OCD behavior, I keep thinking that all of this is somehow connected to and similar to the development of anorexia.

I am flabbergasted about how the doctors have just brushed these girls away and called their reactions, "stress." Sounds like similar things we've all experienced with doctor's flawed reactions about and the subsequent flawed treatment of anorexia.'s_chorea


Like I mentioned before, we scheduled a visit with N's therapist once we knew he was struggling again.  At the point that we finally got in, N was doing significantly better.  The visit was productive and we got some suggestions for helping him deal with stress, responding to threats of suicide, and managing his depression.  The doctor suggested meds again, which we are still reluctant to use because of the increased suicide risk for some kids. 

N has cycled back into a low - but not as low as before.  We are managing things better with him and the reminders from his doctor seem to help.  Food is really not ever an issue for him anymore.  But there must be lingering damage from damage done when he was malnourished or simply from something that harmed his brain.  He is often depressed.  We need to set up another appointment.

It's interesting to me that he is choosing friends that are also dealing with depression.  2 out of 2 is pretty consistent statistics.  I think they relate to each other well, but they can also enable each other.