Stillbirth

Its very difficult for a woman who has not experienced the death of a child to know the pain it brings. We all want the best for our children, and those dreams start before your bump ever begins to show. It is the most daunting experience to give birth to someone you love more than anything in this world but you are giving birth to death. The fear of having to deliver your baby, the not knowing, the fear of seeing and feeling your loss is so massive that it even dawns on you for a second that maybe you could turn back the clock and pretend your not pregnant at all, and at the time you do not realise the effect it will have on you and your life.

I want to write a book, a book with real stories and I don’t want to forget about the dads. It’s the woman who has to carry the baby and deliver him or her, but we tend to forget about the dad’s dreams for his unborn child. Their feelings and experience are invaluable to my book.

I feel people get comfort from knowing they are not alone. When things go so horribly wrong we feel alone no matter what.

Contact me cjajames@gmail.com and we can talk

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Lou Reed Forgives Mother From Beyond The Grave For Electroshock Gay “Cure”

Lou Reed died last week, but the iconic rocker is still making his presence known: In his will, filed on Monday in Manhattan court, the singer bequeathed a quarter of his estate to his sister, in hopes that she would care for their ailing 93-year-old mother. “It is my hope and desire that my said sister will use a portion of this cash bequest to help care for our mother, Toby Reed, for the balance of her life,” Reed stated in his will.

lou reed david bowieReed and David Bowie

It’s a generous gesture considering Toby and Sidney Reed ordered electroshock treatments for a young Lou when they learned he was bisexual. From 1996′s Please Kill Me: An Oral History Of Punk:

“They put the thing down your throat so you don’t swallow your tongue, and they put electrodes on your head. That’s what was recommended in Rockland State Hospital to discourage homosexual feelings.

The effect is that you lose your memory and become a vegetable. You can’t read a book because you get to page 17 and have to go right back to page one again.”

Reed railed against his parents’ abuse in the 1974 song Kill Your Sons, but apparently his feelings had mellowed over time.

Singer Laurie Anderson, Reed’s wife and the recipient of the bulk of his estate, wrote inRolling Stone about his final moments:

We were at home – I’d gotten him out of the hospital a few days before – and even though he was extremely weak, he insisted on going out into the bright morning light…. His eyes were wide open. I was holding in my arms the person I loved the most in the world, and talking to him as he died. His heart stopped. He wasn’t afraid. I had gotten to walk with him to the end of the world. Life – so beautiful, painful and dazzling – does not get better than that.

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Body and Soul

When religion was the superpower it was heresy not to believe in God ( who was nearly always male!)! Then it was seen as necessary to kill to save the soul! Now science is the super power it is heresy not to believe in ‘mental illness’. Now it is seen as necessary to kill the spirit to save body while the body is disfigured and the spirit is destroyed.

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Extract from Deadly Dilemma by CJA James

CJA James

“If he doesn’t get treatment or if his family continues he will be dead shortly, he will gas himself in his car, he tried it before and they know that. I rescued him them, I was handy to them, they didn’t want him to die on their patch but if he dies on mine I will be blamed, handy isn’t it, it will be all my fault, he will die the same way his friend did, I know you think I am crazy”, as I looked nervously towards him. “I know Dan like the back of my hand, he is not a well man, if Dan got cancer would I be blamed? but with this I am blamed, I’m so sick of this shit Liam”.

As Liam read out the statement I wanted to vomit, if I cried in front of him he might think I am a woman looking…

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After listening to Conor Cusak

I just happened to be in front of the telly when Conor came on. I had never heard of him before as I do not really follow GAA. I watch the All Ireland if Cork is playing and appreciate the art and talent these men have and the massive commitment they have to their sport.

Well he was just a fantastic man, as I listened I felt sad for him but also happy. Conor is strong, well able and a huge character. He spoke from the heart and he spoke the truth. Every word he said I could relate to. I had witnessed what he was talking about, the room and watching the seasons go by, his anxiety, his panic and how hard it was for him to get better.

You see the man I married had all his symptoms, he is now dead, he died by suicide, unable to ask for help, the shame and stigma he associated with asking for help killed him. While listening to Conor I felt sorry for my children as their father should have for their sake, if not mine, or his own, he should have asked for help, but he could not see, he was so deep in his state of depression he could not see, he was so very low for so very long. He also felt it was a reflection on his family, he was encouraged not to seek any professional help as  to simply bury your head in the sand and brush things under the carpet is alive and well in rural Ireland and now with Conor speaking out that will hopefully change and we need people like him.

We can’t save every life but the least we can do is reach out to people, to listen to their spouses and their children, we were ignored, if I had a cent for every time I was told to put up and shut up I would be a rich woman, but I am rich as my conscience is so very clear and I know we did all in our power but he simply had not the strength to ask for help, that one word, that one step, that may have changed everything, may have carved a different path for his child, his child may have not been left feeling abandoned and without his father, the only father he has, and the man that brought him into the world, who should be hear to love and protect him, Can anyone walk in this shoes?

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Teacher Conference

One Poem Every Day

She called him an asset,
One of the most helpful in the class.
He can coax a shy student with a friendly word
And he doesn’t even know how to spell coax or what it means.

He discusses fashion with the Madisons
And wears the right shoes
With his self-described awesome clothes.

He can name each of his classmates,
Girlfriends and girlfriends.

Yeah, it’s Kindergarten.

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Conor Cusak (Extract) Reality of depression

CONOR CUSACK – 29 OCTOBER 2013

I still remember the moment well. It was a wet, cold, grey Friday morning. I rose out of bed having had no sleep the night before. Panic attacks are horrific experiences by day, by night they are even worse.

As I drove to work on my trusted Honda 50, a group of my friends passed in their car heading to college. They all smiled and waved and looked so happy. I smiled and waved and acted happy.

I had loved and excelled in school but it was the same with my hurling, it was the same with my friends, it was the same with my family, it was the same with the people of Cloyne, it was the same with life, I had lost interest in all of them. Losing interest in people was the worst.


Where once I would have felt sadness at seeing my friends heading to where I had always wanted to go, I now didn’t. Something much larger, deeper, darker had taken hold of my mind and sadness, despair, hopelessness were not strong enough to survive alongside what I was feeling.

They say something has  to crack to allow the light in. At about 11am that morning, I finally cracked. I couldn’t do it anymore, all my strength at keeping up my pretence had gone. I curled up in the corner of the building and began to cry. One of the lads working with me came over and he didn’t know what to do. I asked him to take me home.

The GP called to my house and prescribed some sleeping pills and arranged for me to be sent to the hospital for some tests.

 

I spent a week there and they done every test imaginable. Physically, I was in perfect health. I was diagnosed with suffering from ‘Depression’ or in laymans terms, that awful phrase ‘of suffering with his nerves’. I had never heard of the word before.

I was sent to see a psychiatrist in my local day care hospital. I was 19 years of age in a waiting room surrounded by people much older than I was. Surely I am not the only young person suffering from depression, I thought to myself. There was a vacant look in all of their eyes, a hollowness, an emptiness, the feeling of darkness pervaded the room.

The psychiatrist explained that there might be a chemical imbalance in my brain,  asked me my symptoms and prescribed a mixture of anti depressants, anxiety and sleeping pills based on what I told him. He explained that it would take time to get the right cocktail of tablets for my type of depression.

I had an uneasy feeling about the whole thing. Something deep inside in me told me this wasn’t the way forward and this wasn’t what I needed. As I walked out a group of people in another room with intellectual disabilities were doing various things. One man had a teaching device in front of him and he was trying to put a square piece into a round hole. It summed up perfectly what I felt had just happened to me.

I now stayed in my room all day, only leaving it to go to the bathroom. I locked the door and it was only opened to allow my mother bring me some food. I didn’t want to speak to anybody. The only time I left the house was on a Thursday morning to visit the psychiatrist. When everbody had left  to go to work and school, my Mother would bring me my breakfast.

I cried nearly all the time. Sometimes she would sit there and cry with me, other times talk with me and hold my hand, tell me that she would do anything to help me get better, other times just sit there quietly whilst I ate the food.

Depression is difficult to explain to people. If you have experienced it there is no need, if you haven’t, I don’t think there are words adequate to describe its horror. I have had a lot of injuries playing hurling, snapped cruciates, broken bones in my hands 11 times, had my lips sliced in half and all my upper teeth blown out with a dirty pull but none of them come anywhere near the physical pain and mental torture of depression. 

It permeates every part of your being, from your head to your toes. It is never ending, waves and waves of utter despair and hopelessness and fear and darkness flood throughout your whole body.  You crave for peace but even sleep doesn’t afford that. It wrecks your dreams and turns your days into a living nightmare. It destroys your personality, your relationship with your family and friends, your work, your sporting life, it affects them all. Your ability to give and receive affection is gone. You tear at your skin and your hair with frustration. You cut yourself to give some form of physical expression to the incredible pain you feel.

You want to grab it and smash it, but you can’t get a hold of it.  You go to sleep hoping, praying not to wake up. You rack your brain seeing is there something you done in your life that justifies this suffering. You wonder why God is not answering your pleas for relief and you wonder is he there at all or has he forgotten about you. And through it all remains the darkness. It’s as if someone placed a veil over your soul and never returned to remove it. This endless, black, never ending tunnel of darkness.

I had been five months in my room now. I had watched the summer turn into the autumn and then to Winter through my bedroom window. One of the most difficult things was watching my teammates parade through the town after winning the U21 championship through it. That was the real world out there.

In here in my room was a living hell. I was now on about 18 tablets a day and not getting better but worse. I was eating very little but the medication was ballooning my weight to nearly twenty stone. I was sent to see another psychiatrist and another doctor who suggested electric shock therapy which I flatly refused. It was obvious to me I was never going to get better. My desire for death was now much stronger than my desire for living so I made a decision.

I had been contemplating suicide for a while now and when I finally decided and planned it out, a strange thing happened. A peace that I hadn’t experienced for a long time entered my mind and body. For the first time in years, I could get a good night’s sleep. It was as if my body realized that this pain it was going through was about to end and it went into relax mode. I had the rope hidden in my room. I knew there was a game on a Saturday evening and that my father and the lads would be gone to that.

After my Mother and sister would be gone to Mass, I would drive to the location and hang myself. I didn’t feel any anxiety about it.  It would solve everything, I thought. No more pain, both for me and my family. They were suffering as well as I was and I felt with me gone, it would make life easier for them. How wrong I would have been. I have seen the effects and damage suicide has on families. It is far,far greater than anything endured while living and helping a person with depression.

For some reason  my Mother never went to Mass. I don’t know why but she didn’t go. It was a decision on her part that saved my life.

The following week, a family that I had worked for when I was younger heard about me being unwell. They rang my Mother and told them that they knew a clinical psychologist working in a private practice that they felt could help me.

I had built up my hopes too many times over the last number of months that a new doctor, a new tablet, a new treatment was going to help and had them dashed when he or it failed to help me. I wasn’t going through it again. My mother pleaded to give him a try and eventually I agreed. It was a decision on my part that would save my life.

After meeting Tony, I instantly knew this was what I had been searching for. It was the complete opposite of what I felt when I was being prescribed tablets and electric shock therapy. We sat opposite each other in a converted cottage at the side of his house with a fire lighting in the corner. He looked at me with his warm eyes and said ‘I hear you haven’t been too well. How are you feeling’. It wasn’t even the question, it was the way he asked it.

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