A Dad Takes Note | He Learns How to Play Electric Guitar and Joins His Daughter on Her Musical Journey

How is it that a dad in his early fifties decides to learn how to play an electric guitar?

Is it the fulfillment of a childhood dream or perhaps a mid-life crisis? No. It’s neither. It simply has to do with love and respect for Kim as a singer and finding artists who are compatible with Kim who don’t have: ulterior motives, hidden criminal backgrounds and a myriad of other problems and ramifications that come with finding musicians for a band. That is what led this dad to pick up a guitar, learn Kim’s original music and cover songs, and join her on her musical journey.

What got us here today…

Ever since Kim was a little girl, she dreamed of becoming an established singer/songwriter, and she has worked diligently to fulfill her dream. Throughout her formative years, she wrote original music and performed at school functions and competed in local and national singing competitions. And by the time she was 19 years old, she had also performed with a few different bands. Around this time in her life, Bill advised her to form her own band, but she didn’t. It wasn’t until years later, when we moved to Tampa, Florida, that she finally decided to take Bill’s advice. However, she had nothing but problems. Listed below are a few:

  • Egos
  • Musicians that expected to be paid
  • Musicians that didn’t show up
  • Musicians that purported to be one thing but were not and certainly were not looking out for Kim’s best interests

I imagine that you might be thinking, based on the short list above, that these are typical problems that anyone might experience when trying to form a band. And I’m sure they are. However, for us, we got to a point when we realized that we had lost control for a brief moment. Bill, Kim and I had an awful, and sickening, “Oh my God!” moment when we it dawned on us, during a frightening experience, that we were working possibly with a wolf or two in sheep’s’ clothing, and that we were actually putting our family, and especially Kim, at great risk as we encouraged her to continue to work through the challenges of finding the right musicians.

We had gotten to the point where Kim was Inviting people into her life that she didn’t know…

all for the sake of starting a band from the ground up. Eventually, it got to a point where she had people come out of the woodwork that said that they wanted to help her, when in all reality they wanted to work with Kim because there was something it for themselves. At this point in the blog post, I am choosing not to highlight our OMG! moment because it doesn’t deserve the attention it would get. Instead, I want to highlight the good that has come out of a negative situation.

To help Kim form her band, Bill came up with an idea…

Last summer, during a conversation with Kim, he said, “What if I become your guitarist? Give me a month to see how far I can get learning guitar, and if it looks like something I can do, then we’ll make a decision to move forward.” After Bill’s startling announcement, we decided to have a family meeting during which we shared our thoughts and concerns about Bill becoming Kim’s guitarist. Naturally, the main concern was whether or not Bill could learn to play guitar at Kim’s level. We all agreed to give it a try. Since that day, our house has been filled with an energy that we’d been missing for awhile, an energy filled with renewed hope and optimism for a new beginning, the normal anxiety and concern that accompanies doing something new, high expectations for one another, the continued support for one another, and music.

About a month after Bill’s announcement, he hesitantly asked Kim, “Am I hired?”

She replied, “Yes Dad! You’re hired!” And so, Kim is at the helm of a unique and promising adventure with her dad. The rewards of our family decision have become endless, and of utmost importance, we can protect Kim as she furthers her music career. Despite the obstacles, Kim’s not giving up, and neither are we. And life comes full circle. 1 daughter, a grown woman by now, gets to teach, guide and support her dad as he learns how to play electric guitar and all that comes with being musicians. A band is forming and magic is starting to come out of this very unique situation…can you feel it? Next up, I’ll be talking about egos that just might be as big as the Sunshine State!

~ Stacy (1 Mom)

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How 1 Family Struck a Chord

Hello world!

Stacy’s Flutterings is back! I took a hiatus from the blog because, in all honesty, I thought the blog had run its course. That was then. This is now, and this 1 mom is back. It hasn’t run its course. Rather, it has just begun. I want to share what we have been up to as a family because what we are doing is so different than the norm, and I’m extremely proud of that fact. And what brings it all together is our unconditional love for one another and music, yes music!

If you are just now joining us…

I started the blog back in August of 2011. That year, for me and my family, was a time of healing. We had experienced the near fatal suicide attempt of my daughter Kim, and we were learning how to cope with the ramifications of that. We were also learning how to support her on her journey to wellness. Also, about a year prior to her last suicide attempt, she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder so we were busy learning how best to support her during this time as well. She likes to say that I was her voice at a time when she struggled the most with her illness. Fast forward to today, and she is doing remarkably well. I’m thrilled, and thankful, as her mother, to say that she has her voice back in more ways than one. She has always been known as our songbird, and once again she is singing too and pursuing her dream of becoming an established singer/songwriter.

Now that I’ve shared a little about how the blog started…

I’d like to share with you why I stopped blogging back in 2016. I felt that my daughter was doing so well that it was detrimental for me continue the blog. I was worried that I was somehow defining her with the use of the blog. I also felt that it was time for my girl to fly as an independent young woman. I didn’t want to stunt her growth as an individual. My thinking was that the blog had served its purpose, and the last blog post that I wrote, titled “An Open Letter to My Adult Child, Now a Mother Herself, Who Still Lives at Home,” marked the end of Stacy’s Flutterings as I knew it. No longer did this beautiful young woman need her mom to speak for her. I set my daughter free. This was an extremely significant time in my life too because after finding her after her last suicide attempt, that ended with her on life support, I clung to her because I feared that I could lose her, literally. It took a lot of healing to get to the place that I was the day that I wrote what I thought would be the last blog post. What I didn’t know was that the last blog post wasn’t the last.

What is different now is that…

it’s not just 1 mom writing, it’s 1 mom and 1 daughter. Kim has decided to join me, and I couldn’t be happier! We are 1 multigenerational family making it work, and music really is at the heart of what we are doing. Don’t get me wrong, mental illness still is a part of our story, but we’ve learned, and continue learning, how to cope individually and as a family with the challenges that accompany mental illness. Mental illness does not define us. We define us. And what’s really cool is that Bill, my husband and Kim’s dad, has joined Kim on her singing journey as her guitarist! I took the picture above last week while they were loading the Jeep with equipment for a gig Kim had that evening. She was actually teasing Bill and pretended she was helping him load the Jeep, when in all reality, he loaded the Jeep! I’m excited to share that he’ll start performing with her at her next gig!

The blog has a new look and vibe as we begin this next chapter…

and we hope that you will follow us as we chronicle our unique family story that involves mental illness, mental wellness, awareness, support, the ups, the downs and ultimately, phenomenal music by Kim and 1 cool dad!

~ Stacy (1 Mom)

The Sound of Silence

Do you know what depression or mental illness sound like? Can you hear depression in a friend’s voice? Do you recognize it in your significant other’s cry? And if you could hear mental illness, what exactly would it sound like? Mental illness has a few different sounds to me. It’s a whisper so quiet that only those paying full attention can hear. Even the ones who are paying attention sometimes miss the whisper, and it fades until it is unrecognizable. Mental illness can also be a yell. It can be a yell so loud that those around are frightened and try to avoid the sound as it pierces the sky.

Whenever I’m depressed, I go silent. My body aches, and I feel like I haven’t slept in far too long. Depression can be draining and so can mania. I once spent a whole year barely speaking to my friends, family and boyfriend at the time. It was easier to stare off into the distance and imagine I didn’t feel as bad as I did. It would be easier to not speak words than to simply say how I felt. Admitting I was depressed was easy. However, trying to find the courage, strength and energy to say any words was exhausting to even think about.

Important to note, I’m not the only one in my household that lives with depression. My mom also experiences depression. Since she is intimately familiar with depression, I asked her what she thought of this blog post, knowing that she’d be honest with me. With her permission, I’d like to share what she had to say:

“First, thank you Kim for asking me how I feel when I get depressed. No one really has ever asked me,  probably because I’ve never shared that I experience depression from time to time. I’ve only shared this with you and dad, and Paul and Katlin. When I think about how I feel, when depression descends for awhile, immediately a song comes to my mind. That song is “The Sound of Silence,” but it’s not the Simon & Garfunkel version that I’m talking about. It’s the remake that the rock band Disturbed did. When I hear the first 12 words,  I feel an eerie sense of familiarity. Those 12 words are painfully familiar to me. It sounds silly maybe. I can’t believe that words alone can have such an affect on me, but they do. If you decide to share my thoughts with anyone, don’t tell them the words. I’d like to invite them to listen to the song, especially those first 12 words. I think the words have a way of getting to the core of silence somehow. In silence, depression resides…”

Silence is not the only sign of mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides a helpful list of signs and symptoms. If you’d like to learn more, click here: Know the Warning Signs. I hope that you find this blog post to be helpful, if not for you, for someone you care about.

Until next time…

~ Kim (1 Daughter) and Stacy (1 Mom)


References

D. (2015, December 08). Retrieved April 20, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9Dg-g7t2l4

Help With Depression. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2017, from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression

Know The Warning Signs. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Know-the-Warning-Signs

Parekh, R., M.D., M.P.H. (2015, November). What Is Mental Illness? Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/what-is-mental-illness

 

 

 

Where’s the village? Parenting Beyond the High School Years When Mental Illness Plays a Role

I’ve heard over the years, from family and friends, the African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child. I don’t know about you, but I tend to agree. After all, we don’t parent in a vacuum. By the time a child is grown, many people have come and gone from a child’s life. The interesting thing is that once a child is grown, it seems that the village disappears. In America, when a child turns 18 years old, we consider the child to be an adult. With adulthood comes independence; no longer is the same level of parental support and help needed or so the story goes. However, what if the child, now an adult, lives with the continuation of or the recent onset of mental illness? Now what? Where’s the village? Parenting, beyond the high school years, especially when mental illness plays a role, can be challenging. It can seem even more challenging if it looks like the village has left.

Who do parents turn to for information if their child, now grown, lives with mental illness?

We know that children aren’t born with a manual that describes how to raise them. We simply do the best we can with what we have. During our child’s younger years we have doctors, teachers, family and others to reach out to. However, once our child reaches the adulthood milestone, it seems that, as parents, we have nowhere to turn because our child is an “adult.” As an adult they are responsible for making their own decisions, and they legally have the right to do so. What can seem like murky territory can become even murkier.

Despite how murky parenting may seem right now, I have good news!

The village is still here. It just looks a little different. How do I know? In addition to being a wife, I’m a mother as well of three adult children. Two of our children are grown and live on their own. Our middle child, who still lives at home with us currently, happens to live with bipolar disorder. I’ve been where you are at. And I’m there now. I  know what it’s like to raise children, and I can empathize with parents who have an adult child who lives with mental illness.

Where can you go for information?

If you would like more information about how you can support your adult child who lives with mental illness, I have a few ideas to get you started. First, I can’t express enough how much personal therapy has helped me. If you are a parent of an adult child who lives with mental illness, I encourage you to give it a try. At the very least, you may learn coping mechanisms that you can add to your parenting toolbox, and you may learn about local resources that may be of help to you and your child. If you find that you are searching for a therapist, you can try using the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) Therapist Locator. If you live outside of the United States, you could try reaching out to your primary care provider for a referral. Second, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides helpful articles such as the ones noted below:

These are just a few of the articles NAMI offers that I highly encourage you to check out. And this is just the tip of the iceberg regarding information. I’ll be sharing more information and resources as I blog, and you can always go to the Mental Health Resources tab on Stacy’s Flutterings for additional resources.

Even though it may seem that the village vanishes when our children grow older, especially if we happen to have a child or children who live with mental illness, there are people and organizations ready to help. We just need to know where to look.


This blog post contains an excerpt from Simply 1 Mom’s Thoughts About Coping When an Adult Child Lives With Mental Illness.

References

King, S. A. (2015). Simply 1 Mom’s Thoughts About Coping When an Adult Child Lives With Mental Illness.

Hushing the Sounds of Social Stigma | A Quiet Book Reveal

Today is a great day. The weather is beautiful here in Florida. The sun, outside my office window, is shining. The sky is blue and riddled with cottony white, fluffy clouds, and yet I sit feeling nervous, and I ponder what to do. What is it that is making me so nervous, and what is holding me back? Sadly, the answer is simple. My fear of social stigma is making me feel nervous, and it’s holding me back from sharing good news. To help me move forward today, past this fear, I’m hushing the sounds of social stigma by blogging about it.

The sounds of social stigma have been taunting me lately, especially since the release of my first book Simply 1 Mom’s Thoughts About Coping When an Adult Child Lives With Mental Illness. To help me hush the sounds of stigma, I’ve noted below a few of my top fears that pertain to writing and publishing the book:

My top 4 Fears that are Laden with stigma

  • How could a mother write about the illness of her child, especially mental illness?
  • Why must you share your dirty laundry with the world?
  • You don’t know anything about what it’s like to live with a mental illness so why write about it?
  • You are not a real author. Your book won’t matter.

My response to my stigma laden fears…

First, in response to my fear, “How could a mother write about the illness of her child?” Why would I be any different from other authors who have written about their children who happen to live with a physical and/or mental illness? I think it’s important for parents to share how they cope as parents when faced with the physical and/or mental illness of a child, if they feel inclined to, because their knowledge may help another parent. Parental advice, based on experience, can be priceless. Also, by opening up and talking about my experience, other parent’s learn that they are not alone. Again, this can be priceless for parent’s who may feel that they are battling life alone.

Second, in response to my fear, “Why must you share your dirty laundry with the world?” To me, the concept of airing dirty laundry is blatant stigma at its best. Because of stigma, many of us want to hide our thoughts and feelings from the world. When we talk about our experience(s), we learn that we are not alone, and we can begin the process of learning what others have done to cope. I believe that opening up and sharing our stories helps us garner support that can help carry us through some of life’s toughest challenges.

Third, in response to my fear, “You don’t know what it’s like to live with a mental illness so why write about it?” This is just incorrect. In fact, I do know what it’s like to live with mental illness. I’ve experienced depression, OCD, PTSD, and I live with anxiety. Therefore, I can relate.

Fourth, in response to my fear, “You are not a real author. Your book won’t matter.” Again, this is just incorrect. I am an indie author, and I am proud of this fact. It takes a lot of determination, hard work and perseverance to write, edit, publish and market a book. I’ve done just that, and as a woman, a mother, a wife, and as a friend, I’m proud of my accomplishment. And this isn’t the last book that I’ll be writing. I’m proud to share with you that this first book, Simply 1 Mom’s Thoughts About Coping When an Adult Child Lives With Mental Illness, is part of a series titled Simply 1 Mom’s Thoughts About…and it’s currently available on Amazon. My book does matter because my family matters as well as families across the globe.

I notice, as I’m typing these very words, that the sun is shining brighter than it was earlier. Maybe it’s because I finally hushed the sounds of stigma in its tracks as I’ve quietly revealed that I’ve published my first book. I feel a weight has been lifted. I hope you will join me in this celebration and even consider checking it out! Any likes and shares on Facebook helps me. For now, I have to get back to writing the second book in the series. Oh! And did I tell you, I’m also writing a third book that pertains to travel that I’m excited to share with you in the year 2016!

Growing stronger…

Guest Blogger Kim King: A Story of Self Hate and Learning to Love Myself

DCF 1.0

“Kim! You are so beautiful!” said my mom, friends, family, and strangers. What no one knew, when they said this to me, was that it hurt to hear those words. Any type of compliment was so painful that it started getting difficult to hide. I smiled for pictures, and I tried to dress up as often as I could handle so I could “feel” pretty. That feeling didn’t come until 18 years later.

In 1st grade I hopped on the school bus with all the other kids and was wearing shorts on this particular day. When I sat down I looked down at my thighs and noticed they were bigger than the other girls’ thighs. That’s when the self-hate began, and it snowballed as I got older. My hair looked ugly to me no matter what so I always wanted it short. No matter what, I felt ugly. Nobody could change my mind or make me feel better.

Eventually, the self-hate turned into self-harm, and I was hurting myself physically so I could feel the pain on the outside that I’d been bottling up on the inside. My wrists and legs became covered with open wounds and scars from me cutting. One day I felt comfortable enough with one of my teachers in high school to share my cutting struggle. He walked me down to the guidance counselors office, and I went to that office almost every day after that. Although I felt pain it felt better knowing that someone else was aware of what I was going through and could talk to me about it.

The hatred towards myself continued after high school, and right after I started classes in college I dropped out and began partying a lot and got involved in a poisonous relationship. That relationship lasted 3 years, but the emotional abuse lasted longer. Because I had so much hate for myself I accepted and welcomed hate unknowingly from others. The energy I was putting off was coming back to me, and even friends started showing negativity towards me. I lost a lot of friends in those 3 years not realizing then that others were a reflection of me and since I hated myself others hated me too.

It all started to unfold the day I looked at my beautiful newborn daughter. The thought came to me, “What if she grows up to hate herself?”. My mind started to rewind, and thoughts came to me in pictures. In every instance of my life I have always been beautiful on the inside and out. When I smiled for those pictures I was hurting, but here I am today looking at them and realizing I love myself and always have. I’m still not 100% sure why I hated myself so much…maybe because I was bullied, or because of society’s standards, or maybe just maybe I was embarrassed to love myself because I didn’t know anyone that loved themselves. Whatever the reason was no longer gets to me. I have embraced me for who I am. My daughter helped me see myself as worthy, beautiful, strong. I am a reflection of her as she is of me.

So today, I want to share this story because if you or someone you know is hurting on the inside or out they need support. They need love. Loving yourself doesn’t happen overnight and is a different process for everyone. Just make sure you look in the mirror and are loving who you see. There’s beauty in everyone. Sometimes we have to show others the beauty they possess before we can see our own beauty. But there are also times when we need to seek out help from a counselor or therapist. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help and knowing you are worth it.

If you are looking for information about self-harm, please check out the Self-Harm guide on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website.

If you are in crisis, you can text the Crisis Text Line by texting “Start” to 741-741. It’s free, 24/7  and confidential.

5 Ways to Support a Loved One With a Mental Illness: Proof Support Matters

Have you heard about the importance of supporting family and friends who live with a mental illness? It’s so important, in fact, that our nations largest non-profit mental health organizations have dedicated space on their websites specific to the topic of support. If you go the the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) homepage or the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) homepage, you will see the word “support.” If you look further, you will find helpful resources pertaining to support for the individual living with mental illness and for his or her family and friends. You will see that a person living with mental illness is actually encouraged to connect with others. And you don’t have to be an immediate family member to show your support. The more support an individual has from loved ones and friends the better.

So what can you do to show your support? I’ve noted below 5 simple ways that you can support a loved one:

  1. Educate yourself. The American Psychological Association (APA) provides helpful, credible information pertaining to a variety of mental illnesses. Click here to access All Psychology Topics.
  2. Learn how to communicate with your loved one. The DBSA provides a guide that I encourage you to read. Click here to access What Helps and What Hurts.
  3. Don’t enable your loved one to do something that he or she can do within reason. Karen Khaleghi Ph.D. wrote a helpful article that you can access on Psychology Today, and it is titled “Are you Empowering or Enabling?
  4. Create and offer a positive environment.
  5. Despite the challenging days, remember that there is sunshine after the rain. There is hope for a better tomorrow. Feel hopeful, exude hopefulness, and share this with your loved one.

Of course there are many more ways to support a loved one, but these are my top 5! With these 5 ideas in mind, I’m curious, have you actually seen and heard visible proof that supporting your family and friends is beneficial? I have proof that all 5 of these methods work. How? Keep reading.

I’d like to invite you to watch my daughter Kim King’s music video. In the video you will hear Kim sing Christina Aguilera’s song “Hurt,” and you will see, in her own words, how life has been unfolding for her and what her future goals are. During the last few minutes of the video, you will hear her sing Alanis Morissette’s song “Mary Jane.” I promise you that the next 9 minutes and 51 seconds you spend watching the video will be worth it. I encourage you to allow yourself to listen without expectations. This video, my friends, is proof that support matters.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bPCCRcnR9_Q

Thank you for watching and supporting Kim. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for your support. We’d love to hear from you as well. Do you have ideas regarding how to support a loved one that have worked for you?

Growing stronger…

Paper cuts: effects of a suicide attempt

imageHow can we begin to understand the unfathomable? If you are like me, you need to experience the very thing you can’t even come close to comprehending. For example, if you cut your finger on a piece of paper, you most likely feel pain, but eventually the paper cut heals. And even though there is no scar, we usually don’t forget the pain of a paper cut. This pain we can understand even if someone else says it happened to them. You might even feel sympathy for them. Most importantly, you can actually empathize with them. You get it because it happened to you.

You are about to embark on a reading journey that may be painful and similar to a paper cut, but you are not holding onto a piece of paper. Instead, you are holding yet another tangible item…my words by way of your phone or computer. My purpose is to prevent suicide. If I can prevent even one family from going though what I have, I’ve fulfilled my purpose. Please keep reading.

Imagine you are running down two flights of stairs…you are headed towards your loved one…you are on an innocent mission to wake her up and tell her that she accidentally overslept and missed an appointment.

You don’t realize that you are running though the last corridor of life as you know it…life literally is extinguishing right in front of you as you reach the bottom of the stairs and run towards the basement door. You grasp a cold, shiny, brass doorknob, crank it to the right and push the door open.

The door haphazardly swings open to the right as you lose your grip…it makes a loud thud as it hits the wall. The sound instantaneously dissipates as you are hit by a deafening silence and a flurry of confusing thoughts…it’s as if you’ve entered an epic snowstorm…you can’t see what’s in front of you…your thoughts swirl around, out of reach,  like countless wispy snowflakes being kicked up by a brisk, bitter cold breeze…the air is thick…denial attempts to shroud you…protecting you from what lies ahead…

You see your loved one on the floor near deaths door, your loved one who you’d die for over and over again for eternity…you call out her name…she’s fading away from you like a childhood game of tag gone wrong…now you see her…now you don’t…your loved one so out of touch yet so near…the breath of death taunts you, tugs at you, pulls you down like a wet snow thunderously racing down a mountain like an avalanche enveloping you, sealing you in its wake. At a visceral level you internally scream but reality begs of you to speak calm enough to summon help…you don’t know yet that she digested over 90 psychotropic pills hours before you discovered her…

My friend, the pain of finding a loved one after a suicide attempt is real. I know it all to well because I’ve lived it. It happened to me and my family. The painful memory of this moment and I have intimately danced together ever since. I hope by sharing my experience others can begin to grasp the fact that suicide is real. Of course, I’ve spared you from the details beyond this moment. They are tucked away in a memoir that has become the holder of memories to important to discard. The recorded memories are proof that there is at least something out of our experience that I’ve had control of.

What matters now is that I want to share with you that my loved one miraculously lived but not without being on life support first, and the days in the hospital were yet another painful experience, too painful to share now.

I tried to share with you through words how devastating and life changing it was to find my loved one in such a state. Mere words can’t even begin to express the harrowing and painful experience. We consider ourselves lucky and blessed. Countless other families don’t have such a positive outcome as we’ve had. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 41,149 persons died by suicide in 2013. This figure to me is staggering especially since it’s preventable. If only I would have known the signs and risk factors. I may have been able to save my loved one and husband and my other dear children from the dreadfully painful experience. Please take the time to learn how to prevent suicide. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides helpful resources that will help you gain an understanding about suicide warning signs. I encourage you to check their website out.

Also, if you know someone who is in crisis or you need help, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

If you prefer to text, you can text the Crisis Text Line by texting the word “start” to 741 – 741.

Please share this blog as you see fit in an effort to prevent suicide. Let’s change the ending to other families stories by putting an end to suicide.

Growing stronger…