Monday, December 22, 2014

The Healing Power of Music

When my daughter was admitted to Caron for inpatient treatment, the only electronic device she was allowed to bring was a cd player.  For a teen used to having the constant distraction of texting, Facebook, the iPOD, etc. this caused quite an anxiety attack. Further, the music she was allowed to listen to was prescreened for "appropriate content." As we said goodbye she begged us to write and send cds. 

The first playlist I sent to her was called, "What's a Mom to do." It contained songs she requested, lullabies and other songs that related to the circumstances.

I also began to make playlists for myself and listening to them became an obsession. These playlists became a way to turn off the guilt and inner critic that was constantly assaulting me.  As I began to study yoga, meditation, and addiction I realized that listening to my playlists became a way to practice moving meditation and mindfulness.

Now, when I am in crisis, feeling down, or I can't turn off that evil voice in my head I take a deep breadth, grab my IPOD and go for a walk to escape the madness.

The song that became my impetus to open up, share my story and enter the world of Twitter, Facebook and blogging is by a performer I discovered when she opened for a concert I was attending  YouTube - Out Loud - Mindy Smith - Long Island Shores 

The 2 opening sentences in particular resonated with me.

Hey friend why do we always hide? 
It's no wonder that we're sinking down.
Why should we stand in lonely shadows, 
when there’s so much light around?

We are all interconnected. If sharing my story can help one family not feel the pain and isolation that comes with their child's struggle, then it is all worth it.  If I can help them find the "angels" sooner, limiting the trauma, pain, suffering and isolation that addiction/codependency brings, then it's worth it.


"I have made many mistakes in my life and no doubt will make more before I die. When I have seen pain, when I have found my ineptness has caused displeasure, I have learned to accept my responsibility and to forgive myself first, then to apologize to anyone injured by my misreckoning. Since I cannot un-live history, repentance is all I have to offer, I have hopes that my sincere apologies were accepted. You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you are thinking. You might find a new solution. Never whine. Whining lets a brute know that a victim is in the neighborhood. Be certain that you do not die without having done something wonderful for humanity.”
Letter to My Daughter

Hi, I am an imperfect mom willing to share my story. Starting in middle school my oldest daughter  struggled with addiction. Through supporting her healing process, I found that I had my own issues that  needed to be addressed in order to be able to heal our family. By telling my story, I hope to inspire others to find comfort reaching out for help, ways to deal with codependency and connect them with tools and resources that have supported me in this journey. Who knows, by sharing and caring, we might even save a life.

The diagnosis of addiction often "overlaps" with other mental illnesses like depression, ADD, etc. This makes it very complicated for a parent to deal with. One of the results of our society's emphasis towards perfectionism, materialism and success is that we feel we must hide our vulnerabilities at all costs. As a result, we become isolated from each other and use finger pointing or blame as a way to deflect so that we don't have to admit that we are not perfect. This also isolates the child (addict) and their parents. This has to stop! We as parents (and human beings) need to promote and share information and experiences in order to help and learn from each other.  Although we can't prevent bad things from happening to us, change our genetic history, or our children; we can help others see the warning signs, shorten the learning curve and limit trauma. Once again, this can't happen if the traumatized family feels fear of judgement.