Monthly Archives: May 2016


We had our final discharge meeting for damain today at Hillside.

We will be picking him up on May 20th at 2:00 pm.

I am not going to pretend that we are finished nor can I assume that I will never write on this blog again.  But for now I going to stop. I am going to cherish each day and attempt to practice mindfulness.

I am going to move on and let go of this blog where I have singled out my emotions for one child.  For now I am going to pray and have Faith that our daily trials be boring. And ordinary.

The Good News tends to be followed by frustration

As with most things, when parenting a child with mental illness, the good news is often followed by frustration.

Good News- Damian will be discharged on May 29, 2016 from Hilside PRTF!!!!!!!

More Good News- He has qualified for CBAY services (Community Based Alternatives for Youth) which will provide us with a case manager and team to help us find resources for Damian to be successful at home.  They will also provide funding for once a month respite services-Yeah date night!!!!

Frustration immediately followed– we have a team but no resources.  What good is a team of people if there are no resources out there to find or utilize??  here is an email we sent to our CBAY case manager after she sent us a huge list of special needs summer camps.

Dear Ms Jackson,
We went through the list you sent us and contacted all on the list (30+ phone calls). None except Atlanta circus camp was willing to accept a child with a primary diagnosis of Bipolar/ Emotional Behavioral Disorder. Many stated they serve behavioral needs but only when they are a secondary diagnosis to a developmental or intellectual disability such as autism, brain injury, or moderate to severe intellectual impairment.
The circus camp is located in Atlanta and at 1 1/2 hours each way, that is just time prohibitive.
Please let me know if you find any other resources we could try.
Thank you for helping our family!

Atlanta has camps for children who have…, asthma, sickle cell anemia, food allergies, autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, parents in the military, intellectual disabilities, cancer, alopecia, immune disorders, parents who are incarcerated, foster kids, siblings with special needs, every kind of syndrome (23 different camps), amputees, hearing loss, blindness, mobility issues, brain injuries, heart problems, sensory issues, anorexia/bulimia, phobias, skin disorders, grieving, substance abuse, and divorce.

Where in the hell is my son’s camp????  So done with the world right now, good feelings gone.



CAFAS : The Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale.  Assesses the degree of impairment in youth with emotional, behavioral, psychiatric, or substance use problems.

CANS :The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) is a multi-purpose tool developed for children’s services to support decision making, including level of care and service planning.

CBAY: Community Based Alternatives for Youth

PRTF: Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility

CMS: Center for Medicaid Services

SED: Serious Emotional Disturbance

SEBD: Serious Emotional and Behavioral Disturbance

MDS: Minimum Data Set

TPA: Third Party Administrator

CAFAS: Child and Adolescent Functioning Assessment Scale

WFI: Wraparound Fidelity Index

CFT: Child and Family Team

CME: Care Managment Entity

DBT: Dialetic Behavior Therapy

PRR: Physical Restraint Required

SHI: Self Harm Incident

IFI: Intensive Family Intervention

IB:  An “intolerable” behavior

FSA: Family Stabilty Assessment

IPH: Inpatient Psychiatric Hospital

CSU: Crisis Stabilizarion Unit





Thank you

View More: you universe!

Damian made it through his 3 day pass this weekend.  No cursing, harm, talk of harm, or tantrums.  I am so overwhelmed with sweet joy and relief right now.

When he left to go back to Hillside I did a happy dance!  Oh thank sweet baby Jesus we made it!!!!!

If all continues this way, we are looking at a discharge date of May 21!!!

Dear Universe,

Dear Universe, it’s me Deb.

Damian is coming home on Friday for a 3 day pass could you please stop crumbling around me?  Could you see fit to allow him to make it through this weekend with us?  Could you please let us be close to discharge?  The patience you have given me is gone and before you ask, NO, I do not want any more of it.

Thank you, Deb Cronnelly

Hi ho hi ho it is off to the doctor I go

My moods have been increasingly black and dark and my personal therapy has helped some.  But today I went to my doctor and got an antidepressant.  I had been putting it off as I hypocritically thought I could do it on my own.  I should know better but as most mom’s do, I didn’t  want to admit I needed help.  I have an awesome doctor and when he saw me sitting in his office clinging to yet another tissue box, he just said-“Deb it’s time”.  So script in hand I headed to the pharmacy.


April 19th family therapy session was a disaster.  Damian self harmed on April 16th when we had to delay his day pass until the 17th because another kiddo was having a serious meltdown.  I was so mad at him that I spoke with therapy team via speaker phone and then couldn’t continue due to my ridiculous amount of hyperventlating and sobbing.  So Garrett had to do the family therapy alone.  Damian told Garrett that “everyday we make him stay at Hillside he is losing a piece of his soul.  Garrett responded, ” that is complete and total bullshit, what movie did you learn that from.  I am sick of your words and I want to see positive actions not scripted words.”  The rest of the session did not improve.

Before the April 26th family session we met with his teachers and set Damian up with ESY services (essentially summer school for SPED students) .  After we met alone with our family therapist and got a huge run around about what services we could get Damian when he was discharged.  I was so overwhelmed and sick of all of it. I asked Garrett what he thought and he replied, “whatever you think is best”.  Cue another complete and total meltdown on my part.  I actually threw the tissue box that I had been clinging to, right at my husband.  Then stormed out of the office to sit in the car for the rest of the session.

The past couple of weeks have not been my finest moments.  In fact they have been the most difficult in my life.  And right now it is just more.  More hopeless than holding my moms hand and telling her we loved her while the other hand on her heart felt it slowly stop beating.  More soul crushing than miscarriages.  More frightening than surgery.  More terrifying than Leah’s epilepsy.  More exhausting than the many long nights at the Childrens’ Hospital.  More isolating than having 7 kiddos with special needs. More life changing than the phone call that told me my father had died.  More future shattering than finding out that my sister and I inherited autoimmune disorders from our mother.  I would live through any or all of these things if I could just stop this with Damian.

More, more, more…this past 9 months of Damian’s breakdown is just more than I …..Ever!