Little Lion Man

25 Feb

I never knew how to be a guarded person. I always felt completely at ease sharing with others. That is part of the “story” of who I am. Sharing personal issues, triumphs, victories, and defeats all comes with the territory.

I am the proud mother of 2 young boys. I love them both dearly. They are little tiny heartbeats of mine walking around this earth. They are each a  little tiny phenom. I am in love. I have loved them both since their first breath, and our first touch.

Saturday evening I decided to keep my word and leave the house. An old friend, a woman I have not seen in 20 years, had come to Atlanta for a visit. I was so tired, not a shock, so I really debated going or not. I heard a little voice in my head tell me, “Your word is all you have. Have integrity and go.” I went and took Blaise with me. We went on a date as he shouted so eloquently across the Barnes and Noble parking lot. Prior to the bookstore Blaise and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner with our dear friend and her husband. Two hours we sat there, he was a perfect gentleman. He looks so “NORMAL” it really is the bain of my existence. It is confusing to the world when your child looks “normal” on the outside, but is fighting a full-fledged war inside. After almost 4 years of dealing with Prader Willi Syndrome and Autism I think I got this. I am doing well. I go out in public, I travel with my kids, I go on living my life. That is not where it ends. Remember I have 2 children. My second child, “my typical” child is anything but “typical.” I have written of this before, and it is worth re visiting.

I recently saw an article posted on Facebook regarding medicating small children. The article was long and some of their argument alluded to the fact that; these children have nothing wrong with them, the drug companies just want to make money. Now, I am no fool. I know we live in a capitalistic society, but I also know there is a real possibility that my Little Lion Man has mental health issues. It’s not his fault, but it’s there. It lives there.

There is nothing wrong with him. You are a first time mom. Your first child is disabled, you weren’t able to parent him. You don’t have a clue with your second. This is normal behavior.”

I ducked when that sentence came flying out at me. I was in front of the big spinning wheel as the magician is throwing knives at me.


The knife went in deeper. I could feel the warm blood starting to pour out of my chest. It stung. I put a bandage on it, covered it up gtfvwith two layers of clothes and moved on. The cut was just superficial, painful, but not deep enough to kill me.

Here is the truth, my second heartbeat, my Little Lion Man, has mental health issues. They are real. A mother knows. A mother can feel when her heartbeat is hurting. A mother can feel when her heartbeat fades in and out.

My little man turns to me and says, “You hate me. You think I am stupid. I know you think I am stupid.” Those words have never crossed my lips, never. Where does it come from? Where does this glitch start? Where can I go in with my tools and repair the loose wires.

As I drive my normal route home I pass a sign on a PreSchool billboard. It reads:

“How we talk to our children becomes their inner voice”

I always tell him I love him. You are smart little man. You are loved little man. You are the best thing in my life little man.

Those should be his inner voice, but they aren’t. My son is diagnosed as having a mood disorder and ADHD. Yes, he is 3 years old, the doctors didn’t even think twice. They knew he could hurt himself or us.

Sadly I had to take him off the medication, again. Insurance won’t cover mental health. Nobody wants to talk about mental health in small children. It is taboo, We need to talk about this, it is a real issue. I am not here to debate the issue of medicating young children. I am here to say lets call it what it is. Let’s talk about it. Let’s offer help to the families who feel helpless. Mental health effects people of all ages, even Little Lion Men.




In life things may seem perfect and tidy on the outside. They may pass all the tests, they may make all the marks. My hope is that we have the courage to take our looking glass and look a wee bit closer. Take a loving look inside. There are little lion men all over who don’t show that their little heartbeat is hurting. My little lion man is brave and courageous.

How many little lion men do you think you pass everyday? Do you see them in the store, the movies, at school? Where are they in your life?

10 Responses to “Little Lion Man”

  1. barbarapotter February 25, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    I cried so hard when I read this. I cried because I love him so much and his heart is so sweet it could melt you and then in a instant his eyes go dark and he looks at me and says something you would never think to hear from a 3 year old. I see that he is in pain. I see that he does not want to be this way but he can’t help it. No this is not normal for any child. This is not a temper tantrum. This is important Rachel thanks for sharing.

  2. Brenda February 25, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    WOW. Is all I can think to say. Little lion man is blessed to have warrior mom!

  3. Sherie February 25, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    Kudos to you for acknowledging that there are “issues”. At least then you can work on a solution to dealing with symptoms, so often parents do ignore it and pretend that all is well. I can tell you that I usually get these “kids” assigned to my caseload after they turn 18 and the symptoms have been ignored, the treatment and therapies not even considered and what you have at 18 is a very troubled child now adult that mom and dad coddled and pretended instead of getting the appropriate treatment. Years of untreated behaviors and symptoms is very difficult and potentially dangerous. If you think something is wrong, research and seek the best treatment possible now. Good for you for not fearing the stigma associated with mental health problems. Your “little lion man” will learn a very valuable lesson from a mom who was not afraid to address problems and find a solution. In the end, he will grow up to be a “big lion man” who will now have his own “roar” in dealing with life.

    • rachyrachp February 26, 2013 at 5:47 am #

      love you

    • Heidi Rogers February 26, 2013 at 11:31 am #

      Thank you for sharing your story. I loved it’s honesty and rawness. I feel for you and your little man, and am curious if you have tried any diet related options for helping with moods and mental illness? I ask this from a place of compassion in hopes it could help your little family as it has helped me. Below is a simple article on symptoms sometimes caused by gluten intolerance or celiac. I am intolerant of gluten and letting go of it has changed my life.


      Good luck on you journey!

  4. JenPastiloff February 26, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Reblogged this on The Manifest-Station and commented:
    I don’t know what to say about this piece except it broke my heart and you MUST read it. By my sis. Thanks Tribe xojen

  5. Annette February 26, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    I hope you’ve taken a look at Little Lion Man’s diet. Have you read Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD.? Awesome book. If you haven’t read it yet, please do. Also Titus Smit’s book, Autism – Beyond Despair. CEASE Therapy.

    • barbarapotter February 26, 2013 at 11:38 am #

      HI Annette, because his older brother has Prader Willi Syndrome & Autism both children eat clean, fresh and healthy with no artificial anything especially colors and she has had to do that all of Maddy’s life. She has tried everything that has been written and advised. I am sure she will want to read the book too. Thank you. Barbara

  6. Victoria February 26, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    I have a six year old boy who I have known for some time had issues. He was not quite two when he tried to claw out his baby sister’s eyes.

    I have spent the last few years working to teach him better ways to handle his temper, while desperately trying to find the right food combinations to minimise his behaviour. (Less sugar, no colour, no preservatives were my starting points.)

    Last year I was diagnosed gluten free, and my Dr suggested at least one of my children probably had a gluten intolerance. Hallelujah. Major breakthrough.

    However, not all behavioural issues disappeared. I began to feel like I’d hit 80% of the nail, but not all of it. I took him into my holistic Dr, who had a short talk with him and suggested Pyroluria. I’d never heard of it. Turns out, it is an inability of the body to absorb certain vitamins and minerals. What goes missing are the ones needed to produce serotonin. Children and adults end up with flashes of anger, irrational tempers, mood swings, depression, pessimism. (My little boy used to get up and say, ‘I’m going to have a terrible day today, I just know it.’ What kind of six year old feels pessimistic? Six year kids should wake with joy and happiness.)

    Children with Pyroluria are commonly diagnosed with ADD and ADHD and then medicated, which does nothing to improve the underlying issues.

    What I find extraordinarily interesting is that Pyroluria – which is more mainstream in the States than in it is here in Australia – is still not widely known about anywhere. it is an emerging understanding we have of it, not the full picture.

    How many issues like this are we not diagnosing in children? I had had blood tests done for him previously, and they all looked normal. It took a holistic doctor to suggest something left of centre.

    What I’m saying here is don’t give up on finding an answer. It might be gluten intolerance, it might be dairy intolerances, casein, or Pyroluria. It could be something we don’t yet know about. But children are extraordinarily susceptible to how their systems are running, and a number of different things affect them. It may be either what’s going in, or how they’re processing it. I suggest to every parent, eliminate all the possibilities before you medicate.

    My little boy is only one week into a prescribed vitamin program, and the difference is already remarkable.

    I wish you all the best.

    • rachyrachp February 26, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

      Thank you. I am headed down the elimination path again. Your info is great.

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