Friday, August 21, 2015

Finding My Edge

I often view the beginning of the school year as almost what new year's day is to most people. It is full of new things, and new adventures. Schedules change, and the routine is redefined every year as everyone's needs change.This is usually the time I stop to think about my own schedules, and what to do to make the school year meaningful to me. I clear out the old, and make way for new plans, and new goals.

This year I am still homeschooling Beans, and CJ is doing online school. Bubby is going to regular school. Beans is still going to need constant supervision, and one on one help through out the entire say. I still have been unable to find any respite for him, so unfortunately it is up to our family to figure it all out. That means that for most of the day Bean's care is all on me. I have to figure out how to help CJ (who is dyslexic) with her work, answer phones for my husband's business. as well as do paperwork, and balance all of that with housework, and everything else running a household requires.

The thing is, I have outgrown that.

Not in the way I that I want to stop doing it all, or that I don't find joy in it anymore. I do. However, there is a part of me that wants more. I am ready for something else. My expressive side has grown a bit stagnant, and my mind is restless with ideas far away from my everyday life. I feel like I need something all my own in addition to the things that already occupy my day.

I am still not sure exactly what. I am still not sure exactly when I will find time for a new venture, but my goal is to make it happen within the next year.  I'd like to start writing in some way as a career, instead of just a blogger. A book maybe? I don't know yet. I am just beginning to explore my options. I am ready to take on something new, and explore new terrain.

I'm always trying to challenge myself. Sometimes I fail, but I always am ready to try again later. I find the edge, and push it just a tiny bit. That's what I am doing now. Finding that edge, and finding what feels right as I move forward.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Defining Friendship

I don't know a lot of about social etiquette. I don't have a buzzing social life, and I don't do girl's night out. I forget to do simple things like say hello, or goodbye to people. I am moderately faceblind, so I will walk right past people I've known for years in a public place leaving to look like a space case at best, and a snob at worst.

I don't know a lot about having a lot of friends, but I know a lot about being a good friend, and what constitutes a quality friendship.

It has taken me many years to define what a good friend is, and I am still learning. One big trap that I get caught in is that I am very eager to open up my resources to almost anyone in need. I will spend hours talking to a friend in crisis, or spending the little money that I have on making a cheer up package for them. It's always been part of my personality to share what I have. In grade school this was rarely a good thing. Kids would ask to cut in line, for my food, for my money, or my seat and I'd almost always give it to them. I'd not hesitate. If they were asking they must need it more than me, and I'd always assume that they'd return the favor when I was in need. Obviously, that was not what happened, but I really didn't learn from it. Instead, the lesson I'd take to heart was that there must be something wrong with me as to why others didn't treat me with the same respect as I did them. Every time something happened where I was taken advantage of, or left out in some way it would chip away at my self-esteem a little bit more. I'd give more of myself away than before in hopes that it would somehow raise how worthy I was for friendship. I was setting myself up for failure. I was also letting other's behavior define my worth.

I still find myself doing this as an adult. It's been a hard habit to break. I don't necessarily think most people take advantage of me now in a purposeful way. Not in the way that they used to. I think it's far too often that people are more willing to take support than to give it.  When a crisis, or loss hits it is really uncomfortable for another person to be able to sit with you, and support you. Big emotions are hard to deal with, and it takes someone who has a well defined, strong character to tolerate maintaining a friendship during uncomfortable moments. What I mean by maintaining is actually playing an active role in the friendship. What I don't mean is staying

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Meltdown Recovery

I have made posts, and talked about meltdowns on my blog before. It's not a new topic for me, by any means, however it's not something that happens to me often. When it does happen it's such a heightened state of emotion that the details of how I feel, what triggered it, and how to recover fades with every hour after I am in a relatively calm state. As usual, I cannot speak for everyone on the spectrum, but I can tell you how I feel, and hope that in doing this that some of what I say may help someone else, especially parents of autistic kids who don't have the ability to explain things. I'm 36, and barely am able to have the insight to be able to advocate for what I need to recover from meltdowns.

This afternoon I had a meltdown. It was an epic one that had been building for quite some time. When it hit I was unable to identify it, and stop the torrent of emotions from flowing out. What triggered it was not one thing, and with me it almost never is. I had been operating above the level of my capacity for a couple weeks now. School enrollment, and appointments have devoured my days. So much paperwork, and talking to people. Social engagements, and all the while keeping up with regular household stuff, too had me teetering. I knew I was teetering, but there was not much I could do. I used every coping skills available to me, but it was not enough. On top of the demands a few different people in this small time frame had treated Bubby poorly. This happens often with him, but usually not in such a small window of time, and one in which I was recovering from so much. (He is not aware of the rejection, or what was said about him in two of these incidents.) Not only was I beyond sad for my big hearted son who does not deserve this, but I was/am feeling as if I failed him in some way. This was the last straw. This took my last spoon, and it was all downhill from there. I had a meltdown, passed out from exhaustion, and have been recovering for the rest of the night.

I once heard from someone on an ASD message board that said the difference between a meltdown, and a panic attack was that a panic attack = "OMG! I'm going to die!!!!" A meltdown = "Omg. I'm going to make you die!" While not all of us are physical I find it an apt description. I felt anxious when I made a status update on Facebook, and that quickly evolved to irrational anger when it was met with well meaning, but not helpful comments.Now, I am sure there are people that think that if I'm going to leave bitchy comments (or say them) then it's fair game for them to respond in the same manner. I suppose that is true. Other people can hold that opinion, but I don't feel the power is equal in that equation. I see it all the time with adults vs autistic kids. They just can't leave the kid alone to recover. Instead they keep picking, and arguing with the kid, further escalating things. When I am in a meltdown situation it's the worst, rawest, most desperate feeling in the world. I am out of control, and my world is spinning. Sometimes I might cry, but that isn't real often. As a matter of fact, not much emotion ever registers on my face, so there is little for the other people in my presence to clue into other than my behavior.

So, what do (usually) well intentioned people usually say when I am having a meltdown situation?

Friday, August 7, 2015

One Year Post #Hysterectomy Update

On July 29th it was one year to date since I had a hysterectomy. I thought that doing a little update post about how that year has been for me, and how I feel about it now would be good for women that may be considering having one, or possibly just had one.

Of course, this is just my experience. I don't intend to represent a standard of healing. I do, however, want to tell my story, and possibly offer some hope for others. If one was to look on the internet for hysterectomy stories a lot of what you'd come away with would be bleak. I don't know why. Positive stories aren't as easy to find as the negative ones.

I think the hardest part was the healing time. Since I am in such a busy household I couldn't really rest as well as I'd like to have. I talk about that some in a past post: Recovering From a Hysterectomy in an Autistic Household so I'm not going to repeat it all here in this post.

The first few months after the hysterectomy everything seemed to be doing okay. I was easing back into my routine, and all was pretty good. The only thing that was not was that I was still in pain. I spoke to my doctor about it, but no one quite knew why my bladder was hurting so much, but chalked it up to just a slow healer.

Then, in October my energy dropped, and depression started setting in. A different kind of depression than any other I've had. It was a deep to the bone heavy weight, immobilizing kind. I pushed through it. It came, and went.

By January my bladder was hurting worse than ever. I went to see a doctor, and long story short after several appointments with specialists I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis.  I realized that a lot of the pain I was blaming on the endometriosis was really due to this bladder issue. Most of the time it is not all that bad, but sometimes the pain is comparable to active labor pain. I am in pain every day, but usually it is tolerable. Now, I can get the correct treatment that I realize that not all of the pain I was experiencing was due to the endo.

During the months of November through early January I had began to gain weight. Nothing I did seemed to help, and it was all gathering around my tummy. It was evident as my mood shifted, and my weight changed that even though I had kept my ovaries they were not working properly. I had thought that I had made the worst mistake ever. I felt like I was doomed to this life of weight gain, and depression.

Thankfully, by February

Monday, July 13, 2015

Revealing My Scars

I had a strange dream the other night. It was the kind where it follows me with odd da ja vue feelings for days. It begs to be taken apart, and analyzed. Some dreams are really just wisps of all that we accumulate during the day being let out in our subconscious at night while we sleep like an air release valve. They don't mean much at all. Then there are the kind that are a little more serious than that. When you recall bits, and pieces of these dreams there's emotion attached. It's not just the run of the mill dump dream. These types of dreams have a message to decipher, and usually a solution to a hidden issue you might have been avoiding.

In this particular dream I had found out from a doctor that I had cancer. I eventually ended up speaking to a doctor, and a team of scientists about my options for treatment. The doctor told me that I had three options. I could:

1. Choose to try to manage it with diet, and exercise, and hope it heals itself. The doctor said that this was not a recommended choice, because the cancer was very toxic, and would likely attach itself to other organs infecting other parts of my body with sickness.

2. I could choose to replace that part of my body with healthy skin. The new skin would heal the cancer, and the chances of full recovery were very optimal. The only drawback was that the skin had to come from my face. A fairly large portion of my face. The procedure was only offered in another country, so I would have to go there to get it. She explained to me that this was the best option with little chance for error.

3. I could choose chemotherapy, but the doctor noted that this option would be overkill. She didn't recommend it, because the chemo kills the healthy cells with the bad ones. I would endure pain, and sickness as well as possible permanent damage that would be irreversible.

I decided to go with the chemo. I said that would be the best option for me. It was the only one I could afford. The doctor again reminded me of her recommendations. She asked me why I could not do number two, since that was the best choice medically. I asked if the skin would scar, and she said it might. I broke down in tears explaining to her that I had a scaring disorder that makes my scars turn into bubbles, and look much worse than most people's scars. I also could never afford to go to another country. How could I choose number two when it would leave marks on my face that everyone will see?" I sobbed.

Monday, July 6, 2015

My Journey to Fitness #Autism #Parent #Autistic

"I bought a little red bikini today. Let's see if I have the courage to wear it."

That's what my status on Facebook read from 5 years ago. That is where I was in terms of confidence, and physical health. It is a far cry from where I am today. It was around this time that I embarked on my fitness journey. That is what this entry is going to be about. Where I was, where I've been, and what I have learned on the way. I have been thinking about doing this post for a few months now. I am not good at mapping out, and summarizing my thoughts before I write. That just isn't my writing style. So, I am going to do what I usually do, and just let the words flow out as I tell my story.

About five years ago is where my passion for fitness began. It started out as a little spark that was unfortunately ignited by self hatred. I've never been overweight, but had gained quite a bit of weight six years ago when I quit smoking, and my thyroid went out of whack. I didn't like my body. I had never liked my body, actually. If you follow my blog, or know me then you know how self image is a enormous battle I have struggled with for my whole life beginning in grade school when I was teased mercilessly. I began my fitness journey from a dark place that was misguided. I wanted to change how I looked, so I wanted to exercise due to hating my body. I found my motivation in shame, instead of self love. I dieted, and felt deprived. I felt that exercise, and restricting my diet was a punishment for not doing better, and not being better. Maybe I didn't think of it in those words at the time, but that is what is was. It would be awhile before I gained motivation from a better place, and stopped wallowing in self-loathing.

When I first started exercising I didn't know much about fitness. I knew basics. I did a lot of cardio, because I assumed it would help me lose weight. I cut my calories back too much, and I ate all the wrong foods. I did lose weight. Cutting calories will typically result in weight loss, but there is so much more to physical health than just the number we see when we step on the scale. More on that later, though.

I started looking up information. There was so much out there! One expert said this, and another article said that. I didn't know where to turn, or who to listen to. In the meantime I found lots of youtube videos with free exercise routines. I started out with a few exercises here, and there. I didn't really know how often, or how to do a good routine to get the most out of my workouts. None of the videos, or channels I found were very educational in this way.

That all changed a couple of years ago when I found Fitness Blender. Combined with the knowledge I had gleaned on my own through tons of research, and their very easy to use site I was able to begin getting into shape the healthy way.

This entry is not just about sharing another info dump to add to everyone's growing collection of how to lose weight, or a new trendy exercise routine, but about how I personally went from where I was to where I am now. I no longer stand on the edge of anorexic thinking, fearing other's judgments about who I am as I try to make peace with my physical body. Treating the mind, and the body as if I can get one super healthy while the other is severely lacking is all that was wrong with my mindset, and I suspect so many of others, as well. The shame, and guilt of extra weight, eating, and not knowing how to do better, but sure as hell feeling low for not being able to be better  was a terrible place to start at, and was never going to produce the happiness that I longed for. It seemed that most of the places I looked for info, and support fostered that sense of food shame, and unhealthy physical routines.

You're not going to find pictures of me, or anyone else posing in a bikini for before, and after pics in this post.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Why #Positive #Parenting?

When I created the event #PositiveParentingDay I wasn't sure what my blogging contribution would be. I thought about it for all week, and yet here I am at almost midnight with no real solid direction to go in.

At first I thought I could site studies that might prove positive parenting is effective, but I felt that might be boring to read, and in a way talking over most parents. I don't know that a lot of us know when a new study is really true, or if it's just science persuaded to support a pre-established ideal. I find most of the people that argue for aversive punishments to discipline children find comfort in doing what they know, and distrustful of new concepts that don't match what they know. So, the idea of quoting experts, and doctors wasn't appealing to me.

Then, I thought that maybe I might find some good quality sites to share about positive parenting. I thought that maybe that might help people who are unfamiliar with positive parenting know what it is, and what it isn't. I couldn't think of a way to make this entertaining, and not just a big info dump. The whole purpose of #PositiveParentingDay is to introduce parents to a different style of parenting that they may not know about, but I didn't want to do this by simply sharing links.

In the end, I have decided to just simply write about what positive parenting means to me, and why I choose to use it with my kids.

Positive parenting isn't a fancy method that I read about somewhere, or heard about on an afternoon talk show. It isn't the way I was raised, and it isn't the same exact thing other parents who use positive parenting. To me positive parenting describes where I am at as a parent of 3 very different kids. The way I have arrived where I am on this journey going on 17 years now is unique,

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Celebrate #PositiveParentingDay June 1st

Hello. I would like to invite you to celebrate positive parenting with me on Monday June 1st. To sign up please see the event listing HERE, as well as see the bottom of this page for further instructions.

What is positive parenting?

Positive parenting is not really a clearly defined technique that has certain rules to follow. It can mean different things to different people, as well as involve many different types of ideas, and values from all kinds of styles. Other styles that are more specific that use positive parenting techniques are gentle parenting and attachment parenting. I'm sure there are many others that I don't know about, but those are two examples that come to mind that I know about.

Positive parenting involves a parent, and child relationship that is open, caring, and respectful. It is usually child centered in the way it is applied. A parent using positive parenting skills will approach every situation with their child with empathy looking to to help their child grow, and learn rather than to obey, and coerce.

Positive parenting does not equal permissive parenting. It doesn't mean that parents just sit back, and let their child do what they want all the time. Instead, what positive parenting does is explore the many, many other ways to problem solve with your child that are in between harsh, aversive punishments, and neglecting to set any boundaries, or interact with your child at all.

What are some examples of Positive parenting?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Imperfectly Perfect

Yesterday was Mother's Day. Holidays always make me anxious. I tend to have ideas about how I think things will go, and they never go that way in real life. I am not good with changes in routine that are not at least somewhat predictable by having some kind of plan.

So, when a day like Mother's Day rolls around I have a plan about how I think things should go. I feel pressured, and emotional to begin with, and it doesn't take much to derail my mood, which is exactly how Mother's Day started for me yesterday.

At first, I felt bad that I felt bad. I felt like I was being ungrateful, and negative. So, I felt double awful, and this did nothing to make my mood better. Then, I decided to that maybe it was okay for me to feel whatever it is that I feel. I remembered that I had a right to feel my own feelings, and accept them as valid. As I stopped pushing against this mood it began easing up, and my day did indeed turn around to being what I would consider a pretty good day! It was only when I stopped judging my mood, and stopped trying to tell myself what feelings I should feel that things began turning around to being more positive.

That reminded me of something that happened earlier last week. Beans is very much into getting into, and taking all of my nic-nacs, and other decorations. I don't have many anymore for him to get to. The only ones left in the living room were in a closed shelf that he never bothered until last week. They were all the ones that were irreplaceable either by emotional attachment, or because they were collectible. He would wait for me to be in the bathroom, or have my back turned to climb up to the shelf, and get them out. On one occasion last week he broke one. It was a candle holder that my deceased grandmother had bought me when my daughter died. Obviously, there was no replacing this object. I wasn't heartbroken about it, really. I don't get attached to objects, but I was sad that it had been broken.

When my husband arrived home from work, and saw it sitting there in pieces he went straight to gluing it back together. I didn't think it could be repaired. It was too damaged, I said.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Missing a Place In Time That Never Was

I sit in a quiet room listening to the faint clock tick by the seconds, as I try to determine what it is that I'd like to do. My mind is full of images that are too far away, and abstract to quite differentiate. My body urges to move, yet to where, or to do what I don't know.

Oh, this mood is here again.

It's a familiar state of mind. One that has hints of melancholy, mixed in a with a dash of loneliness, and maybe even boredom. I find it a confusing feeling. Da ja vue like, and without context I am without direction. It's a little bit uncomfortable, but not jarring.

This feeling, this mood, it reminds me of something. It feels like something is missing, and incomplete. It almost feels like hunger, but not quite. Hunger of the emotional variety, maybe. I can't put my finger on what I am lacking. What I am missing.

It's like my body, mind, and spirit is missing something I never had. It's a longing for a place in time I've never been, but needed to have been, I feel a faint pull to a home I've never had, filled with people I've never known, and this missing part of me is left dangling over a time that never was.

I don't know how to remedy the situation, because the feeling is so abstract. I attempt to fill the gap of neediness with what I can to pass the time. I think about chatting with others, but then my listless brain has nothing to really say. I want a connection, but feel as if one cannot be made where I am at mentally, so instead I spend my day on autopilot looking for something to distract me from this odd tugging of my heart. All of my OCD checking behaviors magnify as I check, and recheck the same things hoping to find some reprieve from this feeling.

I know that this mood will pass. Likely, it will be different tomorrow. I wish I knew what was missing. Why I miss a home I've never known, and people I've never met. How can I feel this low level of desperate need of something  have never had?