Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Uneven- How my brain works

Last Wednesday I went before our state board of education to speak along with our state's disability rights center about the current lack of enforceable regulations regarding seclusion, and restraint complaints in our state. There are regulations in place, but no real way for the board to enforce them if a parent files a complaint. The complaint process is really a meaningless gesture the way it's all set up at the moment. I strongly feel that needs to change.

As passionate as I am about having strong laws that protect vulnerable children I almost as terrified of public speaking. I don't like being the center of attention, and I don't like speaking in front of groups of people. This combined with news cameras, and closed circuit television really was my idea of anxiety hell. It was so many of my fears rolled into one event.

I sat there listening until it was my turn. The people that went before me were better at public speaking, but not necessarily in getting to a point that makes sense, and is action oriented. You only have three minutes to speak. One needs to make their point quickly, buy effectively, as well. There needs to be a directive at the end of what, and or how you'd like to see your idea implemented into public education.

I heard some good ideas from educators, and parents. One in particular spoke about the need for movement breaks being implemented into the classroom environment, Those of us familiar with autism, and sensory processing disorder call these sensory breaks. All kids (and arguably adults, as well) need these breaks. It's important to our whole mind, and body system to give our bodies the opportunity to rebalance after sitting for a prolonged time. Children especially are not built for long periods of inactivity. I loved her idea, and that she did a demonstration. What I waited for, and didn't hear was how to implement this activity in every class period. What I waited for, and didn't hear was how there have been numerous studies recently about the need for more movement being incorporated in children's school days, or even what solutions she is specifically asking the board to implement.

I noticed that many were pretty good at speaking while looking at the board members, and really just having fluid body language that I didn't have. It was taking all I had to read without losing my place. I also thought I might throw up. My voice shook, but the words came out as I wrote them. I was told I did a great job, and my testimony seemed to really make a big impression. I was approached by a few of the board members who had questions, and who wanted to get my contact info.

It occurred to me as I was on my way home what impression I left on all those people in that room. A willowy,  thin, well dressed woman who was was well spoken, and capable. That was something, wasn't it? I'd never thought of myself that way, and never thought others did, but in this moment I saw a glimpse of what I can look like in a small sliver of time to others. Strong, and educated. Privileged, even. The only way I could get through the entire ordeal was to tell myself that I was just as good as anyone else there. I had just as much right to speak, and be heard as anyone. That was a novel thought to me. It truly was. I repeated it over, and over in my head as I awaited my turn to speak until I almost believed it.

What they couldn't know was that I could never have gone if my husband hadn't driven me from two hours away. Driving on the interstate to unfamiliar places is not something I can do. It may as well be located in outer space if it were left to me to get there from far away. It's not laziness, or just anxiety. It really is beyond my capability to drive that far away, and find my way around without getting lost, or so completely overwhelmed that I couldn't function. All the little steps of traveling seem so hard for me. I feel like a child. These are the times that I know I am not capable, and am not strong.

But, you know what? This is a big part of what autism is.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Holding Grudges & Social Politics

The other day my husband and I were talking about the school situation with Beans last year, and how I was still angry at one of our friendly acquaintances (Beans bus driver) for not taking a stand for Beans. He said I was taking it too personally.

I said, " I don't think you're taking it personally enough!"

Here we have a very outgoing, friends with everyone, well known,very popular person from our town, and probably whole area. In an effort to not get messy she chose to pretty much not take a side, though I do feel like she leaned on the school's side a little. She seemed to always give them the benefit of the doubt. "Maybe he fell down?" She would pose. Or, "So and so's mom said that her daughter had GREAT results with that teacher." She totally ignored the fact that my child was sent home seriously injured from that classroom, and then thrown aside as the school attacked me, as if I was the one who was wrong for asking what happened. She chose to remain quiet, and supportive of my family so as not to ruffle feathers.

It was very personal.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Is Less More When It Comes To Social Media?

I read an article several weeks ago about how we overuse social media, because of fear. The fear had to do with feeling like we're missing out. If we're not connected, and paying attention we might miss something, or be left out of an important social loop. Now, in all logic most of us know that 90% of social media is not really ever very important. This is not to say that some wonderful things haven't been done on social media. I don't mean to negate important social movements, charity events, and other such things that do very seriously impact our daily lives. We have to admit that funny animals videos, memes, and pictures of our meals are not exactly earth changing in, and of itself. However, many of us really fear that if we don't check in we just might not be in the loop, or involved in the latest trends. We might find ourselves left out of events, or without knowledge that everyone else will know, but us.

I thought that this didn't apply to me. I really don't care about most social practices. However, I couldn't overcome, or shake this feeling of irritation, and agitation that I would get when engaged in browsing Facebook, and Twitter. It seemed like it was not adding to, but taking away from my life. I finally came to the conclusion that I needed to change some of my online habits, because they clearly were not working for me.

But, what to change seemed to be the impossible question. I had to find the source of my upset. Was it the amount of time I spent online, or was it the content? Was it both?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I Can

In my last entry,' Can depression be useful?' I brought up a few points about how depression could possibly be useful in some ways, such as really hyperfocused problem solving. For myself, my recent bout of depression seemed to really be an effective instigator in finding some solutions to long term issues that have been happening in my life. It seems that when something is a way for a long time we tend to not be able to see that it can be changed, even if the situation is negative. It's like we just resign to situations that don't work for us, even when we would like for them to be different out of habit. I had just resigned to certain things being less than optimal, because in my mind it was just the way things are. I swallowed my feelings about them, and moved on. That can only work for so long before mental health starts deteriorating in some cases where the situations are stressful.

The change in my mental state was a wake up call. It was what I needed to take stock of what mattered, and didn't. What was working, and what wasn't. It was the kick I needed to really reign in my energies, and make some changes that needed to be made.

As I pulled in my energies, and shut everything else down one theme quickly became clear in my life- I really was in desperate need of a break.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Can #Depression Be Useful?

I read an article the other day about depression being an evolutionary trait that has been passed down by our ancestors, because it does harbor some usefulness. I read, and re-read it. I read it several times when I was depressed, and I just re-read it again in my current frame of mind, which is melancholy, but not what I would describe as depressed. I really wanted to let this idea sink in before really having much of an opinion on it.

In the article it talks about how when people are depressed they tend to shut down almost all other activities, and focus primarily on their problems. It's narrows down our focus, and reserves our energy for solving issues that triggered the depression in the first place. This is exactly what I was referring to in my last post. I was tired, and worn out so many issues being constantly tossed my way at once that I think my brain just needed to pull in it's energy to focus on what was the most important, which was/is taking care of my family. It was also a big, huge flashing warning that something in my life was not working. I needed to take a break from the distractions of others to really dismantle everything, and really understand what was happening. There are some people that have disorders that may indicate that depression just happens to them without warning, or reason, but most of us have reasons behind why we fall into depression. Most types of depression is triggered by an event, or lifestyle that our brain did not/cannot process in a healthy manner. Depression is a way for us to examine that trigger, and what behaviors it set forth that is not congruent with our life.

Some of the triggers are not things we can choose.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Refilling My Reserves

There has always been something about gazing up at the night sky that captivates me. The smell of night, and the calm stillness pulls my thoughts into another world.It's one that transcends physical practicalities, and realities. It's a dimension of me that only I know, and wish so deeply that I could pull another person into it for just a moment to share in the richness. I wish I could express it in words with the depth in which I feel it. There are no words that describe how I feel sometimes.

As I step out into the intricate moonlight the blue hues in the sky remind me of every happy moment I had as a child. It's like every memory melds into one time, and one experience that is stored away in the recesses of my mind until something triggers it, and there I am as happy as I could ever be.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I Can't.

I can erase, and begin again so many times with this post, but in the end I know it doesn't really matter. I can try to craft an entry with words that captivate, and lend ease to reader's sense of imagination who happen upon my words, but that is not what this post is about. That is not the content I am able to put forth today. That is probably my least favorite form of writing. I like to write freestyle, letting the words pour out of my fingers almost as quick as I can think them. I like the freedom of the words showing up on the screen in front of me almost quicker than they can be recognized in my own head.

Truth is, right now I am not able to write any other way. My ability to speak, relate, hear, understand, and just be near people is severely compromised. It isn't purposeful hiding. I have hit a place mentally I cannot people. I can't hardly write. I can't hardly speak. I can't hardly think.

I just can't.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sometimes Foods- How to Tweak Your Diet for Optimal Nutrition and Taste

When we think about diet, nutrition, and healthy eating habits most of us know that we should eat more natural foods, and less fried sugary types of foods. That is really basic knowledge that most of us know is factual. We're taught that from a young age. Then why is it that it seems so hard to put into place?

I do think part of this is due to misconception of what the diet industry has taught us about low fat, and fat free foods. I think people have been generally mislead to believe that unhealthy foods are healthy. I also think that we become accustomed to eating certain foods, and our bodies, and minds crave these foods.

I think the other major part is food availability. Being able to access quality produce that one can afford is also a major concern. When I see big name TV shows, and celebs give meal advice it may as well be in another language. I know for a fact that my family cannot afford to eat the way they are suggesting. It feels impossible to me even hearing it. It seems that no one ever considers that maybe not all of us can afford to buy that much produce, and other pricey items. It can be off putting for people living in poverty that need to eat better for their health.

I have heard from numerous sources that our bodies get accustomed to certain foods. Eating a lot of processed foods will dull our taste buds to anything that is not packed with preservatives, and sodium. Anything that has less salt than a Dorito chip may render not as tasty to our tongue as a result of eating too many similar items. This leads to most of us craving foods that we know aren't very healthy, because the rest taste so bland. It feels like a chore to choke down fruits, and vegetables.That is why many, many diets fail. The dieter feels like they're being punished by having to live in a world of bland food, and they decide that being overweight really isn't that bad compared to eating like that every day forever.

The good news is that you can reprogram your brain somewhat.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Damage @TheDrPhilShow Has Done

I don't watch daytime TV, nor do I get involved in large social issues that typically involve choosing opposing sides, so I learned of the interview on Dr. Phil's show in the 11th hour yesterday.

I am still sitting here this morning in a shock, even though I did not watch it. I caught a few glimpses. I read things from others who saw it, and I followed the event a little on Twitter.

This shock is one that I find myself in when I can't understand a social way of doing things. It's one that I can't shake, because I can't make sense of it. Not only did that interview upset me,  (I am not even going to use her name here. She doesn't deserve to have her name in print giving it anymore attention.) but I saw a string of other articles yesterday (that I am also not gonna go search out, and share here) about abusive caretakers, and residential homes harming, abusing, and killing autistic residents.

My brain loops in confusion, and profound sadness.

I cannot make sense of why this is allowed to happen. Why is someone who tried to kill their child getting so much publicity? Why are they granted interviews with influential TV hosts before they are even sentenced? While she sits in jail accused of a heinous crime the spotlight shines on her struggles. This is not justice. This is not right. My mind trips on the fact that socially this is influencing people.

Then the fear sets in.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

6 Week Milestone!

Last Tuesday was my 6 week mark from when I had a hysterectomy. I thought that since I did a pre-surgery post, and a one week post op post I would do a 6 week milestone post.

The doctor gave me the all clear for exercise, and other activities. He said I healed up well. I have been taking my return to normal activities very, very slowly. As I said in my last update post, I definitely did not get much of a reprieve from my regular duties around the house. My usual routine was most of the way in full effect by week two. My exercise routine was not. Neither was my ability to lift heavy things like the trash, cases of water at the store, and jumping on the trampoline with Beans.

I was pretty nauseous up to week 4. That is when I finally got my appetite back fully. I still needed ibuprofen for pain, and occasionally pain meds, too. My stomach was still pretty swollen, and I really felt a bit deflated emotionally between weeks 3 and 4, too.

Week five is when I began to feel much better. My swelling went down to reveal a much flatter stomach then what I had before the surgery, so I was pretty happy about that. I had no pain, and was feeling fine. The doctor said that my uterus was twice the size it is supposed to be, so I think without that in the way everything was moving along pretty well.

Week five is also when I decided to start back up on my exercising. I began with this video, which I did daily: