I Lost Myself … Again.

Hello there, it has been a while. I have so much to share, and so much to process, but I am not planning on downloading the gazillion words that are clustered all in my mind at the moment. I decided I needed to write something and share it. I was just standing in my kitchen, taking a drink from my ice packed cup of water, sucking up the refreshing quietude that filled the air. David is out of town, the kids are asleep, I had not turned on the TV, the cat was not meowing at me, the neighbor’s dog was not barking, there was no obnoxious muffler blaring down the street, it was still — for a moment. In that moment I thought, I miss writing. I have lost myself by not writing. It’s true, I have thrown myself into the world of people, as I have done in the past, and I am lost.

I am lost, lonely, and so exhausted. 

I can only share surface level stuff on my personal facebook page. I have tried to share with those in groups who I met through this blog, though I only really have one now that I even remotely keep up with on a regular basis. I cannot read blogs, my time is spent doing homeschool, creating workouts, teaching my group exercise classes, working out, going to the social skills group that I started in Oct., homeschool co-op, Daniel’s therapies, and trying to convince Daniel on a minute by minute basis that school is necessary. I am struggling with feeling invisible, but staying the energetic happy person all the time. I am that person most of the time, however, I am just getting run down.

I am constantly going, there is never a moment of quiet.

I do not get a break from anyone and it is getting to me. I find myself always around people without any time to recover. For months, I have been pushing through until I get to Saturday and then, I just collapse from shear exhaustion — I am people’d out! My body has shut down on me repeatedly on the weekends to the point I a couple of times I was unable to force myself to get up. I would manage to rest long enough to have enough energy to deal with the things here. Because, I have become so depleted I have found myself struggling with depression off and on, a few times I did not think I would pull through. The winter months do not help I already struggle with seasonal affective disorder. The anxiety consumed me, the fatigue drove me to feeling desperate, and inadequate. It made me struggle with helping Daniel on some days, I could only shut down. Thankfully, David was here through most of this, he did not understand, but he tried. At least, I was able to communicate what I was feeling and tell someone my irrational thoughts to help me process instead of internalizing and making it worse.

Daniel has had such a successful year in many ways, but even though his meltdowns have lessened they have progressed  into aggression that is extremely intense. 

I am getting him to the doctor, we have a sleep EEG scheduled in two weeks, and we are getting genetic testing done to see if we can find some answers. We are still concerned about the episode he had in Oct. 2014, they never resolved it. When he has a meltdown, I seem to need more time to recover than I used to; probably because I am using up so much energy being social with people outside of the home. I need to find my balance. I really enjoy all the things I do. I love teaching kickboxing, my core strength classes, and the kids exercise classes. I am very happy to finally have a group of women in town that I have some sort of connection to and I enjoy doing things with their kids. I took Ariel and Joshua out of the virtual charter school and structured a new homeschool curriculum for them. I did that during winter break, it took some time to research and get it all organized. Daniel is now the only one still going, but I am considering putting him in public school next year — doing the research now.

All of the kids are happy that they get to go to several different groups.

They are so happy to have friends and get out to do things. I cannot always take Daniel, but Ariel and Joshua have been able to do a lot more. I do not even know what I am writing anymore. My head is so full of words, so many things have happened, are happening, that I cannot find a flow to write it all out or limit it to an edited version. David leaves a lot, when he is here he is meetings all day into the night. I rely on my grandma to help us out while he gone, and I feel like I need to find someone else. She doesn’t mind, but I just do not feel right about it. Friday she told me they removed a spot from her leg and it’s cancerous so she has to go in a few weeks to find out what to do next. The silence is making me think of everything.

I am overwhelmed with so many things that I have not allowed myself any silence.

I turned to old patterns of shutting down, pushing away, locking things up in the file cabinets of my mind, so I will have so much noise I will not hear the silence that forces me to realize what has happened. I have become the Angel I used to be to survive, I am doing much better with my emotional regulation many times. This year, I have manged to process and recover from anxiety, PTSD, and depression episodes in ways that I was never able to before — I do not want to dismiss the progress I have made, but I feel myself slipping away. I see my mind in chaos, my heart in a constant ache of anxiety, fear overcoming me of feeling invisible, having no purpose, not accomplishing anything.

And because of all that, tonight I sat down to write. 

I must find my way to being ok in the silence once again. I need to allow myself rest, and solitude. I am not sure how, this was my first step. This morning I sat in Target’s parking lot waiting for it open, a song I used to listen to when I was a teenager came on. (Mötley Crüe – Home Sweet Home) It was one I listened to repeatedly. The words resonated deeply with me. I wanted that place he sang about it. I always thought if I found it I would fill that empty place of not belonging. I looked for it in people, religion, this blog, you name it and still I have not found that place. I don’t know why I keep looking. I digress, I sat in the parking lot, transported to the night I first ran away from home as a teenager. I won’t go into details of the reason why, my mom and I got in a fight and I concluded in my mind she hated me. I was angry, so I decided to run away. This song played several times throughout the day on MTV and as I watched it, I recall feeling the same way I did in the parking lot this morning. 

I ended up writing a poem before going into Target. 

There is really no resolution to my post, I am downloading. I am processing emotions the only way I know how by writing it out. I cannot discern what is mine and what belongs to others. I cannot separate my thoughts from each other without doing this and for some reason I felt like I should write about it on here instead of keeping them to myself. I feel lost, empty, and disheveled. I also, feel content and positive about many areas of my life. I am not sure if anyone will relate, if so great! If not, maybe I just had to do this for myself. I will leave once again, in hopes to return sooner than my last post — Sept. 2015?? What? I didn’t even realize, wowsers I have been gone a long time.

Happy March! 

 

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Summer of Awesomeness!

Where to begin and how do I share what is on my mind without creating a 5000 word post?? So much has been going on in our lives, I wrote briefly about things changing and taking up more of my time making it virtually impossible to write posts, poems, stories, any thoughts and sharing them. I have managed to write without publishing them. I have created poems when they burst through my mind like uncontrollable flames needing to find a way to scorch their way into existence. However, they have been for my eyes alone and I have been ok with that.

It is not that I have not wanted to share, quite simply I have TOO much to share.

My mind has been soaring for months, summer was a whirlwind of fantastic things. Daniel had the best summer of his life, we, as a family had the best summer of our lives. We did so much, tried new things, retried things that in the past ended in horrible meltdowns that lasted days or weeks. That is including all of us no one is singled out in the meltdown department here. Ariel and Joshua had an amazing time at all of their camps, they met other kids, conquered fears, spent entire days without me and loved it. We all had to adjust to that, it was good for us. 

If this summer had a theme it would be “Independence”. (??) 

All of us did things that we were afraid of and anxious about. All of us gained a new sense of independence. While Ariel and Joshua went to camp, Daniel and I spent time together. I worked with him to exchange his huge sound reducers for ear plugs. He did it, he wanted to do it — I did not force him, but I did have to convince him to try. :-)  Since he started wearing earplugs, his language has become a little more clearer, his confidence has exploded, he has become more social; talking directly to people instead of looking to me to speak for him. He has told me not to do certain things for him because he can do it himself. Just yesterday, I took him to the park and he told me he needed to go potty. I asked him if he wanted to go into the girl’s room with me or go in the boy’s by himself. He said, “I will go in the boys by myself.”

He did!

Granted I had to stop him from walking out with his pant down (his shirt covered him, this runs in the family, I forget that people can see through the window … that is all I will say about that ;-)) because he wanted to tell me that he did not want to flush it incase it was too loud, BUT he did it all by himself. Other than the toilet flushing he didn’t need me at all. It is a big deal, and I am so happy that he is feeling more confident in himself. I asked him to try things like giving the public pool another try and he did. All three of them conquered their fears of the REALLY deep in (12 feet), water slides, and diving boards. They thought I was the coolest mom because I dove off the diving board. LOL. We were able to enjoy the Fourth of July at home for the first time ever! Daniel was outside while many surrounding neighbors set off their fireworks.

They had a blast — I was in severe sensory overload and it took a few days to recover.  

I will say it was worth it to see Daniel not be afraid, overcome with anxiety, and then struggle for days because of it. Although, the surprise, late at night, after the Fourth of July fireworks were not as fun or taken as well. :-/ Still recovery time was much faster and less intense. I cannot recall all that we did now, my mind is a bit fuzzy today. David is out of town … again. This has been going on all summer and will only continue more and more in the future months. It has worked out pretty well though between grandma and my niece I have managed to get out to teach my classes.

Yes, I said classes!

Over the summer I covered a total body fitness class for a lady who was on maternity leave. It is a class geared toward active adults, they say ages 55 + and they were awesome!  We had so much fun, I did kickboxing and Hi Lo cardio with them, I threw in oldies with new music. We danced, whoo hoo’d, HA’d, laughed, we had a grand time. I no longer teach that one, but I do have my regular kickboxing class and I also do a low impact kickboxing/floor pilates class at a local company. I love it and I enjoy all of the people.

I also, became certified for Les Mills Born To Move!

It is a class for ages 8-12 we do martial arts kicks/punches, dancing, yoga, core, games, circuits that is called a jump track where we do things like lunges, burpees, or relay type of games. Pure fantasticalness and I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of it. The training was intense, intimidating, and fun at the same time. The hardest thing was to get in front of other adult women and try to instruct them only because I did not know them very well and I felt judged. I had moments of high school and middle school flashbacks, hid my anxiety attacks and reminded myself that the women were not the girls or women from my past. That.Was.Hard. Part of my issue was that I did not receive the tracks and choreography I was supposed to do until two days prior, the director forgot to sign me up.  

The others had two weeks to practice.

The majority of the ladies in there had been doing other Les Mills programs with each other for years and the other ones were Zumba or Piyo instructors. In addition, it was a full Saturday and Sunday of training and David had to go out of town that Sunday morning. When I came home Sat. evening after a very long day, the rest of my night was spent trying to calm Daniel because he was in meltdown mode for various reasons. I did not sleep, I was supposed to practice that night, it did not happen, I was late the next morning because I had to take David to the airport, and it was the first time Grandma was going to be alone with the kids that long. I was a mess! Thankfully, the instructor could tell that I was not really myself.

In order to receive my certification I had to videotape an entire class and submit it.

I wasn’t as worried about that, I was much better doing that with the kids than getting in front of the women. I will not go into detail about my awkwardness, lack of ability to stop talking, and saying odd things. Apparently, I said “I am hungry, I need to eat, If I do not eat I am going to be sick” A LOT. Several of them basically told me “we get it, you need food”. Oh, and of course I went off on an Autism tangent … you could hear the crickets afterwards. I shook it off, assumed everyone hated me, and moved on. I wanted this too badly to care about the social faux pas for long. I have been able to redeem myself after I was able to get out of that environment and do the class with actual kids.

I passed with flying colors and got some great positive feedback.

I did get some feedback that I knew I would get, it’s the counting that gets me. I get tripped up with counting with my kickboxing class too, I create my own music tracks, moves, and choreography for that one and I still get sidetracked. I feel the music and forget to stick with the counts sometimes. I have gotten the grove now though with BTM and I am excited that I get to teach one night and a homeschool class at Y. This is where I am extremely excited share. When I went through the training I knew that this program would be so good for my kids, I wanted Daniel to try it, but there would be no way if there were a ton of kids. One day when I was practicing, Daniel said he wanted to try it. I did a dance track with him and he got it right away, his movements were unique to him, but he really started to get it.

He struggles with moving his legs and arms at the same time, or staying coordinated.

He asked me if he could go to an actual class and because our numbers have been a little low I decided to give it a try. (Due to school starting and sports getting back in gear.) I co-teach with another instructor so we do every other week. It was her week to teach and I was not sure how he would do. At first, he held onto me, but he tried every move. He danced, he punched, he jumped, lunged, burpee’d, played games, and had a BLAST! He loved her and the class. Then he asked to go the next day. We did not because we were too busy that week, but we did the next week and we have been going.

He does great and has the moves down — the boy can dance. 

He told me he loves the games the most and that he gets to move a lot. He has not been anxious with the numbers going up. He has not even noticed that more kids have been coming. This is huge because he tends to get very anxious with more kids. I hope it continues to be a positive thing for him. It is yet, another thing that has built up his self-esteem and independence. He doesn’t even need me next to him anymore! With this positive outcome, I am hoping to be able to bring a class to a local after school program for Autistic kids. We’ll see, I just sent the info to the director at the Y and the school would need to get a grant. Hopefully, it can happen.

On another note, kind of…

I am studying for my personal trainer certification. I will take that at the end of September. I am not sure what I plan on using that for, but my focus is to work with special needs adults and/or kids. No one is doing that here and it is a passion of mine to bring some sort of movement big or small to help people physically, mentally, and emotionally. It does not have to be hard core, but strength training provides all sorts of options and there are many things I can come up with for cardio it is limitless. There are all sorts of physical activities that can be done at any level that can help with anxiety, mental clarity, fitness, and health. I had not planned on getting my PT certification, but my journey has taken on a new path and I see where I fit and how my strengths can be used to reach my community locally.    

I have become so much more social.

I am creating a social skills group for homeschool kids around 6-12 who are Autistic, gifted, ADHD, dyslexic, have sensory processing, anxiety, and/or feel like they want a place to make friends. I have asked another mother to facilitate a parents group at the same time, focusing on support, building each other up while being able to share challenges, with the focus on staying positive. (condensed version) I feel overwhelmed at times; however, I feel more focused and have a clear direction/purpose that energizes me. There are days when I am completely wiped out, but those have gotten far less. My emotional wellness has progressed, though I still get down and struggle — I find that I recover faster. Especially, when I run. I stopped running during the winter and I sank hard for a while. All that we were going through with Daniel was taking a toll on all of us. I was taking him to the doctor, a hospital, a place to be evaluated nearly every week for a while. We had school, and Daniel’s pain was not stopping causing him not to sleep, eat, or do much of anything except cry and be angry.

Thankfully, they found nothing wrong (though it is not good at the same time), but it was rough for all of us.

To have these fabulous things happen this summer is beyond words. He is so happy right now, he is thriving, he still has struggles and we have our days, but overall it is a thousand times a trillion better. Hee hee I had to be a little silly there. Ariel and Joshua are doing great as well, they have been so busy playing with the neighbors, working on school, training for the kid’s half marathon, going to BTM, and now Lego Group started this week, we cherish our down time and time together. It sounds like we may not have much, but we actually do have a good amount of time in the evenings and on the weekends together. I still get all of my workouts in before the kids get up or right when they are waking up. (usually) I only teach one night class to adults, Wednesdays I teach BTM in the morning then an afternoon class, but the evening BTM they come with me. It works out well I do not interrupt our routines. 

Although, I cannot hide the fact that I am sort of dreading October.

Every time it has spun our lives into a downward spiral of some kind which takes us all of spring to pull out of, I hope this year will be different. I do feel the air changing and my happy-sad state rising up. Every year I work at getting better during this time, and so far I have progressed each time. I am training for the half marathon again. I started my training late because I had been teaching so much I could not fit in my running schedule. I decided that I have to run because that is one thing that helps my mood and anxiety the most. I did a 15k last Saturday and beat my time from last year by 2:00 minutes so that was cool!!  I am running smart this year, last year I injured myself a couple of times because I went too fast and too hard. It’s true what they say, for me anyway, slow and steady wins the race. I am racing against myself, hopefully I will beat my half marathon time … but if I don’t I really don’t care because running a half marathon is hard for me and a huge accomplishment socially, mentally, and physically. Well goodness, after months of not being able to share it is no surprise this is so long. Not 5000 though!! :-) 

Until next time blessings and well wishes to you!!

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Positive Parenting Day #PositiveParentingDay

PPD-cover

Today I am celebrating Positive Parenting Day! It was created by my good friend Shawna at Thoughts of an Introverted Matriarch. I hope you will join us as well as others who see and feel there is great benefit in positive parenting. We all have unique perspectives that may give some clarity and insight as to what positive parenting means. Thank you for reading!

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As a child I was in “trouble” a lot. I was a misunderstood child, much of my behaviors were deemed as being unruly, obstinate, disrespectful, unwilling to listen, or behave. I actually adopted all of those things about myself into my adult years until I finally received answers to my unbendable questioning of authority and relentless need to ask “why” to those things that authority figures said were so important. I was a curious child, I needed to understand why my parents, grandparents, teachers, etc … told me to do things, I needed to understand the reasoning behind what they told me to do.

I did not get my answers.

Many times I received harsh words, punishment, and was told that I needed to just listen and do what I was told. I was active, full of energy, my mind was racing and in a constant state of anxiety. I NEEDED answers, I needed to know what was happening in my life, I needed control, I needed to be comforted during the unyielding chaos that overwhelmed my little mind. All of this is still here, my mind has not changed, but my coping mechanisms have and that has only happened within the last few years of my adult life. When I finally received my diagnosis of Aspergers and generalized anxiety disorder, the other two diagnoses of depression and PTSD made sense as symptoms of not knowing about my other diagnoses.

Why didn’t teachers or other adults ask me what was going?

Had someone taken into account that my behaviors had more to do with how my brain operates they might have been able to help me. If only they would have known that my sensory challenges could be so overwhelming that they would spin me into panic attacks, and at times depression. Even as a young child I suffered from depression and anxiety, my relationship with the adults in my life could have been different if we all knew this bit of information. Had we all understood that many times just by simply telling me in advance what we were going to do or explaining to me why it was inappropriate to do something instead of automatically being reprimanded, I believe my behaviors as a child would have been less aggressive or what was considered out-of-control.

However, no one knew.

People did not understand. I still do not understand to this day how people assume that children should know better. Or the presumption is that they are purposefully misbehaving. My case is a bit different in that I had different challenges, but several factors remain — kids develop differently and each one has neurons connecting at different times. This includes their sensory connections as well as things like social skills, motor skills, learning and reading. There is this misconception that children innately understand right from wrong and not only that, they’re supposed to understand “our” right from wrong, as if they are equipped to interpret each authority’s moral compass wherever they go. They are demanded to understand an adult world full of rules that have been adopted from the adult’s very own upbringing that in most cases is completely different from another adult.

There are certain “group” rules that apply and those can be learned and reinforced in a positive way, but my question is why —

When these rules are broken, aren’t people questioning in a “I want to understand the child” way instead of assuming they are being defiant for the sake of being defiant. Consider taking a child into a sensory drenched environment with sounds, smells, lights, colors, people, you name it and the child is expected to not have any sort of reaction. They are taken to a new environment, they may or may not fully comprehend why they are there and then, they are expected to be happy and have fun! What if the child is upset because a grocery store looks and feels like a haunted house to them? What if they are freaked out because they are hearing things that they have never heard before and the only way they know how to express this is by fixating on a toy and demanding that you get it for them?

What if their behavior is them showing you that they need to be comforted and soothed because they feel like their world is out of control?

Behaviors are communication and many times with children and adults it takes detective work or just a moment of observation to figure out why those behaviors are manifesting. My adult influencers and how they treated me directly impacted how I parent. I took all of the negative experiences I had with authority figures in my life and internalized their words and actions toward me. I grew up thinking I was a bad child, I was stupid, and that I deserved to be punished if I ever did anything wrong. It became a culmination of voices that drowned out any sort of positive things ever said or done for me. I was bad and there was never going to be a way to be good. No matter how hard I tried, I still did things wrong.

This spilled into my faith.

I worked so hard at being good, I changed my life to be good. I tried and tried, but still I would think a bad thought, I could not serve everywhere so I was failing, I couldn’t be enough or be like how I perceived everyone around me. For some reason, I was the only one who couldn’t do it, I couldn’t change enough. Whenever I did something that I considered wrong, such as thinking a bad word, I punished myself in some way. Mostly through reinforcing the words spoken to me by adults throughout in my life. Even if they said them flippantly or didn’t even mean them in the way I interpreted them, I soaked them in. I accepted my fate as an unacceptable human being because I was different, because I didn’t understand, because I heard far more negative things spoken about me than positive words.

I did not want to have children for the longest time because I was afraid that I would do this to them.

I was afraid that I would spank them, lose my temper, say things that could destroy their self-esteem, treat them with disrespect. I was afraid that I would be a horrible parent. I beat myself up for how I was as a teenager with my younger sisters. I was not always the kindest person because I was angry and confused. I had a lot of things going on in my life that were so bad and so ugly, I grew up being bullied and made fun during my school years all of these things seeped together, they led me into the path of suicidal thoughts throughout the years. The voices singing loudly about how inadequate, unwanted, unworthy, and tainted I was bombarded my brain. I dredged through these voices gasping for air just to feel ok. I couldn’t be the person I wanted to be for for my sisters, I couldn’t be the person I had always thought I should be, and that scared me about being a parent.

It wasn’t until I started teaching Sunday school that I realized who I really was around kids.

When I taught them I did not teach at them. I talked to them, I wanted to know what they thought. I wanted to understand where they were at. When a child became disruptive I tried to understand why they were behaving that way. I recall one boy who would act out and interrupt making it hard for the others and me to do class. The standard discipline was to make them sit outside the door, I hated it. One time, I took him out and asked him why he was acting like this. He was hard, and I could tell that he was bracing himself for being “in trouble”. It was as if I saw the walls wrap around his heart as he geared up to be told once again how awful he was and if he didn’t stop he was going to be removed. I looked at him and asked, “Why are you behaving this way? Don’t you know that we want you here?”

His eyes looked as if he were in pain.

I went on, “Don’t you know that I want you here? I think you are a great kid and I want to spend time with you learning and teaching, but I can’t do that if you continue to disrupt the class. The other kids want you here too, but they also want to learn and have fun.” I remember vividly how he looked at me and told me that no one wanted him. My heart broke, and I asked him more questions, reinforcing that he had value and that he mattered. I did not have any challenges with him for the rest of the Sunday school time, but other adults did. They punished him, they did not talk to him. They ignored his cries, “behavioral outbursts” longing to trust an adult and remind him that indeed he did matter. I treated him with respect and I valued what he had to say.

After doing several years of teaching, I felt that I really wanted to have children.

I desired it so much and it wasn’t happening, I look back now and though I am saddened by the loss of a child, I am thankful that I was able to have kids later in my life. My fears were still there, but I had become such a different person that my natural instincts overthrew much of my negative parenting style that I had learned from society and growing up. I still had my days and I still do, having children can make you tired and overwhelmed especially as a new parent. Having twins was scary and overwhelming for me, then becoming pregnant right away, discovering it on Daniel and Ariel’s first birthday, was lot for me as well. Discovering Daniel being Autistic took on other forms of stress and chaos for me. Not because of him, but because of all of the confusing and misinformation about autism. During that time it was still quite limited in understanding, awareness, and misinformation.

I had people telling me that my child was wrong, bad, needed to stop his behaviors, he should not be like “this”.

And it hit me, he needed to be understood. He needed my empathy, acceptance, and respect. I have applied that way of thinking to all of my kids. I am not going to say it has been easy or that it is now, there always times when it gets tough and times when it gets overwhelmingly rough. However, we do our best at staying positive and respectful. The kids are allowed to speak their minds. They are allowed to question our ideas, rules, decisions, answers, and yes even our behaviors. We talk about things, we question things together, we discuss theories, human behavior, faith, whatever, we talk about it. Though we do that we still have rules. They understand that if the rules are broken, there are consequences for those actions. We do not hide it from them either that if we break the rules we have to deal with the consequences.

There are no harsh punishments.

We do not speak words to them that attack their identity or personality. We do not tell them that they are bad, a disappointment, or should know better, etc … They are kids, their minds are developing and will continue to develop. Right now their minds are learning and branching out to discover things about themselves. They should start to question authority and create their own opinions. They understand that when they question they may not like the answer, but they still need to trust that we are doing what we think is the best for them. They do not “get away” with things, they feel no need to. Do they sneak, tell the occasional lie, try to pull a fast one on us? You betcha! And that is a good thing, they are testing the waters while it is safe. They know that if they do something that they should not that they will most likely be discovered and there will be consequences such as taking a break in their room, or not being able to play video games.

They are good kids.

I have not had to manipulate or coerce them into choosing right from wrong. Fear and harsh punishment, or even spanking has not been used to control their behaviors. We use empathy, reassurance, cause and effect with their reasoning that is age appropriate, respect, and our own fallibility to parent our kids. Our goal has been and will continue to be to raise children who respect themselves and others. Who choose to be empathetic toward themselves and others. To understand that actions do have consequences and that can have a positive or a negative outcome. To understand that we all make mistakes, we learn from them, and move on. We need to show compassion, try to understand others, and be open when we do not understand something. And that they should strive to be the very best them – an individual in competition with no one but themselves.

To me those are some things I think about and how I feel about positive parenting.

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Update On Our Goings On (And A Part Two)

Hi there folks!! I know it has been a long time. I have decided not to take down the blog, because well … I may have more to share. 😉 I wanted to give an update on what has been going on. We have literally been nonstop between school, doctors, David’s job, and I have been training to teach kickboxing at the Y. I have taught three classes now! I love it, but I tell you the first time getting in front of everyone was so extremely difficult. After I got over the initial anxiety attack, (well hidden from all) I did pretty well. I have gotten better each time, I just try to have fun and make it fun for everyone else. So far I have gotten a lot of positive feedback and great constructive criticism to make some things better. Still I just started and there is always going to be room for improvement.

Overall we are doing very well.

There are many good things, such as going through the first round of state testing and everyone recovering fairly well. Since they changed the tests though, there is really no telling what the results will manifest. Daniel could not type out all of the paragraphs and essays they wanted. It is rather ridiculous to have no other type of testing for children who are like Daniel and struggle with writing, typing, and dealing with multiple, complex, abstract questions. But oh, well his teachers know how smart he is and we do not put too much stock in those tests anyway. It is just frustrating to feel like I am putting him in a situation that does not work toward his success.

However, it was a success because he had fun despite the testing and he felt proud of himself, so YAY!

Ariel and Joshua have been doing great, they felt good about taking their tests too so I will not harp on it any longer. They love going to kid’s boxing and last week they did basketball camp. This summer they are participating in several different camps and they are really looking forward to it. There is not much else going on other than school and their Lego group. There have been some challenges with trying to transition to David’s schedule. He leaves for a week or longer about every month . My grandma has helped when she can, but it gets a bit taxing. No matter how much advance notice I have, I still do not transition or recover well from having my schedule interrupted. I have times when I can do ok, but it always makes me disorganized mentally and heightens my anxiety — though my transitions times are shortening, that is good.

David is doing well too and enjoys his new position, it is a lot more responsibility, but he likes that.

Unfortunately, for Daniel his pains have not gotten any better. He started having a great deal of pain in October, we and the doctor felt that it was growing pains. It could be, but now it has spread to many of his joints and he complains about it being at the bottom of his feet, wrists, bones, he says that it feels like it is ripping apart. I am concerned that it is an autoimmune disorder. We tried to get blood work, but his anxiety was too much and he would not let them. I still need to reschedule that, but he has other appointments ahead of him. Last Thursday he had a sleep deprived EEG done, we are trying to find out if Daniel is having seizures. We have to wait 7 to 10 business days. The neurologist needs to look over the results to determine if Daniel needs to get into an MRI sooner.

The current wait is up to the middle of June.

He has an appointment with ear, nose, and throat doctor to see if we can find anything out about his heightened sensitivity to sound. It has gotten increasingly worse to the point where he will smack his ears and start screaming or go into a panic if he if accidentally startles himself. However, these things are off and on and can be triggered by being overwhelmed with sensory input or anxiety. He could possibly have tinnitus, we may get an official diagnosis of auditory processing disorder and/or we may be able to discover something about his vestibular system. We hope we can rule things out or find some answers to help him. We did start him on a low dose anxiety med. He had become practically non-functioning due to his anxiety about his pain. The fact that it was coming and going and he never knew when it was going to hurt caused him anxiety that on top of his daily anxiety had become too much for him to bear. He started to stop eating, drinking, barely moved, would not do school, could not focus on anything, and was having frightening meltdowns regressing to behavior he had not done since he was nonverbal.

We made the choice to try anxiety meds first to see if it would help.

It has helped him so much, he still has the pain and does have anxiety, but he is not in a constant state of flight or fight. He has gotten back to being his happy self despite all that he is going through. He has been able to catch up on his school and is doing so good. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with how hard he fights and goes through and still manages to keep on going with a positive attitude most of the time. It is awful to feel so helpless in helping him; I can’t stand that fact that I cannot fix this right away. I can only hope all that we are doing to see what is going on will lead to some answers and find something to ease his pain. I couldn’t figure out why yesterday I felt so emotional and down. It occurred to me that all of this may be stressful.

I still am not sure, but I think any parent may feel stress and overwhelmed by all of this.

Of course, I am analyzing myself and my emotions. The questions pop up, Why are feeling sad? Why are you so fatigued? Why do you feel like crying? What is wrong with you? Other people go through this and have to do this too so what is your problem? I don’t see those parents, I don’t see their responses or how they handle it. I do not know how to respond in this situation so for some reason I automatically think that I am doing it wrong or that I should not be feeling certain ways. I have done more things in the last few months that have pushed me socially and physically than I ever have. Calling doctors is a literal terror for me. I had panic attacks before calling.

I knew I had to do it so I forced myself, for Daniel, and every time it got a little better.

It still would put a huge knot in my stomach and fear through my body. Why? Nothing terrible happened. All of the medical paperwork has been overwhelming. On top of that paperwork I had to go into the YMCA to fill out paperwork for employment. That took over an hour, I have not done that in so long I had a moment of panic. Thank goodness for iphones! I was able to retrieve all the information I needed instead of trying to remember it all on my own. That is another situation that caused me a great deal of stress. I have been pursuing a position at the Y as a group fitness instructor, for some reason my situation as taken so long. There have been multiple things happen out of my control and their control that has caused it to take much longer than it typically takes.

It sent me into moments of panic, paranoid anxiety loops, at times overcome with black-and-white thinking, leading into thoughts of giving up on everything.

Finally, I resolved to being so determined that I kept pursuing it. Everything started to fall into place and I reached my end goal of filling out paperwork for part time employment at the Y. I am still waiting though because it takes about 7 business days to go through AFTER they speak to my contacts and then, run a background check. Ugh! All this waiting for Daniel and for me is anxiety inducing. Oh, I forgot Daniel was reevaluated by a SLP and instead of language delay she thinks he may have language processing disorder. He has a new SLP locally that we meet with every Weds. He started three weeks ago and she is evaluating him for LPD.

He likes her a lot and is doing things for her that he has flat out refused with the virtual SLP.

He is going to be reevaluated by an OT in the next few weeks too to determine what needs/resources to get him here. He is just not able to process virtually anymore. I think it is all too much for him and he cannot concentrate. The school was in the process of getting us in home speech and OT therapy, but it is taking a long time and if it is going to happen it looks like the time frame will be next year. He really likes one-on-one time with people and he does like that physical interaction, he seems to do better when he can be with the person. I hope it all works out.

I think I filled you in on everyone for the most part.

Part Two: 

Today is my birthday! Yay! I feel good, I love getting older and my life is on a great path at the moment. Still I find myself consumed in feeling so alone at times. Most days I do not think about it. It is when Daniel is going through so much and I have no one to talk to or I feel like no one is there or understands that it starts to creep up on me. I don’t need much, I just need to be reminded that I am not alone. I have been surrounded by so many people lately and the same old feelings flood me — I am lonely, I am different, I am awkward, I do not belong. No matter how much I talk and share in commonalities with people, the fact remains my words, much of the time, have very different meanings.

I leave after having wonderful conversations feeling as if I did something wrong.

I wonder if they really like me. I ponder what I said, did I share too much, not enough, did they understand what I meant? I question if they truly understood or were they pretending. Did I talk too much? Was I too excited? Why do I feel so disconnected after engaging in such positive human connection? It never goes away. I do the same thing with texts and emails. A few weeks ago, David was gone and it was one of the worst weeks we have had in a long time. I will not share details, but it was rough beyond words. I reached out to the only person who has some sense of understanding, David, and he was in the middle of an important meeting. He couldn’t talk … I had gotten to a point where depression was consuming me.

The irrational thoughts flooded my brain and I could not shake them.

The world was dark, and I just wanted it to stop. I sank, as I have always done in the past. I sank, but continued to take care of everything. I did not stop, my children needed me. I did not have a choice to stop. I could not reach out to anyone because it felt like no one was there. When these thoughts start to take over it is so hard to believe that anyone cares or even remembers that I exist. I told myself, You are alone, You have always been alone, and You have always been able to do it. Now get up and do it. This was a different type of tone then my past voice. This voice had a different strength to it. It wasn’t a tone of sadness and despair, it was a voice of you have been able to handle it in the past and you can handle it now.

There was a slight difference in that my aunt messaged me a couple of times to see how we were doing.

And after hearing that inner voice, I made a choice to reach out to my dad, step mom, and my mom to let them know what was going on with Daniel. I was not going to feed my feelings. I realized that I what I needed was for people to know all that Daniel was going through. I needed people to show empathy/understanding for him and understanding for me as a parent. I got it and I started to feel better. It made a huge difference having my aunt send a quick message saying, “Hey thinking of you all. How are you doing?” It gave me a boost. It occurred to me that no matter how many people I have in my life my struggles, my issues; my daily life has got to be dealt with by me. I need to figure out what I need to help get out of that sinking feeling. I thought about it and realized that this feeling is somehow apart of me and it looks as if it will not be going away. I tend to get down when I feel like there is no one who can relate to what I go through with some of Daniel’s struggles and my own and I get overwhelmed and tired.

I know that there are people I could reach out to, but the “I do not want to be a burden” voice kicks in or I get too busy trying to keep everything going that I don’t. 

There are others that I could contact too, but they don’t get it. I find speaking to people who do not understand more stressful and I end up trying to explain too much which in turn makes me feel even more alone and my family more misunderstood. They do not know what to say or how to respond. I also feel bad at times because I cannot give a whole lot back to people in my current life’s journey. I give what I can to people. I care, but so much of the last few months have felt as if I am an island all on my own. The more I thought about it the more I realized that I have always felt this way so I need to find peace with it. I need to find peace with me taking care of myself. I need to find peace with people not understanding. I need to find peace with being surrounded by groups of people and feeling alone.

I need to accept all of this, but you know I said all of this before.

I forget. I find myself feeling so “normal” and like everyone else when I am going and going; doing things that I love and/or I keep busy doing what people do on a daily basis. Things like making phone calls, texting, talking in the waiting room, or going to the store more than once in a day. Until I realize that I am exhausted from being around people. I am emotional over having a simple conversation. I am filled with anxiety about what I said, did, or I don’t understand a look someone gave me. I am able to fit in so well to the point that I fool myself, until I cannot do it any longer. Until I remember that I cried right before I made Daniel’s doctor appointment because I was so anxious.

Until I have to ask someone to repeat themselves multiple times, not because I cannot hear them but because my mind is incapable of deciphering their words.

Then, they look at me like I am some sort of idiot and start to talk louder or slowly in ways that feel demeaning. Until I stand in the middle of the boxing gym surrounded by my team, and see these personal connections that I do not seem to be able to make. I watch in amazement at the comradery between these people, how is that connection made? I feel it toward people, but somehow I do not feel it back. Do people feel that way toward me? If so, why doesn’t it feel the same for me? … Until I have to talk to myself for an hour in order to start writing an email to find out the status of my employment and then, spend another hour on three sentences getting stuck on the closure. How do I end this email!? There are so many untils, so many I have shared before, and so many new ones since I have ventured out into my community much more.

But you know, I haven’t let any of this stop me.

I have plans and goals that I intend on completing. I still feel all of the same things, but I do not let them consume me. I am alone, but I am not alone. I know that there are others who feel this way too. I may not speak to you, or have regular contact  with you, but I know you understand what I am saying. Because I know that, it helps me keep up my strength to keep on going. It provides a stronger voice to pull from when I feel so isolated that it hurts to breathe. I also, know that I am alone and that is ok too. I can do a lot on my own — I just need to remember when loneliness comes over me I need to reach to those who will remind me that they are there. I need to come back to my blog and write when it becomes unbearable. I don’t need a lot, but I do need to have glimpses of hope to keep me going. I kind of went off on a tangent, I have not written in a while you know!

I hope you all have a great rest of the weekend and now I going to go enjoy my birthday. :-) I am 42 years old today! Whoo hoo, I love birthdays! Happy Birthday or A Very Merry Unbirthday to you! 

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Happy New Year! (And Farewell … For Now)

HELLO! It feels like it has been decades since I have been on here. I hope your holidays went well, your recovery is going well, and that the new year is starting off with great things. Our life has been non-stop for months, as I had shared before, and it is only going to get busier. There have been some rough transitions, this back to school week after the holiday break has been one of them. However, things are really good. We have had a nice run of positive things happening. I confess, this is a wonderful feeling. It felt as if we would never get out of some tough trenches – emotional, financial, and physical.

Good news!

I finally got my group fitness certification. I am meeting with a person who handles the instructors at the YMCA next Thursday to see about teaching kickboxing or any other opportunities there may be available. I am going to get my kickboxing certification in the next few weeks and pursuing my youth fitness certification. A lot of studying for the youth certification. I have also, started advanced boxing, to my fairly packed workout schedule. (How do I manage it? I get up at 4 am head to the Y and get home either before or right at the time the kids wake up. I also, go on Sat. when David can watch them. It doesn’t disrupt anything.) I LOVE it! I cannot remember all their credentials, but they are top-notch trainers in the area. I do my first sparring session this Saturday … it is going to be intense. Can’t wait!

Ariel and Joshua started boxing too. :-)

They now offer boxing for the youngsters and it is fantastic. They have such fun and enjoy the activities. David got me a punching bag for Christmas so the kids and I use it. When he is out of town I can practice at home. Yay! Daniel overall is doing well. He is scheduled for Jan. 26th to get another speech evaluation, he hasn’t had one since he around was four years old, I think. We hope to discover the cause/figure out why he loses his verbal skills completely at times. We also, need some more information so the school can make the proper accommodations/get more helps and resources.

David’s job changed again …

I cannot remember his title, it has changed so many times that I cannot keep up, but the good news is that he finally got the job he has been working so hard for over the past year. I am very happy for him. Although he is going to be out of town even more throughout the year, it will take quite a bit of adjusting to routine change for all of us. BUT I finally found someone for respite. The people at Daniel’s music therapy helped me find someone. We meet her on Sunday and she will help out twice a week for now and when needed as much as she is able. I am so excited about that, I have been trying to find help for years to no avail.

What else?

I am not really sure what else I was going to share. There has been too much to write about and no time to do it. This holiday was one of the best ones we have had. We spent time with my family (Dad’s side) and it was so much fun. People are much more open to talking about Autism and trying to understand. My anxiety for months has been off the charts, but I have managed to work through it pretty well. I even went to a holiday party for several hours with MANY people that I did not know. Granted the next day I was in tears from being so overwhelmed, it only took about two days to recover and that is a big thing for me.

With all of the new things I am doing, it is crucial that I use positive coping mechanisms to recover. 

I say that because part of that involves staying off the internet much more. There are some days (weeks) where it simply is not possible for me to give anymore or process anymore with people other than my family. In realizing how much I am socializing in my community, with school activities that are currently in session and more to come, and that I need to focus so much on the kids schooling I have decided to stop blogging. (for a while) I do not think it will make much of a dent on the internet world. There are so many blogs popping up and various perspectives in the Autism community that there is plenty to read out there. It is time for me to move onto my next journey which involves participating more in my physical life.

I am a little sad, but mostly at peace.

I wanted to let those who have been reading my blog know and tell you that I appreciate you all. Those who have commented and followed me; I cannot express how thankful I am for having you here. You have helped me in so many ways and you were a light in my plethora of dark days. I am not sure if I will take down this blog or not, for the time being I am leaving it up. I have not decided if I am completely finished with blogging or not either. I am content in that for the moment I am saying farewell until next time … whenever next time may be.

“Your time may come. Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot be always torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

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It’s Gone …

It has been a month since I have been on here! Wowsa, time seems to be moving at a rapid speed and I am unable to grasp a second to take a breather. It has been like this for so long, that I sometimes have a hard remembering when it felt like time was standing still and I was stuck in quicksand, unable to grasp hold of anything to get breath peaceably. My life has always been like that, falling into the depths of despair or leaping onto rapid waves of unstoppable.

I rarely have a middle ground — if I did I am not sure I would know what it looks like or how to respond to it.

I have found that since, I’ve been able to calm my mind and filter my thoughts into more productive outlets, I am not as frazzled. I do not feel as though I am being tossed about without being able to control anything. I do have more control over many things in my life, and those things that I do not have control over I have managed to find peace with them. (on most days) In doing so, it revealed what was causing much of my angst and anxieties about not being in control of certain aspects of my life.

Throughout my life, beginning with child I managed to find ways to create and maintain routines.

Though, much of my life they were disrupted or had to be modified for my mom’s own structured routines. I did learn how to adapt. I managed to create new ones when I moved in with significant others, but most of the time it was easy because they were not home or we worked different schedules. I liked it and hated it at the same time. I could not control how they affected my environment and because I was not with them constantly, any sort of behaviors that were “new to me” would throw me. My immediate response was I do not know you at all! You have never done this, why are you doing this? My world is crumbling!

The only time I had complete peace was when I lived by myself — as I remember it. 

I remember that I felt safe. I had my own routines that no one questioned or disrupted. If I wanted to alter my routine in any way it was my choice. My apartment was quiet, calm, comforting, and just the way I wanted it. I only had that for about a year and half. Prior to that the times I had lived alone I was in such states of depression and social confusion that I preferred to have anyone around, but that caused triggers and spirals of depression too. During that time, when I had peace living alone, I also enjoyed my job. I was happy at the church I started to attend, I was making friends.

I felt connected, well … I felt more connected than, I had — I still felt a sense of not belonging.  

However, when the triggers of anxiety and/or depression would coil its way into my thoughts I would sink into my apartment and cuddle myself in isolation. I was able to pull out though. I could crawl my way back up and find hope sooner. All my life I had wanted my own safe place that would not be invaded, whether that was my mind, body, spirit, or environment as long as I could have one place to escape to I was able to survive this world. For a short season, I felt as if I had gained all of those safe places at once — when I felt as though I lost it I spent the last decade trying to get it back. I didn’t realize that certain new adventures that I put myself on were a way for me to escape the reality that I was never going to get “that place” again.

I continued to tell myself once (such and such) is over, finished, completed, answered, then, THEN I could finally go back to that place.

I have been chasing after my routines. I am able to adapt my routines and change them with new things that come into my life; however, when I find that I REALLY like a certain routine or even emotion that I have felt I never want it to go. I tell myself that one day I can have it back. There are many issues that come with that line of thinking — people, things, and situations change. It is hard for me to maintain a continual remembrance of that truth. I know it, but in certain places of my mind I either don’t know how to believe it or I do not want to. Maybe it is both or some other reason.

The reasons do not truly matter at this point, what has to be done is acceptance.

I need to accept that I will never get the past back. Even yesterday, there are things that I wish I could change and there are things that I loved about the day. I want some of it back, but I can’t get it back. The time is gone, the person I was yesterday is gone and parts of me are still here today. I learned valuable lessons yesterday and today I have found joy in being able to sit down and write for a moment. Something I have not had the pleasure to do in weeks.

Change is so hard for me, I can do it, but it takes such effort, restraint, self-soothing, and constantly reminding myself that it is ok.

I have come to terms that part of my “unhealthy” self-soothing has been the unspoken promise that one day, ONE DAY; I will have all that I had during that short period of time when I was in control of most everything in my life. I have managed to lie to myself all of these years by shading over the dark parts with white wash. I managed to convince myself that even though people hurt me deeply during that time, if only I have the answers to why, or if only I could go back that somehow all of it would be settled and peace would fall across the land.

I grew up reading great tales, fairy tales, which helped me escape the terrible pains I was feeling.

I created my own fairy tale retreats in my mind and morphed them into comfort and false hope — this is not necessarily a bad thing. My imaginations manifest in poems and stories, they help me to work out emotions, situations, and thoughts that I do not understand. That is healthy; it becomes unhealthy when I can think of nothing else. If I am escaping from my realities to the point of wanting the false hope more than, real hope. I have had a clear mind for quite a while. I am in a healthy place most of the time; I do have depression that lurks during the winter months.

I do get easily overwhelmed and anxiety ridden, especially during the holiday season.

I am not always ok, life can get incredibly challenging and I sink. The difference when I sink is that I am no longer chasing after vapors. I am not seeking to find a place that no longer exists. I am fully here, mindful of my life. I have stepped back from certain things that take me away from my life. When I find myself feeling certain ways I no longer go to the internet to find comfort. The truth is it has become too hostile for me. My emotions and abilities are stretched pretty thin on a daily basis, when I go online lately I have found that it wipes me out.

I become easily exhausted reading facebook, twitter, and even blogs that enjoy.

I try to read as many as I can, but I have to be sure that I am emotionally and physically up to par. I may have written about this before, mostly likely I have since it has been happening for several months. (A year maybe.) I was extremely frustrated with myself for a while because of this, now I accept it. I have to do what is best for me and my family that means saving my energies for them. Daniel is going to be evaluated again for Speech and Language to see if we can find any answers about him losing his speech. He is getting it back daily now, but we need answers and hopefully, to pinpoint the cause to help him with resources. I plan on getting the kids into other programs around here too to help with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and for the boys reading and spelling.

That will be taking up a large amount of time.

Daniel has taken to wanting to be involved with us much more too. He has always been involved with us, but he has been requesting specifics which has not happened before. He wants us to participate altogether as a family. He wants to spend more time with me and he wants to spend more time everyone else around here too. He takes his breaks when needed, but lately he has been spending a lot of time with us. I want to be here for that mentally and emotionally. Since I made changes a while ago with making efforts to try to be more present, mindful here, I have changed even more and so have things around here. David and I also, realized how important it is that I get alone time.

We have now started to schedule a day for me at least once a month, where I go and do whatever I want.

I can take as little or as much time as needed for myself. I do not really need a lot of time as long as I have time I am good. The promise of getting time alone gives me something to stay focused on so when the rough days (weeks, months) come I know that I will have some time to spend in quiet. He has been going out of town so much that it was taking a serious toll on me last month and I could feel myself sinking deep into hopelessness and exhaustion. That is what brought about the “day break.” I am not entirely sure why I am writing all of this or sharing it, but I do know that in order for me to move forward and let go of past things that I have been clinging to I need to accept that “it’s gone.”

If I need to mourn over some of it so be it.

Maybe this is my way of writing out the grief and coming to terms with it all. I plan to keep hold of the memories and cherish some parts of my life that brought me a different type of joy. I plan to move forward and look to new aches and joys that come with life. I get so wrapped up in details and trying to resolve these things that we call emotions that I lose sight of what really matters to me. I also, get quite anxious when I start so many new things and it is rather easy for me to fall back into the past where I already know the outcomes — painful pasts can be much more safe than, unknown futures. :-)

I have found myself at the end of thought, so I will stop here — thank you for reading if you made it this far!

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The Half Marathon: I Did It!!

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My half was the next morning, I was an anxious mess — over 2000 people were registered!

I felt better because my dad and niece were going to be running, but when they told me that they were going to start five minutes later I had a moment of panic. My niece apparently has severe anxiety in crowds and was going to have a panic attack if she started with everyone. I did not find that out until after the race, I wondered why they wouldn’t say anything to me about it, aka The Queen of Anxiety! Ha ha ha I was too cold to think about it. It was around 45 degrees and I cannot run in layers because it bothers me, sensory issues. I wore a tank top, shorts, and gloves for about half of the race then, I threw the gloves because I got them wet. Urg! I was too anxious about being late to concern myself with them not being there so I went into the gazillion bodies and surrounded myself to stay warm. I ended up finding one of the women who is my boot camp sessions and we run at pretty much the same pace. We stayed together until about the third mile and then, for some reason I took off.

I went into a daze and the next thing I knew I was at the 4 mile marker, and two of my sisters and my step mom were there.

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They looked surprised, shouted my name, and encouraged me to keep going strong. I found out later that they were surprised because I was behind the 1:30 pace group. I was just as shocked, I thought the 2:00 and the 2:10 pace groups had passed me, but it turned out I passed them. I wasn’t out of breath, my body felt good I passed the 6th mile marker and around then was when my dad and niece came up behind me. My dad asked me how fast I was going, I said, “I think about 9:06 to 9:20 somewhere in there.” He said, “I don’t think so we are going 8:45. You are going faster than you think!” I decided to try and slow it down. I was already running on a swollen ankle and my IT band and hip flexors were still not 100% from my last injuries on both legs. I had missed five weeks of training due to injuries and I was not sure how I was going to do in this race. Still I went on, I passed the 7th, the 8th, and I was still feeling good, but I did start to feel a little tinge in my right leg.

When, I got to the 9th mile, there were hills and my leg started to hurt.

I got to the 10th mile and I was limping and walking up the hills. I went too fast in the beginning, the cold weather is tricky. It is hard for me to determine how fast I am going and I feel good running in colder weather. I already have a high pain tolerance so it takes much longer for me to realize that I am hurt. I decided not to push it too much on the hills, I walked at every water station to get water and ease up a little. When I got to the 11th mile, I said to myself, “I don’t know if I can do this! I am NEVER doing this again!!! OMG! Is this ever going to end??” As I ran by all the people with their signs of encouragement, hearing their cheers, I soaked in the words, “You got this! You are almost there!” Other runners passed me as I had to take some walk breaks and they said things like, “You are so close, don’t give up now!” and “You are right there, you can do this!”

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Those little moments gave me the boost to press through the pain.

I couldn’t feel my toes and on that last mile I encouraged myself by saying, “Finish this thing so you can take your shoes off!!” I saw the finish line and it seemed decades away because by this time my perception of time and what year it was all kinds of off. I tried to press through, but there were a few more hills when I tried to run them I had sharp pain in my leg. I decided to walk them and run the last leg that was flat. I was so tired; I really felt like I was never going to make it then, my dad sneaked back into the gate and ran next me. I heard my aunt yelling, “Come on Angel, you got this!! Don’t you give up, NOT THIS DAY! NOT THIS DAY!” She and my dad ran me in and I hit that finish line. It was incredible! I have never experienced anything like it. It is a grand feeling to hear the crowd cheering, your name being called, and to have so many people wanting you to succeed.

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At the end, I was overjoyed to feel such acceptance and support from my family.

I realized that I have made some really great friends too. They supported me and encouraged me throughout. It has been eye opening for me to experience friendships that do not try to make feel badly when I succeed at something. They do not judge me or make me feel foolish for my oddities and inability to stay in contact or socialize regularly. (I have only had that with online friends.) They have encouraged me the whole way and I thankful because this was a hard thing for me to accomplish. I had to work through past experiences of friends getting angry at me for being faster than them in track even though that happened in elementary school. I had to press through my social anxiety and not go into full blown panic attacks for any and everything, like PORT-A-POTTIES and PEOPLE crowding me! I faced many fears — they were not fears about running, they were mostly about past traumas and social situations.

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I am excited to say that I finished in 2:02:43 (9:22 pace)! Yee Haw!!!

I feel proud of the many things I accomplished and learned throughout this five month journey. I learned that I train too hard and too fast! I will allow my body to recover and train correctly for next year. I learned that I hinder myself more than anyone or anything else. I learned that I am strong, and I can do much more than I allow myself to do at times. I learned that I do enjoy running and it is a great anxiety reducer for me. I discovered a sport that is perfect for me. I shocked myself every time I ran a race or ran more miles that made me realize how much I underestimate myself. I learned how to manage my anxieties and how to press through them without thinking negatively about myself. I faced some more fears and anxieties with my family, and have overcome several of them. I learned not to be so fearful of being hurt or of “doing/saying” the wrong things to people. There is more I am sure, but I already published one post and my brain is frazzled.

AND I need to finish dinner along with tending to my swollen ankle and sore legs! hashtag sitting make them hurt. :-) 

Quick side note though, I am not sure how many posts I will be able to do, our life is so full. I want to share everything that is happening, but my time and energy is going into to daily life. I just had Daniel’s IEP meeting — it went great! Joshua’s is coming up in the month. David is leaving this week again, and fall starts off the holiday, festivity marathon. The kids are working hard with school. Daniel loves his after school program and I am registered to do my CPR/AED certification next week then, I am scheduled in December to take my group fitness exam. I have to wait until then because David has to go out of town more and we have holidays and birthdays coming up as well, but its happening. I need to study! Who knows what other things are before me to face and accomplish!

Until next time, sending you jolliness and best wishes! ~ Angel(ique) 

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The Kid’s Half Marathon: They Did It!!

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Wow! September whisked by me before I had a chance to realize it. The last two weeks had been rough, but good things did come out of it. I haven’t the time to write about it now and I want to stay on topic. There were times this past week when I was not sure the half marathon was going to happen for me or for Daniel. Everyday seemed to spiral into stressful experiences. (Anxiety triggers, weather changing, thunderstorms, routine change, not being able to get words out, allergy issues, stomach problems, sound sensitivity, and countless other things that were going on gives you enough information to know that we were all having our struggles here.) However, on Friday it took a turn for the better and we all had a fantastic day.

I was so happy because that was the night that the kids were to finish their last mile in their half marathon.

They were full of excitement and ready, when we left the house it was a little chilly, but by the time we got there the winds had picked up. The temperature dropped significantly. It was FREEZING! I was not dressed for it, the kids were not dressed for it, David had to go back to the car to find any jackets or coats that I had in there. Thankfully, I always have things because I am usually cold. I was in such a heightened state of excitement and social anxiety that I was not thinking in my usual overly prepared sort of way. We got there and huddled together as the crowd formed. I planned for David to walk with Daniel while I ran/walked with Ariel and Joshua. Daniel did amazing in this setting; we were surrounded by loud, hollering kids who were full of excitement and energy. He had his sound reducers on, but lately they have not been enough.

I wanted him to have fun more than anything.

If it got to be too much the plan was for David to take him somewhere like the car or back into the building. He was not sure what to expect, either was I, but I prepared him as much as possible. He knew that if he felt distressed or overwhelmed that he could leave, but he did not. He stayed with us in their age group then, right before we were to take off he had to use the restroom so they started later. I was not certain if they were going to do it, but Ariel, Joshua, and I had to take off. The wind was so intense it was pushing my little Ariel back. I held her hand to guide her along a few times. We ran, walked, ran and walked; Joshua wanted to run so I told him “Go for it!” He did, I was amazed because in all of our walks and runs he got tired first and would sit in the road – good times. 😉

He ran faster than us and stopped to wait for us.

I yelled out to him, “What are you waiting for?” And He said, “I am waiting for you guys.” I yelled back, “Run, buddy! If you want to run, run!” He said, “Ok!” then took off. It was great to see him take off smiling and running across that finish line. Ariel and I were a few seconds behind, but the wind and the cold was really getting to her. She wanted to stop, but I told her, “You have worked so hard for this, you can see that finish line, don’t give up now we are almost there.” It was kind of freaky to see her face because it looked just like mine from the pictures they have taken of me in some of my races. Her eyes were set, her face was focused, determination rang through her body, and she went for it.

She did it!

My aunt was the mc and warmed up all the kids before they started, she was also at the finish line. As they ran down she was cheering them on and encouraging them to keep going. I made sure they were ok, got them their snacks and drinks and then focused on looking for David and Daniel. I started to panic because I did not see them anywhere and I was concerned for Daniel because he has had such a hard time lately. I went running back down the mile stretch, they were nowhere to be found and I did not see any other kids. Finally, I saw a mom with her little girls and asked if she had seen anyone else back there. She told me there was one more, I asked, “With headphone looking things?” She said yes, and I RAN!

I found them around the corner around the half way mark.

Daniel was walking and pointing to all the shiny black veteran memorial tiles in the middle of the bricks on the pathway. I was overjoyed to see him and I had a moment of cherishing how much he loves shiny things and details. BUT we had to get to the end, everyone was waiting and he had put in so much effort over the past two months – I wanted him to get his medal. I grabbed his hand, David was holding his other and told him, “Daniel look there is the finish line, we have to run.” He started to run a little, but was still hesitant. Then, he heard my aunt over the microphone hollering for him and telling him, “Come on Daniel you can do it!”

The cheers of the crowd could be heard all the way where we were, he was smiling and running.

I looked down at him and said, “Daniel, you just stole the show!” He ran, leaped, and had the biggest smile on his face all the way to the finish line. I was almost in tears, it was such an emotional experience to see and hear all of the adults and kids cheering, and hollering encouragement and Daniel’s name. He ran straight into my aunt’s arms and gave her a huge hug. They got a picture of it and you can see his face, I can’t share it yet until I purchase it, he had the biggest smile. I was (am) so proud of all three of them. They did amazing! We walked/ran 22.21 miles before their last mile. It was good exercise and bonding moments because we talked and explored as we did our miles. David went with us on several occasions which made it a fun family activity.

They each received a finisher medal AND it was the same one that the adults got the next day.

I thought that was such a wonderful thing, all the kids who participated put in a lot of effort to do their half ahead of time — they deserved one too! I was excited to tell the kids that all of us would get the same medal; it was a bit more special to share that together. The best part was how proud all three of them were of themselves. We set out a goal, we went above and beyond, (they only needed to do 12 miles before the race) and they finished! I was ecstatic that Daniel could enjoy himself. I asked him how he felt about the people cheering for him, he wasn’t too sure, but the rest of the night he kept showing me his medal and was overflowing with happiness. He did so well, we were also able to go over to my aunt’s house after my half marathon the next day for over five hours.

He is still chipper today and full of all kinds of energy.

Tomorrow, school may be too much so we will ease into it. If they are up it for we will definitely do that again next year. It was such a positive and fun experience. Ariel and Joshua said that they want to do a 5k with me so … I guess we will train for one. Woot!

I am posting about my half marathon right after this one. :-)

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Fall Brings On The Loops & Feeling Blue

Many of you who have read my blog for a while know that I have a huge challenge with understanding relationships. I have improved in my understanding in many ways and it has helped me with settling certain fears, confusions with some of my relationships. My sudden anxieties, confusion, fears about uncertainties of relationships, and panic attacks about what I have said or done have not gone away. My panicky loops, heart crushing feeling, lump in my throat, nausea filled thoughts are still there. Yep, they are still here lingering, waiting, and looping whenever triggered. When it happens, I feel a sudden blackness fill my mind.

My heart feels like it has been slivered into pieces – its glass shattered all over the place!

I have a lump in my throat, that at times manifests into tears, or hyperventilating episodes. I close my eyes tightly, clutching every muscle in my body desperate to try and make my mind make sense of the situation. It’s like I can literally feel my neurons get blocked at pathways, they cluster at some road block and no matter how hard I try to understand what is going on I cannot. With all of my relationships, I have no idea what “we” are anymore. It does not happen as frequently as before, but when it does happen it is frightening. It is a frightening feeling to be in long-term relationships with people, especially, people you are related to, live with, or have been in a relationship with for several years. It is confusing for those in my life who care so deeply for me … who I have been able to express this to through communication, mostly written.

They cannot imagine feeling this way; I cannot imagine having the feeling of “knowing” in a relationship.

If I am not in constant contact with people who I do not feel are steady in character I get thrown by the relationship. What I mean by “steady in character” is that they are consistent in their behavior with me and with others (they do not blow to and fro with emotions, decisions, ideas, how they treat me, their beliefs, etc.). People who seem unsteady to me, make me anxious with their ups and downs that seem like progress, but then I realize that they haven’t — they’ve merely refashioned old patterns. I saw this many times growing up, and throughout my career, church experience, and other social situations. Yet, I did not understand it.

I believed it to be me that was a problem — it very well may be.

I am not suggesting that how I interpret people’s patterns and behaviors to be correct. I am suggesting that I may be incapable of being in relationships with people like that because they cause my mind to have too many “why” questions. They lead me down unhealthy, obsessive paths to try and figure what they are doing and what our relationship means. I need to solve this great mystery as to what they feel about me — although, even if they did tell me I may not be able to accept it anyway — no matter the response. There are certain people though who once we reach a certain place in the relationship, the anxiety and fears do not last long. I can usually trace the triggers sooner. These are rare and have happened through continual consistency, balance in the relationship, and mutual communication.

The communication does not need to be every day, but it is mutually interactive in constant behaviors and understanding of what we are saying and what we mean.

They do not manipulate with emotions. They do not use me for their emotional needs only to toss me aside when they have found someone else for their fix. I am not going to say that I have come so far that I can figure out who is doing this and who isn’t right away. It can take me years to figure out that someone is(was) doing this and when I do figure it out, I find it challenging to let them go. I want to believe the best in everyone and I do realize that many people, including myself, operate in behaviors that we have adopted from our environment, upbringing, and cultural influences, patterns that we have learned and adapted for ourselves to help us cope in this world. I get that, the hard part is realizing and accepting that some people are just not meant to be in your life.

My life, has been so filled with loss of relationships that the thought of letting people go is painful, so, so painful for me.

I feel as though I am rejecting them, when I am not — I am releasing them to find people who are a better match. The issue is that I have never been good at closure — I just leave. I stop communicating after a while. I give up and have learned that most of the time those people have not noticed that we are no longer in a relationship. After thinking about it, I realized that some of the people who have done that to me were probably not good at closure either. I bet they caught on much sooner that we were not a good match. People look for similarities, many look for people who are similar to them, think like them, act like them, and I have never been able to do that.

No matter how many friends I have I am still a loner.

Some days I feel really sad about this, some days I am overcome with sorrow because I am well aware that I do not fit in anywhere – even in the Autism community. I have said it before, and I will be frank (not a man named Frank, I will be direct) I am in a loop that I am completely exhausted from having to go through it time and time again. I feel like I belong everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I read from other Autistics and I am a mixture of all sorts of traits, patterns, behaviors, and I am also not the same. I feel a sense of loss, loneliness, anxiety, and a hovering sense of fear that has no name. I am tired, anxious about many things, and mentally drained when I feel this way my pattern is to latch onto relationship issues.

However, I also realized that my “loss of friend” loop does seem to be triggered around this time of year.

I feel lonely right now, but I do not want to be with people either. I can’t say that to people though because they can get hurt or angry. I have lost some hope that this loop will ever go away, but instead of dwelling negatively on it I will focus on the fact that I know this is a loop. I understand that many of these things will go away. I have more understanding about why some of my relationships ended, due to me and due to others. In the past, I took all the responsibility for the relationship ending “I felt I failed”, but now I am understanding more that they just fizzled — it was not meant to be, I suppose. I believe that they were able to find friends who were a better fit for them, which makes me happy for them.

Now that all of that is out, I will accept that my “fall time” blues are already rising. 

This year, I hope I can apply many of my new healthy coping mechanisms toward my “blues & loops” and help with my depressive thoughts. I do have another happy post that I plan on writing this weekend — I hope. It seems that I have been able to reclaim yellow! Yes, the color. I will have to explain in better detail in another post, but believe me reclaiming yellow is a big deal and is a good sign for me emotionally. Other good news, Daniel started his after school program this week and is doing great. Of course, there are transitions and anxieties to process, but overall he is a happy fella. Ariel and Joshua have had a great week too, they started going to science lab at the library and have built some more amazing Lego’s creations.

Those are the things I would like to loop about, happy kids and creativity! 

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