Tag Archives: autism

I’m Tired? Who Knew?

I have been going for weeks; my energy levels were at high peaks and I felt as though I would be able to maintain that level forever (except those times when my body shut down on me and I was fatigued, yeah … I always forget those times when my energies are high.) – until, last night. I felt very tired on Wednesday, but assumed that it was the weather and quickly concluded that there was simply too much to do so no time for tired. No time! Yesterday, I seemed to gain some burst of energy and managed to complete the entire garage mess, mounds of boxes and mish mash all organized and arranged tightly to fit our minivan in a snug little niche of the garage. I became fixated on ensuring that the car would go into the garage yesterday – it HAD to be done that day no exceptions!

I do not know why, my mind just grabbed hold of it and would not let it go. 

I did that while, doing school with the kids, unpacking random boxes inside, and feeding everyone. I thought no doubt I had enough energy to do an hour long boot camp session at the Y. David has been asking me for days if I need to take a break – me? No, NEVER!! There is so much to be done and I have to workout or else my mind may rage into anxiety or meltdown in the midst of all of this change. My instructor got onto me several times about my form. I did not realize how wobbly I was and my sprained ankle is still recovering so I am not at my best. She almost made me sit out several times, the last time she said, “If you are going to hold that bar like that get off my floor! You are tired!”

I looked at her defiantly and held my weight bar correctly while maintaining proper form.

How could she know if I was tired or not? Geez! However, the words pounded in my head, “You are tired!” I scoffed to myself. I am not tired. What is she talking about? After my workout, I was off to Walmart for food shopping – an hour or so in Walmart. I came hope and Daniel was especially, clinging feeling his anxiety rising I sat with him, soothed him, and got him to bed after a long while of soothing and comforting. :-) Still in my sweaty clothes, starving, and getting very cranky since, I had not eaten since lunchtime I finally sat to eat my dinner much later than usual.

As I sat there, it hit me – I was tired. 

BUT tired, is not allowed around here. There is too much to do. Too many things to take care of too many people to feed, too many things to clean! Too many stuffs!! I took my shower, went to bed, and thought I will feel better in the morning. I had a dream that left me feeling disappointed and sad, but I was quite happy and jolly this morning. I have been all day. However, when I took Ariel to her classes today I was once again struck with tired. I walked up the stairs with her and Daniel thinking, it’s tired in here. I spent two hours trying to keep Daniel entertained because his Elmo got boring after a while. We walked, I tried to talk with him and tell silly stories. He told me that he only wants to do silly stories with daddy. Then, he told me, “I like sitting with you.”

It was sweet and somewhat sad at the same time, I was all, “Hey! I am way sillier than dad!” 

I want to have fun being silly too. It was good insight, and we quietly walked together around the building discussing all of the details and why it was build the way it was … as we do every week. I ended up plopping down on the walkway letting Daniel run in the grass. It was then, that my tiredness really came to fruition. I tried to write. I have had a dozen poems and posts swarming through my head for weeks that I cannot get out. At first, I thought O-M-G! I will never be able to write again! My brain will deflate and my body will retaliate, I will cease to exist! (I do overact sometimes. :-))

When I started to type out the poem that was flooding my brain the words that were in my head would not come out of my fingers. 

They were getting all jumbled and mixed up. The poem did not say what I wanted it to say. It came out with different words, why was I typing different words than what my brain was thinking? The words were coming out before they should or after – it was so frustrating. I closed the iPad and played with Daniel. As I ran around with him I could feel how exhausted my physical body was for the first time, when I came home I felt just how mentally exhausted I was too. I was sharing with David how tired I felt and that I could not understand why I was so tired.

He shook his head. 

He said, “You do this all the time. You have no gauge of much you have pushed yourself. You need to rest.” to be honest with you, I do not know how to rest. Even in my exhausted state, my mind is going a mile a minute. I am thinking of what needs to be done or how to get it done. I am making plans and preparing for the next thing. If I am not focused on that, my mind starts, to wander into philosophical musings that can get me going down multiple paths of anything and I mean anything. Mediation does not work for me – I find nothing to truly relax my body or my mind I just find ways to calm the static.

I am calm and peaceful, but ever going. 

Even in my most relax state I have a billion things going on in my head. Ideas, thoughts, music, images, people, questions – oh heavens, the questions! I get overwhelmed at times with Daniel’s constant question asking it is a lot to answer in a day and half the time the questions he asks do not have concrete answers or they have complex answers. I love his constant questions do not get me wrong, I waited too long to hear them and will never take them for granted! However, his questions mingled with my gazillion questions in my own head can lead to mania. What is worse is when he asks questions that I have wanted the answers to forever AND I still do not know. Egads!! Awww, the agony!

So yeah, here is my exhausted tired brain and body frantically writing about my tiredness. 

I think I need to think about how I can relax. I have tried so many of the “normal” ways of relaxing and they do not work for me. There is no way I will get a massage ever again! I have the urge to sit and watch the TV. Maybe I will try that tonight. I will find something that is entertaining hopefully, it will let my brain soak in a story and let it go. I am not sure if that will work, but my brain is too frazzled to read, but too wired not to get fixated on something and go into research mode. I am going to go now, I think I may be tiredly rambling and not realizing it. Any tips on how to know when you are tired? How do you help yourself gauge? Any tell tale signs that you can share with me that may be beneficial?

What do you do to relax? 

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Woolly Bear Happy! (Pyrrharctia isabella)

Hello!! I will upfront here, I am almost in a panic attack. My chest is heavy, I am having a hard time breathing, and my head is spinning … Panic, panic, panic! Is soaring through my head. I was doing fine only moments ago, so I thought. I was able to pull out of my irritable mood from yesterday, but today anxiety is all-consuming. There is so much to do and I cannot get my mind to focus on anything. I am freaking out because it looks like we will only have help moving on Friday for a few hours. It is these times that it can suck only having virtual friends – I LOVE my virtual friends, but I really wish some of you lived closer so we could help each other out in the physical world.

It would be nice to have a person here who could just “understand.”

You know what I mean? Not necessarily help move, but have understanding eyes – someone who could relate to why I am almost on the verge of tears feeling utterly OUT-OF-CONTROL! I know I will be fine – I am riding (writing) out the anxiety at the moment. As I write, my breathing is getting in sync with my typing. Only seconds ago, the typing was rapid and furious, I can feel myself typing slower and calmer … with huge deep breaths I am finding my calm. However, the tears are coming and I cannot stop them. I suppose, I should just let them go.  As my body and mind go through its course of release, I see this as an opportunity to change some negative thinking.

I hear the many questions of “Why?” bombard my mind.

I feel shame in a way that I am crying and that I feel out-of-control. I hear old scripts pounding in my head, “Why are you crying? Everyone moves. Why aren’t you happy? What is wrong with you? You are overreacting! You should be thankful for all of this.” And on and on of all sorts of questions and statements. I AM happy! I AM thankful! Just because I am feeling panic and overwhelmed does not meant that I am not. Why do people say such things when others are emotional?  Why do people feel this need to tell others at that point, that “their” situation could be much worse? Why do they feel the need to invalidate, fix, or even take those opportunities to condemn a person for having emotions that they do not feel are appropriate for the circumstance?

Those things haunt me when my anxiety starts to tinge.

Words of those in my past, who found my anxiety or emotional responses too ridiculous or inappropriate fill my brain and attack me – causing even more anxiety and stress. WHY can’t I just stop? I cannot, my brain needs to process and work through everything that it is processing and there is nothing wrong with how it so chooses. Since, I am unable to know many times what I need my body and mind take over to help me. It shuts down, it meltdowns, it cries, it calls out for stimuli, it begs for quiet, it picks at my face, it twirls and twists my hair, it claps, it sings, it jumps, it bakes, it cleans, or it becomes obsessed with a Woolly Bear caterpillar that was hiding in the garage. :-)

wooly_bear_pictureYesterday, I found great peace and happiness in holding that fuzzy caterpillar.

I brought it to the kids; we let it walk all over our hands and giggled. I needed him. I went in search of how to create a home for him because I knew that he needed to hibernate and I want to keep him. I love him. I instantly and madly fell in love with him. I looked up all the information I could about him and shared it with the kids. We built a little home for him and I found calm.

Every time I start to feel the anxiety tickle in my mind, I look at our Woolly Bear.

It has helped the kids too. We have something to focus on – he(or she) is fuzzy cute comfort. I plan to make him a better home in hopes of keeping him through the winter. When I read about the Woolly Bear to the kids, I told them about the folklore that people believe. Some people believe that depending upon the length of the reddish brown band in the middle of their body it can determine the severity of the winter to come.

Ariel was so excited and said that she wanted to test that out.

We shall see what transpires. Now I feel my calm back, my mind is getting refocused and the spiral I felt a few minutes ago has stopped. I am not sure how I am going to do today. I truly hope that getting this out will help me stay focused, but there are no guarantees. All three kids are back in bed, they are still sick. I am not sure Halloween is in the plans for us tonight. It is rainy, icky, and snowing fall leaves here. The good news, David is at the new house at this very moment doing the walk-thru and we will have the keys. I cannot wait to go into that house and walk around. I think that will ease some of my anxiety.

The rest of my day should bring me some solace.

After I finish this, I will write out a list to do. I do plan to make the kids’ birthday cakes today and that should bring me some peace. School is not an option, we are behind, and I have to accept that. We have little help moving, we usually do I should be used to it by now – I have to accept that. I cannot do everything and it will ALL get done – it always does – I have to accept that it may or may not go the way I expect or want it to. The hardest part about anxiety is realizing that the best way for me to deal with it is to accept so many things that I have such a hard time accepting. I can only do so much and my “so much” is enough. One moment at a time, say “Hi” to Woolly Bear throughout the day, and breathe.

Pictures! They make me calm. :-) (Good-bye trees, you are lovely and all, but I will not miss all of your falling leaves.)

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Things That I Tuck Away

I tuck many things away in the back of my mind. They hide, lurk, and appear suddenly from triggers or anxiety. I have some great days when I feel strong, mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy. Then, there are other days. Those days the things I have tucked away can well up at times through tears and I find myself shocked as to why I am feeling so down or crying. I touch my eyes and say, “Oh, my what are these salty secretions and why do I have them?” There are times when I can systematically go through and figure out how I ended feeling this great sadness.

Some days I am confused and I have no idea why I am feeling this way or even other emotions that may not be sadness, but anger. 

I am not confused today. I know exactly why I am extremely fatigued, mentally exhausted, and physically just want to sleep. I know that there are multiple factors at play. However, even with understanding I still need to process the emotions otherwise, I become fixated and ruminate on different thoughts or past experiences trying to make it stop. It does not stop – I loop. It feeds my anxiety, it stirs cognitive distortions, it fuels negative thinking, and trips me into depressive thoughts. I have a lot spinning through my head and at the beginning of this month, I started to have those things that I manage to tuck away on a daily basis, start to creep into my daily thoughts. I did a fabulous job at stomping on them, covering them up with other thoughts, filling my mind in order to redirect, but that only helps for a while.

When there is too much to process my mind and body retaliate against all of my efforts. 

The excitement with getting the new house to rent, seeing family I was overcome with an array of emotions, yesterday my sister had her baby, Yay! I am an aunt again. :-)  This morning was Daniel’s IEP review, which went fantastic. I will need to process that too. Here I have all of this awesome wonderful news yet, I have a foreboding sadness and tears wanting to pour out of my tear ducts. Two things sent me over – the owners texting me telling me that their sister was coming tonight to look at the property and fix some things. Then, one of the biggest things that I tried to keep my mind from thinking about – that it is Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Just typing that has me in full-blown tears.

I had no intentions of writing anything this year, I know how fragile I am. I was surprised to be taken over by emotions of what I wrote about in August on my friend Zoe’s blog behind the mask of abuse as a guest post. It ended up being three posts long. I had not intended for it to be that long, but when I started typing, I could not stop. My life has been filled with domestic violence. I was raised in some horrible situations. I witnessed some horrible things as a child and I too became victim to being abused and manipulated. In a way, my upbringing made it seem like the “norm” for men to be womanizers, abusers, and that women had very little value.

I have very strong, independent, brave, and intelligent woman in my family.

Many people would never guess that we were victims. Many people did not believe that we were victims.The issue was we found men who would wear us down until we thought we were nothing and completely useless unless we had them. Wait, let me rephrase the first part of that sentence – these men gravitated toward us because another issue was that we were vulnerable and naive when it came to relationships. Relationships just happened, if you listen to the many women in my family share their story of how they met their partners past and even present (though not all are bad now) we did not seek out the relationship.

We “suddenly” were in one and the next thing we knew we were in long-term relationships with abusers.

Many factors play into that as well. I share several of them in the three-part post I wrote. Eventually, we found our strength and courage and got out of the relationships. Though our bodies were intact our self-esteem, identity, and true comprehension were not. My mom is Autistic too and she had no true awareness of what abuse was, her father abused her – she did not know the difference. She did not know the comfort and protection of a father. She had mixed signals of beatings and “I love you’s.” This led her into deeper relationship confusion and caused her to doubt her instincts, which, trickled to me as well.

Not knowing your own self-worth and growing up to feel as though you have little value sets you up to be easily preyed upon.

It makes life even more confusing when the ones you love and who claim to love you are your predators. When you add social confusion, social naivety, and anxiety into the mix there is a whole other aspect of being manipulated and abused. We did not realize that we were abused. We would reach a point and would no longer put up with it and at times, it almost meant our very lives, but somewhere deep inside we said, “We are not going to take this any longer!” For my mom, it is a contributing factor to her living a life alone. It is not the only factor she does like being single and independent, but after discovering that she was being lied to, manipulated, and emotionally abused in her last relationship over 12 years ago she had enough.

My mom was physically abused as a child into several of her adult relationships.

When she was an adult, she did not put up with it for long and many times, she fought back. So did I – I fought back and my meltdowns were out of control whenever something was done to me. However, it took me a long time to get out or to see the patterns in other relationships. If someone did not hit me, I thought that was a good sign for a relationship. No! Any sort of abuse is wrong even if you are not getting the crap beat out you! It has taken me a long time to understand this. I suffer from C-PTSD and PTSD. Because of family triggers and other abuse triggers when I saw the words “domestic violence” today I felt as if I was being beaten, emotionally attacked, degraded, and devalued all in a second of reading them.

This is a hard month for me anyway, which causes my triggers and emotions to be heightened.

The good news is that I am here. I am alive and well. I know how far I have come even since last October, and though the emotions of writing some of my story several months ago have just now caught up with me, I am being gentle, accepting, and understanding toward myself. I am not confused and I am not thinking things like, “You should be over all of this already.” Healing is a process, it takes time, and that is OK! I wrote this Striving For My Healing back in February it was the start of some huge progress in my healing journey. It is loaded with a ton of resources.

Every day is part of my healing journey some days are great other days not so much.

We all heal at our own pace and we all process in different ways. I am glad that I am finally on a healing journey though instead of the journey of confusion or at times denial. If you would like to read my story I will post links below – a large chuck of it is about three years of my life when I was a teenager there was much more prior to that and after. I have to take each trauma with small steps and work though them at my own pace. If you or someone you know are in an abusive relationship, I would suggest reading as much as you can about abuse and learn the best ways to get support. There are plenty of sites and I have linked to many in this post and my other posts I linked to.

It is not as easy as “just leaving” or “getting out” of the relationship.

Be supportive, listen, accept them, do not judge them, and most of all believe them if they are telling you that they are being abused. Educate yourself on what abuse is Domestic Violence and Abuse. And please, do not assume that the person knows that they are being abused – I didn’t. Before doing, anything read about it or seek professional counseling for insight and understanding. 5 WAYS TO HELP SOMEONE BEING ABUSED If anyone is reading this that has been through this or may be going through some sort of abuse now, know that you are not alone and you can get help.

I needed to write some of this to help myself, but I also share to help others here is part of my story.

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“What is Autism?” Good Question!

Daniel asked me “What is Autism?” about two weeks ago. Ariel and Joshua have asked me several times on multiple occasions which is why I went in search of age appropriate books on the subject hoping that it would help – they did for about two seconds, but then after those seconds came floodgates of questions from each child. I wrote this post “Am I Autism?” back in June with the many resources that I gathered then trying to help my kids accept themselves and understand themselves. All three of them have a sense of not being like other children, while at the same time being completely unaware of their differences – it is our “normal.”

I tend to fall into this too even with all of my years of being acutely aware of how different I am I still have a certain unawareness.

I am not sure if others have this same experience or not. I did not really have an understanding of this until the last two weeks with all my observing, thought wrestling, pondering, researching, reading, and connecting other thoughts/self-awareness. I have a challenging time with explaining Autism to myself. My research is to help my kids and myself try to understand our world better. It takes time to shift from thinking “there is something wrong with me” to discovering “There is nothing wrong with me at all.” However, it is a continual challenge for me when I read other blogs, books, and various types of resources where there is frustration, sadness, annoyance, or even anger at what their Autistic children/adults in their life are doing …

I do it too! (and so do my kids) 

It is a shock to my self-esteem every time I read something from a parent that is a negative or even when they joke about their children’s behaviors. I no longer take it personally; I have had to separate my emotions to some extent. I really like reading different perspectives and I respect their unique point of view – I respect people and their differences period. I appreciate (understand (a situation) fully; recognize the full implications of.) their challenges and the pain that they go through. If I were offended I would simply stop reading them, but I am not for the most part. It still stings a little and causes me to feel badly about myself at times.

I have learned to quickly work through that, shake it off, and remind myself of who I am.

(I have stopped reading some in the past, but it was because they became hateful and rather aggressive – I cannot handle that type of writing.) I do empathize with some – I can place myself into their position and see how challenging it can be for them and understand that they need to release some of their frustrations. I get that. I do that in my own way with family and relationships. Even though I can understand, it still leaves me with lingering thoughts that something is wrong with me and my kids. I think that it hurts me the most in regards to my kids. I work so hard at trying to instill in them the self-esteem that was not built into me as child.

Then, I think about when they are old enough to surf the web and when they stumble upon one of those posts …

I wonder if they will feel what I feel – there is nothing wrong with me, BUT there is. I have the same feeling when reading many of the  books that I have about Autism. I had not been able to pinpoint what was bothering me when I read the books or watched the videos. Some of them I have turned off or stopped reading all together – the reason? The language was negativity sugarcoated with a sweet shell of oxymoronism. Things were written in the context of “Those who are Autistic need to learn how to be like the rest of us, but their brains are wired differently.” For some reason, while reading those books my head would flash of Ayn Rand.

“I AM JOHN GALT!”

Ha, I am kidding. However, those thoughts have flashed through my mind at times. I am not an Ayn Rand enthusiast; I am an open-minded individual that likes to read A LOT! I do not even agree with her all of her philosophy, but she makes some pretty valid arguments at times. (I know she is dead – her books are still alive.) Her books have a common theme and as I read those other books I felt like someone was standing there demanding that I stop being me while, cloaked with a smile trying to convince me that this was right and everyone agrees that it is the right thing to do – to stop being me and stop my children from being them. My mind can go into extremes so I am not sure if my intensity is accurate. :-) Though, my gut kept getting “wrong type” of feelings as I read certain words.

I found myself editing the words to my children or explaining what they were “trying” to say.

What if that was NOT what they were trying to say at all? It does not matter, what does matter is what I teach my children. I have been able to use some of these resources to help the kids and myself gain insight or understanding. I can pretty much pull knowledge or learn from anything. I know that they are pondering it as much as I am. I really have no good way of explaining Autism. Autism is in our DNA – it is who we are and (granted Daniel and I are the only ones “officially” diagnosed as of yet.) they need to feel good about themselves. I admit, there are challenges that I have that I wish my children did not have such as anxiety.

I know their struggle and I want so badly to make it go away, but I cannot.

I wish I could have the answers to help them with handwriting so that they are not in pain every time they have to write or give them exactly what they need when they get overwhelmed with frustration that their hand will not do what their mind is telling it to. I wish I could help with many of their other struggles that I too have had in my life. Yes, I wish they did not have to struggle with many things, but other children have their challenges too. My job is to give them better ways of coping, find tools and resources to help them learn ways to use their talents and challenges in ways that are more creative – help them find their own way to succeed. We can make up songs about anxiety! Dance to those anxiety song! Paint their spelling words, make a sentence out of pretzels – how cool are you if you can make a sentence out of pretzels?? (It can be done.) That’s what I am talking about.

Alright, back to the question “What is Autism?”

The truth is I still cannot give a clear simple answer. I find it completely full of wonder and intrigue every time I read something from another Autistic or a parent who has shared some great insight with helping their child succeed and help them to be proud of who they are. As I read from their perspectives, I find myself full of excitement and joy because of our similarities and differences. You know what else? I do the same thing when I read or meet someone who is not Autistic. I find humanity as a whole complicatedly delightful. I just downloaded all that to tell you this! I believe I have actually found a book that I feel good about. It seems to be written in a positive way that explains ASD in terms that are accepting and age appropriate for my children.

The book is The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (And Their Parents).

I have not read all of it, but I have found it to be a great resource to pick up and gain some insight or be able to share with others when I cannot find my words. I like that the authors share quotes and stories about and from other Autistics at various ages and stages of their life. I know, I know the title may rub some people the wrong way, along with the puzzle piece book cover, but what I have read I have yet to find it to steer in a negative direction. The language feels positive and its motivation seems to be that of helping ASD kids learn to appreciate and accept themselves. I cannot say that the language in the other books specifically for my kids age range gave such positivity. However, many of the books that are available are geared toward those who do not understand ASD not the actual person or children who are Autistic. MORE positive books to help others understand Autism is a whole other topic.

The book talks to parents in the introduction to explain the book and its purpose.

I found that interesting and I really thought it was great how they encouraged parents. They seemed to motivate into the direction of focusing on creating an atmosphere of building into  ASD kids and using the book as a guide to help on their journey in life. Sigh … I sometimes I wish I would have had all of this stuff growing up. Alas, I did not, however, I do get the privilege of helping my kids. I am pleased to have found a useful resource like this one. Our Autism conversation will continue for the rest of our lives. It is casual and I only talk about it when they want to talk about it. Autism is “normal” to us – we are Autism every day so we really do not need to “talk” about it all the time. I find it interesting that all of this has come up in our household because recently, quite a few parents have been writing on the topic of talking to your kids about their diagnosis. I love it when that happens it kind of feels like we are all in sync or something. ;-)

I will share some related things that I have read or watched.

 

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A More Positive Environment?? Still Hoping …

This is another processing post and maybe a bit venty. I think I may have a few processing posts because a lot has happened this week. I have a whole lot to process from visiting with my family last night. It actually went REALLY well, but I can feel the conversations soaring through my head and the questions like, what did they mean by that? Did I say something wrong? Why did they look at me like that? Normally, I run with those thoughts – not today. That is also, another reason why I am not writing about it yet. I do not want to feed those thoughts. I know that I missed a lot of underlined social stuff, but I enjoyed myself and so did the kids so I want to focus on that and not feed my negative thinking patterns.

Yesterday, by far was one of the best days of this year.

First, we found out that we were approved for the house that became available last week, which is a little smaller than this, but not by much, the floor plan will suit us well. Then we found out that we are supposed to be receiving the funds next week in order to make the move. Two major obstacles have been overcome a house (that is cheaper rent and utilities) and the funds. Any sort of decrease in our spending is a huge help for us. Also, getting into a home that is much more positive for us in the sense of sensory, (Major issue with this house is acoustics it is very loud because of the floors.) that includes sounds on the inside and outside, as well as many other sensory issues. Anxiety and stress from the maintenance of the house and landscaping.

David described the yard as a park that needs to be maintained to the property manager.

He agreed that is was like maintaining a park. We do not have the time or resources for that – I get stressed because I have responsibility issues and feel the sense that I should take care of it, but neither one of us have the time to maintain it. We are technically not responsible the owners are as per the lease, but they still have not done anything. To give some insight they told the property manager that they did not want to pay for landscaping and said that he needed to “go downtown pick up a load of Mexicans and have them do the work. That is what we always did.”

Yes, he had to explain to him that he runs a business and that it was illegal!

Because of that I start to feel “trapped” in my home and some days just looking at the yard can fill me with anxiety. Environment is a huge thing for any person, but for those of us who are Autistic it is crucial to our peace of mind. It affects all areas of our life and in the wrong environments; we can be in a constant state of flight or flight feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or frightened. It is exceptionally challenging when your home does not provide a safe place or feel calming. I do not have a safe place here and neither does Daniel.

It is not a good thing.

I try to create as much of a safe place for him in his room, but it is too open. The stress of finances and things breaking in the home causes me constant anxiety. There are hovering thoughts of what else is going to break and when will the next money issue pop up? It feels so unpredictable. I can maintain control until everything starts to pile up, then the constant buzzing of the anxiety that I manage to drown out most days becomes BOOMING and triggers me into all sorts of emotions. Growing up without much money and living a lifetime i in financial stress can trigger all kinds of memories and fears.

Things are tight to say the least, but when I am in a home that feels “safe” I can better handle financial stress.

I am not sure if that makes sense to anyone else or not. The other house has four bedrooms so Daniel and I will get a room. AND I will finally have a closet! For those who do not know, Daniel is still unable to sleep alone and the room that we share is a family room in the middle of the house so everyone has to go through it in order to get to one end of the house to the other. The other house has two tubs! In our current home, we only have a shower the 2nd bathroom has a tub, but we cannot use it. We have to be careful with the toilet too otherwise the pipes will fill up in the bathtub and the toilet they overflow our entire bathroom, kitchen, and possibly living room with a flood with feces. Not fun. The kids have wanted a bathtub for so long.

The bathtub was a sensory saver whenever Daniel was too overwhelmed or needed some calming down time.

By not having one, it has made it challenging to find other ways of soothing him. That and the fact that I really have no “safe place” for him to go when he needs quiet or to calm down has been challenging as well. This other house would provide several different options in helping Daniel and/or Ariel and Joshua. (Me too!) It has a big flat backyard with a patio area currently our yard is like a forest on hills and surrounded by many trees. It is gorgeous and lovely – I adore watching all the critters and being surrounded by it, however, it is not good for children and when it is not maintained it is like a jungle. They have no place to run around and play. We are on an extremely busy road right at the corner of a four way stop and it is terrifying!

When we first moved in, I was in a panic because Daniel had no sense of danger whatsoever.

He has learned some caution, but there are still days when he is unaware and he will run out into the driveway with no comprehension of how close he is to the road. I have yelled his name in blood curdling screams while running after him several times. The cars just zoom by with no awareness of us at all. It is a major road for emergency vehicles as well – at any moment and any hour there can be loud fire trucks, ambulances, or police cars blaring by.

That has been a source of anxiety and stress for Daniel.

In the neighborhood where the other house is, there are sidewalks and quiet streets. I used “taking walks” or playing in the backyard as ways of helping Daniel too before we moved here. I am thankful for this house and that we were able to find this house while living hundreds of miles away. However, had we been in town and actually saw the location and the landscaping we would have never rented this home. We have made it work and I am amazed at how well Daniel has done with living in such a stressful environment.

He has been amazing considering all of the conditions and lack of options to bring him comfort.

I do hope everything goes as planned with this other house. I know that it will come with its own set of renting issues, but it has more options and more outlets for creating a positive environment. I really do not want to get my hopes up though because after all of the house ordeals that we have gone through in the last year or so I am rather cautious with my hope especially, after having so many “almosts” during the summer only to have it fall through. I cannot help, but have happy fantasies of David in an upstairs office again so I no longer have the stress of trying to keep the kids quiet while he is working or in his meetings.

Yes, those are my types of fantasies – less stress and options!

I cannot stop smiling thinking of when Daniel is full of anxiety, stress, or becomes overwhelmed leading into a meltdown to be able to provide a place for him that can help him calm down or be able to shift his focus to taking a bath for comfort. Oh, my gosh that sounds like heaven! It will help him so much even to have those two options. I loved the fact that the house still has its 1990 fixtures and ugly wallpaper in the bathroom. When I saw it, I squealed and rubbed it with my fingers saying, “Oh, I love you ugly wallpaper. You are the best!”

When I saw the carpet that was not dirty, but fancied some stains I said, “Oh, carpet you will do just fine!”

In addition, when I saw the gold fixtures in the bathroom I said, “I do not like gold at all, but I will like you guys!” I know I may sound strange, but the stress of trying to keep up a house with “nice” modern tiles, fixtures, and huge windows everywhere becomes overwhelming to me. I get in a panic mode when the grout is dirty. I want to dump bleach all over the house, but cannot. I am so tired of thinking about this house and all of the issues here. The owners had promised that several things would be done back in June they have not done any of them.

We have been more than accommodating and they still leave us hanging.

It is such needless stress and there is a constant looming that they could show up at any time. They do not fulfill anything on the promised dates and when they are ready they text me saying things like, “Oh, by the way someone is coming today.” or they do not tell us at all and someone appears at our door or yard. This has happened so many times I cannot count and it is disruptive to my schedule and the kids. It completely throws our school days off and causes Daniel anxiety. (And me) It would be nice not to have to deal with that any longer. I am venting now I suppose. The environment has been so unpredictable and stressful that we all find it taxing.

I wrote about some of this over the summer when we were trying to find a house, I know.

But I had to get in a state of acceptance that we were not going to move in order to get along with my days.  Now that we have this possible light at the end of the tunnel I cannot help, but be excited and ready to go. However, I still have that foreboding that something may go wrong… So I keep saying to God, the Universe, the crickets, whoever will listen, “Please let this be true!!” :-) I truly hope everything falls into place – it would be nice to be in an environment that was less stress for all of us. I know that it will make for a challenging month, but I think it will be worth it to have more peace of mind for the long term.

This link Environment and surroundings has some helpful information with understanding environments and Autistics.

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Preparing For Fall (Winter) Time Blues

Around October, I always start to feel down. The depressive thoughts creep in before I even know what hit me. I love fall, but for some reason I am saddened by it as well. When the rush of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin spice smells fill my nostrils the gloom begins to cloud into my brain. The sight of pumpkins and gourds trigger emotions from my past. However, at the same time the beginning of fall is a great joy to me too. I enjoy Halloween’ish type of things. All the magnificent colors and the breezes that cascade over my flesh feel so wonderful. I like the things that lurk in the shadows, LOVE black cats, (used to have two) full moons, bats, and all the other sorts of things that pop into one’s mind when thinking of “Americanized” Halloween celebrations. :-)

My happy-sad state stays throughout the winter.

Then, around March I start to feel a little bit of my chipperness come back. When fall ripples through I begin to see the world differently – literally my eyesight has like a nostalgic haze that covers everything. There seems to be a slight buzz as though the colors all have come alive in some new way. Their sounds become crisper and louder. They move in slow motion type of tracers (no doubt my synesthesia plays a role in this.) and my days feel like I am in a movie all the time. The state of feeling like nothing is real, but it is utterly real simultaneously. I find it difficult to describe. I have tried on several occasions on here, but I still have not found the most accurate of ways to explain it. I do know that part of this could be from the MANY triggers I have from the holidays.

They assault me in all directions sensory, emotionally, and physically!

This month has already started with family triggers. This coming weekend family is coming in for the big half marathon. My dad and one of my sisters, along with a couple of other family members are running. This side of the family is so competitive – competition makes me uncomfortable and fills me with anxiety. Unfortunately, the sister that is coming is one that I have many triggers with – I find her incredibly confusing and abrasive. I have not seen her is several years which, gives me additional anxiety. However, I am determined to not allow her behaviors or snide comments affect my responses or my mood.

I really have no desire to engage with her.

Every time I think of possible scenarios, I respond in the same way – with no response. Before when my mind would rush with possible situations, actions, or words being spoken to me I would think of all the possible things, I could say to counter her or protect myself. I have not done that and my mind keeps thinking who cares! Why do I care what she says, she does not know me. She thinks I am a freak. I am virtually nonexistent to her unless my dad pays attention to me or other family member’s acknowledge me then; she “remembers” that I exist. So I really do not need to waste time on thinking of the “what if’s.” It is only a few hours on one day out of my life.

I will expect any possible thing to come from her and not worry about what she may or may not do.

Who knows, maybe she will surprise me and it will all be pleasant. Though, she is consistent so it is certain that she will behave in the way she has her entire life. I no longer need to try to figure her out or protect myself from things that have no bearing on who I am or what I do. I did not realize how much of my depressive thought could be stemmed from the multitude of anxious thoughts I have in regards to family dynamics. The holidays are bittersweet for me. I enjoy being with many of my family members. Despite the fact that no one really acknowledges autism. :-/ Baby steps?? However, they are very loud, huggy, competitive, sometimes very crass, opinionated, and can be quite self-focused.      

They are also, very generous, caring, funny, talented, and quite entertaining to be around.

This year, I have decided to make changes in preparation for the weather and time change, along with my mood change. I have added several more workouts to my week to help me transition into the fall. It has helped me a great deal. I added more intense physical workouts instead of only cardio – I have seen a big difference in my transitioning from an anxious state to finding my “calm” again. I have quicker recovery time. I was doing one spin class (stationary bike) and piloxing, but now I have added a boot camp on Wednesdays, TRX which is “Suspension Training bodyweight exercise develops strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously.”

TRX has helped me with my “clumsiness”, vertigo, falling, and running into things.

It has helped my core muscles build up to help my balance and lower back pain. I had no idea that it would help me so much, but it does. I have a hard time staying in the suspensions, but I am getting better each time I do it. My new favorite workout is called Kravfit. The best way to describe it is to say that it is a mixture of martial arts, kickboxing, bootcamp (circuit trainer), and self-defense. Oh, yeah! I love it! I am not going to be able to do all of this during the winter months so my plan is to continue three out of the week Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. As well as rotate TRX and piloxing for a while.

I have finally found a diet that is working for me so I eat the same things everyday for the most part.

I have many difficulties with proteins, dairy; many processed foods make me feel drained and tired. I stick with plain veggies, salads, chicken and egg whites. However, this does not bode well when you are burning a ton of calories so I am trying to pump up my caloric intake. I made changes several months ago with my diet and noticed a change in my anxiety and my fatigue. I started taking vitamins and some supplements too that have made a difference for me. I have never been able to take vitamins without stomach problems or other physical reactions.

I was excited to find some that did not cause me such problems.

They are gummies the Vitafusion™ brand MultiVites™, B-Complex, Vitamin D, and Omega 3. I get the Target brand and they work well too. (I do not get any kickbacks for sharing I thought others might have similar issues as I do with taking vitamins and supplements – if they do not make me sick that is awesome! I am highly sensitive to those types of things.)  I still have anxiety (A LOT) and get fatigued, but the change is the length of time that I am suffering from some of the symptoms. The changes in my thinking (practicing mindfulness) have helped in this area too, but that leads me back to my first thought – October brings about depressive thoughts. I am happier during the summer because I love to be outside and I spend most of my time outside.

When the cold comes, it is like daggers attacking my flesh all the time.

The dreary sky for days and days can eat away at my jolly mood and I can feel myself sink into negative stimming patterns. They are connected to family, triggers, and other traumatic events that have happened to me during the holidays. Holidays do not represent fun, festive, happy times they represent pain, tears, isolation, and feelings of awkwardness, feeling wrong, unwanted, and utterly confused. I have managed to work through each year to gather many happy memories since my kids have been born. We are creating our ways of celebrating, but the pain is still there. The trauma is still there and when I know I have to face those who traumatized me with a “happy” face I become overwhelmed with anxiety and sometimes downright fear.

This year, I am going to try new strategies.

I have better coping mechanisms – I know some of my “main” triggers. I know how to handle my anxiety in ways that are more positive. I have learned not to take other people’s “issues” or “insecurities” personal. I will have an emotional reaction and may be hurt, but I can see it for what it is and it has nothing to do with me. I will not feel bad or guilty if I am unable to stay the whole time at family events – my kids come first and if they are overwhelmed or the environment is too much for them we will not stay or even go.

If I am feeling overwhelmed or overly anxious I will not go.

AND I will not feel bad about myself for making that decision. I am also, looking into a SAD (seasonal affective disorder) lamp or lighting, or some other possibilities to get me through this winter. I think being mindful and aware of how the seasons affect me will make a huge difference this year. In the past, I felt helpless and unable to have any control over these things. I felt like I was in a constant state of “unexpected attack!” Now I feel that I have a better understanding of myself. I also, feel that I have legitimate reasons as to why I go through this each year.

I had spent many years, feeling like a failure and as though I “should” be able to stop these emotions.

I felt that I “should” not feel confused, awkward, or sad being around family. I felt like something was wrong with me because I did not enjoy the holidays as others seemed to. However, the truth is that I do feel that way and there is nothing wrong with that. I have mixed feelings of enjoying parts of it and despising other parts of it, but this year I am determined to have a better attitude of acceptance for myself and doing what I need to do in order to keep a healthy mental and physical balance. The holidays, egads! :-)

Here are a few related reads!

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“Daniel, You Are An Awesome Cat!”

This may be a little ranty I am not sure, but I need to process some things. Yesterday, while Ariel and Joshua were doing gymnastics Daniel and I came in for the last 15 minutes to watch them. This takes a lot for Daniel because he is in a gym with big huge mats, uneven bars, a bouncy trampoline, and large foamy blocks to jump and pounce upon. He wants so much to go running onto them or make echo sounds off the mats with his hands. He does not want to do gymnastics he just wants to play with the equipment. I try to entertain him and watch Ariel and Joshua at the same time.

It does not always work. :-)

He finds ways to entertain himself by finding spiders, running his fingers along the lines on the floor, clapping, and/or asking me questions. Yesterday, he was making me laugh because he was being so hilarious AND having fun. Backtrack a little, much like me Daniel has certain loops that come and go. They are areas of interest that can consume many of our thoughts and time. Daniel’s current love interest is one that he has had since he was a baby, Winnie the Pooh and all of the characters with that silly ole’ bear. Tigger and Heffalump are his two favorites at this time. He REALLY wants to have a tail like Tigger and wants to do the whoopty-doopty pounce. About two weeks ago, he created a ginormous tail out of strands of string and shoelaces that he collected from around the house.

The final tail length was about twenty feet.

He clicked two Lego pieces together with the string in between them so he could place the Lego into his pocket or the elastic in the back of his pants. It was quite amusing to see him walk around with his gigantic tail. However, it started to be tangled, wrapped around furniture, we were tripping over it, and the cat was chasing it. I went in search of a tail that would be better for everyone. I found a perfect clip-on tail from a cat costume at Target. (Best $5.00 spent) He has not taken it off since I gave it to him. I let him wear it wherever he wants. I do not care if he wants to wear a tail. I think it is awesome! (I would walk around with a tail too, but I know that I would end up losing it.) :-)

He cannot wait until Halloween so he can dress up like Tigger and wear a tail like Tigger.

While Daniel is walking around the house and we are out in public, he joyfully adorns a fabulous tail. He is all smiles and giggles – he talks and plays the way that he wants to play. Yesterday, at the Y playground he went up to a boy who was playing in the fire truck, sat down next to him, and started to play the same way the boy was with the steering wheel and making sounds. Daniel has never done this before, he looked at the boy smiling, and engaging though, he did not say a word. The boy looked at him for a moment, but went along with Daniel and they both pretended to drive while smiling at each other with the only communication being sounds and smiles.

After a few minutes, Daniel jumped out and ran off with his tail flapping and his hands clapping full of glee.

The boy did not mind that Daniel had a tail. He did not mind that Daniel did not talk to him either. He even looked sad when his dad told him it was time to leave. (Heads up I am leaping back to Friday for a moment, this is one train of thought for me I hope it translates ok with you.) On Friday, Daniel wore his tail to Ariel’s co-op school. I honestly, did not think anything of it. A tail is “normal” in this house. As a matter-of-fact, Daniel has wanted a tail for a long time and one of the first things he ever communicated was that he wanted a tail.

One of his first questions was, “Why can’t I have a tail?”

So once again, he was happily wearing his tail and not too many people took notice. Some made comments about Halloween, but he informed them that his tail was from a “cat costume and I am going to be Tigger for Halloween with a real Tigger tail.” The day was beautiful and I took the boys outside. (I promise I will get to the point of the title in my post in a minute – my brain in processing mode.) We spent almost the whole time outside because Daniel requested that we leave the social room, but would not tell me why. I was hoping that we could sit in there because the ASD mom and her boy were in there. I wanted to try to talk to her or let Daniel be around the boy for a little bit.

Daniel did not want to stay so I gathered Joshua and off we went.

After Ariel’s second class, we went back outside and the ASD mom was outside with her kids. We were coming from our car because I gave the boys a snack and Daniel stopped in his tracks. He started playing with a post and refused to move any closer. I asked him what was the matter and he said, “I don’t know”, but he looked over to where they were sitting. I asked him if he wanted to go see the boy and he said, “No. Why do we have to be here?” He would not look in that direction, but his body language and behaviors were very different than, the happy tail flopping boy I had just moments before. I asked him, “Does that mommy make you uncomfortable?” because he seemed to look in her direction and when he saw her in the social room he no longer went to that side of the room. I was trying to piece things together.

He said, “Yes.”

I tried to ask more questions without probing too much, but he did not want to talk about it. There was plenty of space for us to frolic and pounce about so I played chase with the boys, we walked on beams, ran back and forth counting rectangles and squares on the buildings, we explored the trees, rubbed their trunks, looked at bugs, and had a jolly time. The whole time I could feel the mom’s eyes on me. I felt a sense of judgment, but I wanted to be wrong. I shook it off because I am THAT kind of mom who plays and acts like a kid herself and I am ok with that. After their lunch was done, her kids came over to me. The youngest is around three years old and he asked me “chase?” I played with him and her daughter for a little while with my boys.

I watched her ASD son observing the whole thing.

He watches Daniel and me whenever we are around. The little guy does not smile much. I sat down next to the woman to rest while our kids ran around. She did start a conversation and I shared that Joshua was starting his rounds of evaluations next week. She looked at my boys, Daniel was running, and flapping, Joshua was rolling down the hill getting covered in grass and then, leaping and falling. She made a comment about the tail and I shared all about our tail adventures. I am not sure how to explain the feeling of our conversation other than; something did not feel “good.” There were no words that seemed off, but the feeling was off. Daniel would not come near us while she was there.

After they went back inside, he came right up to me.

I think Daniel was getting a “negative vibe” from her. He will not go near a person if he “feels” anything that makes him feel uncomfortable. I left there feeling at peace with my parenting style and with the happiness that my children have being themselves, despite having the foreboding feeling that somehow I was doing something wrong. Hopefully, it was just an “off” day we will try again next week. I had all of that stuff brewing in the back of mind when another parent gave me the “stink” eye. Back to Saturday at the Y, Ariel and Joshua were doing their awesome gymnastics moves and Daniel was going back and forth on the gym floor acting like our cat with amazing precision. I was laughing and enjoying my child.

He was laughing too.

The more that I found him amusing the more detail he added to his character of Nathaniel our cat. I saw the people looking at him. I saw the people the feeling uncomfortable, but he was not harming anyone and he was not in anyone’s space. When one of the men gave Daniel a dirty look, then, looked at me I shrugged my shoulder at him as if to brush him off, and I said, “Daniel, you are an awesome cat!” He grinned from ear to ear and giggled while, crawling back to me. I was rushed with all sorts of thoughts. My head filled with images, questions, and social confusion. Thoughts wondering why so many adults demand that children behave a certain way. Why must we take the childness out of being a child?

I thought about me and how I still do things like that.

I may not act like a cat, (out in public lol!) but I most certainly get on the jungle gym with my kids. I run around being silly and loud. I sing in the store and dance with carts. I have not lost my inner child and she still does cartwheels, whoops, and hoots all around. When she feels like it – I am silly, but I am intensely serious too. I know that many people have an expectation of a boy Daniel’s size. He is a big 8 year-old he is very tall and looks older. I understand that, but even still let him be a kid. Why must he be judged and why must I be judged for letting him be himself?

There was so much for me to process the last two days that I needed to write this stuff out.

It all really bothered me on many levels. All of these things as well as thinking how society seems to want to strip the freedom and creativity of being a child then, morphing them into some sort of cookie cutter “ideal” that is impossible and ridiculous to achieve. I thought to myself, I should go up to that guy and say, “Hey, my kid and I are the new “NORMAL” deal with it!” It was a funny thought, but it would not change anything and technically we are not the new normal. There is no normal we are all unique individuals. Perspectives on raising children are so vast. Perspectives on what is defined as being a boy and a girl are so contorted. Perspectives on being an adult are vast as well.

I can only do what I feel is right for my kids and if Daniel wants to be a cat bi-golly I will let him and be proud of his feliness! 

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Insight From Daniel’s Dream

The talk of the house has been about reading. A personal goal that Daniel chose himself for this year was to work on language arts. He chose that for his “About Me” project that he did for his virtual social group. He did not talk much about it other than say, “I want to get better with my language arts.” I know better than, to push him for answers or reasons why – many times he is not sure how to explain it to me. He just “wants” to do things or try things. Reading aloud is an incredible challenge for him.

He and Joshua both struggle in this area.

I have had frustrations with the school doing DIBELS assessments with them because I do not feel that they are accurate at all for my kids. Even with Ariel, she reads silently at amazing speed, just last night she read three of “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books in an hour and half. She does score high with her reading aloud (fluency) though. I have read several things recently that have stirred my initial gut feelings about Daniel and how much he can read, understand, and comprehend. I have known all along that, he understood much more than what he could communicate and the more verbal he is getting the more I am discovering. I am not sure if Daniel will ever be comfortable using the spoken language as his main source of communication.

Mine is not, mine is in written form.

The things that I write out on here would never come out of my mouth fluently. I would get stumped, lost, hands moving, sweat beading, anxiety flaring, desperately trying to grab hold of the words that are flying through my head so articulately, but getting to my mouth as dismantled jigsaw pieces and blurting nonsense most of the time. I watch Daniel try so hard to get the words out of his mouth – I see his struggle.  I continue to reassure him that it is ok to take his time, to stop and gather his thoughts, and let him know that he does not HAVE to hurry to get the words out.

I spoke to his special ed teacher today and she agrees with me about the DIBELS assessments.

She and Daniel’s other teacher are on board to help him and to make accommodations needed to make him feel comfortable and feel successful with his lessons. One thing she mentioned was getting him a word processor to help with his testing’s. I think this is wonderful, but Daniel is not quite tackling the keyboarding with ease. It depends on the day. Some days he can type much better than other days. Some days I have to type for him otherwise, it will take all day to get an assignment complete. This causes him much frustration and I will not force him. He has ideas, thoughts, answers, but his fingers cannot move as fast as they come.

I had my concerns about whether Daniel knew as much as it seemed.

I did not doubt his competence; I was concerned as to whether he understood his grade level material. (I have never doubted Daniel’s intelligence or ability to understand/comprehend you can read my reaction to when he was first evaluated through the school here.) I thought he did understand his grade level material, but I have no true way of gauging it. The tests that he took at the beginning of the year were stressful for him and me. They took a looooong time and he was so frazzled by the end of them.

I watched him read and answer questions quickly and wondered if he was only guessing.

I waited for the results to see what happened. Both his reading/language arts and math came back “above average.” Again, I thought so, but I was still a little hesitant so I had him take another assessment through an online tutoring site that I am using to help him with reading, he scored “above average” again with his vocabulary being at “low level 4th grade.” My gut feeling has been that Daniel is very intelligent I just have not found the “it” thing to help him. I used to think that there was an “it” thing, but there is not. There are multiple “it’s” that will change, morph, progress, fall away, enhance, and transition into all sorts of things that work together to help his learning.

This morning I received a HUGE chunk of helpful insight from Daniel himself.

Daniel loves dreams, he loves to dream, and when he does dream a good dream he is very excited about it. The kids and I all have some intense, lively, and colorful dreams. Ariel shared hers, which ended with the animals outside throwing me up in the air to the moon, and I discovered that a cow actually lived on the moon and the moon had arms. Yes, that sounds about right! :-D Daniel chimed in and said, “Mom, I had a dream. I had a dream that I read pictures and I was reading like you mommy.” I asked him a few questions about his dream and discovered that Daniel does see words to pictures.

He described it in a similar way to how Temple Grandin explains that she sees in pictures.

However, I understood more of how Daniel sees words. He sees them like me! I had not thought about it before because I have learned to cope and navigate through my world to survive – I did not give this much thought. If I find myself too close to something, I tend to have “blind spots” in my ability to see certain things. When I see words they are attached to images, I now have a ton of different images in the database of my mind, but that has taken a lot of time. When I see the images, I also see the words spelled out. For instance, when I look at a tree I see the tree in its natural setting as a realistic tree, but the letters flow and kind of dance t-r-e-e around in my mind.

They are separated, but whole and connected to the image.

I see an image pop into my brain when I hear a word – I do not hear the word. I see the word coming together along with the image. David shared with me that when he hears a word he hears the sounds (phonics) that the word makes with the letters and an image comes later. I have no sounds to letters unless they are connected to some other sensory experience for me. The more I spoke with Daniel the clearer it was to me how he processes reading words AND how I do. Now I have some ideas on how to help him a little more with reading to make it less frustrating. I feel that this also confirms why using Pecs images did not work for Daniel. The images made no sense to him.

These types of images confused him very much. 

I used the idea of the Pecs images, but printed out our everyday items that he used in our house. I used realistic images of day and night, pictures of our toilet, our bathtub, his food that he actually ate and his clothes, etc… The cartoon illustrations confused him and did not work. He would become frustrated, upset or walk away from me. When I started using “real” items labeling them with words he started to communicate with hand motions, pulling me to the items that he wanted, or attempting to say the words. I now can use his dream insight to help me use a similar method with the stories or the words that he is learning.

It may help him read aloud better it may not, but I think that it can help him.

Interestingly, Daniel can look at a word on a page and struggle with it, but if I spell it aloud, he can connect the word and say it almost immediately. I still struggle with reading aloud, so I am not sure if Daniel will ever become fluent in reading out loud. I really do not care it is not a skill that is going to make his life better or contribute to his ultimate well-being. However, reading will and if I can help him find joy in reading in some way then, I think that will make his life a bit easier and it opens up another world for him that he has not discovered. Reading has been my world away from this world. It has been my comfort and solace when I could find no other.

I had challenges with reading, my words move, dance, have colors, and images.

While growing up I found it difficult, but one thing I did do was spend hours reading, I would read aloud to my stuff animals to try to help my anxiety for reading during class. I would read along with record books for hours and hours nonstop. These are the things that I did on my own to help myself. Daniel does not like these types of methods nor does he enjoy books in the same way that I did (do). I am going to brainstorm on this and do some research, but for now I am excited about several things here. Daniel is communicating his thoughts and SHARED in detail about his dream. He has expressed things that he want to work on.

Daniel has been sharing his thoughts and feelings in ways that he has not before and I find that exciting! 

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Complexity Of Language (For Me) II

A bit of digression, I had not allowed myself to deviate from the definitions of “love” until recently. However, I have a multiplex of thoughts when it comes to the word love or expression of love. This applies to many words, but I am using the word love since it is such a complicated word for me. Though the words that I shared in my last post were what I felt when I thought of love, or heard the word love. Sometimes my ability to love is so simplistic that it is like watching a little child love without hindrance then, other times my caution keeps my love halted and hidden in a vortex of darkness.

I love deeply, intensely, but also very simply – still I find it all very complicated. 

When I think of loving another it can come rather easily in my way of expressing love, when I think of someone loving me it is a challenge for me to comprehend. The dictionary definitions did not reflect my thoughts, images, or emotions attached to the word love – I found (still do) find this confusing because the way that others spoke (speak) about love was not the same feeling or emotions that I had so obviously something was off.(?) I automatically assumed it was I since I had been off so many times. Many words for me, have great attachments to them that range from a scent or image to a traumatic event.

It can trigger a place and time when I first heard the word. 

Love for me was (is) riddled with an opposite feeling of its dictionary definitions, throughout my life I have had consistent relationships where people said they loved me, but abused me, treated me as though I had little value, or were in some way inconsistent. I could share several different scenarios, but that would take too long. I have taken some words back, created my own definitions that align with how I interpret them such as forgiveness, friendship, and empathy. I had given up on the actual definitions of some words because so many seemed to believe that it meant something else. I understand that my definitions and perceptions are going to be different the majority of the time.

I can be (too) serious about words and language many people are not.

Once I understood that and accepted that it became easier for me to be more accepting of their “rounding” of words. The reason I share reading the bible is that it made me feel connected to my fellow man for the first time and the possibility of a personal god that never made sense to me before. The people in scripture wrote openly about their pain and about the realities of how hard relationships were and how confusing God was to them. One of my favorite books would have to be Job. When I discovered the Catholic versions, the lost gospels, and then original Hebrew, the Greek, and, and … and other religious texts my mind swarmed with all sorts of questions.  I dissected words from passages; I looked them up read the etymology and applied that to my understanding of how to live out the gospels.

I spent hours, days, years, studying these things only to discover that others did not do this.

When I went in-depth into researching and studying trying to remove our current cultural paradigm from my thoughts, the words made more sense to me and I could connect “whole” concepts to my everyday life, but I became more confused by what was being taught in my religious circles. I read it as a whole and it made sense, when I started to break it down I lost this sense of connection and understanding because I became confused at the conflicting interpretations, definitions, along with people’s actions.

I could no longer grasp any sort of language connection to anyone.

I break things down to make many connections, but when the many connections get jumbled by conflicting definitions, ideals, or interpretations I lose my whole and begin to cling to small details because I can no longer grasp the whole. The small details are like Lego’s connecting to make one giant Lego structure – I’ve been playing with Lego’s today. :-) Does this make sense?? I hope so. I knew this all too well – it was exactly why I came to religion in the first place. I thought that it would be different.

I thought that we ALL followed the same rules. 

I learned their language, I adopted their jargon, but discovered that they were not using their own language correctly. The more that I discovered that others did not dig so deeply, into what we were being taught I started to doubt myself and question. Because sometimes it gets too tiring challenging the Many on your own. I started to cling to their words and accept once again that I was wrong. My world had been this way from the beginning and a new place that I thought could help me and give me answers operated in the same way.

People did not say what they meant nor do what they said. 

It was confirmed once again that I was an alien living in Bizzaro world. BUT this was and is the big misconception, it gives the indication that somehow, I am wrong and they are right. My form of communication and expression is not wrong and neither is the way others communicate as long as it is not abusive or manipulative in anyway. There has to be openness to learning each person’s language if there is going be any sort of effective communication. They did not want to hear what I had to share; if they did it was for some other gain.

The only conclusion I could come to was that there must be something seriously wrong with me.

Right is wrong, black is white, truth is false, hate is love, etc … I was severely disillusioned and became angry from my hurt. I was angry because no matter how hard I tried to understand I could not. I was angry because I went into an environment that was supposed to be loving, accepting, caring, nourishing, and it was the same thing as I had encountered before – only in some cases much worse because the manipulation and control was damaging to my self-esteem and my identity.

After, I dismantled the religious jargon I had devoured for over 10 years I finally saw the difference.

This has taken several years, and with my recent research interest on narcissists and sociopaths, I have gotten more clarity when it comes to speaking with people in general. I am not saying that people who are religious are narcissists or sociopaths though I have discovered that the religious environment is a good place for people like that to thrive, but so are many places that follow a charismatic leader without question. For me my experience has helped me to gain an understanding that I did not get until I made the connection this past week. (All of this has been swarming around in my head for decades and I have been collecting data for years, collecting, pondering, researching, and connecting.)

For me words are so complex and simplistic at the same time.

They are my source of structure, stability, and understanding to language. They are also, confusing. They are wrapped with their different definitions, my personal experiences, my sensory connections, my emotional connections, my picture images, and then, my response and other people’s responses to words. They are also, filled and fueled with every other person’s personal experiences, sensory connections, emotional connections, images, and others response to their words – even if they do not realize it. Words are alive! I cannot write down the word “love” and think pleasant happy thoughts. That word represents a multiplex (I like that word.) of definitions, ideas, emotions, colors, numbers, people, pictures, songs, poems, and thoughts of inconsistency, hate, and evil. I find it difficult to hear the words “I love you.”

I have no problems hearing it from my kids – it is not complicated with them.

I know what they mean; they have not put any stipulations upon their love for me. They will not stop loving me because I have a bad day, they will not leave me because I forgot to get them yogurt, and they will not threaten to leave if I do not fulfill all of their expectations of how I should be as a person. They accept me as their mom and they accept me as I am with my good days and bad days. Other people do not, I have had a lifetime of people telling me that they love me, but if I am not the way they want me to be they leave. If I know that I cannot fulfill their expectations I end up leaving. That is the excerpt of my thoughts about the topic.

I am fine with my friends on the internet who say, “Love you” or share those types of words – they have proven to accept me.

Many words that I have associations with cause me to become confused or emotional. When I have expressed myself and another person has shared with me that they too feel that way, I have thought that we meant exactly the same thing. I have discovered that this is not true. We can have a “general” agreement, but the words do not mean the same thing because they are filtered through our own experiences, definitions, ideals, interpretations, expressions, wants, needs, and unique perspective. We can relate to one another and have similar thoughts, but we cannot have the exact same comprehension of the words being shared.

This has been a very hard thing for me to understand.

I thought that everyone understood words the way that I did. I thought that when I shared similar experiences that we were speaking the same language. We cannot be my language is my own and yours is your own. We may have an affinity of knowing and relating to each other. However, the way that you express and use words to describe is going to be different. How you interpret, my expression will be unique and exclusive and vice versa.

I did not understand this before.

I thought that any similarities meant “the same” as me. I also, thought any differences meant that I could no longer “understand” the person.  We can communicate with simpatico, but ultimately I am still living in my complex, confused, connecting world hidden in my brain covered secretively behind my eyes. You are living in your own hidden world full of perplexing and fascinating thoughts hidden in your brain, covered secretively behind your eyes.

I will not be able to look at a word like flower and think of a simple peaceful flower.

My mind will burst into thoughts of a seed growing into a flower – spiraling into where did the word flower come from – why do we call it a flower – morphing into the color of the flower  – what that color means – who do I know likes that color – who do I know that likes flowers – why do flowers make them happy – what trauma or happiness do I have associated with flowers – pictures of flowers – smells of flowers – music about flowers – poems about flowers – books that talked about flowers – people in my life who have smiled or cried because of flowers … That is only with the word flower and though I like flowers (not to receive them in the garden or in nature.) they really do not hold much interest to me.

Imagine what I do with other words that carrying great significance.

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Deep Wounds ~ Feelings Of Constant Rejection I

This is a processing post. There are so many factors and life history that play into this that I am not covering all of my thoughts. I am sure it is going to spawn off into multiple posts. My mind has been racing, thinking, and connecting. I cannot get it all in one sitting besides I think I have to break this one up into two posts… I did. On facebook the other day, a friend of mine posted a paragraph of self-affirmations. The way she worded it was as though it was how all people talk to themselves, I had a moment with no filters and said something like, “Wow, I never talk to myself like that.” I added something about soaking in those words because I do not do that.

Part of it is my personality, I am not the type to tell myself great things about myself.

I understand that others do and it is good for them – it does not help me in anyway. It makes me feel awkward and I really do not think about those things. Even though I have my challenges with negative thinking I do not think negatively of myself truly. I do know that I accomplish a lot, I am proud of all that I have done and I have no doubt that I will accomplish  what I want to in the future. I do not think about whether I am beautiful or not unless it is brought to my attention in some way – then, I question what I look like not necessarily if I am beautiful.

I do not worry about getting older, I rather like it.

After living the life that I have, I feel like life has just begun. My healing journey has given me the opportunity to relive again. When I look back to my past, I have pain when I look to my future I have hope. The only time I start to feel insecure or think that I should look, act, or be something else is when my social confusion kicks in. If I see many images of a person looking a certain way and people rushing over to like them I will wonder – this has been throughout my life.

I watched the popular people and wondered what made them popular.

I wondered if I were to get the same clothes, shoes, hair style, personality would I be accepted then too? If I listened to certain types of music, watched certain shows, wrote certain types of things then, would I be accepted – acknowledged? The answer is no. It has never worked for me. In my awkwardness of trying to become something unnatural to me I would eventually, grow tired and others dwindled away.

It wasn’t that I wanted to be popular -

It was that I thought that was the right way and my way must be the wrong way because those people had swarms of friends and I had virtually none. I have to fight off the confusion of wondering, Oh, is that the right way? Is this why people ignore me? Am I supposed to be doing that if I want people in my life? Should I be talking about that instead of this? All sorts, of questions arise and lead me into a spiral of panic and fears that somehowsomeway, I am doing something wrong that everyone else knows, but is not telling me.

I am the one that no one notices has left the room, the group, the family.

Ordinarily, I go about my day without a thought of whether I am good enough, I know I am so I do not think about it … until, I am reminded that NO I am not – to some. On days, when I am feeling good and productive I do not give it a thought. I do not spend time thinking about my outward appearance or how I feel on the inside because most days I just am. I feel good if I accomplish things, I feel bad if I do not. When I do not feel productive or as if what I do has no purpose that is when I start to feel down and the negative thoughts come.

However, these negative thoughts did not come from me.

I was not born into this world filled with doubts, fears, insecurities, and the sensation of not being loved. Nope, that has been a long time in the making. Many people contributed to this. Many situations caused me to become so enamored with thoughts that who I am was not good enough, that what I do does not matter, that no matter how hard I try I am still invisible! It is kind of a catch-22 because many times I want to be invisible. I work hard at staying out of the limelight because so many of my family members fit and rage for it.

I do not need that attention, but it does hurt when I am ignored.

The other day Inner Aspie shared this Feeling Unlovable article. I knew that I could not read it on that day so I waited for this morning. It opened up some deep wounds in me that I did not want to accept. The reality is that I feel unlovable. I read this part and immediately had the thoughts of last night racing through my head. I will share those in a moment. Here is what I read.

“This phenomenon is called “rejection” in the therapy trade, but a more appropriate label from the child’s standpoint would be “annihilation.”  The child feels that her validity as a person in her own right has been shattered; she may as well cease to exist.  Since she doesn’t really know how to stop contributing to her own despair, the whole problem is insolvable.  These “feelings” become the attitudes that Julia carries with her into adulthood, and these mistaken attitudes predispose her to behave in ways that are not appropriate to the reality situation.”

Last night, I could not sleep.

It was past midnight and David came in and asked why I was still up. I did not know, I was frustrated because I had to get up early for the kids classes. All I knew was that my heart and mind were racing, I could feel the panic rising in my chest and I was working so hard at keeping myself calm. I was fixating on one word, “embarrass.” Someone had commented on my poetry blog that they would like to give some constructive criticism to one of my poems with my permission and they asked if I would prefer it in a private message as to not embarrass me.

Logically, I found this a positive thing.

I think the poet is very good and if they are willing to take the time to help me improve my writing that is awesome! However, I was already in a wounded state because this weekend was my youngest sisters baby shower and I chose not to go because I knew that I would have all sorts of triggers, trauma, fears, and anxieties being around her and my other sister. We basically have non-existent relationships. I have many wounds in regards to that. It sucks. They do not get me at all and I do not get them.

I would probably not even be concerned about it – we are very different and have very different interests.

However, I am told by my father and my step mom that I am part of that family, but I do not feel like it and that causes me to think about it and try to understand things that my mind cannot understand. I cannot shake those feelings. My sisters do not acknowledge me in real life or even on facebook. They have made it evident that my life is of no concern to them. They do not acknowledge my kids birthdays, anything that I share basically. If there is a photo of my other sister, aunt, and me they will ignore it, but if it is my sister and aunt they “like” it. These types of things feel childish and I hate the fact that I am even affected by it.

On a regular, it does not bother me.

I have too much going on in my life to worry about that stuff. What gets me so upset though, is that my sister not acknowledging my message to her about not coming can derail ALL of my accomplishments and make me feel as though I have not done anything with my life or that ALL that I have done and do has little value. This from people who do not even think about me? They have never commented about the books I published, my blogs, what I do with my kids, autism has never even crossed their lips to me. As far as I am concerned, based on their actions and lack of acknowledging my existence I have no value to them.

Why does that bother me?

Why am I concerned about people who do not even think of me? I can only attribute it to my constant feelings of being rejected by my father and my mother, and the rest of the people who have influenced my life. There are things that I cannot shake. The true root of this particular issue has to do with my dad. My sisters represent my feelings of being in favor and falling out of favor with my dad throughout my life. They have a dad that I never had, they have relationship that I will never have, they ignore me the way that I felt my dad has ignored me.

I have similar feelings with my mom and my other sisters.

Part two continued tomorrow …

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