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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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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 Kid’s Half Marathon: They Did It!!


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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Family Reunion – It Felt Good To Feel Accepted

This past Saturday was my big family reunion from my dad’s side. It has been over 10 years since we have had one and it has been that long since I have seen many of them. It is a little different for me because I had not lived here for so long; I missed many family gatherings and events that my sisters and other family members had attended. It fed into my feelings of not belonging, and isolation from people I was supposed to have some sort of connection with because of that. It escalated my social confusion and anxieties with them. However, when I would see them again I would feel an instant acceptance with many of them, not all. I feel more uneasy with certain family members that I have had more social contact with then, the family that I am referring to at the moment.

I was excited and nervous about the family reunion.

I was concerned about Daniel, I knew that he would enjoy himself, but would it be too overwhelming? Would I have to run out of there feeling judgmental eyes? Would people treat him like he was odd or admonish me for my parenting style? Would I have everything I needed to feed him? Would I have everything needed so he could have fun and not feel the sting of anxiety? So many questions! And they didn’t stop. I had plenty more for him, and then I had more for Ariel, Joshua and ME! I scripted, I planned, I prepared, I did all that I could think of to make this the best day possible. The good news is that I did not do that for months or weeks, I did start the week of because my own anxiety started to set in.

My anxiety had more to do with seeing my youngest sister because I have not talked to her or seen her in a couple of years.

From all that I have pieced together she either hates me or doesn’t care one iota about me and my kids. Either way, it stirs anxiety because of the uncertainty of the relationship. If you hate me, fine just tell me. If you don’t care if I exist at all, fine just tell me! I am ok with that – I am not ok with the not knowing. It caused me to be in almost hysteric panic state before leaving, but I believe that was just a trigger. I think with all of the schedule changes, school starting, mom coming in town, David being gone, my leg being hurt causing me not to be able to be as mobile as I normally am and the lingering “Oh, my goodness I am going be around people for hours!” the relationship confusion and uncertainty was what my mind focused on as a negative way of stimming.

So I got passed all of that and it turned out she did not come anyway.

I had had several interactions with family members that I do not talk to much on facebook too where I explained myself clearly and was open about being confused by their comment. I told one that I was Aspergers and another one about my social confusion. I had a moment of panic … for a few hours, but then something wonderful happened, they accepted me. They did not come after me with any sort of rude or dismissing comments they either “liked” what I had to say or explained themselves. I have found myself telling people more and more what is actually going on in my mind and explaining what I mean. I have become more open about Aspergers, my anxiety, depression, triggers, and how I process things too.

It has made such a difference to use my voice (in writing mostly).

I know that this blog has been the springboard for my new ability to do this with people in my physical life. (It has taken several years!) My family here, my dad, and step mom who live about three and half hours away have all been trying to be understanding and accepting. I have noticed major changes in how they speak to me and interact with both Daniel and me. I feel that with me being more open and able to explain my feelings/thoughts that it has contributed to our relationships moving in positive directions. It has taken me time to adjust and accept these changes – it is hard for me to trust after so many challenging relationships, but I am working at it. Ok, let me venture back into the great acceptance that we received as a family at the reunion.

Keep in mind; I am not sure we would have been able to go to a family event like this last year.

This summer has been filled with many unexpected “firsts,” for the kids and me. I am not sure that I would have been able to handle going to the family reunion on my own last year; I know that two years ago I would have most likely opted out. The kids did great, none of them were anxious with the fear-type anxiety they were excited/happy anxious. I was too after; I worked through my other anxious feelings. I felt at ease, I did not even think about what others might think or do by the time I got there. The kids and I were all smiles and ready to see people. I had already prepared myself for all the hugging, they are all very huggy and there are actually times when I do not mind hugs when I feel safe and I have prepared for them.

No one forced the kids to hug them and they just let them run around and be kids.

Daniel had to wear his sound reducers the whole time. We had to take several breaks outside so he could have some quiet, but it was good for me too – we gathered ourselves and had the ability to go back in. He was non-verbal the whole day, it was too overwhelming, but he did communicate to me through sounds, gestures, and taking me places to let me know what he needed/wanted. He was incredibly happy. He smiled all day long, went up to people looked at them and studied their eyes. No one got upset or agitated. He walked around to all of the tables sitting down in a chair listening, looking, smiling, or he wandered around the table looking in close at people and smiling at them.

Everyone was very kind.

They did not give him strange looks when he was hand flapping or while he was walking the perimeter of the building inside – we did need to walk outside too. He went to my aunt a couple times when he was getting overwhelmed and wanted her to hold him on her back while walking around or rocking. I normally do that at home or when we are out, it is rather amusing to see. He is almost as tall as me and over 60 pounds; when people say anything I say, “This is why I do boot camp so I can carry him.” Obviously, that is not the only reason – people have strange reactions when they see it so I use that as a way to ease the situation.

Ariel and Joshua had so much fun too.

They ate treats, played with water balloons, ran all around outside, and played with other kids. My aunt came up with a game for the kids to go around to people that they did not, write down their name, and one fact about them. Ariel went off all on her own and I went around with Joshua to help him write the things down. We went to one table and they had mentioned something about Daniel’s sound reducers. They thought they were head phones, I told them what they were and also shared the he was Autistic. My cousin looked at me and said, “Really? They think (insert name)’s oldest boy is Aspergers.” I said, “Well I am diagnosed Aspergers and this little guy is Aspergers too, so it does run in the family.” I smiled at him and noticed that his face lit up.

We were able to speak for a little bit, but not much – I believe that it may have given a little hope or at least peace when I said it.

I am not too sure; I do know that it was a positive experience. When I was saying my good-bye’s he hugged me and said, “I love you.” It was a moving moment for me because even though we had not had many interactions and had not seen each other in a very long time, I knew that he meant it. I actually, felt a lot of love on Saturday in a way that I have not been able to before with my family. I know the kids felt it too and Daniel especially, knew that people there cared about him, accepted him, and loved him. He knows immediately when people are not “feeling the love” so to speak and he wants no part of them or the environment. We had been there for over five hours; though Daniel did not want to leave it was time.

I was still not sure how the rest of the day would go.

After such an event we all need to decompress and sometimes Daniel’s only release is to meltdown. I wasn’t sure if our night, or the next few days were going to be filled with decompressing. I was feeling that and the need to get home quickly, I had to have several people help me out with all of our toys, bags, cups, etc … And all looked grand on the horizon then, by accident and fluke a water balloon hurled across the parking lot and landed right into Daniel’s bin of prized possessions – either electronic or solar-powered, fragile delicate solar-powered flowers and critters. There was a moment of shock and then, I uncontrollably lost it with “Oh, no! Oh, no! Please, God no!”

I grabbed a towel to try to dry off everything.

I was a frantic mess. All that was running through my head was If any of these are broken this day is ruined. All the happiness is gone! I will not be able to calm Daniel down. My night and the next few days flashed before my eyes and it was not pretty. His toys are not easy to get I have to order them online which means that it would take a couple of days to get here. I just wanted him to have a great day; I wanted all of us to have a great day. I wanted a positive memory so we could do it again. I wanted him to keep all the joy that he had. I knew that I had to gather myself, I walked away trying to get his solar-powered flower to work and I couldn’t – I was almost in tears. Then, the next thing I knew Daniel was standing close to my side, he was quiet, and calm.

He reached under his flower and clicked something, it was working.

He looked at me with his sweet face as if to say “It’s ok mom.” We walked back and my uncle brought a soothing calm presence too telling me, “Daniel is calm, you are calm. Everything is ok.” He was right, I apologized to Daniel letting him know that I panicked because I thought it was broken and later at home I explained to him how I was overwhelmed too. The kids and I talk openly about our challenges. Daniel has started to feel more comfortable and less confused knowing that I too have similar challenges. It has helped him even more to know that Ariel and Joshua have also had similar challenges. It has helped their relationships because it has helped his confusion as to why they respond certain ways.

I admit after I got home I struggled with feeling embarrassed about my meltdown.

My step mom texted me later to see how Daniel was doing. (He was doing fantastic and has been. Needs additional breaks and downtime, but we can do that!) I told her that I was struggling with feeling embarrassed, but I knew that it would pass. No one said anything to me to make me feel bad; they understood that it was a response toward other things. They may not have known the full extent, but they understood I was overwhelmed. I have longed for such wonderful experiences with my family. I find myself feeling an array of emotions about all of it, the tears start to well every time I think about it – they are good tears and cleansing tears. My heart swells at Daniel experiencing such love and acceptance; I feel it for Ariel and Joshua too. It is just a little different with Daniel though, I am not sure how to explain it.

I think anyone who has felt what I have throughout my life may understand what I mean.

When you feel that sense of being rejected, not belonging, confused by relationships, one could understand how amazing it is for someone you love to not feel that, especially your child who is already rejected by so many in our society simply because they are Autistic. Because of lack of understanding, denial, personal fears, etc … To be rejected by family because of it contributes a certain amount of pain that I have no words for, and I know there are many families who know this pain. It has moved me beyond any expression to have my family be so embracing of Daniel and us. It has changed something in me and given me a new sense of belonging, I still struggle with that. It is not all washed away, I have years of triggers, situations, confusion, and pain that will not disappear – it may lessen though. That does not mean it will not creep up and linger all sorts of distortions in my mind at some point, the difference now is that I am able to use my voice, even when I feel afraid.

There is so much going on in my mind I cannot get everything out.

I would like to say, if you read this and your family has not been accepting or even open to understanding autism you are not alone. For years, I felt alone and hurt feeling that my family rejected us because they did not understand or want to understand. It takes time to process autism; it makes it more challenging because there are such vast views and ideas. It took me time to work through my own process for Daniel and the process of accepting my own diagnosis. Trust the process, find people who can and will support you now, right where you are at, seek out people who build into you – it may not be family at this time, that is ok. Because I found people online that have supported me in healthy ways, I was finally able to articulate to people in my physical life what I needed and wanted in ways of support and relationships. I cannot give clear ideas sometimes, there are days when the support I need is to be there – no talking or touching just there. It can be in a text, a facebook message, or in the same room.

If you can find people who will support, stay (physically or virtually) with you, and accept you when you can and cannot express yourself, I think that is a good thing.

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Me, My Mom, And Our Shenanigans

My mom flew into town on Friday, we were so proud of our trickery because we had actually pulled off this big surprise for my grandma. For those who are unaware, my mom is also an Aspie/Autistic. We are very different in many ways, and oh, so much alike in others. One of them being we are terrible liars, but out of the both of us I am the worst at keeping secrets like surprises for people. I get so excited! I am notorious for blurting out what a gift is when I am told repeatedly “Do not tell them what the gift is.” An example, one year for Mother’s Day, my mom, her brother, and my grandpa had all contributed to get grandma a ring with all of our birthstones. Mom kept reminding me not to say anything and said that we needed to keep this a surprise for grandma.

The day we picked up the ring I came walking in and said something like, Grandma we got your ring.

Granted I was a little kid, but I have done this well into my adult life. I script over and over “Do not say anything,” but it takes so much energy to try and come up with other things to say and to “convince” my mind that I am not lying or that it is ok to “evade” the truth for this special occasion. My mom is better at it because surprises and doing fun things like that for people trumps her hard core “I cannot lie” mechanism in her mind. :-)  She loves surprising people, but do not and I REPEAT do not surprise her. She dislikes surprises very much. Me too, but I enjoy doing it for others who I know will feel happy when surprised. She too can struggle keeping such secrets from her mom; we both almost exposed our shenanigans to grandma. We had to be crafty because grandma is smart and will start figuring things out.

Grandma had a rough week physically.

She got some strange bug bite that became infected, had a bad reaction to the antibiotics, couldn’t get her knee shots because of the infection, then thought she had gall stones so went in and got a shot for that, but she pulled through and when I came home with my mom surprising her I think it boosted her spirits. We celebrated her birthday yesterday, it is actually on Monday – she will be 80 years old. She was so happy and was feeling much better. I am glad that my mom went against all of her natural instincts to do this for grandma. It took a lot for my mom to make sudden plans, spend money that she had not planned for and take vacation time that she did not plan for months in advance. My mom would not have been able to do this even a year ago.

She normally does not deviate from her work routine or her budget unless it is an emergency.

We have both come a long way in the past year, even in areas that may not seem like a big deal to others. Much of the reason is we are both doing things that we are good at, that feed some our special interests, and we have people who may not understand our ways, but are accepting and supportive of them. We have people who encourage us and do not get upset or treat us badly for being good at things. I think many Aspies, possibly women more so, experience people who get jealous or confused by how well we can do things and how much we can accomplish in short periods of time. That is just a fleeting thought. For us, having all of this in our life after years and years of being beat down spiritually, emotionally, in some cases physically, it has given us a new sense of self. It has given us our voice back, and we have regained a lot of identity that we had lost. We have done this throughout my life; we experience similar types of ups and downs together – just an interesting tidbit.

I will end this with the conversation my mom and I had on the way home from the airport … and a little more. 

We laughed and laughed so hard. I do not know how many others will think it is as hilarious as we did, but I am sure some can relate. :-)

Mom: You need to friend me on facebook. I sent it to you a while ago; I had to change my page.

Me: Oh, ok. I was not sure it was you so I wasn’t going to friend you. I meant to message you, but got busy.

Mom: Well, friend me so I can see what you are saying about me. (She laughed – this is in reference to my sister telling her that I posted that my mom was making me lie to my grandma and I was dying inside because of it. I was joking about her making me lie.)

Me: Ok, I guess I’ll friend you. (Then, I shared all sorts of things because I could not remember what I had and had not told her since we last talked. Our conversations usually sound like we are downloading information to one another.) Right, I told you that already. Well you know I can’t remember. We talk like every three months, download everything and then we don’t have anything else to talk about for another three months.

Mom: I know, I can’t remember either. (As she was laughing.)

Me: People must think we have the strangest relationship. I see people post things on facebook about their mom and them being best friends and they talk a billion times a day. My goodness! What do they talk about? I would say, “Why are calling me so much? We just talked!” and you would say, “Stop calling me, I already talked you once this week!”

[At this point, she and I were laughing because had anyone else been in the car they most likely would not “get it.” Also, because we find our relationship amusing in comparison to others, how we speak so directly, straight to the point, honest, and informative. We do not chit chat, and there are many times that we simply sit in silence.]

Mom: Yeah, well that is just the way we are and we understand it. I don’t get their ways, never have and I never will.

Me: Yep, well they may not understand us and we do not understand them. Their mom as their best friend? I mean, I would say you are my best friend, but I am not going to talk to you every day. Come on, I don’t even know what best friend means! What does that even mean?

Mom: (She lost it laughing hysterically.) Right, what is a best friend? I don’t know. We are just not wired like them and it’s ok.

Me: Yeah, it’s ok. At least, we understand each other, NOW.

My mom and I have always had a strange relationship, good and bad; extremely confusing to us and others. We cannot live with each other, but if we do not have contact in a certain amount of time we start to panic and have to reach out. Even if we had been upset with each other. It’s different with her and my sisters, they have contact a lot more often. In some of my past posts I have explained that my mom was only 17 years-old when she had me. She was an undiagnosed Aspergers woman, who had a rough upbringing. All of the things they say not to do to Autistic children were done to her and beyond. She persevered and has led a successful life despite many, many obstacles from others and herself. My own self-discovery of being an Aspie led to my mom’s self-discovery. After I read Aspergirls:Empowering Females with Asperger Syndrome in 2010 I believe, many of my doubts were diminished about whether or not I was an Aspergirl – I saw clear traits in my mom. It helped me to understand her too.

However, I still have days where I doubt.

Some days I feel like maybe my diagnosis is wrong, but then I read from others and see my traits or my actions in real life remind me in boldness that I am indeed Aspergers. I related very much to that book and I got it for my mom along with this book Asperger’s on the Job. She read Aspergirls and could relate to several things, but what actually happened was she finally understood a lot about me. When she read Aspergers on the Job she finally understood a lot about herself. Blending the information of both, gave her the answers she had longed for her entire life and we have been on a journey of healing, recovery, and acceptance ever since. Many things contributed to this, but those books were a pivotal turning point for our relationship.

My oh, my! We both have come a long way to self-acceptance, understanding ourselves, and each other. :-)

Related post: Gifts For My Mom

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The Summer Is Almost Over …

We start school in two weeks; it seems like the summer just started! I do not think it helped with all the cold weather we had here. We could not go swimming very much because of cool temperatures and Daniel was unable to make it through screaming kids. I can relate, it seems like kids are yelling and screaming much more than they had in the past. Not tantrums or acting out, they are just screaming as their way of talking — they skip words all together and go for the AAAAAAAAA!! Maybe it is just me; my sensory issues could be more heightened. :-)

Other than that, this summer is going down as one of the best, for sure. (I just said, “for sure” ha ha ha)  

We did so many new things; we had a great deal of fun together. David participated in several more activities too which was nice. I started the transition to school this past Monday, it went ok. My hope is that if I start now by the time we actually do start they will feel more at ease and it will go a little smoother. Next week, Ariel and Joshua are going to camp at the museum all week long. It will be interesting how everything goes. (I think I am speaking for myself mostly.) They will be there from 9 am to 4 pm. They have not done anything like that before; I believe they are going to have a fantastic time. They are going to do all sorts of activities from physics to art.

I wish I could do it too!  

I will be enjoying some time with Daniel. He is going to be happy to have me all to himself all day long. I have plans for us to do things too. It is such a challenge to spend alone time with each child, I want to set aside time again to spend with each of them … I am thinking “type-loud.” This time with Daniel may help his transition into starting school a bit more. David is leaving the week school starts too and the last time he left the transition did not go well, with the addition of starting school I plan on taking extra time to prepare him — all of us. However, we have a nice distraction that weekend to look forward to; my mom is coming to surprise my grandma for her 80th birthday!

I am not telling the kids yet, but I think it will be something that we can look forward to — to help us through the first week of school. 

Then, the weekend after that, David will still be out of town, I have a family reunion on my dad’s side. I am looking forward to that too. I have not seen many of these people for over 10 years and they can be very entertaining. We are all odd and quirky in our own ways and many of them are a lot of fun. They live all over the Midwest. I am anxious, of course, but I think it will be good for the kids to see how big my family actually is, they do not know many of their extended family members on my side or David’s side. Ariel always talks about wanting to meet her cousins and know more of her family, she will get too soon!

I do not really have anything insightful to share, I just felt like posting.

This summer has been so different from the past; we have had many good days. Although, when that happens I tend to feel sideswiped when the rough days come. I get overwhelmed when I find myself having a bad day too. It’s like I expect all days to be good ones once they start and I get taken aback when something spirals me or affects the kids in some way. I am not sure why I am always surprised by it, but I am. Yesterday, I became discouraged with myself because anxiety was starting to overcome me. Instead of spiraling down the path, I accepted what I could do. I voiced it to others and tried to move forward. I still had anxiety, and I still do today, but I feel ok.

I am resting. 

I think one thing that I have gained even more understanding about this summer is how to accept when I can do things and when I cannot. Most importantly, I comprehend how much I need to stop being so hard myself when I simply cannot force myself to try something new or handle sudden changes. It isn’t easy for me to do those things and I finally accept that. (Today anyway, tomorrow I may feel differently. ;-)) I have had people tell me to just do it, but you know what? Sometimes I just can’t, I cannot “just do it” because it is too much. I have my kids to think about as well, when I force myself to do things when I am in an overwhelmed state it affects my kids. It makes Daniel very anxious too, he can feel all that energy and I do not think it is worth it to put me or them through that anymore.

I have done a lot lately, and next weekend I am pushing my boundaries again by doing a 10 k. 

I am proud of how far I have come over the months. (years) I am no longer going to let the words of others make me feel badly about my choices. I do what I need to do for myself and my family. I think this summer has made it clear how important it is for me to do that — my choices have not been influenced by others or past voices, they have been my own. The outcome has been positive for all of us and I would venture to say that it has impacted how well our summer has gone in many ways. I am not looking forward to summer ending; I hope our school year goes just as well. I do need to remind myself that there will be some rough days, if I don’t I will keep being surprised and that seems to shake me up. I suppose, it’s the sudden and unexpectedness of it. I also, need to fuse in my mind that they do not last forever. For some reason it always feels like they will never end. Maybe writing that out will help me remember?? Who knows! Although, my track record of remembering these things isn’t very good. LOL

I am done for now. Have a great week everyone!! 

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Anxiety Almost Stopped Me … Almost

Yesterday I ran my first 5k and I admit I am rather proud because I placed 2nd in my age group. I was surprised when people told me, I had no intentions of winning anything — I had a certain time/pace goal, but the thought of placing did not cross my mind. It was a nice surprise. However, as proud as I am of what I accomplished with my body I feel even more sense of pride in that I actually tried it. I was too anxious to sign up for several weeks. I went a few times with intentions of signing up and I even went online to register at least five times; each time I felt panic rise up and I could not do it.

I felt like I was annoying people because I kept asking them if they were going to run.

I kept talking about it because I wanted to try it, but I could not overcome the panicky feelings that would rise within me when I thought about it. I get frustrated with myself when I do this, I try not to, but it is such an aggravating experience for me. I want to do something, but the unknown takes hold of my mind and it becomes consumed with every possible scenario or I see nothing. It feels black, empty, with vapors of fears misting through my thoughts. I am not afraid to fail. It has nothing to with that. In my mind, just attempting something new is a great accomplishment. The time it takes to prep and then, follow through is WINNING! (I feel that with most things, the areas where I struggle with perfectionism is different and they normally have to do with intellect or emotional needs of others , that is a whole other post.)

My anxiety comes from social fears and sensory unexpectedness.

When it is a special interest of mine, I can press through these overwhelming feelings. My desire is so strong for my special interest that I am unstoppable. Yes, I still have to talk myself into moving forward or make myself go places while almost in tears and hyperventilating, but in the end it is something that I care about so much that I can get through it sooner. Something that I am somewhat interested in or intrigued to try, I find my anxiety can talk me out of it quickly. I will feel disappointed, but the amount of energy that I would need to use in order to do it does not seem worth it. I have done this with so many things. The more that I thought about the race the more I felt like this was something that I had to do. I needed to try it because it felt challenging on so many different levels.

I thought about all of the experiences that I had missed out on because of my social anxiety and I did not want this one to be another thing that I did not do.

I found myself openly talking to people at the YMCA about my anxiety. At first, they thought it was about how well I would do in the race. They encouraged me and told me that I would do great which, I will say has been quite a fantastic experience to have so many people be encouraging and build into me. People on my facebook page were encouraging as well. It gave me such a boost of positivity and courage to follow through. I am thankful for everyone who did that for me. I explained to those who did not understand my reasons for being anxious, that my main source of anxiety was due to the fact that I was going to be surrounded by about three hundred people in a situation that I had never been in before. The unknown filled my mind with AAAAAAGGGGGG!!!

It still did not register with some people, but they were kind.

There were others who understood and those who had done it before explained as much to me as possible. They also, gave me helpful tips for running and being in that atmosphere. A couple of my friends from cycle class and boot camp invited me to go with them. This helped a great deal, and they were so supportive — I was really amazed. I have not had many friends in my life, especially, ones who are sympathetic, encouraging, and supportive like this. It made such a difference for me. I could not sleep the night before, keep in mind David’s mom and aunt were coming that afternoon too. It was just another component to my social anxiety, nothing bad, it was that we had not seen her in about six years. That can cause me confusion with social dynamics if I am not around a person for a long period of time. Side note: The visit went great and everyone had a wonderful time. The visit was another reason why I kept teetering on whether I wanted to run or not.

Too many social interactions and new things could spiral me.

However, I decided I was determined to work through this. To help me, I had to force myself to go to the running group that I signed up with to train for the half marathon. I was not going to go because I was consumed with anxiousness, the group is a few hundred people who participate. I had paid for this so it gave me an additional reason to go, and I decided that it would help prepare me for the upcoming group at the 5k. I had a lot of support and many people from the Y that were running too. It was one of the socially “safest” first 5k’s I could do. I was a little bummed that I would not have any family there, but I worked through that because I have grown accustomed to doing things on my own. There was no way that David and the kids could come and my aunt had left for vacation. I was ok with that, BUT my dad surprised me and told me that he was going to drive into town to cheer me on.  I had a moment of panic, mixed feelings, and then I was overcome with good feelings.

It’s how I process, panic at something new or unexpected, then being bombarded with all sorts of thoughts and emotions, finally ending with my settled feelings. :-)

I was happy that he was there it felt really good to have someone there at the finish line. It felt good to have my dad there. :-) On my way home, I thought of what it was like only a few hours before. I was shaking, trying to maintain control of my breathing, working through feelings of frustration with not being able to stop, overcome with panicky feelings about my friends, I had feelings of fear that they would think I was ridiculous or that my anxiety would be the cause of me losing them as friends. I was shaking, and trying to maintain control right until the gun went off for us to start. I did pretty well at being ok in front of everyone else, but on the inside I was freaking out. I knew that I had to find some sort of calm so that I could run and keep control of my breathing.

After I got going, I felt much better.

I am not one who loves running, I did enjoy myself though and the end results definitely made it even more positive. I was running alone for a while and starting lose my zest, but then a couple of ladies from my boot camp caught up with me and three of us practically made the finish line all together. It was a great feeling, they won too in their age group. I am glad that I did it and now I will be more at ease for the 10k that is coming up in several weeks. I just need to do something once and then, I am usually fine after that. I will still have anxiety, but if I have positives to remember I do much better. I felt great accomplishment by following through with it. I was amazed too at how my family gave me so much support. They posted on facebook and texted me how proud they were which, I have not experienced with other things that I have done so I was a little confused, but I got over it. It felt really good to experience and be able to have something to share with so many of them.

I plan on running the half marathon with several of my family members this coming October.

I am looking forward to having a shared experience with them, it’s a good feeling to have a connection in some way. I think this was a another big mind shift for me. This was something that I never thought I would or could do, I did not even know I could run! :-) I overcame a huge feat within myself this weekend, not only with trying something new, but with my relationships. I received a trophy for the race, while that is really exciting because I have never received a trophy except for participation before, I believe I received much more in that I saw things in myself that I have never seen before. I had moments of actually, being able to see how others saw me. I have a difficult time with that and I do have to work through dismissive thoughts that come immediately into my mind, but I have so many positive anchors to hold on to that it makes it somewhat easier.

I am determined to not allow anxiety to take anymore experiences away from me, too much good can come from new experiences.

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