Monday, July 6, 2015

My Journey to Fitness #Autism #Parent #Autistic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 1, 2015

Why #Positive #Parenting?

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Celebrate #PositiveParentingDay June 1st

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

What is positive parenting?

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

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

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

What are some examples of Positive parenting?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Imperfectly Perfect

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Missing a Place In Time That Never Was

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

Oh, this mood is here again.

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Finding Happiness

I have different writing styles, as well as differing reasons that I blog. I have always been a writer, and there is still something so magnetic, and alluring about an empty notepad of paper that I can't hardly resist filling it with words. Words of a poem, of my thoughts, of lyrics to something that makes sense to me in that moment. Just words flowing onto an outside object from inside my head is a desire that I can't ignore. It's my way of communicating to the world, and to myself. I process the world by writing, and have ever since I learned to spell.  No matter my special interest at any given time writing is how I am going to best explore it, and share it with the world, whether anyone is on the receiving end or not.

So, this is one of those posts where I talk to myself, and share my thoughts raw. They're about as mysterious to me as unknown to you. I finally have the confidence to not worry so much about whether or not anyone is going to read it, or if this post is going to be shared, or receive comments. It likely won't, but I don't write to please others. I write because I have to express myself, and this is how I do it. How others interpret this expression is up to them, and while I love to get feedback it is not necessary for me to get in order to enjoy the process of writing.

As I have written about recently (HERE) I have begun a new round of antidepressants after a particularly trying bout of depression. It was not your typical gray depression, but rather it was a life changing kind that required action. Not just action from an outside source, such as an antidepressant, but also action in changing my life, and the way I think to be able to sustain a more positive lifestyle conducive to me needs. I'm not going to repeat everything here that I have said in so many other posts, but to paraphrase; depression is often a signal from our subconscious that something in our lifestyle, and way of being is not congruent with our needs. This is not the whole of depression, but it is often at the root.

Almost immediately after beginning my new medication I could feel a difference. It's a med that I have been on before, and have found it to be really effective for me, even though it seems to not agree with a lot of other people. It was as if it were made just for me. Suddenly, I felt a surge of energy, and a renewed sense of purpose. There were so many things I wanted to do, and experience. It was like waking up from a long sleep where I could finally do the things I could only dream of before. Suddenly, my dreams could be a reality. Life became clear again, and not this long drawn out painful, confusing fog that I had to fight to just survive through each day.

Aspects of my personality began coming back that I hadn't seen in years. Things like

Monday, April 13, 2015

In My Head

Sometimes I catch myself in a daze, and realize that I have been standing, or sitting in the same position frozen, and staring off into nowhere. Seconds, or perhaps even as much as a couple of minutes have gone by, but that is unknown to me as I was somewhere else.

This has been the case for as long as I can remember. I am always thinking, and can easily disappear into my mind thinking about this or that. There are endless thoughts to ponder, and situations to think about for me. I can think, and think on my own for hours with little boredom. I don't need a lot of outside input to entertain me, and am perfectly happy pursuing my day on my own.

Though, I do like to be around people, sometimes.The times that I am in groups with others I am typically on the sidelines. I'm not much for a lot of back, and forth talk. I am an observer. I am always watching, and analyzing. I am an avid people watcher, and much of what I have figured out about the way people behave is by carefully studying them. Since social behavior is such a mystery to me anyway I tend to just kick back in most social situations, and take mental notes. After doing so for so many years I have a pretty good catalog of human behavior to draw from when figuring out people's character, and intentions. I have been around so many different types of people, and situations. Some would be considered unsavory by many, but then that is a part of the process of really understanding people for me.  One has to remove the personal judgement, and be able to ask why others do what they do. I don't distinguish other's behavior as right, or wrong. Instead I am more interested in what motivates them to do what they do. Why do they make the choices they do? Why do they feel the way they do?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A World Away

It was a very long, busy day here at the IM house. Right after dinner CJ reminded me that there was an art walk about a block from where we live about to begin. I had forgotten about it, though I did really want to go. I love seeing art, and tasting wine. As exhausted as I was, I decided to gather up my remaining scraps of energy, and head down there to get me some wine, and culture, or somesuch.

These are the phases of social awkward denial that I go through each, and every time I set out to a social event.

Phase One: I am excited to go. I think it's gonna be fun. It's as if my brain creates bouts of temporary amnesia about all the past times I have gone to social events that didn't end well, which is about 98% of them. I don't remember how much I said I was not going to people again, or how much I feel like a freak when I am around groups of people.

Phase Two: Enter the crowd. It's busy, and everyone seems to be everywhere. It seems that I am either in other people's way, or they're in mine. The body language of who moves where is eluding me. I'm overwhelmed, but hanging in there.

Phase Three: The fun I thought I was going to have is slinking back into my imagination where it belongs, and reality is setting in. I realize that most people know others, and are all standing in groups chatting. I am not. I am off awkwardly standing on my own, or with my family. I know some people, but don't know how to jump into the chatting circles. The rules to how this occurs are a mystery to me. I try to smile, and look friendly, but I don't know if I should make eye contact, or how to begin a conversation. What to say, or how to say it is confusing. I can't work anything out quick enough. I hope others will initiate conversation with me, but they don't.

Phase Four: Now I am taking it personally. I feel left out, and

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dreams of Hidden Rooms

As some of my longtime readers know, one of my more subtle special interests is dream interpretation. It's really not too far a jump from their to one of my bigger interests, psychology. I don't do the reading for omens type of, but more along the lines of deeper understanding of what my dreams represent about what I am feeling behind the scenes, so to speak.

Last night I had a dream that I lived in a house that was a mish mash of houses that I have lived in, and others I haven't.  I had to go up to the attic for some reason, and that is when I discovered that there were several homeless people living up there. I was shocked. There was only one small room, and some old dilapidated furniture.  It was sparsely furnished, and cold.  At one point, I decided to sit down, and try to talk to some of the people living there. I attempted to sit on a loveseat, but there were holes in it, and the springs were sticking out. One of the people told me it was due to a rat infestation, but that they had recently gone. I was still a little afraid to sit anywhere, because I was afraid that a rat would come out, and bite me. I began to get acquainted with some of the people living there. There were two ladies, a little boy, and a coupe older women. I was heartbroken about the little boy, but the others insisted that he was better there than at home. I wanted him to come with me, but he was not ready. In fact, none of them were ready. I kept coming, and going as I tried to decide how to handle the situation. It was one that most others wouldn't understand, and I knew I had to find my own way to deal with it. Most people wanted me to just toss them all out by force, but I knew I couldn't. I knew they'd all come out of there in their own time, and I would be able to gently persuade them to come down safely. I began visiting them, and getting to know all the people that lived there. I was able to get a couple of them talked down, and to dinner.

One time while I was up there as I was cleaning, and exploring I noticed some sort of passageway, or something. Somehow, I went from being in the attic to this hallway that seemed long, and mysterious. As I crept down a black, and white checkered hall I came upon a room, and went inside. It was what looked to be a living room lavishly decorated with furnishings from another time. Bucket type of leather seats, and shag carpet. A console TV glowed from a corner of this dim lit room. I felt suddenly like I was intruding on another time. Kind of like it was haunted, and I was an unwelcome guest.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Feeling Sunny Again #autism #depression

I thought that I might do a little update about how things are going since some of my recent posts about Beans' struggles ( HERE and HERE) things have improved, as well as other issues I've spoken about here, and on my FB page.

I am happy to report that with a med change Beans is doing very well. He is sleeping through the night, and not agitated all day like he was. It was a scary transition from okay to not okay, and back to okay again. I know that at times this is part of what living with autism is like. I wish that there was more support, and resources for when these times happen for us, and families like us, but I feel incredibly lucky to be back to a peaceful calm period.

I also am happy to tell you all that my recent trial of antidepressants has been wildly successful. I really regret waiting as long as I did to try it. I feel so much better, and am able to enjoy life again. It's like night, and day, and it's not even been a whole entire month since I started them. I think Spring coming around the corner is also helpful, but even on our recent gloomy snow days I have been in a good mood.

I don't think I mentioned it much on my page, but Bubby had also been struggling with a lot of tears, and oversensitivity the last few months.