Sunday, February 19, 2017

Healing From Family Estrangement- Finding a place for my pain

I have always thought that with enough time and healthy coping skills a person would be able to somehow "get over" or feel free from an abusive childhood. I don't think the term "get over" is quite right here. Maybe find a good space for one's past to fit into, and move on from there in a healthy manner is a better description than "get over".  I thought that negative feelings surrounding the subject of my childhood, and my estranged family would eventually cease to affect me if I just worked hard enough at being a healthy person.

I am beginning to think that my previously held beliefs are wrong.

Since I am estranged from my family the opportunities for new painful incidents are rare. Notice that I did not say impossible. Things are still possible to happen that can affect me of which are unavoidable, such as deaths in the family. Of course since I am not in contact with my family they don't consider me family anymore, and I am not informed, or invited to attend services of close family members deaths. It's these exclusions that shake me up on the inside. They are very purposeful. They're meant to hurt. They're meant to punish. I feel like a child again. Emotionally, I am raw, and unable to conceive of the world in any other way but one against me. I feel completely knocked down when these things happen. Anxiety becomes an almost constant state, as I become too vigilant, about what, I don't know. I just feel scared, and unable to defend myself. The feelings of depression that are spawned from the heavy shame that one naturally seems to acquire from living with so much mental abuse growing up overcomes me.

At first I don't even notice it. I think I am fine, and I work it all out logically in my head. It all seems okay. I'm not worried, but those feelings creep up ever so slowly until I'm engulfed in them. I thought I had it under control. I logically know this is how my parents are. Why would it bother me? I guess knowing something, and feeling it is two different things.

I also think that I just want to not be bothered by these feelings so much that I convince myself that I'm  not. I convince myself that they're not worth the energy to get upset. Of course they're not. Again, that is a logical statement. I'm not upset for their benefit. I feel triggered into an insecure panic induced depression not for them, but for the child within me that never had her needs met. It's a perfectly normal, and reasonable response to the situation.

I used to live within this dynamic often with minor things setting me off into this anxious space. Gradually, with a lot of work I was able to start lessening the triggers. I lived less within the space of my own pain, and the perception of my reality that I saw as I looked through it, and more over it into a more positive reality. As time went on, I have learned various techniques to center myself, and learned to stop reacting to the constant feelings of anxiety, and fear that I lived with, and would apply to many situations in my life. I have learned that the way others behave is more about them, and less about us, and how we view it is more about us than it is about them. We all view situations through a colored lens that is unique to only us. We're only privy to our lived experiences, and knowledge gained. There isn't anyone else that knows exactly what you know, and have experienced life exactly the same way, so we will always view situations from different vantage points from others.

But, what happens when there is a major glitch in the system? Like, when these lived experiences as a child were often traumatizing, and perhaps maybe still are even as an adult by the same people? As I was saying in the beginning of the post, do you, can you heal from that?

I think the answer is not definitive. It does depend on what a person might mean by healing. It also might depend on the person, as I said, we are all unique, and so many factors can come into play. For myself, I think it heals like a slow wound of grief. Something like how you feel when you lose someone close to you. You never really get over it, but over time the pain does dull a bit, and it finds it's place. That's where I am at now. I'm finding a place for my pain, and feeling okay that it will probably remain there forever.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Thoughts for 2017

In one of my recent posts I posed a few questions to get me (and hopefully all of you) thinking about the things I'd like to bring into this year, and where my mindset is in relation to my goals. I wanted to have this post done before January 1st, which is funny to me, since it's now January 22nd. Sooooo, as you can tell, my new year is busy. It's okay, though. It happens.

Let's dive in with the questions.

What has gone right/well this year? How do you plan to keep facilitating this into next year?


For me I would say that my relationship with my husband has improved, and he has been helping out around the house, and with the kids so much more. I would facilitate this by encouraging him, and making sure he knows I appreciate him, which are not my strengths, so that will take some work on my part to remember.


What has not gone as well as you'd hoped, and how do you plan to cope/change with it this next year?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Remembering Princess Leia

When I was a very little girl one of my very first special interests was Star Wars. While I no longer have any interest at all in the movies, today's news of the passing of Carrie Fisher has awakened a depth of sadness within me that reaches well into my childhood.

She was in particular what held my interest about Star Wars. As a 4 year old (and older) little girl her character as Princess Leia resonated within me. I was never into Disney type princesses. I still have a disdain for almost all Disney films to this day. This was a princess that was strong, capable, and opinionated, but attractive, and mysterious. She broke stereotypes with that character, and changed a lot of ways that young girls thought about themselves, and their roles within society, whether she realized it, or not.

Myself, and my cousins would play Star Wars all the time. I was always Princess Leia. It was a shame that 30 years ago the toys were all marketed as for boys only, and I'd never get any of my own. I only got to play with them when I visited my male cousins, or my uncle who was a few years older than me.

I remember one time in particular when I was at my grandmother's house. I didn't want to leave, so I wasn't putting my shoes on as my mother asked me to do. She was getting frustrated with me. My uncle told me that my shoes looked just like Princess Leia's shoes. I was in shock. Why didn't I know before?!? I ran as fast as I could to find them downstairs. I ran so fast that that I missed the last few stairs, but no

Sunday, December 25, 2016

My Questions for a Self-Aware 2017

It's Christmas evening here as I write this. I've done all the exhausting holiday runaround. Presents were wrapped, and unwrapped. Food was made, and eaten. Joy was anticipated, and gratitude was shared with family, and friends. I feel like I have a lot to be thankful for, and a lot of happiness was shared today. It was a day full of effort, though, and I'm one tired woman! I am sitting here on the downside of the excitement of Christmas, and pausing with anxious breath for the new year.

This year has brought with it a lot of challenges in the health department for me. I wonder how it might be for the new year? It is something of a game changer in that I have had to learn to become flexible with myself.  I've had to learn to allow myself room to adapt to new strategies, because I can't always do the same things to the same levels of perfection, or completion anymore. These are things that I am still learning how to do. When I have a painful bladder flare, or a migraine attack I might not be able to function at the same level as I always have, and learning how to navigate this new terrain of chronic illness has been difficult for my whole family.

For example, due to a particularly bad month of migraines, I was not able to do my usual Christmas cards, and treats that I normally do. This was hard for me to let go of, because it's such a big part of how I celebrate the holiday season. It was just more than I had to give this year, but hopefully next year I will be able to pick this tradition back up, or maybe I will be able to make some late treats for the New Year.

With all that being said.....

I did want to do a Christmas post, even if it was not a very long one. Something to let you all know that I am still here, and am still blogging, and will continue into 2017. As a matter of fact, I wanted this to be a pre-2017 post. A contemplative post of sorts. I'm going to ask a few questions here on this post. Then I am going to think about them, and post my answer in a new entry on or before the 1st of January. I think this kind of self-discovery is important, and required for meaningful growth. Plus, it's just fun. :) I hope you will join me! If you do let me know either by commenting below, or emailing me, or via Twitter, or some other way! I'd love to read what you have to say!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mesothelioma Awareness @Treatmeso #cancer

Guest post by Treat Mesothelioma



What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is directly linked to being exposed to asbestos.  Asbestos is a natural mineral that can be used to make fire resistant products.   When these products grow old with age or if they are disturbed in any way, the asbestos breaks off into very small fibers and/or dust.  These fibers then go airborne and can hang around for hours.  This is when people are most at risk to accidentally inhaling or ingesting these fibers.  The scary part is, if you do actually take in these fibers, you will never know it happened because they are so small.  That is why asbestos has been deemed, “The Silent Killer.”  It is now clear on how mesothelioma is caused, but what is mesothelioma?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

CozyPhones- Product Review

It's not a new thing that we're often connected to an electronic device for a good part of the day. Whether it's for work, health, or play we spend spend quite a bit of our day with headphones, or earbuds in our ears. It's just a way of life.

Recently, I had the opportunity to try a new product that could change the way you, and your family connects to your devices. CozyPhones CozyPhones is a soft headband that fits snugly around your head while you enjoy the same sounds you would with earbuds, or headphones. There are many different styles, and materials to choose from, so you will always be able to find one to fit your particular need. I think this is most highlighted with people who have sensory difficulties with earbuds, or headphones. CozyPhones don't go inside the ear, nor squish in any kind of way. They would be tolerable, and even welcomed by those who crave deep pressure sensory wise.

I did try them myself, and found them to be very comfortable. I do like deep pressure around my head, so I found them to be a little calming even. I didn't feel the volume quite went up as much as I would have liked, though.

My husband used them while he worked. He works outdoors with heavy equipment, and a lot of activity. He found the volume to be acceptable, and the headband comfortable.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Feeling Fall

Every Fall I eagerly await the first colors of the leaves to pop out from the trees. I check daily from the first of August for any sign of color changes, even just a little. This year I found that the colors began to turn quite early. I began to see leaves turning olive green, and darkened yellow hues in September! In the region I am from that is really early. We are often still having triple digit temperatures off, and on through out the month of September, so to see the change of colors starting to peek out so soon was a surprise to me. Since then it has been slow progress, however. The changes have come in short bursts.

One thing I know for sure is that every Fall season produces different results when it comes to the trees, and losing leaves.

Last year's colors were rather disappointing. The trees went from an olive green, to a muted yellow, to barren. There was not much in between. The weather snapped rather quickly from hot to cold, and the leaves just went from mid-fall colors, to dead. I missed the golds, and bright oranges as they fell gently from the sky over a couple week's time. The environment dictated what needed to happen for the trees to stay safe, and strong. The trees adapted, and did what they needed to.

They were the same trees that lit up the sky in years past with brilliant displays of reds, and golds, and oranges. I'd take pictures of them. Some years they'd explode with color, and some years not so much. I'm not sure which one this year is going to be. Of course, I am hoping for a colorful year, but I understand the times where energy conservation is also needed.

I was thinking that sometimes we are like those trees. Sometimes we explode with color, and excitement, but other times, we need to pull in, and care for ourselves. It's the same tree, and the same place, same season. Nothing changed, but maybe the environment. The tree does what it has to to be healthy. Maybe other people might have judgments about that. The tree might not be as beautiful to the eyes of others while it transforms into energy conservation mode. That's not why the tree changes. It changes to prepare for winter, and others just get the benefit of witnessing the process of this change. Sometimes the change is spectacular, and other times it's a quieter event that seems to takes place in a flash.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Intellectual Disability and Autism

This is a post that I have physically began to compose, but have deleted a couple times over the years. In my head I've written it over, and over thousands of times, each time composing it with a little more understanding, but not enough courage, or possibly enough knowledge yet to feel competent to write about it, maybe? I'm not sure. I am sure to get some of it wrong, but what I am sure about is the time I've spent thinking, and knowing my [autistic] brain, and understanding both of my sons, as well as being around others in the autism community has led me to where I am. I think I will get more right then I will get wrong.

So, what is this tumultuous topic that I tread so delicately to address?

Intellectual disability, and Autism; or rather where they intersect.

It's a very taboo topic to even broach within the autism community. If one were to even hint that their child might have an intellectual disability, plus autism to another parent whether this be in person, or online this is almost akin to saying, "I would like to start a fight with you." Never mind that this other person may never even have met the first person's child. All they heard was the words autistic (or autism), and intellectually disabled used in a sentence together, and that's enough to begin a verbal onslaught of angry facts, as if the other person insulted every autistic person under the sun by what they just said.

That in, and of itself is ableist. Let me explain why.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Do You Time Budget?

Every night before I go to bed I like to take a few minutes to think about how my day went, and how I feel about it. There was a time recently where I felt like there was a lot of nights where I was going to bed feeling like I failed to complete what I had set out to do that day, leaving me feeling frustrated, and unsuccessful. I would sit in the quiet, and draw in an exasperated breath as I blew out my candle, and headed to bed unsure how to go about resolving the issue.

This is likely a familiar scenario with a lot of you reading this whether you're a parent/caregiver of a child with special needs, or are disabled yourself, or are just caught in a busy life with a high level of demands for a multitude of reasons.

I found myself redrawing my schedule, and reworking plans, but not able to make things work. There was simply too much to do, and not enough of me to do it, not to mention the moments I craved of solitude were becoming fewer, and farther between.

One day as I cleaned out some old stuff that my daughter had left behind when she moved out the answer started to become more clear. I grabbed a set of decorative pillows that had a small tear in the seam, and as I took them aside I went to find a bag to put them into so I could set them aside to sew them the tear later, and then likely sell them. Then I thought, but what if i didn't? I reasoned that I would likely never get to it, anyway, which was true. What if I just gave them to someone else who could give them the attention they needed? So, that is what I did.

I began to look at a lot of my belongings this way. Piles of projects that I wanted to get to someday suddenly seemed like they were more in the way, and taking up space than anything.I started getting rid of clutter, and clearing out the clutter in my mind, too. My attitude started shifting from

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Standing Up To Murder Apologists

It happened again. Another mother/caregiver murdered her disabled son. This incident seems to be more disturbing to me than many. His name was Austin Anderson, and he was just 19. You'd think the world would be on fire wanting justice while mourning the untimely, torturous death of this innocent young man at the hands of his mother, right?

Not quite.

For one, I had to go to more than one link to even find the victim's identity, even though the murder's is clear through any, and all articles I have seen thus far. While sometimes I have seen this happen when the detectives are unsure of the identities of the deceased, or when there are other minor siblings involved in the case they may not always release names none of those things are true in this situation. In this situation Austin was an adult. He was an adult that is mostly referred to as "Lightwine's son"  in most of the articles. Way to erase his identity, media! His name was Austin Anderson. He should not be referred to as his killer's son.

I felt like I needed to get that part off my chest, because this next part is where my tone turns a little. Maybe, a lot from what my regular readers are used to. I don't typically write a lot of in your face types of pieces. Today I feel like I am. For me, this is pushy, and more edgy than usual. It might not seem so to others, though.

If you're in the autism community you've probably come across this article several times already by now on social media, right? How has the reaction been? Have you seen a lot of outrage? How about sympathy for the mother? Have you seen a lot of talk about needing more support for parents?

I have. All of the above. Sometimes all in the same post, combined together in a ball of tightly wound contradictions that feel impossible to pull apart. Doesn't mean I haven't tried, but the posters, and those that stand with them hold on tightly to their beliefs.

Such as these comments I came across under the article on FB:


Here we have the all encompassing doublespeak where a parent engages in a discussion about how they aren't excusing a killer's actions while actively looking for every which reason under the sun the person could have been driven to madness , thus postulating it can be understanding that a person under such strain could indeed kill their child, but they shouldn't, but they could, but, I mean she is a monster. I'm just saying if she had more help maybe she'd not have been such a bad person, and would have not been a drug addict with a terrible temper, and not have made terrible, selfish choices, like killing her son, but you know, we need to talk about respite.

That's what I hear when I read those posts, and others like it. I said that there is no separating the two. Either she is wrong, or she isn't. Either you sympathize with a murderer, or you don't, because in this case it really is that simple. When other people are murdered people do not use the space underneath of the story on social media to discuss how bad the killer had it. They don't come up with every excuse the killer may have ever had in their entire life to have made that choice against the deceased. It is so vile. It is so disgusting. It is so inappropriate to me that anyone would use the space underneath any article about a vulnerable person's death to discuss their own needs, or how the killer's needs are not being met. That is the most selfish, unemphatic thing I have ever witnessed, and would not happen if the person that was killed was typical, or non-disabled.

So, here is where I ask all of you to help.