Soooo… it’s been a while.

Hi there!  How are you all?  Well!  It has been a while since my last post and many changes have taken place!  I will try to remember them all.

Firstly, I am winning my battle with depression!  I am on a dosage now that is working well for me and I feel in control of my life (that happy illusion that we subsribe to that we actually have any control over it at all!).  I feel like things are finally turning around and I am steering my lovely little family into calmer waters.

We have moved!  We have moved an hour away from our old home which has been very bittersweet.  Firstly, I didn’t want to leave.  Secondly, I didn’t want to stay.  Therein lay the conundrum!  I LOVED the kid’s school, the friends we all had made and the school community.  I love my city.  I enjoyed living amongst so much variety as well as the general pulse of the city in general.  BUT I had no support and was feeling the crushing weight of responsibility suffocating me as I felt myself failing at even the most basic of tasks.  So many people kept telling me what I great job I was doing and to cut myself some slack.  But I was so paralysed by stress and unhappiness with my situation that I couldn’t listen – when you find yourself breaking the budget to buy tuckshop every day because you can’t bring yourself to get out of bed in the morning to make lunches that won’t be eaten, you know that something has to change!

One day in March my two little terrors broke into the medicine cabinet and stole a near full bottle of panadol.  Other kids, this wouldn’t have been a big issue.  But with the female incarnation of Merlin residing in my home it was a massive problem!  The little magician separated the white part of the childproof lid from the clear part making it simple to open the bottle and share it with her brother.  I got out of bed, found the empty bottle and promptly started our usual “off to the hospital” ritual, we had only been there a week before to rule out a broken bone.  We were swiftly moved to a room in the Children’s Emergency Department for monitoring and a 4 hour weight to check bloods and kidney function amongst queries of “how did they get the lid off?” and exclamations of “I have never hear of that being done before!”.  I must have looked a bit of a state despite my calm and quiet demeanor as I was asked a few times if I was ok and someone took it upon themselves to send a social worker to visit us.  She spent a good hour plus with me as I talked and answered all her questions.  She suggested to me that I move closer to my parents as they are my main support – something that both my children’s psychologists and occupational therapists had been suggesting to me also but I had so far resisted.  The social worker was exhausted after spending time with us and actually said “I am exhausted after an hour in here, no wonder you feel like you are falling apart after years of doing this on your own”.

So, I finally took everyone’s advice and started looking for a place to live.  After 3 months of looking, we moved into a lovely unit 2 weeks ago just before school holidays started.  This will be the third week off school for my guys and they are starting to drive me a little batty – but only a little, which is a massive improvement!  I am almost completely unpacked and we all agree that we love our new home and are much happier here already.  We have had dinner with my parents several times and they have taken the kids overnight once too!  It was definitely a great move for us and I am so glad that we have done it.

My little man started Prep this year and it has been just wonderful for him.  He loves the structure of school life and learning new things every day.  He was very sad to leave his teachers and they were sad to lose such a “delightful child” who “brings joy” to their day.  Whilst he was excellent at school, he would fairly lose the plot at home!  Thanks to Kmart I got him a $5 inflatable punching bag and whatever negative energy he needed to get out he would expend on the punching bag – he now wants to start boxing! lol.  My little man is very interested in excercise and going to the gym.  We would go to the free gym in the park near our old home and this is one of the things he misses the most about our new place, so I have promised to look for a new outdoor gym for us to frequent 😀  He tried Tai Kwan Do earlier in the year but decided not to pursue it further as he spent a whole lesson there and didn’t get to kick or hit anyone! lol So he has decided he would rather do swimming lessons instead.  Now that we live closer to the beach I think we might consider getting him into Nippers next year 😀

My little lady started grade 1 this year and it has been eventful!  She had a day where she tried to run away from school (my greatest fear!), but after the initial hurdles she settled into the rigidity of her school day nicely.  Unfortunately though, not long before our move, one of her friends lost his mother in an accident.  This made an already emotional time even more intense as my poor baby girl became terrified of losing me.  Thankfully we overcame that hurdle and the result is that my darling girl seems to appreciate me more, which is a truly beautiful gift to have come out of such a tragedy.  For the past 2 days my gorgeous girl has made me breakfast in bed just to show me how much she loves me and appreciates everything I do for them both ❤  Although, yesterday she also made me morning tea which consisted of wilted celery (that had frozen in the fridge) with peanut butter to dip and a rice cake sandwich of mayonnaise and grapes.  I am ashamed to say I couldn’t eat it.  I felt bad for my baby girl because she was so proud of herself!  So I left it on my bedside table and thoughtfully disposed of it after she had gone to bed last night so as not to hurt her feelings or discourage her from such acts in the future.

We were lucky enough to go on a mini holiday with my parents a couple of months ago and had the very great pleasure of catching up with a bunch of family that I haven’t spent much time with in years!  So spending a long weekend with them was a blessing that I hope to repeat later in the year!  Speaking of which, I need to organise that! 😀  Also on the subject of holidays, one of my best friends has insisted I research cruises for us!  She is fed up with hearing about my cruise last year and is determined that we need to go off and have a lovely cruising adventure together – I cannot wait!!!  I am so thankful for this lovely lady, I don’t know how I would have made it through the last year without her ❤

On a sad note though, I think I may have lost my best friend in the world.  Over the past 12 months things have been excessively difficult for both of us and I have changed so much that I am not sure that our friendship will survive what we are both throwing at it.  After almost 20 years it is very sad for this relationship that I have always held so dear feel like it is turning to water, slipping through my fingers and disappearing, and no amount of effort on my part seems to be able to stop it.  The pain that I feel over this slow, painful death has been excruciatingly difficult to bear and I feel like I won’t ever recover from it.  Getting up and living my life every day whilst feeling like that day is taking me one step closer to a life without my bestie in it is the kind of torture that I wouldn’t wish on anyone and it makes achieving happiness very difficult indeed.

But that is what I am striving for.  Happiness.  Simple.  Complicated.  Difficult.  But I am making progress.  3 times in the last 2 weeks I have felt truly happy.  2 mornings I got up, had a lovely hot shower and put my flannel pj’s on to go and make breakfast and I thought “I love me life”.  Now if that isn’t happiness then I don’t know what is!

xoxo

Depression is an Evil Bastard

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!!!!!  Well after my last post I think a break was definitely a good thing!  That was the start of a head first plunge into a significant depressive episode.  I had been trying to treat the depression naturally for many years and until last year I was quite successful at it.  Last year though after going away on my wonderful holiday, I returned to my excessively demanding normality and I found myself no longer capable of handling the reality of my daily life, I had forgotten how stressful and exacting my role in the world was and I found myself unable to meet those challenges.  I used to use exercise as my greatest depression repellent, but I got to the point where I could barely manage a 10 minute walk (‘walk’ is generous, ‘drag’ is a more appropriate term) before returning to my car utterly exhausted.  I struggled along for a good 6 weeks before suicidal ideation kicked in and I tearfully agreed to start anti-depressants and see a psychiatrist, counsellor and psychologist.  The psychiatrist has been awesome and I am glad I have been under specialised care as I needed to change my medication towards the end of September and my GP cut my medication down very quickly due to potentially severe side affects that started to emerge.  Thankfully my Psychiatrist was able to help me step down my very high dosage in a kinder way.  All this coincided with the school holidays so the kids and I escaped to my parents home so I could get some TLC.  Which as it turned out was a very, very good idea.

 

I woke one morning experiencing extreme symptoms and battling panic attacks.  I NEEDED to get out of the house so I took my babies to the beach which was wonderful, relaxing and enjoyable.  I sat on the beach listening to an audiobook and watching my beloved children play joyously in the sunshine and play chicken with the waves. But on the way home whilst driving up the range in an 80km/h zone I was hit by a massive panic attack.  It kept pulling darkness over my eyes that I had to fight to keep at bay so I could get my babies back to safety as there was nowhere for me to pull over.  I pulled up at my parents home, beeped the horn in distress so my mum would come out and look after my terrified children and practically fell out of the car in my attempt to get myself to a small quiet place where I could call my psychiatrist.  I just wanted to die.  I wanted to drive my car over a cliff so I wouldn’t be alive anymore.  Life was just too damn hard that I didn’t want to live it any longer.  I was so tired and fed up that I just didn’t want to do it any more.  I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up – that seemed to me like the ideal state.  Thinking it and saying it out loud are two completely different things though.  Saying it out loud to my Psychiatrist made it even more real and even more scary, because if I could say it then I was one step closer to following through on it.  I was very scared and felt very, very unsafe.

 

My Psychiatrist knew me well enough by then to know that I was in very severe distress and was a danger to myself, and thus advised me to admit myself to hospital for psychiatric monitoring.  She organised a letter to be sent to the local hospital outlining my severe major depression, the transitioning of medications, my PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, special needs children and my suicidal ideation.  At the hospital I was a crying, shaking mess until they took me to a small room and started talking to me.   I finally felt safe.  I finally felt like I was going to be ok and that there were people there who would make sure that I was going to be ok.  They talked about the letter from my psychiatrist and after keeping me there for a few hours told me that they were going to send me home because I hadn’t actually attempted suicide.  As soon as the words were out of their mouth my mind started planning places to drive where I would be able to fatally wound myself.  They offered me drugs which I refused because in my mind it wouldn’t be responsible of me to take Valium and then get behind the wheel, because I might hurt someone else and I only really wanted to take myself out.

 

I was released without any real support other than a 1800 number that I threw in the bin on the way out – I wouldn’t need that because I had a plan now.  I called my mum to come pick me up – I waited and planned.  In a stroke of luck both my parents were really ill – I know this sounds awful of me!  But I am a selfless, caring person and having people to look after was just the diversion I needed to distract myself from my suicidal planning and in a moment of clarity I instructed my mother to take all the car keys and hide them in their room somewhere as my weapon of choice against myself was my car.  The mind is a strange thing.  With all the sharp objects, cliffs, mountains and potentially lethal substances on or within walking distance of my parents rural property, the only danger to me was my car.  So with the keys hidden, my body recovering from the panic attacks and downright awful day, I spent one of the worst nights of my existence trying to stop my brain from planning my demise through vehicular suicide.  It was a really long night.  But in the morning both my parents and my kids were really unwell and needed to be cared for.  I spent most of the day in the kitchen keeping my mind and body busy making nourishing food and drinks for my family members.  At the end of that day I was so exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically that I finally slept.

 

Over the ensuing weeks I started my new meds and completely transitioned off the old ones.  I felt much better on the new tabs but over the following months the dosage needed to be increased as I would plateau and then start to go down hill again.  The dosage I am on now seems to be working, however last week I had a day where my baby boy attacked me no less than 3 times during a day of rolling meltdowns.  It set off my PTSD, anxiety, hypersensitivity and depression in a big way.  I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up again but I didn’t reach a point of contemplating suicide, so that was a win.  I feared though that I may need to increase my medication again, but within a few days I was doing much better and even had a little increase in energy.  That is a win.  A very significant win.

 

Depression is a severely debilitating condition that isn’t just feeling sad – that is feeling ‘depressed’ which is vastly different from clinical ‘Depression’.  When a sufferer is in the throes of a depressive episode, simply getting out of bed is an achievement.  Anything beyond that is a significant accomplishment that should be recognised and praised.  An analogy that is often used to describe depression is living in darkness.  My best friend and I had a discussion last week on my first “dark day” about what it is like.  I likened it to living in darkness and not being able to find a switch to turn on a light.  There may be hands there wanting to help but you can’t see them, and trying to find them is an unfair struggle unless you know where to look – but depression makes you think that you are all alone, so looking for the hands in the dark seems to be a pointless endeavour.  I am lucky enough to know, within the depths of my soul, that my best friend will always be there, no matter what and that makes me the luckiest girl in the world.  We have been there for each other through thick and thin and I know that no matter what happens to me, I just need to reach out and I WILL find those wonderful hands and that beautiful heart that always shows me where to find the absolute best of myself.  I am also blessed to have another amazing best friend who knows that I sometimes need someone to walk into the darkness, find me and bring me back into the light – for her I will be eternally grateful and I am so happy to know that whatever challenges life throws at me she will be there to support me and laugh with (and sometimes at) me.  Unfortunately these two fabulous people that I love ridiculously, live nowhere near me!  But I am lucky enough to have some good friends who DO live close by and who enjoy my company as much as I enjoy theirs – these are the people that make my every day life more enjoyable and I hope that they say the same about me.  Along with my wonderful family, these are the people I look for when things go dark.  They bring light to my world when I need it the most and it is a privilege to know and love them all.

 

Depression is a bastard of a thing to live with for a lot of reasons, but something that a lot of people don’t know about Depression is that it takes the things that you enjoy most and prevents you from doing them.  ‘Crazy!’ I hear you cry!  Well it is true and just awful!  For me, the things taken from me were exercise, writing and reading.  Thankfully I am now able to write again (joy of joys!), I am super keen to get back into exercise (happy dance!) tomorrow, but my beloved reading is still evading me.  Even webpages I wish to read for research purposes are just not available to me.  It is more than a mental block, I physically can’t bring myself to open the pages!  It is ludicrous and so very frustrating!  I am a very logical person so my own inability to overcome this seemingly self imposed obstacle is irritating beyond measure!  But thankfully I am making progress and that MUST be acknowledged and appreciated.

xoxo

find-the-people-in-your-life-who-bring-light-into-the-darkness

Post Holiday Blues

Hello my lovelies!  I hope this post finds you all doing well.

My apologies for the long absence, I have been on holiday!  A much needed, well deserved holiday!  It was unbelievably wonderful!  Not having to do anything I didn’t want to do, not having to look after anyone but myself and not having to play therapist 24/7 for the most wonderful little people on the planet.  It was absolutely wonderful.

The day before I was to return home I was sooooooooo excited!  I couldn’t wait to come home and see all the people I love the most.  Just before my birthday too.  But on the day I was to come home it all started to go downhill.

First challenge was easily solved, I had a butt-load of extra baggage and my flight had only been booked with 20kg checked and 7kg carry on when I had significantly more than that.  Thankfully my transfer had gotten me to the airport 3 hours before my flight so I was still able to add extra luggage online which cost me $25.50, which was reasonable – I found out an hour later when I checked in that had I NOT done that it would have cost me well over $200!  So challenge easily overcome there.

Then I had to make a mad dash for the toilet because my period decided to arrive 7 days early in the middle of the airport 😮  I was not at all prepared for that scenario, but thankfully the bathrooms in the airport very much are!  So another challenge easily conquered with minimal fuss.

Then as I am in line to board the flight, eagerly looking forward to coming home (despite my hormones doing their best to disrupt my joy) I get a message from the bestie letting me know they had to cancel my birthday lunch the next day.  I was unreasonably (thank you hormones) upset about this and as a result quietly cried for about an hour and a half on board the flight making the non-English speaking older Japanese gentleman beside me quite uncomfortable I believe…  I finally get home and BB announces that he would much rather I go away so that Grandma can stay instead.  He proceeded to tell his dad on the phone that night that I was basically a horrible mum who is always mean to him and he wished I hadn’t come home because he loves Grandma more…

GG on the other hand said she missed me when I was on holidays but wishes her dad was here instead.  I admit I took a guilty comfort in the fact that she refused to speak with her dad on the phone that night (bad mum! lol).  She also came down with a bout of gastro that night and ended up vomiting no less than 12 times, once was even on me while I slept.

It was a hell of a welcome home.  I felt rejected by the 3 people I love the most in the world and I had woken up covered in vomit (something that didn’t even happen to me while I was on holiday!).  So the blues really set in the first night home and I have been struggling with them ever since.

Today is my 34th birthday.  It’s not a big one, it’s not a big deal.  But my beautiful sister and my bestie insisted I do something to mark the occasion.  So I went out to the park with my sister and the kids, then we all had a late lunch.  It was simple but lovely.

I made sure to grab a bottle of my favourite preservative free Shiraz (that’s a story for another day) on the way home and am thoroughly enjoying it!

I think the worst part of the day though is right now.  It’s very lonely being a single parent on significant days.  Here I sit alone on my patio, rugged up against the wind, with a glass of wine and my laptop for company.  I gotta say, when I was younger and imagined my life, I didn’t think that I would be here at this point.  I never imagined that I would be living the life of a single parent of special needs children, spending significant days with my closest friend – technology.  After I put my kids to bed I think I will drink for a while and then cry myself to sleep.

This has been a fairly gloomy post, I admit that, but I have no doubt that I will be significantly more positive when I write again.  I think I’m allowed to be a little sad and gloomy on my birthday.

its-my-party-and-ill-cry-if-i-want-to-2.

Time & Effort

Time and effort.  Today’s post is about ‘Time’ and ‘Effort’.  It means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

I remember when I was a kid (doesn’t seem that far back sometimes, others it feels like many, many lifetimes ago) my childhood seemed interminable.  The school day seemed soooooooooo very long.  I remember sitting in class in primary school willing the minutes away so that I could go outside and play with my friends.  In high school I was waiting to get home to close my bedroom door, listen to music while I hurried through my homework so I could curl up with whatever book I was reading at the time.  I remember school holidays seemed to last longer too, I would be looking forward to getting back to school to see my friends and not have to bother with all the jobs my mum had left for my sister and I to do around the house (folding washing, cleaning the bathroom, nothing too major but not things I wanted to be doing when I was supposed to be on holidays).  Time just seemed longer.

I remember in my 20’s time went a little faster, but some things, like holidays or special events, took forever to come around and they would last longer too.  During pregnancy it all went quite fast really, up until that last trimester of course when time makes a snail look like a McLaren F1 on the autobahn.  But after the delivery, time went haywire!  I think it started using crack actually because it sped up and there seems to be no stopping it!  Hours didn’t just turn into days anymore, they turned straight into months without a hint of slowing down!

Here I sit with GG staring down her 6th birthday and BB will be 5 a few months after that and a few months after that he will be starting Prep!  Where has that time gone?  A couple of years ago they were only babies now they are heading off to face the world.

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Travel Expo with my beautiful big sister who bought me a cruise!  “It’s almost 4 months away, you’ll have plenty of time to get ready for it” she said – this time in 3 weeks I will be on that cruise!  Where has THAT time gone?

Did I mention it’s May already?  Only a couple of months ago it was Christmas wasn’t it?  Hang on, what year is it again?  I don’t know sometimes, I honestly don’t.  When people ask me how old I am I have to stop and think about it and the thoughts go like this: “I can’t tell you, I really don’t know. Hang on, I remember I turned 30 at some point, but BB wasn’t walking then, so I must be older than that, right?  Hang on, what year is it?  Let me check my phone.  I was born in ’82, I know that.  I can tell you what my kids weighed at birth and what age they first walked, but I can’t remember how old I, ahhhhh it’s 2016!  Uuuuummmmm what was the question?” Usually by this point the person has stared at me disbelieving and says “You don’t know how old you are?” by which time I remember what year it is and what year I was born and can say “I’m 34!  Hang on, wait, what month is it?” Then they tell me the month and I reply “Right!  Sorry, I’m 33 still”.

This was embarrassing the first time it happened a couple of years ago, but I am immune to it now.  I try to explain that I am an Autism Parent and that the things forefront in my mind are all the things that I need to remember when I am out and about with my kids, things like avoiding large clusters of birds as, en masse, they usually terrify GG (although she is getting better with them) and sometimes even BB if they happen to all take off in unison unexpectedly, these are the things that have the potential to set off a panic that can initiate a flight/fight sequence (no pun intended) that can result in them injuring themselves, each other or me as I try to prevent the former and the latter, or running away.

It is especially intense if they simultaneously experience a flight response, both experience a fight response (once they both concurrently hit me on either side of my head so hard that I actually saw stars and was worried I was going to black out) or even more interestingly one flies and the other fights.  This has happened more than once and takes quite a bit of effort to manage it.  I have had to pick the fighting one up and be pummeled as I ran after the other usually catching up with them just before they ran on the road and then try to wrangle them both back to the safety of the pram or car, all the while stopping the fighter from injuring me/the flyer and attempting to calm the flyer down enough to prevent a full blown meltdown.

Another one is places where loud noises can erupt unexpectedly when my kids haven’t got their noise cancelling headphones with them.  They are both at an age now where they don’t want to appear different and wearing their headphones makes them look different and it embarrasses them, despite how effective they are.  Places like construction sites, street performances, places with a lot of motorbikes or trucks are a potential hazard.  These sounds can also initiate a flight/fight response or it skips straight to a meltdown.

I think being neurotypical myself the biggest “problem” when taking my little cherubs out and about is that I don’t experience the world the same way they do, which means I don’t always encounter the things that set them off and often the reaction comes straight out of the blue.  I spend so much time and effort on the lookout for potential hazards to avoid or prepare them for, but the irony is that despite my best efforts there will be times when I won’t be able to pre-empt them.

On occasions when I am out and about on my own though I find my brain just shuts down.  It’s almost like it has spent soooooooo much time and effort on the lookout and devoted to the welfare of these little people that when they aren’t with me my mind just hangs a big GONE FISHING sign up and vacates the building.  I frequently find myself at the checkout staring blankly at the operator not having processed the question they asked, or passing people I know but not seeing them only with a tap on the shoulder can they drawn my attention or sitting at home to have a little break as I fold washing only to realise that 4 hours have passed, I have watched 4 episodes of Suits and the washing is still in the basket but it is now time to pick up my daughter from school.

Now that I am a grown up time most definitely has changed.  The previously perpetual school day flies by.  There is no ‘waiting’ for holidays to roll around, they come charging at me and arrive before I am prepared (yes, prepared – but that is a story for another day).  The school terms are really, really, really short!  Special events come around far too quickly and are gone apparently without the opportunity to fully experience or savour it.  School holidays are gone in the blink of an eye and because Mary Poppins still hasn’t taught me how to play ‘Clean The Nursery’ it takes me a couple of weeks to get the house in order after the chaos of disrupted routine has ceased.  I close my eyes for a second and the phone rings telling me I have missed the monthly psychology meeting even though I am sure we only had that 2 weeks ago, didn’t we?

My post-cruise mission will be to become more organised so that my time is better spent and my efforts aren’t wasted.  I think after I have recharged, alone, on my 10 night cruise (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) I will be a force to be reckoned with, or at the very least I hope to prevent myself from turning back into a Mombie!

 

Mombie

Grass Clippings & Muted Mum

Hello there!  How was your day?  I hope it was productive and positive 🙂

My day was a bit of a mixed bag actually.  I had the usual Kindy drop off drama with BB 😦  He clings and cries and tells me how much he hates it and tells me “I want to stay wishoooooooo” (translation: I want to stay with you).  I often think back to this time last year when he had just started there and people kept telling me “don’t worry, he will get used to it” or “he will get over it” or “in no time he will be happy to go”.  Just one of the many examples of well-meaning parents with neuro-typical kids applying their experience to my kids on the Spectrum – BB doesn’t just “get over” anything, BB is habitual and once a routine is established it takes A LOT to break it.  Over a year later, we still haven’t ended the Kindy drop off dramatics.

After that, GG and I went home to do some yard work.  A little something you need to know about me is that I am NOT a gardener.  I have always had a black thumb (which is the EXACT opposite of a green thumb), I have even killed multiple cacti, which I was assured were practically fool proof.  Anyway, now that I am a single lady and I have a yard to maintain, the responsibility falls on me (although my beautiful parents paid someone to mow for me once, which I was so grateful for).  I got myself an electric mower off a local Facebook buy sell swap page for the bargain price of $15 just after we moved house last year.  No one ever taught me how to mow when I was younger, but I knew the basic principal: Turn it on, push it and don’t run over your feet.  Not a drama!

I was so proud of myself the first time I mowed.  I learned some very important lessons. 1) Hydrate!  Make sure you drink enough water whilst you are mowing so you don’t get dehydrated.  2) When you start leaving cut grass clumps all over the place that means your catcher needs emptying.  And most importantly, 3) when using an electric mower, make sure you DON’T run over the extension cord as the blades will slice it up pretty good and quickly!  Other than that, to me, it isn’t dissimilar to vacuuming.

Today’s effort was relatively uneventful, although I did only get half done as I had to get GG to a psychology appointment.  I got annoyed with the catcher as it is so small and there was so much grass (as I hadn’t mowed in weeks) that it was taking me longer to remove the catcher, gather the leftover clippings, walk it to the green bin, empty it, walk back to the mower reattach the catcher, arrange the cord and continue, than it took to mow until the catcher was full again.  So I mowed minus catcher with the intention of raking it all up before heading inside to shower.  But, by the time I finished mowing outside the fence I really only had time to get the blower vac out to clean the footpath and vacuum up the clippings out there.

I headed back to the garage to grab the blower vac only to find a colony of ants had made it their home.  Thankfully though, it still worked, so I had to simply brush the little buggers off and continue on.  By this stage I was sooooo hot, sweaty and had a headache looming from not drinking enough water, I was shaking with my mornings exertions.  I rushed through the rest of the clean-up before racing into the shower as I realised that we were running late for GG’s psychology appointment.

I hurriedly washed my hair with soap because I wanted to save the last bit of shampoo for shopping day next week when I will hopefully be able to afford shampoo (my weird scalp and its aversion to standard hair products is a post for another day!).  I found clean (creased) clothes in the basket of washing I had taken off the line 2 days earlier, threw them on (minus underwear because there wasn’t any in the basket and I didn’t have time to go looking for some) and headed off in a hurry to the car as we had 20 minutes to make the 30 minute drive to the appointment.  I pulled over to call the office on the way to let them know we were running 10 minutes late only to discover that the appointment was actually an hour later than I had thought!  The pleasure I felt at realising we didn’t have to rush was short lived as I upended a large cup of water on the floor of my car – which at 11pm at night I realise I didn’t do anything about when I returned home, that will be another job to add to the list for tomorrow!

We took a little detour and investigated an unusual shopping complex that we had never been to before which was a lot of fun.  Upon our arrival at the psychologists office, I glanced at my reflection in the outside window and discovered that my shorts looked awful and the shirt I was wearing wasn’t long enough to cover them!  I looked dreadful with my red, makeup free face and my soap washed and un-brushed hair.  That was the moment that it hit me that I had also forgotten to apply deodorant before leaving the house and the car (I have recently started keeping deodorant in the car as I keep forgetting to apply before I leave home!).  Note to self: ALWAYS look in the mirror before leaving the house and check my underarms before getting out of the car!

GG and the psychologist continued their work on anxiety and calming the body through action and thoughts/internal dialogue.  As BB is normally with us, I usually sit in the waiting room with him whilst GG has her session.  We were sans BB today, so I was allowed to sit in and it was amazing!

The psychologist played a youtube video for GG of underwater scenes with lovely calm music.  I was able to sit back and observe my baby girl visibly relax, her legs stopped moving, her fingers were only moving a little, her shoulders relaxed and she had a big smile on her face (the kid LOVES underwater stuff) and her eyes were glued to the screen “look a mantaray!” she smiled happily.  Next the psych put a video on entitled Sensory Overload.  I watched my gorgeous girl begin to tense, I saw her hands grip her thighs, her legs start to vibrate, her face begin to contort, her shoulders elevate as she tried to retreat like a turtle into her shell.  It was just awful.  It was only on for less than a minute but seeing her like that made me really emotional, I had tears in my eyes and I began to get choked up.

It occurred to me that I don’t often see that reaction in her and the reason is most likely because when we are out and about places I am not usually sitting back and watching my kids, I am holding their hands constantly on the lookout for meltdown triggers or flight triggers or fear triggers around us, I look for potential hazards that they could injure themselves on or that they could use to damage property in some way.  We don’t avoid the triggers, I prepare them for the possibility of a trigger arising and work with them on not allowing it to press their buttons until it has passed.

So being able to sit back in a safe environment and see the effect that construction noise, traffic etc had on my wonderful little girl was just heartbreaking.  Very soon after it started the psychologist turned it off and she spoke with GG about how it affected GG’s body (racing heart, clenching her hands etc).  Then the psych put on another relaxing music type video with sheep on it which helped GG calm again quickly.  They talked about how quickly your body can go from calm to stressed and back to calm again – the aim of this exercise was to show GG that even when something does stress her out that she can get calm again quickly, she doesn’t HAVE to stay in that stressed state which GG thought was absolutely brilliant!  She was so pleased with this revelation.  It was a great session for the little lady.

Here’s a link to the underwater clip in case any of you are interested.  It goes for over 2 hours, so you could play it on the TV at home or wherever  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdnHKdb-Oss&index=1&list=PLdm7W4bBIB8Xy-jBo1rQEcoHvtORyqrbP

 

I had a chat with the psychologist about BB and the issues that we discussed in his appointment earlier in the week related to his (sometimes dangerously) oppositional, non-compliance where I am concerned.  It has been really scary to take him out of the house as he won’t follow instructions and has been running away.  It is just so out of character, he has always wanted to be where I was, he has always been my little buddy (I lovingly referring to him as my little stalker from infancy as if I was in the room he would follow me with his eyes, or if we were in the car, every time I looked back at him he was always looking at me etc) but now he does things like look me in the eye and step onto the road during school pick up when I tell him to come away from the road, for example.  The psych told me of a theory (this isn’t the exact wording, and it is just a theory) where some males get to a point where they can’t follow instructions from a female any longer.  She has seen it in her practice with some of the male clients, they just stop listening to her.  She brings a male colleague in to deliver (word for word) the exact same instructions and they follow them without a problem. There was a lightbulb moment for me as I have seen this in action too over the course of my life.  It made sense because BB genuinely seems to want to do the “right” thing but he can’t always make himself do it, he also does look at me blankly when I ask him to complete tasks, like what I am saying has just bounced off him.  When I try to talk to him about specific incidents after they have occurred, he gets a really sad look on his face and says “sorry mum, there’s something wrong with me!”.  I explain that there’s nothing wrong with him, that he is extraordinary and that we will just have to keep trying different things until we can find a solution.  I queried him on the theory tonight (in an age appropriate way) and he as good as said that if there was someone else around with a penis (his words) that he would be able to do what is asked of him.  So that theory seems to fit my little BB – which doesn’t bode well for me as a single mum, especially considering that both his therapists are female too!  So feeling a little redundant here, but I have a few ideas from his psychology session this week, so hopefully they will help us get back on track, but that’s a post for another day.

Excuse the profanity, but I saw this and thought it was fitting lol 😉

I don't see any penises meme

Hello there!

Hello there!  Welcome!  How is 2016 treating you all?  I hope this finds you happy and healthy (or at least on the road to both).

Well, 2016 has gone off with a bang for Trio.  The first big thing is that Gorgeous Girl has started Prep, which is what we spent all of 2015 and part of 2014 working towards.  GG is at a mainstream school and we are just in love with it.  They have made everything sooooooooo easy!  GG is doing amazingly well and she is such a delight to be around.  School has been one of the best things that has ever happened to her.  So a big woohoo there!  But she has realised more so than at Kindy that she is different to the other kids.  She talks to me about it, which is great, and we discuss the differences between us and we talk about the similarities.  We talk about her friends and the differences between them all as well as the similarities.  ASD has been a part of my usual vocabulary since GG was 2 1/2 when the Paediatrician first suggested that she was on the Spectrum.  Both kids understand that they have a diagnosis and that it just means that their brains work differently.  We even Googled brains a few nights ago (at the request of Beautiful Boy) and found some pretty cool pictures that illustrated the differences between ASD brains and neurocommon brains.  We found one, below, that showed the different parts of the brain and identified what it controlled, so we were able to identify challenges that each child has and pinpoint the part of the brain that controls that part, we also identified their gifts and found the area of the brain that is responsible for that too.  It was a pretty interesting discussion.

Brain pic

The second big thing is that my amazingly wonderful and generous sister is sending me on a holiday ALL BY MYSELF!  I am so burnt out that I can’t even muster the energy to get too excited about it yet – although I am getting joy out of saying that I am going on holidays next month 🙂  I am on a (seemingly never ending) mission to find a way to clean, organise and declutter my home (that’s a whole other post right there) with the kids in the house.  An example of that challenge:  Yesterday, I was in the kitchen preparing dinner and BB sneaked a roll of toilet paper past me and toilet papered the lounge room and the siblings bedroom!  That was a new one for us…  So I have my own personal goals to pursue this year as well as the kids goals, but with GG doing so well things are looking up in many areas 😀

BB on the other hand…  There has been somewhat of a role reversal between the siblings this year as BB use to be the easy going, helpful, compliant one with GG being the more high maintenance of the two, but that is absolutely not the case this year!  The best part (sarcasm alert) is that GG never behaved in this way, so I am waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyy out of my depth here and totally swimming blind whilst running on empty.  BB will be starting Prep next year, so hopefully things will start to run smoother then 😮  So big things are going to be happening this year with BB in order to help him get ready to start Prep AND there is something big approaching on the therapy front which I am really excited about.

The big things happening with BB is partially what has inspired this blog.  The kids Occupational Therapist (henceforth referred to as ‘The OT’) advised me to start a journal of all the things that arose throughout the day and reflect on what worked, what didn’t, how to implement long term measures to address the issue etc.  I immediately went out to buy myself a pretty notebook to inspire myself to sit down and write in it every night after the siblings had headed to bed.  But as I browsed finding absolutely nothing that grabbed me, I realised that I don’t write!  I don’t do paper!  I am a digital gal!  I. Type.  So I decided to set up a journal template on my laptop to make it nice and easy to make entries.  Then I thought a little more and realised I may as well bite the bullet and just start the blog that people have been suggesting I start.  I talk ASD/Parenting all the time on my personal Facebook page posting ASD memes and articles (more so now for Autism Awareness Month), eliciting suggestions from my friends that I start a blog.

So, here it is.  My blog.  I know there are probably many, many blogs out there from mum’s with children on the Spectrum.  But hey, what’s one more to add to the plethora?