I’ve been on hiatus since last summer for a number of reasons:
- Putting myself as a priority. I’ve been closeting my mental health and I can’t do it anymore. After 3 anxiety attacks and trying to juggle PT (quite demanding) work, family and Mama life. It was hard and it has taken a toll on me. Now, this was a something I didn’t know I was battling until my anxiety attacks forced me to take a step back. I was drowning in trying to get back financially on my feet, while providing for my son and my family and I. JUST. COULD. NOT. Now if anyone personally knew me, I have worked since I was a teenager and I handle my finances well as a young person that I didn’t have to ask my parents for my “little” things because my job covered it. I took out loans for school and paid them off but even then I should’ve realized that I always take on more than I can chew. Thus, me being in college for what felt like a decade. I was taught to be independent and not have anyone worry about you or need anyone to take care of you. Well, I forgot to take care of me. And no, I haven’t found a therapist.
- With my mom stress with my son’s 2 added diagnoses, you would think I can handle it. NOPE. As much as I knew that this was just something that was going to happen, I was in denial. I saw the signs and often chalked it up to the comorbidness of his other diagnoses, we just needed the official confirmation from the doctors. I guess I will never get used to it. And I hate to have to think of the diagnosis over the child, which I have been guilty of here and there. I always say you can give him diagnoses A through Z but deep down, his APD and SPD is in the fore fronts and I CANNOT get a handle on it.
- Working on bettering me to be a better Mom. I’ve been registering for webinars and attending conferences while I can. I try to help out others in their advocacy efforts. Although it seems counter to me putting myself first, I have to be constantly learning in order to keep my head in the game. I have successfully, put the advocacy hat off for MONTHS (it is my mental cycle when I am done with the annual IEP) and I only put it on very very part time for others. Can’t burn the candle on both ends.
- If you’re wondering what else he was diagnosed with. It is in my history but will state it here: deaf, autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). NOWWWW, before you say well most of these are traits of Autism. Yes, if you done your due diligence of research, we know that out of the 4 – they all are comorbidities with in the spectrum. [Tell that to his IEP team because it is like I speak in tongues when I say this stuff.] All roads lead to the spectrum.
- APD: We knew that processing auditorily can be and is a challenge for him just simply because he was born deaf and had no residual hearing in utero and after birth for the first year of his life. Now implants are NOT like glasses, you can’t hear and understand what you’re hearing. The hard work is with speech therapy. Even visual impairments have vision therapy varying on the severity of your vision. It is becoming more clear as he is getting older that he only picks up part of instruction, conversation, and anything that requires him actively hearing, that he doesn’t register it all and if he does, he doesn’t know what to do with that information. There will be times that HE DOES get it and then there will be frustrating [for myself and others because we THINK he hears and comprehends], that he doesn’t or he needs time to process and MOST people will NOT take the time to let him process it. And it is minutes later before I even realize that I need to break it down more, fewer words and simpler text. By that time, MOST of the audience has checked out or moved on. This makes him frustrated and gives him anxiety. And don’t get me wrong. He is a good listener when all the good stuff and supports have magically aligned to provide that great listening environment, he thrives SO MUCH. Again, i have guilt of even talking about his deficits but i know it is a necessary evil for me to decipher thought and HIM.
- SPD: this vicious thing has been taunting us for up to 2 years now. I can often times anticipate what will sensorily set him off so I either prep him, give him a pep talk or just get a feel of if he’s willing to do it or not or we just completely bail. I’m the pusher, Dad is the enabler. I’m not the type that will allow him to hold himself back. For that I may be looked at like the one that pushes him too much. [Call me if you want to fight me about how i handle my son. ;)] but I am a firm believer of getting him out of his comfort zone and I will gladly do it so that I can prepare him better for his world and its unpredictability. His self stimming has come back in a form of auditory stimming, self injurious stimming (especially when frustrated), dialogue stemming ( where he rehearses movie scenes in his head) or replay swimming (where he thinks of random funny or not funny but always in the past events in his head out of nowhere and wants to vividly discuss every single detail like I have a steel trap of a memory, which I VERY MUCH DO NOT) and it frustrates the both of us because I so want to relate and discuss with him so he can get a better understanding of what he interpreted in his head vs what actually happened, but we both fall short. He needs to move and move often and this time it is in the form of cartwheeling. Not only has he hurt himself doing it, he has hurt others. I get him to do yoga and exercise with me, walks. I have a box of sensory goodies for sensory input. I have even seen an OT that tried to help us and a speech therapist that recommended social skills class. Speaking of social skills
- Social skills: has anyone have NO improvement in that department from their kids?? He has very little improvement. He is NOW talking to others that talk to him rather than pretend they don’t exist. ( WONDERFUL NEWS!!) If he isn’t comfortable and feels like everyone in the room is looking at him, he reacts and it isn’t pretty. I can anticipate how he will react when his entire body tenses up and he looks around. He’s got a look I can’t personally put into words but I know when I see it, I have to talk him off “the ledge” sort of speak. He is having conversations with kids but he’s rigid. It must be what HE wants to talk about and when someone else talks about something he has NO interest in, he says, “Yea…..can i talk about what I want to now?” (the blunt open speaker in me laughs REAL hard, but the Mama in me that desperately want him to make and keep friends is heartbroken) We have tried it all and we will keep trying.
It hasn’t been easy. I’ve been appealing my life away and that adds to the stress. I am trying to find healthier avenues of my stress through exercise, yoga, meditation (so hard when you’ve got to attend to him) Despite him being in school the same time as the kids, I have to run the errands that would take me HOURS to complete if my boy were with me. I’ve grown accustomed to carving out the to-do list while he’s at school but by the time it is time to pick him up, there is no more ME time. I also try to put aside ONE day to do what I want to do for ME. Whether it is shopping, walking, manicure, I try to do it once a month but I was trying for every other week – it ain’t working out!!!
The reason why 5 – 7 are a challenge for me is that so much of what occurs from the disabilities I have to decipher within the first 10 seconds which disability is at the fore front, how can I help him through this, and have 5 contingency plans ready for execution if my first guess was wrong. Most times, especially in the past few years, my patience got the best of me and I felt like I’ve been failing as a Mama. I am hardest on myself when I see my son is struggling.
I know, I know, it isn’t me but when you see your typical child cry and struggle. That is me times infinity when I see him having a hard time. When he can’t articulate himself, When something so mundane and easy is so very hard for him and he had it consecutively 10 times before this. When he sees that it is easy for others but EXTREMELY hard for him and then he is hard on himself AND he KNOWS that he is different and he calls himself stupid, when he hits his head out of frustration. [yes, yes i know many run on sentences but that’s how my brain operates lately.]
I felt I lost myself in the process of being the Mama and I realized THIS was one of my avenues of stress relief. Being able to jot down my thoughts and feelings, frustrations and personal feelings. Judgment or no judgment, I no longer care. How can I tell my son to never be ashamed of who he is, when I cannot admit to my own? I’m having anxiety even putting my vulnerableness out there but for the sake of my son, yet again, I’m gonna try to do it all again. Anxiety needs several posts that I won’t even get into now. Until then…Hope people are still reading. I wonder if anyone would even watch….nah, not ready…