Sorry I’ve been MIA

I apologize that I have not been posting much. Life has gotten completely away from me. Normally I look forward to school starting and life getting back to normal, but this year it hasn’t yet.

The school here has gone to personalized learning and they were not properly prepared so all is in chaos. Children, parents, teachers and staff are all stressed and unhappy. Crisis after crisis seems to be the day to day norm now.

Also they have not yet been able to find a permanent aide for my son. It’s in his IEP that he needs an aide. Constant changes of substitutes will only last so long until there is a blow up. He has never responded well to change or transitions so this is very stressful. I wait each day for a call that something has gone wrong.  I’m terrified of possible violent outbursts.

Depression and anxiety is getting to the dangerous point for me. I’ve started going to a counselor, but there isn’t much that can be done to change a lot of my situations so I’m just spinning my wheels in the sand trap of false hope.  Slowly, very slowly I’m trying to claw my way to the surface where I hope to get a breath so I can continue on.

I hope you will all be patient with me in getting back on track.

Thanks for still being around.

This is Autism, but I Still Love Him

We’ve been having a rough summer.

My son always has trouble with summer, because he is autistic. The normal trials of summer bother my son too like boredom and cabin fever. In that he is like all other kids, but there are a lot of other issues that come into play.  For example, thunderstorms. He’s terrified of them and yet gets upset because we aren’t having a storm every time there is a cloud. There is also the heat. He loves to be outside but the heat gets to him as well as the allergies that come with summer.

This year has been particularly bad because not only has it been over 90 the whole summer but the air has been filled with smoke from all the wild fires. Outside is not healthy. Inside is boring. It’s a brewing storm. Then you add in things like fireworks from the 4th of July. Loud unexpected noises that sound like thunder happening throughout the nights makes him very edgy. For weeks after the 4th he jumps at every little sound.  He wears sound proof headphones, but the fear is there even if the sound is not.

It finally came to a head one day when he hadn’t been sleeping well. It was a couple of weeks after the 4th and we’d been fighting to go to bed every night . He hadn’t been sleeping and neither had I. Bad combination. He was playing video games. (He likes mini golf) and he couldn’t go into a shed in the background. I told him that it was just part of the scenery and he got upset and started to bite his arm. I told him to go into his room until he could be calm. In the few seconds it took for me to set aside the game controller  he had gone into  his room and slammed his head into his window with enough force to splinter it. 

It didn’t hurt him any, although he had some broken glass in his hair. I had to first get him calm and then get all the glass cleaned up. But he was upset to begin with, then he was upset that he had broken the window, then upset that I couldn’t magically fix it, and upset that I was upset.  It was a long time before we could get sorted and then right after that a thunderstorm hit. Needless to say it wasn’t a good day.

It was a this point that I began to think about medication. I hate myself for thinking about it. I don’t like pills. I don’t like how I feel when I take them and usually I have bad reactions to them. So the thought of putting my son on them when he can’t tell me if he is feeling weird makes me shudder. We had tried him on medication once a long time ago when his violent outburst were getting out of hand and it had turned him in to a weeping pile of mush that was still violent. We gave up, threw away the pills, and learned to live with the outbursts.

But he is getting bigger now. He’s 12. He’s almost as tall as me and weighs 120 lbs. So off we went to the doctor. After a long discussion, the doctor decided that it was probably anxiety that was the route of the problem. If we could get that under control then he might not be a danger to himself. I was willing to give it a shot even though I was wary of the possible side effects.  The second problem was sleep. I found some chewable melatonin and I hoped that would help.

The first week was amazing. He was going to sleep because of the melatonin and although he was still getting up in the middle of the night, it was still an improvement. The Sertraline was working. He was in a great mood. We had to make a trip to Helena, which is a two and a half hour drive, for my daughter’s orthodontist appointment and I was expecting a blow up when we had to go home. But he was great shopping and he was great coming home. I didn’t even know how to handle a trip without a melt down.

It was great while it lasted.

About a week into the medications, we were watching tv during dinner and the character’s gloves had run away and gotten into some trouble and were sent to jail. In the blink of an eye, my son exploded. He was pounding his fist on his tray knocking food everywhere and then started to bite himself and hit me and his sister.  It was weird! Usually there is some warning before a meltdown but this was like a lightening strike out of a clear blue sky.

Over the next couple of days he started to get worse. He just kept getting really angry over such small things.  Then the big blow up came. My daughter had another dentist appointment this time to get five teeth pulled. (I know that’s a lot, but her regular dentist hadn’t been doing his job and let 4 years go by without telling us that she was going to have a problem with her baby teeth not coming out. So now we are in dental crisis, but that is another story.)

Now here was my first mistake. My son is scared of the dentist but is also really fascinated by it and as soon as he knew my daughter was going, he started asking if he could have an appointment. I told him he would have to wait for his appointment. The longer we sat in the waiting room, the more agitated he became.

Here was my second mistake. I should have known this trip to the dentist would be hard on my daughter and I should have found someone to watch my son while I took her to the dentist.

You have to understand at this point that my son doesn’t handle other people’s pain well. When he sees you cry he gets upset because he doesn’t understand the reason. Often he will attack the crying person. I am assuming because he believes that will give them a reason to be upset so it makes sense to him in a backwards kind of way. Needless to say our family tries to keep the crying to a minimum and let it out only when he isn’t looking.

Unfortunately my poor daughter couldn’t help it. She’d never had dental problems before so this was her first experience in having teeth pulled and five at one time was traumatic. She couldn’t help it she cried.  This set my son off. He didn’t understand why his sister was upset.

Here was my third mistake. My daughter wanted to get somethings from the store despite how she was feeling after the dentist. I warned her against it but she insisted that she was fine and she could handle it. So I stupidly listened. Half-way down the street my daughter changed her mind. She was in too much pain and wanted to go home. Before the trip I had warned my son that if his sister didn’t feel up to it then we were NOT going to go shopping and we would just go home. I thought he had understood, but when we started down the street toward the stores and then turned around, he got upset.

Here was my fourth mistake. I didn’t take him to get food.  It was about lunch time when we finished at the dentist. Because my daughter was feeling so awful I didn’t want to make her sit and wait while we ate. Instead I took my son to a gas station and grabbed some of those deli burgers and chips and a bottle of milk and headed out. He really wanted to get food at a restaurant and got upset.

Here is my fifth mistake. I didn’t stop at the car wash. It is a treat for my son when he is good to go through the automatic car wash before we leave town. Again, I didn’t stop because my daughter was feeling so badly.  I should have know better. Foregoing the car wash always causes a melt down. It was the final straw.

From that moment on it was a nuclear fallout meltdown. The drive back from Great Falls in an hour. Usually the meltdowns don’t last more that half an hour and usually we can get him out of it by playing I-spy or something. But this time I think the medication was in play. Nothing would stop him from pulling his sister’s hair or punching her from the back seat. He was spitting and trying to break the window with his fists and his feet. Foolishly I stopped on the side of the interstate to try and switch everyone around so that I could keep my daughter safe from his attack.

We ended up chasing him around in the ditch and trying to tackle him to keep him out of traffic. I’m sure the people driving by thought we were trying to kill him. He was punching and kicking me while I tried to get him to calm down and get back to the jeep. He grabbed handfuls of my hair and ripped some out. Finally we got him to the jeep but he got a hold of my daughters neck. In getting him to let go of her he got a hold of my hair and pummeled my head with his fist. I got kicked in the chest, repeatedly bit and he grabbed handfuls of my skin on my arms before I finally got him into his seat and buckled in. My daughter drove while I sat in the back by him and tried to keep him from kicking her and bashing his head through the window. Unfortunately that put me in the strike zone. He was so deliberate with his attacks. This wasn’t like his normal meltdowns. I kept telling him that I would be okay, that he needed to take deep breaths, that I still loved him and he would be alright, but nothing stopped him.

That was the longest hour of my life.

By the time we had gotten home I was near hysterical with terror and guilt. I had to wrestle him into the house. I sent my daughter downstairs out of harms way and took my son to his room. It was dark and he was still agitated. Then almost as quickly as it started he was back to normal. He wanted a drink and a snack. He sat down and started to watch tv. At that point I was doing my best to stay calm. I wanted to sob and curl up into a ball and shake, but I knew it would only set him off again. I stayed out of the room where I wouldn’t trigger him but also where I could keep an eye on him.

This is the damage that I came out with. I was so  stiff and sore. This doesn’t show all the damage. I have a lot of bruises on my head and legs, but you get the idea.

I am pretty proud of myself. Considering the craziness that we went through, my son came out without a mark on him.

My daughter only had a little welt on her neck. I managed to protect both my kids from harm. I don’t know how, but I did.

I called the doctor when things looked like they were as calm as they were going to get. We went over and the doc was shocked at the level of damage on my arms. He thought maybe we needed to up the dose of Sertraline because it seemed like it was working, and he get me some Risperdone pills to use as needed when things were out of hand. We went back home and I followed the doc’s orders. But over the next few days, my son stayed angry. He was mad about everything. He kept biting himself for tiny little upsets. So I talked it over with my husband and we decided to stop the meds.

 

It’s been three days now and he hasn’t had any blow ups. Well, there were a couple of small ones, but I’m not expecting miracles.

The thing is this is our life. I can’t say I’m not affected. I’m a wreck.  I love him completely and I’m terrified for the future. I’m not scared if him. I’m scared of what he’ll do to others. This whole episode has turned my fears into reality. What happens when he goes to school? What happens if we go to Great Falls again?

I know that it may get worse as he gets bigger. I may end up with broken bones at some point. I don’t want that to happen, but I’m not going to fool myself. This is Autism. This is melt downs. It’s hard. I hope that we can get past this someday and he can have a productive life, but I fear the alternative. That it may get too bad and he’ll have to live in a home where he’ll be doped up and live a miserable existence. I don’t want that either.

Right now I’m not feeling real positive. I’m bitter at the world for the lack of help. I’m angry at myself because I should have known better. I’m disillusioned with my life right now. But it doesn’t matter. This is Autism and we get up every day and keep going. I love my son regardless.

Happy Birthday to my Son!

He’s 12 years old now. It seems hard to believe. 12 years of struggling and fighting to get to this point. It seems longer and yet it doesn’t seem that long at all.  I guess that’s normal. Most parents feel that way. I guess it’s different because it’s been 12 years of Autism.

Life is not easy when you have Autism in your life. Whether you are a parent of or are the autistic person, challenges abound. Let me give you an idea.

It’s been 12 years of communication issues. Sometimes he’s been unable to communicate at all, sometimes he can get across what he wants after a lot of effort. Sometimes it causes so much frustration that he becomes violent.  Sometime we have the same conversation hundreds of times a day.

It’s been 12 years of health issues.  RSV virus, Jaundice, ear infections every few months, dental problems, bruises and bite marks, behavioral issues, attention problems, sleep disturbances and allergies.

It’s been 12 years of sleeping issues. The first six years of sleeping in our bed because of night terrors, then the next six years of sleeping in his own bed but getting up multiple times every night, which means that I’ve slept on his floor more hours than I can count.

It’s been years of violent outburst and broken things. We’ve had to replace a TV, several chairs, and now a window. There are holes in the walls, a lot of broken toys, and quite a few rips in our clothes.

And yet through all this, he has grown and started to thrive. He has friends who adore him. Everyone in town seems to know his name and they always say hi to him. He reads, he writes albeit both really slowly and with difficulty. He loves to tell jokes. He laughs and plays. He knows what he likes and isn’t afraid to tell you. He loves to help around the house and help in the yard.  Although he is usually terrified of new things, he loves an adventure. He’s terrified of storms but can’t wait for them either. He loves amusement park rides even though the surroundings overwhelm him. Animals love him although he is usually scared of them. He’s growing into a relatively well rounded young man.

I know that we have a really long way to go and not all of it is going to be positive. Sometimes every day is a struggle, but I look at how far we’ve come and I couldn’t be more proud of my son. He’s overcome so much to be the wonderful 12 year old that he is today.

Happy Birthday, Bubba!

Coping with Severe Depression

Severe depression is horrendous. 

The NIMH estimates that in the United States, 16 million adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2012. That’s 6.9 percent of the population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It is a leading cause of disability. Jan 28, 2015

350 Million! 

So what it this beast we call depression?

According to the Mayo Clinic:

Although depression may occur only one time during your life, usually people have multiple episodes of depression. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that aren’t your responsibility
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

For many people with depression, symptoms usually are severe enough to cause noticeable problems in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships with others. Other people may feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.

Most people dealing with depression turn to modern medications such as anti-depressants. In most cases this is enough to get you out of the pit and moving again. However, for some that isn’t going to work.

Many of those suffering from depression don’t have access to medications, maybe they can’t afford it or maybe medications just don’t work. Some may even make their symptoms worse. I’m one of those poor fools who can’t take the meds because my body won’t metabolize them correctly, so I only get the side effects and not the help.

There are medical alternatives for those of us who can’t do take medications.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

Supplements

Examples of supplements that are sometimes used for depression include:

  • St. John’s wort. Although this herbal supplement isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat depression in the U.S., it’s a popular depression treatment in Europe. It may be helpful for mild or moderate depression. However, it should be used with caution — St. John’s wort can interfere with a number of medications, including blood-thinning medications, birth control pills, chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS medications, and drugs to prevent organ rejection after a transplant. Also, avoid taking St. John’s wort while taking antidepressants because the combination can cause serious side effects.
  • SAMe. Pronounced “sam-E,” this dietary supplement is a synthetic form of a chemical that occurs naturally in the body. The name is short for S-adenosylmethionine (es-uh-den-o-sul-muh-THIE-o-neen). SAMe isn’t approved by the FDA to treat depression in the U.S., but it’s used in Europe as a prescription drug to treat depression. SAMe may be helpful, but more research is needed. SAMe may trigger mania in people with bipolar disorder.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats are found in cold-water fish, flaxseed, flax oil, walnuts and some other foods. Omega-3 supplements are being studied as a possible treatment for depression. While considered generally safe, in high doses, omega-3 supplements may interact with other medications. More research is needed to determine if eating foods with omega-3 fatty acids can help relieve depression.

Nutritional and dietary products aren’t monitored by the FDA the same way medications are. You can’t always be certain of what you’re getting and whether it’s safe. Also, because some herbal and dietary supplements can interfere with prescription medications or cause dangerous interactions, talk to your health care provider before taking any supplements.

Mind-body connections

Complementary and alternative medicine practitioners believe the mind and body must be in harmony for you to stay healthy. Examples of mind-body techniques that may be helpful for depression include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Relaxation techniques such as yoga or tai chi
  • Meditation
  • Guided imagery
  • Massage therapy
  • Music or art therapy
  • Spirituality
  • Aerobic exercise

Relying solely on these therapies is generally not enough to treat depression. They may be helpful when used in addition to medication and psychotherapy.

Some people turn to psychotherapy or go to counseling. Counseling can often be extremely helpful in sorting through the problems. However, not all counselors are helpful. I’ve been to some that just shrug their shoulders and say, “Gosh, I don’t know what to tell you.” Doesn’t really help much.  Finding the right counselor can take time through trial and error. Often this adds to the depression giving a person the feelings of failure or hopelessness.

So what do you do when you are just one person sitting alone in the dark? When nothing has worked and you have no strength left? When you just can’t find the will or the energy to get out of bed let alone seek help? When you are sitting on your bathroom floor exhausted from crying and holding a scissors over your wrist because you are so desperate for an escape? 

If you’ve hit that point then call:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.

However, if you are still holding out with one tiny little shred of hope grasping onto the last thread of your last rope….

It’s OKAY!

You’re not alone!

We are here for you, even if you don’t know us. There are those of us struggling along beside you. We can’t see you and you can’t see us through the haze of darkness that seems to surround us, but we are here.

And it’s time.

Time to take a breath.

Time to go out and look at the stars.

Time to let go a little.

Constantly holding yourself accountable for all the problems in the world will do you no good. You are only human and that is okay. Yes, the world around us is going to pot, (haha see the joke there? everybody is smoking it? haha). But what I mean it that the world is going crazy and honestly, honey, you can’t stop it.

Look to your friends. They love you. They are just waiting for you to let them in so they can help. If you don’t feel like you have friends, then just cry once in public and you’ll find them. Believe me, they’re there. Even strangers on the internet are there to help you. There are chat rooms, Twitter feeds, Instagram and Facebook pages full of people going through the same things as you are. You may not have met them yet, but your peeps are there. 35 Million of them, remember?

Honestly, I find that a lot of depression is rooted in three places: our health,  our mindset, and our environment.

  1. Nutrition: Our nutritional intake can severely affect our emotions. I know you’ve heard this a lot, but too much pre-processed food with chemicals put in for this and that soak into our bodies and make us nuts. I see this all the time with my Autistic son. If we eat too many meals that come from a box or a can then he gets emotionally unbalanced and sometimes violent or goes through crying fits. If I keep our food on the homemade side then we have a much more stable home life. Omega 3 supplements made a huge difference for me in my depression.  Try checking your nutrition and see if you can fix anything. If you don’t know what to fix, ask a doctor. If you don’t have a doctor then ask our friend Google, there are plenty of nutritional diets out there.
  2. Mindset: When I say our mindset, it does not mean that I think it is all in our heads. I know personally that depression is very real. What I mean is that it is in our perceptions of our own reality that make it so hard for us to cope. If you let go of your preconceived notions about what is or is not the standard that you should be living up too, it can help a lot. For example, I has such high hopes for what kind of mom I was going to be. Then Autism came along. I had to give up. I can only do what I can do. Sometimes it’s enough, sometimes not. Sometimes we need to stop and do some self examination of our deepest self. We must ask some really hard questions. Why are you depressed? Is is because you are trying to hold onto something that is beyond your means? Are you living to please someone else’s plan for you life or are you living for you?
  3. Environment: Look around you. Is your personal space cluttered? Sometimes just cleaning up your immediate area can help you get a sense of control. It can make things around you seem a lot less overwhelmed and give you a sense of accomplishment. That alone might be enough to break the downward spiral of defeat. Are you hiding away? Sometimes depression comes from too much self absorption. Are you caught up with yourself so much that you haven’t looked around in a while? Seek out others and try to help them. Sometimes it will fill the void that is causing your depression. Human contact can do wonders for your emotions. However, be careful of over committing yourself so you can hide from your problems.

Depression is a many faceted beast with no easy answers or cures. It is a struggle every day, but it is a struggle that you can get through. I will leave you with something my mom always says.

Keep going. Tomorrow may be the best day of your life.

Parmesan Fries Recipe

Had absolutely they best potatoes last night!

The recipe I found for Parmesan Fries is a yummy discovery.

I mixed up the original recipe a bit by using regular potatoes and sweet potatoes.

 Ingredients. 

1/4 tsp. garlic salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

 1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp salt (optional. I find it is salty already without the salt but it’s up to you)

grated Parmesan cheese

potatoes

olive oil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix spices together in a small bowl.

Cut the potatoes into wedges. You can peel them if you want or you can leave the skin on.

You can rinse them if you want to reduce starch, but be sure to pat them dry.

Place in a bowl and coat with olive oil.

Spread out the wedges on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the spices and cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until done.

Enjoy!

What Happens When Mom Gets Sick?

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What happens when Mom gets sick? Same thing as everyday. She gets up and takes care of the same things she always does. There are no sick days or breaks. There is only the normal routine but doing it feeling terrible.

But what happens when it’s more than just sick? What happens when you really need to be out for the count?

I recently broke a tooth. It had a crack and I knew that it was going to go someday, but I chose to ignore it. Not just because I am Mom, but because I am terrified of Dentists. I don’t just mean kind of nervous. I mean full blown shaking and hyperventilating, with crying and throwing up kind of terrified. I don’t know why exactly. Something in my childhood probably. I have blanked out every visit to the dentist I’ve ever had. I used to be able to handle going. I was scared but not too bad. Then as the years progressed it’s gotten worse. Last time I went, I had to take a Valium before going and one again while I was there. But this time, it was the worst.

I went in to have them see what was going on with my tooth. I almost ran out of the waiting room. When I did get back to the actual room, I started to shake. I made it almost through the X-ray before starting to cry and hyperventilate. I never made it to the actual examination. I freaked out completely and they told me they would have to sedate me to do anything. That involved a “trial run” of the sedation because I react strangely to drugs.

For most people this wouldn’t be a big thing. They just get a family member to help and all is good. I, however, have a complicated life. First of all the only family that is around here is my kids. Granted my daughter is 17 and she could help me but I didn’t want to put the whole thing on her shoulders. Not only watching me but having to take care of her autistic brother at the same time.  My husband would be the logical choice. I would have to make the appointment for when he was going to be home,  but he works away from home for 6 weeks at a time. That kind of made it hard to schedule.

Eventually, I got the appointment and we went in for the work. I was praying for them to do the work if the sedation worked so I didn’t have to wait another six weeks for the next appointment. Thank God they did. My face is sore but the work is done. I’m not really sure what they did. I guess I have a crown, whatever that means. (Like I said I blank out any dentist appointments. )

Good thing my husband was there. I was at the dentist from 7 am until 2:30 pm then went home and slept until 5:30 pm. How could I have done it without him? By the evening, everyone’s tempers were getting short because my son was being difficult. He didn’t understand why mom wasn’t there. Mom is the one constant in his life. Mom is never gone or sick. He wasn’t completely awful, but he didn’t handle it well either.

No one really realized how important Mom is until Mom goes down. I’m not saying that Dad isn’t important because he is. I’m just saying that families rely heavily on Mom always being there and always being functional. It is hard on everyone when Mom goes down. SO go and hug your mom and tell her you appreciate her then give her a day off. You will all be better for it. Kind of like an emergency preparedness drill.

Christmas Tidings

In this time of Christmas and/or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate, please remember what it’s really about.

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Hope. Family. Love.

I know that everyone preaches about “the reason for the season”, but that is not my purpose. I want you to remember what you have and be thankful for it. There are so many who have nothing  or even less. There are those in the hospital, homeless, separated, lost, forgotten, or alone.

Give something to those who need it. It doesn’t have to be about a present. It just has to be about a thought. Just spare one tiny little moment for someone else, whether you know them or not. You never know how much it might mean to someone.   It could mean their life. This is the silly season and people often fall into the deepest depressions around this time of year. You can be the lifeline that keeps them safe.

Call your mom or dad, visit your grandparents, bring cookies to the neighbor that is housebound. Appreciate those around you. We are all in this together.

SO from mine to yours,

May there be blessings aplenty,

Love, Hope, and Family.

Merry Christmas

Transitions into a Quieter Life.

As the leaves start to show more yellow than green and the weather turns mild, people start to say, “It is time to get back to the old grind.”img_8433 They are talking about school. I understand the statement, but I never felt that getting back into the routines of school were a grind.  For us it is the opposite. I look forward to the autumn like a cold glass of water after being lost in the desert for three months.

Autism can make summer the hardest time of the year.

Most kids with Autism thrive on routine. They feel safe in a predictable world. Summer strips away the predictability and leaves chaos in its wake.

Summer is just a season, but people treat it like its some sort of free pass from prison. Perhaps that is true for some. Kids are out of school and people take vacations, go camping, and “really live”.  I sometimes wish that we could have the freedom to go on vacations, or go to the swimming pool, or let my kiddo ride his bike around the neighborhood just like all the other kids, but Autism is in our lives to stay. Structure, supervision and routine are the foundations of our existence.

We try every year to keep to some kind of schedule during the summer months. Getting up at the same time, eating at the same time, doing some educational stuff like worksheets and having recess all on a schedule, but it is so easy to fall off the routine. We have no bells or classrooms, we have no teachers or other kids. We only have mom. Anything can throw off the routine, an unplanned trip, a doctor’s appointment, or even the weather. Even the long hours of summer work against us making bedtimes a fight because it is still light until almost 11 pm.

I struggle every year to keep us on track. I start out so optimistic but day in and day out being the only one here makes it hard to keep up the pace. It’s 24 hour a day vigilance. It’s exhausting and I lose my way.

img_8432So as the leaves change, I feel like my path is clear again. School has started. That means schedules and schedules mean calm. Everything settles into its proper place. I find myself relaxing and not just because of school.

I feel like summer is noisy and crazy. When fall comes, the world quiets. The busy buzzing in the air that come with summer falls away. The sounds of lawn mowers fade. Even the wind isn’t as loud. And I find myself slowing down.

I found myself sitting on a stool just inside my door for about 15 minutes just watching this bird sitting on my front railing. That is not something that happens in summer. The bird would have flown away as soon as it saw me.

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I feel like I begin to notice my surroundings again. We went to the football game  Friday night and between plays I looked up and was awed  at the beautiful color of the sky.img_8437

How often during summer do we notice things like the sky? Oh, people notice it is clear or cloudy, but do we really see it? Maybe some people do but I feel like I never have the time. I’m so busy trying to deal with the chaos of summer that I miss the beauty of it.

I’m so relieved that summer is ending and autumn is here. I feel like I can breath again. My head is clearing and I feel like I can handle my life again. I feel like I have transitioned into a quieter life.

Expressing Anger the Right Way

angry-man

Anger is often blamed for all the wrong doing in this world. However, anger is not the problem but how we use it. Yelling and screaming at people because you have made bad choices causing a chain of events leading to a really freaking bad day is not helpful.  Lashing out or hitting someone that has irritated you is also not helpful.

No one loves drama, well, I guess maybe some people do, but generally speaking people like a quiet life filled with harmony. Many people think that the opposite of harmony is anger but that isn’t true. Anger can disrupt harmony but it can also be the step toward harmony that you were missing.

When the world becomes skewed and is malfunctioning, it is alright to be angry. Anger will motivate change if it is directed in a positive way. This is generally refereed to as righteous anger or a reaction against a mistreatment or injustice. However, you can’t just go around shooting people that you think are part of the problem. Righteous anger must be turned into a positive force that will HELP people. For example, you see someone beating their child in a drunken rage. You can use your anger to help that child find safety, but you CANNOT go around taking the law into your own hands.

Also there is nothing wrong with being angry about something bad that has happened to you. Someone raped you- damn right you should be angry! Someone broke into your home- you can be furious! These are violations!

anger quote

This kind of anger is dangerous. It will not only make you feel out of control, but also victimized and terrified even if you don’t realize it. You’ve lost the keys to the safe bubble you lived in and you can’t get back in. You feel betrayed by everything and everyone. Those that promised to protect you didn’t and you start losing faith in the people and the society around you. It eats away at your soul because often you have nothing to fight against just a vague feeling of injustice and betrayal. Constant anger stews in the background coloring everything that you do and every decision you make. Suddenly you are plagued by despair and anxiety that every decision you make will lead to a similar incident or situation. You don’t need to be ashamed of this anger or try to hide it, but you do need to address it and manage it.

Often the suggested ways of dealing with anger are very effective.

  1. Taking a breather. 

Stop and realize that you are getting angry and why. Then remove yourself from the situation or conversation. Take deep breaths and remind yourself that it isn’t as bad as you think it is. Learn to recognize when you are overreacting or when you are getting frightened or overwhelmed.

       2. Keep track of anger triggers

Watch for patterns in your anger. See if the same things are occurring when you are angry. Be aware of your bodies reaction to anger: breathing, tension, headaches, heart rate, etc. Try to regulate these patterns.

    3. Ask for help. 

There are lots of counselors, help lines and doctors that can help you learn to manage anger in a positive way. Make an appointment and get a plan in place.

Now…

For those of us that are under stress and are constantly being bombarded by things that make us feel out of control, here are some other ideas.

Aggressive Boxing Girl

  1. Ride the anger.

I know this sounds bad but there is a thing called Primal Therapy created by Dr. Arthur Janov. It involves feeling the emotions instead of repressing it. I’ve never been involved in formal Primal Therapy but in my own experience, I have learned that trying to control anger only works so long and then it explodes in very negative ways. So I’ve learned that sometimes just letting it out shortens the duration.

For example, let’s say my kids are pushing my buttons. Arguing, whining, not listening, acting out trying to get their own way and it builds and builds day after day until eventually I can’t control my anger any more and I want to commit violence. I don’t, of course, but I can go somewhere away from them and let it all out. Go out into the garage and scream my head off. No words or specific complaints just pure emotional screaming. It sounds horrific, but it has a cleansing effect. Suddenly I’m not so angry and I can deal with their antics again without feeling dangerous.

    2. Physical exercise.

This one is wonderful for getting anger out as well as keeping fit. Two birds one stone. Let’s take the same example above: buttons have been pushed so much they are broken.  Getting the anger out by physical movement also cleansed. It gives all that energy that anger creates somewhere to go. I use push-ups or jumping jacks. There is a lot of movement and no danger to others. My family also bought me a large punching bag that hangs in the basement. Believe me, once I’ve hit the anger wall, going downstairs and punching the bag until my knuckles hurt is very therapeutic.

    3. Hard labor.

I don’t mean chain gang type hard labor but I do mean physical labor. It works like the example above but it is much more productive. When my brother and I were kids, we fought as all siblings do. Drove my mom nuts. When she finally reached her limit she would send us out to do something. We lived on a farm and there was always something to do.  Cleaning the barns, stacking hay, and my mom’s favorite task for us, chopping wood. Lots of physical effort to work off our anger and we still accomplished something in the meantime. Although later my mom did say that she wondered at the wisdom of her choice in sending two teenagers that were already fighting out with axes to chop wood together. She always said it was a wonder we didn’t kill each other.

The point of all this, yes, anger can be bad but it can also be a good thing. Examine your anger and treat it accordingly. Do any of you have other things that work when you are angry?