Friday, August 14, 2015

Accessible

My mom always speaks admiringly of how well my son expresses his feelings.  I always had tremendous difficulty talking about what was going on with me; she's told me that once during a very bad time she broke her own strict rules about privacy to read my diary but it was no help at all. I didn't even write about my feelings. Possibly I didn't even understand them myself.

Son has always been encouraged to understand and express himself, with additional expert guidance since he was 3. Today I noticed an unexpected benefit of this: when you have words to understand your own feelings, it's much easier for someone else to explain their feelings to you.  Telling him "please be quiet because your dad is stressed" brought out frustration and stomping. Reminding him that noise is one of the worst things when he's feeling stressed brought peace and a loving apology.

He absolutely has empathy, no question of it. As with so many issues regarding disabilities, it's just a matter of the right access.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Innocence Lost

Yesterday, while I was in the middle of a medication change and a stress attack and a million different tasks, son asked for a hug. Instead of asking him to wait or get his weighted blanket or saying I just couldn't hug right then, I gave him a mean hug. It hurt him.

He was so shocked. It's not that I've never lost my temper with him before,,, we clash and hurt each other fairly often, as people who have similar issues often do. Usually if I get mad he just gets mad right back. But I really went beyond the pale there.

He forgave me immediately, but I don't think either of us is over it. I woke up crying. Because I ruined the purity of The Hug.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Upside Down and Inside Out

My family saw "Inside Out" the other week, and it really struck a chord in all three of us. ("Lava" I pretty much loathed -- for God's sake, if you're going to tell a story in song, get a decent songwriter!) Son was intrigued by the idea of all the different emotions working in the control center and we had some great conversations about how seemingly negative emotions can actually be helpful, unless they become monsters -- like fear becoming an anxiety monster, for example. Hub saw a metaphor for depression in Riley getting cut off from both joy and sadness.

What most spoke to me was the islands that form personality, and their destruction. This is pretty much how my life has been for the last 10 years. I spent a lot of time building up some wonderful islands -- "salsa dancing island," which also really built up my neglected "friendship island"; "cooking healthy foods island"; various social networks. And then they all started crashing down on me, leaving me with less and less.

My big question about the movie was, which came first. Did Joy and Sadness and the rest make things happen that affected Riley, as depicted? Or did their adventures follow Riley's feelings? It makes sense for me to wonder that, because for years now, doctors have been telling me that my exhaustion is caused by depression, while I've believed that I have an underlying undiagnosed health issue causing the exhaustion, which brought down all my islands, which caused the depression.

Either way, it helps to have a metaphor.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Sing Low, Sweet Chariot

I'm taking a class on singing and dancing Broadway style. Yesterday I did a solo part in my belt voice and today tried one in my high voice. I was really struck by the difference I felt. Being in my high voice makes me feel shy and diffident. Belting fills me with confidence.

I felt terrible about how badly I did today, but the teacher asked if I can belt it, so I have another chance tomorrow. Hoping I will score a solo for our performance.

I think I've read that speaking in a high voice makes a person seem younger and less assured, but I hadn't realized it feels that way to the speaker, too.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Clash of the Sensory Needs

While reading autism-related blogs/boards, I've come across a particular fantasy several times: AutismLand, a community where autistic people can just be themselves and not have to try to fit in, and everyone around will understand and not judge.

It's a lovely idea, but it has several major flaws. One is that autistic people, and those who love them, aren't automatically free of judgement of others. One is that not all autistic people have the same needs. And one is that even people with similar needs can clash horribly.

My house is a freakin' sensory nightmare of noise and smells and mess and chaos lately. I'm very lucky to have my own space... but it's not soundproofed. And I can't hide there all the time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I have a Doppledeaner! Or a Deanleganger!

This post... it's me. Almost every bit of it. I'm going to steal her phrase for a tagline. (and by steal I mean, ask for permission to use.)


Monday, March 2, 2015

In Which I Mix Metaphors

I had a huge public meltdown the other day and am still shocked and embarrassed and all that good stuff. I saw my therapist today, and she put a weighted blanket on me and talked about my struggling nervous system and expressed sympathy for me having to go through that.

It made me feel so bad for every time I've been impatient or angry with my son. How often does he get unconditional support? Well, more often than some, I'm sure, because we really do try... but not often enough. He should never be made to feel bad about something his neurology/nervous system is doing to him.

And I realize now, that makes it so much worse. Part of what made me melt down was that there were suddenly landmines everywhere in a place that should have been safe... and none of the other people there, my friends and family, realized it. It's like being squeezed by a monster, and only able to squeak out a tiny call for help that no one understands, and when the monster realizes how helpless I am, he squeezes even harder.