Friday, May 29, 2009

Twisted Thinking

Memorial Day weekend went pretty well although I have to say that the weekend before was almost as bad as Mother's Day weekend. I can't remember right off had what got me so upset that weekend but I experienced for the first time what I think was an anxiety/panic attack. I was just so overwhelmed by everything. Korey and I have had some major discussions about Alex and Simone. Seeing Alex with his peers makes us see where he is different (like at track meets). We wonder when he'll realize he is different as Simone is already asking so many questions about Alex. We are dealing with how we will talk with her about Alex. We have both cried a lot over this last month. Since I am home alone when the kids are at school, I find myself with too much time to think/fret/worry.

So, this needing to find myself let me to apply for a job at the school board offices in the district where my kids go...EEKK! I really would like a part time position but this position is full time!! Who knows if I'll even get it but I am getting more excited as the days go on. So, fingers crossed that I first get an interview for the job in the next week. On one of my bad days, I talked with my pastor and she talked with me about how I have lost my identity in all of this. I am not just Cara, mom to Alex who has Autism or mom to Simone. I need to find myself again. Maybe working would help with that...???

So, at therapy this week I talked about the job and the need to be busy with my therapist. I told her that I felt like I needed to be busy so I wouldn't have time to dwell on things. She said that if I just get busy and don't address my thoughts and feelings that I'll still have them...getting busy may help but it isn't the answer. So, here comes the twisted thinking thing. We worked on how I distort things a lot. Making things more than they are. Taking things people say to me too personally or in a way that they didn't mean. We talked about comments that people have made to me about Alex and why I was given him (by God). Some of the comments like "He sure is testing you" or "God doesn't give you more than you can handle"...etc...have been hard for me to hear. I honestly believe that people who say these things are either (1) marters (sp?) or (2) have never had something bad/tragic happen in their life. I believe those words would go away from their vocabulary very quickly if they had something happen to them.

So, we talked further of what those comments have meant to me and how they and this situation have affected my relationship with God. Deep down I know that God didn't give me Alex to teach me a lesson. I know I will grow and learn through the experiences I have raising him but I feel that him being on this earth to just teach me a lesson diminishes his value. I have not been able to focus on daily bible readings or even daily prayer. Not that I don't read the bible or pray but I find it hard to do it regularly. I still have questions and, as my therapist mentioned, I am still working through the grieving and haven't truly gotten to the acceptance part. I am hoping that once I get there I will be able to get back to a stronger relationship with God but I'll admit I am not there yet.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

TV Talk

I forgot to mention the first part of Mother's Day that had got me sad (maybe this was where it all started downhill). When we were at church and the kids were still in the service (they leave for classes after we sing), the Pastor asked if any of the kids wanted to say something about their mom. Alex is really into raising his hand to answer a question but doesn't often answer appropriately. So I am in the back of the church saying "please don't pick him", which makes me feel guilty in itself. Don't you know, she picks him. She tries to prompt him but he starts talking and it is a bunch of "TV talk". Somewhere in there was playing "kickball with my mom" but most of it was him talking the script of several Charlie Brown movies. Everyone in the service is smiling and kindof laughing at how cute he is. I was so sad inside. Then by the end of the service I was crying.

Cut to Tuesday of that week...he gets his prized "reading t-shirt" at school. He is excited beyond anything I have seen in a while. I had to force him to let me wash it and he waiting for it to be washed to put it in the dryer. I managed to pull him away from the house so we could go to the library while it dried but it nearly killed him. So we are at the library and I say "Alex, tell the librarian what you got at school today". He stands nice and straight (no fidgeting) and says "I went the the principal's office and got my reading t-shirt". It was amazing. Sometimes he is on and sometimes he isn't.

He has done very well with the track practices and even the big meet we went to this past weekend. However, at practice on Monday, one of our kids got a ribbon for winning a place in a field event. He was so upset that he didn't get a ribbon (why they don't have participation ribbons for all kids I don't know). So, he kept saying over and over that he wanted a ribbon on Wednesday. Well, we go to practice on Wednesday and of course knowing there wouldn't be a ribbon. He practices well but at the end has a meltdown over there not being a ribbon. On the way home he wanted me to stop at the "next exit" because there is a hospital and he could see the doctor because his heart was broken. Too cute! I have a feeling though that he won't forget about this ribbon and next week we'll have the same issue...I hope not!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sweet Silver Lining

So, I found this song called "Sweet Silver Lining". It's about searching for the sweet silver lining when things happen. The lyrics that get me are...

"so many people are looking to me To be strong and to fight But I’m just surviving...Most days I try my best To put on a brave face But inside my bones are cold And my heart breaks"

I've had a few people mention to me lately that I "put on a good face/front". I feel that I have been faking it lately. I had a really rough period just after Alex was diagnosed and I feel that I am in another rough period now. Things are just so hard for me to work though right now. I seem to make the littlest things into big things. I take everything personally and am offended easily by others words/actions/lack of actions. I know that things could be much worse but I still struggle daily and I think over the last two weeks I have cried every day!

I know there are silver linings to all this but it seems very hard to identify them or look for them right now as I'm just trying to survive.

I feel that I have to get to an "emergency state" for anyone to realize that I need help. This is where I feel I have been these last few weeks. I think people see me as a strong/independent person that doesn't need help so therefore I must be fine. However, I feel that since I don't often ask for help...that when I do ask it should trigger a response like "hey, I should help her because she asked". Instead I feel like I have to beg for help or get to that "emergency" level before I get help. I guess what I wish is that someone would just see the need....ha! Who am I fooling with that wish! I know also that I have a controlling personality and often it is hard for me to let go and let others.

Alex ran in his first track meet this weekend. It was so fun to watch but we were not prepared at all for this! He is a part of our local Y's track club and we had NO idea that the track clubs around were so much bigger and more serious than ours. We didn't even have uniforms in yet while other clubs had nice uniforms, warm up suits, coaches uniforms, running spikes, etc. Only 4 of our kids showed up for the meet while other teams had hundreds. We were definitely David versus Goliath. Anyway, Alex ran the 100 and 400 and he did great. He had a good time. Dad had tears in his eyes when he ran the 100. At first I thought that was just pride in the tears but later after I had a major meltdown on Sunday, he explained to me that he was feeling pride but also felt a bit of saddness about Alex's disability and just everything about that. Alex has no idea that he is different and that he was at a disadvantage in the race (not completley because of his disability but anyway). My husband has cried twice in the last two weeks so we are both having problems dealing with Alex and what we have to go through daily and ongoing. What will our future hold? What will his future hold? So sad whan your husband cries too.

My stomach has been a mess, I've had crying episodes where I just can't stop. My heart races and I feel like I can't catch my breath. I hope this passes soon.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

That last post was heavy. But I think I have mentioned before that this Autism stuff is just that...heavy! I went back and read over my past posts and I feel that I need to elaborate more on this schooling...where he's been and where he is now. I'm pretty tired today so I'll save that for next time. Since Mother's Day, I have felt very sad and down. I'm hoping this will pass but there are still some tough issues to work through.

The issue on my plate for tomorrow is a meeting with the school counselor to talk about Simone. Poor little Simone. She is so understanding and gives into Alex a lot. However, her level of understanding is what we are working on. Over the past 2 years she has asked some general questions about Alex but it seems that since they have been in school together this year that her questions are more frequent and she is wanting to know more about why he is different. She is also trying to understand why we do things or let Alex do things that she doesn't get or isn't allowed to do. A perfect example is:

I've finished reading the book "The Explosive Child". It talks in the book about having 3 baskets. One basket is issues/rules that you will not waiver on and are willing to send your "Explosive Child" into a meltdown over...example would be a safety issue. There is another basket with things that you want to get to the child understand but the child may not be there yet or you need to work on it for a while. Then there are things in the third basket that you just let go. Not worth it. Other children would get these things but in the big picture these battles are not ones you need to waist your energy on. An example of basket No. 3 for us is that Alex has an extreme sense of direction. When in the car, he wants us to go home a certain way from the Y so he can go over the train tracks in town 2 times. So, he tells us when to turn, etc. Anyway, I was joking with him on the way home that I wasn't going to turn left, instead I wanted to go straight. He starts chanting, left, left, left and Simone starts chanting, straight, straight, straight. Anyway, if I had gone straight it would have turned into a meltdown and it just isn't worth it. When we got home, Simone wanted to talk to me in "quiet". She started crying and said that she didn't understand why we always go the way Alex wants to.

So there you have to talk to a 6 year old about Autism will be the topic of the day tomorrow.

I often wonder when Alex will start to figure out that he is "different". issue at a time please!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy?? Mother's Day

I'm going to start off with the positives. I woke up with my cheerful kids saying "Happy Mother's Day" and bringing presents to me in bed. Simone made some presents and wrapped them herself. My husband then got out the presents he bought for me from the kids and himself. He did a great job...a Vera Bradley bag and a yoga mat bag. Anyway, he fixed everyone breakfast and then we went to church.

Church....hmmmmm...I remember last year being hard on me sitting in church thinking about everything. Like, why am I a mother of an Autistic child? Why doesn't my own mother help me more? Why doesn't my mother-in-law help me more? Why do I feel like I can't talk to either mother about Alex and Autism without hearing platitudes? I need them to be real. How do I forgive them for continued disappointments? Are my expectations too high? Is all this my fault?

So, the sermon this year was about Ruth and Naomi. How Ruth stood by Naomi when she was bitter. Yes, I am bitter. Very, very bitter. And do I have a Ruth? I would have to say my sister and my sister-in-law but still no one really truly understands. Who really should be my Ruth?

Okay the final song plays at church and I am crying. I go to pick up my children (my husband was helping count $$). Alex is having a meltdown over forgetting his bible and not being able to get a prize from the teacher. We go out to the car where I think the bibles are and of course they aren't there. He proceeds to have a fit and obsesses about not having his bible. The teacher was great and let him have a prize anyway....I do this all the time...try to appease him to just make the situation better. We then went into the church so I could take in food that was in the car and he can't find his prize (left it somewhere)....starts melting down again. I loose it and spank him in church! All the while my husband has no clue as he is counting.

We go to the car and drive to pick up my medical transcription tapes. Alex is screaming in the car so I turn around and spank him again. Feeling just awful on this Mother's Day.

We get back to the church and out comes my husband who is thinking we are headed to lunch to continue our wonderful Mother's Day...Ha! I drive us home crying.

When we get home I start with some angry cleaning of the house. Simone is sick with a fever. I have to cancel my therapy appointment for today since she can't go to school. We had a 5 hour meeting scheduled with Alex's teachers/school staff this morning. Korey had a work commitment he didn't think he could get out of but decided he needed to so he is going to the school this morning for the meeting. I am really happy about this as I don't think I could have emotionally dealt with that today. Also, I feel like all this Autism stuff is on me and I really needed him to go.

We end the night with Korey and I have a nice dinner and Simone and I have ice cream at Dairy Queen and I feel a little better.

After the kids are in bed the real fun begins (not what you are thinking). Korey and I have a deep discussion about Alex, Simone, my feelings, his feelings, Simone's questions about Alex, why our families aren't real about how hard this. I cried and cried. He went to check on the kids before coming to bed. He seemed to take a while and when he came down he was crying. We cry again then go to bed.

So, this morning I got Alex ready for school and he wanted to go in early with Korey to play in his classroom. I started crying when I watched them pull away...still crying now.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wow! This past week has been full of anxiety for mom. Of course all this happened just after going to another therapist appointment where she wants me to start working on relaxation techniques. Ha! It started with my husband being sent to Mexico on Monday (April 27) with all this Swine Flu talk. OMG! He wasn't going near the "outbreak" so his company said it was okay to go. Once he got there they that they shouldn't have sent him. I was so worried he wouldn't get home with all the talk about closing the border. He did finally come home on Wednesday night but we weren't finished. Get this...he wasn't allowed to go to work!! So he worked from home until this Monday (May 4th)!! In the meantime, we were "watching" for symptoms. Everything turned out fine and he went back to work but boy was that all stressful.

To top it off I found out that on Tuesday that Alex was carried out of gym class by the principal. So, that resulted in him loosing his Wii privileges until Friday. His teacher started using sticks in the classroom (not to spank him with but to take away when he is bad). So far since mid-week last week he has only had one taken away. They used a similar method at his previous school.
His behavior at school totally amazes me because I picked him up for a dentist appointment on Wednesday and he was the best EVER at the dentist. He also did really well at piano lessons that day. Not sure what is going on at school.

I just read through a study about depression and anxiety in families with children on the Autism Spectrum. That is so ironic don't you think? Anyway, I found it interesting too that mothers responded to the survey 10 to 1 over the fathers. Seems like most of the stress of raising a child with Autism falls on the mother. I'm also reading a book called "The Explosive Child". I'm about halfway through and can see Alex a lot in this book. I'm hoping it will give some help to the team at school when we meet next week to work on his detailed plan. We are meeting for 4 hours!!! After that I head to a therapy appointment - I'm sure I'll need it!

Simone has been doing awesome at her swim team practices. I am sooooo proud of her. She is fast and often passes other kids. Alex has had one track club practice and it was really cute to watch. I hope his practice goes well tonight although it looks like we will be practicing indoors.

I have been enjoying our patio and deck and reading a lot. One thing I haven't done a lot of lately is scrapbooking. I need to work on that but something is holding me back....hmmm??? My goal for May is to get that done!