Friday, May 27, 2016

Alex CAN talk.

I can't sleep, so here I am to ramble my thoughts away. Remember all the times I've been furious with school staff for not believing Alex could talk? And that one time I told you that Alex could talk...to me and I had to come to terms with the fact that he is non-verbal and that's just that? Today, I would love to climb to the tallest rooftop and scream "BOO-YAH, BITCHES! I TOLD YOU!" but I like to pretend that I have a little more class than that, even if we all know better.

After 14 years, we're all a bit tired of having food thrown at us at the supper table. Sometimes it's because he can, sometimes it's because the dinner conversation takes an offensive turn, such as the day we were arguing the insult of being gay. Someone, not naming names, defended himself by saying that growing up (as if it were so long ago), "gay" was an acceptable insult. I countered that argument with the argument that growing up (which was so long ago), "retard" was an acceptable insult. Alex's bitching started immediately and people ended up painted with food, even though I did apologize and explain that I only used the word to show the ridiculousness of the argument. Anthony sits to Alex's left, I sit to the right. Anthony gets pelted with food, I get freezing drinks thrown at me (sadly, he's moved on to open cups at the table). On this particular occasion, there was no provocation, he just tossed the scrambled egg and it happened to land in Anthony's plate. Anthony looked at the egg, he looked at Alex, in an annoyed tone, he said, "really?" I said, "Really? Alex is nice enough to share his food with you, he loves you enough to make sure you have enough food on your plate that you don't leave the table hungry and he doesn't even get a thank you!?" Alex didn't even look up from his plate, "you're welcome." I was floored. But, that's just the way things have been going.

My little chatterbox is talking to everyone. Well, everyone may be a stretch. He's talking to everyone he cares to, which finally includes his team...but not the subs. He got in trouble (laughingly) for not talking to his last sub. She took his 1:1 aide's place for part of the day and she didn't get a word out of him until his regular aide caught him in the act. She called him on it, he thought it was the funniest thing ever and started talking to the sub.

Knowing all of this, I had to laugh at him today at his yearly check up. His doctor knows that he's "all there" and is perfectly capable of following the conversation and doctor's orders. He got sick last year, pretty bad. Really bad. Dehydration was the worst of it, he ended up in the ER. We got the usual speech on pushing fluids, and the ER doctor told me not to give him anything red to drink. That led to a fight between me and Alex that his doctor had to settle. She's good at involving him and ever since then is sure to let him know that mama is boss and mama knows what she's doing. She's direct, factual, and respectful. He responds to that. Get to the point and move on. The thing is, we have a new, chatty nurse. She's trying so hard to be friendly and to involve him in our conversation, and he just looks at me with this tortured you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me-make-it-stop look, then a miracle happened- he talked to a new person. "goodbye. we go."

Monday, March 14, 2016

Go. To. Sleep!

You remember the promise that babies will learn to sleep through the night before their first birthday? I spend many nights cursing that lie.

I'm starting to think I will never get a full night's sleep again. I may be ok with that, but the temper tantrums that go along with it are driving me insane. Unfortunately, alcohol and sleeping pills don't mix or this misadventure could be made a little more tolerable.

I believe I've told you that my goofy one has trouble sleeping. We've done sleep meds and sleep studies and taken tonsils and adenoids out and still we don't sleep. Survey says... wait for it... *just* ADHD. *Just* ADHD has no cure and the amount of medication you pour into your child needs to be limited or you get some crazy-ass side effects like insomnia. Oh, wait...

Anyway, the child is not in any way over-medicated, promise. I actually just had a reasonable, helpful, and polite discussion with his school over his medication (no sarcasm). I have become desperate for calm evenings and at least a few consecutive hours of sleep so I picked up his 12:30 meds to give him after school instead. We then decided that his fragile self esteem- specifically regarding school work and classroom behavior in front of peers- is a bigger issue, a higher priority, than my sanity, especially considering the risk of insomnia -_- so I have to take the meds back as soon as I get a chance. Eventually.

The discussion over his meds and my determination for him to sleep didn't just jump out of the blue. We were actually meeting over his truancy. Between doctor's appointments, sleep issues, and his refusal to get ready for school because he hates everything about it....he's missed more school than is allowed. Then there are the tardies. Our counselor says I'm not supposed to hover or nag or in any way feed the negative attention seeking. It's supposed to calm our relationship. He's late for school every day. He and Alex both have to be at school at 9 and I'll be damned if Alex is late for school because Aiden can't get his shit together.

I quit one of my jobs, I started disabling all electronics so he wouldn't be able to entertain himself in the middle of the night, and I've started sitting up until he's definitely asleep. It takes a long frigging time. Then once he's asleep, I go to bed and he comes to find me because his leg hurts, his neck hurts, his belly hurts, he's hungry, he's thirsty, he's bored, he's scared, he's cold, he's hot....you know the neverending list. And, I'm about to strangle him.

It's not so much the lack of sleep, although I don't doubt that it contributes, but the screaming and crying and accusations of being an uncaring, horrible mother who doesn't even care about her kids and threatening to run away to live in the wild or to run away to live at Daddy's house because HE actually takes care of his kids is about pushing me to the point that the counselor can shove his no spanking rule where the sun don't shine....but his current advice is not to engage and to know that this will pass.

It's 10:05 pm...I haven't heard a word out of that one for a full 60 seconds, so maybe the counselor is onto something...

Alex, on the other hand, is wide awake and doesn't seem ready to settle down any time soon.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Taking On Depression... One Day at a Time

I've been angry lately. Frustrated beyond measure. I'm struggling with depression, which is an on-going battle for me that will never end, it is what it is, but it's been hard lately. I am medicated now, but since switching from Lexapro to Celexa because of the price difference and winter's dark days moving in, I've been struggling more.

My entire life is taking care of other people. I do home health care, I'm the president of Alex's PTO, and I am a parent. Helping people seems to be what I was born to do, in every stage of my life helping others is where I have ended up and for the most part, I enjoy it. The problem comes when the depression kicks up.

When the depression kicks up, I need something. Just something, I don't know what I need until I find it but that doesn't stop me from resenting the people that I take care of. Even on my worst days, there is a whole line of "I need" waiting for me to do it because no one else can or will. We are all familiar with the oxygen mask by now, I'm sure. You have to take care of yourself before you can care for the people who depend on you, but what do you do when you don't even have the interest or energy to meet your own needs? When you are so burnt out that you can't?

I look at the people around me, and their needs piss me off. Can't they see that they are killing me? No matter how much I do, there is always "just one more thing," one more "quick favor" from people in a "desperate" situation or the people I am responsible for by birth or choice. I look at them with their off-handed request for something so simple and I think, what the fuck is wrong with you that you think you can keep asking me for shit? Don't you see where I am? Where is my help? Where is my support? Why, in all of the people I am in contact with on a regular basis, the people who take and take and take, why can not one single person see the serious trouble I am in and offer me an oxygen mask?

This cycle of negative thinking and resentment feeds the depression and it's impossible to get out.

Then something logical pops up and it clicks. We were watching an episode of Criminal Minds the other night. Some things on the show seem to have changed since the last time I was able to watch. In this episode, they take more time to explain the mental disorder and be like "oh, no. uh-uh. Plenty of people have this disorder and don't go all psycho." paraphrased. This episode involved a woman with depression. It was one quick scene in the woman's bedroom that just snapped everything into place. The mess. Clutter and disorder are signs of depression. I knew that. Along with the closed curtains, locked doors, excessive sleeping, and withdrawal. I looked at the woman's room, and I looked around our home. I could clearly see MY depression. Seeing the signs in someone else reminded me that in this house, I'm not only dealing with my depression.

Three out of five of us have depression of some sort, and I can clearly see that we are headed for a forth diagnosis in Aiden, my goofy baby. I sat there surprised. I look around and wonder why they can't see my trouble and why they won't help me, when I can just as easily look around and see their trouble and that they need help. Our cycles are synced, so they say.

This changed things for me. At least for the moment, you know. It's a one day at a time kind of thing. Today, I am ok. I have had decades of practice fighting my own symptoms, while they have not. I know what I need to do for  myself, and in helping myself, I can lead them. That is my hope, anyway.