How to turn your frustration upside down

So, for those of you who have been playing the at home version of  “Kick the Autistic Kid” while she’s down, I have an update.  The decision came back from the Appeals court today.  It’s not good.  Basically it was shot down because the venue court did not file stamp things in our file appropriately.  The other reason was because I did not order transcripts.  It was just unreasonable to ask for transcripts of every hearing because they dragged things out so much.  The transcript thing was a ploy to bankrupt me.

So, my head is still somewhat reeling from the disappointment and frustration of it all.  I really needed something to change here.  Of course, true to form, nothing changed.  Di told me to realise that I’m no worse off than I was.  Which I’m not.  I also need to remember that my ex had to spend hundreds of dollars to drag this stupidity out.  Which is a victory, but as one dear friend said, a Pyrrhic victory.  I also need to remember that I’ve very effectively blocked them from doing anything through the corrupt Delaware county courts for a year.  That’s the bonus.

I don’t really know what my next move is, yet.  I’m working really hard on not going into full meltdown, but I have a feeling that it’s not going to last very long.  I guess I feel very depressed, disappointed, and frustrated.  I want to break something and maybe kill a few zombies.  It’s much more frustrating because I’m really trying hard not to be in total meltdown.  It’s not a nice feeling.  When avoiding meltdown, you are usually left with this very angry feeling.

Don’t get me wrong, the angry feeling was mostly already there.  There are a lot of people to be very irritated at here.  The judge, my ex’s lawyers, the system, my ex, Kale, my dad, maybe even me and the Best Buy guy.  I don’t know who to be mad at and that’s even more frustrating.  It just seems like anyone that I’m mad at is not the right person.

There are many people in my life that have supported me throughout all of this.  Di always tells me that I have a right to whatever roller coaster feeling I’m feeling at any given minute of any given day.  The Diamond Boobies gave me the courage to believe in my writing ability and to get through this.  Without them, I never would have believed I could write an appeal.  Or anything that was worth anything for that matter.  The Best Buy guy finally grew a brain and supported me a little better.  I’ve discovered who actually was part of my support system and who was just causing drama.

I’m working very hard to find the positive part of all this.  I’m not having much luck today.  Tomorrow may be better.  My brain needs to feel like it’s drowning for a little while, then it will kick in and figure out what to do next.  I have to have the meltdown to get there, though.  I will.  I always do.  It just sucks to have someone pat my ex on the ass and tell him that what he did was okay.  It’s not what was said, but that’s how my ex will look at it.  A pat on the head.  A big gold star that he is human.  Which he isn’t.  So stop thinking that it’s possible.

I will get through this somehow.  Don’t worry.  It’s always just a little setback and then I can move on.  My brain will figure it out.  It always does.

How to Tell Your Kid He’s Autistic

There seems to be a real rash of TV shows needing to tell kids that they are autistic.  There was a lot of stuff last week when they made the big announcement on “Parenthood”.  I don’t watch the show and didn’t tune in especially for this.  However, I looked at the blitz that was in the media afterward, and I wasn’t impressed.  I’ve caught two shows this week that were in reruns along the same topic.  One was “Scrubs” in which the mean doctor tells his wife that their son is autistic.

One thing that bothers me about all of this is first of all that parents act as if the diagnosis is some sort of death sentence for their child.  I don’t care where your child is on the spectrum, parents need to look at the diagnosis as a name that will enable their child to get services in the school system.  That’s the biggest obstacle right there.  Getting services in the school system for your child that has this social issue which translates into all sorts of things.

In this new age of more proactive early intervention services and more proactive parents who are persistent and do not accept the opinion of one doctor if they really feel that there is an issue with their child, the diagnosis especially for kids on the higher end of the spectrum is becoming more common earlier on.  Doctors and therapists who do not have their fingers on the pulse of the autistic community, do not understand that the traditional signs are not as accurate or traditional as they used to be in light of the higher functioning autistic brain.  I still hear things like “they make eye contact, so there is no chance of being autistic” or “they can talk, so there’s no autism issues”.  My favourite is “we’re only seeing a few sensory things and they aren’t that severe”. 

My experience has been that sensory issues, if dealt with early are easier to curtail later on.  It’s also easier to make a repetitive tic more “normal” looking if you start early and modify it down.

The topic at hand still is that overwhelming question of how do you tell your kid?  At our house it was more of a process of putting a real working label on what was already going on at our house.  We already knew that Kale didn’t think the same way as other kids and we already had figured out several ways of combatting that at our house.  Not everyone appreciates the quirky wonderfulness that is the epitome of our children, but there are ways to make the kid okay with it and in translation other people are more okay with it, too.

I know for most parents, they are so worried about the stigma that is the diagnosis that they forget about the good stuff that comes along with it.  It’s very important to remember that giving a name to something that is going on with your child means that someone else has had this issue.  That’s a good thing.  It means that you are not alone.  It means that your child is not alone.  For most of us adults on the spectrum, it was a moment of “okay, I’m not crazy.  There’s a name for this, so that means that at least one other guy out there has this.  That means that I’m not the only weirdo in the universe.”  In spite of what you might think, it really is a comforting thought.

Believe me, if your kid has gotten to school age and they have not realised that they are different…then you have a way big problem on your hands.  the key here is to not turn the different into the equivalent of bad.  Having some self confidence in that difference and realising that it’s okay to look at things from a different perspective does a great deal for a kid.  I’ve often said that I grew up thinking that there was something inherently wrong with me and that I could just change the way I was if I just thought about it a little harder.  That is not a good mindset to have.  It took me a long time to realise that parents who grew up in a cookie cutter world just couldn’t understand not being a cookie.

As I said, at our house, it was more a struggle to get a name put to the “problem” than actually dealing with the “problem”.  The hardest thing in our universe was getting my family to understand that it didn’t change Kale to have this label.  It just changed the way that the school was dealing with his pretty unique issues.  We still dealt with him the exact same way. 

The next thing was getting Kale’s dad to deal with the label.  He’s never dealt with it.  Truthfully, you can’t have a kid like ours and not know that there’s some stuff going on there that is not like other kids.  You can’t have a kid like ours and not know that he is the proverbial square peg in a round hole.  A very square peg in a very round hole.  So, not dealing with it is doing a huge dis-service to yourself and the kid.  You can’t tell someone not to tic or not to have physical things because that is involuntary.  Can’t help that. Can’t stop it.  So move on.  It’s a stress reaction to whatever is going on. Truthfully, that little tick sometimes keeps my mouth out of trouble.

My main goal as a parent of a kid who was the same brand of weird as I was to raise him knowing that weird was okay and it was not a bad word.  My goal was that he would be happy and comfortable in his skin and never think that his way of doing things was not okay for him.  Quirkiness is in the eye of the beholder and truthfully not everyone can just go through life with everything just clicking into place and swimming along with the current.  Some people are destined and determined to swim upstream and against the current, that is their purpose. 

I don’t know how you are going to tell your kid about the spectrum.  I only know what worked for our family.  However, if I can make a suggestion or two….make it obvious that there is nothing wrong with it.  Make it certain that having a name for what’s going on with you helps people who provide help to others to provide the help that is most likely to be very good for you.  Make it evident that the unique way of thinking that comes along with the spectrum is not so great in the cookie cutter world of public school systems but very sought after in the world as we know it.  Although every strives to be the same in this small portion of the world we live in, it is not in reality what makes the world a better place to live in.

People who march to their own drummers are the ones that change the world and make it better for those of you who can’t find your inner drummer.  People who go against the grain and the current are the ones who ask the really big questions and make us all think about what we are really doing in this world and to this world.  People who have their own drummers and their own paintbrushes and their own microscopes are the ones who change the world and usually for the better.  These people are integral to the world advancing in a positive way.

I think alot about the commercial where they ask what would happen if we stuck with the first thing that was invented.  Without the Japanese inventing the electronic shrink ray for every product out there, we would still be carrying around bag phones that only fit in your trunk.  Without the genius who said, why shouldn’t our phones be more like our computers, there would be no facebook, no twitter, no foursquare or any of the other diversions that we all love and have become enslaved to.

I love the idea of the tablet computer.  I practically carry my netbook with me everywhere I go anyway, especially around NaNo time in November.  I really love the idea of a computer that interfaces by plugging your phone into it.  I’ve told my husband that if he’ll buy me a tablet, that I will get rid of my netbook, my Kindle and my Zune because they can all be segwayed into the tablet.  All of my devices in one one simple device seems like some futuristic wet dream that I can actually touch.  If that device would be my camera and my phone imagine the possibilities.  I am and it makes me giddy.

So, the bottom line is that I don’t know how you are going to tell your kid.  I don’t know what works for your family.  I can only tell you what worked for mine.  I know that you need to be sensible and not treat it as if it’s some sort of death sentence that can’t be dealt with.  I know that I wish someone in my life would have understood that my wildly creative imagination was a gift and not something that should have been condensed into a box.

Good luck with telling your kid if you need to.  If you need advice, just ask.  Good luck with making your family understand.  For them, you will need to be armed.  Good luck with dealing with it yourself if you aren’t on the spectrum.  For that you will need to be armed, too.

It’s an Autistic Week

I never know when I’m going to have an off day.  I’ve been having a serious week of them this week.  I assume that my “autie-sense” knows when things are going to good and I need kicked in the gut.  It’s prolly trying to warn me.

So, as I said, it’s been an entire slew of off days this week. I don’t know why.  I don’t know how to fix it. I just know that it makes me feel like something is truly wrong and I don’t know how to make it feel better at all. 

It’s usually just a culmination of things.  As I said, it’s my brain’s way of saying, “Wow, things have been going pretty well lately and well, I’ve assessed that they are just going too well, so it’s about time for someone to come along and stamp EPIC FAIL on your forehead.”  Mine is almost always some aspect of me getting a little too comfortable in my skin and forgetting that I’m supposed to be a robot and not a real girl, so to speak.

I forever am puzzled about why the social rules seem to be just known by everyone else in the universe and why I seem to screw them up so colossally!  It’s a never ending maze to me this path of social interaction.  I never know what I’m supposed to do.  I don’t just see the clues that all of you neurotypical people fling about so off handedly.  Those little facial expressions are lost on me.  Those little hand motions are lost on me.  I don’t know what the hell you are doing, so stop doing it!

I sometimes wish that people came with those neon ticker tape signs on their chests…well, maybe they should be on their foreheads so that they’ll think that I’m looking at them.  I want these signs to say things like….”even though I’m smiling at you, I’m really wondering why you are so freaking clueless”…or  “even though my words are nice, I’m really saying something that you are going to find hugely upsetting”….or “I’m stabbing you in the back while I’m pretending to be your friend”.  See, if people came equipped with signs, I would never have any doubt about the reality of any situation because your sign would tell me the non-verbal crap that I’m supposed to gain through whatever demented kind of osmosis you people use.

And I know that I’m taking things too personally which prolly has some other kind of meaning, but I’m too stressed by all this input to deal with that right now.  People just don’t understand how easily our systems are overloaded and how that one little silly thing that you are adding to it is prolly going to put me into tears for no particular reason whatsoever.

I know that part of my issue is that I’m frustrated over my health issues.  I fell and hurt my kneww over Christmas while I was so godawful sick and the doctor told me that it was arthritis that was extra irritated.  But it’s not getting any better and now my shoulder is really irritating me.  So, I know that part of my frustration is coming from this non stop pain I’m having.  I’m getting really tired of waking up every morning numb on one side from my shoulder hurting and numb on the other side from my knee hurting. It won’t go away and it isn’t getting better, so I find this almost too much to bear sometimes.

I know I’m over stimulated before I even come to work, and work does not help any.  Not usually anyway.  I find myself feeling unhappy and frustrated with everything these days.  Again, I don’t know why.  I think it’s why I come home, sit in front of the telly and sew all night, though.  Because my brain feels overtaxed from coping all day with the penny ante crap that doesn’t really matter.

So, I guess that was the real point of today’s blog.  That my brain is feeling overtaxed and is screaming out loud at me all day.  So, when I go home at night, I feel very compelled to just do nothing so that I can maybe get soemthing out.  It’s my old theory of keeping the little guy in the back of my brain busy, so that the front of my brain can work on problems without him telling me all about what I should be working out.

I’ve tried to make sure that the things that I do when I get to feeling this way are the things that really relax me.  I sew alot because all of those tiny stitches in nice little perfect rows really do relax me.  I hate admitting that I do things that are so obviously autistic, but I really do enjoy the mindless repetition sometimes.  It just seems to let my brain do what it needs to do without interfering with anything else.