Thursday, 6 October 2016

Day 809


Two years ago I knew nothing about ASD and then my child turned 14 and the whole world changed for us as a family.
He was depressed, unfriendly and unmotivated.He couldn’t get out of bed and couldn’t do his school work. Shutdowns daily and meltdowns too were becoming a problem.
Both him and I looked at ourselves and did internet research which pointed us to a strong suspicion of Aspergers.
I self-referred to CAMHS (Child Adolescent mental health Services) and the intake nurse asked immediately if we’d heard of Aspergers.
A diagnosis and pills came next but neither helped and he got to breaking point and we both were very frightened.There seemed to be no practical help.


I had to change my perspective entirely on what was right for my child.
I took him out of school at 15 and stopped all pressure and allowed him time to recover but not hibernate in his room.Small bite sized programmes of activities.
My priorities are now life first then happiness and mainstream education comes a long way down the list.


By sheer chance, a small group of Tauranga people were looking at forming a social support group for atypical kids. I heard about this through the wonderful Dorothy at Aspergers Connections , Tauranga.
I went to the initial meeting at Parent to Parent Tauranga which was standing room only and both my teen and myself left knowing this for for us. We were desperate to be involved.
Mockingbird was formed and began in Feb 2016.It its now an incorporated society of which I am the President and I am there to help most days we are open.


We are open three days a week 9.30am-2.30pm .Even holidays we still open with reduced times because no one wants to leave.
Our approach acknowledges ASD,Tourettes,OCD,ADHD  and other atypical kids as differently-abled not disabled.
We are a judgement free zone in a cosy,home like environment.Grab a sofa and chill.
We cater to sensory needs like light, sound and space. We are totally relaxed about time and food.No bells ring here,no lines,no exams,no bullies.
We minimise stress to enable kids to get below the hyper-arousal line which allows them to be relaxed as their true selves.
Humour and kindness with understanding and compassion is how we work.
These kids who have seemed difficult and oppositional in the mainstream setting are now
a delightful and caring bunch of kids who just hum together.
Adults with aspergers are a valuable resource for our kids.Amazing mentors and role models.
We have Jason Edgecombe and behavioural consultant, Ross Barker as part of our team.Their input has been a big part of us getting it right.Ross has volunteered help with layout and day to day dynamics of our group. His intuitive knowledge is widely respected in our community and many parents have come to him after a long and unsucessful  journey trying to help their kids.


My son and I have been going to Mockingbird Inc all year and he is a different kid.Much calmer and I see smiles now.He is able to express himself far more and understand his responses to situations clearly.He comes out of his room and I get cuddles again.For me it has meant new life long friendships and support from other people who totally get it.


Some parents have asked me for private mentoring for their daughters and I had seen the work Jason Edgecombe (featured last month) has done with his Dungeons and Dragons programme, which my son goes to. I decided there  was a need for a separate teen girls group. A place where they could make friends and feel safe to talk about their personal thoughts and feelings. Along the way I would include some chats and activities such as grooming, friendships, body image, safety and other topics parents suggested.This has become a small business for myself which I can run from home and sometimes kids just take it better from someone else.


It might seem high hopes but my dream for the future is to see these kids right through to adulthood and a comfortable and stress free retirement.
The other families and myself are working towards the goal of having a co-op, community place where young and old can perhaps share training,work and sustainable living.
Often anxieties make full time employment difficult for us and therefore money and housing is often an issue.


As a group we are now looking at leasing a property in Tauranga to get this going.Our chances may be slim but we have to try and make this happen.

It is my goal for my son to be happy,have a safe community and a reason to get out of bed  long after I’m gone.If he can help some other people as well to save suffering and hardship then I will feel I have done my job.

Day 809

Two years ago I knew nothing about ASD and then my child turned 14 and the whole world changed for us as a family.
He was depressed, unfriendly and unmotivated.He couldn’t get out of bed and couldn’t do his school work. Shutdowns daily and meltdowns too were becoming a problem.
Both him and I looked at ourselves and did internet research which pointed us to a strong suspicion of Aspergers.
I self-referred to CAMHS (Child Adolescent mental health Services) and the intake nurse asked immediately if we’d heard of Aspergers.
A diagnosis and pills came next but neither helped and he got to breaking point and we both were very frightened.There seemed to be no practical help.

I had to change my perspective entirely on what was right for my child.
I took him out of school at 15 and stopped all pressure and allowed him time to recover but not hibernate in his room.Small bite-sized programmes of activities.
My priorities are now life first then happiness and mainstream education comes a long way down the list.

By sheer chance, a small group of Tauranga people were looking at forming a social support group for atypical kids. I heard about this through the wonderful Dorothy at Aspergers Connections , Tauranga.
I went to the initial meeting at Parent to Parent Tauranga which was standing room only and both my teen and myself left knowing this for us. We were desperate to be involved.
Mockingbird was formed and began in Feb 2016.It is now an incorporated society of which I am the President and I am there to help most days we are open.

We are open three days a week 9.30am-2.30pm .Even holidays we still open with reduced times because no one wants to leave.
Our approach acknowledges ASD,Tourettes,OCD,ADHD  and other atypical kids as differently-abled not disabled.
We are a judgement free zone in a cosy,home-like environment.Grab a sofa and chill.
We cater to sensory needs like light, sound and space. We are totally relaxed about time and food.No bells ring here,no lines,no exams,no bullies.
We minimise stress to enable kids to get below the hyper-arousal line which allows them to be relaxed as their true selves.
Humour and kindness with understanding and compassion is how we work.
These kids who have seemed difficult and oppositional in the mainstream setting are now 
a delightful and caring bunch of kids who just hum together.
Adults with Aspergers are a valuable resource for our kids.Amazing mentors and role models.
We have Jason Edgecombe and behavioural consultant, Ross Barker as part of our team.Their input has been a big part of us getting it right.Ross has volunteered help with layout and day to day dynamics of our group. His intuitive knowledge is widely respected in our community and many parents have come to him after a long and unsuccessful  journey trying to help their kids.

My son and I have been going to Mockingbird Inc all year and he is a different kid.Much calmer and I see smiles now.He is able to express himself far more and understand his responses to situations clearly.He comes out of his room and I get cuddles again.For me, it has meant new life-long friendships and support from other people who totally get it.

Some parents have asked me for private mentoring for their daughters and I had seen the work Jason Edgecombe (featured last month) has done with his Dungeons and Dragons programme, which my son goes to. I decided there  was a need for a separate teen girls group. A place where they could make friends and feel safe to talk about their personal thoughts and feelings. Along the way, I would include some chats and activities such as grooming, friendships, body image, safety and other topics parents suggested.This has become a small business for myself which I can run from home and sometimes kids just take it better from someone else.

It might seem high hopes but my dream for the future is to see these kids right through to adulthood and a comfortable and stress-free retirement.
The other families and myself are working towards the goal of having a co-op, community place where young and old can perhaps share training,work and sustainable living.
Often anxieties make full-time employment difficult for us and therefore money and housing is often an issue.

As a group, we are now looking at leasing a property in Tauranga to get this going.Our chances may be slim but we have to try and make this happen.


It is my goal for my son to be happy,have a safe community and a reason to get out of bed  long after I’m gone.If he can help some other people as well to save suffering and hardship then I will feel I have done my job.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Day 795


Okay,turns out I wasn't done at all.
I have continued to grow and learn about myself.While it's true that that is just life I believe most of the insights and personal growth I've had wouldn't have been possible had I still been drinking.
In fact my health both physical and mental was on a downward spiral.No doubt about it.

I have separated from the fisherman which was very sad after ten years but our differences were greater than we could stand so we have gone our own ways amicably and I am now living in the city with the kids while he is still on the farm.

Six months later and I haven't looked back much.I am sad for the loss but not deeply so.
I know this is right for me.
I could never live with someone who drinks every day again.

The kids are doing brilliantly and the teen has come out as trans and wants to be known as a boy from now on.The younger one has handled this with love and understanding beyond his years and I'm incredibly proud of them both.
For the teen it's great he feel supported enough to have the courage to be his true self and I am thrilled he has come through these changes doing so well.He is going for design college next year.

I am supporting him for the rest of this year and I have started a business mentoring atypical teens and doing some respite care too.I hope to build this into a full time income by time he is settled back into main stream schooling next year or I can leave it part time if he needs me for longer.I have alway preferred to be self employed.
I have also just started a 20 week course on understanding teens with ASD.
I am still heavily involved with the home school social support group which we go to three days a week.


This does naturally get me to thinking about my own youth and the confusions I faced and how I handled them.
I went from being an insecure, introverted grumpy kid to an anxious teen who couldn't look up or go to a bank,post office or even cash my own pay check.I vomited from stress daily.

Sometime in my late teens- early 20's I learned enough about what society wanted from me and I began to carefully construct the Charlie before you today.It's taken years of study.
I am made up of bits and pieces you see.
I know I come across as confident and well groomed.Inside is still the gangly red head in a second hand dress,chewing the collar.

I have learned by looking and seeing what is best.Safest.Above ridicule.
I have a deep fear of being seen as below standard,unlikable or unattractive as a person so I have made myself be the person I feel I have to be to be acceptable.

While most of you  might be thinking we are all made of opinions and tastes we have seen in others I really mean it more literally.
I'm like a rag doll sewn of the right thread count,Rodd silver,whitened teeth,self deprecating humour,home baking and good manners.


I might not feel real but the one cool thing I know though is the love for my kids is not fake it is the truest thing about me and I have unlimited faith and strength in them and for them.

Having seen my own child get to the point of suicide and madness I now find in incredibly easy to want to help other atypical kids in the same place.Also to help their parents find an easier path through the minefield of agencies, experts, red tape and bullshit.

Kindness is such a simple way to tell another struggling soul that there is love to be found in this world.
















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Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Day 549

After hitting a personal speed bump with my thinking a few days ago I have woken up today with clarity.
Clarity is this beautiful pure white feeling that no matter what happens in my life I will deal with it sober.
I'm sure it's all been building towards this point.
So many times in my life when I was younger and making decisions (some big ones too) I winged them because I was pissed and I'm just lucky I am here today relatively unscathed.

 It makes me sad for that totally unsupported and baffled young woman that chose that route as an option because people and life were too too hard to deal with.I couldn't see any other way and I had no one to show me.
Now I am on a mission to make sure my own precious daughter has everything she needs for her spirit to fly and be the amazing woman I know she can become.
This I am going to do with 100 % of my will power because that's how much I now have to offer.

Having  dealt with all that has happened in the last 549 days worst of all two unsuccessful suicide attempts by my daughter I now truly  believe I will live my life as best I can and deal with what ever comes along sober.I have not one desire to ever drink again
.
That doesn't make the big raw feelings and heightened anxiety go away but it just means I am finally not throwing wine into the mix to distort them and fuck with my head and make the traffic in my head drive have to through thick misty fog.

The actions I take in my life will be the choices I have made consciously not events that happened because I was too drunk to control them.
This is my last blog because I am done.




Thursday, 14 January 2016

Day 543

That last post was just a little too smug wasn't it? Who thought the 500's were safe as houses?
Maybe I was a bit to show offy in my perfectly good life.(said in a scathing tone to self)
A few things have happened that I can't blog about because they involve other people.But they have put me in a vulnerable state and and having to face my own demons past and present.
Bugger,cos I thought I had it all sussed and now I feel like I'm not the person I thought I was.Suddenly I'm a stranger.
I feel like I have woken up in someone else's sober life.That is a big call and I actually can't go having mid life dramas and doubt about what I'm doing. I need to be strong and stable for my family.What I feel is all over the place.
Some of it has to be my Aspie traits and once I get fixated on an idea or situation is just keep building in my head until I can't eat or sleep or focus.
I nearly killed myself on a round about today pulling out without looking because I had my head in the clouds.Not pink clouds either.
For the first time since I got sober I am on shaky grounds emotionally.
Since I can't eat or sleep this adds to the wobbly feeling.Hyper arousal I think it's called.
This came out of the blue and is a combination of a few events.Know what causes it is no cure and my brain just won't let it go.It's like a dog with a bone mulling over shit and living a life that is not in this present moment.arrrgh!
Enough writing round in circles.I thought it might help but it hasn't. I don't know what will.Maybe just time.
I plan to up the exercise and hopefully stormy waters will pass.


Thursday, 9 July 2015

Day 354


Craziness is not seeing or hearing someone who isn't there it's NOT seeing or hearing someone who IS there.

Hitting the one year mark of sobriety ( I used to despise  that word but I don't mind it now) is kind of like New Years Eve.You get all introspective and look back and evaluate where you've come from and where you're headed.
This blog has been great because I can read the old posts and see how much has changed,how much I have changed.
Before I was a highly strung,slightly resentful wine guzzler who numbed myself to help me cope with life and stress.
It didn't work and it was making me sick and sorry so I had to try a new way.So I pulled the pin on piss.
I can report back that I have had not one day where I regretted my decision.Not one day that I thought my life would be better with booze in it.I'm proud of myself for sticking to it.

On a physical level I have dropped a dress size and lost the bloated face.I feel well in myself and all dizziness and nausea have gone.I sleep well every single night.Holy crap!! Every single night!!!!.I am more conscious of what I put in my body,my posture and learning what my triggers for stress are.I have't had any tests but I imagine my liver, brain and many other organs are grateful

This year has bought the death of two family members,my child's diagnosis of autism,purchase of a larger property( and larger still mortgage) and other  family issues that go under the heading of 'shit happens' I could never have guessed so much would happen and how much I would need to be sober and strong to cope.Incredible timing.
I think I have coped bloody amazingly.I have cried,ached,worried and dealt with everything that has come along.I have not hid or clocked out at 5 o'clock.
If someone needed me,and they have,I have been available 24/7.
Slowly but surely a feeling pf pride has come over me.Self respect too.I believe in myself and also a new,stronger belief in the love for my partner and really seeing how strong my feelings for our family and extended family are.
I have faith in my strength as a mother and supportive partner,daughter and sister.Like I'm getting to be one of those cool old elephants.
In fact I believe in myself a whole lot more and I think I am capable of all sorts of amazing things.Who knows what I might do next.
The biggest thing for me and it's still developing is becoming more mindful.Letting go of the controls has always been an issue for me.
Is a problem still a problem if you don't worry about it?
I'm not talking about your visa bill but that dumb voice that gets caught up in past conversations,other peoples shit,and what they think or did.The unending record that goes round and round in your head.
I have learned to gently stop myself and pull myself back to the present and let it wash over me.
My happiness is right here and I have it.
I don't think I can ever stop working on these things because it's human nature and habits of a life time but I have figured out what is working for me and it's sits well with me and I'm comfortable.
I look forward to the next year and hope my personal growth continues and that the people I love benefit.I don't want to stop here I want to keep improving and getting stronger.