sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist and and a spiritual being having a human experience

Posts tagged ‘letting go’

My 500 Words: Day 11

Habits

I found myself saying this morning, I guess I should write before I get ready for work.

I started this challenge at the beginning of the year, to write 500 words every day.

The first 2 days, I used the regular wordpress site and it counted my words for me. Then I switched to the app on my iPad and there was no word count, still wonder if there is a way to access it. Yet, I decided that writing regularly was far more important than how many words I write. For me, coming up with 500 words is NOT my issues. I can ramble on for endless amount of words easily. For me, the challenge was getting into the habit. Finding time each day no matter what other things are going on in my life, to write. I had to forgive myself when. After 2 days of consecutive writing, I missed a day (or was it several days?).

Here I am on January 29, 2018 and so proud of myself for writing 11 times, on my blog. That does not even include all the writing I have done in my gratitude journal. I just counted, 13 days writing in my gratitude journal this month and for nearly the past week, I have written every day.

Progress

Consistency

Peace

Writing is my form of medication (I intended to write meditation). It brings me so much peace, as does music.

I have also learned to write in the silence to really hear my, inner voice…

Being in the quiet, no one else around, that was a challenge to sit with my own thoughts without distraction.

I have found peace in the process and have done much writing from that space and I also love writing with music, earbuds in so I am in my own world in my head.

Music

Feeds my soul

Uplifts me

Expresses my mood, my feelings

Allows

Me to feel whatever it is that i am feeling

Acceptance

Of where I am

RIGHT NOW

Sometimes the lyrics of the song really speak to my current emotions, challenges

Often the lyrics speak to me in that way

And today, Elton John singing Tiny Dancer as I wrote

Provided soothing empowering music as I wrote

I didn’t even hear the lyrics until I paused to think halfway through writing

Music

Transports me to a sacred place

Connects me to my soul

Here are those amazing perfectly timed lyrics

Here Comes the Sun…..

Little Darlin’ it’s been a long and cold winter

Little darlin’ it feels like years since it’s been here

Lifting from the depression I have experienced

Home

“Home”

Hold on to me as we go

As we roll down this unfamiliar road

And although this wave, wave is stringing us along

Just know you’re not alone

‘Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear

Don’t pay no mind to the demons

They fill you with fear

The trouble—it might drag you down

If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone

‘Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

Ooo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo. Oo-oo-oo-oo [2x]

Aaa-aa-aa-aa-aa-aa-aa. Aa-aa-aa-aaaaaa [4x]

Settle down, it’ll all be clear

Don’t pay no mind to the demons

They fill you with fear

The trouble—it might drag you down

If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone

‘Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

Come on!

Ooo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo. Ao-oo-oo-oo [4x]

Aaa-aa-aa-aa-aa-aa-aa. Aa-aa-aa-aaaaaa [4x]

Thank you azlyrics.

Thank you Phillip Phillips

Thank you Beatles

Thank you Elton John

And now, allowing myself to feel sadness and loss

With Fleetwood Mac:

“Landslide”

I took my love, I took it down

I climbed a mountain and I turned around

And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills

‘Till the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?

Can the child within my heart rise above?

Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?

Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing

‘Cause I’ve built my life around you

But time makes you bolder

Even children get older

And I’m getting older too

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing

‘Cause I’ve built my life around you

But time makes you bolder

Even children get older

And I’m getting older too

Oh, I’m getting older too

Oh, take my love, take it down

Oh, climb a mountain and turn around

And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills

Well the landslide will bring it down

And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills

Well the landslide will bring it down, oh oh

The landslide will bring it down

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Aunt Rosemarie

In loving memory of my dear Aunt Rosemarie

December 20, 1953- January 20, 2018

The first thing that comes to mind

Is my first year living on my own in Charlotte

I moved there in November of 1992 from Pennsylvania

I worked at the rehab hospital and only had off on Christmas Day

My parents were in Pa and my sister 3 hours away

So I spent the day with my Aunt Rosemarie, Uncle Stan and his 3 kids

They lived in Greenville, SC just an hour and half away

I was 23 and have fond memories of talking with Stan’s 3 kids, who are all about my age

I got together often with my Aunt who traveled to Charlotte for her work

She adopted Zach in January of 1997

I vividly remember her telling me she was adopting, maybe the month before

I recall thinking, that’s why you bought the mini van…

I found out I was pregnant in March of 1997 and can see myself holding baby Zach

Looking forward to becoming a mother as well, the same year as my aunt

I know she lived in Ohio In the 70s when we also lived there

And I do recall her being around throughout my life

Yet becoming mothers together in 1997 made me feel closer to her than I had ever felt

We met up at my parents house on Lake Murray and Zach called my son, baby Harrison

Then one day, they were nearly the same age

They came to Harrison’s Christening, Zach at just over a year eating everything in sight

My parents took Harrison to Atlanta to go see my cousin Stephen skate, meeting up with Rosemarie and Zach

They played uno with Grammy and stacked the deck when she was not looking

In many ways, Harrison and Zach were two of a kind

Abby came along 4 years later and I remember how tender Zach was with baby Abby

Obviously learning from his mom who loved children dearly

My aunt Rosemarie had 3 careers before becoming a mom, but like me, being a mom was the best

I remember how much energy she poured into becoming a mother and to Zach when he came along

She inspired me in so many ways to be the mother that I am

I remember going to Aunt Rosemarie and Uncle Stan’s wedding in 1988 in Annapolis, MD.

My parents were on a trip far away

But My sister brought my brother from eastern PA and picked me up at Elizabethtown College and then we went to MD

I realize now that my Aunts and uncles have really been more like cousins to me, many of who are so much closer to my age than are my much younger cousins

Aunt Rosemarie was only 16 years older than me, just 5 years older than my husband

It is so bizarre coming to Atlanta and not getting to talk with her

She was the center of family gatherings, hosting 3 family reunions here in Georgia in the summers of 2011, 2013, and 2015

I am so glad I came to all 3 and spent the time with my family

There is a hole without her present

And yet, I feel her close to my heart

Urging me to write and share my truth

I could go on with more memories and yet I will close this post with the inscription from inside her memory card

I’ld like the memory of me

to be a happy one.

I’ld like to leave an echo

whispering softly down the ways…

Of happy times, & laughing times,

and bright and sunny days.

I’ld like the tears of those who grieve

to dry before the Sun,

Of happy memories that I leave behind

when the day is done.

My 500 Words: In the Silence

Silence

Sitting in my living room with a hot cup of tea

No music

Just me and the keyboard

Words

Coming to me slowly

As i take time for reflection

Before looking at social media and before

Diving in to the tasks of the day

In the silence

House noises, creaks and the fan on the wii, I’m guessing

The cat moves about in these early morning hours

It’s 6:17am

WEnt to bed early last night, exhausted

Busy weekend

Working and preparing for his 9th birthday party

Making a multilayered cake with strawberries and blueberries

Gingerbread men and icing to decorate along with organic, all natural candies

An afternoon of fun

Kids running a bout the house

Joined in by Rosa, via skype, his online friend from Ohio

And then Abby joined us via FaceTime as well

Opening presents with 2 iPads to bring them here virtually

Pictures of Jason over these pat 9 years on the walls of our kitchen

Smiling, laughing, joyous Jason

I stop to wonder how many words I have written

My WordPress app does not keep count

Making writing playlists

Music speaks to me

Inspires me

Motivates me

Brings me to life

Writing in the silence is a challenge

Going within

Quieting the anxious mind

God time….God time

Meditations at Unity with Randolph Wilkinson

Connecting to my inner soul

The silence allows me to dig deep, to reflect and be alone in my thoughts

Peaceful and yet, unsettling in a way

In the moment

Now

Taking in my surroundings

Noticing

The silk plant Don bought me for an anniversary

The balloons hanging up from Jason’s birthday party

The way the light from the floor lamp hits the ceiling

Looking for ladybugs

Because they flock to the light in the spring an the fall and when it warms up in winter

Winter

Big snowfall, snow days, making a snowman, snow person

Eager to put my earbuds in to listen to my new playlist I created

While sitting in the bathroom

Plants growing

We have had them for a long time, gifts from when Jason was born or when Don had his heart attack

I often forget to water them but they are still alive,

I think it is time to add new soil to help them grow and flourish

New soil

Fresh starts

The house is so clean

Awesome husband who took care of things while I worked

Cleaned the house, made the cake and cut out the gingerbread men

Enjoying my work more now, enjoying talking to people

People

How many people have I interacted with in my 25 years as an Occupational Therapist

So many different kind so people

Interesting lives and personalities and beliefs

It amazes me how different going to work can be

When I am depressed compared to now, hypomanic

Fully alive and engaged, manic?

Doesn’t matter how I label myself

As long as I take time for reflection

Go within

To connect with my soul and my true self

To be the greatest version of the grandest vision every I held about who I am

500 Words, Forgiving myself

I kicked off the new year writing 500words a day for two days in a row and even published them on my blog. Yesterday, I thought about writing late in the day and then never got to it. I felt disappointed. Yet, I told myself to remember the rules which included, if you miss a Day, just pick up again the next day. So it’s 10:30 pm and I’m in bed and almost didn’t write, but remembered and here I am writing.

Progress

Forgiveness

Forgiving oneself is the biggest obstacle to true happiness,

Or it can be, if one can not forgive themselves.

This holds true for so many aspects in my life from parenting to my work experience and missed opportunities.

When I look At my childhood issues that still hold me down, I realize that I am my harshest critic. My voice in my head is the most critical. I often need to remind myself

To forgive myself

Forgive myself for…

Being mean to that nice kid back in high school

Sharing a finished test with someone while they took the same test, cheating, and to help someone I did not like

Mistakes I made in relationships when I was in college

Not spending more time with my college friends while I was in college

Not keeping in touch with people

The friend I didn’t invite to my wedding

The mistakes I made in my early parenting years

Getting angry and loosing my temper

All the parenting mistakes I have made over the past 20 years

Mistakes I have made with my husband, mean things said and time not taken for our relationship

Keeping my cats living in the basement for so long when we moved to the new house

Not going back to work sooner when we really needed me to for financial reasons

Not saving more money when we had it to save

Not investing sooner in my work 401k plan

Getting into credit card debt

Not getting help sooner for my daughter when she first showed signs of anxiety and other issues

Not getting better help for any of my children sooner

Like completely missing how anemic my teenage son was

For all the mistakes I have made

I can choose to forgive myself and allow the experiences to serve me to be a better version of myself

I can choose to let go, and let God

Let my inner higher self shine forth!

Released from the past and avoiding the trap of waiting for the future

I can form new habits and move forward with my ideas and dreams

I can write 500 words every day

Spiritual Connections

When my husband was in the hospital after his massive heart attack, I had many spiritual experiences.  My husband experienced  near death as he went into cardiac arrest in our living room on May 4, 2011. He left the house in ventricular tachycardia, a fatal heart rhythm.  The medics had used the defibrillator several times before they wheeled him out of the house on the gurney. I remember his dark blue face as they took him.  I am forever grateful to the wonderful medics from Mint Hill Fire Department and Robinson Fire Department who took care of my husband and then stayed with me to help make a plan to get to the hospital.  And Lia Schwinghammer who came to my rescue and drove us to the hospital and stayed with us until I got to see Don like 4 hours later. She was one of my many angels and I had many, so I will just thank all my family and friends here.    I am also thankful for the cath lab at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte and the entire team who fixed his occluded arteries with stints allowing him to be with my here today, nearly 5 years later.

He spent 4 days in the CCU and then 8 more days in the step down unit.  I had family helping my kids at home and I would wake up usually before 4 am and head to the hospital each morning and spend the entire day with him and come home in time to put my 2-year-old to bed.  It was a crazy time and yet my priorities have never been so focused in my life as they were for those 12 days.  My husband was disappointed that he did not remember experiencing “seeing the light”.  I told him that I saw it for him.  I really do believe that.

I don’t even know how to begin to explain the spiritual experiences.There were many.  The first one was at home. I called 911 and 5 minutes after the medic arrived, my husband went into cardiac arrest.  The medics immediately moved me and my three children out of our living room.  I vividly recall taking the children to the stairs off our kitchen and sitting down with them and tapping.  I have since decided that the only way I was able to calmly sit with them and use EFT, was because Don’s soul guided us.  Later, when he was recovering in the hospital, I vividly recall being in the cafeteria getting food and hearing a song being piped into the cafeteria and I knew it was Don speaking to me.

The biggest experience was around day 8 or 9 after going with only 3 hours of sleep each night.  Because, the first night at home after his heart attack, I awoke after 3 hours with a horrible dream reliving the experience and I told myself I wasn’t going to do that again.  I did not consciously choose to not sleep more than 3 hours but that is what then happened. So by day 8,  I was very sleep deprived and living on adrenaline, and maybe even having blood sugar issues or just panic attacks.

 I had this one night at home where I  felt panicked and scared and I called my good friend and EFT mentor and therapist, Jan Luther. It was very early in the morning, too early to make a phone call, yet I decided to call her.  I heard the line pick up yet there was no one there on the other side, I began talking. I have no memory of what I said but all I know is there was silence, no dial tone, no one talking, just silence.  I think I tapped and talked.  Later, I talked to Jan about it and she told me the phone rang, she picked up and no one was there and so she hung up the phone and began tapping, because she knew someone needed her to do that.  She hung up the phone, yet I heard no dial tone.  We both knew that was spirit at work.

Just last month, my father had back surgery for his spinal stenosis.  He had the surgery on a Friday and I showed up at the hospital at 5:30 am to meet my parents to help my mom navigate the hospital system.  Surgery went well, took a little longer than expected because it was worse than the doctor had thought from the MRI and he took longer in recovery because of breathing issues. We got to see him for a few minutes in recovery area  but he was in a lot of pain but they couldn’t give him too much pain medication because they needed his breathing to improve.   An hour later, he was in his room and we went to visit with him.  He did well that day, he had to lay flat for 24 hours as a precaution but then the next day even got up with the nurse and walked to the bathroom.  I left after dinner Saturday night, with the plan to return in the morning again.  I woke up at 3:45am.  I have been waking up early for many weeks, most like from peri-menopause but usually after at least 5 hours of sleep.  I woke up and looked at the clock and said, “Why am I waking up now?”  I  had been asleep for like 3 or 4 hours.  I knew it was strange.  I should have gotten up.  I went on my phone like I usually do when i wake up early, using it in the dark in my room.   I got a text from my mom who had seen my posting on Facebook and so she texted me. It was 4:11am: 

 I’m in the family waiting room while they put restraints on Dad. Med Dr saw him then They gave him something for hallucinations and for blood pressure. Thought he finally fell asleep  when he awoke and starting lashing out violently. He is having some kind of psychotic meltdown. REally scary to see him like this.  

I immediately replied to my mom

Oh mom.  I’m so sorry.  I’m awake. I’ll just shower and come in.  It’s going to take time for the meds to clear out of his system. (We new he was reacting to anesthesia and/or medications.)

My mom was surprised how quickly I arrived, less than an hour after her message.  I showered and gathered my things for the day and drove to the hospital. It was 4:45 am, no traffic, easy drive and plenty of parking. I walked into the lobby at 5:13am.   She didn’t realize I had experience with this from the 12 days I spent going to the hospital to be with my husband.  I also had the strong feeling through my dads 5 day hospital stay that this was in part the reason that I became an Occupational Therapist.

It helps that I texted all of this on my iPhone and therefore have all the times of our conversation including the when she texted me, and I let her know when I got in the car to head to hospital and again when I arrived in the lobby.  As I read these posts, I see that she had also contacted me at 12:27am via text because my dad was asking for me. I was asleep and didn’t see those texts until morning.  I can share that in another post.  I talked to my dad tonight to get his permission to share this story and he is happy to sit with me and tell me more so I can share more of it. He believes he was talking to God and telling God to decide about leaving his body or staying.  I believe that he did experience that as well.  More on that for another post.

My dad slept all morning. They had to put him in 4 point restrains and  give him Haldol which is an injectable antipsychotic.  He had kicked a nurse.  It was weird seeing my dad in his hospital bed in restraints.  AFter talking to my mom when I got to the hospital, I had told her to get some rest. The waiting room had a couch.  I went to sit with my dad to be there when he woke up.  I was able to explain to dad as he was waking up that he was in restraints and he was calm.  Later when he was fully awake, he shared the experience with us.  He actually remembered the psychotic episode and described what he experienced. he also appologized to all the nursing staff that saw him for the next few days.   I will just summarize: he explained feeling like he was in a box and there were bad guys trying to hurt him and he had to get away.  He explained it with much more detail but I don’t want to misquote him. But he also told me he heard me laughing. He couldn’t see me or get to me but he heard me laughing.  As the day progressed, he continues sharing about what he remembered in detail from his Psychotic episode.  I wondered if some of what he was sharing was also from when he was under anesthesia for his back surgery (3 hours) as well as the 3 hours he spend in recovery getting his breathing back to normal before he could be moved to a room.

It didn’t occur to me right away, but then I realized some things. I woke at 3:45 am which is when my dad had his psychotic episode and I knew it was odd that I woke up.  Looking back, I should have realized it was my dad.  But then I got ready quickly and grabbed my things and headed out in the car at 4:45 am. I turned on the radio and “Crazy Train” was playing on the radio.  I laughed out loud.  I switched stations and heard, “Take a Walk on the Wild side”.  I had the instant feeling like I did when Don was in the hospital, that my dad’s spirit was speaking to me.  Hearing these two songs both playing at the same time on 2 different local stations tickled me.  I talked to my dad out loud in the car, laughing as I did.  And sending positive energy and love to my dad.  Cause, I am weird like that and I talk out loud in the car.  I really do, all the time.  My favorite thing to do is scan stations to find a song that fits my mood.  I never listen to commercials, ask my kids and Don, I am always scanning for a song, a good song.

Wow!  I was laughing out loud in the car and my dad heard me! 

Some would call this coincidence yet as a student of Unity, Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God books,  and just my own personal spiritual beliefs, I don’t believe in coincidences.  It all has meaning, at least the meaning we give it.  I believe on a spiritual level, we are creating our reality, all of it.

 Creation is energy and all of life is energy.  

Quicksand

Today in my son’s science club class, a monthly class held at our local homeschool co-op, we did kitchen science activities.  One activity included mixing corn starch  with water at a ratio of about 10 to 1.  As the corn starch is mixed with the water, it becomes more and more difficult to mix it.  When you put your fingers into the final product, it feels solid, yet as you pull your fingers out, two things happen, the solid become more liquid and it also feels like it is sucking you in, like quick sand.

I have  been sitting here for over 2 hours, searching the web in an effort to find a topic to write about.  I then came to the conclusion that I needed to write about being “stuck”.  Because for the past month or so, I have felt stuck. Stuck with life and my efforts to write.  I have started over 4 blog posts in the past month that have been left unfinished.  I have also found myself dreading my weekly writing time.  That has been a tough thought for me to swallow.  As a busy mom of three kids who also works outside the home on average 20 hours per week including weekends, writing has always been my outlet and escape.

So here I am with time alone to myself in a favorite coffee shop. My husband is taking care of the kids.  I haven’t even had an interrupting phone calls or texts about issues at home.  Yet, I am left feeling blank.  And so as I wrote out the word stuck in the tile, I then came to the body of the post and the first thing that came to mind was quicksand.

That feeling of being pulled in and every effort to pull myself up and out, leaves me more exhausted and more swallowed in my lost feelings.  I feel this in particular as it relates to my youngest child.  He has shown signs of anxiety for nearly his entire life.  Yet, these signs have become more pronounced over the past six months.  A year ago, he was begging me to participate in classes like his older siblings have done.  I remember picking my daughter up from her bimonthly girl scout meeting during which time she would want to talk the entire ride home about her experiences in girl scouts that day.  My younger son would become mad with her talking and demand that he talk too.  Later it became apparent to me that he too wanted to participate in activities like his sister.  I found the information for our local nature center which provides preschool age nature classes centered around a story and nature walk.  We attended several of these classes. I remember the first day of class. My son, who was 4 at the time, was disappointed that the class did not involve writing things in a notebook.  Ironic coming from a child growing up in an unschooling family.

I think the vast age difference between him and his siblings, his sister is 7 years older than him and his brother is 11 years older, has added to his sense of being left out.  OVer the summer, I learned that our homeschool group was starting a monthly co-op.  I was excited and he too was eager to participate in the classes.  We encountered one challenge of him not being old enough for the chess club, something he desperately wanted to participate in.  I contacted the parents who were running the class and had an online discussion with them.  I learned that there 14-year-old son was the one leading the class and because he had never done anything like this before, they felt that 5 was just too young for the class.  I understood and yet also was aggravated by the age limit.  My reasons for homeschooling when my oldest was 5 had very much to do with age related learning.  My oldest learned to read and write before being of kindergarten age and thus school would not have been a good academic fit for him.  Here I was 12 years later dealing with this issues with my youngest in the homeschool community.

Four months have past and we have attended the monthly co-op with my youngest participating in 1oam science club and 11 am art class.  There were more kids in science than art but yet he had more issues with art class and would not even go in the room today.  He participated in the activity the first three weeks.  So much for the idea of him becoming more comfortable with being around other people.  His social anxiety seems to have grown worse over these past 4 months rather than diminish as I had hoped.  We have known some of the individuals in the co-op for a long time.  Both parents in his classes were extremely respectful of his desire to be off by himself and did not push him in any area.  They were very accommodating to us both as I attended the classes with him and was the one to participate in the past two months science activities.  Again, as I look back, I see his participation lessened in science class as well as art over the 4 weeks.

What is a parent to do?

I grappled with this issue for some time and with the help of a close friend who also has children with anxiety issues, finally made the phone calls necessary to schedule my son for a psychological assessment.  I also took him to a well visit which I had not done for some time due to his anxiety around new people.  He refused the hearing test after tolerating the headphones on his head for less than a minute, refusing to raise his hand when he heard a beep and then pulled the headphones off.  HE then refused to take his clothes off to wear the gown for his check up.  I knew the nurse practitioner at the clinic from taking my two older children and was really impressed with how well she handled his anxiety and refusal.  I was not impressed with how I handled the experience.  I am usually my son’s biggest champion for respecting his space and need to do things at his own pace but sitting there in the doctor’s office, I wanted him to comply and follow the rules.  Maybe this is more a testament to my own issues with authority and rule following and may have very little to do with my son.  I know I have fears of looking like a “bad parent” because of my children’s behavior.

The more I pushed my son to comply with the required taking off of his clothes in order to be examined by the doctor, the more he dug in his heels and resisted.  Like stepping in quick sand, I found myself becoming more stuck, not knowing what to do and then realizing I had pushed too far became angry. I sank further into the quicksand.  The nurse practitioner managed to listen to his heart and lungs and look in his ears and eyes and even his throat.  Thank goodness she remained very calm.  And we talked at the end of my upcoming appointment for a psychology assessment that would not be until February because that was the first available appointment.  I can still see the look on her face when I said “February”.  A few days later, I got a call stating there was an opening at the clinic later this month. unfortunately on a day and time that would not work for me.  There are two appointment times at the clinic, 8:45 am and 1pm.  In order for us to successfully arrive at the clinic, I knew we needed an afternoon appointment.  My son needs warm up time in the morning.  The assessment is a 3-4 hour process and I want us to at least have the chance to take our time in the morning and not be in a rush to get out of the house.  I need that so I can remain calm.  Taking him to  the psychologist feels less threatening to me than to the well visit appointment.  Maybe because I know that the psychologists are educated and trained in working with children with psychological issues.  And I trust that they can be objective and calm in the face of my son’s defiance and resistance.  Yet, I also know without the presence of other children or a noisy environment, some of his issues will not be apparent.

While I wait for his appointment, 2 months away, I find myself sinking further in the quicksand of worry and self-doubt.  No matter how many times that I read that parents do not cause their children’s mental illness, there is a perpetual thought that lingers in my mind that somehow this is my fault.  I do have the luxury of blaming my son’s anxiety on early child-hood trauma including his sister’s sudden behavior outbursts and personality change when she was 8 and he was merely 1-year-old.  The onset of her severe OCD and the resulting years of struggles within our family and between my daughter and us, her parents as well navigated the process of finding help for her.  On top of that, at age 2, my son witnessed his father going into cardiac arrest in our living room and the subsequent trauma of me being gone for 10- 15 hours each day over the next 12 days while he was in the hospital.  And to top things of, the following year, when he was 3, I was in a car accident and he and his father came to meet me in the emergency room.  I went home that same day, but suffered much physical and psychological pain for many months with lingering post traumatic driving anxiety.

Maybe I need to step back in this time and assume a role of observer rather than trying to change his behavior.  I know that some regular routines have helped him with bedtime rituals as well as morning wake ups.  We have  also found removing some foods to have helped some extreme behavior for the most part.  And taking an amino acid supplement along with magnesium, thing his sister has been taking for years, also seem to help make our days manageable.  I am very attached to my son, this child whom I waited to bring into the world until my husband had full-time salaried employment allowing me to be at home full-time for the first time in my 10 years of parenting. Yet, my husband’s loss of this steady job when I was 3 months pregnant, sent me back to work.  I resisted returning to work after he was born for a year because I wanted that experience of being home with my child full-time, something that I had only for weeks with my older two.  He is also very attached to me and me alone which has presented  many challenges with his father watching him as I have gone to work over the past 4 1/2 years.

Somehow, I need to take a deep breath and step back.  I need to accept my son and the struggles he currently has.  I also need to acknowledge that his issues do not have to define him.  I resisted for many months, almost a year with labelling my daughter’s issues.  This time, I know that a label can help us to know the path to receiving help and helping him to understand what he is going through.  This is particularly true when  child sufferers with OCD.  It is important to help the child to see the OCD as separate from himself.  Personifying the OCD helps a child to see it for what it is and can help him to overcome the challenges that OCD creates.  You would think my experience of having traveled the journey with my daughter, would help me to deal more effectively with my son’s issues.  I know there things that I can handle much better this time around and yet, maybe my awareness also creates more dread of what lies ahead.  But I must stop myself from projecting into the future and catastrophizing his current issues.

Overcoming OCD: Helping My Daughter Get Her Life Back: part three, week 2

Read the early two entries to follow the story….http://wp.me/p12VUh-aR

Week 2:  Continuing to sit in the car

I was home again on Monday  and Abby continued to sit in the car, but no seat belt on yet as it is a source of large anxiety (over 10 on the scale of 1-10).  We would talk about the next step and have her think about touching the seat belt or us touching it as well as have her look at it.  We also just spent time in the seat doing something fun, like me reading a story she was writing outloud.  The goal being to make sitting in the car a positive easy experience for her.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

She did not move past sitting in the car onto any other steps other than allowing her younger brother to sit in his seat next to her. This was stressful to her at first and he only stayed in the car for part of the time.   My husband and I began talking about what we needed to do if she would not progress to a next step.  Something we had done a week ago when she was refusing to participate.  We had even come up with a drastic plan to not allow her on the computer until she completed a step.  Yet, this was her primary way of engaging in life and after many weeks, months really of her not being able to touch her computer unless she went though a long- weeks long washing process but would then not be able to touch it again after bumping something.  And so it felt drastic.  We also could not agree as I did not want to take Skyping with her cousin away because it truly was the most valuable part of her life right now and the most real part of her life.

And reading my last entry when I wrote how Abby decided to touch her dog after seeing her cousin hugging her dog- over the internet, only reaffirmed my belief that we must keep this precious time on the computer with her cousin intact.

Sunday, the new  miracle day

I worked on Saturday but Sunday I only had to go in for 2 hours.  I decided to take Jason to the swimming pool that afternoon.   We both said outloud that we wished ABby could come with us as she loves to swim.

Abby was having an really bad time because we had told her that I had spoken to my brother about her skyping at first with her cousin in the car so her cousing could help motivate her to take steps to putting her seat belt on and being able to go places in the car.   This is something Don and I had talked about and I had spent a lot of time talking to my brother who agreed with me that his daughter could be very supportive for Abby as she wasn’t likely to pitty Abby, something ABby did not want and could remain calm and objective and also help her as they have a shared interest in seeing each other in July- just a month away at the Kids Dog Camp run by my sister (their aunt).   Abby was mad about this idea and did not like it at all.  She was upset and crying when we left.

Jason and I enjoyed swimming and then I checked my messages before we headed home at 4:45 when the pool closed.   I got a text that Abby was in the car with her seat belt on.

What?

Really- did she put it on herself?

Before I could get an answer, he told me that she had given him a big hug!   I told this to Jason who got very excited.  He has been a big cheer leader for his sister and so excited over the progress she has been making.

I get goose bumps remembering this.  She spontaneously hugged her dad.  I later learned that he was on the phone with a company getting information on ordering a part for our stove and she just came up and hugged him.  He had to tell the woman on the phone to hold on a minute.

I was never so glad to be going home (other than last Saturday) but this time with the potential of a hug from my daughter.  My last memory of hugging her being in January when she was in a fit of panic and fear late at night after her worst episode of rage and severe depression. The night we almost had the ambulance take her to the psychiatric emergency room.  A very sad yet touching memory of my last hug from my now 11 year  old daughter.  A girl who just 5 or 6 months ago was sleeping in a bed next to mine and always a snugly, hugging,and loving child had not been able to hug anyone in her family for months.

The best hug ever

We got home from the pool and Abby and Don were outside in the car, showing me that she could sit and put her seat belt on.     I changed and  approached Abby about a hug.  I got the biggest, strongest embrace ever and it felt so good to hold her.  I  didn’t want to let go.  Would I be able to hug her like this again?  With OCD, you never know, she might be able to do something one day but not the next.  Now I know what I can picture in my mind when things are challenging with her, I will just recall that wonderful long awaited hug.  I am sealing it into my memory now as I write this and remember vividly the wonderful hug.

The week continues

Today she awoke very happy and enjoyed time with her younger brother. She asked me about going out to the car.   She agreed for her brother to come with us and we all buckled in the car.  We talked about the next steps. She decided bringing Olvie in the car was the next step and also she did not want to rush this process.  I was eager to work towards me sitting in the driver’s seat while she was in her seat but this is another area of great stress to her.  As I write and reread what I am writing, I believe that is Abby’s higher self talking about not rushing it.   We are eager but we can breath and take some time as long as she continues each day.

Monday, I often get time to myself.  Something I have found a necessity for some time in order for me to refuel and engage in writing and my areas of interest.  As an introvert with two very energetic children and a teenager with intense needs, I find it not only helpful but mandatory for me to go out of the house alone and to have time where all I need to worry about is my own needs in the moment.   I am not an extreme introvert and so I am often at a coffee house or a restaurant with WiFi with my lap top.  On occasion, I have gone to a move by myself, a treat I would never had enjoyed prior to having kids.  Today, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to head somewhere outside my usual path.  I went somewhere I had been many times before but never by myself.  And here I am 6 hours later, still here and having now written two blog entries in addition to working on other things.

Tomorrow will be another day and I will be home with my children and continuing to help Abby to fight her OCD, to push out of her comfort zone and to gain control of her life again so that she can really live her life again.