At the doctors with Cubby, I mentioned to her what a wonderful self-advocate he is. She had laughed, he had winced, and told her it was too loud.
“And I don’t like people touching me too!”
A statement of fact, but also a warning to the doctor who was about to do just that. I marveled at him, this little wonder. It comes so easily to him.
For Pudding, it has not been so easy. She has always had her own mind, and known her own mind, and every day is a step closer to better expression. Language is giving her the words and phrases to let us all know what she needs to be. At her feedback session today, her OT told me how she now makes all her own choices for self-regulation. I marvel at her.
This kind of advocacy, self-advocacy, is what I most want my children to do. And yet…I’m only now learning to do it for myself.
This year has been a tough one, with a lot of changes and challenges. I went to the doctor last week to talk about some of those challenges. Back in March I wrote a post about a difficult time I was having. I’d ended the post hopeful that things would get better. And they did, but I haven’t.
I haven’t really got over the violent crime that happened in our front yard, and even though we were at a safe distance, I replay over and over what might have happened if they were playing there as normal. The doctor informs me this is PTSD, which lately is manifesting in panic attacks.
On top of this, I’ve always had some social anxiety. I’m the kind of person who is fine in small groups, but gets overwhelmed by crowds. My new job puts more social demands on me than anything I’ve done before. Whereas I’ve been able to avoid many social situations before, now I have to take responsibility for them, and at times it has been overwhelming.
I’ve carried on, because there is no reason why this should be so hard for me. The doctor and I talked about some of the traits I have in common with the children. But we also talked about how I give the kids support not because of their diagnosis, but because of their need.
It is time for me to start talking about what I need. Like time alone to recharge after big events. Such as knowing that I won’t be required to speak in front of an audience. Perhaps being okay with the fact that I’m more comfortable writing than speaking. Or just acknowledging that I can’t function normally if it is loud, or busy, or people are too close to me. And then playing to my strengths, rather than my weaknesses. You know, just like how I preach for my children.
It wasn’t easy for me, but I approached my boss. He is awesome (and I’m not just saying that because he sometimes reads this!) and willing to accommodate my needs so that I can keep doing this job I love, but pushes me in new ways.
I think that with that support I can go from strength to strength, because I’ve seen just that with Pudding and Cubby. Maybe one day I’ll learn to advocate like them too.
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