Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘Panic attack

Self Advocate

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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.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

November 29, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Anxiety

with 25 comments

I’m roused from my sleep suddenly, viciously, by Pudding’s scream.  My husband rushes out of bed before I can even move.  He doesn’t come back, choosing to sleep in the chair by her bed instead.  Melatnonin doesn’t help, the weighted blanket is working, or the white noise, or anything else.  She just needs her sleep, just like the rest of us.  This is the second time he has gone to her, and I know he is too tired to do it again.  He has to work in the morning.  It is 4 am, and my heart pounds.  I try to breathe, I’m suffocating.  Amongst the noise of thoughts pushing for attention in my head, one is louder.  This is anxiety, it shouts.  I listen.  I try to breathe in and out, slowly, quickly, through my nose or mouth, anything to calm myself.

Sleep evades me.  Though I’m in a fog from headache tablets, I can’t find the peace I need.  Eventually I get up.  I’m not supposed to have anxiety.  My husband has struggled on and off all his life.  For my girl, it is the shackle of her autism.  My boy doesn’t escape it either, but this is new to me.  Now I’m in anxiety’s grip too.

I come downstairs and start to type, hoping that I can write out these thoughts that are looping around my head.  This has been building up for a couple of weeks, not just for me, but for Pudding too.  She has been struggling with sleeping alone.  Stressed and exhausting, I allowed her to sleep with me.  I know it isn’t the right approach, and by taking the path of least resistance, I’m exacerbating the problem, but I’ve just been too stressed.

Wait.  The path of least resistance has led to this stress.  These things are not happening independently.  I’m stressed, so I slack, and that exacerbates the problem which makes me….you’ve guessed it- more stressed.  And Pudding doesn’t so well surrounded by stress.  She absorbs and then reflects all the emotions around her.  It makes her anxious.  Seeing her struggle makes me more stressed, and round and round, and down and down we go.

So I must stop.  I have to be the one to stop the spiral, because she can’t.

I need to focus on calming her by providing what she needs, not what is easiest to give her.  First she needs patience, a resource that is in incredibly short supply when we don’t get sleep.  She needs positive reinforcement.  She needs her senses soothed even if she doesn’t feel like doing the things that will help her.  She needs consistency and she needs social stories to explain what is going on.  In short, she needs all the supports that I readily provide when I’m feeling at my best, but which have somehow dropped away as my anxiety took its hold.

It is not to say that I’m not allowed to feel stressed, or anxious, or just plain miserable.  I just need to make sure that when I’m feeling this way, I don’t take away all the things that she needs to prevent her from these very same feelings.  It was a revelation: I can be the beginning of the anxiety, but that also means I can end it.  It will take more effort at a time when making an effort is the last thing I feel like doing, but the results are already promising.  And she has slept through the night by herself before, so she will do it again, as always, in her own time, and with the supports she needs.

As for me, I feel better already.  Maybe this is the beginning of the end of anxiety.

……

This post was submitted for the S-O-S Best of the Best series on Anxiety, which will be published on May 15th, 2011.  You find more information and read other submissions here.

Taking part in the Mental Health Blog Party:

”Mental

May 18th, 2011

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

April 29, 2011 at 7:28 am