Friday, December 30, 2016

The No Good, Horrible really bad year. 2016

I think it is safe to say that 2016 wasn't stellar for anyone. Annus Horribilis. If there was a picture that emulated just how 2016 was for the world, I think a dumpster fire would be appropriate. The sad part is 2016 started out like every other year, with potential and as it progressed, it just got worse and worse. Now I bet there are some out there that would say, "Hey this was one of our better years". I am not one of those people. Cheers to the ones who came out of 2016 feeling good about it. Again I am not one of those people.

2016 saw a lot for everyone.

On a global scale we saw just how cruel the world is to its own people. The people of Syria, being the prime example of that. Now I am not going to get into it with people about how the world has treated and helped the people of Syria. Like any place that is experiencing War and Violence, naturally the innocents caught up in that, would like to leave. I know I would. It is a very a sad reality for those people who have to go to bed every night, worrying about whether or not they will make it through tomorrow. What is even worse, is the world turning these people away from a better life. Many of us sat in the comfort of our houses and watched the horrors unfold in a land far away from us. We watched people struggle and fight for their lives. People just like ourselves. Ordinary people just trying to live their lives as best they could. Now there are countries that pledged to help those in this war zone out, which was heartwarming to see. Sadly it was not the country that I call home. As an Immigrant myself, I did what I could to help with the effort to bring comfort to those wanting a better life. Although, I couldn't do much, I tried with small donations to organizations that helped refugees and their families. It was what I could do with I had. If I could do more I would. As this year has proven, is that small acts of kindness go a long way.

2016 was a violent year, as it brought the mass shootings in Orlando, California just to name a few. It brought Police brutality into the spotlight. Not to mention the other terrorist acts happening around the world.

Even in our own country, we saw how people were forced to fight for their right to clean water, either in Flint or in Standing Rock.CLEAN WATER! Something that all Americans should have.Civilities. How hard is it a concept that if you have a right, then others should have that same right?
I will touch upon politics, as politics has influenced a lot of the socialistic views on a lot of things that I hold dear. If you have followed my blog, I am humanist. I firmly believe that everyone deserves respect. I don't care where you are from, who you worship, what colour your skin is, what your sexuality is or what your gender is. If you are in need of help, I will lend you a hand. The only time I will treat you differently, is how you treat me. Now with that being said, the politics of this country have proven to me that a lot of the things that I have held very dear, have come into discussions that have sparked blatant racism, sexism and bigotry. People that I have known for years and loved and respected once, have made bold statements because of which side of politics they are on. Supported one person over another, regardless of comments made. For me, the Leader of a Nation is a role model. Someone our youth can look up to. Now I get that scandal and controversy has riddled this country's political arena, there hasn't been a standout party, which is sad. I will say that it wouldn't matter what side our politicians are on, if you choose to promote hate and discontent only to wake up the already ongoing issues you have with things like race, sex and religion, then being the Leader of the Free World shouldn't be the position you have. I will state, that I am neither left or right when it comes to politics in this country. I support a party that understands my values as a human being. So far there isn't a party in the country that has my vote. The sad truth about this year's political shit show is that is has torn family and friends apart. It has opened up doors that I don't think a lot of people wanted open. Some times I think those doors need to be opened, for you to see people for who they really are. This year's election dumpster fire has also proven just how much people don't really care about research. Things like the science behind Climate Change, thrown out the window by people who can't look at the scientific facts. Medical Science forgotten when dealing with stem cell research. It even comes down the ignorance of people when talking about Autism. Again medical science. All this by just watching the Presidential Debates. 2016, the Year of Political Scandal and Stupidity for this country. Don't get me started on the POTUS-Elect making fun of a disabled reporter.

2016 was the year we saw a lot of childhood idols pass away. From the Musical talents of Prince and David Bowie to the formidable Carrie Fisher. There was a lot of backlash concerning the deaths of so many celebrities. "Why should we care about celebrity deaths?" Here is why we should.For some of us, those people where idols. People that carried us through times that were tough. Whether it be George Michael coming to terms with his own sexuality so very publicly, that helped others do the same or Carrie Fisher being so candid about having a mental illness, thus making the stigma that Mental illness was something to be talked about instead of being ignored. The passing of Gene Wilder was one that was felt. He was a person who was funny on the outside, but on the inside mourned the death of his wife Gilda. Not to mention his iconic role of Willy Wonka ( everyone agrees that his Willy was always the best one) was one that stuck with a lot of us who grew up remembering him in that role, as it brought joy to some who needed it. A lot of those who died this year, whether they liked it or not, had their struggles out on display for all the world to gawk at. Faced with that reality, a lot them owned up to it. Made sure that others who were in the same situations had someone going through the same thing, as to say "You are not alone." So when the ones who reminded us that they are just humans too that they too had  problems us ordinary folks could relate to, their deaths come as a shock. 2016, The Year of Death.

On a personal note,  I am glad to say goodbye to 2016. It has not been kind to myself and family. We saw the ending of my husband's outstanding Naval career, while we celebrated it and honored it in true Navy fashion, the transition from military to civilian life, was a bit rough. For now we have settled in and managing. 2016 presented me with the most challenging parenting choices I have ever had to make. How do I protect my children from those who take advantage of them? As a special needs parent, I have always done my best to safe guard my children and in trust other people to do the same. This was the year when that trust was broken. There is nothing so exhausting then trying to fight to ensure your children's safety when a system has worked against you. It doesn't matter how many hours you log in at a Lawyer's office, in the school or sitting in a therapist office, when the system is against you as you try so desperately to make your children's well being is unharmed only to be told nothing can be done, you go to a place that is dark. SO very dark. This year is the first year in a very long time, that I have been to that place inside myself. I don't like it. Contemplating how to fix things and make things right, so my children don't have to feel the pain they do.  This year has tested my strength.Old wounds have been reopened, it is much harder to close them again. From finally going back to work, only to have to leave to be there for my family.

The good thing about 2016 is the people. This year I have met people who have been genuine friends. People who will be there for support when I need it. It has also shown me the true nature of others. Ones that I thought were there but now aren't. I don't have to waste my time on them.

So I bid Adieu to 2016. When midnight strikes on the 1st, I will toast to surviving the colossal dumpster fire of 2016. I will look forward to what 2017 brings. There is still going to be some baggage from 2016 to sort out, but hopefully I can do it with more of a clearer outlook. I always wish the very best to everyone.I hope that 2017 brings hope to those who need it. I hope it brings happiness when there was none, but most importantly I hope it brings love. Just a whole lot of love. As I think we all need it.  Robert Burns really did say it best, Auld Lang Syne.

Best Wishes,

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

On Melancholy Hill.

I write this more of myself, but if people can relate to it, then awesome.

 I try to be as open as I can about the struggles that I have, knowing that there are others out there who are worse off than I. Maybe because I am an empathetic person that I don't see my own issues as bad as others, that I try to escape mine to try and help someone else. I don't know, but I know that it is time that I sat down an really looked at myself. Sometimes trying to escape yourself isn't always the best.

For those who have been following me since I started writing, know that I struggle with depression and it's friend anxiety. I am a medicated person and a person that does therapy on a regular basis. I have never been ashamed to tell people that. Most people negate Mental illness as something that should be shamed or hidden or that it is a sign of weakness. That stigma really needs to go away.

I am not going to lie and not say that 2016 has been a tough one, because it has. Honest to god truth. For me it has been a struggle just to come up for air. It doesn't matter how much medication has been given me or the hours logged in at a therapist's office or even the amount of fresh air I intake to the music I listen to. Right now I have found myself on top of Melancholy Hill. Every once in a while, I try to climb down, only to climb back up and sit back down.

Life with special needs children has always presented itself with challenges, but it's when even those challenges look easy compared to what life throws at you. This past year has tested me in more ways then I would like to admit. The tail end of this year, honestly I could have done without. So many painful situations that I don't think anyone should have to be put in. Especially when it involves family members. As much as I try to plaster a smile on my face and carry on that everything is honky dory, the truth is I am dying inside. So many times I would love to just to have a moment and let it all out, so there are no misconceptions, no judgement, just acceptance of a person going through something painful.Not giving a fuck about what the outside world thinks.  Maybe I need that in order to heal. I can't do that as I don't know what the implications of that would do to people I love. In time, maybe I can do that, but not right now. I can talk about some stuff with people who are safe. The ones who understand, that don't judge. But even with that those people, it is sometimes hard to fully take the guard down.

 I know this year is far from being done and that the fight is far from over. It has opened up wounds that were just barely stitched to begin with. I am slowly and painfully trying to stitch them back up as best I can.

I will state that I don't write for sympathy or attention. I write because it is an outlet for me. Sometimes getting thoughts down, helps me process things. I write also, to encourage others who are struggling, maybe with the same things as me or similar, that its ok to feel the way you do. We all visit Melancholy Hill. Sometimes we stay longer than we want to admit, but in the end hopefully the climbing down will not be stressful and daunting. Sometimes we need someone to encourage you to take that first step down and sometimes it takes us a couple of tries to do that. My hope is that if you are going through something painful, know that you are not the only one. You are loved and you are supported, no matter how tall the ladder down is. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Was it really worth it in the end?

Yup its been awhile and as always real life is the culprit. There have been so many things to comment on in the past month, but its trying to find the right words to say. As many of you will know that I write from the heart. SO here goes.

I don't post a lot of politics on my page, well I try not to. It is one of the many things that can get a person's  blood boiling. I know I have posted some things in the past, which resulted in a shit show, but for the past couple of days, it has been very hard for me to just sit back and not say anything, especially after being called so many wonderful names like the ever so popular "Libertard"

This election from it's beginning started out as a circus, then a farce and in the last couple of weeks of it, a harsh reality. So many angry people. So many people demanding a change to a corrupt system. People who had every right to be angry at the flawed system. Yet when it came time to decide who was going to be a champion for our angry voices, both parties let us down. I am not going to get into which side was more right than the other, but I will say that we were presented with two people that no one wanted.

Through out the months before the election, I like many other people, sat and watched this calamity unfold. Many people were shocked at the behavior of one and the scandal of another. This election lit fire to the skepticism a lot people had with Washington and it's corruption on both sides, but it also opened up the doors to issues this country has tried to sweep under the rug. Those doors were Racism, Bigotry and Sexism, not to mention the treatment of disabled persons by a Presidential Candidate. We sat as the media manipulated it's audience. Whether it be to focus on the speeches of one candidate or not provide enough coverage to another nominee. In the end, I believe the American people lost.

The fear mongering, the corruption and the very bold statements pitted family and friends against each other. Adamant that their respective candidate was the right one to lead this nation. We saw people pull out the race card, the bigot card and even sexism card. For me, its very sad that in 2016 all of those things are still an issue. We can sit here and actually talk about the real politics of this election, but I fear that the important stuff, like climate change, government spending and the general welfare of the people where overshadowed by remarks made by one particular candidate and the corruption of another. This was an election literally was which one is worse than the other or who could we tolerate more for the next 4 years.

So last Wednesday, we all woke up to the realization, that despite the person who's disparaging remarks made us all wake up, won. They won over a person who's email troubles and the looming corruption shadow was something they couldn't shake. There were some that were very much upset ( it happens every election) and there were some who were very happy. In the days that followed, questions were asked. Questions that came from the youth, who watched all of this unfold, who were confused. Some were uncertain on how to accept this. Some who knew just how to accept this.

With all this bullshit aside, on a personal level, it was very hard for me to watch the outcome of this shit show, for many reasons. Like most parents, I am passionate that my children grow up in a world that accepting and decent.Void of mocking and embarrassment simply because they are different. As a person, its was hard to hear remarks about my gender, my nationality and my religion coming from people who are supposed to be running our country. And for those things, it makes me fearful. I didn't support either Candidate, not that it is anyone's business, but I feel that its important for me to state that. I was one of those many people stuck in the middle.

It saddens me that I see people at war with one another, but I strongly have to state that those who supported the racism, sexism and bigotry in the last couple of years of this election, I hold you responsible for the candidate you put into office. Every mistake, every gaffe its on you. So when it comes time for blame, and there will be, it will be on you. It takes a decent person to see this country doesn't need it's racism, sexism and bigotry aired out like dirty laundry. Or in a sad way, it does. Now we all know what many of you stand for. I get that not every republican is a racist, or sexist or a bigot, but the man you supported is. You have to ask yourself where was the line drawn for you to ignore his comments? If you truly respect my family, then when it comes time for you to add your voice because something negative is going to affect my family because of your choice, I want to hear you. I want you to be just as angry as I am that there is an injustice happening. If you were above the horrible rhetoric, then donate to places like Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Centre and any number of LGBTQ organizations. I hope it was worth it in the end. I hope he proves all of us wrong, but you will have to excuse me if I am a bit skeptical.

I would be lying to myself  and you if I said that I could shake off a lot of what is happening in response the election. It hurts my heart to see the world at odds with itself. I don't like the violence or the ransacking for establishments as a way to get a point across. Its not my style. I do believe in the power of a peaceful protest for a common purpose. Connecting with your Congressperson or Senator is another way to be heard when things are upsetting.  

I will close out this post out with a conversation I had with my 12 year old, a child that is very globally aware, on the morning after the election.

" Mom, who won the election?"
" Trump"
" What is going to happen to all of my friends, who are Muslim or immigrants?Are they going to be taken away? Are you?"
" No, son we aren't going anywhere. Where did you get the idea that we would go away?"
" Trump doesn't like immigrants or people who are Muslim. I listened on of his speeches"
" He can't send us away."
" Is now going to be ok for people to make fun of my brother and sister, because the President does it?"
"No, its never ok for anyone to make fun of someone because they are different."

To be honest I don't care if this loses me people who follow me on Facebook. If anything I have said offends you, then you know where the unlike button is. I am very tired of the complacency. I do that every day trying to advocate for my children against people who don't want them in today's society. I can ask people to be respectful about the opinions of others, but I know that doesn't always happen.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Walking around in a World that doesn't understand you.

I am watching my son play. He is in his own little world. He is spinning, laughing at something he found funny, talking to who ever is listening, most likely its his buds, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Elmo and Thomas. He is happy. In his mind, life couldn't be better than this. Outside of his reality, however, it is a different story. Its cruel and harsh. Demanding and judgemental. Its a world that he only visits periods at a time,then goes back to his world of laughter, hugs and the characters who understand him the most. What he doesn't know is he is walking in a world that doesn't understand him.

Just as he is experiencing the world around him, the world experiences him. Some will be compassionate and some will not. Some will not understand and some will. To him, all those who have had the pleasure of meeting him, whether or not on a personal level, are just faces. Some he will know and they will get the gift of his smile, but most are just as random as the events of his day. Except for the people who know him, most people will not understand that. Rather than being compassionate, he will face ignorance his whole life.

Many people have this misconception that neurological disorders end when a child who has been diagnosed with one becomes an adult. My son will always have Fragile X. He will always have Autism. He will always have Sensory Processing Disorder. None of that will ever go away. As a parent, I can help him adapt. I can help him understand himself better, so he can function as best he can in the world that doesn't understand him.

Through services like ABA, Occupational Therapy, Speech and special education, he can learn more about himself and ways he can experience the world on his level and comfort, so it is enjoyable to him, not anyone else. People seem to think that the services that are provided for our children are designed to make them more socially accepted. No my friends, it is not. Those services are not for society's benefit. They are for the benefit of the person who needs them. It is for the person who needs to feel comfortable with the outside world. Not for you to cast your judgemental eyes towards them as they navigate through public. Nor are the services there to better equip them as they listen to the whispers said about them when they have no control over what is happening to their bodies.

Sadly, there isn't a day that doesn't go by where we don't get the ignorance. Whether it be while we are standing on the sidewalk waiting for the school bus to come or in the grocery store. Thanks to his innocence, he doesn't notice a lot of what is going on, in time that might change. Or it might not. I, as his parent, am fully aware of the possibility that I might have a child who will be a young man, who cognitively will be a little boy.

He will always be my little boy however old he is. As he grows, I will always be that little boy's champion. I will watch him walk in around in a world that doesn't understand him. As he walks, I will be right behind him, advocating his right  to walk around. Whether or not, the world understands him or not, he has a right to walk along side his brother and sister and with the rest of humanity.

Right now? He is content within his own mind to walk with people who respect him. Today, they are Elmo, Thomas, Charlie and Snoopy. Today he is walking around in a world that has love, laughter, dancing, hugs and smiles. I am ok with that. I will continue to make sure his path in the world that doesn't understand is full of laughter, dancing, hugs, smiles and most importantly, Love. One small step at a time.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

I'll have a slice of Compassion with a side of Understanding.

Ignorance is every where, I have learned. I could write an open letter daily to everyone we encounter on a daily basis who gives us a dirty look or snide remark, but I don't have enough time in a day or the energy to do it. So let this be my open letter to all the ignorant people we have to deal with on a daily basis. You all suck. Nothing as simple as just that. You all suck. You suck at being a compassionate person. You suck at seeing past someone's disability. You suck at accepting that someone just might be different from you. You just flat out suck. You especially suck when you make a parent feel like the absolute crap with your ignorant behavior.

Now I get that maybe being sat in a family restaurant next to a family with a special needs child might not be ideal for you. Hell, I get it. We can be loud with our verbal stimming and we also might be distracting with our movements, but that doesn't give you the right to be an asshole. As it has been proven, giving special needs parents or care givers dirty looks or staring at the obvious is not going to help the situation, nor is it going to even cure the person either. Not in the history of anything has being rude and ignorant been a cure for anything that afflicts a person. EVER.

I know that I can't help the opinions of others. People are going think what they want. Pass judgement as they please. As much as I try to brush the ignorance off, it still pains me as I see how society reacts to my children. It down right angers me every single time. It angers me every time someone gives me parenting advice when they don't know my situation. It angers me every single time I get " You need to keep your son at home as he is disruptive". It angers me that people are still out there doing this stuff, when there is so much information to educate oneself, but yet I am the lazy parent who can't control my children in public and they can't even read up on what Autism is. I don't expect miracles, but I do expect compassion. Compassion, like common sense, isn't a flower that grows in everyone's garden, I get that. I am allowed to be angry and annoyed.

We went to a local pizza joint this evening to boost the spirits of our children, after a rough couple of months. While the staff of this establishment were great, the guests however were not. You see, our youngest can be a bit loud when he is verbally stimming. He loves pizza and this place is one of our favorites. And of course this place has ceiling fans, which he also loves. So there is a lot of stuff going on, that would make him stim. I knew as soon as we sat down that the two older women across from us would take issue with Little Man as I sat down one of them already had a scowl on her face. I thought to myself " Ok here we go. Just brush it off" Every single time he got excited about the ceiling fans her head would whip around and just rudely stare at him, I stared right back at this woman. It got to the point where they requested to be moved as my son was too loud for them. This is a crowded pizza place on a Saturday night. As they walked by she made the point to stop and just look at my son in disgust. I told her " Sorry his autism ruined your evening, I'll get that fixed", watching her stomp off to a different part of the restaurant. And of course was we are leaving, he gets super excited about the ceiling fans in the main dinning room and again gets loud, watching pretty much the whole room, including those two women, turn and just stare at my family, made my heart sink. Sometimes its very hard to brush things off, especially when you have a room full of people silently judging your child. Some of the looks were that of sympathy. Some were curiosity and some where just rude. 

I am not ashamed of my children. They can't help being who they are. I am ashamed of people who know better. Grown ups. People who can sit down and educate themselves. People who know what the word acceptance means. I refuse to keep my children out of society because other people don't know how to react to them. That is not my problem. My problem is when your reaction affects myself and my children. And I have every right to put you in your place.

To those two older women and everyone else who feels the need to make myself and my children bad about themselves, I hope you never have to experience adversity. I hope that no one treats you differently because they don't like some aspect of yourself. An aspect that you can't help having. If you have the unfortunate experience of being treated differently, then I hope you learn from it. I hope that you will grow as person, if you don't then you are going to have a garden full of weeds and not a garden full of different, beautiful flora that awaken your soul.

Friday, August 26, 2016

You don't owe anyone an explaination.

It is a lesson my mother is still trying to teach me. I don't owe anyone an explanation for anything. Its a hard lesson, which is why I am still learning it. As a parent with special needs children your automatic response to things is always explanatory. You so desperately want people to understand the reasoning to why you are doing something a certain way or why your child is doing something they can't control. You go into teaching mode, whether or not they care or not. In the end, you don't owe anyone anything.

One of the reasons most of us do it, is because we want the other party to have some sort of understanding to our situation so we don't have to deal with the ignorant looks or murmurs. Sometimes we reach people and sometimes we don't. If you don't want us to drone on and on about why our child is 7 and still in pull ups, stop judging. Or if you don't want a lecture about why our child is super excited about the train that goes around the cheese section at Wegman's, don't give us a disgusted look as you walk by. Believe me, we get sick of sounding like a broken record player every time Judgey McJudgerson gives us their two cents. Special needs parents don't owe you anything.

The real trick to this lesson is when you are struggling. Whether it be a something big in your life or something small. It is your struggle and yours alone. It is your story to tell if you choose to. If you don't, well again you don't owe anyone an explanation as to why you are not yourself. This personally has been one of the toughest lessons I have struggled with. For me, I do want people to understand that the reason I might be snippy or a little down is because of something that is going on in my life. It isn't a personal attack, but that I am struggling with something, that I need time to sort out. I am fortunate enough to have family and friends that respects that. They check in on me to make sure I am staying afloat, knowing that in my own time I will have a conversation if I want to about things. They know I don't owe them anything.

Manage your life the best way you know. Nobody knows yourself better than you. Take your meds freely. See your doctors and therapists when you need to. Your health is your business and you don't owe anyone an explanation as to why. 

Be your badass self. Do what makes you happy as long as it doesn't harm anyone else. Rock the multi coloured hair, tattoos, piercings. Practice the religion you identify with. Love the person who respects you and knows your worth. You don't owe anyone an explanation for you being yourself. Love the things that make you smile. Sports, comic books, movies, books, video games, whatever. If it makes you smile and gives you joy. You don't owe anyone anything.

Even now as I am one one of my explanatory rants, I do feel the need to explain why I haven't written or tended to my page as I should. I know that most of you will understand that life happens. Things in people's lives happen without rhyme or reason and we all have to push forward from our struggles to make it all work out. In our own time. The outside world be damned.

Your story is your own. Its yours to share if you want to. Let people speculate. Let people do their best with the judgement. You do what works for you. You do what works for your family, through the good times and bad. Yes there are times where even I, feel that I need to explain myself in order for the other person to get a glimpse into what my world is like. Do I think they care? Nope. But I got it out there. I took care of my overwhelming need to make people understand, that their comments and actions are unwarranted and quite frankly none of their business. Judgey McJudgerson can fuck off, as I don't owe them anything.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Picking up the Pieces: Dealing with the aftermath of Trauma with Special Needs Children

As a parent you go through your journey trying to raise your kids the best way you know how. You read the parenting books, you listen to the experts and you take away the lessons you have learned from others. You convince yourself that you have prepared your children for the real world. With all the horrors that lie outside your front door, you pray that every time they walk out, that nothing bad is going to happen to them. We as parents have nightmares about trauma ever happening to our children. The old statement that when you become a parent, kiss a goodnight’s sleep goodbye, there is some truth to that. Even when you do your best, bad stuff still happens and it is what breaks your heart as a parent when trying to pick up the pieces, wondering what went wrong.  It is more heartbreaking when you are the parent of a special needs child, who doesn't understand why bad stuff happens.

As a parent, you struggle with your own emotions during a difficult time. You ask yourself, how could bad stuff happen to my child. I did everything I could to ensure that child's safety. You start to re-evaluate yourself and the way you parent. Deep down after you try to take all the hurt away you are left with ‘Where do we go next?’ ‘How could I have let bad stuff happen to my child?’ and ‘What steps do I have to do in order for my child to heal?’

You go through these stages of guilt and paranoia. You don't want to let them out of your sight and you feel bad that you had no control over what happened to them. Oh… and you’re angry. So very angry. Angry at yourself, at the situation, and the all the hurt that the bad stuff caused. Being a parent is going to be one of the toughest gigs you will ever have. Yes, you have your joys, but damn the heartache. That’s the kicker right there. Especially when that heartache was caused by something that was beyond your control.  When bad stuff happens to our kids, we become this bear like protector, full of rage and anger, ready to strike at anyone who dares to cross our paths and mess with our children. Sadly, most of us who are caretakers of those with special needs know all too well what it means to go into bear mode.

Our children, regardless of their diagnosis or the severity of it, for the most part are resilient. The ability to bounce back from bad stuff is remarkable. While they process things differently than us adults, there is still that element of hurt and not understanding why things happen the way they do. So when you have a child who experiences something like emotions differently than the average person, it is hard for that understanding of something to be acknowledged or processed. When bad stuff happens, it is going to involved a different type of healing, a different approach for them to come to terms with what has happened. Emotions and memories that may be blocked can come out with certain behaviors. These behaviors aren't always understood by either the child themselves, the people around them, or both. Sometimes for us caregivers it is hard to have a conversation about something that is uncomfortable with a person that doesn't understand what happened in the first place. They don't understand why the hurt is there, because they don't quite get the emotion behind those feelings. 

In the past couple of week things on a personal scale, as well as an outside world scale, have prompted this post. In the news as of late where a severely autistic man’s therapist was shot right in front of him begs the question of “How do our children or loved ones with special needs cope with having trauma in their lives?” As we will always wonder how our loved ones’ process things anyway when trauma or bad stuff happens. We worry about the lasting effects of it on our loved ones, as they have little to no understanding of what has taken place. Fear might be the only recognizable response. Something in that traumatic event might trigger a behavior that is misunderstood. Sometimes a person doesn’t know how to handle it properly, even special needs persons handles trauma differently. Even the word “Trauma” is scary to anyone and a word that no one likes to hear. Especially a parent or caregiver.

Hearing the words “Trauma” in regards to your own children is one of the worst things a parent can hear. Doesn’t matter what kind of trauma is being talked about; emotional or physical , the word alone will make you sick to your stomach. It is a nightmare that no parent wants to live. You try to be a good parent and do everything you think is right and think that nothing bad will happen to you… until it does.

Many of you know that I write from personal experience. I write in hopes that my stories will help others who might be in the same boat as I am. For this particular subject I never thought in a million years that I would have to deal with any sort of trauma in regards to my children on a personal level. I can’t get into too much detail, but the last couple of weeks have been especially hard to muddle through. I thought that parenting special needs children normally was hard, but there is nothing harder than trying to get your children through trauma they have experienced themselves. We are used to a lot of things in this family; bullying, name calling, and a whole lot of ignorance. We have weathered every storm that has hit us, bunkered down and carried on. This storm though… this storm to date is our worst. This was our Katrina or Sandy. We are still at the ‘trying to rebuild’ stage of our lives. In time I will be able to expand, but for now it is what it is. The calm after this storm is the support through it all. We are all about being healthy inside and out. Maintaining communication and having open dialog when it’s needed. I want to believe that this storm will not have lasting effects on my children, but only time will tell.

If something has happened to yourself or your loved one Seek Help. Even if you don’t think your loved one will understand, there are psychologists that are trained to help those with cognitive disabilities with trauma. Any kind of trauma. As it is the special needs kiddos are the ones who are taken advantage of more often than not for the simple fact they just don’t understand, but they have these feelings they need help navigating through. Just because they might have a different reaction to trauma than the rest of us doesn’t mean they haven’t experienced it.

We take one day at time. Some days are good and some aren’t. I know in the end, we have the strength to keep moving forward, even if it is just putting one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Boatswain… Stand By To Pipe The Side... A Navy Wife going Ashore.

Like many Military spouses, we met our significant others midway through their careers. I didn’t meet my husband when he first got in, but I met him, I think at the right time in both our lives. For us, our 14th year of marriage is coming upon us here in a couple of weeks, but that is not the occasion that will be momentous for us this year. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic that we have made it this far, but it’s the transition of going from military to retired military that will be the biggest journey we will embark on. After 24 years of loyal service to his country and his Navy, my husband retired. Suffice to say, it has been a stellar 24 years for him and a career that he can be proud of. For me it is 14 years of loving and supporting this man through the deployments, rocky commands and all the stuff the military tends to throw at you.

It is somewhat bittersweet for me. As much as I have cursed the Navy for taking him away at times that I sorely needed him, I am going to miss it. There were duty stations where I felt the sense of community and even when there wasn’t one, I had always managed to connect with someone who was military. Over the years, I have been proud to call myself a Military spouse. Not only did I marry my husband, but I married his occupation as well. I have been places that I would have never thought about being. Saw things that I only thought existed on a post card. Now as my husband says goodbye to an aspect of his life, I too, say goodbye to that as well. I say goodbye to a lifestyle that has held me for 14 years. The moving every three years, the re-establishing yourself at every new duty station. The panic of watching all of your worldly possessions being packed up into a crate, but most importantly saying goodbye to a community that has supported us and him for 24 years.
I look back at it all and remember fondly of the people and places I have met and been. The friends made over the years. The people who helped me get through some of the darkest times in my life and the ones that taught me a lessons on how to be a good spouse, the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s the growth of my person that truly amazes me. When I first got married, I was a scared person. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Not one bit. I was in love with a man. Just a man. The military aspect of this man came later and when it came, it came at the velocity of a hurricane. My first deployment, which seems like forever, was only two weeks. To say that I was a mess is an understatement. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I think I might of cried myself to sleep every single night he was gone. Sad, I know, I was young and in love. I missed him, but I grew from that. As the deployments kept coming, the more I centered myself. The more I discovered that I get through those deployments. I still missed him. I still had my moments of self-doubt. I managed. I coped. As those little deployments at the beginning of our marriage prepared me one by one for the many years I was going to endure without this man. I will tell you, by the way, that nothing tests you more than a deployment to a War Zone. It doesn’t matter how many times they go over there, they are all different. It is during those times, when the advice of the seasoned Military spouses will get you through the darkest of your days.

On June 3rd, 2016, I became a Veteran Military Spouse. 14 years I provided love and support to my sailor. Never will I ever regret the moment when I said yes to that man. We have been through so much that I hope that my words of wisdom help someone struggling, as the advice given to me many moons ago help me get through the tough stuff.  I take pride in calling myself a military spouse. It was bittersweet for me to watch my husband retire. Listening to “Olde’ Glory” and The Watch being read aloud and, the remarks of the guest speakers who came to celebrate this man’s naval career made me reminiscent. Those moments of happiness. Homecomings, meeting his children for the first time, surprising him at work when he put on First Class and of course pinning on his anchors at the USS Utah in Pearl Harbor. It wasn’t until the sound of the whistle that signaled Piping Ashore, that it all came flooding back to me. It wasn’t just him saying goodbye, but I was too. The Navy has been a part of my life not just his.

As he transitions into this next stage of his life, I will be there to hold his hand, to love and support him, as I had before. That part isn’t anything new. For him, he will always be a Sailor and a Chief. A sailor till the end. As for me, I will always be the one who helped him maintain his footing as he goes forth. I too, will forever be a Military Spouse and a Navy Wife. A title that I am proud to have been given.