I love you, I need you.

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(me + my mom in 1987)

Tonight, I called my mom.  I told her that I needed her.  I do need her.  I’m 31 years old and I need my mother so much it hurts.  I call her and tell her that my son needs to see her… that he misses her.  I try to get her to come up here and help me with the kids.  Really,  I just need her to hold me.

I grew up in a house that wasn’t very affectionate.  We didn’t hug very much.  We said I love you but it was a quick “okay, love you, talk to you later.”  My mom kind of has a thing about physical affection.  I don’t know that she grew up in a very affectionate household.  We’re kind of weird about feelings at home.  We don’t really express ourselves well unless we’re angry.  Healthy right?  For me to tell my mother the words tonight… “I need you…I need you… I NEED YOU…” is huge.  I am 31 and I need my mother because I am hurting.

My son was recently given an individual education plan (IEP) because he has “developmental delays.”  We’re fairly certain it is autism but for whatever reason I couldn’t hear those words right now.  It is HARD for me to KNOW that my son has something that they don’t know much about.  They don’t know what causes it.  They don’t know exactly what to do about it… I mean, sure, there are ideas– but the spectrum is so large.  There are so many unknowns.  I am not good at unknowns.  If they can’t find a reason for it– the reason is me.  That is what I tell myself from sun up to sun down.  I should have breastfed longer, I shouldn’t have eaten processed food, I shouldn’t have been so stressed, I shouldn’t have gotten the epidural, I should have staggered vaccinations, etc.   Sometimes I tell myself the worst one of all.  I shouldn’t have been selfish. 

After my husband and I got married I took red lipstick and wrote my bathroom mirror, “Don’t have children.  Don’t be selfish.  They will grow up like you.  You can’t do that to someone else.”  I looked at this every morning and I sobbed.  I wanted children so badly but I couldn’t live with them having the brain that I have.  Within a few months of writing this message, I was pregnant.  It was unplanned and unexpected.

Holding that 8 lb 6 oz baby boy was indescribable.  I’m not sure I’ve ever been more happy in my entire life.  He was beautiful.  He IS beautiful.  He had perfect eyes, so alert.  He nursed perfectly… his toes were big and beautiful.  Perfection.  He was my whole world.  He is my world.

The past year has been hard.  He’s been through so many adjustments.  We have a another little one and he has had to share his attention.  He had to deal with a truly awful preschool that punished him for his anxiety and insecurities.  He stims a lot.  He repeats questions.  He anxiously talks about irrelevant things.  He can’t talk to kids.  Sometimes toilets and vacuums scare him.  There are a lot of things that are hard for him.  BUT… he talks to me.  He loves me.  He kisses me.  He hugs me.  He laughs.  He makes jokes.  He hugs his sister and loves his sister.  He lights up when he sees her.  My children embrace each other the minute one realizes the other is awake.   They squeal with excitement.  How blessed am I to have two LOVING children?

The idea of autism is overwhelming.  I am overwhelmed.  I have obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attacks, generalized anxiety and depression.  I have sensory issues and quirks.  I am TRYING to be an example for my fearful son but I am struggling.  Struggling to me… is failing.  I need my mom.  I need my mom to hold me and tell me that I’m doing an okay job.  I need her to hold my baby and comfort him in a way that only she can.  She may not have always been the greatest at it with me but she has ALWAYS been wonderful with my son.  He trusts her and he loves her.  They have a special bond.  A bond I am grateful for… especially when I feel inadequate.

I don’t know what I’m saying in this blog except for that I am feeling lost at the moment.  I am feeling stressed, scared, overwhelmed and sorry for myself a little bit.  I hope I can find the strength and energy to really help myself so I can continue to help my son.  Sometimes the fight seems to large and I feel too small.  I pray for strength.

To the parents who bring their sick kids to school…

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Dear parents with the sick kid at preschool,

Hello.  It’s me.  Your worst nightmare.  No, I’m not being dramatic.  After you feel my wrath you will know that I am exactly as I claim to be.  I will haunt you.  When my kid is up at 2 am throwing up his dinner, I will be there to remind you that this is YOUR fault.  When my kid starts coughing, crying and screaming at me for trying to give him medicine, you will know about it.  When I am the one losing work time, sleep and my sanity– I will find the time to remind you that this all could have been prevented.  I may seem neurotic and crazy but I don’t care anymore.  When your kid goes to the hospital with a 105 fever you realize that its perfectly okay to be a little neurotic.  A little crazy.  It is perfectly okay to blame you if you send your sick child to school.  Your actions are selfish.  I get not wanting to miss work.  I get that it can be inconvenient.  However, look at your kid.  Your kid needs sleep!   You kid’s body needs a fighting chance to get rid of this illness.  You shouldn’t want to send them to school.  But, if you do decide to send your sweet, sickly baby to school knowing that they will spread whatever illness they have– you should know that you’re infecting every other little kid in that room.  You’re infecting them, their siblings, their parents.  Your actions are effecting everyone.  You’re causing another parent to lose sleep, miss work and potentially get sick themselves.  And if that parent is a little sensitive to their baby’s illnesses to begin with, you’re causing them to lose their minds!  No one wants to watch their kids sniffle, cough, sneeze or deal with a high fever.  No one wants their babies to spend the night over the toilet vomiting.  Especially the nervous-Nelly mom’s of the world.  Watching you tell the teacher that your child is “just tired,” and “warm because it was warm in the car,” gives me rage.  You know your child is sick.  Own up to your poor decision, turn your child around and walk them back out to the car, drive home and put them in bed.  Do it for your kid.  Do it for the other kids and for goodness sake DO it for your fellow moms.  I promise we will do the same for you. If you don’t, you can expect me to call you out on it.  I’m up to my ears in medicine, thermometers, hand sanitizer, tissues, vitamins and essential oils.  What I need is for you to do your job as a parent so we can all get through this season together.

Sincerely,
That crazy mom whose kid was out multiple weeks his first year of preschool due to random illnesses that could have been prevented.  (insert middle finger emoji.)

The glimmer

I’ve had panic attacks and anxiety my entire life.  I understand that it gets better… it gets worse… it feels okay… then you feel like you’re dying and its just kind of trying to figure out how to ride the rollercoaster.  It really sucks actually.  I’m tired of it truthfully, but it never stops and I just have to keep on.

At my last therapy appointment I spoke very highly of Prozac, credited it to making me feel like a new person.  I felt like I could enjoy the moment, interact with my kids a little better, interact with others in general a little better.  It felt like it took the edge off and I needed that.  My therapist was so happy to hear that I was getting some relief.  When I was telling her about how great I felt I knew that I was jinxing myself… but I didn’t want to think that way.   I just wanted that moment.  I needed that moment.  Even if I knew it would be gone soon enough.

Not to get into too much detail …but something set me off and it was over.  The panic attacks came and they were intense.  They hurt.  I felt crazy.  I went to the ER.  I called my doctor a million times.  I asked the same question 8 different ways, 30 different times trying to find some sort of reassurance about what I was stressing about.  My kids saw me run around with my head somewhere else completely.  They saw me pacing the floor and although I was with them physically– mentally, I was a million miles away…

In a way I felt manic.  I couldn’t stop crying.  I felt like I was crawling out of my skin.  I couldn’t eat.. I couldn’t sleep.  I couldn’t do anything.  I only felt okay when I was driving somewhere.  I didn’t want to sit still… I wanted to run away.  I needed to be somewhere else.  My body knew it.

When I did finally get some sleep I would dream horrible things.  My dreams are rehearsals for real life dangers and often times I can’t even escape in them.  This month I’ve had crazy dreams but perhaps the craziest of them all… was a dream that was wonderful.  It was so out of the norm for me.  It was so short but it meant everything.

In the dream I was at the beach.  I had a bikini on and I didn’t care how I looked in it.  I was sitting…staring at the ocean with the sun on my back.  The sun was warm but it wasn’t burning me.  It was perfect.  I could feel it and I didn’t worry about melanoma or …if I was getting sunburned…or if I even had sunscreen on.  I just knew that in the moment I felt really happy and relaxed and well.  More importantly- I was IN the moment.  I was actually present in a moment… even if it was in a dream.

I thought about this dream throughout the week.  I thought about it when things felt like they were becoming too much.  When I was losing my mind … the dream was always there.  It gave me a few seconds of calm in a really bad storm of emotions.

In therapy last week I cried for a solid hour.  I spoke about my fears and the rollercoaster of my emotions.  I spoke about the fact that my kids are seeing their mother in such turmoil and how I hate that I’m doing this to them even when I’m trying SO hard not to.  I told my therapist that I was just ..tired.  I’m so exhausted.  Thinking 3289 thoughts at once takes so much out of you.  Having 2 kids takes so much out of you.  Working part time and being a mom full time takes a lot out of you.  I’m just… tired.  I vented and I wept and I finally just felt paralyzed.  I couldn’t move anymore.   I just wanted to sit there until something changed.. anything.  I didn’t even want to blink.  Everything hurt.

And then… there was the dream.  Before I knew it I was telling my therapist about the dream.  I had no idea WHY I was telling her about this dream that I hadn’t told anyone about …but there I was …explaining it in such vivid detail.  My crying stopped, I felt warm.  I felt the warmth of the sun in me when telling her about this dream.  I needed this moment.

I looked up to find my therapist crying.  She had chills.  She said something I will probably NEVER forget.  She said, “Catherine… that is the glimmer.  That is the glimmer of hope.”  She explained that my body, deep inside… knows what I need.  It knows how to heal itself.  It knows how to carry on.  It knows exactly what I need to do to feel better and have a fulfilling life.  My anxiety is just beating the hell out of it.

I realized that there is a threshold with pain, fear, anxiety.  Everything has felt completely out of control and mostly because I feel like I can control everything and realizing that I can’t …kills me.  I couldn’t control this dream, or any other dream that I have but somewhere deep inside me… I was given a gift from myself.  I was given that glimmer.  That hope.  I was being reminded that there is a way to feel something other than pain.  Maybe it lives inside of me.  I just have to find it.