I haven’t wanted to mention this because it makes me feel like I’m a slave to it, but…I’ve lost 10 pounds. !!!! I don’t really care what did it…stress? Likely…but whoot!!! I am a happy girl. If I can get another ten off me I’ll be at my (dream) goal weight and it’s actually starting to look like it’s possible. That little change helped my self image more than I’m comfortable admitting, but again, I’m not going to worry over it. Like the nurse who changed my entire perspective on myself said, I’m not focusing on what once was so much anymore, just how I can love who and what I am NOW. Work on improving what I have now so I feel more at home in my own skin. The change of direction did more than just make me feel better. :)
Because I’m happier with the way I look overall, my confidence is coming back…shining through. I can see the difference in the way people look at me, receive me, perceive me and accept me…..and I know, this time, it’s got nothing to do with the way I look physically. (Can you even believe I just wrote that?!) I feel more like me than I have in a long, long time.
Dayne, Colt and I went to one of our favourite time-waster flea markets on Saturday and I was dressed in my favourite boots (you have got to see these things. People on the street stop me to ask where I got them they are so different lol) a pair of leggings that fit again and a casual top with a sweater. I had my black and white scarf that has a very subtle skull print and my usual handful of silver jewelry on my neck and arms. I felt great…looked good, felt good, the pain was simmering in the background but wasn’t really holding my attention. People seemed to go out of their way to engage me and everyone I smiled at smiled back…it was a nice feeling, being in a place where I felt so exposed yet still in control and sure of who I was.
At home, later that evening, Dayne was looking at me with a goofy grin on his face.
“What?” I asked with a grin of my own.
“It’s just really nice to see you like this again. I thought we had lost that Grainne forever.”
“Sorry?” I responded, confused. “Have I been someone different?”
“Oh hell yes! After your divorce, when everyone turned on you and Harry ran around betraying you and your deepest secrets you just shut down. You retreated further back with every passing day until you were so isolated you shared nothing of yourself with anyone. Even me.”
I thought back to that time and knew exactly what he meant. After I left Harry he went nuts, running all over the city, calling everyone I’d ever known including bosses, coworkers, friends, and my family, to tell them all the things I might not have wanted them to know. Things about my past abuse…deep, personal things. He did it to hurt me, and it did the job very well. I pulled back and just hid away from the world until two things happened. One, I met M and two, I met Orlaith. Two people I decided to trust…to test the world with. M fucked me over so bad I nearly lost my entire sense of self, and Orlaith, well, she was the one who lied to me about her entire life, lied about a tragic car accident that almost killed her and her unborn baby, lied about the birth of the baby, lied about the baby getting cancer and then lied her little heart out as I cried with her and soothed her….I spent a good year being there for her as much as I could be. I felt so much pain and despair for that little one who never really existed. When I called her on it she closed all her email accounts and vanished from the face of the earth. I was never given an explanation or even an apology. Nothing. Just….gone. It broke me. I know I shouldn’t have invested so much but it didn’t even occur to me that she might be making it all up. I’ve tried to let it go and forgive her in my heart….I didn’t actually realize the impact it had on my overall ability or desire to trust. Dayne did though. It’s always amazed me, how quietly observant he can be.
The conversation then, turned to a change I’ve been noticing at work in how people receive me. Last week, several times, coworkers commented on my outfit, jewelry or boots. Lol…god I love those boots. I was standing in the reception area chatting with a therapist when a few others came by.
“Oh Grainne! Those boots are SO you! I love them!” They nodded in agreement as they spoke.
It stopped me dead cold. I smiled and thanked them, of course, but inside I felt like someone had just peeled the skin back from my body and exposed my entire being to the world. I went back to my office and tried to locate the source of the discomfort when I realized what had just been said. Somehow, these people who I’ve only known for a few months, whom I’ve barely spoken to on a personal level, were able to identify something I was wearing as being a good fit with my style.
This may all sound innocuous to most, but the thought of people knowing that about me was terrifying….and elating. It meant that I was finally able to be ‘me’ in a true sense that I’ve not experienced in a long while in my life. It meant that when I decided to let go of the past troubles, let go of the worry and picking over what everyone thought of me to establish ‘who’ I was in the world and decided to just be ME…the me I used to be (and always was)….it worked. Or, it’s working, at least. I have allowed the people around me to peek into who I am, what I like, and what makes me feel good. As I explained this to Dayne, he noted that it was an obvious change. He said he was proud of me for letting myself show more to the world. I’m pretty proud of me too.
The world is coming back into focus, a bit, and it’s really exciting. I hope there’s not too many hurdles in my way at this point so I don’t lose my footing, but really, this change is deep inside me…I can’t see very many things reaching it. I feel magnetic and in control, not of everything….but I don’t need to have everything in my hands, just my own self image, respect and self acceptance.
What an interesting day it is today. I’m tired, but not exhausted; in pain but not so much I can’t enjoy my day, stressed but accepting of my busy, never-ending job, and I feel like I have Colt’s school issues well in hand. It could all fall apart in a moment, but, for now, I’m going to relish this, even if it only lasts a few more minutes. (She says as the phone starts ringing endlessly….)
Dayne was an angel and left work early yesterday to drive all the way home to get Colt. They turned around and came back to town just in time to meet me at the Psychiatric Institute where Colt sees his psychiatrist. This man is amazing, let me tell you. We lucked out so huge when we found him.
Way back when Colt was 3 we started our campaign to get him onto one of the doc’s caseloads. It’s a self referral service, of course, because GP’s cannot mandate psychological testing (well, they can, but not directly to the institute…they’re the higher care body who is linked directly to the Ministry of Health which governs all of health care in Canada. Dayne and I nearly lost our jobs, we took so much time off rotating shifts at the Institute with envelopes bursting with medical notes and test results from Colt’s first three years. We begged, literally, for help and finally one of the docs agreed to take Colt on as a patient.
We only go a few times a year at this point but there is zero pressure from them to make appointments. They’re so busy they can barely handle what they have….but this wonderful doc, Dr. Rob, we’ll call him, went out of his way for us, again, and arranged to see us at 5:30 to make things easier on us. 5:30! The entire hospital I work in clears out 4 (aside from the nursing shifts) so a 5:30 appointment on a Wednesday is unheard of. Dr. Rob also sat with us until nearly 7:00 pm and when we left he wasn’t even almost rushing us out the door.
Sometimes we forget how good it is for Dayne and I to meet with Dr. Rob, thinking of his as Colt’s doc, not someone who will help us achieve our goals. He always starts by chatting with Colt about kid things…school, sports, superheros, whatever he can remember as being of interest. Then, he will ask Colt a series of questions and observes him as a whole, watching his tics and gestures, movements, eye contact, flow of though, logic…it’s really interesting to watch it happen. Colt responds well, tries hard to be personable and polite; it makes me love him so much too see. My biggest fear for him is that he stops trying. Then Dr. Rob will start discussing things with Dayne and I, asking how the school year is going and how Colt is doing. We generally relate all the BS we’ve endured from the school since our last appointment and he sits there and bats away the nonsense
“So what are they considering his behavioral issues to be?” He asked. “Does he scream or disrupt the class by throwing physical fits or items across the room at his peers?”
“Oh gosh no!” I answered while Dayne chuckled and Colt looked so bored he was about to pass out in the chair. “Basically, he refuses to do what they ask him. In the afternoon, the only expectation of him is that he remains physically present in his classes and they’re not even managing to do that.”
But does he swear? Spit? Get into physical fights?” Dr. Rob looked a bit surprised.
“No no, nothing like that. He refuses to do his work. If they push him he threatens to swear at them and then he’s sent to the office and I get a call to redirect him and his behaviour.”
“Well that’s ridiculous!” the doc said and all three of us smiled in unison. Isn’t it though? We get so emotionally invested in the school and the goings on there that we get lost in the issues and bogged down with policy and punishment (remember the times they suspended him for swearing on the playground but wouldn’t give him a student mentor to help guide him while outside in a huge crowd of kids? Dr. Rob was actually angry about that.)
We talked about the presentation they wanted to do for his classroom about autism. Dr. Rob asked me how that was going to help Colt. After several moments though, I answered that it wouldn’t. The kids in his grade and class are kind to him. They all know he’s autistic…..a presentation for them won’t help Colt in any way, in fact, the doc worried that it might make Colt feel under the microscope, like people are telling all his secrets to the whole class. I wrote an email this morning halting that presentation….I can’t believe I almost put him through that. I don’t think he would react too badly but really, what’s the benefit? Nothing aside from the school getting to say “We’ve done all we can! Look at our efforts!” Screw them. It’s been ME who drives this entire thing and has been me alone from the start. Even Dayne can’t be counted on to behave rationally.
Anyway….things went along like that and Dr. Rob told us to stand strong with the school. He said that if they threaten to take away his EA support (which means he’ll do nothing in the morning and nothing in the afternoon) to tell them we disagree, first, and second, that we hope they have a great plan B in place because Colt will be there until grade 8, regardless. There are no other places for him to go…
Oooh and the ASD placement they’re pushing to get Colt into…haha…we asked about that and Dr. Rob nearly jumped out of his chair.
“NO! No don’t allow them to push you into that! The programs are good, I’ve been over to see four of them in the last three years, but the kids who go there seem to be the ones who are a physical threat to themselves or other students or are extremely disruptive to a regular class or school.”
He says the minimal distractions, army-like structure and padded cool down rooms (closets with no window, just bean bag mats and a tiny little closet they lock the kids into when they freak out) are in place for a reason. Like us, he agreed that Colt spending time around children who are fall less socially functional than he is will only serve to pull him down and will teach him absolutely nothing about self coping or regulation. I nearly cried with relief at the sound of someone agreeing with me.
So we will not allow an application for the ASD classes. The doc said he has rarely found if effective for kids like Colt and I can stand on that, regardless of the pressure the school puts on. He also recommended that we have him reevaluated and have a new IEP designed. His hasn’t really changed since grade 3.
Then he asked about the swearing from last year. He did a few quick psychological test and pushed Colt (a bit) into answering more difficult questions than he is easily able. This caused an immediate stress reaction and his twitches and tics came out everywhere. I don’t think there was a single part of his body that was still throughout the session. At it’s conclusion, Dr. Rob announced that he believes Colt has Tourette’s Syndrome (it’s rather often found as a co-morbidity of autism, especially at Colt’s level of function). It’s not severe and could get better or worse with time, but he wants to add it to Colt’s overall diagnosis. He smiled when he said that it might help him keep his EA support through grade 8, at least.
After hearing that I very nearly cheered. I know that must sound so odd to most people, but the fact that maybe the swearing and strange behaviour that started last year was due to the Tourette’s starting up in his messed up little system. Knowing it might have a root cause relieves me of the fear that Colt is turning aggressive, surly and entirely lacks empathy for his fellow man. His frustration levels make much more sense that was too…..but that poor kid. Can you imagine the struggle he faces each and every day when he tries to “behave” the way everyone expects him to? I hate so much that he suffers that way. Any way.
We came away feeling a little happier, more empowered and refocused entirely on what matters most: Colt, his education and his happiness. It puts Dayne and I on the same page immediately.
As we were walking out Dr. Rob pulled Colt off to the side and got on his level.
“Hey Colt? I see a lot of kids here who need my help at school and at home. I’m really glad you come to see me too because you are a really nice kid with a great heart. Don’t let anyone tell you they’re better than you, because I can promise you that they’re not. Okay buddy?”
Colt offered a ‘fist bump’ and Dr. Rob happily bumped him back. I couldn’t have been more moved. Everything changed in that moment, settled down and refocused. We’re ready for the next hurdle now, whatever they try to throw at us, we’ll be ready.
Thanks Dr. Rob. I hope you know how much your help means to these kids….and their parents. :)
Dark nights, dark days. I seem to have lost my footing somewhere. Dayne thinks it’s because I was asleep for so long. I’m sort of in agreement, in part anyway. The more I sleep the more I get lost in dreams. The more I’m home and not at work, the more I sleep. I’m not sure what’s better for me most days, sleeping and feeling this way but with reduced pain physically, or being exhausted, stressed, overtired and in pain all the time. Nice choice to have to make every damn day. :S
This morning the sun came up in sepia tones. I have no idea why but the sunrise gave a full, muted-golden cast to everything as I was driving in…the bright reds, oranges, yellows and green of the trees in the dusty light made it so beautiful…like I was driving through an old movie. It was quite beautiful, and then became doubly so as the sun burst above the horizon in pinks and reds. “Red sky in the morn…sailors be warned…” ran through my head. It’s warm and humid today, in great contrast to the weekend when it was blazingly sunny but cool. Proper fall weather. I was sweating and cold, overheating and sticky….I hate the irregular way my body keeps temperature. I don’t know if it’s the drugs or me anymore. I think I might be nearing my period which would explain the sweats and general feelings of malaise. Yay. Why the hell not…..pile it on.
My dreams have been relentlessly exhausting. It is so frustrating to sleep for 20 hours and then wake up feeling like I need a nap. No joke, most nights it feels like I’ve just come home from work and then my alarm goes off. I get home from real work, sleep, go to dream work, wake, got to real work…it’s mind numbing at best. I’m so tired right behind my eyes I feel like I could fall into a coma and rest for a year with a smile on my lips (and terror in my head).
So. I’ve worked my butt off in therapy for years, like so many of my friends here have done. I sorted a lot of crap out and have come to understand so much more about who I am through the work I’ve done and I’m a much more stable, settled human being. The pain of the arthritis in my spine is another thing I’ve overcome, to a degree. I try not to give it much life by keeping it inside me while looking for ways to make it easier on myself. It’s not easy. Last night, Dayne was watching me sob across the room feeling helpless and hopeless and he tried to bolster me.
“Remember, the pain is only really bad in the winter. Just focus on next spring and things will be okay eventually. You’ve not been in a lot of pain lately…maybe it won’t be as bad as last year?”
What he doesn’t realize (and I didn’t explain because it’s terribly depressing) is that the pain hasn’t really altered much in the last months. There have been some low times, for sure, but most of the time I’m in pain. Most of the time my head hurts and my jaw aches. My eyes hurt….if I cry at ALL, I’m in a world of trouble. Two tears and I’ll end up with a crashing headache, sore eyeballs that swell and throb with pain, massive sinus pressure and a vertigo feeling that leaves me nauseous. Most of the time my neck hurts in such a scary way…I can feel the bones sitting at angles on top of each other and every turn of my head feels like it’s taking me one step closer to the time when I can no longer do so. The grinding feels instinctively wrong…dangerous. My shoulders and arms along with my upper back are always sore, always aching, always tense and strung out feeling. The weakness gets worse each time I check it so I’ve stopped checking. My lower back is also nearly always in pain. It hurts to sit and press the curve in it into pain and I can’t lie flat or it causes pain from the other side. At night I can’t lie on my sides because of my shoulders and arms (the pain is unreal. I dream of my arms being set on fire or being stretched by ropes until they tear off my torso) and when I wake, in pain and gingerly move to my back my lower back screams at me. I flip to the other side and sleep for an hour, then wake with stone arms and painful shoulders, flip to my front and my lower back screams at me. It’s ridiculous. I have round pillows to jam under my legs, lower, back, neck, torso….I have two body pillows to lean against so I don’t put too much pressure on my body…what I need, is to lie suspended in space so that there is zero pressure on my body. I’m looking into that. There’s got to be a sling or some sort of suspension device I could find.
The pain is the same even when I don’t complain about it. That was my point….I don’t like to complain in the first place, but constantly thinking about it brings it too much into real life and I eventually find I can’t escape it. The bad part of all that is that I’m so good at hiding it, folks think I’m not in pain anymore. That doesn’t help my case at all but I can’t think of anything else to try. So tired.
Dayne convinced me that it’s time to try another med. The ones I’m on hold me *just* at the point where I can function most days, as long as I only work my 8 hours and then sleep nearly immediately upon getting home. I sleep all weekend…wasting the hours away. In tears, I implored Dayne to just let me change things somehow so I didn’t end up wasting my last good ten years or so entirely on a job. Every ounce of energy I have goes here, into my office, where I can’t keep up. The pittance remaining goes to Colt, who deserves the lion’s share, and there is nothing left for anything else. It’s getting hard to justify.
So. I started writing. Everyone who loves me has been after me to write a novel since I can remember and I put it off and push it away, maybe afraid that it won’t be good enough in the end, maybe afraid it will be. I’m going to give it a try though. My time could be worse spent right? Maybe I’ll use my last year in the 30’s to write something that might allow me to back off on work a tiny bit. Maybe. There must be another way to supplement some income that doesn’t involve me busting my arse in a job that’s going to take years from my life simply from stress. Mah. Will see. I barely have the energy to think today.
Off to work. I have a shit load of stuff due by Thursday and I’m already behind with this short week. Wish me luck friends. x
Well here it is, the last year f my 30’s starting off with a bang. My computer is broken. I boted it up after a few months of no use (I’ve been asleep) and it booted fine, just fizzled out when i tried to open my desktop. It doesn’t look like windows…the drive doesnt even start. The fan whirs and the screen goes into sleep mode and nothing happens. All my fucking photos (again) are on that drive so i hope it’s not fried. The damn thing isn’t more than two years old. Maybe it got hit in one of those terrible lightning storms this summer. The house took a few shocks and the panel blew a few times (suddenly remembers a strange, metal/plastic burning smell that we never found the source of after a storm one day….). Crap. I was going to buy a new one, however,on my way out this morning the truck died. My car, sitting prone and immobile directly beside the piece of shit truck, is unfixable. Well, unworthy at best. The truck now being in need of repair only makes the bullshit smell so much sweeter.
So I can’t leave the house. And I can’t use my computer. The only two things I do other than sleep.
So. It’s my birthday. Colt gave me a hug and Dayne mumbled something at me this morning. I bought myself underwear and a cheap silver ring and….yay me. At least I didn’t have to walk home from town today. That would have super sucked.
Today is weirdly difficult for me. No one calls, no one cares and I’m a big girl now and Santa isn’t real so I should just shut the fuck up and go to sleep. Right? Might as well. It’s after 4 pm so technically evening. Down a beer, pass out, wake up for Dayne’s Turkey, cause it’s thanksgiving too. Oh so much to be thankful for. My health…oh wait. Mentally and physically fucked. How could I forget. My sons health and happiness? Nope. He’s miserable upstairs in his room because no one likes him. All the while the school tries to plot its way out of educating him. Family? Hahahaha.
I miss my mom the most today.
Fuck it then. Back to dreams of misery. At least I can occasionally wake from those ones.