Wallowing


I’ve spent an awful lot of time thinking this weekend.  Sunday morning, after Little B had a meltdown at church, and we had to leave, the first episode of self-pity struck.  This fell on the heels of  being told during a completely unrelated argument with a close friend that I prefer to have people wallow with me, instead of offering encouragement, and it hit me hard, right in the gut. 

Before Little B was diagnosed with PDD-NOS, and even just after, I spent hours on the internet looking for answers.  Everything I read was either very clinical, or very flowery.  The sites that listed symptoms all listed the same things, over and over, and it was very difficult to paint a picture of an actual child from those lists.  The sites that were dedicated to “awareness” or whatever had smiley happy photos of parents and kids.  It was very confusing to me.  I was lost.  I was alone.  I couldn’t understand how that laundry list of symptoms affected an actual child.  How often did it affect them?  Was it constant?  How did the parents know anything was wrong?  Where did they go for answers?  How did they get people to understand?

There’s a lot that I’ve learned since that time.  I’ve learned that there are plenty of people out there in the same boat I am.  And was.  There are people who are looking for answers about their children.  They are likely confused and feel isolated.  At the other end of the “spectrum”, there are people who feel confident that they know all there is to know about their child’s condition, how best to handle the outbursts, the meltdowns, and their own emotional reactions to them.  There are people who have come to terms with the idea that their child cannot be “fixed”, because he or she isn’t broken.  They accept that.  They are strong and determined to make their child’s life the best it can be.  They build on their strengths instead of lamenting about their weaknesses. 

But not all of us are there yet.  There’s a process to this thing, I’ve learned.  There’s confusion.  There’s pain.  There’s grief.  There’s acceptance.  There’s community.  There’s support.  There’s power in numbers. 

But there’s always fear.  There’s always uncertainty. 

I have not chosen to share this journey that my family is on with all of you because I am holding true to my tendency to “overshare”.  It’s true.  I tend to be a person that just straight up tells you what’s going on in my head.  It’s not always a pretty picture.  But it is my truth.  Sharing that with my friends and my family helps me work the kinks out.  To take my truth and meld it into what the reality is. 

No, I’ve consciously made a decision to share this journey with you because there are others like me out there.  They likely feel alone.  They likely feel like they are the only people on the planet who have challenges with their child who has this diagnosis.  They have days when they find it just too hard to accept things for what they are, and they wish for something else.  They find it very unfair that their child has to have such challenges in exchange for the benefits of their disorder, no matter how wonderful they are.   They feel guilty about these feelings.  They know that they have been given a gift.  But that doesn’t make them perfect.  But it does make them human.  Maybe reading what I’ve written in these words makes them feel better, if even for a moment. 

I’ve also consciously made the decision to share because it helps me sort things out in my head.  I told a close friend the other day that it’s so easy to forget how bad things can get.  Little B has been on medication for about 4 months now.  There are definite benefits to this.  But it’s easy to forget, when you go a whole week without a meltdown, how bad the meltdowns are.  It’s easy to think that all of a sudden he no longer has a problem with certain situations.  And then, out of nowhere, it hits.  And you think that it’s worse than it’s ever been.  But I have this blog that I can go back to any time in the past one and a half years, and see how far he’s come.  How far WE’VE come.  Together.  And it gives me a sense of hope.  And hope is everything.  Even Little B knows that. 

I can see now very clearly that one of the biggest keys to Little B’s success is whether I can control my emotional response to his meltdowns.  I know that, logically, in my head.  I have seen the power of my remaining calm, and giving him a barometer against which to measure his own emotions.  If chaos begets chaos, then there is no end to it.  But this is hard for me.  It’s very hard.  But I am trying.  And I am getting better at it.  And so is he. 

I am blessed beyond belief.  And there are days that I recognize that and am so grateful.  There are also bad days, when I have trouble seeing past the immediate emergency.  To express that weakness to you doesn’t make me a “wallower”.  It makes me human.  And I hope that it makes you feel more human too. 

I hold no ill will toward the person who said that to me.  We have a strong history, she and I.  We’ve been friends for over 20 years.  She simply can’t understand what it’s like to walk in my shoes.  What it’s like to live this journey every day.  And because I love her, I am thankful that she doesn’t have to.  

 

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About zohrbak

Zohrbak is an old email username I had a while back...it's a made-up twist on two characters from Spaceghost. Zorak and Brak. I'm a geek. I am a married, working mother of 4 children, ages 4-15. I also have interests outside of my children, but I can never remember what they are.
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12 Responses to Wallowing

  1. Zohrmom says:

    You always manage to say what’ on your heart in the clearest way. My heart hurts for both you and your friend. I am sure you miss one another.

    You know, some people think it’s okay to always have the answers. Most times, they have a problem with people not following the advice. With that being said, they may not stop and think what journey the friend may have to take or the time it will take to get there.

    Love you

  2. Catherine says:

    BRAVO!!!!! Beautiful words!! I am always so inspired by your posts!

    I know these may just seem like words and I know you have heard them before…..but I really believe God never gives us something we can’t handle. With that being said….I think you handle your situation beautifully!

    So glad you are back! I missed Zohrbak!

  3. YaYa says:

    I am at awe most times the way you are able to express your feelings with words. It touches my heart in so many ways. I think we all wallow from time to time, even your dear friend. I hope you and your friend are able to get past this “bump in the road”.

  4. Just Aimee says:

    Whatever dear friend said that to you is a bitch, and deserves to be punched in the face. Hard. I will personally hold her down for you.

    There is no excuse for some words ,even when the “dear friend” is offended and frustrated and mad and not thinking straight because her own heart is bruised. She has a big mouth and a hard head sometimes.

    I am absolutely certain she is wallowing in her own misery over this whole ordeal as we speak.

    I am pretty sure she has no words to really express how sorry she is for the whole stupid thing. She misses you immensely.

    I mean, ya know, whoever this friend is…..

    😦

  5. Miz Tiz says:

    Everything you said here is so clear…………..I learned a long time ago in some course or workshop I was taking on the path of being a forever learner, that people either process their worries, fears, problems internally or externally. We each lean to one way or the other. When an internal processor makes a statement, it is the conclusion he/she has reached through much talking to self alone. When an external processor makes that same kind of statement, it probably isn’t a conclusion at all, just merely part of the analyzing process………………………….I don’t know if that makes sense, but it did to me when I discovered that my husband and I were totally different types of processors. After that, we fought less because we understood how the other person needed to either talk about it or not talk about it……..you are an external processor, my friend…………….and nothing would be worse for you than to try to hold it in and say nothing until you had the answer all figured out. It would probably drive you into an early grave.

    Hang in there…………..even your “wicked” friend loves you, and you two will get past this and be close again. And your blog is equally as helpful, I’m sure, as the support group of mothers that Brandie started is. So, just don’t try to change yourself and don’t think we’d love you more any other way.
    xxxxooooo

    p.s. The snowflakes are very lovely and distracting to my old ADD self!!!! I kept saying to myself whilst typing “how did she do that?” 🙂

    • YaYa says:

      I’ve never heard of this “internal vs external” and had to do a little research. I read the first two pages on this website:

      http://thekingsshepherd.org/Internal_vs_External_Processors%20and%20Forgiveness.pdf

      I am an Internal thinker..

      • Miz Tiz says:

        that’s it, YaYa………….my husband used to always get mixed up and try to pin me down to something I had said while thinking about a problem, which he assumed was a final conclusion to that problem. When I would say something different later, it used to drive him nuts. Finally, we “got it” and life was better. Zhorbak is just like me in that she has to process all the details out loud (which also applies to written forms as well as spoken forms) before she can figure out what she thinks……….an internal processor’s statement is the end, while people like us are just in the middle of figuring it out. Know thyself!!

    • JUST AIMEE says:

      Miz Tiz, i have always loved the whole study of the differences in the way people process things and different personality types and how different they are.

      I am definitely an internal thinker. No doubt about it. During a recent argument I think I became VERY ACUTELY aware of this whole idea, and of just what the big problem is between the two types of people.

      I have found myself very offended by things people say in this “external” process. A friend said to me, “some people just talk shit!”. I totally didn’t get that, because I don’t really do that, at least not out loud. All of the deciding process of my opinions or the emotion of something (the talking of the “shit”) happens inside my crazy head. So, when I do speak, like you said earlier, it’s pretty much my conclusion.

      I know I have a long way to go in dealing with people who externalize, or vent things. It’s difficult for me to try to brush off or take with a grain of salt, what people say even when I suspect they are truly just venting, processing.

      I don’t think any one way is better or worse than the other, but I know for CERTAIN that it helps in a relationship to understand the other person’s way of handling things.

      THANK YOU for bringing up the idea in this discussion. 🙂

  6. Miz Tiz says:

    Indeed.

    I too love the personality type comparisons. Of the color system, I’m a blue with lots of green. I am definitely NOT a gold person. On the Myers-Briggs, I am an ENFP. I have studied Enneagrams also, but need to do more work in that area………………so much to learn in this old world, and I wanna be there doing and thinking about something new right there at the last momentj!!

  7. Coyote says:

    Sometimes, the best medicine isn’t laughter, or advice, or anything but the chance to express what we’re going to. To vent it.

    As a person who probably would have been diagnosed with this as a child – if that diagnosis even existed or were recognized, I will tell you that it _can_ get better. Some amount of that will be because of your support and help, and some will just come from Little B growing up into adult Little B and figuring out how to handle life.

    Even “normal” kids aren’t easy. _Life_ isn’t easy.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and sometimes travails with us. When people see they’re not alone, sometimes that helps more than anything else.

    Your frankness, honesty, and openness are inspiring.

  8. It is a difficult reality that, regardless of the personal challenges we face, there will always be people in our lives who just don’t “get it.” Sometimes I finey would myself wishing that they could simply walk in my shoes for a week, or even a day, so that they could gain a greater understanding of what I deal with day.
    How much more gracious is your loving acknowledgement that you are glad that your friend does not face the struggles that you do.
    You and Little B have come a long way, and you can be proud of how both of you have grown. Keep hanging onto that broader view of your situation when the daily slog bogs you down. You are both on a progressive journey, and look how far you have come!
    Jodi

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