Saturday, August 14, 2010

Obsessiveness is not Just for the Children

So anyone following me on facebook and twitter today followed my angst about all the nasty comments to a blog that an autism website reposted. I spent the day answering comments and basically defending myself to a bunch of very entitled children most of whom did not have autism but decided that they know everything there is to know about life. Their gist was that we should respect what they do, we adults are idiots and we need to mind our own business. I have to tell you that I feel like a complete ass right now.

I am trying to figure out why I even cared what these children thought or why I even bothered to engage with them. Perhaps I feel that it is important for them to understand how the world works and that you can’t willy-nilly lead your life. It was almost like I was talking to my own children, and yes they can give me a hard time too. I thought I could talk some sense into the on line commentors, but to no avail.The difference here, as opposed to dealing with my children, was that eventually these comments became downright nasty and I did ask for the post to be removed. Actually as this went to "press" I received an email that the post would be removed. The administrator mentioned how the comments were rather eye opening for all of us. Scarey how the younger generation thinks at times.

I suppose I need to ask myself why I did what I did and why it actually mattered. I have no idea. I wonder if in the end it is just the nature of who I have become as an autism parent that I don’t give up the fight so easily, or perhaps it is because I don’t’ give up the fight so easy that I fight as an autism mom. It’s the proverbial chicken or the egg. But even more important than answering ancient rhetorical questions is to figure out how to put your idiosyncrasies to work for yourself and for your children.

Well if anything I am definitely obsessive. When I was younger and hubby and I just met everything was about Israel and foreign policy and politics. I actually drove everyone to distraction. In fact hubby said that it was truly grating. It was all I talked about and it was all I thought about. Interesting to say the least. He said after all these years these perspectives have changed and he is really glad that I have a varied list of topics with which I can draw from in order to have a conversation with people. Yes, I know what you are thinking, aspie-like, very aspie-like. Well the acorn does not fall far from the tree and I think if we examined ourselves closely we would probably find quite a lot of traits that our children have inherited. I mean these traits did come from somewhere.

Meanwhile the question becomes how can we use these traits to help our children? I have used them to live and breathe autism for the last 15 years. I have studied and read and joined in groups where I can support my children and make sure that they have every chance at the future of their choice. I think it’s a matter of being able to harness what is inside of us and use it for good, instead of evil. In many instances we do allow our nature to overtake us and we get caught up in things as they spiral out of control. Sometimes we have no way to put on the breaks and that can be very overwhelming.

By the way, just so everyone knows, you are allowed to be overwhelmed. You are allowed to feel lost. You are allowed to feel out of your depth. You are allowed to be frightened. But what you are not allowed to do, for the sake of your children, is to ever give up. Now how can you accomplish this:

ONE. You need a good network of friends. Now these friends do not have to be someone you meet for coffee at the local Starbucks. It can be some wonderful relationships with persons you met on line. Truthfully today when I was obsessing about nasty commentors, I heard from some facebook and twitter friends and they helped me dial it back.

TWO. Don’t forget yourself when it comes to therapy. We deal with so much stress that it doesn’t go away just because we ignore it. I say embrace it, understand it and deal with it as best you can. Seek help and don’t think medication doesn’t work for you if it works for your children. Don’t be afraid to add some aspects of a gluten free diet in for you as well. It is known to help with anxiety and affects in a positive way heart disease and blood pressure.

I have to tell everyone, we have gone on a modified gluten-free diet and I feel different, never mind the children. In fact this past week, when I broke down and bought a regular chocolate cake, I definitely could feel an internal change. Now I have also noticed a difference in collegeman, he was much calmer during his class especially during exam time, but not so much HSB, no real change there. Everyone is different, and we will have to see what happens for all of us in the future.

THREE. Take care of yourself. From diet, to exercise to even buying yourself that little special present you wanted every so often. It is important to remember that you are also a person. Read an earlier post on this topic here.

FOUR. Lastly, don’t’ be afraid to say that something is not working out properly for you and just stop doing it. If it means not going to the support meetings, changing friends or even cutting off a website or unfriending people on facebook it is something you are allowed to do for yourself. (Of course this does not mean that anyone is allowed to unfriend me on facebook.)

Remember that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Let’s all try to remain sane. At least, it’s a good use for my obsessive personality.

Until next time,