Saturday, 13 May 2017

The Battle to Function with Anxiety as told to my ASD son

My beautiful youngest son, Master14, is on the Autism Spectrum so I am often having to explain the world in terms he can understand. On this sunny day my Master14 and I were out and about getting things done and running errands together. On the way home on a small coastal “major” road I began to have an anxiety attack so I took a detour into a park with sweeping bay views and we talked.

Master14: you ok mum?

AnxietyMum: Mummy’s just having a moment sweetheart. Let’s look at the water for a while and see if I calm down.

Master14: What’s it like?

AnxietyMum: It’s like tight metal bands around my chest making breathing really hard.
It’s tears hiding just behind my eyes burning to escape.
It’s my heart racing and feeling like it wants to escape my chest.
It’s my limbs being heavy, cold, numb and unresponsive.
It’s a bone deep shudder that just wont stop.
It’s a fear so critical I need to get away, but I don’t know what from.
It’s an icy creepy feeling up my back.
It’s hairs all over my body standing up like goose bumps.
It’s a sweaty, sticky, gross, clammy feeling in my hands, my hair and my feet.
It’s a feeling of dread like something really bad is just about to happen, but I don’t know what.

Master14: Can you really feel all that?

AnxietyMum: Yes baby I can.

Master14: What makes it happen to you?

AnxietyMum: That’s a very good question … It’s like my brain tells me stories, lots of stories, of all the things that could go wrong. The stories are all very possible so they worry me, especially when I drive, because horrible things can always happen on the road.

Master14: you can’t stop the stories?

AnxietyMum: I try very hard to not pay attention to them, but …

Master14: They are like a song stuck in your head?

AnxietyMum: Sort of …
When I am driving it’s like I have port holes, little boat windows, of reality in my windscreen and mirrors, but all around that reality are images, flashes, of horrible possibility trying to make me pay attention.

Master14: What sort of images?

AnxietyMum: a dog running into the road, a child, a ball, a stroller.
I see an insect crashing into the windscreen guts all over the place, or a pelican poo, or a bird.
I see branches falling off trees, rocks flying at me, pot holes and bridges collapsing.
I see your face bloodied, your arms broken, blood everywhere.

Master14: none of that happened, none of it was real …

AnxietyMum: I know darling. I know it the whole time, but the stress of it, all of it, makes my body react to it even as if it were real. Adrenalin gets released into my blood stream and I can’t help feeling all the things that real disaster creates in a body.

Master14: are you ok now?

AnxietyMum: I’m much better thank you

Master14: Why do you thank me?

AnxietyMum: Because focusing on your questions gave my brain something to do other than panic.

Master14: I helped you?

AnxietyMum: More than you could possibly imagine.

Master14: Can we go home now?

AnxietyMum: Absolutely … that’s just where I want to be.

*quiet moment as we get back on the road*

Master14: I feel like that sometimes …

AnxietyMum: You know any time you do you can talk to me about it.

Master14: Because you understand.

AnxietyMum: Boy do I ever!

I don’t think any mother wants to have to explain why they are frail or scared or distressed. I have always tried to keep open dialogues with my children, but I am always challenged to explain things to my youngest in terms HE can relate to. I also managed to gave him a name for the way he sometimes feels. We are closer for it and I have a better understanding of my amazing wee man and myself.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Prisoner of The Season

I have to admit to a really large dose of seasonal "bah humbug". I don't enjoy the marketing frenzy of retailers that begins even before the ridiculousness of Halloween is over and I don't enjoy the all holds barred of other people's determination to enjoy their idea of festivity even in the face of the discomfort and detriment of others.

Merriment should not impact on the health and welfare of others in the community and when objection is raised for very valid reasons it seems ill fitting to direct invective at the beleaguered and distressed.

Case in Point?

Take the silent and oft unnoticed, but debilitating neurological disorder epilepsy for instance. How many in the community would even consider the effect of flashing lights for most of the night on a sufferer? The lack of sleep entailed in traffic? loud laughter? raucous exclamations? screaming children? How many people are aware that flashing lights and lack of sleep can be key precursors to seizure activity? how many care?

This is not my usual foodcentric mode, but my foodcentricity all began with a desire to find a place of wellness and fulfillment, not just for myself, but for my small family each with variety of silent, invisible illness and so the plight of those who also suffer such ills is not lost on me and those who may know me would know I care so very deeply.

What am I trying to say?

Well ..... Don't malign those who take less enjoyment in the frivolity and excess of the season than you as they may well have a very good reason.

Take into consideration that your flashy over the top displays of lack of consideration can in fact be detrimental to others.

Take with you, if you are more inclined to more sedate and considerate modes of celebration, our thanks because even though you may not realise it those not of your ilk keep us and many like us imprisoned in our homes after dark .... unable to take advantage of any evening occupations and enjoyments.

If, in your estimation, I sound bitter and at variance to the season of the Holy Dollar and that doesn't suit whatever you keep under your silly red hat then I'm afraid that's just too bad. Catering to the chronically ME-centric is not in my best interests ....