Category Archives: Asperger’s

More Than I

Today I picked up my Oldest Son during a downpour. As we left the front door of his friend’s house I held the little umbrella up over his head. He didn’t realize I had one at first, and he was afraid of the rain and of getting his video game controller wet so he was immediately grateful. He looked back and said “What about you, you don’t have one?” Meaning the umbrella. I told him I didn’t need one, I loved him more. He said “More than yourself, you love me? I thought you loved me and you equally.” I laughed at him and hugged him under the umbrella and told him that’s not how it works. He was so surprised.

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Birth Control Pills

I have cysts. I have them in the usual place, the ovaries, and also I get them on my skin, where the skin is thin. Behind the ear, in front of the ear, armpits, etc. It’s more annoying than painful. Pain is something I tolerate decently, but if I can avoid the cysts I would rather.

When I was with my abuser I could not get medical care. I was covered for pregnancies only. After the pregnancies they would give me low estrogen pills which I suppose worked well enough. They gave me these because I was breastfeeding and those were supposed to be tolerated well by the baby and not interfere with breastfeeding. So I was effectively pregnant in some form or another for about five years.

I never lost pregnancy weight. I had my pregnancies pretty close together. Two of my kids are a grade apart and the baby has one grade between her and the next oldest. I got pregnant, had the baby, breastfed, got pregnant before weaning and repeat. So I was never suspicious of birth control pills playing any part in my weight gain. I couldn’t get out to exercise often. I was allowed some walks but not too many and not too far.

I was always starving. Normal for breastfeeding and malnutrition.

When we escaped I let the birth control lapse but I was still breastfeeding the baby. I fed her for about nine more months after we left and then it got too hard with working to keep it up. She was twenty months, anyway. The boys got two years and some. I felt bad but my circumstances were so different. She did not fuss much.

As soon as we escaped the weight started falling off. I was able to get outside, I was not so hungry, and I attributed all of that to our changed life.

When we were relocated by the District Attorney I kept losing weight in our new place. I lost a lot of weight, I was nearly my early twenties weight when I was able to focus on my own medical care. I got the children looked after first, and with eight appointments a week and a new job I just put myself last. Who wouldn’t? So when I went in to finally see an OB/Gyn I did mention the cysts and she put me back on birth control. She put me on them all the time. No weeks off. No periods. Yay! Ummmm, no. But I didn’t figure that out til later.

This is so boring, really, but it’s context. So after about three months I started gaining weight again. I was starving, all the time. I was stressed out, tired, short tempered. At this point I was about a year and a half free. We figured it was my PTSD. Sometimes it hits you after a delay, sometimes dissociation keeps you from remembering. Sometimes you are in survival mode and only get around to feeling your feelings after you hit real safety.

I went with it. I started on beta blockers to help me slow down and stop overreacting. That took care of half the issue and then quitting coffee helped me enough to feel nearly normal. Not so irritable and crazy.

Last holiday season my son got the flu and I couldn’t leave the house to get the birth control pills. There was a holiday, they were closed, I had to wait a week. You are supposed to wait a week if you miss a few days. That was the best week of my last few years.

The pain stopped. The intense hunger turned off like magic. I was no longer a slave to the stove. My caloric intake was reduced by a thousand per day. I was logging, and it was ONE THOUSAND less calories a day. No more obsessive cravings. And I was so chill. Kids got into a fight? Pull them apart and send them to different rooms, have a chat. No problem. Not my usual MO. I usually have a bit of yelling first. I didn’t know what it was from, it didn’t register until I started back on the pills and my pain and irritability started up again.

I threw them out. Okay so I have them in a bag in my car to go to the medicine recycling box at the local Sheriff’s. You know what I mean.

I live like a nun. I don’t need these pills for the usual reasons. I got some cysts. I can take it. I lost four pounds. I stopped being afraid of being found. It doesn’t seem possible now, for some reason. I started talking in therapy. I don’t do so much of a standup routine in there anymore, now I tell my therapist what happened. I got my knee fixed, my cabinets rearranged, my room tidied up, my closet sorted. Shit I put off for months is getting done. I am blogging more. I am feeling more. I am having symptoms of dissociation. Not sure if I like the last one, but it feels more real than not caring. I sleep a lot less. I wake before the alarm, and sometimes I have to take melatonin to fall asleep.

This is all from birth control. I wish I had figured it out years ago.

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Filed under Asperger's, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, Medication, PTSD, SIngle Parenting, Trauma, Uncategorized

Five Years Out- What I Learned This Year

We have been free for five years. The criminal order of protection expires in six years. We are down to two appointments per week from eight. I don’t have to log violent incidents because they are so few and far between. Here is what I have learned lately:

If you have a violent or hyper child, try cutting out dairy. Every bit of dairy, even butter, even buttermilk pancakes. Taking away dairy works like an antipsychotic, I am telling you true.

Your birth control pills or your estrogen can be making you sick. The side effects I am free from now that I have gotten off of The Pill are:
Stomach pain
Extreme persistent hunger
Eyes too dry to use contacts in
Cracking skin
Agoraphobic tendencies
Weight gain
Exhaustion
Sudden flares of temper
Irritability

I never suspected my Pill was hampering my recovery. Hard to control your PTSD when you are tired and irritable! Why was I on the Pill, when I live like a nun? For cysts. I get cysts inside and out and I would rather have them than the stomach pain I ended up with. Cyst pain is easier to deal with than that.

My Oldest Son did not experience his yearly regression. Possible reasons for the relief: 1)his obsessive and pervasive tendency to check out of reality and into books as a coping method
2)his anti-anxiety medication

He did NOT, however, ever gain back some of the skills he lost last year when he regressed. He is currently showing signs of stress- chewing his shirts, so I am still holding my breath a bit. But school is over in a week. I think this is going to be a regression free year.

It’s okay to be lazy. Sometimes you can’t go go go.

Thanks to the Sheriff, the DA, the DV Liaison, the Medical Team, and the friend who let us move into her basement almost five years ago. You made all things possible.

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Sensory Divergences

My Oldest Son is autistic (you might already know that). By far my favorite symptom of his sensory processing disorder is his observation that seeing very endearing and adorable images makes his teeth go warm and soft.

Today he saw a lot of baby pandas in a magazine. Last time it was puppies in a calendar.

Some of us feel warm inside when we see such things. I think I have heard it described as heart melting or something similar. It is so cute that he has it in his teeth!

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When Your Issues Clash

I hate video. I can watch movies, sometimes. Tension can bother me, suspense might bother me, and sometimes I just cannot sit still. I never watch them. Apologies to all those on my reading list here who put up videos. I read whatever you say about them, but I don’t watch them.

I can be triggered by videos as much as I can by real life. Loud noises, violence, aggression, sudden movements. In real life I am often triggered by my own children. They squabble, they scream, they run here and there, they jump up and down. It’s not like I lose it, but I can feel myself close to an edge. I have to calm them, remove them from the situation, distract them, or turn away when they are using the trampoline.

I have read a lot of books and articles on children. PTSD kids, trauma kids, autistic kids, ODD kids, ADHD kids. However, when I come across videos when researching an issue I just skip them. Because video.

Which is not so bright of me, I think.

Who should I be learning about kids from? Doctors? Yes. Doctors are good sources of information but it is just as important that I learn about children from children. Normally this is through children who have grown up and can vividly recall what it was like to be traumatized/developing autistic/angry/distracted. There is precious little out there from this last source. But that is changing.

I have known about and read about Amythest Schaber for years. But I have not been able to watch her videos, despite the fact that she has a pleasant voice and face. I just would rather read than listen because of my issues.

But I hit upon a solution for videos lately. I have been trying to keep abreast of Standing Rock events and live streaming video has been more informative on that issue than news articles. I put on the video and then I don’t watch it. I look away at pictures or something not moving and I go back and forth to manage the stimulation.

So after learning this trick this week (I know, seems simple to you but I have had this aversion…) I put on some videos by Amythest Schaber and found that what I term a regression she is calling autistic burnout. I had no idea that they could be the same thing.

The psychologist and I had begun crafting a plan to try to keep this year’s regression from happening to Oldest Son. We were going to treat it as a sort of breakdown, and were going to try to limit his overload and provide more one on one time and engage him in identifying and treating his feelings in the months leading up to his typical regression time. After listening to Amythest’s take on it I know now to add sensory diet into that plan. I am certain we will come up with more in the next few weeks, after the New Year it will become more critical. So we were on the right track but I ought to have more access to information now that I have the correct terminology.

So this is an example of how my own issues have limited my parenting. I think the date on that video was 2014. I ought to have watched it back then.

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One Less Appointment

My Oldest Son has been seeing a physical therapist for four years. A child psychologist for three years, a skills therapist for four years (with a year off when there was no provider), and a child psychiatrist for two years. He also had social skills education at school for two years and a social group run by a psychologist with other autistic kids for over two years.

Yesterday the skills therapist released him as a client. He said the difference between my son of two years ago and my son today is night and day, and Oldest Son no longer requires his services.

We had brought the frequency of appointments down from twice monthly to once a month. So though I still have a lot of appointments per week, I get to drop one per month.

I wish I learned that quickly.

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Flu Shots

So my little family went in for flu shots. I was totally prepared. I had informed them beforehand, soothed their fears. I volunteered to go first, set up the order in which we would get the shots, and brought the candy.

Best laid plans, you know.

So I got my shot. Didn’t even hurt, which was surprising. I was very happy to be able to tell the children this.

Next was my Oldest Child, who immediately began his autistic scream (we call it that because of the decibel he hits- no one else seems able to screech so loud). He screamed and I reasoned with him. Middle Child took that moment to escape. I chased him down and found the nurse had made no headway with Oldest Child upon our return. I threatened to ground Oldest Child unless he would come quietly. He insisted I ought to ground him instead of giving him the shot. Oops. Middle Child escapes again, and returns from down the hallway upon being threatened with grounding. Grounding in our house means no video games, a horrible fate.

I can see Oldest Child has lost his hold on logic so I hold him down over the exam table and free his shoulder for the nurse. He gets his shot. He gets his candy. His screaming ceases. We turn to Middle Child, who looks to his big brother. I prompt him: “Oldest Child, please tell Middle Child that it didn’t hurt, he is scared.” Oldest Child picks up his comic book and with the biggest grin ever on his handsome face, a grin so big that his dimple becomes a crease, he says “IT HURT A LOT!” and he laughs. I tell him to cut it out and tell the truth, to help me out, and he repeats it, all of it, even the laugh.

Middle Child starts screeching and sinking to the floor. Had I any inclination the visit would go this way I would have had him out of his coat already. So I not only had to wrestle him off the floor, I also had to get him out of a heavy winter coat and somehow bare his arm. His candy rolled across the floor during the scuffle, the nurse frantically warned me not to choke him (trust me lady I know how to wrestle this kid) and somehow I got him pinned and she took the opening and gave him his shot. Thank goodness the nurse wasn’t about to argue with the kids or get help. She let me manhandle them like the Rottweilers I used to restrain when I was a veterinary technician, and she availed herself of opportunity.

The baby is by this time scared out of her mind. Middle Child did not feel the shot, because they don’t actually hurt. He made sure to tell her immediately, a kindness I sure appreciated. She was crying but she got up on the exam table like a civilized child and she clung to me while she got her shot and her lollipop and her sticker. She was relieved it did not hurt.

I don’t know if next year I should ask the the sitter to come along with me or if I should just practice on them for a few weeks prior- by pinching them on the arm while they sit quietly. Because even a gentle pinch is going to hurt ten times more than this shot did.

The boys are grounded for two weeks for throwing fits. The Oldest is grounded for two weeks and five days, because he ended up insisting five times that the shot hurt, and I give consequences for lies.

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