Celebrate Insight, Choice, and Hope. Celebrating Can Be Self-Care.

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Self-Care Tip #161 – Celebrate your insight, your choice, and your hope to be a friend to yourself.

I realize autism has taken over my life and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

When April said this, I jumped.  The insight into her situation, the implication of her own ability to choose, the hope of what those potential choices might do for her and her children – all these leapt at me, so of course I jumped.  Startled.

April was the parent of three lovely although autistic children.  She was wiping her face.  “I never cry.  I’m usually really strong.”

And then she said those words.  Her realization.  I don’t know how much thought she had put behind them.  She certainly didn’t have much time to self-actualize.  Getting only a couple broken hours of sleep every night.  Responding to complaints from the school.  Springing towards her son every time he tried to hit himself in the head to stop him.  April was busy.  Mostly all that I had been able to do so far in our treatment together was help her kids via medication therapy.  We were clearly still working on things in that department.  She was willing to wait for us to make our slow way towards her children’s health, even though she was falling apart in the process.

Go low and slow.

Nothing like a cowgirl psychiatrist in the saddle.  I try to keep my spurs off and make no more than one medication change at a time.  Then, when something happens, negative or positive, we know what we are looking at.  April’s children were taking their time getting to their therapeutic responses.  But at least we hadn’t done more harm than good.

We had made the changes to our plan of care that we were going to make, and April was about to leave.  She had just said what she said and my mouth was open.  Unfortunately for April, I’m not consistently articulate.

Yes April!

And then she left, while I was still bouncing on the chair.

I don’t know if she’ll celebrate that marvelous epiphany.  If she does, I know her kids will benefit.  I’m confident about that.  If she does what is not intuitive, that is self-care, she will still be able to do what is intuitive.  Taking care of our kids is the most natural instinct.  Wild dragons and other mythical or natural creatures could not keep us away from it.  Now taking care of them well, however, is something that definitely is more likely to happen when we as parents are healthy, too.

For now I will celebrate this.  April has insight.  She has choice.  She has hope.

Yes April!

Question:  What has your life been about?  Where is your choice and hope?  Please tell me your story.

23 thoughts on “Celebrate Insight, Choice, and Hope. Celebrating Can Be Self-Care.

  1. I am not qualified to give advice to April except to share that my adult children struggle with drug addiction. I can say this, however: Mother’s Day was created for women like her. Most respectfully, Carl D’Agostino

  2. i musnt be psamistic here so ill tell the good things my life is all about real love and the search for fairy tale love it has its ups and downs but yet i still search for it i know it is out there my fear of rejection and being alone hold me back i do have a choice and im going to find it hard to make that choice i am making the right one i still say i have conquerd my fears but they come back one day i shallo cellebrate

  3. I won’t give you my whole story, but I will tell you that I was held up at gun point which I did escape but ended up in therapy and on meds for many years…now I am med free for over eight years (my psychiatrist is now a personal friend after ending therapy eight years ago!) and have found happiness and peace (peace is different than happiness though most don’t realize it) and I spend my relatively simlpe life finding the extraordinary in ordinary moments of every day life. Life is a gift that many don’t appreciate or enjoy until it is too late. There is beauty everywhere…we just need to look. I love life and the people who are a part of mine…this is not to say that I don’t have moments of despair or weaknes because I do, but I look for the positive and move on.

  4. I had a very hard time learning this lesson. It is so easy, especially as a mother, to lose myself doing things for everybody else. I sometimes have so little opportunity do find something that is just for me. I have found that scheduling works wonders. It can add to your stress a little, but the results can be amazing. For me, the time to myself is singing. I joined a College Choir and I have to go to class on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. It is a big commitment, I was not sure I could do it, but I find I feel so much better about everything since I started. There is something so exhilarating about doing something that takes time and effort and doesn’t benefit anyone else but yourself. (well, not much anyway). I also take pictures of anything that I want. I am creative in different ways and I love helping people, but I have found that I am less resentful and upset and emotionally drained if I take care of myself first.

  5. It took me until I was in my 50’s to realize that my life was about anyone and anything but me. I thought I was being thoughtful and helpful. I thought I was doing all of the things I had done in churches since I was in elementary school for God. I thought I was doing everything out of love.
    And then I found that even the church-related things were done out of fear…fear that I wouldn’t be loved or liked or respected…fear that, if I didn’t do all those things that eventually led me to a complete emotional breakdown, I would be punished…by my parents, my mother-in-law, my “friends”, and, I have to admit, by God. Lots of background story needed to understand, I guess, but now that I know that fear was my reason for being who I was, I am working at learning to live my life for me and not feel guilty about it. I know it sounds ridiculous but even retired and with most of those people and pressures gone, I still can’t take out my colored pencils and draw without feeling that all of the household chores and the outside responsibilities have to be taken care of first. My choice and my hope?,,,that I can finally make my past leave me alone…that I can freely love me and put me first.

    • Nancy, I just really relate to you. “I still can’t take out my colored pencils and draw without feeling that all of the household chores and the outside responsibilities have to be taken care of first”—this pretty much sums me up. I remember feeling that way from a young age…that it was difficult to get into a relaxed mode unless I had gotten my burdens out of my way. I am still working on that, figuring out how to let go of things…

      • Thanks, Sarah. I so often relate to you, too, as Ive said before. If I figure this problem out, I’ll let you know. Hope you do the same for me. It’s good to “talk” about it on this blog, though, and I’m glad we’re getting to know each other.

        Good luck. I think you are much younger than I. I pray you “learn to let go of things” much earlier in life than I did.

  6. Autism (and the spectrum) is a really interesting topic to me… I was just reading about some current research into the disease and how many different potential biological causes there might be. Fascinating… I had the experience of teaching a couple of autistic children in my career. Totally eye-opening. I can imagine as a mother how totally difficult it would be to not have my affection returned—ever. I know that might sound selfish—we’re supposed to love without return, right? Still, for me those little moments of “I love you, Mama” can carry me for miles and days through the many more moments of being taken for granted, as children are prone to do.

    • i wonder about your question. i’ve believed that in the past but in that space of my beliefs where change is possible, i feel this one turning over. the reason being is that we aren’t genetically able to do that. i can’t believe God expects anything from us that He hasn’t given…. to anyone i’ve ever met and all that good stuff. Except Jesus. Thank God.

  7. Kids do need to be taught responsibility but with love rather than guilt and threats and punsihment. You’re doing the right thing. “Keep on!”

    And my daughter works at a school for special needs children and has found, over the last 18 years, that autistic children can express love. Patience, understanding and unconditional love towards them works wonders with these children…but isn’t that true with all children!!

  8. My life seems to have been about everyone else, although I am often accused of being self-centered. From a young age, I learned not to hope and that I had no choices. Now, when I do make choices I constantly doubt them. I have my blinders on today and I am severly doubting a choice I just made moments before reading this post. However, I have learned to hope again. Sometimes, I just forget how to do it.

  9. Pingback: Question for the Editor « birdinyourhand

  10. I am a mother of twin girls with autism. They are my blessings. I am so proud to be there mom. They give me great joy and happiness. They teach me about patience and acceptance. Unmistakably it IS a battle, a daily battle to protect them from this world. But nonetheless it is my job as their parent to intergrate them in this cruel world, help them to adjust. Yet all I wanna do Is hold them close to my heart and keep them from harm and scream at all the ignorant people. This road is not an easy one and you may often travel it alone. My girls have taught me to embrace life and to take the time to enjoy the littlest things.

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