Not sure if I mentioned it in a previous post or not, but my parents moved into a house next door. I forget when exactly, but this has been the second winter that it’s been just the boys and I here. Lots of reasons for this move but primarily due to my aunt that couldn’t live there any more. Not sure of all the details behind what caused her to fall, but ultimately the doctor deemed her unable to live on her own anymore so arrangements were made for her to live in a nursing home. So Dad now goes shopping over that way so he can swing by and visit her too. So yeah, my parents are now living in the place my late grandmother and aunt used to live in so it stays in the family and doesn’t rot from lack of use.
Dad gave everyone a scare not long ago. Mom thought it was his heart again, but it turned out to be his gall bladder causing him to go septic. He’s home and doing better now. Still waiting to see a specialist about the gall bladder and what the next steps should be. Due to his heart, he’s not considered a great candidate for surgery so all the pros and cons need to be heavily weighed and compared with other possible alternatives, if any.
I still worry about whether or not I’m doing right by my youngest son, Little Bear, in homeschooling him. Am I doing enough? Am I covering subjects properly? Etc., etc., etc. I think this will be a chronic concern that amplifies every spring when evaluations draw near. I know the fact that I worry means I care, but I also know that good intentions alone are not enough. What I do know for sure is that Little Bear’s behavior has dramatically improved. Gone are the frightening and stressful days we once had. He appears happy and doesn’t fight over every little thing. So if nothing else, I’ve done something right in that regard.
My oldest son, Scholar Owl, was recently diagnosed with Autism at the beginning of the year. That makes all three boys now. I don’t have an official Autism diagnosis, but the odds of me not having it at this point, when all three boys have a different father, is pretty low. Not sure how hard I want to push for a screening. It’s weird feeling like I get more help and support when I’m looking after the boys than I do looking after myself.
It seems like doctors are quick to dismiss and blow me off about any of my health concerns or problems. Earlier this year, Iron Knight took me to ER because I was feeling a fluttering pain near the pelvic bone all day long. The only thing the staff bothered to do was a pregnancy blood test, which naturally came back negative, and sent me home with the reason for treatment filled out as “anxiety over health.” Not long after, I went to see the OBGYN, who also didn’t really seem to address this concern but insisted I have my tubes taken out. The context behind this is that my maternal grandmother had her 14th child one year after I was born. My mother was 25 years old at the time. The doctor said I could easily be fertile for at least another decade. So fine, I agreed to have it done. Not because I felt pushed in any direction this time, but because of the problems I have with my joints, the hips in particular, along with my mental health. During the surgery to strip out my tubes, two large cysts were also found and removed. That weird fluttering movement I kept feeling periodically? That’s completely gone now. Come to find out, my mother had a lemon-sized cyst removed at one point too. And yes, that’s something that would have shown up in an ultra sound – something the ER folks didn’t bother to do that quiet night.
So now Iron Knight is pissed. He doesn’t think it’s right that I could take him in for a tick bite and they took it seriously and treated him immediately, with meds and everything, but sent me home saying it might be IBS and a note stating it’s just my anxiety. And yeah, they didn’t bother testing for IBS either.
But like I told him, this is how it is for women, people of color, the disabled, the obese, the elderly, and the LGBT+ community. And if you happen to cross over in any of these groups, the problem around this escalates. It’s just the way it is here in the states. It shouldn’t be, but it is.
I shouldn’t need to have my father come with me to the dentist just to make sure I don’t get blown off and left with broken teeth untreated as an adult. But that’s what it’s come to. That’s how severe this issue is.
And then people wonder why the world is so angry. This is only a small tip of an iceberg of things that people desire and need change. I don’t have the answers for any of it, but I do agree that something needs to shift.
Using the student led unschooling method for homeschooling can seem rather chaotic and unstructured for many people, but when you have ADHD in the home – especially when both the parent and the child have it like in our case, it can lead to some rather unexpected and rewarding surprises and roads that might not have been discovered or explored.
I’ve been doing some thinking about what I’d like to do different or add to the blog since I’ve realized that it’s become nothing more than just tarot stuff when originally it was a journal. I’d like it to have more stuff of the things I’m interested in and doing. Not just tarot. Because I’m more than just tarot. I’m more than just writing prompts.
I know part of the reason I stopped writing personal posts was because I felt like all I was doing was bitching and it bothered me and it felt negative. Yes, everyone needs a place to vent. But I don’t want to be just some kind of drama queen. But I also don’t want to paint a false picture of positivity either. I just want to be me, whatever that is in the moment.
I recently got screened by a neuropsych evaluator (again) but this time specifically for ADHD. And, to no surprise to my father, med doctor, and therapist, I have it. This evaluator was even kind enough to take the time to explain to me why it feels to me that my brain functions worse now after having three kids than it did before having kids.
He straight up said that being a parent is hard for anyone, whether they are neurotypical or neurodivergent. Let’s get that out of the way. Parenting is a hard and challenging gig with no flight manual. Everyone is flying blind as they go. So yeah, that part sucks. And with each child you have, it get harder. The moment you add neurodivergence or disability to the mix, the challenge increases. And in the case of my family, we all have our own unique set. And I’m a single parent. He said this naturally pushes me beyond my threshold capacity to cope. So of course I’m going to feel off and out of whack everyday now. And the more I address each of my disorders and get them better under control, the easier things will get for me. He thinks I’m doing the right thing right now and encourages me to keep at it and continue to ask those questions and work on what I need to work on.
He doesn’t directly mention the window of tolerance, but this is what he’s talking about. The window of tolerance is the range of optimal stimulation in which an individual best functions. Some of the literature describes this window weird.
I know I do not shutdown because I’m under stimulated for example. I shutdown because I’m unbelievably overwhelmed and simply cannot fucking deal with it anymore. My youngest son calls it my “blue screen of death” because it hits me so hard. Normally, I sleep on average 4 to 6 hours, but when this hits I can sleep as much as 14 hours in a single shot. So no, I don’t think this is from not being stimulated enough. Or at least, not for me.
Because maybe from an outside perspective, I didn’t receive enough stimulation, but they aren’t seeing all the shit that’s going on inside my head and everything I’m trying to juggle and keep track of in there. I’m sure every parent reading this knows about the mental load I’m trying to describe here. Birthdays, holidays, school shit, grocery shopping, housework, if you have a job then that too. Then it’s extended family and friends. The more we think about it, the more the list grows, right? And suddenly it’s like OMG.
And it makes me think of that video I watched on Facebook regarding ADHD with the marbles. This first time I saw it, I fucking cried. Let me see if I can find it. Here it is:
And I feel like this is me as a parent every day. My marbles are all over the fucking place. Even with the clear bag. They’re falling out. I have more than a hundred. And I acknowledge that all the parents around me are struggling too with just as many marbles. This shit is hard. It’s fucking crazy. And we’re expected to be perfect and never fuck up. Which, let’s be honest here, is a stupid expectation because we’re human. We’re all human and part of being human is to learn from mistakes. Learning isn’t possible without making mistakes! Creativity isn’t possible without making mistakes. Beauty isn’t possible without mistakes.
Perfection is a horrible lie derived by shame. It doesn’t come from nature. It comes from control. From fear. That inner critic? That doesn’t belong to you. Doesn’t belong to me. It was given. To control. To mask. To hide. To put on hold the things that would otherwise make us happy.
Today I had therapy. And I was talking to her and told her that I’ve been beginning to realize that I need to start prioritizing placing my focus on what brings in more happiness rather than what avoids pain. Because I’ve realized that even though I can avoid pain, it doesn’t really make me happy. And what good is that, really? Masking avoid pain, but doesn’t make me happy. What good is it in the long run? It denies my authentic self in the name of avoiding pain and for what? Because I can’t hold or juggle as many marbles as someone else? Because I need a med that many people believe is addictive just to juggle the marbles I can hold?
And you know, that’s another thing. Is a diabetic addicted to their insulin because they need it in order for their body to function properly? Are they addicted to it because they can feel the difference if they don’t take it for one day? Can you feel the difference if you don’t drink a beer versus when you do? Are you addicted to beer? Yes, I can tell the difference when I take my meds versus when I don’t, but I can also go months without taking my meds before I realize that’s been the case. Is this still addiction? I don’t believe so, because I smoke tobacco. In two hours time I feel like I’m crawling out of my skin to get my next cigarette. Hell, a cigarette is the FIRST thing on my mind when I wake up – even before the need to pee. I can go about half a day before I get a similar feeling for coffee. Those things? Yes, I feel are addictions. Those things I cannot go long without. Those things are seldom not on my mind.
But my meds? Fuck… honestly? If it weren’t for Topmax preventing the majority of my migraines I’d probably be intentionally med non-compliant. I’d probably tell the med-doctor to fuck off because the side effects suck. These meds have caused dry mouth bad enough to destroy my teeth. They suppress my appetite enough that my boyfriend typically has to remind me to eat because even when I don’t take them my appetite is normally low enough I only think to eat about once a day. This is why I think the Abilify was such a shockingly rapid weight gain problem for me when they put me on that year ago and it triggered a strong appetite and I’m an intuitive eater. I don’t eat on a schedule. I never have. I only eat when I’m hungry and I stop eating when I don’t feel hungry. And the Abilify made me feel hungry all the time, even when I physically felt full. It was terrifying. We’re talking 10 pounds a month here.
I’m weight stable now, so even with the weird eating habits I have, my metabolism finds this very normal. I fluctuate maybe 5 pounds at most each appointment so that’s just water. And when I say that, I mean I gain 5 and then go back down. I don’t ever lose 5 and then go back up. So yeah, it’s water.
I wish doctors of all kinds would actually listen to their patients more often about what they’re experiencing. I’m grateful that right now I have care providers that are doing just that.
My PCP is actively working with me to find out what exactly is going on with my left hip and SI joint because they keep slipping out of alignment – even if I’m just sitting. Sometimes it happens while I’m sleeping. At this point he thinks it may have been a traumatic injury during the labor of my last son that didn’t heal correctly. X-rays have been done so hip dysplasia has been ruled out. So now I’m on the waiting list to have an MRI done to have a look at the connective tissue in that area. Worst case scenario I think means having screws put it to hold everything in proper place.
I have taken some initiative to learn some isotonic exercises to do at home to help keep the SI joint in alignment. Some of them can be done while sitting in a chair and they are all very easy to do. Like placing a ball between the knees and squeezing for about 20 seconds as hard as you can, relaxing, and do it again. Do this 5 times. No idea how this realigns the SI joints, but the last time I had a problem with it on the left side, it helped. Driving a clutch seemed to helped this last time too but the time before that it seemed to be the cause of the problem, so I don’t know with that one.
All I know for sure is that when anyone of any age is pushed outside of this window, they are not going to function normally. It doesn’t matter if they are neurotypical or neurodivergent. Once they are outside this window of tolerance, their coping mechanisms are going to tank in some way. The longer you are outside this window of tolerance, the more traumatizing it becomes.
And just a side note here, this is why domestic violence is so damaging for people. Victims are pushed and kept outside of their window intentionally the entire time they are with their abuser. The few moments of respite they get from their abuser is a big part of what creates the trauma bond. So yeah, when the abuser pulls them back into their window of tolerance, it’s going to feel like a huge high to the brain – especially if they’ve been kept out of that window for extended periods of time. This creates an addiction and binds the victim to the abuser, making them falsely believe they must stay with the abuser to experience that window. Please keep this in mind when talking about and to victims and survivors.
Yes, I do use the terms interchangeably. I do see myself as both. I don’t see either as better or worse than the other. For me it’s more of a matter of which one is in an active situation and which one is in a safe place. Active situation? Victim. Absolutely without question. As for when that transitions to survivor? I don’t know. Sometimes I do feel like I have come out on the other side. Other times I feel like I’m still struggling to get there. But I’m not dead, so I guess that qualifies me as a survivor either way.
But yeah, things could have been far worse for me. And it pains me to know that it is far worse for many others out there. But the thing that really gets to me is the idea of “victim mentality” because when you’re in the thick of it, shit is confusing and overwhelming, and you just feel lost and stuck. You really do. It really does seem helpless. I know at one point I did feel that way. Even if I didn’t want to admit it at the time. I felt it. And it is easier to just bitch and vent about stuff. And sometimes, you NEED to do that in order to clear it out and sort your hear so you can see straight in order to problem solve. At least, I do.
Because, eventually I did get out. And thankfully, I was able to get out safely. With all of the kids. Not everyone does. I will forever be grateful for that. He still has shared custody, but thankfully he’s been fairly civil about shit. There’s still the occasional bullshit, but I suppose that’s to be expected between ex-spouses that have never healed.
I’m sorry this ended up so long and rambling. Particularly since I haven’t written a journal entry post in ages and many of you are probably not used to posts like these from me. I had mostly intended to say that I’ve been thinking about starting a new series of posts involving the homeschooling projects I’ve been doing with Little Bear here at home. Just putting them into a format for others to do themselves if they wanted. The first one being a Minecraft project we’ve been working on with urban planning by building an NPC village. Eventually Little Bear would like to learn how to make a structure datapack with a custom village. I really want to help him do that and I would love to share all of that here.
I just really want to go back to what this blog was originally: all the things I really love, the things I’m currently interested in, whatever it is I’m currently doing or struggling with, my active projects, and so on. Basically, my actual authentic life. Not some scripted template series of posts that are the same day after day, year after year that has gotten me bored to fucking tears at this point.
I’m not going to completely abandon tarot or writing prompts. Just dial it back and do more of the things I love on here and share more of the real me. Maybe even at some point change the name of the blog. Not sure yet. And hope all of this is okay with all of you. I do understand if not.
I plan to have the first post for the Urban Planning In Minecraft Homeschool Project up here very soon for all of you. Still debating on whether or not to start doing videos for this series or just sticking with writing posts. I know I can write things well and for the moment I’m having some trouble with the various video programs I’ve tried. It’s just that I know it’s challenging to convey certain things in writing alone and that each person has their own unique learning style. I’d like to be as accommodating as I can with this series. But with that said, I don’t want to overwhelm myself and end up dropping the ball because of that.