Friday, July 22, 2011

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I've been thinking about the things we teach our autie kids that, really, we could do with learning ourselves.

I mean, I try to teach Finian about the intricacies of delayed gratification using the "first (insert word, usually something devastatingly boring) and then (insert word, something fabulous and desirable)" shtick. 
It works pretty well too, and he will now eat a healthy dinner before he gets a biscuit and do his homework before getting his iTouch.
You get the idea.
So far, so autie-tastic.

It's just a tad unfortunate that I can't apply the same principles to myself.
I seem to possess a finely honed sixth sense that alerts me to the presence of chocolate, no matter how ingeniously hidden, and forces me to inhale devour it at admirable speed.
It's a terrible affliction, and definitely not greed.
I like to imagine that I'm performing a supreme act of martyrdom by saving someone else from having raised cholesterol.
Really, I should be given a medal, or at least a sainthood (St Jean the Patron Saint of Chocolate Robbers).
When faced with a choice between a tuna sandwich and a Mars bar the size of my arm, my mantra gets amended to "first...erm...chocolate and then...well...chocolate".
When Finian masters the expression of smugness, I will be withered my inability to delay gratification...and I may even lose my halo.

Another area I've spent years working on with Fin has been his sense of his own body, where all his bits are in relation to each other and his sense of where he physically is in relation to the outside world.
Or proprioception, if you want to be fancy schmancy about it.
To this end, he has been catapulted onto trampolines, tested the g-force of swings and been forced at gunpoint gently encouraged to dance wildly  to hip-hop music containing inappropriate lyrics concerning ladies of the night with large bottoms.
Fin responds really well to BIG movements, so the bigger, faster and higher he is flung the more happy and interactive he becomes. I'm just praying that he doesn't greet his teacher by slapping her arse and calling her a "ho'" some morning.
All well and good.
But I fall pitifully short at taking my own advice.
At 40 years of age, and after carrying 3 hefty babies for 40 weeks each, I'm afraid that I would end up using my bladder as a handbag instead of a receptacle for human waste if I put it to the trampoline test.
If I was capable of shoe-horning my motherly butt onto his swing and flying through the air with the greatest of ease, my ageing inner ear would almost certainly protest by causing me to spew the contents of my last three meals across the concrete.
And as for dancing...well...the last time I danced in public was at a wedding when my brother John and I decided to get the party started by being the first to hit the floor.  The spotlight followed our footsteps around the vast, empty floor and the cameraman videoing the proceedings stalked our every move like a seasoned paparazzi  tailing John Travolta and Olivia Newton John.  The wedding guests gasped,  transfixed by our enthusiastic high-stepping.
But for all the wrong reasons.
The video evidence revealed that I dance less like Jennifer Lopez and more like an electrocuted wildebeest on acid, while I seriously wonder if John's limbs don't belong to four different people and they all wanted them back that night.
Sadly, I don't think I will ever again be drunk enough to delude myself that I'm a hot dancer...the amount of alcohol required to achieve that splendid state would result in an acute episode of deadness, thus rendering the exercise null and void.

So I expect Finian to work his sweet little butt off to help him become all that he is capable of becoming, while I get to cower safely on terra firma  with a mug of tea and my knitting..
Sometimes it's great being the Grown-Up.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What Lies Beneath

Tonight I have to write about depression (sorry Finian, autism is sooo last season dahling).

Mostly my depression is kept under wraps with medication and sound advice from my wonderful GP.
Occasionally, though, despite my best efforts, it sneaks up on me and takes grip and I'd like to try to explain what it's like.
Because I'm fun like that.

I can't get to grips with the fact that on the surface I seem fine, while a big black hole is circling deep beneath the surface.

I can talk, move, work through my daily jobs and care for my family.
I can converse, respond and act appropriately...except I'm not really there at all..

It's as if my true self has become invisible, and I feel impotent rage that no-one has noticed I've vanished.
This rage is utterly unfair, as how can anyone know how I feel if I don't have the words to tell them?
At the same time I crave to become invisible and wish for nothing more than to exist on a bare island with no links to the mainland.

I'm not sharing this to elicit dramatic interventions or rescues.
I can live with depression, mostly quite comfortably, but sometimes it just weighs a little heavy.
I'm just trying to give you a snapshot of what depression is...I suppose to give you a small window (if you want to peep into it!) into my world.

I suppose, like autism, depression is easy to dismiss because on the surface I appear so (*cough*) normal.
We have all heard the phrases "lighten up", "you think too much", "you could snap out of it if you really tried".
I would give almost anything if it was that simple.
I missed my medication one day last week (one feckin day!) and boy am I suffering the consequences.

There's no need for anyone to worry on my behalf, as I will get through this trough, as always.

I don't purposely hide my low-times... I'm just trying to figure out why I bury them from sight in a spinal reflex.
Is it shame at appearing weak?
Is it dread that I will be abandoned?
Is it fear that I am not worth being listened to?

Anyway, I have learned that the only way to deal with episodes like these are lots of chocolate and 30 tea and maybe a glass of pinot noir (excellent for depression, whatever the "experts" say).
I have learned to become accepting of times like these and not to waste time and energy fighting it.
It will pass.
I have learned that I have good (and very special) friends I don't have to pretend know who you are...the ones who don't bat an eye when I cancel going out with you (again) because I'm a bit too mad.

I'm just trying to explain what depression is like as if/when I see you I surely won't have the words.

Right, where's that chocolate?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Things That Make Me Absurdly Happy

In keeping with my new outlook to live in the Here & Now (as opposed to the big, bad ,scary future), I've been paying closer attention to the things that make me happy.

Throughout the week I used my mobile to capture random moments that gave me a burst of joy, no matter how abstract (OK, strange then) they were.

Here they are, in no particular order.  Point and laugh as you will.

This is my teenage son Jimmy rockin' it up on his gee-tar.  He has a great ear for music, although he does feel it necessary to play it at a volume that may vibrate the Earth off it's axis.
If we hurtle off into outer space anytime soon, you'll know why.

You know when Maria warbles on about "A Few Of My Favourite Things" in The Sound of Music?  Well, she forgot the tea, the book and the knitting.

My lovely mini-laptop...all the more lovely because it's pink and it's shiny.  Sigh.

The hens always make me laugh.  I envisage them wearing head-scarves and complaining about the price
I threatened to take one to KFC because she kept pecking my feet while I was at the clothesline.  She ignored me and started pecking the wash basket.  They are not blessed with intelligence.
But they do make a tasty Sunday dinner.

This may be the lamest source of happiness on the planet, but a line of washing makes me feel that all is well with the world.  Maybe it's the fact that in order to hang washing out, there must first be sunshine...a rarity in Ireland   Or maybe it's just the knowledge that at sometime in the near future, my family shall once again wear clean knickers. It's a tough one to call.

Also, please note, the pink wash-basket.

There is a pleasing little double-whammy of joy in this picture.
First is the fact that Finian was able to overcome his fear of the lawnmower to sit on his brother's knee.  And that he is sociable enough to want this closeness with Jimmy.

A final pretty little parcel of pinkness.
I was given this iPod and the docking station by my brothers and sisters for my birthday last year.
The iPod is fab as it re-ignited my interest in music and I couldn't be without it when I go walking.
Also, it's pink.

So it was a good week folks.  Cheap and cheerful and deliciously pink XXX