This is what depression looks like

This is what depression looks like:

© Andrea DiGiglio
© Drea DiGiglio
This is what depression feels like (to me anyway.)
It’s more than the really bad days of not being able to get out of bed. The idea of getting out of bed is exhausting. Not showering for days on end and not giving a rat’s ass about it. Not eating for days or perhaps the opposite and shoveling food mindlessly and probably guilt tripping yourself for it every step of the way. Its not just the days where you cannot muster the strength to get out of bed. It’s the days where you feel like that but you do get out of bed, too.
If you have kids, you still have to get them ready for school and take them to their appointments. Sure, maybe your in sweats instead of actual clothes but who cares. You clearly don’t. If you work, you work. You don’t socialize, you don’t count the minutes. You just work and you’re not entirely sure if you’re grateful it’s over because you hate working but now what the fuck are you going do with your time? Every activity takes effort. Every activity. The world looks as if it is tinted in a lower temperature color. Food doesn’t taste as good. You drink, whether it’s to be numb or shut the noise in your head up or just to feel, settled. Or perhaps some other alternative to cope.
Your body and you argue. You’re sore for no reason or just tired all of the time. Or both.
At first you say how you feel. Then you feel like a burden. Maybe you are. Maybe you aren’t. You take care of everyone except yourself because all you are trying to do at this point is survive. This is usually the point when people bring up the things you do (or don’t do) because you’re depressed, because you seem to always be depressed and yes you’re already aware of them. When people bring them up a feeling erupts, a cross between; feeling guilty and angry. Guilty for your behavior or lack there of and that they noticed and want you to know they noticed. Anger because you now feel as if your feelings are no longer valid and only their feelings are and why not just do it instead of making me feel bad about it because obviously on this day I am struggling?
People who love you try to understand and maybe they really do. But let’s be honest it’s annoying when a family member isn’t contributing or is grumpy, sad or angry all of the time.
So you stop saying how you feel. It’s too hard to continuously repeat yourself and it’s not going away, it just keeps coming back. So you smile. You laugh. You try to, fake it till you make it.
Then people like us see these smiling photos stream across social media. Smiling, happy. All the while suffering. Enduring. Fighting. They don’t know they aren’t alone.

So, apparently. This is what depression looks like. We put makeup on so we can feel normal, look normal and maybe to fake it. Maybe it’s so the people in our lives will stop asking if we are okay because no, we are not okay. Maybe we don’t wan’t the shame and guilt of feeling how we feel. Maybe we are just too damn depressed to have another conversation about it. Today I am not okay and that is okay. Just maybe, tomorrow I will be and that smile might be real. If it’s not? I suppose you might not really be able to tell because we live in a world where those who carry the burden of a mental illness feel like a burden. It’s not just the words people say it’s their actions time and time again. Actions which do not say, “I understand you are suffering.” Rather say, “When will this end this time so the ‘real you’ will be back” (For them.) The longer someones struggle is with their disorder, the longer they suffer. The less patient I find people to be. It’s a sad world I find us to be in. Where those who always have the kindest of hearts are often the most broken.

Much love to you all, be kind to one another. Keep fighting through the darkness and know you are worth fighting for, your life is worth fighting for. The good days are worth it. Don’t give up.

XO
-Andrea

From my personal journal during a bipolar episode

I’m sharing this again because for me, it’s important to share my struggles. In hopes that other’s will see there is still reason for hope. I still have bad days. Hard days. Now, my good days are filled with so much love and joy and kindness, it truly makes these bad days easier to survive. I’m still that girl and I always will be. That’s the nature of my disorder, but I am so much more than that and now I can see that.

Here is an entry from my private journal. Honestly it’s on the lighter side, not sure what that says about my inner struggles.

October 2013:

I feel as if I’m floating through a sea of shadows. My mind is as tired as my body. I try to find the lighter side of things but the irritation of doing so is nauseating. I dream sometimes of a little house with an ocean view on a private beach where my mind can finally relax and I can enjoy my time here in this world. I dream of a body I feel comfortable in with no self loathing. Sadly, all of these things aren’t real and they leave me longing until I break down from the loss of something I never even had. As I cycle through waves of yet another bipolar episode I reach acceptance if only for a short period of time. Acceptance for who I am, baggage and all. For who I’m not and never will be. Allowing myself to dream even if it will never come to pass. I float between angry, depressed and a calmness I refer as the calm before the next storm. I wonder if I have the right to want more for myself. I try to be thankful for those moments of eerie calmness and quiet contemplation. It’s always so difficult to do so as I know if I wait a few hours, a day, days even I’ll be back to singing the blues and crying myself to sleep. My wonderland is a wasteland for broken souls. Once again the calmness before the storm settles on my skin like an itch I just can’t scratch. I will always continue to fight this nearing episode with what little strength I have. The air is crisp and inviting me to soak up the sun. As if the darkness wasn’t calling out to me. It’s moments like this I crave to be alone, yet a piece of me reaches out to those I love for comfort, for acceptance. The things I love to do hold less meaning in times like this. A hollowness erupts inside of me, taunting my rage and sadness. There’s no real rhyme or reason to feel this way. I know my life is far from horrible. Like a warm blanket the darkness comforts me as it usually does, inviting me to let go and cry about everything and nothing at all. The sad truth for me is, this battle is everlasting. Light may win today but as a new day dawns the fight starts over. I sit in shambles of a former version of myself. Oddly with hope that it will all be over soon and I will yet again bask in the light and enjoy a fragment of this life. How have I become such a jaded and cynical creature? I sigh deeply and prepare for another drop into sadness and utter grief. As if each time a piece of me dies I must mourn the loss. With shock plastered across me I can admit I am far better now with these modern poisons than many moons ago when I laid adrift in my depressing solitude. I accept this fate as much as I fight it. Always hiding this enormous side of myself from everyone. Knowing they couldn’t take it, knowing I couldn’t take that look upon their face or their response as heartfelt as they meant it to be. It feels as if I am living two lives all of the time. Except once in a while, like a full moon, where both sides of me collide and the true version of what I’ve become comes into full view. I don’t always hate her, the girl looking back at me. Though her voice is like poison in my mind. I would never wish this inner struggle on a single soul, it is far to cruel. Yet the calmness washes over me carrying a wicked grin. Even it sees what comes next. It feels pleasure with a nearing episode and yet it feels sorry for me too. I stare into the dark night’s sky wishing this episode would pass me by for once. So hopeful in my suffering. Now that is blind faith. Ridiculous as any other. I am but a shadow dancing through my life. And to be whole is but a dream.

Andrea
XO

Win a copy of my book to celebrate the 4 year anniversary of my first novel, Finding Alice!

Win a copy of my book to celebrate the 4 year anniversary of my first novel, Finding Alice!

I can’t believe it has been 4 years since I first published Finding Alice! In a few short months the original first edition of Finding Alice will be pulled from the shelves and replaced with the newly edited version. For now, let’s just remember how far Alice has come. Honestly, how far I have come for that matter. Here’s a little giveaway in honor of Alice. Sometimes, I think I knew her better than I ever knew myself.

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Surviving with a Bipolar disorder diagnosis

Surviving with a Bipolar disorder diagnosis
I am not my illness. No matter how many disorders they slap on my chart, they do not define me. They do not own me. I can only take care of myself the best I can and hope for a little compassion on days it’s hard to get out of bed. Having been diagnosed with Bipolar Type I disorder; rapid cycling, was horrifying initially, but also a huge relief. All of the hardships I had endured over the years at times where there was little wrong in my life finally had a reason, an answer to the question, what is wrong with me?
Simply, it is a chemical imbalance in the brain that greatly affects mood and behavior. With extreme highs (mania) and extreme lows (depression.) It took three different doctors over the span of seventeen years to diagnose me correctly.
         Depression with or without the bipolar component is no laughing matter. It drags you down by your ankles and holds you under water. You may feel as if you’re drowning but it won’t seem to end and you want it to desperately.
I will tell you from experience, “Why can’t you just be happy?” Is the cruelest sentence one human being can say to someone who suffers from depression. We do suffer. To me, it has its own identity living inside of me. I call it, the Darkness. Similar to Dexter’s Dark Passenger, I suppose. (Except for the entire murder part of course.) I don’t know if labeling it is healthy for everyone or not but it gave me some power over it.
Every human being is unique therefor no treatment is one size fits all. Don’t give up hope.  I suffered without treatment for fourteen years. It took three years of treatment and a lot of trial and error to find what worked for me.  Finding a psychiatrist I could feel comfortable with and trust was the biggest step in my recovery. Though I should use the term maintenance as all people who suffer from bipolar disorder will in fact relapse. (This is not failure. Pick yourself back up and keep trying to feel better, to be better.) With proper treatment, often through medications (commonly a combination of mood stabilizers, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and “talk” therapy,) these relapses can be less often and less intense in nature. There are many treatments out there. The key is working with your doctor to find what works for you, as not all will. I personally work with an Integrative Holistic Psychiatrist, (combination of alternative and conventional care.) For me this was the only thing that worked. Stay strong.

Remember, you are not alone. I am not alone. Say it with me.

Potty training my autistic son

We all know potty training can be a nightmare. There are memes floating around much like this one that we have all seen our friends and family posting on social media.

We all hear about how much better all lives involved, will be once our little one’s are potty trained. Potty training isn’t easy. Potty training an autistic child is an extremely difficult job. You can do this! Your child can do this! I decided to share what is working for me and my son in hopes it may help someone else.

Now, let me state that I am currently still potty training my 5 year old autistic son. This will be our third attempt. I’m happy to say we are making so much more progress this time! For many reasons, he is more ready this time around, so am I and I did countless hours of research to figure out ways to make it easier on not only him but on myself. Parent’s of children on the spectrum have all heard hundreds of times how no two kids with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) are alike. Trying an approach that works for someone else’s kid may not work for yours. So, keep that in mind. Do your research, decide on what techniques you want to try. Try them and if one doesn’t work don’t be afraid to tweak your potty training program but most importantly once you commit to a regimen, do not quit. I know for my son he is all about his routine’s and isn’t a fan of me changing them up. So he argues with me when we do, but eventually he accepts that this is a part of his routine and we begin to make progress.

When your child begins to show signs they are wet with gestures or by removing wet or soiled diaper, this is a perfect time to begin potty training. My son is non-verbal so we use a pecs board or a board in the center room in the house with images he can hand me to request something. As we potty train, we hand over hand grab the picture and help him hand it to me and then go to the bathroom. (Until he learns to do it on his own.) So he has a clear understanding this is how to ask to use the bathroom. He has asked a few times to use the bathroom but we are in the beginning stages of potty training so I am prompted more than he is asking. This the universal picture that we use, as does his ASD preschool teacher, ABA therapists, etc.

·      I recommend starting on a weekend you don’t have any plans or appointments. I put him on the toilet first thing in the morning. I make sure to tell the teacher when I bring him to school, if he went and what time. It is so very important that everyone is being consistent with your child.
·      We use pull-ups during the day (no pants when at home, so it is easier for him to remove his pulp and so I can tell if he has already gone)  and diapers at night.  I take him to the toilet every 30-45 mins. Setting an alarm on your phone helps with this. Have him pull down his pants (saying, “Pull down your pants <child’s name here>”) and he sits on the toilet for about 10 minutes. We have ABA therapists (from Easter Seals) come to the house five days a week and they are doing a slightly different potty training regimen. When they are here they put him in underwear (no pants)  and they put him on the toilet every 15 minutes for 10 minutes. The also encourage him to drink more so that he has to the need to pee more often. More successful times using the toilet/potty makes the process easier.  (I don’t do this because it’s not practical for us but I’m sure if we could he would be potty trained much faster.) My son gets rewarded for using the toilet, we use grape suckers because they are his favorite and the only thing that seems to feel like an actual reward to him. Also, I allow my son to play on his iPad while sitting on the toilet. It keeps him calm and in good spirits when sitting there for so long. I have tried many potty seats. The cars one is cute. It has the ring that goes on the toilet and it’s a potty chair, however in my research I found teaching them to use a potty chair and then trying to teach them to use the toilet is difficult. Because he is 5 years old and 37lbs, sitting on the seat for long periods of time becomes uncomfortable as the cushion seat flattens and leaves a red imprint mark on his skin.

 

This one worked really well. No mark and he would sometimes sit for up to 20 minutes with no complaint but he is a boy and the shield just wasn’t quite high enough.

The one that is the winner in our house is the thomas the engine one. The shield in the front is the tallest I’ve found. You can buy it from amazon, here.

Okay it’s time for my major tip. This tip is primary for potty training boys. There is this company Tinkle Toonz, who makes the musical potty chair. The idea is you hear the music playing once your little one has used the bathroom. The sensor plays music once wet. The owner began selling the sensors from his toilet training chairs on their own once he found out that using the sensors on their own in underwear or pull-ups (cutting a slit in the pull ups and inserting the sensor. This works but the clean up is a bit messy for me.) was working wonders for parents trying to potty train autistic kids. 
This trick I came up with, with the sensor is helping us with potty training on such a huge level I had to share. This is the sensor, the metal part should be facing out. Put super glue on the back in the center circle part (plastic side). Place it on the potty seat centered where the “shield” is. Hold it for several minutes until the glue drys. Let the glue set over night. 

When your little guy begins to pee (even if an iPad is sitting on his lap and you can’t hear or see) the music will begin to play when they do! Don’t forget to praise your child! “Good job going pee in the potty!” or “You’re peeing in the potty, good job!”
Here is a video of how the sensor works and what the music sounds like. 
Another tip: When your child soils their diaper/pull up. Walk them to the bathroom and hand over hand dump the “poop” into the toilet out of the pull up/diaper/underwear and say, “This is where poop goes. Not in your diaper. Poop goes into the potty and then we flush it away.” 
Accidents will happen. If you opt for the underwear route, if they have an accident leave them in their soiled underwear and tell them “this is not where we go potty.” Take them to the bathroom and tell them, “This is where we go potty.” Repeat this three times and make them help clean it up. Hand over hand if needed. They will not like this at all and it gives them more incentive to use the toilet. When the ABA therapists are here I have noticed he has minimal messes at those times as he does not like having to clean it up.
Last thing, no one wants to carry around a giant potty ring when leaving the house. My son is afraid of the normal seat. I think it scares him that he might fall in and he isn’t sure how to sit on it. I found this fold up potty seat that has worked great for us so we don’t have to remain house bound. He will actually go when we are out because he feels secure on the seat. With certain toilets I do have to to hold onto it, so be aware of that. I have this one.

Remember, don’t get mad. Don’t yell but be stern. If they wont sit there for 5-10 minutes it might not be time yet. Give it a month and try again or even 6 months. No one knows your child better than you do. The first time we tried to potty train was a year ago. He was showing the signs of being ready, wanting his dirty or wet diaper off.  But he had no patience or ability to sit on the toilet for any length of time. It was a huge fight and he was often hysterical. So just breathe. Don’t get discouraged. I hope that any or all of this helps you moms and dads out there with potty training! Good luck and Godspeed. 😉

·

You are not alone. I am not alone.

The truth. Something we all seek yet sometimes it’s more than we can bare. Here’s my truth, or I should say, truths. I am 31 years old. I’m a single mother of an amazing little boy. I have a strong support system so that I can go out into the world and do the things I love to do. Wether it be; writing novels, acting, cooking or whatever else my fingers outstretch to grab onto. When I was a teenager my dentist told me he suspected I had TMJ. Around the same time my doctor told me my gallbladder was bad, but if I ate healthy and stayed away from fatty foods I would be able to manage it well without surgery. My “female zone” doctor aka the gyno, told me she believed I had endometriosis. All the while I found myself in a dark place in my mind wondering what the hell was wrong with me. I went on for many years before my most difficult diagnosis was reached. Bipolar type 1. Here I am staring at those words on my screen and for the first time in God knows how long, it doesn’t make me angry. Over the years many more diagnoses appeared. Bipolar disorder type 1-rapid cycling, depression, anxiety, psoriasis, eczema, ADHD, severe acid reflux, abnormal mens. cycle, PCOS, IBS and hypothyroidism. (I honestly could have missed something here.) I was also told I could never have children. You can imagine my surprise when an ER doctor told me I was pregnant. Every single thing a doctor has told me I have, comes with its own list of symptoms. Every medication I take to rectify these things comes with their own side effects. Such as my mood stabilizer (lithium) caused my hypothyroidism and it is a permanent condition. I once had a doctor tell me if she didn’t see my age on the chart she would have assumed I was 40-50 years old. I was in my mid 20’s at the time. That was not a good sign. After searching high and low and trying things that didn’t work, with help I’ve found supplements that help with a huge amount of my issues and I am grateful I found them.

Why am I talking about all of the things “wrong” with me? Truth. My truth. The truth that no matter how many disorders they slap on my chart, they do not define me. They do not own me. I can only take care of myself the best I can and hope for a little compassion on days it’s hard to get out of bed. Having these issues has in part shaped me into who I am. I know from my mental disorders aka invisible illnesses, that you never know what someone else is going through. It’s possible that day at the grocery store where a stranger was rude in passing, it was just their “hard day” and who am I to judge? As if I haven’t experienced such a day. Sadly, for a very long time those were all of my days for weeks at a time. On the other side of that I do get very frustrated with the human race. Why is it I have all these things pulling me down and I can still offer a smile in passing, or a hello? Just be kind. You don’t have to agree with another’s POV and sometimes they are wrong but you can still treat them with respect.

Depression with or without the bipolar component is no joke. Seriously. It sucks. It drags you down by your ankle’s and holds you under water. You may feel like you’re drowning but it just won’t seem to end and you want it to desperately. I will tell you from experience, “Why can’t you just be happy” is the biggest asshole move you can make when talking to someone who suffers from it. We do suffer. That’s why all the books I write are very dark. To me, it has its own identity living inside of me. I call it the darkness. Similar to Dexter’s dark passenger I suppose, except I’m not a murderer! I don’t know if labeling it is healthy or not I just know it works for me. I know as quickly as it arrived and as short or long as it stays it will eventually go away. Truth. people who suffer from bipolar disorder will relapse. Period. With proper treatment (medication and therapy usually) it can become less often and not as severe. I’m proud to say that after 4 years of treatment that is true. I also know a lot of my creative talents are strongly linked to me being bipolar, so I suppose I wouldn’t want it gone completely. Getting used to it being less frequent was actually difficult. I know what you’re thinking, why on earth would she want to be depressed? That is not what I’m saying. Since I don’t have any other option, I’m glad I can use it for good. To help like-minded people. To use it and what I’ve gone through having it, in my work and be able to share how strongly I feel emotion. Rage, sadness, love. Everything is intensified during a swing in the cycle. Those who suffer from bipolar disorder know the one plus side to it is mania (at least for us.) It’s dangerous and can cause major issues but it’s almost like a high and once you’ve tasted it it’s hard to let it go. I could go on for days about being bipolar but I won’t. If you want an insider view, I did write a book of quotes that I published in May 2015 called, Ramblings From an Unusual Mind. All of the interior images were taken by me and all of the quotes are original by me from my personal journal I write in when I’m suffering from depression. It’s raw and honest and I decided to share it for two reasons. One, so that other’s like me may find comfort that they are not alone. Two, so that those who know someone who suffers from depression can see from an inside perspective what that truly feels like. There no longer is a reason for me to feel ashamed about how I feel. Especially when it is caused by a chemical imbalance in my brain.

When my son was only 1 month old he had to have emergency surgery for pyloric stenosis. I was a new mom, single and at the time not in therapy or medicated. It was brutal. He had surgery on Thanksgiving Day. To any parent having to watch your child go through something like that and feeling helpless is absolute torture. When my son was diagnosed with autism between 1 or 2 years old, my world came down hard. I was not taking very good care of myself, being I was 100% focused on my son and my well being was the last thing on my mind. I don’t regret that now but I am glad I’ve found balance to take care of both of us. I wouldn’t say I was shocked when they told me but I was definitely in denial for a little while. I now find it to be a blessing. He is the happiest kid I have ever seen and as we learn new ways to communicate the more excited and happy we both become. Truth. My bipolar swings were ruthless during that first year after his diagnosis. I finally broke down to the point that I said I needed help. How was I strong enough to do that for myself after living with it all of these years? There’s only one answer, my son. I wanted to be a stable force in his life. Not the bat shit crazy mom everyone wondered why she was aloud to have a kid in the first place. Any parents to a child knows it’s not all rainbows and butterfly’s when raising a kid. Parent’s of autistic children know that a meltdown from their child is like a major war being waged as opposed to a battle. There are days my darkness comes back and I fight it as long as I can while it tries to consume me. Reminding myself that I can get through this for myself and for my son. My loved ones stay strong for me which is a huge reason I am doing so well. Having a strong support system of family or friends or a combination of the both is vital in my opinion. Then there are those moments where I think I can’t pull myself out and then my son laughs this belly laugh and then I’m laughing and sometimes that’s all it takes to pull me up out of that damn water. I had no idea when I was pregnant that my son would be the one to save me.

I guess my point to this entire thing is this, just because it feels like a curse it doesn’t mean there isn’t some sort of silver lining or gift from it. Anyone could look at me at the corner coffee shop I like to write at and never know I have suffered, I do suffer, from a long list of things. Just because you can’t see it or feel it does not mean it isn’t there hiding under the skin. Treat each other kindly. Treat each other in a way that makes you proud of yourself. Actually, treat other kindly because your own child is watching you. You show them what is right and wrong and what you can get away with when no one is looking. Let’s raise our kids the right way. Take care of yourself, you deserve it. Also, you’d be amazed at how much a friendly hello, a smile, or a honest compliment to a stranger can change their attitude for the entire rest of the day. Hell, it does for me.

Remember, Simba… just kidding. Remember, you are not alone. I am not alone. Say it with me.

-Andrea

Ramblings from an Unusual Mind

Ramblings from an Unusual Mind,
Is my new book, it releases for kindle on May 7th, 2015. It is now available for pre-order. Can’t wait that long? The paperback is currently available via amazon.com and if you can swing, I recommend the paperback as the images in color are much more pleasing to the eye. The price is higher than I would have preferred for print but the cost of printing the images in color ended up a lot higher than original quoted. The images and all of the quotes and poetry in the interior of the book are all original works by me. The cover was done by Russ Turner Photography. He is amazing and has done all of my covers from the Alice Clark Series, including this one and I am beyond grateful!

What you can expect:
All of the quotes and poetry are from my personal journal I only write in during a depressive episode caused by my bipolar disorder. They are dark and above all honest to what it feels like for me during these trying times of my life. The images I took myself and paired them with what I felt was the appropriate piece. I chose to do this project for many reasons. Having any of my work out their to be loved or criticized, is scary but I wanted those out there who feel as I do to know they are not alone. For those who don’t feel as I do, I hope they may find some insight as to what it is people like me go through. Everything can be going great in my life and these episodes will still happen. So, to those who are like me, always keep fighting. As Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) says. And FYI, he is running a great campaign for awareness and support
 for those who suffer from depression, etc. https://represent.com/jaredjensen is the current campaign.

So a big thank you for taking the time to check out my blog and any of my work. Live. Love. Read.
XO

POST Recap

I haven’t been able to write. No time, no will to. I’ve felt quite well the past few months. Spent some time on my own which is not exactly possible in my situation. Maybe it’s the years of therapy or a perfect pharmaceutical cocktail, but i’ve been feeling good. Really good. It’s bizarre and terrifying as one knows relapse is not an ‘if’ but a ‘when’. The trouble here is i’m incredibly frustrated with myself for not being able to write at all or at least in the few moments I have available to me to write. And I don’t want to. I hate that, and this feeling of loss over one of my most treasured feelings. The physical and emotional need to write, anything and everything. It just seems gone. That breaks my heart. Sure I’m better, for everyone else, to everyone else. Everyone prefers this ‘version’ of me. I know this version is the responsible choice, and I will stick to that choice knowing it is best for all parties. But, I miss feeling so intensely i’d cry. I miss reading something I wrote always as if I was reading it for the first time, as if it was my soul writing it and not my head and I could feel what those words were saying and sometimes others would read it and feel it too. I miss that. I don’t even know if it’s ever coming back. So I mourn the loss of my will. I morn the fractured heart beats. Though I am angry and upset at this my brain won’t let me feel that either. I’m just this shell of what I once was shifting different versions of myself around. Normally this would devastate me but today, I’m good…

Endure. Survive. Endure.

I looked at the ground, my heart broke. It took a deep breath in and tried to retain all the pieces it seemed to be in now. It didn’t. It couldn’t but be damned it still tried. Sometimes in life you are sitting still as the world rushes by you. Others, you don’t have enough time for all the things you need and want to do. Sometimes you are in motion at a steady speed until something hits you like a boulder knocking your ass back to the start line. Similarly, I had been struck with a still force across my entire being. I mourn the loss of something dear to me and feel as though I always have and will again. So many times I have roared back to life and tried again and again to reach a goal I fear I will never achieve. In this, my illness wreck’s havoc on me as it is the only constant in my life. It is cruel and meticulous. The noise in my skull is chaotic most of the time, especially this moon phase. You fear the darkness but its deep within me and all around me and feels like, home.  Many don’t get it and I didn’t expect you too. Yet, I was hopeful. Something that has never, not one time, ever paid off. Time and time again, the girl who thought Westley and Buttercup’s story was what true love really was or could be, reminds who I am today of the possibility, it could. So incredibly cruel. Another cycle burns through the night and I play a game within myself of Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde. No matter who wins, this sliver of my heart in my hand cuts me, deeply. A reminder of what happened here as to never forget, as if I could. Another toke, another drink, another pill. Numb. Wanting numbness to take hold, to give ample time to heal before I feel. My will laid at the waste side, unable to help me now. Endure. Survive. Endure. Repeat. As I reach up and feel my wet cheeks I know what I feared all along was true. My soul is in love with the idea of true love and I am far too jaded to play along anymore. As I am now as alone as some days I feel, I have the ability to do as one does when this sort of thing happens. For now I will recoil to the darkness that stalks me as it is always the same, always safe no matter how bad it is for me. Never lost I glide through the darkness until I catch the corner of a dresser. I open the top drawer and slide the shard into it, gently. I close the door and let the darkness absorb me until I am no longer present in this moment.  Silence. Endure. Survive. Repeat.

Love and Autism

I love my son more than I thought was ever possible. From the moment I found out that I was pregnant my life changed forever. When I first saw his steel baby blues looking up at me I was swimming in his love. We had a terrible scare when he was only a month old resulting in him needing surgery on thanksgiving day of 2010. I was a wreck, there was nothing I could do to ease what he was going through and he was too young to explain that everything would be okay, and it was. I remember the first time I played peek-a-boo with him not knowing at his age he would think I disappeared forever but in time he learned to love the game. I watched him hit milestones so proudly all while terrified if I was doing all I could for him. One day I noticed, others noticed really, he wasn’t looking at us. Down the road I found out he has autism spectrum disorder. It was the second scariest experience of my life. He has made such amazing progress through early child development and autism programs. I love him, just the way he is. The way he laughs with every part of his being and smiles as if the world is the most amazing thing he’s ever encountered. Sure he won’t even try this sippy cup idea and loves his bottles as if they are the most important thing in the world, next to his IPad. His iPad that has shown us all how incredibly smart he is though he doesn’t have the words to tell us. He amazes me every day, and drives me crazy as toddlers do. Most days I am only grateful for the blessing he is in my life. Sometimes I see kids his age, tell their mother’s they love them and a piece of me cries for that moment. Its possible I may never hear those words from his lips. My new terrifying thought that wanders my mind. If he never does, he shows me, everyday. I know he loves me. So no, I’m not sad that he is autistic and please don’t aww and give me a pitiful look in response. He is amazing and I will continue to do all I can to give him all the tools he needs to exceed other’s expectations and reach incredible goals he has yet to set for himself. I will shower him with love and kindness so he knows how to treat others. I will set rules and boundaries for his safety and well being and not because I’m scared of the what if’s in life. Just as I was taught, I will teach him to be the best he can be and give him the room he needs to achieve it and the help when he wants it. It’s true when they say your children become your world. They are our world and one day they will be the ones running the world we live in. Isn’t it only fair we do all we can to make it the best possible life they can live? As he hands me his bottle requesting more with that breathtaking smile, I smile back and kiss his forehead. In that moment I feel his love and that is everything to me.

Proud momma