What does your meltdown look like?

grayscale photo of a boy crying

So, in our house this can be different in any given day for any person living in our house. Yes, this includes adults!

So meltdowns in our house fortunately have become less and less in the past while, which is very good. But sometimes when they do happen, they are extremely unpleasant and exhausting.

A couple of weeks ago we were going up to our cottage on a Friday evening. The day had been challenging as our son had finished a chelation treatment a couple of days prior. After these treatments, his body can be really uncomfortable as the toxins are moving through his body. This creates irritability and cramping.

So having said that, we got to our cottage and our son was in a bad mood (which is unusual because it is his favorite place). I thought well we will just see how it goes and hope for the best. After a bit of time had passed, I saw that things were not going well. He was getting upset over every single small thing.

I went to talk to him as I had heard some unpleasant noises in the cottage. At our cottage unfortunately, there is not really a safe space to chill out like his bedroom at home. I was extremely tired and irritable myself from the drive up to the cottage so I had little to no patience left to deal with this outburst. I was also afraid of him breaking something as he was so on edge. Since my husband was not up there, I thought to myself that he better not break something so that is where my focus was at the time.

Things fell apart rather quickly and badly. I was yelling at him, he was getting upset and it just went downhill.

It took some time but after awhile things settled down. Just when things were calm. the power went out. Here comes my meltdown! I was ready to cry. I was so tired and I had not even unpacked most of the stuff yet. When we discovered it wasn’t going to come back on, I completely lost it as I knew that our son wasn’t going to last 3 hours (the expected time of power return). It was already 8 pm.

So, I left the dog and my daughter with my mom, who happened to be up there, and we got in the car and headed home.

I was upset at everything! My behaviour, his behaviour, the situation, all of it. What was supposed to be a relaxing weekend, turned into a nightmare.

We finally got home around 10 pm and I was mentally and physically exhausted. I was so done with our son’s meltdown, my meltdown and I was ready for bed.

Sometimes looking back at situations, I think about all of the things that I did wrong, all the things I said that were wrong and I get so upset with myself. As a parent, we are not supposed to have meltdowns. We are supposed to be calm and comforting. We are supposed to lead by example.

This just goes to show you that not only our kids/teens have behaviours but we as adults can have behaviours as well.

When our son was younger, he had behaviours way more often so that when one happens now, it kind of throws me off because it is very unusual. What I need to remember is t be calm and rational. Try to have a “teaching moment” so that our son can learn to make good choices when he is upset.

In this case, I was extremely disappointed and ashamed how I reacted, but I have also realized that I am only human and sometimes my emotions can be extremely high and I know that I have to learn from the mistakes that I make so that I can be a better role model to my children.

I hope moving forward that we can work together to minimize these occurrences and learn to be better people.

How are you – really?

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It’s a question that people ask all the time – how are you? What do you say? What do people want you to say? Do they really want to know how you feel or do they just want to move along?

These days you may be all over the place – that’s how I feel sometimes.

I mean does anyone really want to know that I ate lunch with my kids who are both on the spectrum and no one talked to anyone? For us, that’s a typical lunch. I sit beside my daughter who wears headphones and listens to music because she needs the distraction of the noise and my son who is immersed in YouTube and I just kind of sit there sometimes watch a little of the depressing news that’s becoming tiresome, but it’s difficult for all of us.

In our family, we all process things in very different ways and the way my kids act or react is not a problem for me, it’s just the way things are when you live with autism.

This pandemic has been so rough on everyone and some days it’s easier to put it aside than others, but in the back of your mind, it’s always looming.

Some days my kids are fine and other days they are not. Unfortunately, it’s usually at different times, but that’s just the way it goes.

I find that at home school, although there are pros and cons, and I do like some of the pros, that we are all missing seeing people and being stuck in the walls of our house. It’s like moving from one room to the next and back again and although we can go outside which we are grateful for, we sometimes seem to be on top of each other. There is no getting away and everyone, I mean everyone needs to get away from each other at times, in order to maintain healthy relationships.

This long weekend, we were finally able to get up to our cottage and it felt great for all of us to be in the car and just leave the walls of our home behind for a few days!

So, how are you doing?

Please comment below!

Learning

workplace with clipboard and green plant leaf

I love learning! It doesn’t matter what it is. I feel that when I learn something new, that I grow as well.

For the past few months I have been doing a training program called RDI. This is short for Relational Development Intervention. It’s one of those things that I researched for awhile and kept coming back to. I’ve done many different therapies over the years, primarily for our son and I felt that he was ready for this one considering his development.

In the past we had focused on ABA therapy, which is short for applied behaviour analysis. This is widely known, especially in Canada as being the “accepted” therapy of choice for children on the autism spectrum.

I won’t get into a debate over the pros and cons over this type of therapy, but I can just say that there are both. We found many parts of this therapy to be very helpful with the development and growth of our son.

But something was missing…… whenever I say this, my husband asks how much it’s going to cost. He knows me. He knows when I believe in something I won’t let it go. So I had to try to convince him that we go ahead with this. He does not have time to be involved but I decided to do it anyway.

I am still at the beginning stages of this new endeavor, but I like what I have been doing so far.

I am still new, so it’s hard to explain in detail what I am doing, but it’s working on dynamic intelligence, rather than static intelligence as most other therapies do. Building up your child’s dynamic intelligence, especially for kids with autism who don’t always understand things the way others do, is a great way for them to be able to problem-solve and handle change which is part of life.

I am intrigued and fascinated by this as I know this is an area that our son especially is in need of. Right now we are working on perspectives, experimenting and exploring, experience sharing and co-regulation to name a few.

For this process, you work with a consultant and then you get particular assignments to work on these skills. It’s parent driven which I like and you can incorporate it into your daily activities so you don’t need to always do “extra” things.

You have to set up activities and video tape them to give to your consultant for review. Although I don’t like watching myself in particular on video, I am able to see how I handle situations and what I say and do which is great for being able to try again and make modifications the next time.

Will be keeping you posted on this one……..

Appointments!

set of monthly calendars with weekly dates

This is something that I really feel I need to talk about as it consumes a large part of my life – appointments!

I know if you have children, a dog, a spouse, you have lots of appointments on your calendar. It has gotten so bad in our house that I had to make sure that both of our children have their own calendars as well so that their appointments can be recorded on their calendar.

In our house, I have one main family calendar that I try to make sure I put all of the appointments on for everyone. If it doesn’t make it to this calendar, it just doesn’t exist. Then each child has their own wipe board calendar on the fridge that we change over each month that contains things that are just for that child. It’s great to record specific school things as well especially since both of their school schedules do not match so they need to keep track of what days they actually go into school.

In the last year, our appointments have gotten out of control. I think that it’s mostly our kids that have the added appointments more so than my husband and I. Our son has his regular doctor appointments that can vary depending on what we are dealing with for him at the time.

Our daughter for certain has more appointments than all of us combined. She has weekly in-person doctor’s visits. She has a weekly group therapy session that runs from October – May. She has weekly therapy appointments. She has weekly psychiatry appointments. And there a couple of more that I am sure I am missing. We also have weekly family therapy appointments.

She’s also going to have more dental appointments as she is getting braces soon. Honestly sometimes she gets off the phone with someone from an appointment and when I ask who it is, I can’t even remember the function of this person.

When you ask, how do we handle all of these? I don’t really know! I do know that I feel overwhelmed from all of the appointments every week and I just have to take a deep breath and keep on going.

Do you face the same dilemma?

Peace

green plant leaf with drops in nature

Peace is something so very meaningful to me. Since autism can be so time-consuming and overwhelming, I like to find peace whenever and where ever possible.

I’ve been trying to create more peace for myself personally, very intentionally over the last couple of years. It is very important for my own mind to be able to find peaceful moments during a day where I can just reflect and breathe.

I love looking at nature. Whether its just looking out my window or weather it is being outside and just noticing things around me, I just take advantage of every opportunity that I can to enjoy it on a daily basis. I find nature brings me peace and makes me feel calm. I also notice this about both our children. When they are in nature, they seem happier.

Peace is something that is interpreted differently for everyone. For me, I am most at peace when I am just sitting and not doing anything. I enjoy looking at pictures. I also feel very peaceful when I am just able to hear my breaths.

I also feel very peaceful when my kids just get something. When they learn to figure out a situation or they just do something for themselves that makes sense. I love noticing these moments and I never take them for granted.

Animals also bring me a lot of peace. I love just holding our dog and petting him, he makes me feel calm in these moments. I also love watching horses in a field.

I will continue to strive working on bringing peace into my life every day.

What do you do to be more peaceful?