The thought has been lingering well over a year to write on a particular matter. However, the matter touches every star in my little universe. It may also touch on one of your stars. My hesitations come from wanting to protect my privacy. I also don’t know how to write about this so it won’t come across as too self-indulgent and whiney. So it is what it is, let’s begin by talking broadly about a few of my blessings in life: Jake has a good job that allows me to stay home with my children, I attend Palomar College, I have three children and a dog, and I live in San Diego! Each of these bring me great joy and I like it just the way it is. These blessing are not here because of only myself. Everyone in my life has helped put me here. These blessing don’t come from one solitary choice and acted out only by me.
Blessings also come with heartaches and challenges. Jake travels every other week, leaving me to be a single parent. Learning my school material is harder because my brain isn’t as absorbent as it once was and I’m a lot busier. My children each have their challenges. My dog, well… she just causes a lot of unwanted hair all over the house. Living in San Diego, means I’m away from family and their possible help while Jake is out of town.
The other day was one of these challenging-blessed days. Often I feel there are so many different opposing sources being thrown into my life and I cannot keep up. During this reflection in a doctor’s waiting room, I looked up and saw these signs on the wall.
My body settled down and attained a bit a stability. I cannot direct the wind, but I can adjust my sails. One of my sails is that Ayzia has ADHD and Autism. Some say these are disorders, and I find myself saying that as well. However, hear me loud and clear it is NOT. These are blessings in my life and just like any other blessing, it comes with challenges. I remain physically active because of my Ayzia, I keep my brain learning new things because of my Ayzia. But how do I really feel about the diagnoses? As Donald Trump would say, “The relief was HUGE!” But so was the self-inducing guilt. I was happy and blessed to have an ADHD, Autistic child and that all her beautiful and challenging eccentricities had a name. The guilt came from, “I had a feeling it was this all along and not until 8 ½ years old is she getting a diagnoses.” I am angry, frustrated and impatient! I am protective and defensive. I also feel refined individually and in my marriage. My impatience and frustration comes from this rough estimated time line:
- January 2015: Scheduled an appointment with Rady’s Children Hospital at Autism Discovery Institute to be evaluated. They picked the date of the appointment and my job was to agree it’s timing, August 2015. Say What?? 8 months away!!
- March 2015: Sitting down with her school and talked about getting her some extra help. We came up with a plan, but getting her an IEP was held off.
- August 2015: Evaluated and diagnosed with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Wahoo! All things sail straight from here right? Nope.
- April 2016: 1 year and 3 months, she finally started speech and behavioral therapy and the school is working on getting an IEP.
Around the time of Ayzia’s diagnoses, I was to restart school. Somehow I got the start time confused with my kids and missed the first two weeks of class. Consequently, I took fall semester off. Which proved useful because it allowed me more time and energy towards family and myself. Reading articles on learning disorders; many of the articles felt deeply familiar and I related to most of them on a personal level. It was then, I admitted to myself that I too, have a learning disorder. It may not be the same as Ayzia’s, but I have something, I just don’t know what exactly. I vowed to myself then, I would not leave Ayzia in the dark about this part of herself and this is why. My prior school years burned a self-belief in myself that “I was stupid.” I genuinely felt and knew I was stupid. Not because anybody told me I was, but that school and friendships were an extreme challenge. I didn’t understand most of my social interactions and friendships. I self-taught myself to read people’s mannerisms. To this day when people talk, I mostly read what their body and face are saying and little of what words they choose. I can look back and understand why, in high school, my friend was frustrated with me because I wouldn’t talk with her as we walked to our next class. During a math test, I couldn’t answer any of the questions because one of my guy friends was chomping on his bubble gum. Near the end of the period I blew up and yelled at him to stop “Smacking his gums!” I cried and laughed to my best friend all during lunch about how stupid I acted and confused I felt. If I would have known what was going on and why, if it had a name, maybe I would have had a stronger self-esteem. I couldn’t and didn’t know how to tell my parents. You may be thinking, what did her parents do? They didn’t know. Because like Ayzia, I didn’t tell them most things and unless you are watching every intricate detail in someone’s life…..it’s still nearly impossible to understand internal problems. For the most part, I look and act ‘normal’ and so does my girl. But if you want to have a conversation with us? Brace yourself because, it is going to take a lot longer than the typical. It is difficult to get thoughts out. I stuttered as a young child and as an adult, if it’s urgent and I have to talk fast the stutter comes back. Learning and dealing with Ayzia’s challenges forces me to deal with myself and my own learning problems. Now that Ayzia is getting therapy, she knows her autism and that I can relate to some degree. I’m helping her believe and feel she is beautiful and extremely smart. She is highly motivated in learning and has an amazing memory with scientific facts and creativity. Our family enforces we are here to help each other build our strengths and overcome our challenges and with this we have times of success and times of failures.
Learning is difficult for me and always will be. I am smart and dealing well with being a slow learner. Given the right topic and the right amount of studying time, I can do well. I received all A’s and 1 B in massage school. In the last 2 ½ years I’ve taken 7 college courses and achieved 6 A’s and 1 B. There are 2 supplements (Phosphatidylserine and Huperzine A) that I take every day that help me absorb new information, retain memory and help me verbally express my thoughts. I should add that my fibromyalgia causes brain-fog and these supplements help with this as well.
To those who come across this blog entry, may God bless your little universe and know that I am here with you striving to be the best kind of star in His big universe.