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Living in a Dark Place

I have been living in a dark place for the last few months.

It was getting darker and darker.

I was struggling with self harm thoughts.

I wanted to end it all.

I have been there before and I did not ever want to go back there ever again.  I have been on medication to ease physical pain but they were interacting with my anti depressants.

They made me go back to the dark place.

I did not self harm because I knew that it was the medication was creating this world and I just went into survival mode just to keep my head above the water.

My husband needs me.

My girls need me.

I have to be kind to myself.  It was just the medication.  I tried to keep silent and pretend that I was fine. This is the worst thing I could have done. How can you battle those dark thoughts and feelings by yourself.  YOU CAN’T. It is impossible and one reason why people take their lives.  Those voices (you don’t have any control of them) just get the better of you and you are convinced that you would be better off dead.   I finally opened up to Steve and told him the self harm thoughts were back.  I had someone to help me fight through them. Someone was on my side.

I had done it once and I knew I could do it again.  I got up everyday which is one of the hardest challenges.  It is easy to hide under the doona but then I was letting the depression win.  So I kept as much as a routine that I could just to keep me functioning.  I was moving in life but the dark thoughts kept trying to pull me down.  It was exhausting.

I focused on making sure I was putting nutritious food into my body and not food that feeds the darkness.  No point giving the darkness even more fuel to beat me.  I kept moving which helped to bring some light into my day even if it was just walking.  I coloured in the mindfulness colouring book which is swamping the book shelves.  I also knew that once my Doctor came back from holidays and he took me off the medication all will go back to normal.  I also refereed to my suicide first aid plan that gave me strategies to complete before I self harmed or put a plan into action.  I have 12 steps that I must complete and the first step is call Steve and I do not get much further.  If you are struggling create a 12 step plan to give you a life line.  Believe me it works.

My body is exhausted and I have had the flu this week and I have been made to rest.  I am back into using my essential oils to get rid of the negative thoughts and now I am feeling back at peace.  I got out my Dalai Lama books to help centre myself and I am not surrounding myself with any negativity.

Those thoughts will not win. You have to hold tight and fight.  It is worth it.

 

How Can We Include Partners in Therapy?

griefAre you both at odds in regards to the behaviour management of your child with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder?

 

Do you keep thinking to yourself that you wish your partner would come to a therapy session?

I hear this comment a lot within Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder communities, with clients and shhhhh I have heard myself say this as well.  So believe me it is a common feeling amongst families.

HOW CAN WE INCLUDE PARTNERS IN THERAPY?

I know my partner would love to make it to every appointment but this is not realistic.  However he has to bring in the money to pay for these appointments.  Also as much as his boss is really accommodating, reality is he still needs to be at work.

Having a child with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder can challenge us as parents in regards with behaviour management.  We all come into parenthood with preconceived rules in regards to discipline.  Where do we learn our parenting skills from?  Our parents……….who learnt from their parents………..who learnt it from their parents.

Have you ever thought yourself saying “I will not discipline my children like my parent’s did?”.  It is fairly normal for individuals to think about what kind of relationship you would like to have that you may not have had as a child and what you would never do.  However I am sure we all have heard ourselves sound like our parents.

Nevertheless, when your child is diagnosed with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder and a lot of other disabilities, all that we thought we knew goes out the window.  We are forced to look at our parenting skills and adapt these to suit their needs.  I know for me that was and can still be a challenge as we are not perfect all the time.

How can we include partners in therapy?

  • See if your partner can go to a therapy appointment every few months to see how things are going.

A few clients have approached their bosses and asked them for a couple of hours, once every three months to go to a therapy appointment and it has been amazing how accommodating as it is only every few months.

  • Video tape the sessions

If your therapist does not mind, video tape the session, only as a means of showing your partner.  Even if you are sitting at the other side of the room, your partner will get the main idea of what is occurring in the session.

  • Take notes

There is nothing stopping you for taking notes that you may be able to share with your partner.  If your partner is not involved at all for their own reasons, maybe just have them there in a spot for them to read or not read.  As they say you can draw a horse to water but you can not make them drink.

  • Have no conflict discussions about behaviours and how to meet them

We want children to be as independent and confident as possible so it is important to talk about what behaviours your child is demonstrating and work out the meaning behind them.  If your child wants more independence we should be encouraging them as this will improve their future outcome.  We all want less emotional eruptions and so we need to make adjustments and be flexible on how we are going to meet their needs.

There are parent’s out there who struggle to change their parenting and it can be extremely challenging on all parts because majority of the time it leads to fights and resentments.  If you need help in this area send me an email on info@coachingforlifetimechange.com.au and we can arrange a time so that I can help your family come together.

 

 

Five Lifesaving Steps When You Feel The World Crumbling.

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At the moment I am feeling like the world is crumbling around me.  I feel like nothing is going right (ok except my fight with the insurance company) but even that has taken its toll on my emotional well being.

I seem to be at logger heads with Emma.  She seems to be ignoring most of my instructions.  Getting extremely angry over every no.  Not actually accepting the word no.  Don’t even mention homework.

Grace seems to be reacting to everything and all I can think of is that I need to get off the earth for a bit.  Maybe I am having my internal meltdown and my body is screaming it is time to get off the world for a bit.

It is not helping that I am on medication that has been putting added pressure on my body and it seems to be playing with my migraines so it is making things more challenging.

I am also missing my mum and dad like crazy as I can’t just pick up the phone and call them for their advice.  I see the older generation around at the shops and think often how that was robbed from both of my parents.

We all have those moments and it is hard not to feel depressed.

So what can you do?

Here are five suggestions that can help you through these tough challenges.

  1. Treat your body like a temple.  It is very easy to seek out comfort eating to “make” us feel better.  However, if this food is not healthy and with chemical additives and preservatives, it will most likely make you feel worse.  So stick to fresh food and say no to processed food.
  2. Exercise.  I have been finding that when I exercise, the stresses seem to be minimised and I become more focused.
  3. Journaling.  Sometimes it is healthy to write about your problems so they are outside of your head.  However the key here is although we can dwell as much as you like on the past and current problems, it will not get you anywhere.  If you actually do not come up with a solution to the problem then you are not going to come out of the problem.
  4. Speak to a friend or a professional.  Sometimes having someone there to simply to listen can be very helpful.  Don’t expect them to solve your problem but to have an open ear as you work out the solution.
  5. Sitting with your child when they are asleep.  At the present moment I am sitting on Emma’s bed listening to them breathe whilst they sleep.  This is probably one of my favourite times of the day to help me feel grounded.  I also enjoying diffusing some essential oils to help the girls and myself to feel even more grounded.

I could go on and on to this list as there are always many way to solve a problem.  If you are needing someone to talk to I have a support program for parents on a weekly basis.  Support program

My Postnatal Depression Didn’t Cause My Daughter’s ASD!

My Postnatal Depression didn’t cause my daughters ASD!  I was talking to a friend last night on the phone and I just want to say I love her to bits.  She is also a friend who you may not talk to for ages but it is like yesterday.  Whilst talking to her she explained to me how her hubby didn’t understand my Facebook post as I was sharing my dog’s trouble with anxiety and what it is doing to her physically.  My friend then tried to explain to her husband that Grace has anxiety and speech delay because of my long time (6 months) in hospital after Emma because of postnatal depression.

I was astounded by the comment but did my best to remain calm and just told her Grace has Autism.  My friend has short term memory issues so I understand there was absolutely no intention to upset me.  But it did hit a nerve.

There are professionals who would blame my stay in hospital as a major part for her behaviour (thank god none of my professionals did).  They could easily put it down her me not being with me.  However, Grace was with her sensational dad, aunties, cousins who probably was giving her more care than I could of at this time.  My doctors also helped Steve with services and Grace spent time during the day also with my sister in law who ran a family day care centre.  Steve also brought her in to see me pretty much daily.

You can not blame my postnatal depression story with Grace’s ASD because the wonderful professionals would tell you that her behaviours had started before Emma was born.

I have always said that despite all the hell I went through with depression and postnatal depression, really made me get to know the true self and believe me it has made me such a better mum for it.  But postnatal depression didn’t cause my daughter’s ASD.

Thought I Lost My Children

It’s school holidays here in Melbourne Australia and I took the girls to the local play centre.  We have been there plenty of times and rarely have a problem.   But today it was going to be different as unknown to be would be the first time ever that I truly lost my children.  I noticed quite a few times that a boy around the age of 11 kept playing with one of the blowers of one of the jumping castles.  The blower was covered by a box but I guess when children want to be destructive, nothing will stop them.  The child was told off by staff, other parents because he was putting other children’s lives at risk.

I was tossing up if we should leave as the girls had been playing for 3 hours but they kept begging me to stay.  So I thought ok just a few more minutes.

Then there was an almighty bang and smoke/dust was coming out under the slide.  Children were running everywhere, parents were running to locate children as we had no idea if the generator was on fire.  But I couldn’t find the girls.  All I could think of where have they hidden as Emma is known for hiding with noises.  I couldn’t even here Grace crying and as each second passed I was becoming more anxious and I thought I lost my children.

Thank god no one had opened the gates leading out to the car park as Emma would have taken off.  I turned around and there were the girls looking for me.  Grace was absolutely beside herself and I just sat down and cuddled her (as we knew the machine was not on fire) and leaving would have created a bigger safety risk.  Emma had gone quiet and she did not let me go all afternoon.

We were meant to be meeting friends there the next day and the girls said they didn’t want to go.  We sat them down and explained that we have not had a problem there before and it wouldn’t happen again.  The next morning I asked the girls if they wanted to go and I was proud of them because we ended up going.  They both came to me from time to time for a cuddle and they had a great time again.

Centres need to families with destructive children to leave rather than put the safety of the rest of the group at risk.

Your Child Says Thank You

You don't have to be perfect, or even

When Your Child Is Angry!

screaming childIt can be very distressing for everyone when your child is angry.  They have gotten themselves in a state that is hard to get them what they want and our adrenaline starts pumping to get them to stop.  The majority of the time the situation ends with everyone is yelling at each other.  Does it help?  Usually no.

I was talking with a couple of parents after I dropped Grace and Emma off to school.  They came up with some fantastic strategies that I thought I would share with you.

The first strategy is like a metaphor.  Get the child to picture that they are at the beach.  When the child is just on the edge of anger they are at the edge of the water and that is when they can get out of the anger.  Then as they go further into the water is the intensity of the anger and they can’t get out.  That is when you need to offer your child a lifeboat to help them come back. A great object to add is a blanket and they can get on and you can pull them to safety.

The other parent acknowledged that it is during this time that as parents we need to be compassionate and do our very best not to yell back.  I know with my girls I tend to label their emotion and find it calms them down a lot quicker and I take the time to sit with them to help them through their emotions.

What other tips do you know?

What Future Does My Child With Autism Have?

A few clients have asked me this question “what future does my child with autism have?”  You might be reading this and wondering the same question but have never said it out loud.  I know I have asked myself this question especially in the early stages after diagnosis.

Ellen Notbohm in her book “Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew” summoned it up perfectly.  She wrote ‘In the long run – and it is a long run – what you choose to believe about a child’s autism may be the single biggest factor affecting his ultimate outcome.  Consciously or otherwise, you make decisions based on your perspective hundreds of times a day. Losing sight of your whole child behind a label makes your life and his/her more trying.‘ (Page 31).

Every child, no matter if they have autism or not, have their likes and dislikes.  Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and we want to encourage all children to develop their strengths.  When teachers hears that your child has autism, they already start with a picture of what they think your child will be like.  Grace’s teacher was astounded with how well she could read and spell which she was not expecting at all.  When Grace did calisthenics for the first year, we did not predict that in her second year she would be out the front of the group and leading the group in competitions.  Never count your child out from their strengths and where they can go from there.

A label will get your child the assistance they need and if you start early your child can have a bright future.  We just got to look at their strengths and possibilities will open.

Strategies For When Your Child Come Home Feral From School

Today was one of those days!  Emma was already tired from her school orientation and Grace well she just was feral.  It started from the second we got to the car and it continued all the way home.  There were tears, yelling and arguments between them both and listening to reason went straight out of the window.  It is only a 15 minute drive home and I thought I should chuck them outside with the dog.  But I didn’t want to inflict the noise on the neighbours or the dog lol.  So here are two strategies for when your child comes home from school.

I am very big on specific essential oils because these specific oils have changed my families life around and I do not say that lightly, let alone pulling your leg.  These oils are safe and there is no side affects what so ever and it is saving all of our mental health appointments from going insane.

So I got the diffuser out and put in it Bergamot and Ylang Ylang essential oils.

The benefits of Bergamot are:

  • It may reduce agitation and bring a sense of calm to the nervous system
  • It relieves all forms of stress eg emotional, environmental, mental and performace
  • It can also be uplifting as well

I know for me when the oils were diffusing I had more of a sense of purpose.

The benefits of Ylang Ylang are:

  • It is also calming when you feel like crying and exhausted
  • It may help to relax
  • It helps reduce stress and tension.

I have been using the oils for a while now and they never cease to amaze me.  Within 5 minutes there was a sense of calmness.  Both girls came in for kisses and cuddles and they spent the rest of the afternoon outside.

Another strategy I use (even in winter) is that I make the girls a thick shake and give them a swirly straw and because they have to work hard to get the ice cream up the straw, it also helps regulate their nervous system.

 

 

Strategies to Help When You Feel Like a Crap Parent

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We all will have days when we feel like a crap parent. I know I felt like this over the weekend.  I do not think there is any parent out there who would not feel like that from time to time.  But here are some strategies to help when those feelings come along.

1.  Know that this is just a feeling and it will pass.

2.  Put some happy music on and jump around even with the kids.

3.  Do something for YOU even for 5 minutes.  Having a cup of tea can be very soothing.

4.  Have a glass of wine when the children go to bed (or before 🙂 ).

5.  Know that you are doing the best you can and it is not easy.

6.  Call a friend and talk to someone about what you are feeling.

7.  Put a DVD on that is happy.

8.  Find an enjoyable book to read. 

9.  Think about your children and think about all their strengths.

10.  Think back to a happy memory that always makes you smile. 

It is okay and very normal to have crap days. You are not alone!

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