All the Small Things (That I Forgot To Mention the First Time)

Not really a full post today but more of an addendum to yesterday's, since a lot of y'all seemed to appreciate the book and Positivity Jar recommendations. (Which, for the record, both came from Ike's private therapist, who is just wonderful. [AND ACCEPTS OUR INSURANCE WOOOOOO.] We -- okay, technically Jason, because he's even more On It than I am sometimes-- found someone who does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy AND who understands the connection between learning disabilities and the resulting depression and social anxiety that frequently come along with them. Her input helped shape Ike's IEP and the school's plan, so if you're kind of flailing around with this stuff as well, it really helps to have someone like that on your child's team. Ping me if you're local and need a recommendation.) Wow, went on a TANGENT!! after just one sentence there. Anyway! Ever since hitting the publish button I've been like OH WAIT AND ANOTHER THING, and since I'm too lazy to go back and edit an existing post I figured I'd just write a new one. This is personal blogging. We don't edit things! We just go on and on and on forever about the things. A WEIGHTED... Read more →


All the Small Things

I'm happy to report that our school has really stepped up quite admirably in response to Ike's most recent struggles. I'm sad, of course, that he's having all these struggles in the first place. It's heartbreaking to watch your happiest, bubbliest child suddenly close up and fold into himself, unable to look out at the world without a lens of suspicion and anxiety. We're on it, though, and so is our school. One of (several) services Ike now receives is a "stress reduction and mindfulness" small group that meets once a week and is run by the school counseling department. (All the third graders were asked to rank and rate their stress levels. Anyone who rated themselves as REALLY STRESSED THE FUCK OUT was invited to join the group. Turns out Ike has plenty of company there.) At the most recent meeting, they were asked to draw where they physically feel stress, and to describe what it felt like. This was Ike's: (I asked him if I could share all of this, by the way, and he said yes. He also gets to clear any photos I post, but usually makes his selection by deciding which one will "get all... Read more →


A Diagnooooooooooooosis

Well. It sure has been a WEEK. Or technically, it's been three-and-a-half days that FELT like a full week. It's also been a roller coaster of emotions and a water slide of productivity, and okay, that's enough silly metaphors for today. Sometimes, I'm like THIS! But then I realize I need to change that first lyric from "For almost 30 years I knew something was wrong" to "For over 40 years," and suddenly I'm less at the 'I Want' Song portion of my life's imaginary musical and more like TIME TO ANGRY DANCE! (I only said I was done with the silly metaphors. I still have plenty of oddly-specific yet thoroughly tortured ones left.) "What if it was ALWAYS this?" I asked Jason last night, almost through tears. "What if everything, all of it, was actually just this?" I was angry and frustrated because the Vyvanse was working. Because I could clearly, easily and unequivocally tell the Vyvanse was working, because the Vyvanse kicks in your brain door and flips whatever switch it needs to switch within a couple hours. As opposed to an antidepressant that you need take for at least a couple weeks before you can decide if... Read more →


Gamechanger

So this happened. I, a grown-ass 42-year-old woman, was (just! like yesterday!) diagnosed with adult ADHD. I imagine a lot of people are reading that and thinking, "Well, yes, Amy. Have you met yourself? Ever read your writing?" Other people who've known me for years, on the other hand, have already responded to the news with, "Huh. Really? Are you sure?" Either way, it feels weird! I have two different children with two different flavors of ADD/ADHD, so you'd think at some point (like maybe while filling out my four dozenth Vanderbilt parent rating scale) I would've stopped and thought, gee, this feels familiar. But it's that "adult" bit, which is admittedly different. I don't think I ever looked up that particular symptom list or that specific rating scale. And why would I? I was a quiet, well-behaved child who earned straight A's all through school and college. I landed my first real editorial job before I even graduated, and accepted my first big promotion the same day I left to go take my final exams. I used to churn out 10, 15. 20 blog posts a week for years without even part-time childcare! And I've spent more than a... Read more →


The Loop, Part Infinity

It's IEP meeting season, again, and supercharged. It's Noah's re-evaluation year AND time to start planning for his transition to high school (!!!!!WAT!!!!!) next September. His meeting was mostly spent debating whether he continues to qualify for special education services, so...it was a short meeting, because surprise! He's got Autism. Still! Imagine that. My mother-in-law will be so disappointed. Must've been the flu shot. Or our lack of interest in essential oils. So he won't be losing any supports or services this year -- if anything, he'll get more, since the middle school team likes to send kids off to high school with fully loaded IEPs, and then let us decide once he's made the transition if anything is overkill or unnecessary. I was also expecting Ike's meeting to be similarly short and to-the-point -- we'd just had parent/teacher conferences and gone over alllll his reading progress and goals last week -- so of course, I was thrown for yet another loop when the team expressed their universal worry that Ike is showing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Wait. What? Oh. "He's just not the same Ike this year," the school psychologist said. "I've known him since kindergarten. Something is... Read more →


The Best Things I Bought For My Brain (2019 Edition)

In honor of Cyber Monday, it's better mental health through consumerism, betches. In no particular order, other than in the order I remember them as I wander around my house: Brain-Saving Plan to-do list/mental health planner & Punch Today In the Face motivational coaster (KatieAbeyDesign, Etsy) The part of my brain that took the longest to heal (post-apocalyptic ZZZZZPPPTTTZZZZ-style short-out) was/is, unfortunately, the part that allows me to simply sit the fuck down and get shit the fuck done. Oh, I'm plenty good at making long, elaborate to-do lists around 3 a.m., along with the many terrible consequences that will surely rain down after my subsequent failure to complete said to-do list. But by 9 a.m., I've lost all sense of urgency and/or curled into a paralyzed ball of panic and procrastination. There are a LOT of mental health planners and motivational office supplies aimed at correcting this pattern, but I found most of them either too shmaltzy and motivational-quote heavy, or entirely too detailed and similar to my 3 a.m. version. (DRINK EIGHT GLASSES OF WATER OR FAIL AT TUESDAY!) This one from KatieAbeyDesign on Etsy is way, way more my speed. Keep Fucking Going bracelet (Amazon) Simple, to... Read more →


Up For Air

Hiiiiiii. How are you? I've been okay! Okay. Well, that's probably a flat-out lie, or at least a wild exaggeration. It's actually been a rough couple weeks. Everything's fine, of course. I've just been...kinda sad again, and overwhelmed by...everything, again. Kids have camp drop-off at 8:30? Gonna squeeze in at least three vivid anxiety dreams about fucking it up between the hours of 1 and 5:30 a.m. Conference call at 10 a.m.? Better start worrying about Skype not working by 9, triple check the meeting invite around 9:30, start staring at clock at 9:45, then contemplate various imaginary reasons for missing it altogether at 9:59. Two whole text messages from two whole separate people? Better just ignore those for awhile (because they COULD just be saying hi but they ALSO COULD be full of bad and terrible news and/or calling me a bad and terrible friend). Can later just pretend my phone broke, or something. (SPOILER ALERT: they were just saying hi.) Things have regulated back out this week, I'm happy (what a word!) to report. I've made the jump between "getting through the day with the bare minimum of necessary executive functioning to survive" and like, "being a normal... Read more →


Like a Bird

For Ike's birthday, we booked a pirate-themed tour of the glistening green sludge better known as Baltimore's Inner Harbor. It combined everybody's favorite things: Costumes, boats, water cannons, and birthday parties that don't involve cleaning my house. It also involved pirate-themed temporary tattoos. I chose an appropriate skull-and-crossbones design while the girl applying the tattoos raved enviously about my oh you thought we were all overreacting didn'tcha Nolite te Bastardes tattoo. Then I pushed my sleeve up to my bicep and she spotted the semicolon. "Oh!" she said quietly. "Oh!" I said awkwardly. "That's...yeah." "Me too." We stared at each other in choked up silence for a minute before murmuring our respective whens and how long agos and she wiped my arm and pressed the tattoo down. "We're so glad you're here today." "Me too." The first questions that fall out of people's mouths after you do Something Like That are usually along the lines of how could you and what were you thinking and don't you know that _____ (fill in the blank some variation on your worth/value/love/rich full life with so much to live for/etc.). At the time I tried to answer all those questions, albeit with wholly... Read more →


Eight. And One.

Saturday was Ike's eighth birthday. Sunday marked one year since my suicide attempt. So this weekend was...a lot. And I have a lot of thoughts and reflections and bits and drips of a post about the day -- and that day -- but I'm not really feeling ready to untangle that particular mental snarl. At least not quite yet. Saturday was my baby's eighth birthday. He wanted a super-chocolaty chocolate layer cake with vanilla icing and blue letters. And he wanted me to make it for him. I made the layers a bit too thick so the bottom one got a little crushed and lopsided under the weight, the icing turned out more glaze-like than I was expecting and kept melting off in the heat, and given that I already have the handwriting of a serial killer, piping letters on cakes never goes very well for me. But I was there. I was there and I made him a cake. Read more →


Happy Bookiversary

Today marks eight years since my dad died. Every since, this time of year is difficult. Something akin to Seasonal Affective Disorder but not. Is Death Anniversary Affective Disorder a thing? Maybe PDDSD/post-dad-dying stress disorder? I don't know. I just know that I don't sleep very well, develop a very blahsy case of the blahs, and really, REALLY don't feel like talking about it, at all, with anybody, thank you very much. But this year I DID sack up and talk about it to my therapist, and not just in a dismissive, hand-wavy "oh, I'll seriously feel fine by April 1, nothing to worry about" way, but in a solution-focused "I need March to not suck so hard every year forever" kind of way. She advised me to find a way to untangle the Bad and the Sad and the Everything Else from today, and instead mark the day with something linked to the good and happy memories. She asked me to name one. Books. I remember his books. Hundreds and hundred of books, lining the hallways, his study, the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in the living room. My own bookcase, packed to overflowing, because he would never, ever say no to... Read more →