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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

No one is immune...

I heard on the radio tonight, that over the Thanksgiving holiday, Rhianna posted pictures of Chris Brown half naked in her bed.

In case you've been living under a rock, Chris Brown beat the crap out of her in a moving car a few years ago.  He had a restraining order put against him.  The restraining order is gone, and guess who is back together.

It goes to show, ANYONE can be a victim of domestic violence, and ANYONE can remain in the cycle.

All of us have a friend who has been verbally or physically abused by their mate.  We tell them over and over again to get out, get safe, you're worth more than that.

Rhianna, a beautiful, talented, rich, smart woman is caught up in the cycle of abuse.  She has a huge support system, tons of fans, but she still fell back in the cycle.  If anyone had the self-esteem and the ability to get out, she did.

The biggest result of this is to show just how addicting the cycle of abuse can become.  It doesn't discriminate by racial lines, ethnic lines, income lines.  It isn't just the poor, battered woman with no options of places to go and stuck in the situation.  It isn't the "ugly" woman afraid that she'll never find anyone better that forces her to stick around.

The psychological dependency is something anyone can have.  It's pervasive, it can affect anyone.

You tell your friends, they're beautiful and deserve more, but they don't believe you.  You tell them they deserve respect, but they don't believe they do.  You get angry, thinking that they deserve better, you grow ever more frustrated, you pull away thinking, "I've done all I can, and she just won't listen!"

The Rhianna situation also goes to show that anyone can get caught in the mindset that they're not good enough.  That the abuser can make anyone believe anything he wants.

I feel sorry for Rhianna, as he's already abused her and his history since the incident is just as violent by him throwing tantrums and hitting people or trashing green rooms.  The man is dangerous, and apparently Rhianna is sucked in.  If anyone could escape, it would be her.  But she wound up going back.

Like I said, we all know someone who is living in this kind of relationship.  It's so easy to offer advice. It's so easy to get angry that they won't take your advice or your help.  But don't give up on them.  They're not ignoring your advice because it's easier to do so, they're locked in a co-dependent relationship with the abuser.  Your friend may want desperately to get out, but they can't.  Their excuses of no money, nowhere to go, not knowing what to do, may be excuses, but it's only to justify in their minds something that they know is un-justifiable.  Their lifeline to hold onto so they don't have to face their addiction.

Don't give up on your friend.  Even if it's only to clean up the new mess, they need you and your turning your back on them will only cause them to cling to their abuser more.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tomorrow I become...

Tomorrow I become the parent I swore I would never be.

When Jamie was diagnosed with autism, I swore I would never let it define him, let him be told he can't do something because of it, would never let anyone look down on him.

Tomorrow I break my promise to myself and him.

Tomorrow he starts riding the county school bus with an aide and in a harness.  The short bus.  With all the connotations that comes with.

I know it's for his own safety.  He's had issues with keeping him seat belt on and will take it off and run around the bus when they're taking him to school.  I know this way he'll be secure, won't be able to hurt himself, will have someone to help him transition from daycare to school.

But tomorrow he joins the ranks of the "kid on the short bus." Any semblance of him being like anyone else will be stripped away when they put that damn vest on him and parade him out to the short bus.

Tomorrow is when the boys really start to go off in two different directions.

Tomorrow is when autism takes him from me, he starts down a road that I don't know where the hell it will lead.  A road that means I may not be able to be there for him.  A road where he will forever be "different."

I know it's a bus. It's no big deal.  But it is for me.

For months now, I've watched Jamie regress.  The vocalizations get more frequent, louder, lasting longer.  The manic behavior is more pronounced and frequent.  The anger simmering right there on the surface.  The problems at school getting more frequent.

I don't want this, I want to stop it, I want to make him the cute OCD baby he used to be.  I don't want his life to be hard. I don't want for him to carry a stigma, I don't want people to find weakness in him.  I don't want people to mistreat him because he's different. I don't want to have to put him in a "special" school. And I can see where this road begins.

Tomorrow I put him on it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Autism and the Fraternity of Hope

When you learn your child has autism, the first thing you scream in your head is "HELP!!"  Who can you talk to?  who will understand your challenges? who will understand your children?  I've gone through alot of that in the last 2 years since Jamie's official diagnosis.

First it was the grandparents who didn't want to believe anything was wrong with their grandchild.  Then it was the school system that found it inconvenient for your child to cause them trouble.  Then it's the public in general who look at you like you're a terrible parent when your child has a meltdown in public.  Then it's the other children who look at your child in the midst of trauma and ask "what's wrong with him?"

Where we live, there are plenty of children with autism, but we're left to flounder.  We get no support from the schools, the school system, the county...  I was fortunate enough to run across a local autism support group that I thank God for every day.  They help me understand, they know my struggles, they understand my child.  The events that we've gone to as a family have been some of the best we've had, as every one there had children with autism.  If my child yipped or yelled, no one cared, no one stared.  If he had a fit, they ignored it.  To just sit down and not have to keep your eye on your child every moment in fear that something will happen, you don't know how good that feels.

It's still a very limited group.

Then I found Google +.  Found the autism circles, autism parents, autism advocates.  You don't know how comforting it is to just get a post that you're not screwing things up, it's "normal."  To read about other children's big "firsts" they're experiencing, and being proud of them.  Being screwed by the school system and powerless to do anything, and having people offer me suggestions.

And today, I met a woman that I had met on G+ that I will be forever thankful to for her help and support.  I have a big IEP meeting coming up.  One where it has to be completely re-written because it was written wrong, the county isn't following the IEP, they're attitude is "oh well."  And this person drove 3 hours to come meet with my husband and I today, to explain things, to give us an insight as to what they're doing, to understand our concerns for Jamie.  And next week, she's driving down here again to go to the IEP meeting with us.  To be our/Jamie's advocate.  To help Jamie get the services he needs and is entitled to, that the county keeps telling us he's not.  We're going to have someone on our side for once who has the knowledge to call them out, who knows if what they're saying is correct or not, who's only focus is to make sure Jamie gets what he needs.

This woman isn't getting paid to help us/Jamie although I would do it in a heartbeat if I had the money to do it.  She's doing it because she has children on the spectrum, she knows how schools/counties operate, she knows their stalling tactics, and she wants to help a little boy she's never met get everything he needs to succeed in life.

I know there are people who think differently, there always are in groups.  But I've found the Autism community to be a Fraternity of Hope for me.  I see us all cheering on each other's kids, offering suggestions, offering encouragement, feeling other parent's outrage.  I would have gone crazy without the people I have had the opportunity to meet on G+ in the autism community.

So, as a mom who most-times feels alone in the fight with the world for my baby.  Thank you my G+ family. Thank you for your support, your self-lessness, and your kindness.  I hope one day I can contribute as much to you all as you've done for me.