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Mindful Monday – I’m Important, Too!

Since Friday’s post, when I didn’t think things could be worse, they got worse… to the point where Saturday made Friday’s post look like a minor throat clear.

The bad news: That sucked.

The good news: I got through it!

How? I focused on Stink’s appointment with the naturopath on Tuesday.

I also gave myself permission to feel annoyed by the sounds. In the past, I’d spend a lot of time thinking, “A good mom would not be so frustrated. It’s not like he can help it.”

This go-around, I am realizing that there is only one way to be at truly good mom. This kind of mother is the kind who realizes that she is not superwoman. She can do many things, but not all. For some people, constant sounds aren’t a big deal. For me, they are like kryptonite.

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For those of you new at this Tourettes thing, here is something I wish someone had told me in the beginning of this journey 8 years ago.

Hi scared mama –

I’m sorry that you’re going through all this. I really am. But I can promise you, tics are like house guests. Just when you can’t take them anymore, they disappear. But don’t get too comfortable. Christmas is just around the corner, and this time, they’re bringing friends.

You can try a whole bunch of stuff to mitigate the sounds and twitches – Lord knows I did – but don’t fall for every scam out there. Talk to people. Join a group. Check out ACN. Find a great homeopathic doctor. Find a good psychiatrist for your child (or you if you need one!) 

But most of all, remember to love your kid for who he or she is in their soul. Don’t get so caught up in the latest movement or sound that you forget the best movement and sounds of all – dancing and hugs, kisses and singing.

Your kid will likely outgrow this syndrome, but he will never outgrow needing to feel like he is the most important thing in the world to you, tics or not.

I know you’re scared. It’s normal. But I’m here, and I encourage you to leave a comment to let others know that you need help.

Also, don’t forget to do something nice for yourself every day to get a break from worrying. You don’t need to feel bad about it. Your child deserves a mom who is present. One who listens. And one who is totally accepting. If this means you need to take some time off for a walk to calm down, do it.

If it means you need to put in some ear plugs, do it. (Tell your kid you have a headache from traffic or work and it calms you down. They don’t need to know that one more beep-beep might send you over the edge.)

If it means you need to take three baths a day so that the only sound is the water slipping over your toes while you day-dream about hot Scottish Highlanders, do it! The people at DWP warning you about the drought? They can suck it. (And if your spouse is like mine and he doesn’t worry about the tics as much as you do, you can justify the extra water by taking his shower ration from him! Let him stink for a day. Your sanity is worth it.)

You can do this mama. Yes, you can! And your kid, tics or not, can be the most incredible kid on the planet, because he will be brave, strong, courageous and completely confident in who he is as a human being, not a ticker. Why? Because you raised him to believe that. DUH.

Hang in there. It gets better.

Love, Andrea

In closing, I’d like to say that a good friend of mine, Tuskany, inspired this post. Tuskany is snarky and opinionated at times with her comments which makes me laugh. She also knows when I need to hear truth.

Over dinner on Saturday – which consisted of just the two of us because YES I NEEDED A BREAK – she reminded me that I do a lot for my kids. She pointed out that I took a full-time job last year so my spouse could start his own I.T. biz. She listed the many times I step it up for Pip and for Stink, but what do I do for me? Last she checked, I was part of this family, too.

And you know what? She’s right. I don’t often think of that. But it’s true. While being there for others is not only part of my general make-up and faith walk, too much of it is not healthy.

“God doesn’t just care about works,” she reminded me. “He wants you to rest in Him.”

Is it really that easy? The more I thought of it, the more I decided that it is. “Do you love your kids more when they clean up their room, or when they wrap their arms around you and tell you how much you love them?” She asked me. “Of course, the second,” I told her. “Right,” she said, looking me straight in the eye. “As your parent, God wants the same from you.”

Huh.

Wow.

That, my friends, is liberating.

It got me really thinking about how “un-peaceful” I have felt the past year. I’ve been running and working and trying to be everything for everyone… so much so that I’ve forgotten who I am. The song American Honey states it best, “I got so caught up… in this crazy life… trying to be everything’ll make you lose your mind. I just want to go back in time… to American Honey.”

Honey is sweet and so is feeling grounded. I want that – whether the tics clear up for good after tomorrow or my kid’s syndrome gets so bad I need to drive him to a surgeon for deep brain stimulation. (Dramatic much? Me? Never.) Tuskany’s pep talk got me thinking: Where do I want to be this time next year in my career? Who do I want in my inner circle of friends? Who needs to get the boot? How do I want to raise my kids?

While I am not 100% sure what direction I will go, one thing is for sure: It’s time for less virtual life and more real life.

Blogs and articles are fine. Like books, they speak to me in a variety of ways. Hopefully I can speak into someone else’s life with my own blogs and articles. But Facebook? It’s gonna have to go. It brings me no peace. I compare and despair. It sucks the life out of me. For some, it’s a fun way to connect to family and friends. For me, it’s one sound byte away from me going into an anxiety attack.

I’m giving myself permission to check out Facebook one day/week only. But, based on the peace I feel right now, it might just go away altogether. I might not be able to fix the tics, but I can fix who I connect with.

Cool update: Since limiting my virtual addiction, I’ve seen three people in person for lunch, interviewed for a job today, and had more meaningful conversations with my mom than I’ve had in a year. With this in mind, I give Facebook:

facebook-sucksAnyone with me?

What are you doing these days to be mindful? Share in the comment section below!

Until then, May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you can’t change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

Andrea

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I’m Always Sorry

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Tonight, after listening to non-stop vocals all day – we’re talking 30 times a minute – I decided to never, ever I MEAN NEVER look up “tic cure” “tic video” “tic help” or “tourettes is driving me crazy” ever ever again.

Why? Because it’s been 8 years of this. Oh sure, I have moments where I am okay (when things are quiet) but then the tics rear their ugly heads and I’m back into despair again.

No more. Do I want them to subside? Yes. Of course. With every tic, twitch and shudder I’m remembering that on Tuesday I will be in a naturopath’s office – a place where we’ll hopefully get some answers to this insane spike in symptoms.

But as someone very wise told me over the phone just now, this is not my journey. It’s Stink’s. And really, if I’m going to be someone who has peace of mind and purpose, I simply have to let go of what i cannot control.

Seconds into this post, my son walked in.

Stink: “Mom, do you know where the game Sorry is?”

Me: “It’s in the treasure chest.”

Stink: “Oh, well, will you play with me and Addie? (his friend) I know it’s late but, well, it will be really fun.”

Me: (on the inside): “No no no no no don’t make me sit there and listen to the machine gun firing of noises I can’t make stop and can’t ask you to make stop.” (on the outside) “I would like nothing more. Let’s do it.”

Stink: “Really?”

Me: “Of course! But one thing first.”

Him: (suspicious) “What?”

Me: “We need snacks. Delicious ones!”

Him: “Yessssss!”

And so we played Sorry. All five of us. Me, Stink, Addie, Brooklyn the Pit Bull and the tics. And I’m not one bit sorry about having that time with my sweet boy.

Until Tuesday’s appointment with Dr. Magic, I’m going to really try to stop my mad obsessing. Because seriously, there’s some pretty messed up crud in the world. (Can I get an “amen?”) I had better come to terms with a bitch of a diagnosis I can’t control, because that skill set is going to come in handy if I’m going to have a big, hairy, juicy life.

Ladies, like you, I have a lot on my plate. I have a huge job interview on Monday. I can either say “no” out of fear. I can decide to give up the opportunity to stay home and watch my kid’s disorder progress with the tenacity of an OCD time bomb, ready to explode.

Or I can say “Yes” to life. To a change. To the hope that in letting go I’ll find peace.

With peace, I will have freedom.

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When we can find peace despite less than peaceful circumstances, we’ve found the cure. Maybe not the cure to T.S.. But the cure to fear.

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For those on this journey with me, let’s pray for each other. Let’s pray that we don’t take crosses upon ourselves that are not ours to bear. In the end, as my friend reminded me this evening, our kids are not really ours. They are on a journey to fulfill their destiny and we are on ours.

 

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I’m not sure about you, but as for me, I’m ready to say goodbye to co-dependence on an ever changing disorder.

Tics are up and and down. But my God is the same. And I’m pretty sure he has something glorious planned for me. I just need to say yes to my faith, not my fear.

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I pray you all do the same. And if you’re not there (hey, some days I’m not) please leave a comment. Share with one another. Our burdens are so much lighter when we don’t face life alone. And here’s the real kicker: We can put our burdens down, whether or not we’ve “fixed” our kids.

Yes, we can. We can drop them.

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And how much do you want to bet that when we get out of our own way the peace will come? Life is so cheeky that way.

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Until next time, May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

 

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Fifteen Minutes Can Change a Lifetime

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My kids had school off today in honor of Rosh Hashanah. (May all my Jewish readers be blessed!)

Not being observant Old Testament folk, we New Testament crazies went hiking. By “we” I meant “me” along with Stink, Pip, Tyler and Miss L.

Can I just say how lovely it is just to be with these little souls? We didn’t hike long, nor that far, but we swung on ropes over dried out creek beds, climbed up dusty trails, scampered up angled cement walls under a free way over pass, picked up frogs and attempted to avoid stinging nettle and poison oak.

While hiking, I put to use my new motto: listen. I didn’t try to talk too much. Instead, I let them speak. Instead of focusing on tics (and yes, they are still there) I focused on the fact that my sweet little eleven year old still finds hanging with his mama to be pretty cool.

It’s dawned on me, with all the changes that are happening both in my kids’ bodies, as well as my immediate world of work and family, that my opinion doesn’t mean much anyway. I don’t say that to be self-depricating. I simply mean that my feelings are not going to change the ebb and flow of the tides.

With that in mind, it has become ever more imperative to not try to stop the waves, but instead, ride them. Or let them crash. Or watch them from a far. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I get to let them roll. I must enjoy my life no matter what.

Today, I practiced that with my kids and their friends. In listening to their views on everything from school to bugs to dating (oh, man, are we really at that curious stage?) it became more and more clear that hearing them is a pretty brilliant idea.

Someone reminded me a few days back that it’s not always what we DO with kids. Sometimes 15 minutes is all we need – a good solid 15 minutes of doing whatever they want – and a bond can form.

Since 15 minutes of actual bonding with my spouse was all it took to produce these amazing life forms, I’m thinking that advice was pretty dead on. I might never get those fifteen minutes of fame, but if I have a relationship with my babies, I’ll be just as happy with my fifteen minute plan.

What about you? With all the hustle and bustle of life, do you take an intentional fifteen minutes every day to really sit with your babies and chat with them about their dreams and hopes? I’d love to hear about it.

Until then, Lord, help us to accept the tics we cannot change, change the tics we can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

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The Kids Got Talent

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Today my kids auditioned for the school talent show. Pip is singing “For Good” with her bff, Miss L, while Stink is going to do a magic act to entertain the crowd. I don’t want to give away his shining moment in advance, but let’s just say that it involves taking a wand, forcing a platter to rise out of a box, and making food on said platter magically disappear.

Translation: Pip will hide in the box. Stink will take a Barbie doll (which he finds funnier than a wand) and scream: “Rise! RIIIISSSEEEEEEEEEE!” Pip’s hand will then appear through the hole in the box with a plate of cookies. The great magician will then take a cookie and toss it in his mouth, making it disappear.

Afterward, Stink will ask for volunteers. He’ll choose four children. Once on stage, he will ask them, “Now, which one of you want to make things disappear?” Once again, he’ll point to the box, but this time, pizza will rise – hopefully to every mini-foodie’s delight. He will then work his way up to cupcakes. Finally, over 25 of his rubber ducks will explode out of the center of the box. Why? “Because ducks are funny, mom. Duh.”

I bring you this little slice of silly because it reminds me that life doesn’t have to be so friggin’ serious all the time. Is it a piano concerto? No. But Stink isn’t interested in impressing adults in the audience with his musical instrument talents. He’s interested in making a whole lot of kids laugh. Because, really, kids find this stuff pretty funny.

I like that about Stink.

As we were sitting in the car in front of the driveway, he sprung the loaded question on me. “So, Mom, can I play video games NOW?”

He’d been on restriction for a few days. I had to. The tics were crazy. I couldn’t take it.

“I know you think they make the tics bad, but truthfully, Mom, I’ve been crazy anyway. I can barely concentrate in class. You know, PUBERTY and all.”

That made me laugh. But it also made me sad, because he loves his gaming. And really, he’s right. Video games or not, his tics are just up. Who am I kidding that it’s going to make that much difference.

“But look how mellow you are now, baby,” I said. “Your energy is so even. The lack of video games does make a difference.”

Enter exasperation on his part. “Moooom,” he sighed, “I’m holding them in so you will think my energy is okay so I can play.”

This made me feel like crap. “But you’re not supposed to hold them in at home, buddy. This is your place to let them out!”

He just looked at me and shook his head. “If I do that, you’ll just have one more reason for me not to play, so let’s just decide I can play a little bit and work on diet and exercise. And hey, why don’t you go back to drinking wine? You like it. Go for it!”

The upshot of this is that my kid is upstairs, playing an hour of video games. I am not drinking wine because, well, that’s another blog post. And we’re just going to take this day by day until we see the naturopath on Tuesday.

Until then, Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the tics I cannot change, change the tics I can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

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My Date with Dr. Chuckles: And Other Thoughts on Therapy

Victorian-Fainting-Couch

I’m a huge believer in therapy for a variety of reasons:

1. Just talking about stuff is a release.

2. No matter how great your spouse, your friends and your relatives are, it’s good to get an outside opinion.

3. If you’re paying someone to hear you rant, they HAVE to listen. Even if it’s the same rant over and over. And over. And over. And over.

Notes on finding a great therapist

1. If you don’t click with someone, don’t feel you’re not a candidate for therapy. Keep going until you find the right one.

2. Don’t stick with anyone who forces their agenda on you.

3. If you aren’t growing, it’s not the right therapist.

4. Don’t be afraid to find someone who makes you laugh out loud.

#4? That’s big for me. I found that guy. And I tell you, I have been forever transformed because of him. I rarely see him anymore, but if I have a crap week – like last week – I always know I can reach out to him.

Just his texts alone have me in better spirits. (Name crossed out to protect the innocent. Click on it for a bigger picture.)

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Some therapists might not take too kindly to being told to F off over text, but that’s why I’m not with those kinds of therapists.

Until tomorrow, may God grant you to accept the tics you cannot change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

 

 

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I Found the Cure to What Ails Me!

So, I’m not going to lie to you. I’m in love with another man. His name is Sam Heughan. He plays Jamie in the Starz series, Outlander. Have any of you been watching? Or, prior to the series, have any of you read the series by Diana Gabaldon?

In a nutshell, a world war 2 nurse, Claire Randall, gets reacquainted with her husband, Frank, in a boarding house in England. To pass the time while he works, she falls through some Stone Henge-esque stones and lands in 1748 Scotland during the clash between the Scots and the English. A clan takes her in for her own protection. Soon they realize she has lots of medicinal powers. Is she a witch? An English spy? They don’t know.

But, to keep her safe – and since the lass is useful – they marry her off to a hot highlander to keep her out of the arms of a nasty lieutenant who finds rape, flogging and smacking the crap out men, women and children to be all in a day’s fun. The highlander she is betrothed to is none other than an outlaw – Jamie Fraser – who is six foot four, sassy and manly as the day is long.

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The problem for her is that while she must accept the reality she is in now, she misses her old one also. And yet, after consummating her marriage to Jamie, she finds that despite less than perfect circumstances, she just might be able to adjust to her new life.

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Clearly there is only one answer to my tic conundrum this month: To get over my grief of what was a nice, quiet run sans tics, I must simply be engage in sex with a man who makes love with “unflagging joy” and speaks to me in an accent that can make “we need toilet paper” sound like “Your body is a temple of Yuban goodness.” Yes, that would make it all better, do you not agree?

Outlander 2014

Until tomorrow, may God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

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FantasTIC Friday, #1

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For myself, as much as to benefit others who might be looking for tic reduction, I am dedicating Fridays to all things FantasTIC about T.S.. This is included, but not limited to:

* Stink’s tics

* My emotional journey

* My book

* My husband’s dog

* My beautiful daughter

* My job search

* My crazy nut job pit bull mix, and more…

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Tics are through the roof – the worst yet

I swear, we had a great run. I mean, super great – to the point where I kind of thought “Ha ha! Stink is dodging the tween bullet of escalating tics! We’ve escaped!”

But then the school year started and he began stinking like a gym bag and eating more food than the rest of us combined, including our ridiculous buffoon of a dog. Puberty is on. And so are the tics. Really excessive vocals that sound like quacking and “hey hey hey” over and over. Head shakes. Eye rolls. Rapid talking verging on hyper. All started Monday.

My emotional journey – skip this part if you’ve had enough wine for the night

While I’d love to say I’ve remained calm, that is not true. I had a full scale melt down on my spouse yesterday. I mean, epic. It went something like this:

Me: Do you hear those sounds? They are non-stop. I’m really really worried.

Him: Yes, I hear them.

Me: But are you worried? I mean, aren’t you kind of freaked out?

Him: No, I’m not freaked out. (side note: my husband must be a robotic deaf automaton) But yes, they are bad. (side note: at least he can recognize the increase so I’m not completely nuts.)

Me: Okay, we need a plan. WE. NEED. A. PLAN.

Him: We can’t fix the tics.

Me: I know! But what about a plan! Something! Anything! How about looking into medication if it doesn’t bet better?

Him: For him, or you, because this kid is fine. It’s not affecting him.

Me: It’s affecting me!

Him: Then go get some pills!

Me: How about I just start downing copious amounts of liquor! And smoke a bowl of high grade doobage. Hey, I hear doobage is great for tics.

Him: How about you just calm down and get out for a while.

Me: Fine! I will! But if this continues, and we don’t medicate it, I’m going to be getting out of this house every day for the rest of our life and that sucks!

Other choice words followed. It was not exactly Fantasy Island.

Opposite World

Someone recently told me that to break a habit one must do the opposite of what they would normally do. Often times, it means doing nothing. There are some things we are simply powerless to change. Sometimes we just have to sit in our stuff.

I agree, but here’s the thing: I don’t 100% believe there’s nothing I can do. Does this cause more frustration? Yes. Does it suck that I am sometimes so upset about something my kid is fine with? Yes.

For those reading that have tics or want to call me a bad mom for reacting this way, please know I feel bad about it. But like my kid who can’t help ticking, I can’t help but have this reaction. Believe me, I’ve tried everything. Sorry if I’ve offended you.

The Supplements and Diet Stink has been on for six months

* Juice Plus vitamins

* Vitamin C

* No gluten of any kind

New Additions

* DoTerra oils at night Sunday – Thursday which include: Frankincense, Balance, Vetiver, InTune and Lavender

Why Sunday thru Thursday only? Stink wants a break on the weekends.

What We Used to Do and Stopped Which I’m Starting again Tomorrow

* Magnesium Citrate

* Vitamin B Complex

* Fish Oil

In speaking to my DoTerra rep, she mentioned the Lavender might be having an adverse reaction, so I am stopping this. I’m curious to see if, with this out of his system on the weekend, along with the other oils, if his tics will decrease.

It’s So Hard to Tell

It’s rough to know if something is causing an upswing in tics or if it’s the natural waxing and waning of the cycle.

I am tired of feeling like I’m fighting windmills with this stuff. Like I’m some Don Quixote of Tourette Syndrome off to slay an elusive dragon.

And yet, deep inside, I know… I KNOW… these suckers can be reduced by a good deal with some natural approaches.

a worried mother

I also know that while I can’t take it so personally (I’ve tried… I really have) it’s okay for me, as a mom, to sometimes lose my crap. I love him so much. I worry. The trick is to take care of ME so I don’t take it out on my family. You know what? Today was so hard. I mean, I cried like a baby hard, but I kissed my kid good night, ran my fingers through his ridiculously long fro, and just loved on him.

Me: Stink, do you know that out of anybody in the entire world, I’d choose you hang out with every single time?

Stink: Yeah. I am pretty awesome.

Modesty. That’s one tic he didn’t get.

What do you all do when tics increase? What are you doing naturally, or with medication, to combat the tics? I’d love to know.

Today, I will say this prayer as much for me as for you: Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the tics I can’t change, change the tics I can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.