It was my birthday last week and my Mum said she had NO idea what to buy me so instead: she took me shopping!
And one of the things that I’ve always wanted was one of those little CD walkmans (Discmans) and some bright funky headphones. So she bought me both and I was absolutely STOKED!
(I think I may have been just as excited as I was when she gave me my very first Walkman when I was a teenager… Ahh…..the memories!)
The main reason that I really wanted one was because I have a lot of teaching CDs that I’ve never had the time to sit down and listen to, and it would take me forever to load them all onto iTunes so this seemed like the next best thing to overloading my iPod.
Guess what? Not only did I find one, it only cost a low $44! Nothing like the hundreds of dollars that they went for when they first hit the market back in the 1980’s!
And there is an added bonus to these as well: They block out the incessant whining, screaming, crying and moaning that is an unwelcome constant in this place.
And for me…..you can’t put a price on that kind of peace.
Things have been more than a little rough around here lately. We’ve had problems with all 3 children on different levels and we have struggled as a couple to see eye to eye.
Like I said: Rough.
This week alone we have had some pretty huge fall-outs and meltdowns and Harley’s OCD quirks seem to have returned with a vengeance as have the sleep issues.
In fact, Mum and I were giggling today as we recounted the story to Paul of the night last week that he worked late and we spent literally hours trying to get Harley to stay in his room and sleep.
He had come out so many times one night that I finally resorted to piling up 2 heavy wooden chairs, 2 large suitcases, a cot mattress, a beanbag and cushions in front of his door to stop him coming out and even that only worked for a matter of minutes.
Mum and I took turns walking him back into his bed, reading to him, sitting with him, praying with him, brushing him and rubbing his back only to have him continue to refuse to remain in bed.
Lately, his OCD has extended to his walking in the sense that he has an uncontrollable urge to retrace every third step that he takes and he has to walk the perimeter of each doorway of every room that he enters before he can calm himself enough to actually walk inside. So walking him back to his room was made even more of a challenge by that!
He washes his hands literally 60 times a day so that they bleed and are raw and tender.
OCD in full swing is like something out of one of those movies where the audience laughs at the ridiculousness of the scene. I remember watching movies such as Crazy People where the characters seemed so far-fetched that it really was quite laughable, but little did I realise back then just how debilitating living with OCD can be for not only the sufferer but their immediate family members as well.
My little Harley often complains that his brain is “full” or that it won’t slow down which causes him great anxiety and angst which usually results in him self harming in some way. (Like the excessive hand washing).
And lately, I think I may have had some insight as to what having a ‘full’ brain might feel like because I have had trouble getting my brain to engage when I need it too.
It has been sluggish but also frantic and somehow all at once?
I have struggled to make decisions (even more so than usual) and have desperately wanted to just escape and get away from everyone and everything.
Simply thinking straight has taken a lot of control and honestly it really seems completely futile because nothing….NOTHING is in my control at all right now.
But in saying that: There is a major difference between Harley’s autistic-ally wired brain and my neuro-typically wired one: And that is the ability to switch off thought loops and obsessions at will.
I can choose to not think about things that overwhelm me. I can choose not to allow thoughts to override common sense and I can choose not to act out on impulsions. Right now – he can’t do any of that.
I believe that he will one day be able to do this as well, but it will always be more of a struggle for him because of the way he is wired.
The good news is that he is wired to be superbly focused and intimately knowledgeable about his chosen interests. And this will help him to be amazing at whatever field he chooses to work in when he is older, but the downside is that he will have to learn how to just be.
He will have to learn how to slow down his thinking to give himself and his brain a rest once in a while!
He just needs to find what works best for him.
Writing it out and listening to music and teaching CDs are what work for me. Speakers such as Bill Johnson, Danny and Sheri Silk, and Joyce Meyer help me re-focus and replace the confusion with healthy thinking.
And this is why I so desperately wanted my Discman…..$44 is a very small price to pay for sanity I think.