Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween... Autism style

Halloween night

TrIcK oR tReAtInG!!

A most enjoyable treat for kids.

A once a year tradition handed down from the parents where we teach them that dressing up in a disguise and begging for candy door to door is an acceptable behavior.

I hate it.

A Lot.

For us, it is a holiday that requires social skills, patience and coordination that gets rewarded with a LOT of sugar. :(

Finding a suitable costume for a child with tactile sensory. (no tags & no seams) is the least of my problems. Treating their anxiety over the scary thing they just saw pop out of an innocent looking pumpkin, the fear they have from knocking on a door and the communication at the door with the big bowl of choices to make. That's the most exhausting.

did I mention, I don't like Halloween.

So tonight, I prepare the Mummy, Jango Fett, a Vampiress and Strawberry Shortcake for an evening of trick or treating in the rain. In a new neighborhood. and lots of anxiety to share with the entire block. I can hardly contain my enthusiasm........yay.

My children don't share the rest of the world in knowing and understanding a "gray" area. it is either black or white. Very literally, they struggle with the randomness that trick or treating brings.
What do you mean we cant go to that house? Why would they turn their light out? Why did that guy give us popcorn instead of candy? That Lady gave the kid in front of me two pieces, why didn't she give me two pieces?
When offered a bowl of candy to choose from, they see the whole bowl.
They are not spoiled, when they express their disappointment when they don't see a candy they like. Some candies have textures that are undesirable.
They are not just shy, when asked who they are supposed to be. They are not supposed to be anybody. They are them and they are wearing costumes that look like the thing they wanted to wear that year.

They are not being rude when they run in front of someone to get to an open door.
First, they struggle to understand that other people have feelings.
Second, it was an opportunity to not to have to speak.

These are not excuses. These are very real situations for them in every day life. Not just tonight.
We try to teach them the "acceptable" behavior, but they don't understand our reasoning, so it does get forgotten.

Life is very literal. If they see a carved pumpkin with a pant leg and boot sticking out of the mouth, they are pretty sure it just ate a kid. No thanks.
For them, it isn't trick or treating. Its real and its treats. You will forever be known as the scary house where the kids get eaten by pumpkins.

This night of tricks is totally confusing.

I strongly dislike it.

Every year, the anxiety over how the night will go is expressed through bad behavior. ALL DAY.
In years past I have asked them to take a break on their beds. The thought process that leads them to the evenings events, is torture and they are stressed.

I can hardly wait until the evening is done.
I will pretend they didn't have candy for breakfast tomorrow, then I can very patiently wait until next year to go through it all again.

I have a little Serenity and Lavender planned for behind the ears to help with anxieties and an easier bed time after seeing the Giant spider and skeletons hanging from the trees.
A little peppermint and a Digestive blend for the upset bellies (if we get any)  :)

Happy Trick or Treating and be safe!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Toothache

3 years ago, I had terrible tooth pain. I didnt have any dental insurance, so I went to the "affordable" dental clinic. Praying for any kind of relief, I was desperate. The pain was unbearable at times.

They told me I needed a root canal. Thank goodness my mouth hurt so bad, I was willing to let them do WHATEVER necessary to make the awful pain go away.

They sent me to a discount specialist the very next day.


The pain never fully went away after the procedure and I was supposed to go back to the original dentist to get a crown put on it in two weeks.

I showed up for my appointment, but my mouth was so infected and swollen, they sent me away and told me to wait two more weeks.

I filed a complaint instead. Something was wrong and they have officially made me dislike Dentists.

I was able to get into a dentist office of someone we went to church with. He was apalled at what had been done and told me I needed to have another root canal to fix it.

I cried. I didnt think I could endure that again.

This time, I was sent to the University an hour away to have students working on gaining their hours finish it. Again it was discounted, but the work would be double checked by their professors and there was no way I would be leaving there with a messed up mouth.

My specialist, I was told was an army dentist. Working on his specialty in the civilian capacity. I was in the best hands possible. A dentist that had done this many many times and often under pressure. I was once again relieved. Finally, I could put this chapter past me.
A month later we moved out of state. I was forced to see a dentist I picked out of a phone book. I now had insurance, but we were still well below our comfort  level with our income, so paying for things up front, meant going without other necessities, like paying rent.
I was told I needed reconstruction from an endodontist. $200 just for an evaluation. I still didn't have a crown on my tooth, but they did fill it with a cement that didn't wear away. So I let it be. I wasn't in pain, and because of my fear and anxiety at the dentist, I chose to not proceed and keep a roof over our head.

Present day... Two more years have gone by since the final dentist appt. I have dental insurance again and it is almost as if my mouth knew it. Wouldn't you know, that tooth decided to make me aware of its unfinished business.

The pain is a constant, but I'm new to the area. I know no one, so finding a dentist is going to be interesting.

I am prolonging the inevitable, but ibuprofen doesn't even begin to touch the pain.

I looked up the recommended oils in my reference book, and there she is, the only answer I needed.
I have applied a protective blend for the infection and inflammation, Peppermint to help with the inflammation and pain. Melaleuca, serenity and some lavender to calm and cleanse. And so far, they are working better than any amount of ibuprofen had.

While, I know I am going to have to face the inevitable and get the darn tooth fixed for good, it's such a wonderful feeling to know I have something to not only help with the pain, but the impending anxiety I am sure that will accompany me on my visit to the dentist.

Wish me luck!!

*****UPDATE 10/27/12

I have still procrastinated the dentist, but only because my mouth doesn't hurt AT all. Nothing. Nada. Zilch!
The day after posting this, I received my first tube of essential oil toothpaste. I have so much faith in the essential oils, that I felt that if anything could really make this better, it was going to be the oils.
I had been applying the melaleuca, On Guard, and using Peppermint droplets (waaaaaay cool, by the way) and while I could tell that the obvious infection in my mouth was less inflamed and the oils were taking away the pain, I still needed to re- apply about every 4 hours or so.

I brushed my teeth before bed, like I always do, using the toothpaste for the first time and expected to need to use the Peppermint Droplets to numb the area after my toothbrush irritated the area. Nope. Not necessary. The toothpaste wasn't violently minty either. The taste was pleasant, and left my teeth feeling really smooth and nice. I flossed and went to bed. I wondered how long I would be able to go without being in pain.
The next morning when I woke up, I had forgotten my mouth had been hurting me at all.
I remembered about the toothpaste again, and was excited to use it. I believe strongly in the oils and have seen so many wonderful results that I had had high hopes for the toothpaste, but honestly never imagined an overnight result of no pain. 
I am using it every day and ordering more. I don't want to ever be without it. Knowing that it is doing so much good on a regular day, then to have it exceed my expectations when I really needed a miracle.
I have no noticeable inflammation in my mouth. No swollen gums, no sensitivity whatsoever. I am not needing to chew on the side of my cheek to help me deal and I don't need to baby that side of my mouth when eating.
I am kind of excited to go to the dentist and explain to him how I was feeling. I am wondering if he will even be able to tell where my mouth was hurting at all.

Its hard to be a skeptic, when the results are truly amazing. Just change one thing. One over the counter medicine. One prescription, you hate to take. Change one. and I am positive you will want to change them all.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A daily dose

For the last five years, I have suffered from depression and Generalized Anxiety disorder with Panic Attacks.

I had  been on a couple of antidepressants with daily anti anxiety meds at one point. My weight went up and down like a merry go round and my self esteem shrunk from confident to recluse.

As a human being I felt worthless and small. As a mother I felt insecure and incapable. As a wife, I felt there was room for improvement.

I always felt there had to be something to help. My doctors would just increase my dosage. My therapist helped.... a little. I looked forward to my weekly Therapy sessions, but honestly it was more for me to vent and them to listen.

I exercised daily. Working myself up to a daily 3 mile run along the Mississippi River. It always felt great, and I am sure my depression was shrinking, but my Anxiety only grew bigger. Racing thoughts with infinite unavoidable doom around every corner, afraid to fall asleep, and fear of loss. My mental health was still hanging on a thin wire.

When the economy really tanked in 2008, we went unaffected. until 2009. I had felt lucky that our family had been able to hold on to employment a year longer than most in the Midwest. But when we fell, we fell HARD. My husband doing the only thing any man would to support his family, went to work for himself. We had good months and we had bad months. He had no choice but to travel for the next 9 months, until a solid offer for steady employment came from a client. My anxiety hit an all time high in these months. I was a single married mom to special needs children, struggling to make ends meet.

I look back and wonder how I survived. I must have a lot more will than I ever thought possible. Definitely angels were at my side.

We would go on to move 3 times across the country in just 12 months time. Having no more medical insurance, I was left without my antidepressants and anti- anxiety meds.
I tried my coping skills, but really I was good at smiling on the outside while crying and shrinking on the inside.

By the time we were introduced to essential oils, I had been off my meds for almost 2 years. I was excited at the benefits for my children, I wondered if something like that could help me.

In September, 2012, It had been 2 years with no meds. My anxiety hit another high, we moved one more time. 3000 miles across the country to be closer to family. My sister was a Consultant for an Essential Oil company and offered some relief for my anxiety. I was willing to try ANYTHING. I was crawling out of my skin and irritable beyond belief.

She gave me a sample and told me to apply it like perfume. On my wrists and just below my neck. Elevation. A mood enhancing oil blend. Either it was going to help, or it wasn't. Either way, I couldn't lose.

I was sold! within 10 minutes my anxiety was gone. GONE. That has never happened. Not even with my prescription strength meds. I felt happy the rest of the day, and made Elevation my thing. Never to leave my side, never to go without ever again. I still apply it like perfume every day, but I also add a drop to the palm of my hands so I can smell for an extra boost when I want.

I now have medical insurance for the first time in almost 3 years and I don't need an appointment for my mental health. If I have days where my anxiety pokes through, I just apply a little extra Elevation Blend.

My kids are enjoying a happier mommy and my weight for the first time in 5 years isn't all over the place. I'm down almost 2 sizes and I haven't changed any thing but the oil.

I have shared my experience with many people and each of them have since tried Elevation and are using oils for their own personal issues. I keep extra samples with me, as I feel most people are suffering quietly just I like I did.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

discovering oils instead of medicine

In 2008, living 1700 miles away from all of our family, I joined Facebook. Just two days before the birth of our 4th child. I had succumbed to the "everybody is doing it" mindset. I rationalized my new found love of knowing everybody Else's business by claiming it was my way to stay in better contact with family and friends. I have used Facebook more than once as my outlet in my journey of Autism Awareness and the Hell that has often reigned down because of our lack of being able to manage it.

Facebook is also the reason I am where I am in this journey. I Love the re-connections with friends and acquaintances and finding the support as a mother in a way I never expected.
It is because of Facebook reconnecting, that my support system is as strong and big as it is. I now understand the meaning of "it takes a village to raise a child" a village of Facebook, ha!

I make it no secret about my boys and their high functioning Autism. I have grown from Autism Awareness to Autism Acceptance as I desire to teach and share the ups and downs. I am also a fan of sarcasm in expressing the reality of my life as a mother to... lets say 4 Spirited children. :) I am sure it is the only reason I have survived with most of my sanity still in tact.

Just this year I was contacted by a friend I knew as a teen. And all thanks to Facebook. She had wondered about my boys, and had something she wanted to send me to try. I now know that she was inspired (I am sure of it).
Skeptically, as we had tried many prescription medications. (none of which could help everything, and all that came with some sort of a negative side effect) I used an Essential oil that she sent me on my oldest.

We started using these oils with just a single drop behind each ear before school each day. By the third day, we had not yet developed a solid routine for applying the oils, but my son was ASKING for them. He felt better, he recognized and saw a difference in himself. He could tell that the oils peeled off the layers of confusion and helped with the way he was thinking and feeling.

AHHHHHMAZING!!! Seriously.

just one week after we started using, I received an email from his teacher. "CM was different. But in a good way. He seemed happier, more relaxed." She didn't ask if I was doing anything different, just thought I would like to know she noticed an improvement.
Not only was my emotionally numb child able to EXPRESS that HE felt better, it was noticeable to others. Brings me to tears just thinking about how far we have come in such a short amount of time.

In just 6 months, I have gone from using the oils to help my son, to using them for every kind of ailment and on every family member.

The other day, while visiting Grandma, she mentioned to me that she was getting a cold. A pesky cough was her biggest issue. I told her that we had just rid the "coughs" in our house in just 2 days with 3 oils. She said, they didn't work well for her, so I let it go.
Later in the day, I noticed she seemed less bothered, to which she replied that she went ahead and used the 3 oils. she was surprised at the results and admitted, that she should have listened, because they did make the cough dissipate and she was feeling better.

I am not a crazy "you gotta try this" kind of person. I won't make anyone try anything. But with the oils, I don't have to. They do that all on their own.

For my Oldest son We began with
Vetiver (to help relax, and calm his senses),
Patchouli (to help ground or stabilize his emotions; mood support),
Wild Orange (to help energize and revitalize an uplifted mood),
Serenity Blend (to help with his anxiety and stresses)
Peppermint (to help him keep concentration)
** we later changed the location of the peppermint to his hand between his thumb and his forefinger so that he could smell as needed to give himself an extra boost during the day. The school does NOT allow a child to administer these themselves out of the bottle with out a doctors note. Silly, I know, but I believe they just don't know enough about them to wish every parent would use them :)
We also use Lavender to assist at bedtime not only for an easier bedtime routine, but to help him fall asleep fast and stay asleep. Applied behind his ears and on the bottom of his feet.

We now use
InTune blend (to help him stay focused with a positive thought process)
Balance blend (to calm his senses and anxiety)
in addition to keeping the Serenity Blend, Peppermint and Lavender.

I don't feel as though I have still stepped out of my comfort zone with using the oils, but I do know I will never go back to life without them. No more relying solely on antidepressants or medications that I can barely pronounce with scary ingredients and fact sheets with possible side effects a mile long.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Autistically created.....

He was just four years old. We had already lived what felt like a lifetime of  struggles. Could we really be this bad at parenting? Why is it so hard to love him?

When I was pregnant I had dreams of a cute well mannered little boy, calm and obedient. A child you would see at church on Sunday sitting reverently in the pew, the child that went straight to sleep when you put him to bed, A  loving little boy, who loved to give hugs and kisses and giggled when you would kiss him back. The kind of kid that would grow up and be envied. A product of his mothers love for sure.

My dreams were shattered when reality hit just a few weeks in. Heaven didn't get the memo about the angel child I had signed up for. He cried, quite literally for the first 9 months of his life. He was picky about food, making meal time a 2 hour ordeal. sleep? ya, who needs sleep? constantly sick, doctors were a close second to most frequented places and not once did anyone say, "its not you, its him"
Unsure of my less than desirable results of raising this child, I was expecting again when he was just 2 years old. I was excited at the fact that maybe I would get a another chance at getting it right the second time around. And I did. Sort of.  A sweet little girl, so perfect in every way... It was at this moment I realized that there was a chance it wasn't me. It could be him, and it could be fixable.

Diagnosed at the age of 4 with Aspergers. A form of Autism, I was told. Little did I  know that the really hard job was just beginning. Just in time to find out we would be having another baby. The first couple of years we really just did the minimum. Early Intervention Preschool, and a lot of learning about this Autism thing.  It wasn't until he was 7 years old and 3 siblings later that we began to fight back. It was at that moment that we decided that WE would define Autism and that Autism wouldn't define us! Lots of visits to the University and psychiatrists to help us really get a grip and understand what had to be done. His diagnosis was later changed and expanded in 2008 to the following...

Mild Depression (with suicidal thoughts as young as 4 yrs old)

Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) is a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), and is also considered one of the three autism spectrum disorders (ASD). PDD-NOS is often called atypical autism)

Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry, by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety, or by a combination of such obsessions and compulsions

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a diagnosis described by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as an ongoing pattern of anger guided disobedience, hostilely defiant behavior toward authority figures which goes beyond the bounds of normal childhood behavior. People may appear very stubborn and often angry.

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental or neurobehavioral disorder[1] characterized by either significant difficulties of inattention or hyperactivity and impulsiveness or a combination of the two.

Sensory processing disorder or SPD is a neurological disorder causing difficulties with taking in, processing, and responding to sensory information about the environment and from within the own body (visual, auditory, tactile, olfaction, gustatory, vestibular, and proprioception).
For those identified as having SPD, sensory information may be sensed and perceived in a way that is different from most other people. Unlike blindness or deafness, sensory information can be received by people with SPD, the difference is that information is often registered, interpreted and processed differently by the brain. The result can be unusual ways of responding or behaving, finding things harder to do. Difficulties may typically present as difficulties planning and organizing, problems with doing the activities of everyday life (self care, work and leisure activities), and for some with extreme sensitivity, sensory input may result in extreme avoidance of activities, agitation, distress, fear or confusion.[1]

  Now, it was beginning to make sense. It wasn't me all along. To say that we have struggled to understand his needs, just might be the biggest understatement. EVER.
And as it turns out, Heaven did listen. I did get my precious little boy. I was just going to have to peel off the layers to find this sweet, loving spirit inside his body.

The story doesn't stop here. There are in fact 3 more children, and while I have learned that they are all perfect in their own way, we did not escape the Autism diagnosis or Sensory Processing Disorder being given again. We most recently are seeing some ADHD in our 3rd child and some ODD in our second. While we may or may not decide to go forward in getting official diagnosis' for the last two, I will most certainly help them to live and be successful and happy and all because of Essential oils. Making life going forward a little less stressful, and a little more happy.