Unfortunately, this is not uncommon for me. I was recently diagnosed with something called Hashimoto's disease, which is a type of hypothyroidism, or Japanese for "no more happiness". Actually, I don't know what Hashimoto is named for. Maybe it was for the Japanese god of narcolepsy. I don't know. What I do know is for the millions of people who have this disease, it is crippling. The symptoms are unending tiredness, hair loss, weight gain, and endless tv watching.
I have always been tired. An unpopular personality trait in a world that says that napping is an abomination and being tired is equal to weakness. Our culture frowns upon siestas, while the rest of the world naturally shuts down their businesses between the hours of 2-4 to rest, (I'm looking at you, Italy!!) cook their evening meals, and catch up on life. Quality of life is not taken into account in our fast pace, "gotta strike while the iron's hot" way of existing. It is of no wonder that our adrenal glands are screaming at us to slow down!!
And, us mommy's of autism? FUGET ABOUDIT!!!
|This actually looks good to me right now.|
And we hate to begrudge our "extra heaping helping of hard" child, but sometimes we do...let's be honest!
As I was laying in bed, life was still happening around me. The groceries needed to be put away, phone calls kept coming in, Liam was coming in and out from playing outside, Walker was studying and doing homework. I felt guilt for not exactly knowing where my child with autism was. I felt shame for not really knowing if my teenager was really studying or playing video games. And, I felt irresponsible for not remembering if I put the milk away or not. But, I quickly shoved all of those pesky emotions down for a few prized moments of sleep.
I woke up groggy and out of it- the worst feeling at the bewitching hour of 5pm. (see Bewitched!) I began researching essential oils that would help with hypothyroidism, exhaustion, and crankiness (funny, they don't have one for the that!). I began to think about all of the other supplements, oils, and holistic medicines that could help my kids. I started down a rabbit trail of research for autism, and alternative medicines used for attention and focus. Fifteen minutes later, I was overwhelmed thinking about adding something else to our already full routine.
And this is when it struck me: I CANNOT HELP MY CHILDREN WHEN I AM DEPLETED!!!!
I CANNOT GIVE TO THEM THAT WHICH I DO NOT GIVE MYSELF!!!!
Isn't this our plight? We spend so much time thinking, loving on, and doing for our own fold when we have nothing to give. I must be willing to research things that will help ME, so that I can, in turn, give to those I love the most.
It's the old, "put the oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on your child" mentality. If we are sucking for air, we cannot possibly be any good for those around us.
As Brene Brown said recently, we all wear exhaustion like it's a badge. We can all one-up each other with stories of our heroism and valor of staying up all night to bake cookies, holding down 4 jobs, stirring dinner, and sewing Suzie's ballet costume, but we cannot tell you the last time we actually felt good.
My son's therapist told me recently that in all of his years of practicing, this is the most anxious group of children he has ever seen. They are all medicated because we expose them to adult-like pressures of having so many balls in the air, that they cannot manage.
IF I AM DEPLETED ALL OF THE TIME, HOW CAN I TEACH MY CHILDREN WHAT IT MEANS TO BE RESTFUL AND PRESENT???
If I am overextending and not paying attention to my own exhaustion, how can I teach them to listen to their bodies?
It's time to stop. It's time to rest.
I closed all the tabs of my computer, and opened one window to ask questions about my own disease on a forum. I got helpful responses, and now it is up to me to take the plunge and try a few things that may work.
I think it may be an uphill battle to introduce the 'Italian siesta' into our culture. We are pretty stuck in our ways as Americans. But, I can introduce that concept of balance and holistic living in my own corner of the world. It begins with me.