Family

Giving You a Quick Update…

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Hello everyone.  I”m sure you have noticed that I have been a little MIA the last two weeks.  My son has started back at school.  He wanted to go to school and his depression has improved greatly.  His anxiety still showed, but he was doing much better.

The first week of school he did okay. He had some panic attacks but was able to attend most of class.  He had a difficult time with Health, Science and History.  Not so much due to academics, but due to the subjects they were studying.  He can’t handle things with blood, or creepy.  The school allowed him to drop health.  Then we were able to transfer him to an Earth Science class. We will have to take history as it comes.

The second week of school he missed a lot. I ended up going to school  to sit with him and spending time waiting there.  He barely spent time in class.  So we had an emergency meeting with the special education department and the school social worker.  They tweaked his schedule even more.

A few times when I had to go to school to be with him. I found him shaking from his nerves. So I put in a phone call to his psychiatrist.  He prescribed a fast acting medication to help him get through the day.  After two days, it was not working enough so the psychiatrist increased the medication.  It made him too sleepy to go to class and he still had panic.  He was just tired with panic. So we went back down to a lower dose and were able to get into see the doctor soon.  I think we will have to wean him off the current meds and put him on new ones.

The poor kid doesn’t eat much either.  I worry about him so much.  Today, was the first day he went to school with the new schedule.  He made it almost through to the third period.  Hopefully, tomorrow we can make it to fourth period.  The stress has been very bad for me.  I ended up throwing up today.  It just hit me out of the blue. I haven’t been ill from stress in over thirteen years.

I am hoping I can get this figured out. It’s been a draining year.  My son’s anxiety is primarily related to school. He used to have it in other places, but we have made a conscious effort to help him overcome his going out phobia.  He still is socially extremely shy but can mange.

When he is in his element, he shines.  When he goes to coding class after school he shines. He is able to talk about anything computer related.  In school, if he does things with computers it really brings him out of his shell.  I can only hope that it can grow into other areas.

I will keep you posted.  Wish us luck.

Clothing

10 Fashion Terms To Know

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1. Broadcloth:  A medium weight fabric made of cotton or a cotton blend with characteristic crosswise ribs.

2. Brocade: A fabric type woven on a Jacquard loom which gives any design on the fabric a raised look.

3. Calfskin: Hide from a young cows that has been tanned and can be used for leather or fur.

4. Chamois Cloth: A soft fabric made of cotton which is either knitted or woven. It is made with a soft nap that is an imitation of sheepskin dyed in the chamois method.

5. Dobby Fabric: A fabric made with a pattern that repeats every 8 to 30 rows.

6. Pique: Embroidery that is worked on a firm fabric with white thread.

7. Needlepoint: An overall wool embroidery worked on an open canvas with yarn.

8. Faille Crepe: Fabric with a flat rib similar to faille but lightweight.

9. Aigrette: Extremely long, white feathers with a plume at the tip.  It is taken from an egret (bird).

10. Lame: A fabric made with metallic yarns

I hope you enjoyed your monthly dose of fashion terms.  Until next month.

Family

What is Dysgraphia?

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What is dysgraphia?  Dysgraphia is a brain based disorder that effects the writing of those suffering from it.  Dysgraphia effects everything from the way you hold your pen to how you form letters, writing in a straight line, even if you can form your thoughts on paper.

For my own child “E”, dysgraphia primarily showed itself in two ways.  The first way was his handwriting.  My son in kindergarten had rough handwriting.  All the kids do as they are first learning to form letters and make words.  The difference is other children’s writing became more clear as they grew older.  My son’s did not. We would get a summertime tutor to work on his writing style in hopes that it would become better.  It did not.  The second way dysgraphia became and issue was in what my son would write.  For instance, the teacher may have them write about their summer vacation and what they did.  My son would write, “I went to Disney World.  It was in Florida.  It was fun.  I saw Micky Mouse.”  That would be it.  Another child in his class would have wrote about the same vacation, “This summer my family, and I went to see Walt Disney World in Florida.  It was really hot and humid there.  We had a lot of fun going on various rides.  My favorite was the roller coaster.  I also like the parades.  I even got to meet Mickey Mouse and get my picture taken with him.  I had a lot of fun.”  See the difference?

If you were to verbally ask my son about the vacation he could recount it in detail.  He just could not do it with writing.  There are also other symptoms, but these were the two major and most noticeable ones.  We tried for years to get his writing to be better.  It didn’t help.  If only we had known about dysgraphia. Dysgraphia is not a common diagnosis.  Many think the child is lazy, rushing or not trying hard enough.  This is not true.  When a child is diagnosed with dysgraphia they maybe listed as having Specific Learning Disability instead of dysgraphia.  Specific Learning Disability is the psychiatric term used along with the type or nature of disability like writing etc. Dysgraphia is often used as a short hand term for it by parents and teachers.

When a psychiatrist tested our son for dysgraphia, she told us that there was not much we could do to correct it.  Some information online says early intervention can help with learning. In addition to written expression difficulties, people with dysgraphia also have trouble with many of their fine motor skills.  Buttoning shirts,  cutting or opening bottles and jars can be impossible.  For my own child, we have to help him open things.  He cannot twist off a pop/soda cap.  He cannot peel off the anti-tampering cover of a yogurt. Tying shoes is also a problem.  We were also told that he will never be able to take notes.

Fortunately, we were given a list of accommodations and modifications for the school year. One thing we did long ago was to teach our son how to type. He does a really great job at that.  We also got him an ipad to work with in school.  Instead of a paper planner he has everything on his I-pad.  He can also take tests in alternative form, or get extra time.  His teachers also give him hard copies of the notes in class, and other handouts.   My son “E” also has longer assignments broken down into smaller pieces and check-ins a lot with the teacher.

He has many more accommodations.  Please look at Pinterest to see more ideas for a 504 or IEP. Also check online for several dysgraphia resources.

 

 

 

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Home

10 Things to Declutter

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One of my monthly features is about the concept of decluttering.  I usually give 10 things to look at.  You don’t have to do all of the 10, but they are things to think about.  Life for me gets overwhelming.  These give me a reminder that I should check certain things.  I am trying to live a more minimal lifestyle. However, I am not a minimalist.  Far from it.  It’s a daily struggle.  While I’m not a pack rat, I do keep things.  I constantly am refining what I keep and what I donate or trash.  Here is my list for this month:

  1. Back to school clothes.  Try them on, donate what is too small or used.
  2. Summer clothes.  Get rid or donate what is worn out.  Don’t store stuff that is not going to be used.
  3. Summer toys or items.  Those empty bottle of sunblock can go.  Is your plastic pail missing it’s handle?  Recycle it.
  4. DVR.  Clean out your DVR shows.  Too many Law and Order reruns?  Can you get rid of them? What are you going to watch?  Clean up your shows.
  5. School Supplies.  Most of us have gone shopping for supplies already.  Check to see if your home or school needs a little extra.  Nothing is worse than trying to find a certain type of marker in the middle of winter because yours dried out.
  6. Fall Decor.  Getting out your Autumn decor in preparation for the leaves changing?  What can you toss.  What do you need?  Get rid of those old, dirty gel clings. Have your kids outgrown the Snoopy Halloween decorations?
  7. Chips/Pantry Items.  School is starting or has started for some of us.  Now is a great time to toss all your expired food, or unused and stale food.  Many stores will have sales to get rid of their excess back to school food packs.  Look for those deals.
  8. Plastic Bags.  I keep my plastic bags.  I use them when I scoop out the litter box.  Do you have a stash of these bags?  Do you use them?  If not, you may have to do a little clearing of this stash.  Many big box retailers now allow you to bring in your unused plastic bags to get them recycled.  Call your local Target or Walmart to see if they have these recycle bins in their store.
  9. Paper Bags.  This could have gone in number 8.   I keep it separate because I think of my paper bag stash as separate from the plastic one.  I keep those paper bags to use for garbage.  I keep the ones with the good handles for carrying things.  Sometimes you just have too many.  Let them go, or at least cull the herd.
  10. Pet Supplies.  We recently got kittens.  Yup, they are cute and they know it. They can also be a bit destructive.  I get rid of those things that they destroyed.  Are there toys that your dog or cat doesn’t like? Maybe a carrier that you no longer use?  Many rescue organizations are willing to take gently used or like new donations.  Check with your vets office too.  Mine always needs towels.  If your pet doesn’t like the stuffed alligator you got them let it go.  It’s not personal, although it is a cute alligator.

Well that’s it.  The ten for this month.  What have you decluttered?  Let me know in the comments.

Home

10 Things To Clean

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Here is the monthly list of 10 things you need to clean.  These are things that you normally don’t clean on a day to day basis.  Things that maybe you have forgotten about cleaning or things you have let go.  Take these ten for the month and get some things accomplished.

  1. Wash the pet dishes.  When was the last time you put Fido’s or Fifi’s dishes through the dishwasher?  Get them in there for an extra sparkle.
  2. Pet Food Storage. Staying in the pet theme, clean you pet food storage.  We take our dry cat and dog food and put it in a Tupperware-esque container to keep it secure and fresh. Get all those crumbs out of the bottom and give it a good soap and water rinse.
  3. Garden Supplies.  Fall is here.  I’ve already put away my flower pots.  I tossed a few that were on their last legs. Get rid of that awful tomato cage that doesn’t work, or the old rusty garden trowel.
  4. Desk Drawers. Since we are in the back to school time you can replace much of your supplies with new that is also on sale.  Get rid of the nubby pencils, buy an electric pencil sharpener, get new markers etc.
  5. Bathroom drawers.  Kind of the same as the above.  College is starting.  There are a lot of sales on cosmetics and personal care items.  Get rid of the unusable and empty for new.
  6. Bathroom holders.  Since we are on the topic of bathrooms it’s time to clean out all those bathroom holders.  Everything from the soap holder in the shower to the items underneath the sink give a good clean.
  7. Purse.  We’ve all had to clean out our bags.  Now is the time to take a moment and give the bag a real cull.  Take the time to buy some bag organizers to make things easier to find.
  8. Cup holders. My car cup holders are always getting disgusting. How are yours holding up?
  9. Glove Compartment/Center Console. Get those old CD’s out of there.  Can’t remember what that cord is for?  If it’s not your phone or other device let it go.
  10. Hobbies.  Okay, this is sort of a big category isn’t it? Well, I’m not asking you to clear out a hobby itself.  Just to pick one hobby, let’s say scrapbooking.  Go through all your supplies and clean them out.  An ink pad that is dry.  Let it go.  That baby bottle stamper you bought when your child was born, who is now 12 years old.  Donate.  You get the point.  Pick just one hobby though.  Let me know what you chose in the comments below.
Self

My goals for September.

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In my old blog I used set goals every month.  I’m going to try to do it again.  I say try as my life since last October has been crazy. I don’t know what the future holds.  I’m just trying to move my life along.  Lately, I have been wondering what to do with the rest of my life.  I suppose you could cal l it a mid-life crisis, but I don’t think that is what it is.  I am at a point where constant care of my family will slowly be ending. What am I suppose to do?  What do I want to do?  I’m not sure.  What I thought I was going to do in my 20’s did not work out for a variety of reasons.  Some my fault, others not.  My enjoyments are not the same either.  What do I like?  I’m not sure.  So when setting my goals.  I’m trying to move my life forward. Hopefully, I can find a path to my future somewhere.

  1. Drink more water.  Honestly, I hate water.  I know it’s good for you, but ugh, I’d rather drink Coke.
  2. Walk the dog.  The dog needs to lose weight and so do I.
  3. Eat more fruit and veggies.  I buy them, now I just have to eat them.  Goals right?
  4. Establish a time to work on the blog for a regular basis.
  5. Read more. Put the cell phone down Christine.
  6. Go a few more places. I need to get out of the house!  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my house, but I’m a really boring person.
  7. Get a decent nights sleep. Work on that sleep routine.
  8. More self care.  I really let this one go.  I am feeling it as increase physical pain and stomach upset.

Do you have monthly goals?  What are they for this month?  Feel free to share below.

Self

What Are Anxiety Disorders or Panic Attacks?

 

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I write a lot about anxiety and panic attacks.  It occurred to me that few people may know what the definitions and symptoms are. Even definitions since I was first diagnosed have changed.  While the wheel in mental health has not been reinvented it has been refined.  It evolves, and continues to evolve as modern medicine makes new discoveries about the brain.

Anxiety Disorder is a constant, excessive and nonstop worry or worries that occur almost all day, every day.  It will interfere with you day to day life.  Physically you can experience symptoms such as stomach aches, vomiting, feeling like you are going to throw up, sore muscles, tiredness, anger, dizziness and many more.

Anxiety Disorder can include panic disorder/panic attacks,  agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, and other forms of anxiety.  Anxiety has many related disorders and can coexist with other mental and physical illnesses.

Everyone experiences anxiety right?  Just tough it out, right?  Wrong, any type of Anxiety Disorder when experienced is more persistent,overwhelming and debilitating than normally experienced anxiety.  It interferes with you daily life. You get up to leave a crowded theater even when you really want to see the show.  You can’t fall asleep no matter how tired you are.  You ruminate on certain or all worries to the point of inaction no matter how remote or silly they seem to others. You have physical ailments that begin to appear and cannot be resolved by normal medications. You begin to avoid places because you start to relate them to feeling awful.

The cause of anxiety is unknown.  It can be a variety of factors from biological, genetic, experiences, environment and more.  For me, I believe that it was a combination.  Panic Attacks, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and more run in my family.  While my paternal grandmother was not formally diagnosed I believe she had it.  My father was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.  I was diagnosed with Panic Disorder and others, and my son was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder. Then I believe the way I was raised also contributed to my anxiety as it added stress to an already stressful life.

I made a vow to raise my son differently and I did.  To watch him get it and go through it nearly killed me and triggered my own anxiety again.  It was devastating to me.  “What did I do?”, I thought. What didn’t I do?  The thing is nothing I could have done, would have prevented my son from getting it due to our genetic predisposition.  What I can effect is how his treatment and support is.  How he handles what his disorder is doing to him.  That’s because Anxiety is a disorder/disease just like cancer, or diabetes.  Now before you go off telling me cancer etc are different, understand that I say this because many people believe that mental illness is a character flaw and not a medical condition. We should be able to think it away.  There are a few that can. Most people need therapy and lifestyle changes.  Some also need those and medicine.

Anxiety effects every relationship you have.  It effects every opportunity that comes your way.  For me, I lost over four years of my life that I can’t get back.  You need all the support you can get.  Overcoming your own mind is one of the most difficult things a person can do.

Then there is the fear of what other people think.  Will they think that I am crazy?  Will  they stop wanting to be around me?  What if I am discriminated against. Recently in the news a member of the ground crew in Seattle stole a small jet, went on a joy ride and crashed it.  On several different news channels they were asking if ground crews were screened for mental illness.  It made my heart sink.  First, we have no idea if this man had mental illnesses or not.  So why speculate.  Second most people with mental illness do not harm themselves, fewer harm others. There are already some things that those with mental illness cannot do.  One of my greatest fears is the information age and mental illness.  Where someone can with the touch of a button get your medical history and use it to disqualify you from a job or community.

How do you treat anxiety?  It really depends on the individual.  Each person must have their own type of treatment.  Which is how mental illness differs from other illnesses of the body.  One of the more successful treatments is CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This type of therapy involves changing your thinking and habits to manage your anxiety.  In addition, medication can be prescribed to help you control and minimize your anxiety. What medication and how much depends on each person. It’s important that you maintain contact with your medical providers to ensure you get the best care possible.

I myself have been on so many medications.  Some worked better than others. Some side effects are worse or better. Only one medicine did not work for me.  I’ve been changed around many times.  Sometimes, I can’t keep track of everything I’ve been on. This is the hardest part of a disorder.  Finding the right combo of drugs to use.  If you are at this stage please keep the faith.  It may take an extended period of time to find the right combo of medication.  Then again, you may not even need meds or you can get it right on the first dose!

Panic Attacks are acute, intense instances of fear.  They can last for a few seconds to a few hours.  The often can come out of the blue, but some also are triggered by circumstances.  The fear is so intense that it can cause you to flee the area, feel like you are having a heart attack or a break down. You feel as if your body and mind operate separately. The biggest part of these attacks are learning to regain control of you body again.  It involves relaxation, deep breathing and other techniques to bring down the intensity of the reaction.  Short lasting medications are also used for certain patients to take the edge off the attack.

For more information or diagnosis, please contact your doctor for a referral to a mental health professional.  You can also check out the website of The Anxiety and Depression Association of America at http://www.adaa.org, Web MD, or NAMI The National Alliance on Mental Illness at http://www.NAMI.org .

This article is an opinion piece and not to be used for self diagnosis or in place of advice from a medical professional.