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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Self-loathing To the Max

School is about to start so instead of relishing in the fabulous vacation we just went on ...we are dealing with anxiety, fear depression and self-loathing.  With Red...it's all showing itself in the form of treating the people who love him, and just spent hundreds of dollars to show him a good time on an expensive vacation, like the mud on the bottom of his shoe.

Thanks for the good time folks..but I am depressed about my life.  I am anxious about school.  I feel like shit and I don't know what else to do with it, other than drag you lovely people down with me.

Yep...this is my soon to be 17 year-old son.  Simply saying 17 year-old son within itself scares the crap out of me.  I thought I would be celebrating nearing the finish line by now. Instead, I am scared shitless about his future and trying like hell to get certain behaviors under wraps and push him towards independence.

I had a very interesting conversation with my Facebook Confessions Community,  in which I received very diverse feedback regarding Red's most recent behavior and how I should deal with it.  I posed the question, "You're nearly 17 years old-, with Aspergers and depression.  Should there be consequences for treating your family with blatant disrespect?

There was everything from take away his favorite things until he's down to a bed, a pillow and a room with no door.  To find out what is triggering him.  He needs cognitive behavior therapy to help him with his negative thought process and find better ways to release his feelings.  It was a really great thread full of great advice and experience.  If you don't follow me on Facebook...you really should.

After reading everyone's input, this is the conversation I had with Red:

He is sitting in front of the television spewing hatred about the "buff guys who get all the girls and how it's not fair and how he would like to kick their asses!"

"Son...I know you're not feeling very happy right now.  You have a lot of worries on your mind.  School is starting school soon.  You're worried about how that will go.  You're worried about your future.  You're disappointed because you don't have a girlfriend yet.  And because you're unhappy and feeling bad right now...you are doing your best to let us know how bad you feel by taking it out on all of us."
"Yeah...you're right," he says softly.
"You are blaming your unhappiness on anyone and everyone.   You feel bad, so you're doing everything you can to make us feel as bad as you do.  You're starting crap with your brother and being annoying and hateful to us.  But your feelings are not about us they're about you,  and it's not fare to treat the people who love you badly because you're feeling bad.

This is not about the buff guys or the girl who you like, who doesn't like you.  This is all about how you feel about yourself. Right now you are you happy with yourself?"
"No...not really."
"That's because you are not loving yourself.  You are too busy focusing on all the things you feel are wrong with yourself instead of the good things.  How can you expect anyone to love you if you don't love yourself first?"
"I guess I can't."
"When you are feeling negative and focusing on negative thoughts and feelings, you project that out into the world.  You put those negative statuses out on facebook and out into the world.  The reason you don't have a girlfriend doesn't have anything to do with the way that you look...because you are a handsome guy.  You are extremely handsome and attractive when you smile and are happy like you were when you were surrounded by your cousins last week."

I showed him this picture taken last week...
"This guy is attractive.  This guy looks happy and positive.  This guy can find a nice girl who cares about you, understands and likes you just the way you are.  Start looking in the mirror at this guy who is smiling.  Tell yourself positive things and start believing them.  People are attracted to positivity.  It all starts with loving yourself.  This guy is lovable.  A person going around frowning and blaming the world for his stuff,  saying negative things about people is not attractive...this guy IS!

If you're unhappy with your body...only YOU can change that.  It has to come from within you.  It has to be what you really want. This is YOUR life...you are the person who can make it into what you want it to be.  This guy in this picture can go to school with this smile, make friends and the more friends you make the better chance you will have of finding that someone special.  It all starts with you.  You are the only person who can change your life.  Start loving yourself."

And in that moment...he got it.  He turned off the attitude, got up off the couch and tried to get along with us for the day.  He was positive...at least until he went to the gym and saw all of the buff guys with girlfriends.  Then he was back to wanting to kick their asses.  

It's definitely not the end of the attitude...the worries and the depression.  But it's a start...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Best Mom Ever?

My friend Roma is a middle school math teacher, a single mother of a beautiful, precious, smart little girl.  Roma was born in Cambodia and has lived here in the states since she was a little girl.  I love what she brings into my life via her culture and background.  Better yet, I love that she is taking the time and interest in my children enough to drag them kicking and screaming to go exercise.

When I would take Red myself, sometimes he would work hard, other times he wouldn't.  Many times, I couldn't even get him out the door.  I fight so many fights on a given day, that it didn't seem worth it to fight this one tooth and nail.

Everyday when Roma calls to say she's on her way, Red goes through his song and dance of excuses why he can't go.  She has none of it.  He whines and complains.   She totally ignores him.  She gets him to walk that track, walk the tread mill or elliptical to burn those calories, and release those endorphins.  He comes home with an elevated mood,  a little more self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment every time.  Her goal for him is to help him feel better mentally and physically.

If you've been reading this blog for long you know that he is dying to go out with "Hot Girls".  Unfortunately, between his medication and high carb diet, he has gained a bit of weight in the past two years.  He has no clue that he needs a lot more than a nice body to get ANY girl, but getting more fit will be a good start.

He listens to her so much better than he ever listens to me so, I give her the ball and let her roll with it. She does not accept "No" for an answer.

Her daughter has become like the little sister the boys never had.  She's smart, precocious and like her mama doesn't take any crap!  She pushes Red and Blue around and watches them to make sure they are doing what her mama tells them to do at the gym.  The other day, she popped Red in the back a couple of times, trying to get him out the door to go work out. It was so funny!  This pic is from one day when he burned 519 calories on the elliptical.  She made him carry her on his back as a sort of victory dance.

So as we're riding home from the gym last night, he turns to me and says,
"You know Mom...you really are the best mom ever."
WTH?  Where did that come from?  Is he serious?  I look at him in disbelief.
"What makes you say that?"
"Because you always support me."
I really don't know what to do with this.  Is he just talking? Does he really mean what he's saying?
These are the words every mom lives her entire life to hear.  Does he REALLY see me?  Does he REALLY appreciate all that I am doing from him?  Could this boy who is ordinarily totally self-centered, truly mean what he's saying.  Wow...it's really too bad that I have to question it's validity, but I'm just...shocked! 
I muster up a, "Thank you son." While a million thoughts run through my head.
'You're damned right I support you!  Thanks to me you have a Person Centered Planner (like a Life Coach), and she's not just any old one.  She's the best one in the entire school district!  You have a personal Video Teacher that I found for you through our Aspergers Meetup group.  You have job coaches, thanks to my advocating for you at school.  I just  sent you to L.A. to spend time with your family who loves, cares and supports you.  And now you have your very own personal trainer thanks to my friend!'

He has a grand village of people that are helping him to be the best he can be. His pastor picks him up for church every Sunday, mentors him, answers his phone calls, and comes to his Person Centered Planning meetings.  Our friends, all give him personal attention, pep talks and reality checks.  I have a great relationship with the Special Education Lead at his school.  She works hard to get him the support and programming that he needs there. Oh and his PCPlanner, is also an Administrator in the Special Education Department in our district.  I have a good relationship with her as well.  She is 100% in his corner.  This boy is blessed! And I work my ass off to keep it that way.

I hope that he really meant what he said about me being the best mom ever.  I will go ahead and think positively that he did.  Whatever the case may be, I know for sure...is that he is absolutely right.

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