Create possibilities with hidden differences Creative ideas to build support, understanding, change and compassion to provide hope instead of fear for persons living with the challenges of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
And so this is Christmas living with the challenges as a adult with fetal alcohol
And so this is Christmas:
We're down to the home stretch now, only 2 more sleeps to Christmas. My son has gone to spend the holiday with his mom, because as every body knows - nobody NOBODY does Christmas like MOM! :) That leaves me and two cats to have fun ourselves. And we do! They get presents and some special food too!
There are no decorations at my home, no sounds of Christmas choirs or jingle bells. While there are a few paintings and prints in the living room, my own room is bare white walls, save for one small picture of my daughter. I hide the modems because the blinking lights tend to throw me off after a while. And between the computer, the cable box and the telephone we have a whole lot of blinking lights all over the place. So, no need for Christmas lights as far as I'm concerned! LOL! It sounds bleak to some, but to those of us living with FASD it feels safe and comfortable. There are times when we just need a break from all the lights and sounds and my home is where I can do this.
Being a safe place for me sometimes means the exact opposite to my apartment though... it's the place I can let down my guard and show my frustration at the world, or myself in that world. It's where I giggle like a little kid while wrapped up in a snuggly watching cartoons, or at this time of year It's A Wonderful Life. It's the place I can stop and try to figure out the world outside. It's the place I melt down. :( It's also the place I build myself back up again. :)
Through the years I've had to learn to become quite a handy man, thanks to this "thing" I've fought all my life. I can mend a door, change a window, patch a hole and paint like there's no tomorrow. Sometimes though, I don't repair these things... I leave them as a reminder of what can come to pass. People see this damage and go "oh that's terrible" and all that... but what they don't know is that same damage is forever imprinted on my soul. I'm not proud of that damage, it's not something I ever wanted to be responsible for... no it is a shame I have to bear. And not forget what can happen IF I allow myself to get into that frame of mind. Understanding FASD has made me understand just how very important self soothing is to an adult like me. There is no one else to do it, and I can't be melting down or shooting off every time some thing does not go to my liking. Having a person I can trust as my external brain helps me understand many things, but some times I am the only one who can prevent or at least lessen these things from happening. And that is just how it should be. If I want to be independent then I have no choice but to accept and deal with my own actions. "I am the Captain of my fate; I am the Master of my Soul". Understanding that it is because of the FASD that I have a hard time regulating myself emotionally has given me the tools to "fight the beast". Knowing and understanding has made all the difference.
I'm so much better than I used to be in this area, but sometimes I still kick a door jamb, or suddenly let loose with some loud expletive... but it is getting better and better. I never thought there was any way to fight this, but I am learning that knowledge really IS power. I CAN beat this thing and I will. Taking care of myself... eating, sleeping and that sort of thing and a good amount of physical exercise also help to no end.
It is reactive anger and I work at stopping the reaction that causes it to spill out into the world. No one can see my confusion and pain, nor can they see my frustration. I get frustrated that I feel like this, and that leads to added frustration because I feel frustrated for feeling frustrated. Make sense? No... but that's what it's like... sometimes it's a loop I get stuck in. Fun, huh?
So, this Christmas don't forget how all these sensations and emotions can give us need for some quiet time, for a place we can just relax for a bit. I have to hand it to a great friend and her family... they invite me for Christmas and don't bat an eye if I suddenly have to go outside for a walk, or stand instead of sit, or walk from room to room... or just sit quietly. I really enjoy being able to share the festive season with them all.
Everyone I hope you all have a Wonderful Christmas time... no matter your beliefs or values, we could use more of this "Peace on Earth" stuff!
And that is my wish for each and every one of you this year-
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:) RJ - "Flying with Broken Wings" reprinted with permission from Facebook We are excited to include RJ in our website of experts after the first of the year www.braidedcord.net