Taking control of chaos




I have been feeling neglected and ignored lately. I think it comes down to a lifetime of doing everything I could to please others, to make them comfortable, to do whatever was necessary to keep the lid on the pending explosion from my father or ex-husband. In many ways, I have made positive changes. I no longer tolerate explosions at all. I no longer accept guilt trips tossed at me from the maws of those seeking to pull me under. Sometimes I put myself first. But not often enough.

I am 42 years old and have never had a birthday celebration of my own. Never. When I was a child, I shared a few parties with my younger brother. As an adult, I have baked him birthday cakes year after year, then watched my birthday pass by, unnoticed, a few days later.

Perhaps this is why it is so heartbreaking to me that my son has trouble with friendships…I want him to have those celebrations I never did. Hell, I would give anything for someone to think to throw a party for me. I don’t want him to have these same non-memories haunting him in his middle age. Despite his challenges, I want him to be recognized and cherished for the amazing person he is. Like I never was.

Recently, I graduated with my Master’s Degree. I did this while working full-time throughout my studies. I did this while beginning a completely new career. I did this while fighting a hostile work environment. I did this while sitting for and acing several career exams. I did this while juggling and putting out the fires that came with Dom’s diagnoses and therapies and routine changes. I did this while battling my own chronic illnesses. I did it, though. And the moment passed by. No recognition. No dinner out. Nothing.

I don’t believe this lack of recognition is necessarily the fault of those around me. I have trained others by minimizing my needs on a regular basis. I have trained others to dismiss my needs altogether, even to pretend they don’t exist.

Nevertheless, I have spent my life trying to accomplish enough, to be enough, to become enough, that someone would notice. That someone would care enough to celebrate me or even hear me when I speak. I am 42 years old and that has not happened yet. I am beginning to realize that if I want to be celebrated, if I want to be considered important, if I want my voice to be heard, it is up to me.

I am trying to reach the point at which it won’t matter that others don’t notice. For now, I am at the beginning. I have no idea where this journey will lead, but on the next nice weekend it will begin with a getaway celebration of me, of my son, of my Master’s Degree..the start of a new noticing of myself.


It has always been incredibly difficult for me to admit I need help, probably because, for most of my life, help wasn’t forthcoming. Right now, I am unable to manage any single part of my life, and I don’t know how to fix it. I am completely overwhelmed, and it seems much easier to simply curl into a ball until everything passes by. I have been living each day in survival mode, simply attempting to exist until bedtime.

While Dom is making some progress in his speech-language and social skills, he has backslid in his self-care and independence skills. Self-advocacy has always been an issue, but it seems to be a much larger problem the older he gets. While other kids his age are learning to prepare simple meals, Dom sits starving until I ask if he’s hungry. If anyone else asks, his answer is no. If I don’t ask, he remains hungry until he gets sick. Simple chores require Herculean effort, as he regularly forgets how to do them, even when there are directions posted.  After five years of dressing himself, he still has trouble remembering all of the steps involved in that process.

His progress with social interactions has increased dramatically, but last Saturday we were back at Step 1 when his normal social skills therapist was out. Despite two weeks of planning and the inclusion of the substitute in those two weeks of work, Dom still refused to interact with the substitute at all when his normal therapist was not present. That day’s therapy session was a waste of time, and it served as a reminder that he still has so far to go.

Between Dom and some problems with other family members, I am an anxious wreck myself. As a result, I go through teach day in a fog, just trying to put one foot in front of the other.

I am in the midst of an ongoing battle with our insurance company to get Dom’s ABA therapy approved. Carefirst says the mental health insurance company is responsible, and that company says Carefirst is responsible, and the end result is that we wait. More time passes without Dom getting help he needs, and I get more anxious as that time passes by.

Today, as I spilled my guts and tears all over my mentor teacher, she asked me, “Isn’t there anyone willing to help?” My answer was, unequivocally, “Yes, but…” Her response was, “If you try to do it all, you’re going to kill yourself, and then there will be nobody to do any of it.”

I don’t know what parts of this chaos anyone could help with. I don’t know how I could foist Dom off on anyone, knowing that his reaction could be swift and severe. What I do know is that I’m going to break if things don’t change for the better soon, so if you can do nothing else, please pray.

Let’s Get This Started!

Hello! I am all kinds of overwhelmed by my family, my job and my health. For far too long, my health has taken a back burner to everything else in my life. That needs to stop now. I could continue to come up with a million reasons to continue as I am…

I don’t have time to cook from scratch. Honestly, though, I love to cook. Other things are just always more important. But even though I can’t cook 12-course meals, I can make some better choices.

My kids need me too much. My youngest has autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, and specific learning disabilities. We spend our evenings at various therapy appointments (which is why I don’t have time to cook). My daughter is nearly 16 and, well, dramatic (and she has ADHD, too). But if I flip this one around, they need me so much that I need to take better care of myself, right? I need to make myself more of a priority.

I am too stressed at work. I am a teacher. I am on my feet in the classroom all day long, except during my planning period, which I spend in meetings. I usually don’t get to eat my lunch until 1:30…I gulp it down from 1:30 – 1:35 between classes. By then, though, it is usually too late to prevent a migraine, so my evenings are hellish. Which leads to…

I am too sick to get myself better. Even though I know a better lifestyle would give me a better quality of life, it is hard to care when I am in the throes of a pukey migraine or a fibromyalgia flare. This is the Catch-22 for me: I feel like crap, so I can’t do the things I need to do to stop feeling like crap. I need to do them, anyway.

My loose plan is to share my life, my journey here. I will try recipes and give some honest reviews. I will ask for kicks in the butt when necessary to keep me moving. Mostly, I hope that writing it all down will help me stay focused.

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