Monday, April 26, 2010

My Mother the Beggar ... thoughts about ...

My Mother the Beggar is a post about an adult child of a mentally ill drug addict who went through multiple relapses. Very similar to another story that kind of begins

“I WAS SITTING IN a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through”

From The Glass Castle: A Memoir

The story is usually in books from the perspective of the child, blogged about from the perspective of the parent of the disabled child. The anguish that parents feel as they struggle to find a way to help their children find a semblance of a normal life, to get them past the mental illnesses and issues that afflict them, the desperate efforts to intervene in the lives of grandchildren, often so far removed from what the grandparents can do.

In my own life I think of my mother's parents, certain that she had thrown our lives away by joining the LDS Church and not seeing sense and coming home. From my perspective, that was the greatest thing she could have done for me, to bring me to Christ. From their perspective, it was the worst.

The lines between mental illness and transcendence are sometimes hard to draw. As I struggle to help my children, to find what they need to see them safely home, I feel such sympathy for everyone in these stories, and for everyone in my own story, as mild as it might be.

No Gi Harai Goshi

Neat stuff. I used to wrestle and used to practice Judo.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The dog food story

Everyone has heard the story about the little girl who was given a present and when she opened it up it turned out to be dog food. Lots of different points are made from it. Just realized my dear child had gone through that (except in her case the girls at her school just gave her an empty box -- they were too cheap to buy a can of dog food to put in it).

My youngest lives with Tourette's. She also lives with kids in her school who are both jealous and intolerant of her. There is a parent on our block who just thinks if we beat her she would get over it. Others think she is being spoiled because she is so bright. The teachers are wonderful, though taxed, and their kindness makes kids who are not as smart more jealous and more upset (though I obviously would prefer that they be kind to my daughter than not).

It helps that my daughter is kind. When others do not understand, she helps tutor them. If someone falls, she rushes to help them up. She shares what she has. She is extremely cheerful and very bright.

But she has the OCD, extreme ADD and is hyperkinetic as well as the rest of what Tourette's implies. She is lucky in that it appears that much of it will resolve with age, and for the rest, we keep trying different blends of medication and treatment. Unfortunately, what helps with one problem makes the rest worse. Somethings just make everything worse. Every time she ages a little, the blend that works right for her changes.

I talk with parents whose children have had multiple in-patient stays. I know my situation is not as demanding, heartbreaking or painful as theirs. But, it is my situation, and more, it is my dear daughter's life.

And to find out last week that it was replicating stories I hear in church, and from the harsh end of the story, that was difficult, even more so when someone told the story again this Sunday in a talk. A very good talk, mind you, but still, it made me think of my daughter.

It is hard to tell if I'm happier that the box was empty or not. I just feel so helpless. It would be easy to teach her to respond to every slight and hurtful encounter with "You are just stupid and jealous, get over it lamesauce." She could do that and it would insulate her some. They would not hate her any more than they do now.

But, it would change my kind, sweet daughter into someone else, someone who says those things. I don't want to lose her to that kind of person either. But to have her day after day, week after week, month after month beg for a place to hide from the other kids, always respond to questions about her day with pain as to any social interaction (though she is excited when she learns something new, she got far enough ahead on her own they talked with us about skipping her ahead another grade), I feel like I'm failing her.

I'm glad she was able to go to camp, and be in a place where no one stared, no one hated.

To quote from the essay at the second link (way down the page, that is why I'm quoting):

Good Evening. My name is Joshua Perez. I am 12 years old from San Antonio. I am the face of Tourette's. I was diagnosed 3 years ago. Having Tourette's is very difficult every minute of the day. People don't understand, they stare and make nasty comments. Tourette Camp is very important to me. I can tic and no one stares. I have friends from the support group that go to camp with me. I make friends while I am there. 58 more days until camp. Thank you very much for coming tonight and helping Tourette of Texas. I am Joshua Perez, the face of Tourette's.

Those moments come so seldomly. Much too seldom.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

An excellent series of posts on social classes, etc.

Just ran across them today.

A great quote:

A lot of people misjudge class conflicts because they fail to recognize this difference in rules. Marxists often assume that the working class must and should hate the upper classes because the upper classes have an unfair share of the world’s wealth, but this simply demonstrates that such Marxists are middle class in their attitudes — neither the working class nor the upper class considers money to be the most important thing going.
and another:

If someone plays by different rules than yours, that doesn’t mean he’s wrong.
and also:

Class isn’t inborn, it isn’t destiny, and it isn’t just money. It’s attitude, belief, and the rules by which you determine your status and decide whether you’re a success or a failure. Most people learn those from their families while they’re growing up, and never fundamentally change. Others rebel against their upbringing, with varying degrees of success.

People too often do not understand or appreciate the effects of class in America.

For a good book:

A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby K. Payne

As for me, most recently ordered:

Learn Judo with the Gokyo Gang - DVD#1 (DVD - 2009)

Should be fun. Copyright is 2009 but it was released this week ;)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Dealing with tangible miracles

A while back I spoke with someone who had been through some terrible things. They had significant post traumatic stress, including forceful nightmares. But, if they read their scriptures in the evening until they felt the Spirit, they did not have nightmares that night.

There was a direct, tangible, cause and effect. They said it was disquieting in some ways, that in a way, having a vague "do the right thing, it will be good for you" was easier than "do this and this will happen." But they had prayed for help, and this is where they had been guided.

Gave me thought.

I've continued to read twelve step materials, though for the most part they do not have much to do with grief recovery, they offer insights into God and life. Right now I'm reading the Al Anon Paths to Recovery. I don't have an alcoholic in my life (at least that I know about), but I find valuable comments.

Part of twelve step programs is taking an inventory, and they all offer advice and comments on things to look for and evaluate in your life. Al Anon asks the question:

Do I have a God of love or a God of fear in my life?

An interesting question to consider, as treating God as a God of fear is something they see as a barrier to recovery and spiritual healing.

How do I think of God? I need to ask myself that again.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Naked Badu in Dallas

By now most people have heard about a pop star stripping naked in downtown Dallas while shooting "guerrilla" video.

What most people don't know is that in order to find an audience of people to offend, it took her some work. I used to work right next to the plaza she used and would cut through it often.

Generally it is empty and abandoned. To find a time when there were some people (including the child and the offended mother), must have taken some work as I never encountered that many people in several years of cutting through the plaza.

Someone had asked me why the video could not have been shot in the middle of the night and avoided the problem. My response: heck, usually you could shoot the video in the middle of the day without any problem either.