I haven’t updated in a while, mostly because I’ve been focusing on taking care of myself and accepting help.
I’ve been doing EMDR and it’s been helping me reframe my memories. At first I was doing it to recover from the trauma of being hospitalized for bipolar disorder. We’ve started working on my childhood trauma since then. This morning I was thinking about how Penelope said that the biggest impact for kids was when their moms got more support. This has been true for us because I’m able to be more regulated and present for my child, which I’ve written about before is their primary need.
One of the things that has come out of my bipolar diagnosis is being forced to focus on taking better care of myself and asking for or accepting help. I’ve been learning that ignoring my needs, such as disassociating from my pain, is one of my maladaptive strategies I’ve brought from my childhood.
One of the first stories I reframed with EMDR was about my elementary school worms.
The school I went to had one of those red dirt tracks out in the field. Whenever it rain the track would be covered in worms. During PE if it wasn’t raining, we would be told to run the track. It took me forever because I was avoiding stepping on the worms. Eventually I’d get in trouble for being squeamish. I was the only one reacting that way, so I was the wimpy freak. Re-examining it I realized that I was the only one sensitive and caring enough to want to avoid killing the worms by stepping on them. And instead of my kindness being honored it was dismissed.
I didn’t find out about the trait of high sensitivity until my late 20s or early 30s, so while I was able to do some reframing on my own, I didn’t realize how many formative memories I had with negative interpretations. And it was only recently working with my chiropractor that I realized how disassociated I was from my body and its pain signals.
I wouldn’t say I feel lucky to have bipolar, but I do feel lucky to have such a large caring network of friends and family to support me while I rewire my brain.
I am the only one I can control. I can influence others. Influence is different from control.
If someone tells me that I control them, that person is trying to give me their personal responsibility. They are denying their agency.
Until I fully accepted that I was responsible for my own suffering, I continued to suffer.
I still feel pain and every difficult emotion I did before. And I no longer suffer.
Before – my mind would be racing trying to keep track of all the things I was trying to do. I would not be focused on the present moment or my body or its needs.
Now – Every moment is a chance to check in with my needs. A chance to make a choice. A chance to be the best whatever I’m being.
I used to wander the house picking things up while I brushed my teeth. Multi-tasking. Now I practice being the best tooth carer I can be. If I’m brushing my teeth and my foot is uncomfortable, that’s a distraction. So I adjust how I’m standing. That discomfort was telling me to move. To change. And then I refocused back on the tooth brushing. Each action I took, I asked myself, is this what the best tooth carer would do?dddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd
And that is telling me I need to decide if I’m sleeping or getting up. I think I’ll sleep to let parts heal a bit more.
We couldn’t function without making assumptions, everything would take way too long. To tell when an assumption is causing a problem, pay attention to when you feel some challenging emotion like surprised, disappointed, sad or angry. Find the assumption behind it and either check it or change it.
I’d like to see research on the correlation between mothers going to work and autism in the US – comparison to the UK and/or England would be good too. And also changes to preschool & kindergarten.
This is what I’m wondering – most women in the US had little opportunity other than to stay home parenting their kids until 19??
And families stayed closer together in the US until when? I’m guessing it changed in the urban areas faster?
I know my grandfather moved across the country to get away from his racist family that were descendants of slave owners.
So at some point moms started having less and less support from family nearby and neurodivergent ones had more opportunities to work. So it was easier to send the kids to daycare/school. When daycares, preschools and kindergartens were small and shorter, the caregivers could probably spot the kids that needed some extra emotional support/learning that they weren’t getting at home. But those moms couldn’t work full time because none of them was longer than a half day when I was in kindergarten. Did the schedules expand because more moms went to work? Or vice versa? Same with class sizes? Either way, larger classes meant more kids were getting emotionally neglected, and instead of 1 or 2 in 15 kids needing extra support and kindergarten being pretty much all social and play based, now they are classes of 24-30 running the full school day and then maybe aftercare and way more of them are struggling and oh yeah, now they push reading and academics that early. Anyone remember those “everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten” posters? It was true, and sadly not so much anymore. And with families dispersing more, grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins aren’t around to take up that slack either.
I know my grandma worked and had 5 kids. And my mom had to work too. I remember there were so many of us “latchkey kids” who were unsupervised and alone every afternoon after school, from maybe 5th or 6th grade through high school. Maybe earlier. I think I might have been walking my brother the mile home from school when I was in fourth grade and he was in first?
Before I had my kiddo I had learned that having a primary caregiver for at least the first year, and preferably the first three was important. I didn’t learn that I needed to learn to self regulate, and that by not working at eye contact or babbling back that I was neglecting my kiddo. I babywore, I breastfed until 3.75 and I still neglected my kid. And I’m still doing it now because it takes so much effort to self-regulate. I’m doing better, but I can still see I have a lot of room for improvement.