Sunday, November 23, 2014

Old Habits Die Hard or simply Don't Die

I have always been a person with a temper and a "sharp tongue".  Are you surprised? I don't let that side of me show on Facebook (normally) or on this blog. And yet, it's something I have struggled with since I was a child.

Let's see if I can come up with some delightful memories for you.

I was always being reminded of my tone of voice: "Becky--tone."  "Becky--sharp tongue." I hated that. And yet, some of my kids have inherited this dreaded trait of mine and I am now reminding them in the same way.

I remember one day thinking I was going to change all that. After a moment of inspiration, I walked out to the family room where my two brothers were playing and announced, "I am never going to be mean to you again!" When they barely acknowledged me, I again made my announcement that I was a changed person. Again, they seemed unimpressed. I stamped my foot. "Fine!" I shouted, "You had your chance!" And I stormed off.

Ah yes, that little girl inside of me still stamps her foot and shouts from time to time.

I have heard people blame the devil saying that he created a situation that caused them to fall into their faults and sin. Well, while I do believe the devil attacks us (probably more than we are aware), I also believe, that he is like a mud puddle just waiting for someone to fall in. And mud puddles don't chase after people--it's the people who step into them. I have stepped into a few mud puddles today.

I made a fool of myself today at Target while waiting to back out of my parking spot. What is it with Sunday shoppers, I don't know. They all just got out of church and yet they are at their worst. I normally try not to shop on Sundays but we were out of toilet paper and I'm sorry, but with 5 kids at home, that is a necessity. I also had to order Anna's birthday cake since Target will be closed on Thanksgiving and I know from past mistakes that the bakers need 3 days notice before baking a cake.

(Please don't point out that I could've made my daughter's birthday cake myself, I am feeling bad enough.)

So with all those reasons, I went. I needed to hurry though, because I had Max waiting in the car. He didn't come in because he's sick and wasn't feeling up to it. So of course, it took forever with the kids I had coming with me, to pick up toilet paper, milk, put in the order for the cake, and then get everything checked out. I hurried back to the car, got us all in, began to pull out slowly, and then someone began to honk at me. I realized through my dirty rear window that someone was pulling out at the same time. Oops. So I pull forward and wait patiently for my next chance. So as soon as it looks clear, I begin to pull out slowly again only to be honked at again! This time, it's someone else who was 3 parking spaces up from me who decided to pull out. Well, I should have just pulled in--again--and waited--again--but my patience was already up.

I honked. I honked and honked and honked my horn. Man, it felt good. It was not the right thing to do, I know, but it made me feel so much better.

So after a few seconds, I begin to pull out slowly again--and it's like the entire parking lot froze. There were cars with their rear lights on that look like they were about to pull out but didn't dare to until I got out first. I was so embarrassed. I had made a complete skeptical of myself, not even realizing that I had captured everyone's attention. A guy who witnessed the whole thing passed by me with a big grin on his face. I'm pretty sure I am or will be on his Facebook status today.

All I could say to my kids who witnessed the entire thing was, "Don't copy that!" and zoomed off.

Of course, I am sorry now. Four hours later. I can see that I was in the wrong, that I should have been more patient. Everyone was in the same boat, impatient to get going, in a hurry for something, but we all have to be patient in the parking lot.

Later today, I cut the strings off of a group that I had created for myself and anyone else who was looking for support for Autism in a Catholic environment called "Catholic Autism Support". I won't get into that one. Perhaps one confession is enough. I will tell you that there was a disagreement about medicating your kids. I had posted for advice asking if anyone knew of any safe medications that they found to be successful for their child. Not one response.

Except for today, when someone simply replied in all caps: "DON'T DO THAT!!!!!!" That was it. That was my support?

When I replied, I simply asked the commenter what he would suggest then. (Along with an explanation of why I wanted to put my kid on medication in the first place.)

He replied that he never was put on meds because he wouldn't purposely make himself an "emotional drone". Oooh, that did it. Little Becky who stomps her feet got angry and defensive.

For one thing, I HATE medication. HATE HATE HATE. I was on it as a child and HATED it. However, I was also unbearable to be around. I have no idea what it was I went through, all I can tell you is that from the age of 11 years old, I became hyperactive one moment--loud, laughing hysterically over everything, to a downward spiral of emotional outbursts, crying, rage, suicidal threats. No one knew what to do with me. No one wanted to be around me. My family couldn't stand me.

After dealing with all this for months, my parents finally put me on medication. While it did "mask" some of what was going on, it also healed relationships with my family and with myself. They loved me but whatever I was going through was too much for all of us. The medication helped me get through a period that would have ruined us. Eventually, a few years later, I did get off the medication and haven't been on since. I personally try really hard to stay off of medication (I still struggle with ADHD and depression) because that is the way I choose to deal with it. But if I found myself ever getting to be *that bad* again, to the point where no one could be around me, then I would go back to the medication.

The point is, I don't like to be judged and no one should judge someone for being on medication.

This is what this group was doing to me for considering putting Luke on medication for his ADHD.

Luke--my seven year old who cries because he knows that no one likes him. The boy who is *always* in trouble at school, on the bus, and at home, because he can't seem to contain himself. Does he get disciplined? Of course! Does he get cool downs/time-outs? Yes. Have we reduced his sugar? Absolutely.

However, he still has ADHD. What I or his teachers and therapists can do for him is simply not enough. I am tired of seeing my little guy in trouble all the time. I am tired of him crying that he sits alone at lunch. It is not fair to him. This is why I consider medication for him---to get him through a period in his life that just might too hard to handle for his age.

Anyway, this is why I left the group. I had created a group of what I thought and hoped would be a safe place to talk about these sensitive subjects and somehow found myself defending my actions as people began to argue that I shouldn't put him on meds at all. Have they walked a mile in my shoes? I thought because we all have similar problems, they have but I guess not. So I did the easiest emotional thing for me to do--I left the group. It was hard and I'll miss it. But it's not my support.

I don't really like how I handled the situation. Perhaps I reacted too quickly. Maybe I shouldn't have been so defensive. Maybe I misunderstood what they were saying. These are the things that run through my head after I step into the mud puddle.

Those darn mud puddles.

I am glad for the showers of confession where everything becomes clear again.


  1. My temper is my problem too! You're not alone. It is such a struggle. By God's grace, I'm able to control it somehow.

    Hope you find peace in your heart.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Becky, for what it's worth, I think you are very perceptive to the pros and cons of medication for Luke. You've been through it yourself and know that it can be helpful at certain times. I haven't had to deal with that problem myself, but I thought your insight about it helping heal your family relationships was very important. It may not cure the problem, but it will help the behavior not drive away the very people you need around you for love and support. The social aspect of life is very important to feeling good about yourself. If it would help Luke at school to make friends and not feel that he is always in trouble, I would at least try medication to see if it helped. If there are other problems that develop or it has other undesirable side effects, he can go off it or change meds later. As you said, it may help him get through a difficult time in his life until he can handle things in his own way. No one way of handling a situation is the only right way. You know your child best and you do what works best for your kid. Good luck and let us know how it goes. A Happy Thanksgiving wish for you and the family!

  3. Thanks DeAnna; your comment makes me feel a little better about putting Luke on meds.

  4. Parking lots are tough. Remember that you, your husband and the doctor get to decide if medication is the right thing for Luke at this time. Other people are not his parents or his doctor.
    So this past year I was finally diagnoses with ADHD myself. I'm not second grader either. Under the careful monitoring of my doctor, I am taking my medicine and am benefiting from it. When I decided to fill my prescription, a friend of mine became angry with me. It went against HER philosophy. We're no longer friends.
    What is right medically for one person is not right for another. Somethings are not right or wrong for everybody. All the best to Luke.

  5. It's hurtful when people judge one another, especially when it's about something that you can't really help and it's affecting your life...I understand you no longer being friends because trust is broken when people treat you like that. I forgive the people in the group (even though I doubt they're sorry or realize how much they offended me) but the trust is gone. So because of that, I can't go back.