Friday, January 25, 2013

I am being #Retrofitted!

The folks at #Retrofit actually sent me a scale. This isn't it.
After my last rather glum post, I've found a definite reason to smile and feel blessed. I won a year's membership with #Retrofit thanks to a blog contest by one of my very favorite bloggers.

If you are not following Pragmatic Mom, you definitely should be. Mia largely blogs about great children's books, but that alone does not describe her blog. Books are the theme, but she doesn't limit herself to that. Along the way, you get tips on parenting, blogging, gift giving, and how to be good to yourself. She's very very real. Read through a few posts and you'll want to grab a cup of coffee with her.  I know I would like to, although a good 1,600 miles separates us!

At the beginning of the year, Mia offered a blog contest with #Retrofit at the prize. I enter a lot of blog contests, but I really wanted to win this one! Amidst all my concerns about Dylan's education and well-being, there's this little teeny-tiny voice saying "What about me!?" Not to mention that despite my best efforts my weight has just been going up and up. I've gained 15 lbs just in the past year! I needed something to change and I'm really really hoping that #Retrofit is it!

I should also give a shout out to Vanita Cyril. She's another Pragmatic Mom fan who guest posted on Pragmatic Mom about her experience with #Retrofit. I hope to follow in her footsteps!

Through it all, I will share my journey with y'all. I know many moms (like this one and this one) who are trying to make this year the year for them.  We all love our kids, but it's hard to be a good mom when you are stressed out and are living only for other people.

Am I nervous? Yup. Do I think it will be easy? Nope.

I'll share more about my anxieties about it in a later post. I have my first meeting with my program advisor on Monday. I'll try to post soon after but one of the first rules of 2013 has got to be: Don't stress yourself out. With work and homework and trying to eat healthy, finding time to blog may not be easy, plus our internet has been a bit inconsistent lately. I hope to figure that out, but count on most posts coming over the weekend.

Wish me luck! I'll keep you posted!

(c) Argonne Chronicles 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Am I at a crossroads?

I started the year off well. I had my resolutions in hand (written down!) and I had even given myself a month-to-month list of goals. (Thank you Gretchen Rubin and The Happiness Project.)

It wasn't long, however, before I started slide.

Everything seemed grey. Difficult. Too much.

(It probably didn't help that our weather has been grey and a bit difficult.)  

I'm normally go-go-go, but all I seemed to want to do was stay in bed with the covers over my head. I wanted to sleep, which is my go-to avoidance technique. Or read, which I spent an entire Saturday afternoon doing.

I didn't like my world, so I entered the pages of another.

And it's not over yet. I'm a bit better, but still grey.

You might ask, "So, why don't you just get a prescription and take that all away?  All the cool kids are doing it."

I'm sure my doc would do it, but would that really solve anything? It's not like I'm just chemically depressed. A bit of winter-induced sunshine deficit. No, and in fact, I even think it's the desire to change, to make resolutions and do better that has put me here!

There's a realization that there is A LOT to tackle. And not everything fits into a month-to-month plan.

For instance, February was going to be budget month. Get our finances in line, trim those expenses, pay off some debt. But before we could even get there, for the second month in a row, we overdrew.

Now, we are not profligate spenders. We do not have the big DVR/High-Def/500-channel satellite channel. We've got your basic cable on an old big box TV. We have cut back on dining out such that I look forward to my mother-in-law's visits so that we can actually sit in a restaurant. I buy clothes only when something has worn out beyond fixing or I have outgrown something (which is happening to me, much to my chagrin). We keep the thermostat adjusted, buy the cheapest gas, and shop at WalMart (which grates on my soul). The bottom line is that we can't live on my pretty steady salary and RockStar's erratic one.

So not even a month in and January's plan (set better routines) was usurped by February's.

I know, it's not Armageddon, but for whatever reason it set me off. I realized how much the frustrations in my life are interconnected. It's hard to work on one thing exclusively, while the others are screaming for attention. It's overwhelming.  Right now, I feel as though all of these things need my immediate attention:
  • Finances - earn more money
  • Finances - pay off bills/lower bills
  • Dylan's education - figure out some sort of way to help his failing grades (without spending money on tutoring)
  • Dylan's socio-emotional needs - figure out ways to help him deal with anger (without more costly doctor bills)
  • Home management - get us on a more consistent schedule with healthier meals and a balance between leisure and school/work
  • Time management - get it all (my work, home management, helping Dylan with school, Scouts, and oh yeah, time for myself) done without killing myself
  • Weight/Health - Eat better and work out more without actually taking up any more time
  • Creativity - Feed my creative soul, again without actually taking up any more time or resources
And that list doesn't nclude room for friendship or even nurturing my relationship with RockStar which has its troubles thanks to that uneven financial picture and my current negative body image. Oh, and I still need a way to resolve my feelings about the new dog.

So, what's my solution, right?  You've read this far, you figure there's a neat happy ending? Yeah, well, unfortunately I feel as though I'm still in the thick of it. Still fighting the grey desire to just cover my head with blankets and read a good book. I'm going to work and doing what needs to be done, but it's hard. Today I'm meeting with Dylan's teacher and it's nearly my undoing. I feel as though I need to go through it, not medicate it, but we'll see.

How do you handle overwhelm? Is there a way to make it all fit?

(c) The Argonne Chronicles 2013


Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Discriminating H

When Dylan was first diagnosed, the official diagnosis was ADHD-Inattentive Type. This corresponds with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, which provides the standard diagnosis language and assessment of mental disorders used by mental health professionals. 

At one time, the DSM recognized attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder separately. I don't pretend to know why the Powers That Be that write, edit, and classify things in the DSM made the change, but I suspect that it had to do with the great deal of crossover among the different types.

Today, the DSM definition of ADHD is broken into three classifications: inattentive, hyperactive, and combined types.

Over time, it has become apparent that Dylan is actually classified as combined type. While inattention to things that are not compelling to him is easily the area that most handicaps him, he also has trouble sitting still, he talks a blue streak, and he's impulsive.

As not just an ADHD parent, but also an ADHD advocate, I will pretty easily share our story. The more parents share what they, their kids, and their families go through, the more I believe the stigma will be reduced. I fear, however, that there remains two distinct levels of stigma.

Often when I share that Dylan has ADHD, another parent will be quick to respond, "Oh, my son has ADD" or "My daughter has that, but without the H." It's obvious that there's a subtle distinction begin made.

If we're ever going to make a difference in the lives of kids and adults with ADHD, we don't need to be making distinctions that could serve to separate some of those who suffer from this disorder. We need to share what it's like, how it makes our kids' lives difficult, what the challenges are, what the successes are, and what makes these kids special, not what separates them from other kids or from each other.

Skin color should not divide us. Sexual orientation should not divide us. And neither should an H.

(c) The Argonne Chronicles, 2013