Child With Special Needs? Finding Help Isn’t Easy

Child With Special Needs? Finding Help Isn’t Easy

We had just been trapped for 45 minutes in the parent’s lounge of the Pediatric Psychiatric Ward of the hospital while our child hit, kicked, screamed and cried at us from the other side of the door. It took multiple staff members to remove our child to his room so that we could exit safely. We needed to attend the mandatory safety meeting to help us begin the process of bringing our child back home.

Holding back tears, and shaking like a leaf, we went to the meeting. We sat through discussions of what to do with sharp objects, weapons and medications at your home before your child can return home. None of this applied to us. It might one day, but for now, this was not our situation.

We had been told, “Bring up your safety issues during the meeting.” And so we did.

Our child doesn’t try to hurt us with objects and doesn’t try to hurt himself. Instead, it is his body he uses. To kick you, hit you, bite you, anything that can aid in the mission to get that coveted object. Something with a screen or more food. When my Husband is home he can protect us. I can no longer just pick my child up and put him in his room when he has a meltdown and starts acting out.

Our safety plan for my daughter and I to get into a room and lock ourselves in until he calms down. The problem is that because he is now bigger and stronger, he punches holes in the doors. It won’t be much longer until he can physically break the door down. Unlike the Children’s Psychiatric Ward, our house isn’t made of safety glass and industrial doors.

Our question for the professionals was, “What do we do to protect ourselves?” The Therapist’s reply-

“That’s out of my area of expertise.”

That’s all that she said. That is where she left our question. That is where she left us. We just wanted help.

As a parent, this leaves me in a terrifying position. How do I protect one child and myself, yet still providing boundaries and other needs for my other child?

When they released our child, one of the documents they sent home stated that they hadn’t seen any of the behavior issues that had led to him being admitted. Did I just imagine those 45 minutes being trapped in the parent’s lounge with my Husband? I must have imagined all those kicks to the door and screams. Did I imagine the staff’s instruction to not come out until they had a plan in place for our son to be safe that he would agree to? Knowing that just an hour earlier he had an earlier meltdown which also required multiple staff to remove him from my body as he desperately tried to get to my phone?

My child is not always like this. He is not always trying to hurt us. He can be loving and kind.

These are the situations and dilemmas that parents of special needs children face. This is what our lives can be like. We each have our own individual situations. We each have our own issues. But we are in need of help that is often just not available to us.

*This post was originally written about 6 months ago. I have spread out the posts on Psychiatric Wards so that you don’t get them all at once.

If you would like to read more about these types of experiences you can do so here and here to start with.

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My Favorite Things (A Giveaway)

My Favorite Things (A Giveaway)

My Favorite Things continues. The third week of the month will be completely random. Some weeks, it might be a recipe, a song, or a giveaway. Just something that is one of my favorite things.

Today I have a special treat for you. I recently had a dear friend design some t-shirts for me. T-shirts with inspirational sayings are one of my more recent favorite things as I wrote about here. I had her use the two taglines I use for my blog-

“Standing Up, Speaking Out, Sharing My Truths”

and

“Even Ordinary Moms Can Do Extraordinary Things”

One of the shirts happens to be too big for me. This week I will be giving away this beautiful pink shirt with the words “Even Ordinary Moms Can Do Extraordinary Things.” It is a size 1x short sleeve t-shirt. A cotton/polyester blend that’s light and airy.

It could be yours or a great gift for someone else. How can you win you might ask?

First, make sure you are signed up to receive my blog posts by email so you never miss another post! If you aren’t signed up you won’t be able to win. I’ve made it easy for you and you can sign up right here!

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Second, simply share this blog post on any form of social media. For each different place or time you share it, you will receive one entry into this giveaway. Come back here and reply in the comments section where you shared it and how many times. You will be given an entry for each time it is shared.

The winner will be chosen at random next Wednesday and the results will be posted on “My Favorite Things.” This giveaway is not promoted by anyone but me Calleen Petersen on my blog “An Ordinary Mom.”

Good Luck!

Life Is Too Short To Live Without Color

Life Is Too Short To Live Without Color

“The Good Lord gave us beautiful colors in the world around us, and I don’t think for a second that he wants us to only surround ourselves with the most durable colors, the ones that will coordinate with the most things.”

The Journey To Education With A Brain That Lies

The Journey To Education With A Brain That Lies

I have wanted to go back to school and finish my degree for years. There have been several things stopping me from doing that. The biggest reason? My brain.

Let me explain. Over the last 15 years or so I have dealt with a lot of chronic stress. Sedation with surgeries can also cause issues with memory and retrieval. I’ve been through 2 major back surgeries and a couple other procedures with sedation.  Then just add to that the normal stress/activities of being a Mom and I haven’t been sure I had a brain left.

Often I will be talking to someone and I cannot retrieve a simple word from my brain that I want to insert into the conversation. One day it was “strawberries”. I could mentally see them, describe them, virtually taste and smell them. I knew that I knew the word but I could not remember what the name of it was, retrieve it from my brain, and say it when needed. This is frequent and frustrating.

This issue has caused me to feel that I had lost my opportunity to finish school. Fear that my brain wasn’t going to be able to learn any more fills me. I struggled when I picked up in-depth books and classics that I have loved and been drawn to throughout my life. I felt like I could only digest “beach reads”.

But it was also my brain lying to me from my chronic anxiety. It kept telling me I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t smart anymore.

This blog has been what has slowly taught me that my brain is lying. As I have been writing for almost 2 years, the words while still a problem, are coming a little easier. But more than that, blogging and writing have opened a whole new world that I know nothing about. I am continually having to stretch myself to learn new things. SEO, coding, plugins. . .

Almost there. But not quite.

And there it is again. I can’t retrieve the word I want about having to share my writing everywhere to build a reader base. The word will come to me eventually. But I am making note of it here to show you how often it happens.

All of these new things I am really clueless about. Recently I switched my blog over to a self-hosted site. I know nothing about any of the ins and outs of self-hosting a blog. I googled, and I talked to people and I asked questions. There were two things I just couldn’t figure out how to resolve so I reached out and paid someone to fix it for me. At the end of our conversation, she asked how much experience I had had doing this. I told her none. She said that she was really surprised I had been able to go as far as I had without knowing anything about this and that she was really impressed.

I have no desire to learn coding or SEO or any of these other computer things I am now dealing with. But I am finding that if I am going to get my message out I need to know these things. I need to at least dip my toes in the water and become conversant.

I listen to podcasts daily about writing, publishing, editing, and history. I’m reading more books trying to gain knowledge in all subjects. I’m learning new social media platforms. (If anyone would like to give me a tutorial on Instagram I’m all ears because I am still figuring that out.)

I began to think, maybe I am still capable of learning things. Maybe I am able to still change the world in my little corner. Maybe my brain has been lying to me and things are possible.

As my husband re-enlisted for the requisite 4 years in the Army to transfer his GI Education Benefits to a family member, I’m planning on heading back to school at the beginning of next year. Likely it will be online as I never know what is going to happen with my son from one moment to the next. But I am not going to let my brain lie to me anymore. I can learn new things. I can succeed.

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My Favorite Things Week 2- Blogs

My Favorite Things Week 2- Blogs

It’s the second Wednesday of the month in which I will tell you about one of my favorite blogs to read.

This week’s featured blog is Lovely In The Dark which is written by Katie Wiegel. In her blog, Katie addresses topics like depression, divorce, motherhood, God, and friendship.

In her latest post, she talks about what she fears in life and how in spite of all those fears she has been able to hang on, push through and live. One of the things I love about Katie’s blog is that she is very real. She tells us when she is struggling and why, and because of that, we can connect with her and find hope for our own situations despite being in a different place or going through a different trial.

I hope you will enjoy Lovely In The Dark as much as I do. What are some of your favorite blogs to read?

We Will Never Forget 9/11/01

We Will Never Forget 9/11/01

I had another post planned for today, but as it is 9/11, instead I’m sitting down to write my thoughts and feelings about this day.

17 years ago I lived just outside Washington DC in Virginia. Friends were in the White House and Pentagon that day. Friends pulled remains out of the Pentagon. We were very aware that there was a plane somewhere in the sky that was unaccounted for and they believed it was headed for D.C. If they found it they were going to shoot it down and it could come down anywhere. Ultimately that plane would crash in a field in Pennsylvania due to the bravery and courage of the people on board. I didn’t lose anyone that day. I sat at home watching as the second plane flew into the second tower. There are many moments that stand out vividly in my memory and I imagine will remain so for the rest of my life.

It was a day that for those of us who are old enough to remember and experienced it, a day that will forever mark our souls. It is something that even now, 17 years later is hard to grasp. Hard to understand.

There are many who have been born after 9/11. There are many who were too young to remember what happened that day. And so we have a responsibility to pass on those memories to them. But I am afraid that even as we say the words, “We will never forget,” we are unintentionally forgetting.

I remember the shock, the hurt, the unbelievable and incredible sadness and anger from that day. But I also remember a nation that was united together and found a common bond in our grief. People gathered in churches that week and held vigils. We reached out to one another and shared our grief and pain. We held our families and friends close and realized just how fragile life is. There was a unified purpose, and love of country throughout our land. We remembered what an amazing place this is to live and how blessed we were. We honored the lives of those that were lost and the brave souls who rushed in to help when all others were running away together.

Today I am remembering that unification and bond. Today I am asking myself where that has gone and how we could so quickly forget what 9/11 taught us that day.

Take a moment today, this week, this month and this year to reach out to others whom you may not know or understand. People who are different from you that you might not ordinarily interact with. Remember our common bonds. Find common ground. In doing so we will continue to honor those who lost their lives, their loved ones and their innocence that day.

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My Favorite Things- Week 1- Videos/ Mental Health

My Favorite Things- Week 1- Videos/ Mental Health

The new feature here on An Ordinary Mom continues.

I’m still figuring it all out, but week 1 of the month will be videos. Likely it will be a video I’ve created about one of my blog posts or a Facebook Live. Perhaps even an occasional one about movies I’ve loved.

This week it’s a Facebook Live which is the opposite of something I love. I can’t say that I even like doing Facebook Lives. But I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I talk about something that is really important to me- Mental Health. After my last Facebook Live, someone asked a question about it and in this one, I finally get around to answering the question.

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Writing and Believing In Your Self Worth

Writing and Believing In Your Self Worth

“As I began asking other writers about their processes in writing their bio’s, one of them suggested that I ask someone who reads my work and who loves me, to tell me about myself. My reply was that “I would have to then believe them”. I realized that in order to believe someone else, I would have to first believe in myself. “

The Hard Things, The Necessary Things

The Hard Things, The Necessary Things

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this weekend and a particular post stopped me in my tracks. It said- “What did you do this weekend?” A perfectly innocuous post.