Monday, June 12, 2017

Attuned to my presence: Challenges of my schooling

Wow, I can't believe I haven't posted in a year! (That last post was written a year ago but forgot to click "Publish")

I guess it's been a busy year.

Well actually it has, it was a year ago that I started Grad School (an online program, can't really leave Dean alone on a regular basis) and I can't believe I am completing a year already! I've done a LOT of reading and a LOT of writing which is to be expected, right?

My program requires me to go to Salem (a town about an hour away) four days per term and during those times I have my respite lady come hold the fort down for the most part. I do all the food prep, print out schedules, and call during all the necessary "reminder times". As my 9 1/2 year old son gets older, he gets more and more capable of helping dad which is great because it's less worry for me that my son needs care that daddy can't provide. It's more like they watch each other and follow mom's schedule. I taught my husband how to bake a pizza and my son knows how to follow all the rules about how to cook a pizza he just doesn't want to be near the hot oven, so dad does that part. But they really work together. My son tells dad when it's 4:45 to preheat the oven. Then when it beeps my son tells dad the pizza can go in now and then stands by to remind dad to set the timer for 17 minutes. Then when the timer goes off my son tells dad that the pizza is ready to be taken out of the oven. And then reminds dad to turn off the oven. My son loves pizza and so if dad messes it up there is a lot at stake...haha.

To help myself be in the school-brain-mode, I get a hotel down in Salem on Thursday night and come home Saturday night. The respite lady comes on Friday all day and so dad just puts son to bed on Thursday and then Saturday during the day they hang out. Thankfully my son makes his own breakfast and lunch and reminds dad to follow the schedule of eating. There is no car here for my husband to take and so I don't worry about any of that. For me, I found that it was too much role switching to go from full brain heaviness of school to caregiver and being needed. It also made my husband a bit more confused at all my coming and going. So getting a hotel has been a lot easier for me.

While it causes less confusion for my husband, it does cost him more emotionally. This is an area that I have seen no improvement and assume he will need some more intensive therapy to address. This year in my studies I've learned a lot about trauma and its effect on the brain and the body. I know this is part of the reason it's so hard for him as he still has trauma living in his body for sure! I still provide emotional safety and security for him at a primal level. This is not what he thinks, this is just how it is deep inside him. He is very attuned to people's energetic signatures (I don't know how else to explain that). If you are sitting in a room all by yourself say with headphones in so you can't hear the room and close your eyes, can you feel when someone comes into the room? Some people can! I believe it's similar to the feeling you get when someone is looking at you. Well, my husband is very attuned to this! When I am gone, my energy is removed from the total normal energy feel of the house. My energy is missing from his bed at night and he can't sleep. He walks around for two days not really being aware of when I will be back (as he doesn't track time well), feeling that part of him is missing because my energy is part of what gives him safety and stability. All that will sound weird to some but maybe some of you out there can follow that in a meaningful way. How do you explain THAT to the VA...haha. In VA speak, my husband emotionally crumbles when I'm not here and he cannot understand that I'll be back in two days.

He is like a zombie with no real life in him, just survival. I'm sure my son picks up on all this as he also is attuned to people's energy and feelings. The alternative though is not ok with me. I cannot have zero dreams, zero goals, and do nothing that stimulates me. So I try not to live with guilt and hope that one day my son will know that I just had to do it for myself.

Well, I've kind of run out of brain steam for today. I'll try not to be quiet for so long this time.

Summer's Back

[I actually wrote this June of 2016 and never clicked "Publish". It's still a true and valid post but this year it has not been that hot]

Well it's starting to look like summer around here. We hit 100 degrees during the first week of June and a few 90's before June even got here!

Of course this has a different impact on my husband. Now that I'm 110+ pounds lighter, I've found a new love for hot weather as I'm usually cold and now I can wear shorts and tank tops comfortably. But for my husband this is just miserable along with debilitating.

Yes, hot for lots of people is physically uncomfortable. Then take a person who is overweight like my husband and it's even more physically uncomfortable! But that is a non-TBI/PTSD issue. When you add in the injury stuff, I don't understand it medically and I can't tell you why it happens (other than the brain controls everything and when it's messed up, everything is), but anything colder than around 50 degrees and anything hotter than around 80 degrees is so difficult for my husband! It triggers his body to start flipping switches randomly inside him and you can see that it's so confusing for him to feel his body out of whack and unpredictable that it messes with his mental processes and his emotions as well.

His body isn't seeming to activate the cool switch at all.