Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Trying to stay "Hopeful"

Have you ever seen that show called Wipeout? The contestants are wearing helmets and knee pads and have to navigate through a series of obstacles that threaten to throw them 15 feet down into a pool of water? Oh- and they're shot out of a cannon into the water and have to climb up and out just in order to start the course.

The first time I watched that show I laughed till I cried. In subsequent viewings, I howled at the hilarity of it all; it just couldn't lose it's humor for me. Then last night it occurred to me that this show is a perfect metaphor for my life (at the moment), and all of a sudden it was no longer funny.

I've had the t.v. on lately just to serve as background noise. My son has been home from school ever since the holiday break and since he is not much of a talker (and can't hear the tv anyway), I've relied on the sounds of the t.v. for a little company. You wouldn't believe how often during the day one hears the phrase "on your side". Whether it be a news program, a law firm commercial, or an add for a medication, that phrase is being said all day long. It's enough to really make you paranoid - everyone else must not be on my side! They're all against me!

I've been feeling like I'm in battle mode for far too long, so maybe I'm just a little oversensitive to this message. Either way, I have turned off the t.v. and turned on the cd player. There's no sense in doing anything, no matter how benign it may seem, that encourages my tendency to worry or feel a sense of self pity.

I still have high hopes for the new year, but it's getting off to a really lousy start. 

What do you guys do to feel better? When you're feeling stuck in the muck of it all, is there anything that you have found to be a good diversion? I'm all ears. 


  1. Oh, my. What diverts me is the mantra: This, too, shall change. Really, that's about it. I don't feel better right away, but I do know that I will...one day.
    I'm embarrassed to say it because it's so obvious and I'm the last to do it, but EXERCISE. I stop exercising and slowly but surely start feeling down and depressed and in need of diversion and then I'm really down and depressed and then I'll grudgingly start to exercise and then BINGO, I feel better. It's mortifying, actually.
    I hope you feel better soon. We've all been there or ARE there.

  2. I'm with Elizabeth; I walk EVERY day, unless I'm really sick. It helps my frame of mind so much, and it's a really creative time, mentally. Another thing that helps is taking a few minutes for myself and reading upbeat blogs, such as NieNie or whatever or some of the other creative ones. Some kind of prayer practice is a boost, too, even just a simple one, like "Help me!" or "Thank You."
    When I'm really down, I put music on the CD player and sew quilts to donate to the cancer ward at Seattle Children's Hospital. When I'm in the dumps, sewing for those kids helps me.
    I hope these Ideas give you some light and hope!
    Bless you.

  3. These are great! Thanks you guys. I haven't been exercising and as soon as I can get this child back in school I intend to give it a whirl. I'm often parenting solo, so it's tough to fit it in sometimes. I think you're right though, because the times that I have managed to exercise it has really lifted my spirits. Love all the suggestions!

  4. I find exercise and getting outside -- particularly in nature -- very important! Since my knees are shot, I do a lot of walking -- even walking to Starbucks which is about 15 minutes can lift my mood (and they're so friendly there too). I don't let myself lie in bed worrying on the weekends (which I used to -- I make myself get up). I do things with my son that bring me joy, and have nothing to do with therapy or development or reaching goals: reading, swimming, watching a movie. Be around people who are supportive -- particularly those who understand your child with special needs and "get it." Stay away from the tv or anything else that is making you feel negative. Counselling or support groups are sometimes helpful as a way of getting perspective. Eat well. Get respite -- even if it's just for a night so you can get out and come back re-energized. Everyone needs a BREAK! You said you're often parenting solo. In Ontario, Canada we have funding for respite so you can hire someone to care for your child (it could be in the home while you go out, or by taking your child out in the community to do fun things). I bet there are high school and university students who would love to work with your son and gain incredible insights and skills.

  5. Thank you Louise! Fantastic ideas, all of them. Looking into the respite idea stat!

  6. it's already been said, but i'll second (third? fourth?) it .. walking outside. i can't claim to do it nearly as much as i like (or NEED!) .. but there is nothing that clears my head like getting outside, filling my lungs with fresh air and walking.

  7. Walks work well, but as a single parent - I can't often leave the house easily or reliably. And walking with the kids totally defeats the purpose.
    Generally, I end up more on the creative end. I write. I sing to myself. I dream about how I wish it were. I indulge in my own sarcasm and then crack myself up. I stay up absurdly late doing something totally frivolous. I check out with a book, if I happen to have the right kind at the time. I draw. I invent something in my head. I remind myself about a zillion times that this is just a moment in time and that it will pass........ Somehow or another, with a little bit of this and a little bit of that - I get through it. Admittedly, it takes longer than a walk.........

  8. What keeps me hopeful is the knowledge that this is all a journey. Where you are right now, where your child is right now is not where you are going to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years. I remind myself quite often that now, at the age of 5, I am simply laying the foundation, guiding Wyatt and filling his toolbox with everything he will need to keep learning, and growing. Things can get so hard, there are moments,days, and weeks that can weigh me down. When this happens I look back over my journal and see that time and time again I find myself in hard times and then they always pass. Oh and I eat a lot of chocolate.