The Yogibo Max

10% off coupon code: Countering

Last week, I was contacted by Yogibo.com to see if I'd be willing to accept one of their bean bags to review, specifically in terms of how my children on the spectrum found it. When I looked at the site, I started drooling. We were very kindly sent the Yogibo max, which is six feet by two feet by two feet and priced at over $200.

I am in love with this bag. My girls are in love with it. My husband slept on it, it's that big. The cats are impressed. And the dogs think it is theirs when no one else is on it. 

The girls have laid on it, reclined on it, laid under it, laid side by side on it. You name it. They've done their school work on it. The couch has not been used since the Yogibo Max arrived.  That is how awesome it is.

If I had money, I would redo the living room in them! There are several options and lots of colors to choose from.  

Yes, I'm biased. We were given an expensive product free that my girls love, that provide sensory input that is calming, that makes them feel special. But, trust me when I tell you this is better than Temple Grandin's hugging machine. It's soft but heavy enough and large enough that when you lie under it, you feel pressure. I've used it that way. I would totally do a double in my room for me. It would be my safe space when I'm overwhelmed by kids, critters and the demands of my job and my anxiety disorder which tend to render me skittish and unwilling to be touched. 

So, anyone with 400 dollars, consider that to be my Christmas gift wish.

Yes, that's the Yogibo max under batman decorations and dogs.

Here's the Yogibo max out of the box.

Definitely dog approved.

Kids testing it.

Go to www.yogibo.com and check out their stuff. Kathleen at Autism Herd also wrote about it and if you up use her coupon code, you can get ten percent off.  Totally worth it!



A Sunday Epiphany: I was due one

You ever notice how epiphanies come  at the weirdest of times, you know, like at six in the morning when you are sitting on the toilet surrounded by six cats of various sizes all meowing and some of them climbing on you? And you're talking to them suggesting that if they weren't climbing their way up your body, you would totally be able to pee quicker and then they'd get fed quicker and it would be a win-win for everyone and then the dogs wander in and wonder where their cat food is?

Yeah that. But still I had an epiphany, which the critters were not impressed with when I yelled loudly, "He was totally scripting!" This epiphany was in relation to a conversation I was having with Bobby, which I don't go into detail here, because it wasn't the conversation so much as that it took me 8 hours to get what was going on. He was using bits and pieces of dialogue to explain something I didn't get at the time.

So we had a talk this morning about emotions, feelings, moods , innate temperaments and situational behavior, which was probably me scripting from prior psyc lectures, but whatevs.

Anyway, after we were both thoroughly confused and exhausted but maybe realizing we should skip these kinds of talks in the future (I'll let Lily do them), he kissed me on the cheek and took the dog for a walk without being asked,  by the dog or me.

I'm pretty sure that's because I'm such a motivational speaker.


Whatever. The other title was great before you ate it, Blogger.

“I've crossed some kind of invisible line. I feel as if I've come to a place I never thought I'd have to come to. And I don't know how I got here. It's a strange place. It's a place where a little harmless dreaming and then some sleepy, early-morning talk has led me into considerations of death and annihilation.” 
― Raymond CarverWhere I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories

I was freaking insightful but blogger ate it, so you don't get to appreciate that incredible epiphany.

Don't worry. There wasn't really an epiphany, I rambled about being lost, absent minded, confused and unsure about everything. 


Break, then--that's what crazy glue is for

Several years ago, I was told by my therapist, who was trying to be helpful, that if I hadn't broken yet, I wouldn't in the future, in response to my concern that I would face the same mental health issues some family members had, that I would, in fact, at some point break.

That's stuck with me, but not because it made me feel better about the several challenges I was facing, but because it made me feel pressured to continue to be the one that kept on going, didn't make major foul ups, to keep being the responsible one.

That one sentence from my well-meaning therapist, meant to console and empower me instead made me often feel worse about myself and the challenges I was dealing with.

If I could go back three years and offer myself an answer to that question, based on my in-depth awareness of just how much I mask of my internal states, I'd say something completely different than the therapist did: what I needed to hear then, what I still need to hear.

Breaking is okay. It happens. It's not the end of the world. It doesn't make you a failure. If you break, you are not alone and we will pick up all the pieces and put them back together and you will be stronger yet softer for it. You will be more compassionate, kinder. You will know that we all need to be taught to bend, to change, to ask for help, to speak our story aloud, and that when we are true to ourselves, those broken pieces will fit back together so much better.

You also need to know that you will live experiences that will shatter you. You will think you'll never be able to get past it, that part of you will remain there, in those shattered moments and that's okay, too, if you remember to stop and love yourself, all of yourselves, the ones that are shattered, the ones that are bending so far you are certain breakage is inevitable, and the ones who have risen, stood back up and prepared to battle yet another day. We contain multitudes, after all, and the sooner we learn that truth, the easier it will be to love all of ourselves, even our contradictory and difficult selves.

I have broken in the last three years, several times. Some of those shatterings I hid until I couldn't any more. I am a work in progress, and part of that progress is learning to admit aloud to others when I'm struggling and when I need help. And then to follow through to get that help.

And to keep telling myself that breaking is just part of life. Break, pick up the pieces, and see what kraggle* and duct tape can do to get me on my way again.

There are worse things than breaking. Breaking leads to change and growth. 

There ARE worse things than admitting I don't have this, that I need support. That's what I would have told me three years ago, if I'd been my therapist. But she didn't, and I stopped seeing her because I couldn't be honest about the depth of my despair or what all I was struggling with. The facade of having it together was more important than telling her she was wrong, that I was broken in innumerable ways. 

Admitting I'm chipped and scuffed and missing some of my polish, that's actually not so hard, not so bad. It's a good thing to teach my girls, to be honest about ourselves with our loved ones. They still love me. Rick, who knows all of me, has never wavered in his love or support. Sometimes he's missed that I've shattered, but that was my fault for hiding it from him.

So maybe I come out the other side of these confessionals like the Velveteen rabbit, real if tattered. I honestly don't know, but I do know I have to tell it, own it, embrace the lessons and move forward, always ready to look back and reach out a helping hand to the me's who are struggling to find their way.

*kraggle--Lego movie


Mixed, with a chance of serious storms

Not the weather, me.

Not the weather. ME.

I hate admitting to struggling.

I hate feeling the storm brewing in me, the internal tornado...the sense that I'm about to fly off, scatter into pieces, shatter beyond repair.

Even more, I hate that to a degree I can contain that tornado so that most people are unaware that anything is amiss.

I feel like it's unfair, not to me, necessarily, but to those around me, so I bottle it up, let it trickle out in the purchase of things I don't need, animals I shouldn't take in, books I may never read, shoes I may never wear.

And so on.

The biggest issue is the crippling anxiety, the certainty that I am in over my head, that I simply can not do another single day. And yet, I've survived every day prior, so I know I will get through today too.

The obsessions distract from the anxiety, from that slow, sure sucking away at my soul's reserves, the strength I keep having to find. It costs, this continuing, in ways that people who have not lived with all day every day anxiety cannot imagine.

Oh, sure, we all worry. Yeah. True. But every single second of your waking hours is spent replaying every possible scenario in your head? All the possible harm, all the possible damage, all the bad things that can happen?

I know I'm in trouble when the cutting images come. I once, when stuck at basic training for six agonizing, brutal and abusive months, cut. It was the only thing I had control over. There was no escaping the drill sergeants and their total control over my body and my life. My profile buddy and I would steal the keys to the building we lived in on the nights the worst drill sergeants had overnight duty. It was our way of saying no and making sure we were safe. They never told on us, so they knew what they were trying to do was wrong.

It was a victory of sorts, to hold those keys over night, listening to the door handle rattle and know they weren't getting in, at least not that night.

We'd pay for it in other ways, but it was worth it.

That's 27 years ago and it feels like now.

I don't think we escape our pasts. I think we can hold it hostage, lock it away, but it can outsmart us and steal the master keys when we least expect it.

And this wasn't even the  issue this morning--the news with the young college student hauling her mattress around everywhere simply added a fun dimension to a day I was already struggling with...

At some point, even the most navel-gazing writer realizes telling his or her story involves other people's stories, too, and then we realize maybe we shouldn't, maybe it's not okay.

That happens for a lot of us when our kids are teens and we realize we aren't the main character in that scenario any more.

And when it comes to autism and adult children on the spectrum who are entirely dependent on you, it's a betrayal at a fundamental level to talk about that relationship outside of the wins.

It's not always wins, though. And being multiply challenged and disabled as my adult son is means a fair amount of difficulties he faces each day, and that we as his family face with him. Those aren't mine to talk about. It's not the end of the world, nor are things bad. They are just challenging, for all of us, as we work to accommodate and facilitate a life based on what he wants for himself.

It's not all bad, either...Most of it's good. And so when I struggle, in part, over the hurdles, I feel like I'm not honoring him and everything he overcomes every single day.

And here's the kicker...my issues take up and make up more of the challenges I deal with than my children's challenges do. I'm not perfect--I'm incredibly flawed and dealing with the depression, the anxiety, the obssessive behavior, the apparent need to save every body else...well, that causes far more difficulties than autism ever has in our house.

And if I don't own that, speak that truth, I deny myself, my husband and my children the chance to leave some of my baggage behind.

Except I don't honestly believe it can be left behind. I can rationalize all I want. I can go into therapy repeatedly and have, but this is as close to touching the issues as anybody is ever going to hear or read.

I'm not sure what value there's been in writing this other than the images of engaging in self-harm have retreated, so I know I've boxed some of the garbage up again and I can walk out of my office and no one, short of those who have read this, will have any idea what's going on behind my eyes.

So, just remember, just because someone is functional, funny, and caring and to all appearances okay--that doesn't mean anything other than the mask is on securely for the time being. That's all that means. Nothing more.

*Here I would do a disclaimer and say I'm fine, blah, blah...but seriously...I can honestly say I am in no danger of self-harm, that I see my primary caregiver tomorrow and will discuss this, and that your reading this has made it easier for today for me. And that, Rose, I'm tugging the red string and feeling better knowing you're at the other end.