Tag Archives: health

How Stress Is Making Me Bald At 31

6 Jun

Since having the toddler 3 years ago I’ve been shedding hair faster than a snake sheds its skin. Of course the doctor told me I was only losing the extra hair I’d gained during my pregnancy! He looked at me with a slight smile as I protested that actually my hair had began thinning during my pregnancy! Seriously, there were no luscious locks in need of shedding here! The look on his face said it all… He thought that I was overreacting… My panic, unjustified!

As a child, teenager and young woman in her early twenties, my hair was thick and healthy. During my later twenties and drawing closer to the big 30, my hair was struggling to keep up. Now as I write this, age 31, my hair is so thin you can just see my scalp. I have some noticeable patches to the front area of my head.

Another visit to the doctor almost 3 years following the first and my worse fears are confirmed… My hair is falling out! Why? I’m told its stress!

If I was going to lose eyebrows and lashes then it would have happened already… Well, I guess that’s something positive at least!

I’ve read about this happening to both children and adults, both men and women. Some people lose all their hair in a speedy fashion and sadly experience no regrowth. Others are more fortunate and the hair comes out at a much slower pace and new hair continues to grow, only at a far slower pace (looks thin but not noticeably bald). I kind of fall within the latter, only now I’m losing the hair faster than ever before and I suspect that the regrowth of my hair is much slower!

Annoyingly, I don’t over style my hair, I use heat defence spray when blow drying and despite owning GHDs straighteners I’m careful and don’t use them on a daily basis! Whenever I do straighten my hair I do well to protect it by opting for a good heat protector and intensive conditioning treatment. So… Why do I consider the above to be so annoying? Its simple… I’ve taken steps to avoid damaging my hair only to discover I’m literally forcing it from my scalp with the power of my mind alone. As I sit worrying about certain happenings in my life somehow its my hair (whats left of it) paying the price.

Yes… I’ve felt somewhat stressed, more so these past few months for sure. There are a lot of things happening in life right now, not only I, but my family as a whole have been dealing with a lot stuff of late. Its the type of stuff that makes you sick with worry and no matter what you do its one of those situations that are way beyond your control. Yes, this is stress at its worse, the type fuelled by worrisome thoughts that when combined with other everyday pressures, they become extremely explosive! The end result… A 31 year old women preparing to wig shop!

As some may expect, I went through the motions… Checked the mirror every 20 minutes as so to ensure their was still hair on my head, brushed my thinning hair ever so gently and lastly… I used all the “miracle” hair treatments, the ones promising hair like that of Cheryl Coles.

But no more! I’m now just getting on with things! After all worrying about something that is caused by stress isn’t going to get me anywhere now is it? I’ve decided that I’m going to have fun with what hair is left on my head, starting with colouring it pink… Yes pink! I’m using a less harmful colour treatment and may even throw in a little blue if I’m feeling adventurous. Why? You might ask? Well… Why not?

I’ve come to realise that in life there are much more pressing issues then that of my fading hairline. By adapting this attitude I could also be doing my hair some good. However do I expect to correct an issue caused by stress if I’m stressing even more as a result?

Its all about the inner issues and its them that I’m concentrating on banishing. We as parents, human beings even, will always be stressing about something! I’ve just got to learn to let it out and deal with things in a more productive way, rather then letting it go to my head… Literally!

Little Man Gets Busy In The Kitchen

19 Apr

If you read the blog you will know that since little man has been attending his new special school, we have discovered his got rather good skills in the kitchen.

That’s right, his becoming a bit of a master chef and whats more he enjoys the activity of cooking and baking.

A few weeks back we were contacted by someone involved in the cooking with kids campaign creates by ‘The great british chefs‘ in conjunction with Tesco. The campaign is all about encouraging parents to cook with their children as a way of encouraging not only healthy eating but also food education. It provides the perfect bonding activity (unless you’re child’s like little man, not allowing you a single look in)!

There is a whole web page of child friendly recipes to create from yummy dinners to delightful desserts and cakes.

I suggested to the Little guy that we give it a go and as expected he was up for challenge.

Only instead of selecting a recipe requiring lots of ingredients, we opted for one of the more simplistic options available… so much so there was no cooking or even baking involved whatsoever! It wasn’t because we just wanted to speedily put together something simple… the recipe we chose was one that not only looked delicious within the imaging displayed on the Great British Chefs website, but something we hadn’t ever thought about trying before.

This was a recipe for strawberry sundaes, only slightly different from the norm, as these were created with yogurt and oats (Granola) instead of that of ice cream which we would always normally use when pulling together a sundae.

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The sundae recipe has been created by Gavin Brothers especially for the campaign which is running in conjunction with Tescos. The recipe introduction reads, “This strawberry sundae recipe is a fantastic breakfast treat, as instead of ice cream, there’s yoghurt and granola. Quick to prepare, even for little hands, they make a nice, healthy mid-day snack for children. Feel free to experiment with other seasonal berries and fruits”

So here’s the few ingredients needed to create this relatively healthy alternative to the traditional strawberry ice cream sundae…

160g of granola
250g of low fat strawberry yoghurt
150g of strawberries
20g of icing sugar

This is said to feed a family of 4 (sundaes served in a tall glass)

We however used our sundae glasses which look much taller than the ones used for this recipe, so we had to increase our ingredients slightly.

Here’s what you do …

Remove the tops from the strawberries and place in a bowl with the icing sugar

LIGHTEN IT UP
Feel free to reduce the sugar used in this step

2. Use a fork to lightly crush the strawberries

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3. Place some granola in the bottom of each glass, followed by some strawberry yoghurt. Top with the crushed fresh strawberries and serve

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We also sprinkled a little icing sugar on top of our finished sundaes for decoration purposes.

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Little man seriously took over (I swear he would make a great head chef… His bossy and likes to take charge). Although this recipe was really simple, he really enjoyed putting the sundaes together.

As for the taste, we all loved them! Just check out the toddler getting stuck in!

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The kids have now suggested having the yogurt sundaes more often. Alice even had one for breakfast this morning.

There are loads of recipes on the campaign page. But be warned… You may suddenly find that you feel the need to munch following browsing.

So why not select a recipe and get cooking with the kids!

You can access the Cooking With Kids Campaign page on the Great British Chefs Website by Clicking Here

Disclaimer: Please Note This is not a sponsored post! I Wasn’t paid to write this and didn’t receive anything for doing so. We joined in because we wanted to. Its a campaign we believe in and a great way to teach children skills in preparation for independence (especially those on the autism spectrum like little man).

DON’T GIVE UP

7 Nov

I sit here today and I write you this post, a post that shares a very important message!

Don’t Give Up!

Too many parents tell me about the fight they currently face to obtain a diagnosis for their child. They tell me how others see them as uncaring because they are so eagerly chasing a label, one so many, wrongly claim to be unnecessary.

They tell me they just feel like giving up. They state the professionals have suggested they just wait a couple more years, see how things go!

They tell me they are tired, worn and lost.

I tell them it was the same for me… I state how I experienced the doubt, self judgement and sleepless nights! Then I tell them where we are at today!

Yes, I was tired… I don’t think I realised just how much till things had settled. I remember feeling that my concerns were looked upon as nothing but parental paranoia.

I remember wanting to scream out loud “Just shut up and listen” No, correction, I remember shouting this statement more times than I care to remember.

I questioned my own concerns. I felt that maybe I was going mad or worse that it was just me being a mother who was unable to do the job of parenting correctly.

I remember watching the months turn into years as I continued my battle, one that was just to get my foot in the Child Psychologist door.

In between there was issues, ones that turned into significant difficulties. More importantly, difficulties that could have been avoided or at least decreased in scale, if someone had just listened.

I did all I could do, yet it never felt enough.

School attendance fell, school phobia developed, but again, no one listened. Court cases and school attendance officers made my life more difficult and the fact I was found guilty and fined… Well, that just lead to my depression, lack of trust in the British justice system and great weariness in the operations of the LEA and everybody in it.

You sit there and think “Oh God, there really is no answer, no solution, no way to make them listen!” and as I started therapy I remember the endless tears that required my therapist to fetch more tissues. I remember the relief I felt, just to have someone… Sit… Just sit and listen.

Over the course of the battle, I saw my child become a target form both children and adults. I watched him change in personality as he tried to become someone he wasn’t… Someone who he thought he needed to be in order to be excepted.

Life is better now… I didn’t give up!

Little man has a diagnosis and this later lead to appropriate schooling and a much happier child!

You are the parent, you know your child. Don’t let anybody tell you differently.

Don’t give up!

#HAWMC Day 29 – The six sentence blog post

6 May

Firstly I should state that the #HAWMC (Health Activist Writers Month Challenge) is well and truly over. Although I wrote my last two post at the end of April this is however the first real opportunity to post them.

Post 29/30: A six sentence blog post

Life can be difficult & tiresome, yet rewarding in many ways.

Using the power deep within, we somehow convert the difficulties into positives and with that we grow stronger.

When it comes to our children we’re fight you to the core.

We will climb up any Mountain, swim any Ocean.

We would go to the ends of the earth and back if we had to.

Because we love them and nothing will ever change that.

Post 29/30 in the #HAWMC set by Wego health

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#HAWMC DAY 26 – Health Tag Line

30 Apr

Challenge 26/30 in the #HAWMC is to create a tag line for your blog or health focus and to ensure it’s catchy.

I’ve already got a blog tag line, “A Boy With Asperger’s – The life of a mum of three one with Aspergers” This is perfectly suitable as it’s an accurate description of my blogs overall focus, it’s about a parents journey of discovery, a type of written documentary if you like. I want it to highlight that I’m a parent of three children all with different personalities, yet have this added focus on Aspergers as to bring some awareness and connect with those who can relate to our family situation.

If I was to create a tag line that solely focused on the health aspect it maybe a tad misleading, after all no two people with Aspergers are the same.

But then this blog isn’t about them, it’s about my son, my boy with aspergers….

So here it is! I could add a million and one adjectives for this tag line but keeping it short and sweet, here’s what I came up with…

A boy with Asperger’s
Unique yet quirky, driven & intelligent, wonderfully different

Post 26/30 in the wego health #HAWMC

#HAWMC DAY 25 – D-DAY

28 Apr

That day was here, it had finally arrived. She put on her coat, took a deep breath as she closed the door behind her.

Sat at the bus stop a thousand thoughts bombarded her brain, she developed a list of endless questions storing them safely to the front of her mind. Boarding the bus she knew it was almost crunch time. 

The child & adolescent mental health centre was a modern building boasting floor to ceiling windows that had been brightly stained in an array of colours. She sat staring at the rainbow of colour the suns ray had projected through the coloured glass onto the cold tiled floor only to have her trance broken with the calling of her name.

Looking up she recognised the woman stood before her as the Child Psychologist who along with others, had sat for hours observing the behaviours of her then 9-year-old son. 

The Psychologist smiled, though it was one of those awkward half smiles with her head slightly tipped to one side her whole expression cried sympathy!

“How are you?” she asked as they headed for the elevator! She responded by smiling gently while nodding her head and stating “Yes, I’m fine thank you” This couldn’t have been more dishonest! Her life seemed no less than a giant mess, her eyes alone expressed the story of sleepless nights and utter worry.

A weird, awkward moments silence commenced for what seemed like minutes though in reality it was only seconds when finally the ding of the elevators doors rang out. Stepping out of the elevator the Psychologist turned and with that same tilted head and half smile, asked “Are you ready?” 

She was as ready as she’d ever be, for no amount of time could ever prepare her for this day. 

After a short walk down a brightly lit corridor they came to a door, it was on the other side of that door that answers await, the answers to the question she had asked some two years before!

Entering the room they were greeted by a whole host of professionals, each on armed with a clip board, a glass of water and that same tilted head and half lit smile.

Taking a seat she felt her whole body tense, why did she suddenly feel this way? Looking at the tissues the Psychologist had now placed on the middle of the table right before her, she asked herself “Do they expect me to cry?”

After all why would she? 

It had been more than 18 months since that first appointment, her son had seen every single one of these specialist and more besides, almost all giving the same conclusion following observation of his behaviours! Yes, if it wasn’t for the mix up, the mistake of a closed case following a silly mixup in paper work, she was almost certain this day would have come long go.

After that first appointment and first drawn conclusion with a child Paediatrician she had gone home and researched all there was to know on the topic and therefore realised that yes the reality of what that Paediatrician had told her was in fact more than a possibility!

So… why in god’s name would this woman now cry?

There was a whole lot of words, words that went in without being fully absorbed. Each professional adding their view on what support her child would likely require, what this involved and just how to go about getting it!

Then a pause… 

Here it comes she thought!

Looking at the psychologist she concentrated on the movement of her lips as she said them words…

“So, we are all in agreement that the most suitable and fitting diagnosis for your child is that of… Aspergers Syndrome”

It wasn’t a shock… as mentioned the possibility had always been put forward.

As his mother she had taken it on board and adjusted her way of thinking when it had come to parenting her son, she already considered him a boy with Aspergers.

So… why did she find herself reaching for the tissues?

She didn’t cry through sadness, she cried because it was suddenly all so real, so official! With the diagnosis also came a certain degree of relieve, a reason for her child’s uniqueness. She could stop blaming his meltdowns or difficulties on that of her own parenting, school could stop shaking their heads and finally wake up to the fact that this is real and not an excuse.

Silence

Then…

“Do you have any questions”

Of course she did, she had that whole long list that she had readily stored at the front of her mind!

So… why could she not think of one to ask?
 
 
It’s been over two years and this woman has come along way. Like any family they have good days and they have bad days. She embraces her child’s uniqueness and encourages parents of newly diagnosed children to reach out to one another, sharing the message…
 
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!    

But do you know what?

She still can’t remember that list of all important questions she stored so safely in the front of her mind!

 

Post 25/30 in the wego health #HAWMC

#HAWMC DAY 24 – An Angel By My Side

26 Apr

The 24th challenge in the “Health Activist Writers Month Challenge” (HAWMC?) was to create a health mascot for our health focus! I found this a bit of a strange one, but hey this is a challenge so who am I to argue?

I guess I’m therefore going to have to come up with something and considering that this blogs main focus is about parenting a child on the autism spectrum, this is what my health mascot must represent! Nonetheless, as I write this I have no clear indication where this is heading or what my health mascot even looks like (despite thinking about it the entire day)!

Long Pause…. Seriously it’s been 30 minutes or more and I’m only just about ready to write the next paragraph. 

OK, so after lots of pondering I’ve decided to go with something quite mystical and beautiful that for many represents a number of different things… An Angel! Now I almost decided upon the Archangel Michael, an advocate, defender & protector. He is said to have fought many battles and I guess that’s something us parents of autistic children do too. However, I am not an overly religious person and Michael has been portrayed  in an array of different ways within an array of religions.

Guido Reni's archangel Michael (in the Capuchi...

Guido Reni's archangel Michael (in the Capuchin church of Santa Maria della Concezione, Rome) tramples Satan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This for me isn’t about a religious figure but one of strength and power, a mascot for my health focus would need this and more besides.

I’ve always had a bit of a thing for Angels and this often comes out in my artwork, so regardless of my decision not to go with Michael, my mascot would still be an angel, only one I have created from the inner depths of my overactive imagination!

Many people feel that Angels are something of messengers, which is exactly what my Angel would need to be. As a mascot for autism and aspergers my angel would do the work needed to raise awareness and combat the crawl ignorance that surrounds these conditions by delivering the message of awareness. 

My angel would shine a light on those that failed to understand, wrapping them in his wings he would open their minds to a greater understanding. 

My angel would bring justice and fairness, ending the discriminating ways of those we have been made to put our trust in. My angel would promote equal opportunities for all, regardless of disability.

My angel would see that our children received the education they are entitled to, that they were pushed to their limits in-order to achieve their dreams.

My angel would not change those with the condition, he’d change those without. My angel would open their eyes and therefore open their minds to the world we currently live in.

My angels spirit would seek to protect the most valuable children whatever their diagnosis and protect them he’d do well! 

Artwork created by me

Post 24/30 in the wego health #HAWMC

#HAWMC DAY 22 – The Things We Forget!

25 Apr

There’s many things we forget, the simple things such as the milk when we go shopping or a recent doctors appointment.

Sometimes though we do forget those bigger important things which normally relate to our own wellbeing.

When asked to create a post it note reminding me of something I need to remember I thought why not make it a real important message (or should I say important three messages)!

Love yourself 

 Whether parenting children with additional needs or not, this is something to many parents are guilty of.

It maybe due to the fact we feel to tired at the end of the day to do a little something for us, whether that’s reading a book or relaxing in a hot tub full of bubbles for 1/2 an hour we normally end up to shattered to move from the sofa, falling asleep in our clothes instead.

Sometimes it goes a little deeper, we just don’t feel to good on the outside so feel crap on the inside. I have this problem often hence the reason I’ve included it here.

Stay Positive  

We all need a little kick up the back side sometimes and when things get tough, normally all at the same time, we tend to find it a little hard to stay positive!

However, to stay positive helps us stay more relaxed and able to see the bigger picture. I remind myself to stay positive every time I’m in a situation that causes me anxiety and as I have a few on the agenda I’ve included the message here.

Smile

Why? Because when you smile the world smiles too (or so they tell me)!

Post 22/30 in the wego health #HAWMC

 

#HAWMC DAY 21 – A Poem

25 Apr

Public Meltdown

They look and they stare as if they just don’t care

Laugh and snigger it’s too much to bear 

He screams and he shouts as he punches the air 

I feel like running when I see it coming

Where’s the support, why are they laughing… never seen a grown boy barking 

Disconnected from others, fall of anger and fear he runs it’s no fun to chase him about as his mum

Senses heighten, emotions they do flow 

Tears and panic it’s so hard as his grown

 Meltdowns so hard for all those involved

ignorance much harder

if only they did know!

The 21st prompt in the “Health Activist Writer Months Challenge” (#HAWMC) set by wego blog was to write a Health Madib Poem. You visit the site feed it a loads of words and it generates a poem but I found it useless, nothing made sense and to alter it there seemed Little point as it would be easier just to write my own, so that’s what I did. :)

Post 21/30 in the wego health #HAWMC 

#HAWMC Day 20 – A cure for ignorance

24 Apr

The 20th #HAWMC prompt was to come up with a cure for your health focus. The only thing was, I didn’t need a cure for my health focus! Yes, there is plenty of things I wish that I could make that bit easier for my son who has Aspergers Syndrome but I wouldn’t go as far as stating he needs to be cured!

With the above in mind I wondered what I’d write about instead, then it came to me… How about a cure for other peoples ignorance?

The majority of our society remains misunderstood when it comes to the autism spectrum. I hate listening to the remarks of others when speaking about something they lack a great degree of knowledge in. OK, ignorance isn’t always the fault of an individual, some just haven’t been exposed to autism, therefore not having any reason to discover and learn about it! Others are simply misinformed via the media or other sources.

Then we encounter them cases of wilful delusion, people who understand more than they care to admit but simply ignore it. Those that refuse to change a certain view or way of behaving regardless of how well educated they are on the subject. It’s my opinion that this kind of ignorance is often found within schools, you’ll find teachers that agree with the difficulties you state your child is experiencing yet fall to note the concerns or apply for extra funding so state there is no problems within school. From personal experience and through discussions with other parents of children on the spectrum, It would seem that many school who have a child on school action plus have failed to fully use its resources despite having received the funding so when it comes to you asking for a statement a school will sometimes discourage a parent from doing so advising them to leave it a few months and stating that there are one or two things they can offer in the meantime.

This is why many autism activist campaign for it to be made a requirement that all schools train and educate its staff in all of SEN and that of the autism spectrum.

You see, some people will claim ignorance to be immoral but how can one understand something if they haven’t been educated on? The fact that one person feels they have the right to judge another with little evidence to base their conclusion upon is that of ignorance in itself… after all evidence can only be formed if those collecting it look for it and therefore learn more about it!

I’m guessing almost if not all parents of a child with autism or aspergers syndrome have been on the receiving end of ignorance at some stage of their child’s life. The parent of the child who really struggles with everyday experiences such as shopping will know all to well what its like to be stared at and judged just by looking at their fellow shoppers! Yes, it get does get easier with time, sometimes I fail to even notice those stood around staring, the whispers or continuous head shaking motion and tutting sounds many make and though you know its there, some days you’re just to tired to care!

Nonetheless, Regardless of how accustomed to it one may become this is somewhat besides the point! People need educating but sadly you will always find not every ones willing to step forward and learn! Of course we can’t make people think before they judge, only they can do that. Plus we all do it in some form or another whether it’s in relation to autism, mental health or something else altogether. However, it will eventually still grind you down, OK, not everyday, but those that do are enough to drive you into a state of depression, insanity or both!

Parents of children who have only just received a diagnosis or even those of undiagnosed children can find ignorance much more difficult to contend with (I know I did back in the earlier days). What’s more ignorance can also be an extremely upsetting experience for the child on the spectrum, especially those considered more high functioning. Again I feel many assume that because it’s documented that children on the autism spectrum are in their own little world they therefore often disregard the child’s feelings simply thinking they lack the intelligence needed to understand.

Well its a fact, no one wants to be judged, especially when it relates to the way they bring up their children. The child with autism is often labelled a menace to society, the child heading for an ASBO by its 5th birthday… no one wants their child to be thought of in such a way! It’s this part that most parents find the toughest overall.

Of course we as parents can’t spend forever worrying what others do or do not think of us and I for one don’t seek the approval of society on how I parent. I don’t need to be told whether I’m doing an efficient job or not, I don’t seek any ones approval apart from that of my own. It’s took me a long time to be able to actually feel this way, yet there will still be those days I slip and break at a strangers glare or ignorant comment whether it’s in a week, a month or even a year.

So here’s my final thoughts to wrap this post up! Ignorance is actually a state of unawareness which can in fact be cured with a little bit of educating! Those that receive that education but chose to ignore it don’t only become intentionally ignorant but are also filled with a degree of stupidity. Bottom line… We don’t need to find a cure for ignorance because there is already one available in that of education! What we do need is a cure for stupidity to finally fix the problem!

Image credit to the fabulous Chato B Stewart who blogs at PsychCentral.com an activist for mental health who uses a bit of healthy humour within his work

Post 20/30 in  the Wego Health #HAWMC 

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