All content contained within should be restricted to those over-age. Occasionally, suicide and self-harm are mentioned and readers should take care to ensure they are in a safe place - emotionally and physically - before reading. Comments are welcome.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sigh... FFS, not again...

I'm clammy.  And hot, even though the air conditioner is on.  I have a massive headache, though that's nothing new.  Chest pains, can't breathe - you'd think I was having a heart attack, though we all know better.

And after hours of this...

I want to live.  I want to travel.  I want to play on the beach with my kids.  I want to watch them grow up, and take care of them while they do.  I want to tend my house, and play the 50's housewife while kicking the arse of anyone who tells me I should because I'm a woman.  I want to play sport, and go on bushwalks, and climb rocks.  I want to read books, and listen to music and write.  I want to show my kids the world, even if it's just the world in our little town.  I want to work and I want to play and I want to LIVE.

And I want to die.  Right fucking now.

Hope is what gets us through.  It is what we hold on to in desperation, when things get bad.  Hope that tomorrow (figuratively speaking) will be better.

But my tomorrow won't be better.  Indeed, my tomorrow is going to be worse.  And the day after that, and the day after that.  The things that concern me - the things that get me "down" - the things that I can't live with - they are all here to stay.  It's no longer a case of hanging around until the solution dawns upon thee - but of having to choose - live like this, or die.

I don't think I ask too much.  A little compassion.  A little respect.  Enough money for a roof over my head, food, health care.  I live in one of the most prosperous countries on Earth, or I wouldn't be arrogant enough to ask for this much.  Every day I have been able to, I've worked, and when I haven't been able to find employment, I've done volunteer work.  I've done the best I can.  I've been the best person I can.  I've stuffed up sure, but I've always apologised.  Made amends.  Done the best I can.

I TRIED.  I tried fuck it.  It's not like I didn't bust my arse, trying to make it work.

I can't do this any more.  Because deep down I'm still tortured by the past.  One liners that speak to forgetting the past are crap - it's not memories that you have to worry about.  It's the physical consequences.  And anyone who doesn't know what they are should just shut the fuck up about it.  Because one liners tend to lead to us feeling like crap for not being a fucking superhero and "getting over it".

I want life.  Just not this one.  Thanks, but this one is broken, and after 20ish years, I've realised that it just can't be repaired..  I'll be taking the refund.  There are no exchanges here.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Once Upon A Time... (SBS)

I missed "Once Upon A Time In Cabramatta" last week (a three part series shown on the SBS - the first episode can be found here for a limited time).  It is about the "drug war" in Cabramatta - and of course, the Vietnamese Australians who live there.

As I was looking at Twitter during the advertising, I noticed one unremarkable twit's comment which had been retweeted by another:

"I don't feel sorry for the parents when couldn't be bothered to learn English in 30 yrs they lived here"

OK - to be fair - I was brought up with this attitude.  Then for a while, I decided that it was racist, but as I didn't know why I thought it was racist, I just tried not to have an attitude at all.

Then I moved to a country where I knew not one word of their language, and I lived there for eighteen months.  And I can tell you a few things about that.

For starters - I doubt these parents do not know "any" English, but for sure I don't blame them one iota for not wanting to speak in English on television.  I know that if I had continued to live in Japan, there would never ever come a day when I would feel comfortable speaking in public in a language that was not my first.  It would just never happen.  Thus, I don't presume to know whether or not they speak English.  It's entirely possible they do.

In keeping with this twit's comment however, I'll move on as though they don't.

Language acquisition is a funny thing.  Most people do not understand that language is not learned by memory.  Language is learned in the first ten years of life, mostly in the first few years.  After THAT, language acquisition is memory.  Feel free to Google it to look up the specifics if you're interested.

This means that while it takes children a few years to learn a new language - they are essentially cheating.  Learning a new language is much harder for adults as we have to rely on memory to do so (at least, until we've practised enough to form new synapses from what I understand).  Each and every adult has a different memory capability.  My own memory can be clinically described as "up the fucking shit".  Which explains why in 18 months, despite buying a tonne of books and practising whenever I could, I learned no more Japanese than it took to get the very basic of basics (and not be swatted by taxi drivers intent on proper formalities - never again shall I say the shortened form of "thank you" to someone I am not familiar with).

And all that is without the added drama of wrapping your head around the fact that it's not just the different words - it's the different grammar!!!  It's not just replacing one word with a different word, but learning how to speak from scratch.

In other words - it's fucking hard if you are not that way inclined.

Thus, one issue with learning English once migrants arrive in Australia is one of technical capability - it is possible that no matter how hard they try, they will simply never acquire conversational English, let alone enough English to feel comfortable speaking in public in the language.

The other issue is one of morality.  I have been finding that white Australians bleat on about "multiculturalism" when in fact, what they want is "white culturalism, but I don't care if your skin is a different colour".

See, I see multiculturalism as being - you live the way you want to and I'll live the way I want to, and we'll visit each other and have fun learning about each other.  Perhaps I'll take some part of your culture into mine and perhaps you'll take some part of mine into yours, but what-the-fuck-ever-works.  In this definition, what language each person is speaking is not important.  Trust me - so long as you've got please and thank-you down pat - you can get by on the universal sign language of facial expressions and general gesture.

This twit has never met these people - so who the fuck cares what language they speak?  What is it to her?  For fucks sake, is compassion and empathy such a limited commodity, that regardless of what language they speak, a little can't be spared for parents whose son turned to drugs and dealing in order to escape a gut-wrenching poverty?

That, my dear, is racist.  Pure, simple, right down the line.  And THAT is at the heart, I imagine, of why such sad stories exist in this country.  It's not a drug problem - that is just the consequence.  It's a fucking racist problem.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

ASD - stop trying to "fix" it!!!

I read an article today, submitted on Twitter by @angryozcripple (worth the follow, if you're a fellow tweeter), about a mother who had complaints of a beauty pageant awarding her daughter "Best Personality".

Yep, mum was pissed off that her daughter WON "Best Personality".  Why?  Because her daughter has Autism, so therefore...

Give me a fucking bucket!

What the FUCK is wrong with some parents???  My son has Aspergers (as does my husband), one of my closest friend's son has High Functioning Autism, and another friend's daughter has Autism.  Three of the best kids I know.  All have lovely personalities.

This type of thinking - that someone with Autism can't possibly have the greatest personality - leads to a more complex situation - that of parents who are trying to "fix" their children when they are diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).  They send their kids to therapy for the sole purpose of "fixing" them.

And I want to slap them all, and explain in no uncertain terms, that you can not "fix" ASD.  Like it or not, it is there, and it is there for life.  It is a part of your child's identity.  It is who they are.  Trying to fix it is like trying to grow back a limb that was never there to begin with.

My son has therapy.  He sees a psychologist, a speech therapist and an occupational therapist.  They each work on different areas of need.  We send him to therapy, not to fix him, but to teach him the skills that he is going to need in order to make the most of life in a society that is not equipped to deal with people with ASD.  We are trying to give him the skills he needs.  We are NOT trying to inherently "change" him into something he is not.  He will never be "better" because there is no "cure".

That is because ASD is a part of who he is.  And there is NOTHING fucking wrong with who he is!!!  There is nothing fucking wrong with who this girl is either, obviously, and I hope one day her mother can see that.

Is parenting a child with ASD hard?  Fucking oath!!!  It's fucking exhausting, complicated, and frustrating.  Some days it feels like my son and I don't speak the same language in a way that I can't adjust for - meaning that we never really speak the same language, but sometimes I can guess a few phrases and we get by.  Other days - not so much.  I get that some parents see a cure as the only way "out" or whatever.

On the other hand - there is a lot about parenting a child with ASD that is easier too.  For starters, I never had to worry about safety with my son with ASD like I've had to with his accident-prone not afraid of anything brother.  Tell my son with ASD that he can't go into that drawer, and he won't go into that drawer.  And while he's never been big with cuddles and platitudes - he still loves with all his heart and soul.  Of course, I could go on and on and on...

He is not his ASD - but ASD is a part of who he is.  It is a part of our kids.  Love it.  Embrace it.  And for fucks sake, stop trying to "fix" it.  You're going to fail, and make them miserable while you're doing it.  Therapy is a tool, not a cure.

There is nothing "wrong" with having ASD!!!  And fuck anyone who thinks there is!!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Meet Nicholas. He's six.

This is Nicholas.

He always liked being outside when he was a baby.  But then he started to hate it!!!  His parents didn't realise that this was a sign...

He has a few people who love him, but most of them have moved away or passed on now...  His family doesn't have much real life support or help...

While he doesn't like to go outside much, he would do it more often if his mum didn't have a disability, or had someone to help out...

Nicky has only been to the beach three or four times, even though he only lives an hour away.  He's often at home, not doing much.  Not that he minds.  Nicky has Aspergers and the beach, while fun, can also be scary at times.  It's noisy and unpredictable - much like all "outside activities".

Home is safe, and generally quiet.  However Nicky's mum thinks that he needs to get out more, and experience things in the real world too...

Nicholas has been seeing a psychologist to help him deal with his anxiety and teach him emotional regulation.  Because he is so young, the once a fortnight sessions are too far apart.  He doesn't really remember it on any sort of deeper level.  And his mum, who has been really sick, is not much help.

He is a good kid, who always wants to do the right thing.  It frustrates him when he doesn't understand the world around him, or when he can't control his emotions.  He is gifted, and so needs to see a psychologist who has learned about both Aspergers and giftedness and can tell which of his behaviours are being triggered by which (as a lot of things can be signs of both).

Last year, he was eligible for 18 sessions with a psychologist.  This year he is only allowed 10.  His parents can not afford to pay for any more.

Every two weeks was ok, but not enough.  Every five weeks is next to pointless.

This means more anxiety, more meltdowns, more anger... more of just about every negative emotion really...

The new services that are meant to take the place of Better Access are not suitable for Nicholas - they will not take him on, and even if they did - they will not have the expertise to deal with him, and will cause damage, rather than help.

He is a gifted child.  For real - he has been tested.  His mother worries that all that potential could get lost in a sea of anxiety and confusion if he doesn't get the help he needs.

Not to mention that his psychologist has been great with explaining to his parents what is going on with him and how to deal with it all, as well as being a support when it comes to advocating for Nicholas at school.

Nicholas isn't alone.  There are thousands of children with Aspergers like him...

They all deserve the best chance we can give them don't you think?  If only so that we help them gain the most from their unique spirit... 

Linda Wemyss