Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus

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The book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, was written by Dr. John Gray.  It was published in the 1990’s, and is still popular today.

To be honest, I didn’t like the book.  I found it to be stereotypical and redundant.  The aspect that bothered me the most was the repetitiveness of each concept.  I felt like I was reading the same information in each chapter, with only a slight variation in wording.

Have you read this book?  What did you think about it?

Fragile X Fragile Hope (Parenting a Special Needs Child)

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I learned a lot from reading “Fragile X Fragile Hope” by Elizabeth Griffin and also found it to be inspirational.  Her son, Zach, is intellectually disabled and displays autistic features, which was caused by Fragile X syndrome.

Elizabeth Griffin talks about the medical ramifications that cause her son to struggle in daily life.  For example, Zach’s stress hormones are heightened whenever he experiences a stressor.  Also, those chemicals will remain active in the brain much longer than normal.  As a result, he struggles to remain calm during normal daily events.

Elizabeth Griffin also discusses her feelings of desperation, guilt, and grief.  She gives an honest portrayal of those emotions and how they affected her life.  Support groups became essential, so she could work through those feelings and thoughts without fear of judgement.

There is section about navigating the maze of available services.  She discovered some treatments were a waste of time and money, but others were extremely beneficial.  Therefore, it is important to fully investigate your options and the services offered.

I recommend this book to anyone with a special needs child.  It is also beneficial to people who want to gain a better understand of the struggles faced by parents with disabled children.

Jails Doubling as Hospitals

After the recession, Alabama struggled with the budget.  A plan to cut expenses was needed, so the legislators decided to cut funding to the Department of Mental Health by 50% over a 5 year period.

Hospitals were closed and the community resources that remained were stretched way beyond capacity.  People needing treatment would have to wait for 3 or 4 months, by then a minor problem could easily become a crisis situation.

People in need of mental health treatment didn’t just disappear, so what happened to them?  When faced with a crisis, some of them ended up in jail.  I was reading an article (WHNT.com) that stated 30% of the population in the Huntsville jail are there for mental health reasons.

The legislators are starting to notice the result of their decision years ago.  It cost a lot more money to house someone in jail then it does to treat them in the community or to care for them in a hospital setting.

A committee has been formed to discuss the current problem.  The legislators are concerned, not because of the amount of people whose lives have been ruined by the lack of treatment.  They are concerned, because it is costing them money.

 

Forgiving is Difficult

According to the Oxford Dictionary:  forgive means to “stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense or mistake.”

What if the offense caused a lifetime of pain?  What if the trauma was so horrible you are left suffering with PTSD and depression for the rest of your life?  Do you still forgive the offender?

I spent most of my life refusing to forgive a pedophile that tormented me and my brother.  I wanted revenge.  I used to daydream about finding this man, so I could hurt him as much as he hurt me.  To be honest, I even thought about killing him from time to time.

Even though my mind was constantly dwelling on what happened to us, I refused to talk about it.  Two years ago, I was finally able to tell my story to a therapist.  I told the therapist everything that happened to us and was able to deal with the emotions that were festering (like a nasty infection) all those years.

I still think about that sadistic SOB that abused us, and I just can’t bring myself to say I forgive him.  He caused so much pain that our lives would forever be affected by his actions.  However, I am willing to let go of my anger (which is basically the same thing, but it’s easier to say).  I am ready to move on with my life.

I Defeated the Demon

I have been plagued with reoccurring nightmares for years.  The nightmares are rooted in childhood traumas that caused me to develop PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder.

I dream that one of my abusers returns to victimize me again.  I try to call for help or to defend myself, but my attempts to stop the abuse fail.  The dreams may be slightly different, but the endings were always the same.  I become a victim again.

I spent years trying to hide from the trauma.  I tried to suppress the memories.  However, the past always returned and created havoc in the present.

For the last two years, I have been seeing an excellent therapist.  He helped me to be able to talk about what happened and taught me how to overcome my past.

The other night I had that same reoccurring nightmare, but this time it was different.  The abuser walked into my house, but I was no longer afraid.  I went up to him and told him to get out and never return.  I yelled at him and told him I would exposes him to the world.  I was going to tell everyone what he had done.  I will no longer keep his secret.

Eventually, the abuser left my house.  He was angry, but for the first time I saw fear in his eyes.  I finally defeated my demon.

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Depression is Exhausting

Depression is exhausting.  You just feel tired:  mentally, emotionally, and physically.

  • Your brain works in slow motion.  Even simple task seem overwhelming and difficult.
  • You feel numb and nothing seems to make it better.  Trying to connect with other people feels impossible.  Everything around you looks bleak.  All the beauty seems to have disappeared from the world.
  • Your body literally hurts.  You end up with headaches, backaches, digestive issues, and a host of other aliments.

Depression is an extremely difficult disease.  If you have ever dealt with clinical depression then you are a stronger person than you may realize.

Death of a Sibling

The death of my brother (Aaron Thaler) was devastating.

I was a few weeks shy of 3 years old when Aaron was born, so he was a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

My father was in the Army and we grew up overseas.  I didn’t really get to know my extended family until I was a teenager and I never had the same friend for more than a couple of years.

That made my relationship with Aaron even more special.  He was that one person I was able to play with and fight with, all throughout my childhood years.  He was my only consistent friend.

We had our ups and downs together.  Many battles were fought and a lot of blood was spilt.  However, no grudges were held.  After a few days, we would laugh about the last fight as if it was all a game.

Aaron died suddenly and I spent the first month in a state of shock.  Eventually the reality hit me and I went into a deep state of depression.  There were other factors happening at the time that caused my depression to spiral out of control.

I was blessed to have a few friends willing to reach out and help and a therapist that taught me how to overcome my depression.

It’s been almost two years since Aaron passed and my life is starting to get back on track; however, it will never be the same.  I will always miss my brother.

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