Since my FASD diagnosis, I have learned about:
- TOUGH SHIT: As an infant, I was constipated. My parents thought it was the antibiotics I was constantly on. Nope. It was FASD. FASD is a whole body disorder. I also thought it was normal until a year ago to poop every 3-4 days. Apparently not. And hard poops aren’t normal either. (I know this is probably TMI, but if this gives any parents an aha moment, it was worth it.
- ZZZZZZs: I am always tired. Exhausted. Our brains work so hard to take in the world around us, to make sense of it. It is exhausting. I was always the last person awake at sleepovers, and as an adult, on weekends I sleep until 10 or 11 am. After going to bed by 11. I always thought it was ABNORMAL NOT TO SLEEP LATE. I didn’t like sleeping over my friend’s house and her mom waking us at 8 am on Saturday for Pancakes. Most kids would be excited. I wanted to be left alone. My Fitbit says I average 3-6 hours of sleep a night, and REM sleep is very limited, if any at all. I also have night terrors, which when I went to a sleep doctor, he couldn’t figure out what my brain did at night. He said it was strange. I asked him about it being FASD related, and he quickly dismissed that theory, not because it couldn’t be, but because he knew NOTHING ABOUT IT
- Pumpkin Carving Never My Thing: I hate touching the guts inside, the slimy texture, the smell of pumpkins…but I do love me some seeds! I remember when my mom came home with Pumpkin Painting Kits. I was excited for that activity. Never could pinpoint why i didn’t like carving. Now I know, I am such a sensory person, because of my brain. I think my brain processes sensory needs differently than others.
- Bright Light, Bright Light! -Gizmo, and me. Department stores and Big Box Stores like Target and Walmart overwhelm my senses. My mom and I just thought I hated shopping, but never had a reason why. My brain couldn’t handle it. I will go into a store feeling energized, and within 10 minutes can feel drained, like I haven’t slept in days (well, maybe I haven’t). The bright, flourescent lights make me dizzy. The colors, and the chatter and the different textures and smells, I need a small room or a weighted blanket afterward.
- IT IS ALL ABOUT ME: I consider myself, at 42 years old, Egocentric. I have a husband and 2 kiddos, but if there is something I want to do, such as go on a girls trip, I plan it, without thinking about my family’s needs. I don’t mean to be this way. It is hard to put myself in others shoes. I want what I want, when I want it. This is also the impulsivity piece that plays a role in almost all of those with an FASD. Understanding cause and effect plays a role here as well.
- I have weak OT skills. I remember one Thanksgiving I joined the women in peeling potatoes. I peeled one to my Granny’s four. No joke. She fired me after that Thanksgiving. I was given the job of setting the table with paper plates. I am the same with scissors, drawing straight lines, and drawing letters.
- PICK, PICK, PICK: My impulsive behavior lends way to my picking my acne. I know many people pick their pimples, but i really pick. I thought it was normal. After learning how FASD affects the brain and impulsivity, I better understand my constant picking. Fidget toys are helpful.
- I HAVE SHOWN YOU SO MANY TIMES! I need visuals as to how to do certain things. And not just one time. I can remember a task one day, but not the next. A big one is tying my son’s footwear for Tae Kwon Do. The Velcro strap goes the same way, Every…Single..Time. Some days I am on it! Other days, I get angry and frustrated with myself for not remembering, and he has to do it himself. I take my frustration out on him, which isn’t cool. Our brains are so silly the way we can’t always remember things. Oh, and making grilled cheese. I always struggle with how to get the butter on both pieces of bread at once, before grilling them. Some days, a grilled cheese becomes just a cold cheese sandwich.
- JIBBER JABBER: I babbled as an infant. To my hands mostly. Constantly. Now I talk…alot…to people, to anyone that will listen. Someone once mentioned that I was craving auditory feedback. I can roll with that explanation. (Sorry for those poor souls that tune me out).
- If I do A, then B Will Happen: Cause and Effect. A struggle with so many of us with an FASD. An Executive Functioning task that is so tough for us. I think of the immediate outcome of things, not the aftershocks. So, for example, my son had a bowl of water for something. I had his rubber lizard. He had a book next to the bowl of water. Impulsivity got the best of me, and I threw the lizard into the water. Didn’t think about the splashes onto the book. (This is one of my kids favorite stories to tell about my brain).
I am constantly connecting the dots to my life and my brain. I am so happy to have my diagnosis. I now have whys to things that used to be just question marks. Knowledge is truly power.
I Hope Everyone Has a HAPPY and Safe Halloween!