What a Bright Idea!

*Disclaimer:  I am not a product review blogger, but I am reviewing a product for this post. The product I am reviewing was a gift. I did not receive any compensation for this review. My results are my own, this is an anecdotal testimonial, no more or less.*

I joke that I’m solar powered, but it isn’t a joke. You can safely guess my mood and energy level by looking outside. If it’s sunny, I’m good to go, cloudy, not so much. Cloudy for days, you might have to dig to find the hole I’m in. 

My mother in law has observed this, and kindly offered to help. She recommended using a full spectrum UV lamp, and offered to buy it for me. 

It’s been about a month since I got the lamp. I use it daily for about 30 minutes, which is the manufacturer recommendation. If possible I use it when my children are in the room as well, hoping they will receive benefits, though I don’t observe sun related mood swings in them. 

As a baseline, I tend toward melancholy. During a string of sunny days when I can get outside and exercise, the melancholy is mild. When days turn cloudy, I not only struggle with energy, but the tinge of melancholy blossoms into the blues. When the Michigan skies are battleship gray for days or weeks, I feel as though dementors are sucking out my soul. I struggle to juggle all of my tasks, and anything that requires both mental and physical energy will likely be back burnered. 

Since I have been using the full spectrum UV lamp daily, I have not had a dementor day, even during long overcast periods. Now granted, it’s not January in Michigan yet, when the seasonal darkness takes on an actual physical presence, but that said, even during the summer I have more than a few dementor days. 

I plan to revisit this topic periodically to update, but as of today, I’m tentatively optimistic that I can stave off the worst of my sun related mood swings with full spectrum lighting.  

For the record the brand I’m using is the Carex Day-Light Classic Plus Bright Light Therapy Lamp. 

parenting · special needs parenting

Falling Back into the Buttcrack of Dawn

Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. I savor the colors, the smells, the brisk chill after a hot summer. I adore every part of the fall season. 

Except one. 

Falling back is amongst my least favorite things in the world.  

We aren’t a family that sleeps in on weekends(or any other day). Oh no, we’re up and at ’em at o’dark thirty seven days a week. I’ve tried adjusting bed times, I’ve tried melatonin. I’ve used essential oils in every possible calming combination. I’ve even tried nightly sleep dances and earnest prayer. All to no avail. 

I put them to bed 15 minutes later, they awaken at the same time. I put them to bed an hour later, they awaken at the same time. I do it for a week, no change. I do it for months, no change. 

My kids bodies don’t seem capable of adjusting to time changes. At all. In fact, I would consider them constitutionally incapable of external adjustment of their internal clocks. (Thus, we will never travel internationally with our kids. Ever!

For us, falling back means that we will all be getting up an hour earlier until March 12, 2017. 

The dread is palpable. 

These ridiculous time change laws of this great land of ours sentence me to 4 months of torture. I have no recourse. 

I’m drinking an extra XL cup of coffee this morning with tears of grief over my lost hour of sleep. And will be mumbling under my breath about it for days. If you hear me, it might be best not to question what my muttering are. I might just start bawling. 


How Can I Write an Outstanding Book With A Blind Mind?

Picture this:  You’re writing a memoir.  In order to bring the reader along with you as you ride your roller coaster down memory lane, it’s crucial to use vivid descriptions of the numerous events you describe.  But you have pretty much zero visual memory.

Try to describe what the hospital room looked like…nada.

Try to describe your how your child looked…you draw a blank.

Your honeymoon?  Yep, nothing.

I have Aphantasia.  I lack the ability to visualize.  I read a book, and no movie plays in my head.  In fact, when an author spends a paragraph or two describing a setting or a character’s appearance, I skim because it’s just words to me.

Here I am, writing my heart out about some of the most poignant memories of my life, and I completely lack the ability to give the reader a mental picture.  I try to remember, I try to describe, and it feels contrived and artificial.  I’m preparing to edit my book into a second draft, and for the first time since deciding to do this project, I’m second guessing.  I’m concerned that my “blind mind’s eye” is too big of a hinderance to story telling, I’m worried that I can’t overcome this barrier, that I won’t be able to give my readers the story they deserve.

I’m going to give it a shot.  I’m going back in to revise my story and add in some of the details.  I’m not sure how it will turn out, but I’m thinking that if Beethoven composed masterpieces while deaf then I suppose it’s possible that I can maybe find ways to describe things that I cannot visualize.  My hope is that by being cognizant of this obstacle I will be able to work through it.  I might have to dig through old pictures or possibly even make up some of the visual details.  I mean, how hospital rooms look largely the same, right?

We’ll see.  I’m not giving up just yet.



parenting · running · special needs parenting · writing

Mom Doe

One of the biggest struggles I have is divorcing my own identity from my identity as a mom. 

Shorty after we had Alex, for complex reasons, I quit my job; my career. I told myself I would keep up my paramedic license, and I knew it was a lie. It didn’t happen, I don’t think I was kidding anyone anyway. 

I became a full time mom. Not only that, but a special needs mom. I threw myself into the role, I was so proud of the work I was doing, I valued my new role, and claimed it as my identity. As time went, the role grew and became all-encompassing. I struggled to relate to friends whose kids were mostly typical, and I lost any desire to do so.  

Even the things I do for myself, running and writing primarily, have threads of my children’s stories emmeshed in them, they don’t stand alone as my own.  I have precious little in my life that has my name stamped on it as my own. I’m Mom Doe, a nameless, faceless person whose very existence is almost entirely in support of others. 

And I feel like I’m in a cocoon (or a chrysalis, it’s hard to tell from here).  It’s too tight and it’s uncomfortable. It’s necessary, but I don’t want to be here and I don’t like it. I suspect the time will come for me to emerge, perhaps even with a glorious set of butterfly wings, though I suspect I’m more of a moth. 

I’m eager to break out, likely too much so.  Patience has never been my strong suit.  Who knows, maybe I’m just imagining things. We’ll see. 

Or maybe, just maybe, I’m sprouting wings in here.