Tag Archives: social media. derailment

A is for…Attitude

1 Apr

Today is the first day of this whole blogging from A – Z challenge. What this means is that for most days in April (we get off on Sundays) we have to blog about some theme that starts with a specific letter of the alphabet, starting at A on the 1st and ending on Z.

Originally I’d thought about doing an A is for Autism, seeing as how most of my household lives on the spectrum somewhere. Or even A is for Adorable and throwing some pictures of my various household pets and children down for a quick and easy post. A is for Amazing would have been fun – I could have shared my favorite books. Or even A is for Asparagus so I could have waxed rhapsodic over my favorite vegetable of late.

But then today turned into a difficult day. The skies clouded over and emotions seemed to be running high on the part of everyone in the house, myself included. I’d started out determined to Get Stuff Done (please note the caps) and somehow ended the day curled under an afghan, drinking IBC root beer, and reading American Girl Books. Just because I could.

Children bickered. I mentioned the need to collect various math lessons (I homeschool remember) and suddenly everything took a turn for the worse. A screaming match with a child who feels I don’t love her when I make these requests was followed by an autistic meltdown on the part of another child, triggered by the shouts and door slamming of the previous encounter. And so the day collapsed, much like a row of dominoes under the influence of the merest vibration of floor from a careless misstep.

Perhaps that’s a fitting analogy. Today felt overall like a careless misstep that we’ve been recovering from. Eventually I did collect the math pages, the storms blew over, and the world calmed down. But the residual attitudes and dull grumpiness that followed was never fully shaken, and the day never really recovered.

Let’s be honest, I never fully recovered.

Under the best of circumstances I am dealing with depression with the occasional side of panic attacks (A is for Anxiety!) and my own autism doesn’t like when the Schedule Is Interrupted (note those caps again…). I had a plan for the day and it fell apart somewhere around 12:15. And though I could have made some attempt to pick up the schedule later (around 2 or 3 even?) I always have that feeling that I can’t quite do that – jump in and do whatever comes next. Because after all, the work between those hours needs to be made up, right? And there’s no way to compress 3 hours of work into one because well, I’m NOT Doctor Who or someone of similar caliber.

So where did things go wrong? With the derailment (oh there is THAT WORD again) or in my reaction to it later?

Flylady says “You are not behind, jump in where you are.” I’ve been trying to retrain myself to this because let’s face it, the whole, “There’s no point to doing anything now because I’m off track” is nothing more than an excuse and a very visible display of a poor attitude. Or more accurately a POOR ME attitude.

Change begins, as always, from inside.

This means it’s time to pull myself up by my bootstraps. Check that lousy attitude at the door. And yeah, get back to work. Believe it or not I had something scheduled for me to do between 7:00 and 8:00 tonight before calling it a day. (the time from 8:00 until bedtime is reading time, relaxing time, spending time playing games with the kid time…you get the idea.)

Flylady says to jump in where I am.

Yeah. I can do this.

Let’s all have a good night, ok?

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Derailment

8 Jan

I had a plan for my day.

I woke up and thought, these are the things I’m going to do today. And I looked with pleasure upon those things, and even eager anticipation. It was Monday after all. The start of a new week. The start of easing myself into a little bit of WWC work again (15 minutes a day, just to read email…but still SOMETHING). I would then lose myself in Pride and Prejudice. And work on that sweater I keep putting off. Just a little. Not overdoing it.

But days don’t always go as planned. Mine certainly didn’t.

It started with hysteria, source my daughter. Her best friend had committed suicide.

So began a day of holding and comforting and praying and counseling. Crises mode, everything else forgotten. Everyone pulling together to help and while not provide answers (who can?) but to at least provide understanding and compassion.

Only…well it turned out to be a hoax. No one died. It was all…well that’s hard to say. Maybe a test to see who cared. Or maybe just pain and confusion and wanting to disappear that badly that she erased herself in such a disturbing manner as a cry for help. These things we don’t know. These are things for counselors to figure out. Professionals.

So relief came with..well..anger on my part. I will admit to it. After all my daughter was HURT by this action. Those tears, that grief was heartfelt. The guilt she felt over not being in the right place to say the right thing – to SAVE her friend was genuine. And painful.

Later came pity. Because people who are happy people – dare I even say well-adjusted people – don’t make this kind of statement. I feel for her. I am praying for her. And I hope she can find help and answers and everything she needs.

What does it say about us though? Because when I posted this news on Facebook I wasn’t seeing so much relief as anger – a lot of people were praying and upset and in fact THEIR day got derailed by this news. Good people. Friends and friends of friends and even strangers who stopped a moment and breathed a prayer and held their own daughters and sons a little closer.

We don’t react to derailment well. We like our days, for the most part, to be orderly. Not necessarily regimented with a routine figured down to the minute and carefully color-coded in a day planner (why are you looking at me like that? Ok FINE I have mine color coded. Online. And backed up on every electronic device I own) but we do have certain expectations for the day. Most of us have at least a vague idea what we’ll be doing tomorrow and even the day after that.

But it goes beyond that. Derailment is…painful. Because it’s a little reminder that our lives aren’t entirely in our control to begin with. That a moment can come that changes everything. For my daughter that moment came this morning when she read the horrible news. For me it came not long after. For my friends…when I posted it on FB.

We’re all so fragile when it comes down to it. Frightened of losing the things that matter most to us. Especially in such violent unexpected ways. At the same time, those fragile moments, also give rise to our greatest strengths. Like the moment (before my daughter knew her friend was actually ok) where my daughter lifted her chin and let me know that she was fine, that she was stronger than this, that she would make something good come out of today’s events.

We all bear such an awesome responsibility to each other, don’t we? We derail each other’s days by posting on social media with all the confidence and trust that sometimes it’s ok to do just that. I think sometimes we don’t realize just what an amazing and wonderful thing it is that in an instant we can be surrounded by an outpouring of global support when our day goes badly.

But was also can’t abuse that trust. I feel badly that I got so many people upset by this story. Before I deleted the original post there were 137 separate responses of heartbroken prayers and hugs from people whose days derailed just enough to give room to our own derailment. I regret this horribly. I can only imagine the regret that must come from creating this kind of derailment deliberately. How many lives a note along the lines of “xxx committed suicide last night” impacts.

And oh yes that note impacts lives. Never never think that you’re so alone that such a message would not devastate and untold number of people around you. And that those ripples won’t keep traveling outwards and hurting people that you’ve never in your life met or even heard of.

So perhaps this is a reminder to speak wisely. And a thankfulness that in a world filled with so much cynicism that people still love freely. And are there for us when our day derails in the most unexpected and awful ways.

And most of all, reminds us that we’re really not alone in this after all.

And please…if you’re so sad that you’re thinking about ending your life, there IS help. Please please please talk to someone – a parent, a teacher, a pastor…another adult that you trust. Don’t keep these kinds of feelings to yourself.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

[as a side note, the picture I’m using today is from a train derailment in Momence, IL back in 1999. I lived near Momence when this happened, only one week after the tragic Amtrak Crash only 7 miles from THIS derailment. What the picture doesn’t show is the the engine on the second train (two trains collided) actually went airborne, left the tracks, and landed in an empty lot right next to a house. It was an amazing sight, that big engine plowed into the dirt like that, only a hundred or so feet from a child’s swingset just on the other side of a picket fence. Even more amazing – no one was killed. The engineer of that train saw he was going to hit and leaped out of the cab before impact, saving his life.]