Welcome!

I’m Wrae and I am delighted to be here.

Please check out the “Learn More About Me” page 🙂

I am 35, and I’ve always loved writing. I’ve done some journaling, some poetry. I am on wattpad, and if you want that information, I’ll be glad to share it. This blog came pretty much out of nowhere but sometimes that’s the best thing.

I will be putting up a statement for legal reasons about what I will not tolerate on this blog, but in general, I’m pretty laid back. For sheer example, this welcome post is today’s post.

Guests are always welcome, I hope everyone enjoys what they read and leave having learned something or at least gotten a different point of view. As Jewel once said, “I’d rather see the world from another angle.”

I will have posts up on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I also have book reviews once monthly on Wednesdays.

Happy reading!

Wrae

Neurology Is Not My Best Topic

It took me five years to get a BA in Clinical Psychology- I changed majors, schools and had my boys. I didn’t take a neuropsychology class.

I had a mini-stroke in 2013- a migraine went really bad. Afterward, I started having migraines, which are absolutely zero fun. They make me sleepy, cranky, nauseated and for some reason, crave sour candy.

I’ve worked with kids with developmental disabilities and have an autistic kid.

And yet, I know nothing about neurology.

Until a couple of days ago, I also didn’t know what could be going on with Lily.

If you need a refresher, please read these posts:

Special Needs Round Two

Back to the Beginning

She’s currently in Occupational Therapy (OT) and seeing a dietician. Both have been extremely helpful. I was looking into getting her a full neuropsychological evaluation, like Julian had in 2011, but most places are full or aren’t taking new patients right now, because you know, there’s a global pandemic going around.

Plus, her insurance doesn’t cover a penny of what will be a very expensive evaluation.

She’s worth it, but honestly, I decided to sit on this idea until things get back to some sort of normal.

A Crash Course in Reflexes

A couple of days ago, Lily’s OT, Amy, tested her reflexes.

She tested positive for retained STNR reflex, and all I could say was “What is that?”

I’m not afraid to say that I don’t know something, because how else am I going to learn? In this case, I felt (and still feel) that I was way out of my knowledge base. We thought maybe severe anxiety and avoidance behaviors, she was even tested for ADD, which she does have.

Amy explained it to me in a simple way- there’s a reflex that babies develop between 6 and 9 months old. It should resolve before the first birthday. This reflex makes the top and bottom parts of our bodies work in sync to move efficiently. If the reflex isn’t resolved, this can lead to some developmental delays. For example, when you learn to swim, your arms and legs have to work together to do so.

Those who have a retained STNR reflex can’t swim well because they can’t get their body to work together at the same time. It’s a neurological issue that can’t be medicated. Lily will need OT for a while, and at some point, we hope that she can learn to ride a bike and other independent activities.

There’s a connection to ADD/ADHD for this, so it makes a lot of sense to me. It explains a lot of Lily’s issues and now I can somewhat meet her where she is.

On the outside, she’s a regular 12-year-old. She loves clothes, jewelry, blankets and boy bands (ugh). However, the way her brain works is different from a lot of other kids her age- she’s socially and emotionally immature, has core and muscle weaknesses, and of course, issues with coordination.

I am not sure what this means for 7th grade for her- she may or may not qualify for an IEP. She may need an evaluation through the school to do so. I’m also not sure if she will be able to live on her own without assistance. I have no idea.

She’s 12, but I have to think about her future. I may need to become her guardian when she turns 18. It’s a lot to think about and writing this post is helping me process it.

I wish there was more that I could do besides taking her to OT. As far as I’ve seen, there isn’t much anyone can do besides help her resolve this reflex and since I’m not an occupational therapist, I can only follow Amy’s recommendations.

I read up a bit on this and some of it went way over my head! I think I understand the important parts. We have answers, or the beginning of them, and that’s what matters.

Just In Case Anyone Wondered

I figured I would answer a few questions for my readers, ones that might give you more insight into me as a person, not just a mom, blogger or whatever else.

I can’t change my permanent tan, as I call it, but then why would I want to? Being biracial has allowed me to be funnier, open-minded, opinionated and to be okay with not being like everyone else. I haven’t been since I was born.

I’m 37, so this puts me in a weird spot. I’m old enough to remember not being able to play at a friend’s house because their parents didn’t want a biracial kid in their home, but not old enough to have truly appreciated punk rock and be able to have a category to check for “race”. Those older than me had to pick and that’s somewhat traumatizing within itself.

So if you were wondering, I’m good. I’m proud of being biracial. I have a wicked sense of humor and love of makeup from my mom’s parents and I look like my Granny on my dad’s side. I have curly black hair that people would pay great amounts of money for.

I’ve passed this on to my kids, who have different types of curly hair and have my eyes.

Just in case you were wondering, BLACK LIVES MATTER.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Keep reading, I’m not done.

As many of you know, I live in Louisville, KY, the center of protesting over Breonna Taylor’s murder.

I fully support them and have donated to bond funds and Black Lives Matter in my city. If it weren’t for RA, I’d protest myself. Instead, I’ve been signing petitions for justice and telling people what I think.

All the cops involved in Breonna’s murder need to be fired, arrested, charged and convicted, preferably in that order. Same goes for George Floyd’s killers.

It’s going to be a long road, but Breonna and George will hopefully get justice. Unfortunately, there are others that deserve justice for the same reason- being murdered by a cop.

If you were wondering, my job is fantastic and I love it. I’m still debating the Public Health idea but ugh, my therapist is on medical leave and I haven’t gotten that far with her replacement.

Yep, I’m still in therapy. Every week.

Just in case you wanted to know, my publishing schedule is all over the place and I’m aware.

Ugh.

I’ve put a few posts on the backburner as drafts. Writer’s block is a thing, as is flares and life itself. A couple of recent posts, like this one, popped into my head out of the blue. I kind of like those better.

I’m working on a post a week, but we will see.

In case you were wondering, RA still sucks. I am currently at the end of a flare, which completely wears me out, mentally and physically. One day, it took all the energy I had to stay awake.

This describes the quarantine/social distancing we have been dealing with. I have no clue what I am doing- some days are structured, some aren’t. Like everyone else, all I can do is my best.

Pics are from my personal Facebook and Pinterest.

More Than A Label: LGBT+ Mental Health

Everyone is made differently- looks, personality, likes, dislikes and even sexuality.

Some of us are attracted to men and women, some are attracted to those of the same sex. Some don’t have romantic attraction towards anyone. There are even people that are attracted to men, women, non-binary people and others.

This is okay. We can’t help who we fall in love with.

I haven’t written a lot about sexuality, but it’s Pride Month. It’s somewhat out of my scope but I’m willing to discuss it.

I previously wrote a post about this topic –Talking About Pride

However, being a part of the LGBTQ+ community can lead to some issues that aren’t always given a lot of attention.

This is My Scope of Knowledge

Mental health issues are common in today’s world, and being seen as “different” can add to an existing condition or even lead to symptoms of a new diagnosis.

Anxiety

Those that identify as non-heterosexual are three times more likely to suffer from anxiety than others – this is the same for adults and teens. This can be a result of issues in home life, school/career and other areas of life. Anxiety is hard enough to handle without questioning your sexuality. Anxiety, of course can lead to other issues, as in depression, drug use and even suicidal ideations.

Coming out to friends and family can be a cause of stress alone. A person might be fully ready to live their life but the idea of telling those they are close to can be difficult. This isn’t to say coming out makes these issues disappear, but it helps.

Depression

Depression is very common in the community. Having to keep your sexuality a secret can be devasting, and so can having to pretend to be someone else. It eats away at your soul and can lead to some very dark thoughts. Not being able to share the person you love is also painful.

Sometimes people become depressed or it worsens after coming out. This can be a result of a negative response to the announcement. There are still many people who don’t agree with the “lifestyle” and can be very judgemental towards people who aren’t heterosexual, even if it is their own child. These thoughts of not being loved/accepted can spiral into actions that endanger lives- substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, etc.

For the record, I do not care if my kids are gay, bisexual, or anything else on the spectrum. As long as they find someone who they are happy with and they’re treated well, then I am good.

For some reason, those who identify as bisexual are diagnosed with depression more than those who identify as a different sexuality. One in four bisexual people in a study have been diagnosed with depression at some point. Other sexualities have lower rates. Some of this has to do with support, or lack thereof, especially at school and/or at home.

This is why it’s so importatnt to support the LGBT+ people in your life, no matter how old they are. It’s hard to reach out for the help you need when you feel as if a therapist will judge you or even not see you because of your sexuality.

Teens go through a lot of changes as it is, and figuring this out can be difficult. Teens struggle more if their school is not a supportive place for them, because they may feel they have nowhere to turn.

Bullying is already a topic that many are familiar with. This can be excruciating for teens that identify as LGBTQ+. It just adds to the feelings of not being good enough, or shame at being “different”. It also makes a teen feel unsafe in a place that they should feel safe. Having to defend yourself 5 days a week can be physically and emotionally draining.

The Importance of Community

I can’t stress this enough- if you are reading this and you need LGBTQ+ support, in any way, please reach out. There will be resources at the end of this post.

It’s not healthy to feel like or even try to go through life alone. Everyone needs someone they can tell about really good or even really bad dates. People need to belong. It’s a basic need.

The feeling you get when you are around others that understand you is wonderful. It’s nice to know you are not the only one.

Resources:

LGBTQ Information on Addiction and Suicide

HRC

LGBTQ Youth Hopkins Medicine

MHA

LGBT Community Mental Health

Pictures courtesy of Unsplash

2020 Mid Year Update

It’s been a YEAR and we are six months in.

Kids are going to need a whole book for learning history from this year. Forget a chapter.

As I write this, we are in a pandemic that has changed how we live. Most states shut down, including Kentucky. Our governor, Andy Beshear, was not playing around when he set guidelines.

We are slowly reopening but have no idea on what happens when school starts.

In addition to that, people in cities around the world have gathered to protest (and riot) police killing people, mainly Black people.

Breonna Taylor and Geoge Floyd became nationally known because of their deaths. Breonna died in Louisville and the city went OFF.

What do I think?

Black lives matter.

I’m a black woman and it’s a shame that racism still exists in 2020. The police have done terrible things to people and it needs to stop. Something has to be done.

Breonna, George and many others deserve justice.

The Big Three

Physically:

I’ve had a couple of migraines, but I’m used to them.

RA still sucks. I have an appointment with my rheumatologist next week. My last one was a phone call. I’m not sure if I’ll actually go into the office or not.

I’m resting more because I’ve come to realize I need it. Part-time work is all I can physically handle. If it weren’t for RA, I’d still be working full time.

Sobriety:

I’m over three years sober. I don’t count days because that’s kinda hard for me, but as of 6/4, I have three years, five months and three days.

This helps me greatly at my job and it allows me to help others.

Emotionally:

I’m still in therapy – via my laptop for the foreseeable future. It’s going well and I’m working my way through things.

I struggle so much with not having a poker face through everything. It’s okay to show emotions, but it’s something I am not great at.

My meds are working. The only side effect is that I sweat a lot. It beats the other side effects I’ve had.

What’s Next?

I’m still not sure.

I’m thinking of grad school- but a MPH, which is a Masters of Public Health. This would allow me to possibly become a medical researcher, and I would love to do this research in suicide prevention. I’d specialize in firearm suicides. I’d also be able to teach community-based classes on mental health.

The kids, of course, are out of school and we will have the most fun we can. The kids did okay with NTI, but none of them want to do it in the fall.

I met Trenton! I got to see him for the first time today- he was born in April right in the middle of the pandemic. He’s absolutely adorable and he even smiled at me.

We are doing the best we can in this weird and scary world. Stay safe!