When Your Little One Has Anxiety

As a parent, you go into it realizing that you’re going to have to make some hard choices. Where are you going to live to ensure they get the best education? Private, public, or charter schools? Religion or no? How strict are you going to be? Anytime a parent tells me about a plan that they have for their child, I do chuckle to myself in judgement. A friend mentioned to me about their birth plan as if that plan was going to be a reality for their process. I half jokingly told her that her birthing plan would be better tossed in the trash, because the real reality is that things with children hardly ever go as planned. Did I plan to have a baby over 2 weeks overdue in the middle of what seemed like the hottest summer/fall ever? Nope. Did I plan on an induction? Nope. Is that what ended up happening? Abso-freaking-lutely.

One of those things that parents rarely plan for are those “what-ifs” that seem impossible. Did I think that anxiety in children displayed at such a young age? No way. Did I understand that my child having anxiety was a real reality that may come to life? Yes. But I didn’t plan for an approach other than “I don’t want to medicate my child unless it’s absolutely necessary”. This isn’t a debate about whether I think a parent is wrong for choosing another approach; everyone’s different. I’m not there yet and that’s my choice of what I think is right for my child. Should a time come where I have exhausted every other approach, this will become more of an option. But I’m not there yet.

That was when my husband came across this program called Mightier, which apparently is a program that was created at Boston’s Children’s Hospital. Expensive? Yes, but when you factor how much the co-pay would probably be for the medications, it probably equals out to the same amount. Plus, it teaches coping mechanisms and ways to ease the anxiety rather than just giving medicine to cover it up. Yes, these are medical issues. But if I have to choose a painkiller over physical therapy to find relief rather than just mask the problem, I would rather deal with the cause and not just the effect.

It’s only been a few days, but I can definitely see it started to sink in for him. When he starts to get into his “anxious episodes”, we calmly tell him to do his “Mightier breathing”. The program comes with a heart monitor and it stops the game on the tablet and pops up a meter with a breathing exercise, making it a game for the child to get their heart rate from the red to the blue. It’s training him how to do these breathing exercises in a way that I have failed. If this has been my experience after only a couple days, I can’t wait to see his progress grow. But so far, I’m taking these little wins.

I don’t expect to cure his anxiety. I still suffer my own anxiety issues. But it’s not about curing it; it’s about finding ways to manage it. I manage mine by exercising, music, knitting, art, and writing. Does that work for everyone? Absolutely not. Are there people who do benefit from having these life-saving medicines? Absolutely. Medications for anxiety and depression are not a crutch or a weakness; they are the same as taking medication to keep your heart beating properly. They can be essential to life. Mental illness is just an illness, and you treat illnesses in the way that you feel is the best for you while taking a medically practical approach.

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Overwatch League: Preview of Stage 3

Unfortunately, with Stage 3, we are one stage away from the Grand Finals. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun to speculate about what to expect this stage, which starts tomorrow. While a lot of my focus is going to be on my team, the Boston Uprising, I will discuss my thoughts and theories on a few of the other teams as well.

The first team up will be the Vancouver Titans. Yes, I’m still actively rooting against them as I just have an issue with people who tend to be overly arrogant. (Bumper’s “I can beat any team with any hero” really, really rubbed me the wrong way.) It was easy for them to stomp all over teams with their early schedules. In fact, they haven’t even faced the NYXL in the regular season yet. Though, I’d be awful at this if I didn’t point out that in the Stage 2 playoffs, these hyped up teams did go against each other and the Titans walked away with a 4-1 win. I was excited to see the Shock beat them in the Stage 2 playoffs. First of all, the Shock seem like genuinely cool dudes. Secondly, because let’s face it everyone wants to see an undefeated team lose.

But how will the Titans handle this loss? Has it shaken their confidence? Will they be easier for teams to beat now that Shock has let everyone see their weaknesses? It’s hard to say. A lot of teams seem to struggle after getting taken down a peg, but the exceeding levels of confidence that the Titans have may compensate for this. They could be angry and out to reclaim the top spot. Only time will tell, though I hope that the crack has had a lasting effect on them as their schedule will be getting more difficult the next 2 stages.

The London Spitfire, my second favorite team, is also struggling. Despite being the Season 1 champions, they have had some difficulty finding their footing in this GOATs meta with any real consistency. I hope that they pick it up because they also seem like a cool group of players. They are a strong team, but they just need to find their way in this crazy meta. If a DPS comp becomes meta again, this is going to be a team to watch out for.

Lastly, my precious Uprising. Like many Boston teams, you get the highs and the lows with them. In Season 1, they defied all expectations and ended up in 3rd place overall. Not bad for a team everyone predicted would be in last place. Again, this year, the team was predicted to be one of the lowest ranked teams. Sure, a lot of this had to do with the team being pretty much gutted from last season. (NotE leaving still hurts.) Instead, they find themselves right at the 12th spot overall, which isn’t great but it isn’t completely terrible either.

Stage 3 was the turn around for them in Season 1. This year, I think if they really pull together, they could start turning this around. They are another team that is struggling with GOATs. There are a few reasons for that. One, Colourhex is not a great Zarya. I know. I say this every time that I post about the matches. I’m not sure if there are struggles with communication. I’m not sure if he’s just not in sync with Fusions like he needs to be as a Zarya player. It’s just not working. Put him on a DPS player, and he’s so impressive. Having him on Zarya? Not so great. Is this their only issue? No, but a team is only as strong as their Zarya player in this meta. Look at Sinatraa, who just melts other players while still being totally in sync with Super. There’s a reason why the San Francisco Shock are probably going to win it all, and it’s that tank duo of Super/Sinatraa. That’s also going to be the Boston Uprising’s downfall.

Overall, I predict that the Titans and Shock will end up facing off in the Stage 3 playoff finals again. And I predict the Shock will win it all again. Their only real competition would be the NYXL or Spitfire, if they could just come together and work out their issues.

Finding Controversy Where There Isn’t Any

“How dare Google not have the American flag on Memorial Day?” , I saw on Facebook. I didn’t consider that. I went to my Google homepage and I saw a screen that was plain, in the colors of mourning, with a link to listen to Taps, a song that sends a chill down any American’s spine. I remember listening to my son practice it on his trumpet as he was being groomed to be the person to play it at the parade when he was old enough. I would have been so proud to say that was my son playing that song in honor of those we have lost. (He ended up quitting band upon entering high school, due to the band director being disapproving of those people who wanted to do both band and sports.) I found nothing offensive; in fact, the opposite was true. I appreciated the simplicity, the focus on the mourning of these men and women who fought for our rights to be offended at whatever we wanted to be. I thought the somber simplicity was the perfect approach. The day is about those who we have lost. It isn’t about arguing about patriotism or being outraged.

I don’t need to see an American flag everywhere to know someone loves their country. I don’t have a flag on my lawn, doesn’t mean I don’t love my country. People equate a symbol, the flag, and boast it as if it’s the only way to show your patriotism. We’re not supposed to honor symbols; we’re supposed to honor the spirit. Yes, I do believe in saying the pledge. Yes, I do believe you don’t talk during the anthem and you show your respect as you would if you were praying. I don’t need to wear the flag to show my love for those who are serving, have served, and sacrificed it all for us. I believe in showing respect to our soldiers when we see them in public, with my sons saying “Thank you” or saluting them. It’s the little acts, not the grand gestures. I believe that you show your patriotism fighting for those who can’t whenever you can. I believe that you show your patriotism by giving thanks to those who chose to fight so that you didn’t have to.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in the flag. I repeat, in bold this time: This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in the flag. This is a symbol of our country, this is something to be revered. I just mean to point out that the most important thing, the thing that we are actually fighting for, is the American spirit. The spirit of not being told to sit down and take it. The spirit of fighting for our beliefs, for justice, for peace. The American flag is a symbol of the American spirit; not a replacement for it.

This need to be outraged about everything has gotten crazy. Some people on the far-right insist that it’s only the “snowflake libtards” that get outraged over nothing, when it’s both sides that want to make everything “a thing”. I recently joined groups for my community because I wanted to see about our local politicians. I wanted to see how us citizens could inspire change. Instead, I see dumpster fire level outrage over nothing. I see people flaming each other for nothing. I see the worst in humanity when really, I just wanted to see how these people wanted to help our communities. Instead, it’s all fake outrage. It’s finding controversy where there isn’t any. Apparently this is the new American way.

I don’t believe in searching out controversy. I don’t believe in following those who do. I believe the politicians and the media want us to be outraged at whatever they tell us to, in part, just because they can do it and no one will question it. I question it. I wonder why they are making a mountain out of a molehill. I believe in getting back to the true American spirit.

The Wheel Was Broken… Along with Our Spirits

I could have easily written this post yesterday, when it would have been more relevant. However, rather than striking while the iron of this topic is hot, I’ve opted to give it another day to make sure that most people got around to watching it before I accidentally spoil it. There’s really nothing more infuriating than dedicating so much time to a series, waiting so long for the ending, to have some keyboard warriors spoil it all for you. I’d want to punch that writer in the face. Especially when they do things like say “You Wouldn’t Believe who Died” only to post the picture of the character who died. It’s that reason that I stopped watching “Orange is the New Black”. I don’t forgive so easily. (That being said… there are spoilers. So don’t read if you didn’t watch.)

“Game of Thrones” fans waited so long to get their conclusion. Fans of the book series are still waiting for the next book, the supposed second to last book of the series. Feel sorry for us, not the television show fans. We’ve waited longer, so we have every right to feel disappointed in the show right now. When you really think about it, they had 2 years to put out something great. Something memorable. (And not just for the many blunders, like coffee cups and water bottles. Seriously, 2 years and their editing team couldn’t catch those things?) They shortened the season but promised longer episodes. The hype train for GoT was real. And I was all aboard, ready to go, counting down the days to get what I felt would be the only conclusion that book readers would get at this rate. I have resigned myself to the fact that the only closure for the nearly decade I have dedicated to this book series would come from the television show. I was Team Targaryen all the way, whether that came from Dany or Jon. My husband, he is Team Stark. He spent more of the series upset than I was. Understandable; the Starks got screwed the entire series up to this point.

Spoilers, incoming. You’ve been warned.

Last season wasn’t great, but it was watchable. This season? I would put it more in the “passable” category. It became more of a means to an end rather than enjoyment. The story was rushed. The writing was inconsistent, as if they just focused on Tyrion’s impact and tossed a bunch of other words to the rest of the cast and hoping for the best. Tyrion was still flawless in his speeches. Did I mention that the story was rushed? I would have rather them give us the usual sized season with the 50 minute episodes than 1hr and 20 minutes of a rushed story. Did we even get real closure on the situation? Sansa is the Queen of the North and Tyrion is the Hand of the King, again. Nothing shocking there. Arya has decided to become Christopher Columbus. Makes sense, but it seems out of the blue. In the books, she seemed to idolize Nymeria Targaryen, who traveled and was a warrior princess. But in the show, this was never really mentioned other than that was what she named her direwolf.

And Jon? He didn’t get the throne, nor did he ever really want it. He did save the world more than a few times, only to be thanked by being sent back to the Wall as a punishment for doing the right thing. Does he abandon his duty to become the “King Beyond the Wall”? That seems both out of character and a reasonable conclusion, depending on which version of Jon you’re going with. The dutiful Stark raised by Ned wouldn’t break his oath. But a Jon with nothing to live for, who has nothing left, just might. Or was he just making sure the wildlings got settled in nicely? I would have loved an answer either way. And Bran becoming King Bran the Broken? It wasn’t a shocking twist. It was odd how he seemed like he didn’t want it and then all of a sudden it seemed that he planned that turn of events.

In the end, the Starks were the real winners after an entire series of losing. I’m happy the Starks ultimately won the “Game of Thrones”. The ending isn’t my issue: it’s how we got there. That episode was the best episode of the season, and if the rest of the episodes were as good, the season wouldn’t have been terrible. My hope, as a reader of the book series, is that we get more answers than the barely-there cliff notes version that we actually received.

Noob Adventures of Guild Wars 2

There is no Overwatch League until June 6th, so instead of a recap you get my adventures playing a new to-me.

As a more casual player that struggles with wanting to suffer through LFR to get more gear and content, there seems to have run out of things for me to currently do in World of Warcraft. I refuse to level alts past 110 without flying and I want to finish my horde War Campaign, but that requires you to do LFR. Maybe I’ll get to it, though I suppose I’ll have to just to get the story finished. It’s dumb that they make the horde do LFR and not the alliance. Anyways…

A friend said “Try Guild Wars 2”. You can play it for free and you don’t have a subscription to play. Why not? I was failing hard at farming for the Deathwing mount. (I’m apparently so terrible that I can’t solo that or BWL’s first boss.) So I did. I picked out this cool looking character, a human necromancer with Winter Sky pigtails and a demonic doll face. What first struck me was how you were able to make decisions that affect the story. I like that custom experience because it offers more playability. The game itself was fun enough; it was easy to pick up and figure out. This could be because of my WoW obsession, since a lot of the playstyle was the same. With the exception of the manual parry ability, which was really freaking fun to do whenever I could.

It also works for someone who’s a completionist freak, as I tend to be. I like to finish zones in WoW when I’m doing my first play through because I want to see the story. Even if I have leveled past the zone, I like that I can just keep going to see how the story plays out. It seems as though Guild Wars forces you to do this, and rewards you rather nicely for it.

I haven’t figured out the talent or profession system. I never played the first one, despite having several friends who raved about it. Right now, I’m more concerned about learning mechanics and experiencing the story. The game impressed me enough where I did buy the expansion bundle pack, getting 2 level 80 boosts. I refuse to use them though, now anyways. I don’t want to be that noob that boosts a character without knowing how to really play. I want to have that experience of leveling to 80 and getting to do the storyline. I’m a lore freak, so I like the immersive story experience that you get from games like Guild Wars 2 or World of Warcraft.

Is it my favorite game? No. I still think World of Warcraft is the superior game. Is it good as a filler while there’s nothing left to farm but mounts and you’re still recovering from the Overwatch Storm Rising event burnout? Yes. Will I be playing it much this week due to the release of the Overwatch Anniversary event, where D.Va (my main) gets one of the coolest skins? Nope. As of Tuesday, I’m all Overwatch until I get all of the skins. But, it’s a decent game to play when you’re bored of other games and you aren’t forced to play it because you pay the sub fee.

Where could it improve? There’s something lacking in the social department, when compared to my WoW experience. Maybe it’s because I don’t know as many people who play. When streaming it, I did get some good advice and meet some cool people. I like that the story instances (at least so far) are solo instances that don’t require you to group up with people, especially since I’m self-conscious about my play being so new at the game. I feel it’s a little disjointed, maybe not quite as streamlined as WoW. But, games should try to do something different from WoW to give us entertaining options. Which this is a great option, just not a replacement to World of Warcraft.

Better Late than Never?

Unless I’m deathly ill, or I’m playing nurse to other people in the house, I try not to miss my regular posts. Unfortunately, sometimes that does happen. But I try really hard. Today was one of those days were my to-do list was too much. However, I wanted to get something up because I’m a big fan of sticking to routines, almost annoyingly so. Routines are something that I can find comforting, which is why I try my hardest to stick to as rigid of a routine as I possibly can. Maybe it’s superstition or maybe it’s a necessary by-product of working from home, where you are your own boss and taskmaster so you need to be on the ball. Whatever the case is, I have a routine that I often stick to as close to the minutes as possible. When I said “rigid”, I meant it.

My youngest son has been “not being the best version of himself”. That’s the new way that us parents say “he has been an absolute nightmare, send help in the form of wine, coffee, or both”. I almost wish that I could say that it was only at school that he’s been struggling, but it’s not. He’s been worse as I was hoping he was starting to settle down. His teacher emailed me, discussing his struggles in class. Fortunately, his struggles don’t involve bullying or otherwise not being kind. His issues are the usual with him: he’s overly anxious, struggles to focus, and sit still. These aren’t new struggles with him. But I’m with the teacher: something has snapped within him and he’s worse than he’s ever been.

He’s my baby. My special little boy. My little love. I feel bad about how much I have to take deep breaths before trying to calmly talk him down. His big thing right now: tornadoes. Anytime he sees clouds, he goes off about tornadoes and how our house is going to explode. I know he has anxiety. I know that I’m trying my best to hide my own anxiety to the point where he doesn’t learn how deep it goes but also showing him that I have ways of addressing my anxiety in healthy ways. Like through my writing, knitting, or exercise. His anxiety is something that I had hoped he would have grown from, that it was just a phase. I’m starting to think that this is something we’re going to have to work on in the long run.

To solve these issues I’ve decided to go back to the “Georgie Basics”, as I call them. I bought a new calendar and chart to help get him onto a stricter routine. I’m going to figure out some activity, maybe art related, to get him to work out some of those issues in his mind. Something that requires him to sit down and focus, but that he won’t care he’s sitting down and focusing on it because he’s enjoying it so much. I’m going to get him to start doing “Mommy and Georgie” yoga. I’m going to try everything, because he’s my boy and that’s what I need to do.

Dealing with children who have these types of struggles isn’t easy. It’s easy to backseat parent when you don’t have the same struggles. It’s easy to judge someone for not giving their kid medications for their anxiety and focusing issues. It’s even easier to judge them for giving them medication for their anxiety and focusing issues. But until you are there, on the front lines of these battles, leave it to those who live the struggle. I’m sure they don’t want to hear how your perfect kid never had this issue, but they read in this place that medications kill kids. (Not really, but you know exactly what I’m talking about here.) For the rest of us, keep your head up. We’ll get through this together.

It Isn’t About a Law; It’s What the Law Stands For

When I first read about the now-infamous Georgia law, I thought it was an Onion article. To be fair, most news these days I end up thinking is really just an Onion article. In this case, it wasn’t. While I had a hard time finding what the law actually said without running into articles from both sides of the aisle, the general consensus seems to be the law is ridiculous. (If that part about the miscarriage is true, thanks to law makers for making innocent women feel more invaded after such a traumatic loss. Good on you, guys.)

But what I realize is that people shouldn’t be upset with this law. This law was purposely meant to be ridiculous. They want it to be challenged in the Supreme Court. Why? Because then, they could start their crusade to overturn Roe v Wade. Because now they have the potential to do this with a conservative judge majority. Because maybe next they should find other ways to control what people do with their lives. Perhaps ban people from having sex at all unless they want to be forced to have children. Maybe ban birth control, because we don’t think people should have that either.

You can’t go on a crusade about Sharia Law in other countries or worried about it coming here when you are trying to enact a Christian version in America. Where does the line get drawn? I’m not pro-abortion. When I was a scared, pregnant teenager I never even considered having an abortion. Why? Because it wasn’t something that I felt right doing. Just because I personally don’t agree with it, that doesn’t mean I don’t think there are certain circumstances where I would do it. If I had a child that was 100% going to die right away or have a miserable 2 hours of life where it suffers, I would absolutely get one. It would be the hardest decision of my life, but I can with a clear conscience say that I would never want my baby to suffer needlessly. I’m not pro-abortion. No one is pro-abortion. People are pro-choice. I don’t think it’s any of my business what another person does with their body. Their abortion doesn’t affect my life.

I don’t like the idea of a woman being able to lose control of their own body. It feels like a violation. It feels like you’re okaying someone to violate them and they can’t do anything about it. How many women died because of back alley abortions before abortion became legal? How come it’s all about giving birth to babies, but after that it’s good luck to them? Isn’t it more fiscally responsible to allow women to get this procedure instead of paying for children to stay in foster care forever because they aren’t a “desirable enough baby” or for the entitlements that the parents will need to support it? But go on, talk about life and liberty and all of that.

The law isn’t the scary thing. The fact that this law is purposely made to be awful so that they can force the courts to revisit Roe v Wade is the scary thing. What’s scary is what downward spiral is going to happen. What’s next? You have to leave religion out of making laws. There’s a reason why there’s a separation of church and state. What about banning other religions? Or atheists? Or forcing religion to be taught in public schools? Or overturning gay marriage? This is an attack on civil liberties. This is a scary turn for women, especially those who have been victimized and will have to face that for the rest of their lives. Go on. Let’s let a woman get assaulted, force her to have that child, go through the purpose of a trial that will only lead to the rapist going free because he wasn’t poor or dark enough to go to jail, only to have him turn around and get custodial rights to that child. Don’t believe in abortion? Don’t get one. It’s really that simple. Let’s go back to those draconian days where women are property that people can do whatever they want with. Or… let’s put up a fight.