Surviving New Year’s Eve

I already talked about Sinterklaas and Christmas in this post. By making it your own holiday, you can enjoy it a lot more. We try to get rid of the things we don’t like (by not doing them for example) and have some fun anyway. Of course you can’t do this with everything and a lot of people have trouble with Christmas and the obligations that come from them. For example the forced ‘spending time together in a (big) group’ or ‘eating together’ can be a huge problem for people who are a bit afraid of social interaction and groups (such as me and my fellow Hippo) or for people with eating disorders or other eating problems.

Another thing I often see is that around December the feeling of loneliness becomes a lot more. The contrast becomes bigger between the ‘happy families’ and ‘popular people’ and the people with hardly any social contacts, for example due to disabilities or illnesses (think of depression, PTSD, physical problems, old age etc.). So for me, December used to feel more about ‘loneliness and misery’ than ‘enjoying holidays and spending quality time together’. This has improved drastically, but one holiday remains a huge problem for me: New Year’s Eve.

I have no idea if more people have trouble with New Year’s Eve. It’s the holiday of December in which I can’t participate the most. Mainly because of my (extreme) fear of fireworks, but also because I don’t have a lot of social contacts. My fellow Hippo and I decided to try something different this year. We’re going to spend it together, just the two of us. Not going to my parents’. That way we have full control over what we’re going to do (New Year’s Eve is often so dull) and what we’re going to eat (which is rather tricky because of the IBS). We also think that there will be less fireworks here.

A lot of people I encounter, don’t understand why I’m so afraid of fireworks. This makes me feel extra lonely and sad, because I can’t do things and others can’t. People often just left me alone in the house and decided to have fun outside or at someone else’s house, because I was just weird and had ‘unjust fears’. I’ve never been able to celebrate it with peers, because they would go out clubbing and visit the fireworks show.
fireworks
[Image of a lot of firework clouds in a dark sky]

I think fireworks are very dangerous, a big polluter and they gave me major headaches (and upset a lot of animals and other people too). I have to lock myself up a few days before and after New Year’s Eve, because people are always ingniting those things longer than is allowed. I’ve always been afraid of fireworks (mainly because of the major bangs and the fact that they are extremely hot, you can’t control them fully and they can damage a lot), but I’ve also had a minor fireworks accident. That was the only time I went outside during New Year’s Eve, because people were trying to ‘stimulate’ me to act normal (as most of them do with this problem). I was still very young and going to primary school. I went outside for like two minutes, standing at our driveway, next to the door, behind two cars. I was farthest away. My neighbours ignited a flare at the street, using all the safety measures. The bottle fell, the flare went below both cars and came in my hand. I only had some bleeding blisters (and other minor burn wounds), but damn that hurts. People didn’t really help me with it either (I couldn’t open the front door to get inside again) and I needed to put it in water and stuff like that, while I was still a young child who didn’t know what to do, in a lot of pain and in panic. That day made sure I would never try standing outside ever again.
Before and after that accident I’ve also encountered a lot of people who enjoy throwing ignited fireworks at you, the days around New Year’s Eve. That’s why I can’t go outside the days before/after as well. But I don’t really mind, I can see fireworks on the TV or internet if I’d like 😉

Despite the fact that I can’t do whatever I want, I’m not really bothered with it. I never liked fireworks, sure the colours are nice but if those were flickering lamps or lasers they wouldn’t cause so much headaches, noise and waste.
Since I’ve encountered my soulmate and life partner I don’t feel so alone either. We’re also trying not to ‘flashback’ on the past year, because we both can’t look positively to the past or coming year on New Year’s Eve. Normally I can, but that day I can’t.
I’m positive about this New Year’s Eve. We’ll have a nice, quiet (and some quality) time together. We’re going to eat and do what we like and the only rule is that we stay inside. My fellow Hippo isn’t really about going outside anyway so we won’t have any trouble with that. Only thing I’m concerned about is my parents’ dog (you can read something about him here). He’s even more afraid of fireworks than I am and now I can’t be there for him.

I hope you’ll have nice plans for New Year’s Eve too! Do you have any ‘special way’ to celebrate (or survive) it?

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Reblog: Downstream

It’s good to think about issues like this; I totally agree with this post.

A Momma's View

“Everyone lives downstream from someone” was the comment Rixlibris left on one of my recent posts. And it sums up the entire issue with us human beings and the way we treat our home.


Just think about it: We do things of we think will never effect us and kind of don’t care what it might do to others. But we all sit in the same boat. Even if the things we do never will be an issue for us personally, something someone else did might. What we put out there today will be an issue for our next generation and the generation to come.


I’m not going to write about Global Warming. I’m not going to discuss if it’s happening or not (I do believe it is).

I simply want to put one question out there:

Imagine you own a beautiful house, with heaps of rare and amazing…

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365 Christmas Days

I always enjoy learning about the traditions in other countries. I already knew not every country had a first and second Christmas Day (or a Boxing Day). Apparently in some countries it’s all about Christmas Eve.

Around Christmas people care more about others, give more to others, spend more time together etc. At least, that’s what we try even more around that time. It’s good to see that more people realize that it’s not just about the ‘materialistic things’. I’m not against giving presents or decorations, but we need to keep checking ourselves that we’re not losing the focus and become greedy for example. Or too stressed, which also make you lash out more.

If Christmas is all about peace, love, happiness and helping each other, then I’d like to suggest every day is a Christmas Day. Just add the numbers. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone would act like they do around Christmas (I only mean the positive things, not the stress and everything)? That eventually, nobody would feel lonely anymore, or cold or uncomfortable.

I don’t think this idea would really work. Around the 198th Christmas Day I guess some people will lose the spirit 😉 Oh well, it’s fun to think about it and who knows. Maybe in the future we won’t ‘need’ Christmas to do these good deeds anymore 🙂 You don’t need a reason to be kind and caring after all.

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[Image of a calendar with christmas trees on every date]

I hope we’ll all be able to ‘hold the Christmas spirit’ in the New Year. We can’t change other people, but we can change ourselves and try to direct others with our behaviour. Together, we can do so many good things 🙂

Photo source

Reblog: A Drunk Driver Almost Killed Her Fiance. If You Watch This Video There Might be Tears.

A great example of love conquers all! I have a lot of respect for both of them! Everyone should know that it’s possible to have a good relationship and life with someone who is/became disabled, or even when you’re both disabled. The same counts if you have a disability: you still can have a good life 🙂

Kindness Blog

When two people are madly in love the possibilities are unlimited.

Larry had a romantic plan to propose to Kelcie in Disneyland.

Tragically, before he could propose, he was hit by a drunk driver and experienced a severe traumatic brain injury that he continues to recover from today.

Larry spent months in a coma with Kelcie by his side. She gave up everything to work with him and to help him get better, including working at the facility he went to so she could spend as much time with Larry as possible.

This is a very touching video.

Thankfully,  eventually these two lovelies got their special day just the way they had dreamed of. Watch.



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Ashamed/homeless

First, you should know I’m not really a social butterfly. I’m that person that sits or stands somewhere in the back, to a wall, while others are talking in groups. Not because I don’t want to talk, but I can’t just walk towards someone, or a group, and interrupt.

As you might have guessed from the title: I feel ashamed. Ashamed and a bit like a hippocrit, even though I don’t want to be like that. Let me try to explain. I’d love to talk to people, in this case homeless people. Not out of pity, but because I’m interested in them as a person. I often feel disgusted by how some people treat the homeless. As if they aren’t people. I think I can relate and connect more to homeless people, than to those ‘aristocrats’ (as they like to think of themselves). Yet, I have some aristocrats in the neighbourhood and still don’t talk to the homeless. Even though I want to do that for such a long time. (I don’t talk to the aristocrats either)

I feel ashamed and bad every time I go to the supermarket and I don’t talk to them, maybe even pretend to ignore them, even though I really want to communicate with them. They are people too and it’s often not their ‘fault’ that they ended up in this situation. I think/hope I don’t have the prejudices a lot of the homeless have to deal with. Partly, because I can relate. My fellow Hippo was officially homeless, but thankfully my parents took him in, since he was denied everywhere. I’ve spend nights outside too. It was so frustrating how people didn’t understand that my dear fellow Hippo was homeless. Nobody understood that this could actually happen. They just denied him, even though he would have to spend nights on the street. This can happen, people. Parents can be so ‘cruel’ to just kick their son out of their house, because he’s ‘acting disabled’. All those people who denied him, because they didn’t want the trouble, said he just had to go to school, because school was important. How can you go to school, or be busy with other stuff, if you don’t even have a roof above your head or food? They probably never heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Which symbolizes the needs humans have and the importance of it. You need every previous level of the pyramid, before you can fulfill the next. But I’ll talk about this some other time. Back to my sense of shame.

2000px-maslows_hierarchy_of_needs-svg

[Image of the pyramid of Maslow. On top is Self-actualization with the words: morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts in it. Below that is Esteem with the words: self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others in it. Below that Love/belonging with the words: friendship, family, sexual intimacy. Below that Safety with the words: security of: body, employment, resources, morality, the family, health, property. On the bottom is Physiological with the words: breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion.]

I’m worried that the homeless people don’t want me to ‘interfere’. We have prejudices, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they have prejudices too. What if they think I’m just doing it out of pity or want to make fun of them etc.? As always, I don’t want to bother people. I don’t ask, but people are welcome to talk to me if they like. With this case it’s the same. But I understand why those homeless people don’t just talk to us. Because most of us ignore them, deny them, are mean to them. I just want to treat them like everyone else, like people, with respect. And of course I can’t do this alone. I’m too afraid to be alone, so I would have to take someone with me who is willing to talk as well.

I already feel bad that I’m not in a position that I can really help them. I’d love to do volunteer work, but I can’t because of my disabilities. Maybe some day I will be able to, it’s one of the things I’m working on. I also feel ashamed when my fellow Hippo and I have bags filled with groceries. We don’t have a lot of money, but still we have so much stuff and so much more stuff than them. Sometimes we treat ourselves and also buy things you don’t necessarily need physically, but it can still feel good to eat crisps for example. Of course then I see someone looking and feel very bad. I’m not allowed to take anyone in my house. I have to deal with rules from the health facility. Even though we have our own apartment and pay rent, it’s the same as when I lived at the group. They forced me to send my own fellow Hippo, my everything in life, to the streets. I couldn’t and went with him. I just wouldn’t abandon him. School still ‘punishes’ us for what we did. That we couldn’t come for months because we didn’t live in the same city. It’s just so cruel and when I think of this I get tears in my eyes again. I wonder, what would you have done? People told me not to ‘ruin’ my life for someone else, I would find another person… They didn’t understand the connection my fellow Hippo and I have. It’s not your average young relationship. And still, I think I did the right thing. I didn’t abandon him, went with him and kept looking for help. Exactly like I promised.

And again I went off topic, I’m sorry. It’s just that I wish things would be different. That I could do something, without getting homeless myself too. And I feel bad for thinking about myself as well. Sometimes people have to remind me that we don’t have enough money to pay our own bills, otherwise I would give everyone so much stuff and money.

I’m just so glad that this blogger does have the guts to do something. It’s really inspiring. Although I was already thinking about all this before I read her posts (nobody should feel guilty that I feel like this, it’s my own fault for being to afraid and to shy. I also feel like it’s my fault about what happened to my fellow Hippo, maybe even to me as well, giving me PTSD. But I should stop this circle now. I know I shouldn’t think like this, but sometimes…). I hope her posts will give me the power that I can do it too. And maybe, since it’s December, the homeless are treated better now. Sadly, a lot of people only act differently because of the holidays but maybe it will stay. We can still make this world better, if we just keep doing good things.

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[Close-up image of one side of a painted face. The person has a green eye and the face is painted with the map of the Americas and the surrounding ocean  and some air streams]

Photo source 1

Photo source 2

 

A small guide for parents who (recently) learned that their child won’t be able to do everything a ‘normal’ child would physically be able to do

The change of having a healthy child into a less healthy one (in this post I don’t speak of diseases that could be fatal by themselves) is tough. A lot of changes will come to you and you might feel like you failed as a parent. Your child is sick/disabled and this will probably be forever. This doesn’t mean that there’s no improvement possible. Especially in the beginning you can get a lot out of changing things. It’s important that your child can use help, so he/she can still do things and enjoy life.

I write this blogpost from my own experiences. This doesn’t mean that it has to be the same for everyone. People deal with things differently. These are just a few tips that I wish my parents would have had. There isn’t one right way to do something.

Grief

You and your child will both enter a state of grief and even when you already passed that station, it might return sometimes. That’s normal. You have to say goodbye to a part of your child. You don’t only grieve when someone dies, but also if your body becomes chronically ill or disabled. First, I though this was nonsense, but I have to admit that it is true since I did experience it myself. I just didn’t accept it back then as grief. Emotions will come and you might feel devastated for a while. Those emotions are allowed and that is very important. It’s ok and it’s allowed, you don’t have to hide those emotions all the time. Of course, you don’t want to bring more negativity to your child, who also has to deal with a lot right now and find a way to still have a bright future. But ignoring your feelings, will also bring negativity eventually. Especially sadness can be shared, since you don’t want to be angry at your child for having a body that doesn’t function normally. It depends on the age of your child, but you can cry with your child sometimes, talk about it, make plans etc.

My parents have always been convinced that emotions, especially crying, is weak. They wouldn’t share anything and this went on for a couple years. Eventually this made me confused. I was sad and they loved me, so why weren’t they sad too? Didn’t they care about it, about me, at all? Once my father cried, while we were in the car together. Immediately he said he was sorry, he shouldn’t be weak and he shouldn’t bother me with it. I told him I appreciated it that he shared is emotions, that crying isn’t weak and that it was very confusing for me that he didn’t share it before. I couldn’t see what was going on in their heads and they just lived their lifes like before. I couldn’t know that they did care, did grief, when they were doing their ultimate bests to hide it. I told him I preferred to just be open about it, talk about it. It would have prevented a lot of fights and tension if we did this from the beginning.

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[Photo of a woman, father and little boy hugging each other and smiling.]

Keeping up appearances

You probably won’t immediately think about this, when you’re dealing with this topic. However, it happens a lot. Children who are forced to ‘act normal’ by their parents. Because they are afraid of what other people might say or because they can’t handle seeing their child like that, like how their bodies really are right now. First of all, don’t be afraid of what other people might say. Yes, you will hear a lot of things and probably a lot of it will be negative. That’s how our society still deals with these topics. Don’t let this get to you. You and your child already have to fight more to live a nice life. You need to fight for help and adaptations. Generally, we shouldn’t care about what other people think about you. Especially people who don’t really know you or the situation. Let them think, you know the truth. Don’t let them tell you that your child is faking. I’ve almost never met a child who would fake something this severe (yes, it’s very sad but I did meet a few who wanted to benefit from the system without actually needing it. I’ll tell about that some other time). It’s important that it almost never happens and you would probably notice signs if it does happen. You should always believe your child at first. When you’re chonically ill or disabled you already have to deal with so many people who don’t believe you and you have to fight for your rights. A family who treats you the same can be absolutely demolishing.

So, that was the first topic, keeping up appearances for other people. Don’t do that please. Then the other one. I can understand that it must be incredibly tough to see your child, for example, in a wheelchair. I’ve been through this with my parents and I saw them struggling. However, there are better and worse ways to deal with it. I’m not saying you’re doing it wrong, but my parents would actually force me to not use a wheelchair. They couldn’t handle me seeing it and if I wouldn’t use it, it would seem if I was fine. However, it made my pain and my disease worse. Denial doesn’t work when dealing with these issues (although I wonder if denial ever works). Instead of seeing, in this case the wheelchair, as a bad thing, it can also be a good thing. Of course you wish your child wouldn’t need it, but that is the case right now. And I loved the things I could do again, because I could use the wheelchair. If possible I would walk a little, using the wheelchair as a rollator. Then, I would sit in it. This way I could go to places, I wasn’t able to go to anymore. I could do a little shopping, go to a zoo etc. It made my life so much better! So, indirectly the wheelchair gave me a lot of joy. I couldn’t live without it, because it would make my life so much harder. Eventually, my parents started to see this and luckily I’m now always allowed to use the wheelchair, if I feel it’s necessary. They still don’t like me seeing in it of course, but it’s less awful. They can also see how much positive things it gives me and that it makes my life better. And who wouldn’t want that for their child?

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[Photo of three people in wheelchairs doing stunts: standing only on their rear wheels and standing on one rear wheel].

Photo source 1

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Petition: Therapy/service dog seized because she’s a pitbull

Update (March 25): The judge will return the dog to them, if they move to a city without BSL before May 9. The mother says she has trouble finding an affordable place and keeps urging everyone to sign.

Today I came across this petition, which I wanted to share with you. I think it will appeal to both animal lovers as people with compassion for mental issues.

You can read the whole story when you click here, where you can also sign the petition. The story in short: a single mother of 3 moved to Jacksonville (Arkansas). Her daughter has a special dog, which is also certified as a service/therapy dog. They have all the papers necessary, so the dog is allowed to follow them into the doctor’s office, at the airport, into the school etc. However, she didn’t realize that Jacksonville had a BSL (breed-specific legislation). It’s forbidden to have a pitbull there, because they still think that pitbulls in general are dangerous – I though this topic was finally out of date… It’s ridiculous in the first place, which many dog lovers will be able to inform you about this. In short: it’s not about the breed, but the people raising them as fighting dogs.

Now it’s even more ridiculous, because this is a certified service dog. So you can be absolutely sure she isn’t dangerous. The neighbours saw a pitbull, called the police and the dog was taken away.  This happened twice and the last time she hasn’t returned yet. It doesn’t matter that she is sweet, that she’s a therapy dog, she is a pitbull. Those are dangerous, those aren’t allowed… The mother is in a legal battle and she asks for as much signatures as possible, before het next court date (January 11).

own-a-pit-bull

[Close-up photo of a pitbull dog lying on a carpet and looking into the camera]

Do you also agree this is ridiculous? Please let your voice be heard. Together we stay strong!