Sunday, February 5, 2017

Writing Vomit #3

I spent all last week in bed with the flu. I had the flu shot. I even messaged my doctor within 48 hours of symptoms to get Tamiflu, but I still ended up out of work for a week. It was partly due to how I felt, and partly due to my work with kids and a few adults at school who happen to be immuno-compromised right now. So now it's Sunday again. I started feeling the symptoms last Sunday evening. It's been a really long, and somewhat boring week.

Whenever I miss things that other people are continuing to participate in (ie..LIFE) it is a struggle for me to get back to reality. Anxiety tends to make me worry that others are judging me and maybe thinking they are better off without me. Everyone is replaceable. I'm not naive enough to not know that. I'm also smart enough to know that to some people, I may be irreplaceable. The problem with that knowledge is that most of the time we don't know the who that we are irreplaceable for. (Besides the obvious family.) Maybe there is a student at school that looks forward to interaction with me. That student is probably not the one I think it is. Or there could be several who look forward to seeing me, but one or two that NEED to see me. Those that need me are probably the ones that would surprise me if I knew.

I chatted with a coworker a couple of weeks ago about working with the kids. It was sort of an "in general" conversation about how cool the kids are to work with. My coworker shared that they did not like who they were before they started working in the school. Now they like who they are because the kids make them better. (I'm using they/them to maintain privacy...I do know proper grammar.) I have to agree that working with kids can make you a better person, but you have to have patience and be able to share control.

Sharing control is a hard thing for many adults, in my opinion. Adults like kids to do what they are told, simply because an adult said they should. If you want a child's (or anyone's) respect you have to share control. What is it? Love and Logic that says to offer choices, but they must all be choices that the adult can live with. "You may have the pink or white carton of milk" (not the chocolate but we don't mention that.) "Would you like to hop to the room or walk?" "Would you like to hold my hand or that teacher's hand?" It's also important to avoid saying no as much as possible. "Can I have a snack?" "Yes, when you have completed 2 more problems." Though this is probably a poor example. In general, if kids ask for a snack they are genuinely hungry where I work.

Which brings up another point. One of my young co-workers asked why/how some of the kids' brains have been affected adversely. I tried to explain that if basic life needs are not met, the brain cannot develop properly. If a child is not getting proper nutrition, the brain won't grow. If a child is sick a lot, they can't work on things like learning language, crawling, walking, etc. If a child is homeless, doing homework, learning to read and write, and learning social cues take a back seat to learning to survive.

There are other coworkers who constantly judge these kids. Those coworkers are, in comparison, in a position of privilege compared to those kids. I can't explain things to these people, mostly because of privacy laws, but also because I don't think they'll ever understand it all. No one wants to have issues. No one wants mental illness or developmental delays. We all want to be "normal" whatever that means. We want to be the average person at the very least. In fact, these children (and adults) want desperately to NOT need help and to be like "everyone else." This want/hope/NEED to be like "everyone else" causes many of these kids to actively refuse help even when they need it. We all have pride. It is hard to accept help.

Give me an instance you accepted help...

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Deborah said...

You are so right about accepting help being diffcult. Sometimes it's not so much pride, but wanting to deny that anything is wrong in the first place. And then having to admit to oneself that you need help.

My instance of accepting help was shortly after being diagnosed with MS. I didn't want to accept it. I didn't want to admit that it was affecting my ability to do so many things that I took for granted as being easy to do. Asking for and then accepting offered help was so hard. Besides the symptoms of the disease, I felt like I was a weak person and worried that others were judging me because I needed help. In the end, I was amazed at the help people so willingly and graciously gave me. I hope I thanked them all at the time.

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