Posts

I have a right to be happy and enjoy the life I have been given!

I believe that even though I am a parent of sons and a daughter with autism and mental illness, I have a right to experience peace of mind and to do whatever is necessary to maintain that!
1.    I have a right to "pursue happiness" and enjoy the one short life I have been given.

2.    I am worth whatever work it takes to cultivate and maintain a peaceful existence within and I believe that there is a Power much Greater than I am that will do anything to assist me in that endeavor.

3.    I have a right to enjoy the beauty of nature around me!  I can get out of the house and take a walk, clear my mind and seek conscious contact with my Creator.

4.    I have the right to not waste my life consumed by worry and gripped by fear over the future well-being of my sons and daughter.

5.    I have the right to love myself and to make self-care my primary responsibility, just for today!

I declare that just for today, I have the right to Peace of Mind!


PARENTS!!! CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK!!!!

Tears rolled down my face as I sat on the floor of my closet listening to Marissa on the phone. I had finally put words to what I was feeling inside and she was responding to what I had shared.  I barely knew Marissa, but she and I were both parents.  We had both gone through and were going through grief.  She had lost her son to death.   
“For me it is kind of like a death in that, I grieve the death of the hopes and dreams that I had for my sons and daughter.” I told Marissa.
Recently my son who has high functioning autism, also started having psychosis.  He is 18 years old and now like his older sister, who has had a diagnosis of autism, since childhood, was showing signs of mental illness as well.
Marissa said that she hoped that I had reminders up around my house that told me to go way out of my way to CUT MYSELF SOME SLACK!!!  I told her that I am typically very hard on myself. She said that she was the same way!  Recently however, she had been relieved of that.  She wished for…

I would love to hear from you! Please resend to new and improved email address!

Thank you so much for reading this Blog!  I would love to hear from you!  You are not alone!
We are all in this together!  I would enjoy hearing how things are going with you.  Please leave a comment or email me directly at:
This new email:
gratefulheartdawn@gmail.com

Self Care for Parents: Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First

We know the drill:  "Parents!  First put on your own oxygen mask!  Before you attempt to assist your child with theirs!"  So why is it so difficult to remember?  Parents of children with Autism (or a similar challenge) usually exhaust themselves into emotional, physical and financial bankruptcy before they are willing to consider self care.  Our marriages end or are in shambles, our children hate us, we have lost our homes or savings, our jobs are neglected, and our doctors...have never seen us before...and we are depressed, anxious, and have forgotten how to enjoy life.  It is time to take care of ourselves first, or we will have no life at all.  It will soon all fade to black, if we don't FIRST put on our own oxygen mask. 

When I got word of a parent's death, I was stunned.  I thought of myself as one of her "supports".  I hadn't seen her in a number of months.  We used to be occassional "walking buddies."  We had since moved to another to…

Self Care Means Not Waiting To Be Happy!

When I insist that certain conditions be met, before I can be happy, a red flag now goes up in my mind.   When I believe that I am not OK as a person or not a good parent unless something specific happens, another red flag goes up in my mind.  Self Care means that I no longer "wait" to be happy.  I accept life and reality as it is right now.  And I find joy and peace....happiness....in the present moment. 

Whenever I tell myself some reason why I cannot be happy right now, or why I am not a good parent or person right now....I realize that whatever excuse I am coming up with, it is a lie.  It is an untruth that I am telling myself and it is not reality.  It is not accurate. 

Self Care teaches me that there are no conditions on my happiness nor on my value as a parent.  I am free to be happy regardless of my circumstances.  I am a good and OK person right now and I am no longer going to wait until some conditions are met, (like my children to not have autism) before I allo…

A Practice in Self Care that Helps Me

I think most of my suffering comes from the "stories" that I make up in my mind about events or people over which I am powerless.  It is not the event itself, but what I continue to tell myself about it.  I believe that it is the mind chatter, the toxic fear based "what if" scenarios running unquestioned that have caused me a lot of unnecessary suffering.

It is how I have tried to manage/control my fear.  Just for today, I can practice relying on my Higher Power* for a more accurate perspective and to recognize that the "stories" I make up are just that.

I can pause now and become aware that I am fully immersed in my Higher Power's/God's Loving Presence and I can see myself and my life events from that perspective.

Today I am going to practice recognizing and suspending the rehearsed "stories" I try to tell myself.

I am going to pause, and breathe deeply.  "Higher Power in" and then exhale, "everything else out".

My Favorite Best Self Care Free Resource!

I have found a WONDERFUL FREE Self Care resource for you!!!  It is available worldwide.  I have been personally using it everyday.  WHAT A GIFT FOR PARENTS!!!  Run, do not walk, to the nearest Parents Meeting of Al-Anon in your area!   I have been attending multiple meetings every week for over a year.  It is the best resource I have found for Parents of Youth or Adults with Autism/Aspergers/ADHD/Mental Illness!

At those meetings I am learning how to cope with my sons and daughter's autism and mental illness, in ways that are quality of life enhancing for all concerned.  My children with autism are now ages 17, 19 and 21 years old.  Practicing this program has improved the lives of my entire family.


The Al-Anon Literature is very applicable, if you just substitute the word "Autism, Aspergers,ADHD or Mental Illness" for Alcohol or Alcoholic.   This substitution opens up a treasure trove of valuable coping strategies regarding the behaviors of another person that are extr…