I’m finally writing. I’ve wanted start this path for a long while, but kept letting things get in the way. No more.
I’m a mom of five children, all with ADHD and/or Autism, and everyone in my family, aside from me, also has ADHD and or is in the Autism spectrum of continual amazement. I am boringly neurotypical, aside from some mild sensory issues and noting that all numbers seem to be assigned a color.
I want you to understand my philosophy, before we continue together, ok? I do not see people with ADHD, or folk with Autism etc as having a pathology, or disorder, or really an issue whatsoever, other than that they- to the great benefit of all of us- think differently. And wonderfully so.
I am a big fan of labels, because when you have a name for a face, you can address it warmly and appropriately; “Hello autism, I see you are very creative today…” or “Hello ADHD, I see that you are perfecting that cancer cure today…” You don’t ask either how they are feeling by the way- they rarely know, and asking will shut down the creative mind and turn on terror. You can see how they feel- watch them, hear them, ask interesting questions.
I want to write about my discoveries in being a mom, wife, daughter and sister to these amazing people, and I want to write about my discoveries in helping my clients heal, grow and move forward while assisting them in becoming parents. I am a Birth, Postpartum and Grief/Death Doula with formal education in Biology, Veterinary Nursing, and Anthropology. In addition, I hold numerous certifications in the field of Doula Studies, Grief, Death and Dying, Postpartum Mental Health and Parental Advocacy- some 240 hours post college. To put this in perspective, a Bachelors degree is 120 hours, a Masters is 60. My husband keeps asking me how many letters do I need after my name? All of them! I feel the need to keep learning always, expanding my understanding of human beings, and our needs and relationships, our baggage, our faiths, our traumas, and our transitions.
So why then, is this blog called Thinkin’ Problems?
When my middle son was 7, and in school about halfway through first grade, he came to me and said, “Mommy, I think I have a thinkin problem!” “A thinkin problem!? What sort of problem?” I asked smiling at him. “Like David (my husband, his step-father) you know, how his brain moves too fast and he takes pills that help him catch it? I need those. Can we talk to Dr. Rob about my thinkin problem?” “Yes, baby, we can talk to Dr. Rob about your thinkin problem” And so we did. And Ewan was given Concerta, and he never looked back. Prior to my husband, and understanding him, adhd medications and the like, I wasn’t at all for medicating adhd. I am now. I learned things, saw my husband and children and others become the people they want to be with it. I am also a fan of cognitive help for the child, for 504 plans, and for treating the person like they are just fine, thank you very much. In this house, and in my practice, medications are TOOLS, therapy is a TOOL, loving kindness and reframing how we see things are TOOLS.
So is it a Thinkin problem to have adhd, or to be autistic, or to have ptsd, or deep seated shame or anything else? Depends on how you look at it- doesn’t it? ADHD breeds amazing hyperfocus, that has lead to many profound discoveries and achievements- Elon Musk has ADHD, and so does Bill Gates. Autism leads a person to be completely out of “The Box” as it were- they don’t have a box, ever. Einstein was Autistic. PTSD is painful, but in reframing your experience, working with a loving person to help guide you, you begin to discover- not that you are a perpetual victim, and not even just a survivor- but that you are still a whole person, and a damned strong one too for that matter. In deconstructing your shame, you reframe yourself, and see your beauty. You see how to love yourself and others unconditionally so that there is no more shame.
So, thats the beginning of how I approach folks as a mom, and a guide (I’m not a therapist- I don’t deal with difficult pathologies as a professional, just fyi). I meet people right where they are and stay with them, right where they are as they go along. No agenda.
Thanks for joining me.
- Dana Oakes-Sand AS, BS, CCE, MCD, NWPP