Friday, December 30, 2011

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Ho Ho Holy Cow

We've all heard it, the statement that suicide and depression rates raise during the Holiday season. Frankly, I believed it. I've heard too many stories, and offered my shoulder too many times to think it was false. Toss in a family with a special needs child, and all the stress that comes along with trying to keep extended family happy by attending family get togethers with a child (or more than one child) in complete sensory overload in an unfamiliar place? Yep. I bought the story about suicide and depression increasing during the Holidays. But, the Mayo clinic says I'm wrong.

In December of 1995, The Des Moines Register ran an article titled "Mayo Study Shows No Link Between Holidays, Suicide" by Deborah Cushman. To paraphrase, it says a study was conducted over a 35 year period in Olmsted County, Minnesota (home of the Mayo Clinic, people!) and that there was not an increase of suicide just before, during, or after Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.. or even the Fourth of July. There is not an increase on birthdays, or even three days before or after birthdays. And... that study was concluded in 1985.

In another article, in a different newspaper, a week prior to Ms.Cushman's article being published, Michael Woods published an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wherein he states :
"Evidence suggests that holiday depression is about as real as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.....
..Experts emphasize the holidays are a stressful time..... people feel tired and stressed out.
Balancing that, however, are increased levels of emotional support from families and friends that help people cope."

Yeah. Well. I beg to differ - in my unpublished, uneducated, unstudied (at least not for 35 years), and certainly unprofessional way.  There are different circumstances for special needs families. Circumstances that include being banned from holiday gatherings, being told that it's just too bad that (insert child's name here) couldn't just be absent from the "family" gathering because it's just too hard with him/her/them there.

Circumstances that include the continued fervent belief of doctors, family and/or friends (however deluded it may be) that (insert child's name here) would be just fine if only (insert parent's name) would discipline their child better/more. Isn't it awful, the way (insert parent's name) allows (insert child's name) to dictate their every waking moment? Yeah. Awful.

So, in keeping with tradition (started last year)I'm going to do the unthinkable. I'm going to (gasp!) welcome everyone.

For every special needs family who has ever been banned.

To every parent who has ever had to chase down a kid loaded up on sugar,corn syrup, red dye #5, and complete sensory meltdown in a restaurant because "Oh, come on. One bite of GFCFSFCF isn't going to kill the kid" turned into 300 spoonfuls from every person there, with shrieks of laughter coming from the dingbats that caused the scenario ringing in your ears in the first place.

To every parent who has ever been criticized because their child went surfing on Grandma's coffee table after being given candy, cake, and soda, even though the child was told to sit quietly in front of all the presents under the tree for 5 hours.

To every child who ever felt less than welcome, or scared to death because some morbidly obese stranger in red clothes yelled "Ho Ho HO!" in your face, then wanted you to snuggle him and tell what you want for Christmas, and snuggles freak you out and your whole body hurts from all the sensory stimulation. And the fat guy has bad breath.

You are welcome here. ALL of you. I don't care if you need to run around. I don't care if you need to spin. I don't care if all you will eat is green jello jigglers because that's the only thing in the Monster House that is familiar, and it soothes you. Honey, you do it.

 I don't care if you can only wear one certain brand of shirt and hate shoes. We have a washing machine ( a REALLY big one) and central heat. It will not bother anyone if you need deep pressure or brushing. It will not ruin things if changing a diaper has to happen. That's why God invented febreze spray. So monsters could scent their parents/caregivers while the process plays out.

You're ALL family to me. The real kind.. the kind that doesn't have rules that make everyone miserable. However, I do draw the line at naked snow angels. Frostbite. It's mean. ;)

Sending you all our love, and our deepest respect for everything you do for your children. And yes. I really am serious. You are welcome.
Images from the Google images. 

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