How Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Affects Soberslothling

What is FASD?

FASD is a broad spectrum of birth defects that are caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. These include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities.

What birth defects do I carry?  

Physical:

I was born with a complex and rare heart condition called Transposition of the Great vessels. Basically my heart works double time to pump oxygen rich blood around my body. As I get older my heart will continue to weaken. Eventually I will have to undergo more heart surgery which is said to eventually lead to a heart transplant and or pacemaker. All of my internal organs are backwards or otherwise known as rare condition called Situs Inversus.

Mental/Behavioral/ learning disabilities:

As a child I had no concept of consequences and was unable to properly control my behavior. I had trouble adapting to change or switching from one task to another, I still have issues with that today. I had trouble paying attention and processing information. I found school challenging and repeated grade 1 as a result. I was able to make it through high school with no special aid and I graduated with the highest honors. I struggle with impulse control from time to time and sitting still can be a challenge. A lot of my cognitive troubles have improved as an adult and drastically stabilized since getting sober.

What is it like to live with FASD?

As a child I was lucky to have parents who gave me a very firm structured environment to grow up in. I know I pushed my parent’s patience to the breaking point. I can’t imagine how frustrating it was for them some days. My mom used to tell me; “some days you understood a concept perfectly and the next day it was like you had never even heard of it.” Example: tying my shoes. I distinctly remember learning to tie my shoes was the hardest thing for me to remember. Some days I could tie my shoes effortlessly and other days it was like I had never even seen a shoe lace. I remember my mom and dad often telling me to settle down. I was a high energy unfocused ball of crazy sometimes. Luckily I was also diagnosed at an early age and was properly prescribed with my “miracle drugs” since the age of about 5 or 6. Without these medications my quality of life will be negatively affected and it significantly compromises the stability of my mental health.

The best way to describe what it’s like living with FASD is; imagine being somewhat drunk 24/7. The brain of the person with FASD functions similarly to the way the person who is inebriated functions.

The hardest thing to deal with is that I cannot be cured. FASD is a life sentence. I sadly will never outgrow my physical or mental disabilities. It is incredibly frustrating at times to live with FASD. I see and hear things very differently than the average person. It contributes perfectly to my skills as an artist! I’m very sensitive to my surroundings. I find it incredibly frustrating when things I say are misinterpreted. My own tone of voice and body language are confused the connection there is just missing. I get past and current events confused and I get conversations and details of conversations confused. It’s gotten me in trouble so many times and it’s just because I struggle to remember things. It hurts when people get angry and frustrated with me because I struggle to understand a concept.

FASD and Addiction

I don’t even know where to start. FASD definitely had a part in my addiction due to lack of impulse control and poor judgement. Drinking and drugging magnified that. Balancing sobriety and FASD can be a bit of a challenge. It’s actually a miracle that I’ve managed to stay sober this long with having FASD. I think because I have such a good understanding of how FASD affects me, I have been able cope with the challenge of getting and staying sober. Proper medications help too.

What you need to know

I am not retarded or handicapped and I refuse to allow myself to be treated any differently than individuals who do not have congenital conditions. FASD is not my fault I did not choose to be born this way. I have learned to cope with the consequences of my mom’s choice to drink during her pregnancy. I have overcome many challenges and surpassed the expectations of many doctors and statistics. I am capable of many things; I am a creative, intuitive, passionate and resourceful person. I am loved valued and worth being known.

Yours in Honesty,

Soberslothling

363 Days clean and sober and 51 days smoke free

Eating disorders are so irritating because one day you could be laughing, eating a pint of ice cream and 7 pieces of pizza with your friends, thinking you’re completely recovered and then the next you could be crying in the bathroom wanting to purge because you ate a salad for dinner. 

AKA saying things like “WHAT is going on with you!?” or “you ate that last week with no problem at all!” to someone who is affected by an eating disorder will not do any good. If you’re confused about their actions… imagine what it’s like to be the one feeling like they’re less than everyone else because of how back and forth they feel. Living with an eating disorder is already stressful enough, and pointing out the unsteadiness makes it all the more overwhelming. 

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Stop, Breathe & Think

I’m sure I’ve seen a post about this before but nevermind. I’ve been using app for a little while and it’s available to download for free on iOS and Android as well as being available online. I highly recommend it and thought it may be helpful for others to know about it.

It’s a guided meditation app that allows you to input how you’re feeling mentally, physically and emotionally and then brings up suggestions for meditations.

It’s been so useful for me as I often have trouble relaxing and slowing down. All the meditations are brilliant and the woman who talks you through them has a lovely voice. The meditations are different time lengths so even if you only have a couple of minutes to spare you can still listen to one to unwind.

http://stopbreathethink.org/

  • person:"you're obsessed with your mental illness"
  • me:i know right? its like it impacts every part of my life.
  • person:"it's all in your head"
  • me:i know right? it's almost like it's a MENTAL illness.
  • person:"why do you let it affect you and stop you from being able to do things?"
  • me:i know right? it's almost like it's an ACTUAL ILLNESS
Mental health myths and facts

Myth: Mental health problems are very rare.
Fact: 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year. 

Myth: People with mental illness aren’t able to work.
Fact: We probably all work with someone experiencing a mental health problem.

Myth: Young people just go through ups and downs as part of puberty, it’s nothing.
Fact: 1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem.

Myth: People with mental health illnesses are usually violent and unpredictable.
Fact: People with a mental illness are more likely to be a victim of violence.

Myth: People with mental health problems don’t experience discrimination
Fact: 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination.

Myth: It’s easy for young people to talk to friends about their feelings.
Fact: Nearly three in four young people fear the reactions of friends when they talk about their mental health problems.

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10 Ways to Look After Your Mental Wellbeing (with added kitties)

1. Talk about your feelings

Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.

Originally posted by theoreocat

2. Keep active

Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and look and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health.

Originally posted by catgifcentral

3. Eat well

Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.

Originally posted by ariesmeow

4. Drink sensibly

We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary.

When the drink wears off, you feel worse because of the way the alcohol has affected your brain and the rest of your body. Drinking is not a good way to manage difficult feelings.

Originally posted by ffunniestt

5. Keep in touch

There’s nothing better than catching up with someone face to face, but that’s not always possible. You can also give them a call, drop them a note, or chat to them online instead. Keep the lines of communication open: it’s good for you!

Originally posted by ohsneezes

6. Ask for help

None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go to plan.

If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear.

Local services are there to help you.

Originally posted by fluffysofty

7. Take a break

A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health.

It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work, or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you. Give yourself some ‘me time’.

Originally posted by just-for-grins

8. Do something you’re good at

What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past?

Enjoying yourself can help beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it, and achieving something boosts your self-esteem.

Originally posted by djogc

9. Accept who you are

We’re all different. It’s much healthier to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were more like someone else. Feeling good about yourself boosts your confidence to learn new skills, visit new places and make new friends. Good self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn.

Originally posted by catgifcentral

10. Care for others

‘Friends are really important… We help each other whenever we can, so it’s a two-way street, and supporting them uplifts me.’

Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together.

Originally posted by jabbercat

(Source: mentalhealth.org.uk)