Setting Boundaries without Being a Bitch

Personally I have no issue with enforcing personal space boundaries. Having nerve issues and a compromised immune system requires I set those boundaries regardless of politeness.

Setting boundaries for children, friends and family are a little harder for me. I’m a people pleaser by nature and if I’m able to help someone I try, usually without regard of how it impacts my body and/or brain.

There are blogs, books and articles about setting boundaries for kids that are healthy, so the idea is easy enough with kids but sometimes I’m tired and my body hurts and I give in so I can just be done. My kids know this and usually try to wear me down, obviously that is a problem, I am actively working on that. I’m the grownup so we all know our places in those situations.

All of my friends and family know about my MS and the correlating issues with it. However, sometimes, I agree to something that may be a reoccurring task and unless you tell me I’m done, I’m going to assume you need me to do it. I have to make calendar invites and set alarms so I don’t drop the ball. If something changes, I expect the receiver of my assistance to tell me. Though this doesn’t always happen and causes extra work of verification on my end which causes me anxiety.

That’s where the people pleaser and boundaries needs a swift kick in the butt. I want people to let me know what’s happening, however, because I’ve got it covered it seems to be a low priority on their brains.

My aunt is amazing and keeping me updated on things when I’m helping her with things. If dates change she lets me know as soon as she does. She is organized and knows how taxing the tasks can be on me so she does what she’s able to keep me informed.

So, how does one go about setting boundaries with people after the fact? I’m struggling with this, if I had foreseen all the potential issues I would have set clear boundaries in the beginning. Now that it’s been a thing that I have been proactively checking each time how can I set boundaries without coming off as a bitch?

Turns out, an honest communication works. Thinking worst case isn’t always how it works. Your friends and family will understand, especially if you have a logical reason for your needs.

When Your Appearance Matters to Your Child

My typical outfit for the last 11 years has been jeans, a t-shirt and something to cover my head due to alopecia, typically a bandanna of sorts or something like what cancer patients wear when they do chemo. I shave my head so that the significant loss of hair due to alopecia doesn’t break me every time I look in the mirror.

When I drop off my kids and pick them up I am in my usual attire, that’s what I am comfortable in, when you work in IT and they let you wear it every day you get used to it. Depending on how I am feeling I may wear a “nicer” top when going to events at the school (parent/teacher conference, back to school night).

I volunteered at my second graders school for one hour this week. It consisted of sitting on a stool next to a filing system where the kids school work goes and then putting those papers in the corresponding folders. Easy enough for my wonky brain and broken body, though I must admit that doing that for an hour, as simple of a task it may be, actually wore me out. I felt more foggy and fatigued than usual but my kid was so excited I was there.

That being said, and knowing that I already draw attention with a service dog, I put on a more business casual top for that day and my son picked out what was going on my head. He did not approve of the plain black scarf I was going to wear tightly around my scalp with a knot that made it look like a bun at the back.

He is keenly aware of appearance at the ripe age of 7. Most recently he likes to check himself out in a full length mirror attached to a cabinet in the living room where we keep the snow gear. He wears light weight jackets around his waist like an accessory, and makes careful selections about his shirt each day. I expect this from my 13 year-old, I wasn’t prepared for it from my 7 year old.

The oldest made a comment the morning I went to volunteer asking ┬áme where I was going because I was more dressed up than usual. While I would like to think people should just accept us how we are, fashion choices and all, I know that is not the world we live in. It saddens me to think that what I may be wearing will have an impact on how classmates treat my son, it doesn’t make sense and yet that is the world we apparently live in.

Until the world changes, I will continue to let my kids advise me on attire when I am attending something with them or at their school because I love them and don’t want their life to be any more complicated than it is having a mom with MS, Meneire’s disease and a service dog.

Mental Health – In The Beginning

This week, as I wean off one anti-depressant so I can start another I find myself thinking about mental health more.

This is a hard subject for me, which if you’ve read my other posts that are full of personal information, you’re probably wondering why.

This will be my next series of posts, there is far too much to tackle to fit it all into one blog post.

I’ll start by sharing that one of my close friends completed suicide the summer before my freshman year of high school. It made know sense to me, we talked nearly every day on the phone that summer. He was in the ICU for some time before finally passing. While his pain was gone, my pain and confusion was just ramping up.

That summer I had also been passing out and having seizures which required a lot of tested and many medical appointments. So here I am, a 13 year old girl, dealing with a death and possibility of a pace maker in the same summer before entering my fist year of high school. One of these things is stressful enough, I’m sure you can imagine the toll three of them plus pubescent hormones had.

I remember one day at school was too much for me. I started hyperventilating, I cannot remember if I actually passed out but I do know that EMTs came to my school and I was lying of the ground in front of my locker with an defibrillator device attached to my chest.

That is when we had to tell everyone that if I pass out there were specific steps to take to bring me back and not to call 911. Embarrassed and traumatized from this mortifying event I found a place to lay every time I got dizzy or anxious after that.

Next post I’ll discuss stigma with mental health.