Humor Uniformly

humorThis title is inspired from Reader’s digest, a very popular magazine. It had a section named ‘Humor in Uniform’ that had description of humorous situations in military environment. As a special needs parent, we can apply humor uniformly in most of our experiences thus equipping ourselves to handle stress better. We all know that stress never helps us to resolve the problem but instead harms us. Let us trash our worries and use humor to handle a stressful situation.

Over the years, I have discovered a fool-proof stress buster merely by chance. I owe this finding to one of my close relatives. He is an intelligent person and has an awesome sense of humor. Any event, even if its awful, he describes it with humor. The consequence is that when you as a listener and picture the event in your mind, you are laughing. Hence, instead of having disturbing thoughts you have funny thoughts. At the same time, the person describing his issue with humor instead of worrisome words feels happy to make his audience laugh. This humorous conversation becomes a stress buster for both, more so for the speaker. Hence the stress factor becomes a stress buster.

Let’s see a working example:

A middle-aged and a hard-working person (HWP) has been recently diagnosed with high blood pressure(BP) and high glucose levels. His conversation with his well-wisher (WW) about his sickness.

WW: Hello, how are you. Has your work pressure reduced?
HWP: I am doing good. Work keeps me busy not sure if it keeps me healthy.

WW: What is new?

HWP: Oh! did I tell you, I have 2 guests visiting me these days and looks like they are here to stay unless I can convince them to leave! They better leave ASAP!! Laughs

WW: Who are they? Do I know them? Let me do the talking? I can help.

HWP: Well these guests are not yet bothering me much and my young doctor friend advises me to send them off with peace. A senior doctor friend had scared me that the two guests are here forever!! I am not getting confused. I will drive them away for sure.

WW: Are they the doctor’s friends? Who are they? How are you managing?

HWP: I am always with them or rather they are always with me. They wake me up early,  go for walks, and exercise with me. They even hover over my food plate forcing me to change my diet and have a little less in every meal. It seems to be helping and I see the guests calm.

WW: Interesting! Are they sports persons? Are they eating food from your plate? You seem to not be very unhappy about it.

HWP: Going for walks is a long time wish coming true and modifying diet is helping everyone, even my cook. My latest interest in diet and nutrition will drive these unwanted guests away.

WW: All the best but I would like to meet them too.

HWP: Oh no, no, I will prefer that you do not. Rather you need to avoid them completely.

WW: That makes me curious!! Can I meet them now?

HWP: These days they are found in many households but they have recently moved into my place. They are BP and Sugar!

WW: What!!! You are so calm about it. You sure will drive them away. I bet!

HWP and WW : Laughing away!

If you imagine this conversation, this was a pleasant conversation on a serious topic. This might have been a stress buster for HWP and it gave some positive emotions to WW.

I summarize:

  1. First step is to recognize you are stressed and then add a humor element to the stress causing situation. Here is a tip: The moment you realize you are stressed; imagine the smiling face of a person who is humorous or a comic character or any friend or family who makes you laugh. Instantly you will get a smile on your face, your brain relaxes. Train your brain to interpret your issue /situation in a humorous way. Think it aloud or even better, share it.
  2. If you can practice 1 successfully, you will develop a habit of being calm and jovial. Consequently a calm brain will get creative to figure out a solution of your issue.

 This tool has helped me face and handle our ever dynamic grave situations as a special needs parent in a calm manner.

peu_smile I conclude with a note on how Peu, who is diagnosed with CDKL5, a rare genetic disorder too participates in our effort to internalize humor in life. These days after a spasm or a head drop she gives a big smile or sometimes giggles which is opposite of a scream/moan that usually happened earlier. Seeing her smile, we are bound to smile back and feel relieved that she is not in pain. The smile might be an unexplained neurological response of her brain but we interpret that as her contribution to apply humor uniformly.

Your thoughts are always welcome.


No Conflict Zone

homeThe title of this post is probably something that citizens globally are seeking today either due to geo-political reasons, economic reasons, or religious reasons. However in my post I deal with our attempt to make our home a no conflict zone. I do not claim to be fully successful but our strive continues. I will share my experience and wish to receive your feedback.

Most special needs parents will agree that we argue with our spouse much much more than in natural circumstances and we know how our lives transformed emotionally as we moved into a role of  a special needs parent. A conflict between us seems inevitable and arguments happening at the drop of a hat is an understatement. Reasons are galore and could be very minor, for example you gave her meds at 8:15 AM but your spouse wanted them to given at 8:00 AM and comments that you are careless. The next time, you see your spouse busy on a phone call ( might be very crucial for him) instead of attending to your child, you do not miss the opportunity to taunt him as you had been nurturing the hurt feeling for hours. The end result is totally unnecessary. A war of words ensues. The environment of the house is opposite of a no-conflict zone. All said and done your child suffers unknowingly. One obvious effect is when you are working with your child immediately after a conflict, you realize the quality of your work drops, your awareness and your concentration is impacted. This is definitely not what we want.

Though the objective are the same for both of us : helping her, ensuring her well being and activating her brain then why do we argue, get hyper, get stressed, retaliate and yell. We probably conclude that the stressful situation due to her health condition takes a toll on both. But we cannot play the blame game here, the solution is in our own hands. We need to do a favor to our self.

There is a simple solution. Modify your tone. Whenever you are conversing, whether you justify a particular task or you provide your point of view, or introduce a  controversial topic or give a contradicting reply etc, do it in a relatively softer tone than you have been doing. It works wonders. After you start applying it in your daily conversation, the awakening will happen on the other side too. You will  be amazed by the results. Initially you will have to do it with awareness and consciousness. Gradually it will become a part of your conversation style and then your habit. Consequences are awesome,  you will always have healthy conversations and will look forward to work as a team in the no-conflict zone of your home. Not to forget, the ultimate beneficiary is your child.

There is another tip shared by Sudip, Peu’s father; difference in opinion are natural and due to various reasons we might get into arguments with each other. But retaining the unhappy/bitter mood for hours is damaging. Instead, in a few minutes, trash the bitterness, forget and move on. This too is a gradual process and will not happen overnight but put in a conscious effort to get over with the situation and thoughts.

Every situation has a silver lining; during one of our heated discussions we discovered Peu’s (diagnosed with CDKL5 disorder) cognitive maturity. As we argued, Peu swayed her head side to side looking at us one at a time whenever it was our turn to reply during the conversation. It was an eye opener. She seemed to understand everything and probably was laughing at our silliness.

Your thoughts are welcome!.