Sleep is again not mine to have. Falling asleep is usually not difficult, but staying asleep is. When my children wake up to banana bread, it’s usually because I woke up at 3 or 4 am. If I wasn’t awake with several hours to go before anyone else wakes up, dog included, my kids wouldn’t be eating warm bread. This morning, I made banana bread, washed a load of laundry, put away the dishes, and worked on some writing. It might look like I’ve got it all together, but that’s not true. There’s more to this than might be obvious from a pretty picture of freshly sliced bread. I washed that laundry because I found it still in the washing machine from yesterday morning. The dishes have been drying on our kitchen table for two days. The rough drafts have been in open windows on my laptop for more days than I can remember, along with at least 9 tabs with articles I’ve been trying to read for those drafts. I finally took a shower last night after about 4 days and I’m wearing socks I meant to give to someone else for Christmas because they were clean and I was cold post shower. Anxiety is something people don’t always see. You might get an inkling that something is going on in my head when you see my torn cuticles, but for the most part, anxiety is hidden. Lack of sleep and its impact are invisible, or so gradually changing that it’s not evident from one day to the next. Anxiety can cause too little sleep or too much and both result in issues with executive functioning. Even when sleep isn’t an issue, anxiety still messes with the brain. When my husband got me a Tile to help me find my keys, he was worried it would hurt my feelings. Instead, it was one of the most affirming gifts he has ever given me. It told me he knew it wasn’t my fault, all my struggles to remember where I left things, and that he wanted to help me feel less shame for what others saw as laziness or lack of focus. Now, instead of the whole house in a tizzy trying to find my keys, I ask my phone to find my keys and then we all find the keys as they sing their song. What used to be miserable is now a game. It was so successful for our whole family that my husband bought another one for my wallet. We’re helping our kids see that people are different, the way they think is different, and success looks different. What my husband didn’t realize then when he bought that first Tile was that he was normalizing assistive technology. Assistive technology comes in all sorts of ways with a central purpose of helping people with disabilities with daily tasks and things happening in their lives. As our kids see me comfortably using a tool to help get things done in a way that works for me, it instills an understanding in them that they will carry into other aspects of their lives. This little tool on my keys is teaching my kids that some people have needs that we can see and some people have needs that we can’t see. Beyond this, it’s teaching them that needing help isn’t a bad thing. I’m not a failure because I lose my keys, nor am I winning because my kids will wake up to a hot breakfast. I’m just me, and I’m going to try to keep being ok with that.
As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you think a Tile might help you, please don’t hesitate to get one. It’s ok to need help and it’s ok to accept help. The more we normalize that we’re different and our bodies need different things, the better our world gets.