I am writing a book about how I kicked a 25 year “addiction” to gambling, and I would love to hear your stories. I want the good, the bad and the ugly. Everyone will be treated with respect and with total anonymity.

I wish I could say that it was a simple process, it wasn’t. I don’t want to swaddle this in secrecy, as in go-buy-my-book-when -it-comes-out kind of way, but it was quite the journey for me and I want to get it right, when I put it down on paper. So so I will leave you with these key points, which helped me:

  1. I am not a compulsive gambler, I have neurological disorganization. There is no “gambling center” in the brain. Just like there is no “shoe shopping center”, “glue sniffing center” or “cupcake center”.
  2. I worked hard on myself , even though the compulsive behavior hadn’t stopped. Like a battered wife making her getaway plan.
  3. I sped up the process of being fed up, by being more aware in the gambling moments. I used to do it blindly, by suppressing all emotions and negative self talk, but by actually observing myself, the rediculousness of my actions really hit home in a different way.
  4. I forgave myself, was gentle with myself. Not in a “poor me” way, which used to justify the gambling, but in a way where I could allow myself to grow and move forward.
  5. I did therapy. But instead of going in there hoping/expecting the therapist to push some imaginary button, I came in with a plan, was proactive and did my homework.
  6. I did self hypnosis, which is way easier than it sounds.
  7. I did NLP, EMDR, EFT and a bunch of visualization techniques. Most of it self taught because I couldn’t pay for professional help.
  8. GA has helped many people, but it was a bad experience for me.

There was more. I probably took the long road, but hopefully I will be able to articulate it in the book, so your process wil be way shorter than mine.

If you want to reach out and tell me your story, please do so. To protect your anonymity, you don’t have to leave a comment, you can email me at






imageI an starting a series of blogs on the topic of depression. To kick it off, before getting into the core of it, here is a few points to get started on:

1) STOP hanging out with negative people, people who likes to gossip and those “gems” who loves to point out your weaknesses. They are not bad people, just lacking in insight. We can all be a bit guilty of this, from time to time,  but cut it out! Everyone loves a good demolition job, like taking a sledgehammer to a wall, but building something is way more satisfying.

2) START taking your vitamins and supplements. You would be amazed if you knew how much various vitamin deficiencies can affect your mood.

3) BE GRATEFUL every day. Yea, yea, I know this sounds like new-age woo woo. In reality, it’s about the smartest thing you can do. See, the subconscious mind (which is in control 95% of the time) works for you. Wouldn’t  you rather train it to look for good in the world and have the ripple-effect of joy and possibilities programmed in your mind,  instead of that piss n vinegar cocktail you have been serving it?

4) STOP marinating in depressive thoughts. Boy, this one is tough, but it’s doable with practice. The second a negative thought comes up, it MUST be crushed like a bug. This can be done with visualization techniques. Also its important to find a go-to thing, like a favorite passage from a book, or watching funny clips on You Tube or get moving.

5) UNFRIEND or hide about 85% of your Facebook friends. Yikes, Facebook used to bring me down. Ignorant political comments, the something-is-always-wrong people, the’ look I drank coffee today’ posts and of course the ‘look what a great life I have posts’. Be selective of what you let in.

6) EXERCISE! Double yikes. Again, we are going for a ripple-effect. Good news is: No matter what pathetic level you are on, you will reap all the same benefits of improved health as big boy athletes do. Increase in all the yummy neuro chemicals  needed for happiness, a sense of accomplishment, a better physique and so on. Your effect of it may not be a ripple, at first, it may only be a trickle, but it still counts.

7) STOP watching the news. Unless you are a very important political figure, there is no need to follow along. “Yea, but I don’t want to be ignorant”! Please, you skipping a few months of rape, tortured animals, landslides and genocide, wont make you ignorant.

8) GET SILLY (and please only do this inside your head). Again, we are going for re-wiring your brain and sculpting your mind. Any time you do any action, make a ridiculous statement (remember, only in your mind, otherwise they will come take you away). For example: WOW, I peeled those potatoes like a BOSS! Man, I am a great driver, took that corner like a pro! Best signature yet! And so on. Don’t worry, you won’t get an inflated ego, you are just getting yourself used to saying nice things to yourself.

9) PUSH BACK on thoughts. If you think: “I’m just to tired to….”. Then turn the tables, ask yourself: “If I wasn’t tired, what would I do”? Basically getting in the habit of making your brain seek solutions, instead of backing up self-sabotaging thoughts of defeat.

10) STOP wishing for things to be fair. Gosh, I waited for some sort of cosmic justice for years. It was a humbling but empowering day, once I realized that I alone held the key to get out. Yes, I needed help, I needed counseling; but I had to do it. Like late great JIM ROHN said: “You can’t hire people to do your push-ups”!

Digging out of depression is a hard and sometimes long road. You have to make your sanity FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS every day.

Stay tuned for next blog here or visit my Facebook page Mette Siddall. (#shameless selfpromotion)

Wanna compare battle scars? (The dark side of autism)

This is not a hook. If you are a parent of a newly diagnosed kid; don’t read this.

This is for you, the veteran autism mamma, who have pushed through, cried and would shake hands with the devil, if it would ease the pain. This is a loophole in time, where we get to share the ugly truth.

You wanna compare scars? I’m going to lift my shirt up first and show mine. In no particular order:

  • Autism has brought me to my knees in desperation, defeat, with an emotional pain, so intense, that I have begged and pleaded with God.
  • I have told my ‘typical’ child “not now” so many times, that it’s going to be the title of his first book.
  • I have sat and cried in silence, on just about every grocery store floor, holding my daughter, keeping her from banging her head on the floor.
  • I have researched the internet so much, that I have a Google PhD.
  • I have cried so much watching my daughters typical peers play on the street.
  • I have spent more money on inadequate therapy, than I care to mention.
  • Have spent even more money on good therapy programs, only to not follow through.
  • I have changed diapers for 7 years.
  • I underestimated a meltdown for a fit, let my guard down and got kicked so hard that it set most my ribs out of place and broke one.
  • I didn’t sleep,a full night, the first 5 years.
  • I havnt slept in the same bed, with my husband, for 7 years.
  • We haven’t decorated a Christmas tree for 5 years.
  • I have celebrated her saying words, never to hear them again.
  • Beeen through the -drooling phase, spitting phase, hitting phase, not walking phase, eating rocks and shoes phase, she loves the bath phase, she hates the bath phase, throw all the meals on the floor phase………
  • We have struggled through the gluten, dairy, sugar, MSG free (joy free) diets.
  • We take separate vacations.
  • I have left the house without shoes (and worse), because I accidentally held the car keys before I was completely ready, she saw it and not going RIGHT NOW, would trigger a meltdown.
  • Once I sang Happy Birthday 53 times in a row, because if I stopped, she would start screaming.
  • I have worn yoga pants for 7 years, never done one minute of yoga #autismuniform.
  • I feel that painful twinge, deep in my soul, every time there is another missing autistic child on the news. Praying for their safe return. Knowing, that if we forget the child lock, it could be my baby on the news.
  • We have gone through so many iPads, that Apple should take pity on us. (One of them she threw out the car window going down a busy interstate).
  • I have said things, in front of my daughter, which I desperately want to take back.
  • Though I am very much about positive energy, I live every day with a warm, sad grip on my heart.
  • Most importantly, my daughter had to go through all this too.

Looking back, I am amazed that I still have an ounce of sanity left. No one truly understand, what its like to be on high alert constantly, to have scars on top of scars, unless they have put in the time.

I showed you mine, now show me yours……


*please refrain from nasty and judgemental comments. This is not the absolute truth for all people living with an autistic child, but it has been mine and I know it’s shared with more people, than my heart can stand to think about.


imageWhen I first realized my daughter wasn’t developing, at the rate of her peers, I was crushed. The heartbreak and fear of the unknown future, for my child, consumed my every waken thought (of which there were many, since we didn’t sleep….EVER). I pretty much spend my days keeping my daughter from banging her head, smearing poop on the walls and trying to soothe her seemingly never ending screaming and crying. Of course the house was falling apart around me and guilt towards my son was eating me up. Friends and family were unwilling spectators to this nightmare. Some offered to help, some didn’t. It didn’t really matter, because when asked what I needed, I couldn’t say; I just wanted it all to go away.

A few years into this journey, I have gained some insight and can now articulate what I needed, when things were at it’s worst:

  1. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. If your friend is crying about her child being 3 and still not walking; please don’t take this opportunity to tell her that your Johnny just took first place in Karate.
  2. INVITE HER OTHER KIDS OVER. Take them to the zoo, the movies or fishing. Your friend will be so grateful that the sibling is having a good time. That will remove the guilt feeling for a few hours.
  3. COOK EXTRA. You have that crock pot out anyways. Put a few meals in her freezer.
  4. GET HER BUTT MOVING. Team up with another friend, who will watch the kids while you take mamma on a brisk 20 minute walk. It does wonders for the mind.
  5. NEVER EVER RUN OUT OF XANAX. Your friend don’t need to have her own prescription; she would be shooting heroin straight into her eyeball before Christmas! Be her bi-monthly hookup.
  6. BE HANDS ON. Learn the principals of whatever therapeutic program she is doing with her kid. Jump in a few times a week. Even 15 of therapy, with a fresh well-rested person, is VERY beneficial for forming awesome neurological connections.
  7. DO THE RESEARCH. Don’t say something like: “I heard something about a boy who did something with a horse, and now he is better”. Spend a few moments, look it up and present it like this: ” I heard about Equine therapy. It’s riding therapy, where the child form a connection with the horse, and the specific rhythm between them, help form new pathways in the brain. I looked into it, closest place is ****, it costs *** and they have openings Wednesdays”.
  8. ASK QUESTIONS. Ask why her child flaps, spins, rocks, looks away or bite themselves. Armed with information, you can also better explain to your kids: ” Lisa likes to rock because it makes her feel safe.And she screams every time the doorbell rings, because she has super hearing and it sounds to her like a bomb went off”. that can help bridge the gap between “typical” kids and the special needs child. Their interaction is just as beneficial as top-notch therapy.
  9. DROP THE PLATITUDES. “Ah, it’s going to be alright”, “God don’t give you more than you can handle”, “Special people get special children”. I know you mean well, but CUT IT OUT! It is as annoying as, when people at funerals say: ” God needed another angel”. Tell it as it is: ” Yep, this sucks. It’s not fair and I understand that you are scared and upset”.

I know that we, the parents of special needs children, can come off as martyrish victims. I guess it’s because we are. We just need to go through all the stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. We all move along at different rates, but one thing is for sure…..we cannot do it without you!


Okay, it was Justin Timberlake who brought sexy back. I am trying to ‘bring the word Priority back’, but damnit, it just didn’t have the same ring to it. If you can get over my bait ‘n switch, I promise you I will try my hardest to make ‘priority’ sexy.

imageIf your house caught fire, your priorities would fall into place, like you were that guy from ‘A Beautiful mind’. 1) Get the kids out. 2) Get the pets out. 3) If enough time get your most treasured item. Pretty straight forward.

Once I shattered my big toe. Despite the agonizing pain, first thing I did was to go home and shave my legs. Also I didn’t go to the emergency room. I knew ER=$2000-5000. Bite down hard and go to Care Now tomorrow=$100. Which tells us: 1) I am thrifty. 2) Shaving my legs is not a priority. 3) Having people think I shave my legs, big priority.

If anyone were to ask  “What are your priorities”? We can all come up with the same, socially accepted list: Kids, Husband/Wife, My health, Strong finances, and so on. Not a bad list. However, if our thoughts and actions were to come with an itemized breakdown, like your bank account, would your deposits and withdraws match your priority list?  Do we put down electronics, when our kids approach us, signalling that we are totally available to them? Do we carve out a little alone time with our spouse each day? Do we take our vitamins and get a minimum of exercise every day? Do we stick to our budget?  Do we act like the things. we claim is a priority, actually is? For most of us, the answer is low mumbled ‘no’, while letting our shameful gaze drift away.

So why are our actions, thoughts and priorities so jumbled? Are we bad and lazy selfish people? Not exactly. I am not a mathematician, but the equation goes something like this:

Poorly programmed subconscious mind,  plus Murphy’s law, minus lack of planning, drizzled with Holy sh!t that just happened, times Look something shiny= A mess!

I absolutely hate the, well-meaning, knee-jerk, total cop-out sentence: ” Give yourself a break, you are doing the best you can”. I am pretty darn sure that that is not the case. I am not suggesting we sit around beating ourselves up, but lets stop buying all our own excuses. Yes, there is “only” 24 hours in a day. But it is our 24 to fill ( smiley face, happy dance). Get excited about your life. The mind is a wonderful ting, it acts like a puppy running after a stick. Send out negative words and excuses, they will come back. Send out the desire to find solutions and ways to make life exciting, that is exactly what comes back. It is a practice, most of us are not wired that way, but it is doable. So make a list, review it often, make plans, hang post-its, look past your self-imposed limitations, stop kidding yourself, start loving yourself, hug your children and get your priorities straight.

At the end of the day, there is nothing more sexy and attractive, than vibrant people out there living their lives all out. Let’s be one of them.


The other day, my son Luke says to me: “Mom, I hope when Laura and I go to heaven, that she will be able to talk there and that she will want to interact with me”. It made me cry.

I want sing the praises of my boy and all the other siblings out there, who’s life has been forever changed by being the brother or sister of a special needs child. you guys handle it so gracefully, even though it comes with so much sacrifice.

I captured this picture of my kids, a few months back. I hope that Laura knows exactly how much her brother loves her.image