Sunday, 1 September 2013

Respite is Essential for Autism Parents

Time to regroup.  My blog is a very personal place, and because of this, I try to be as open as possible.  So it’s important that I say this- I am not doing well right now.  It’s happened in the past two weeks or so and I really can’t pinpoint what has pushed me over the edge.

I am depressed.  As my close friend and coworker said to me this week when I said I didn’t know what I was depressed about, “duh!”  And she is right, I technically have many many reasons to be stressed, anxious, depressed.  That being said, what has changed?  I am not dealing with anything “new”.  Yes, I am starting another round of interventions with Nate, yes, it’s the beginning of the school year, and yes, we are coming up on the two year anniversary of Nate’s regression.  But this is nothing different than what I have been dealing with.  So what gives?

I had my first individual counseling session in a LONG time with our marriage counselor yesterday and spent much of the session sobbing.  As I think about it now the tears are welling up again.  The last time I was in that room I was in such a good place, feeling so strong that we basically had our termination conversation.  John and I are going to need long term support- we are dealing with way more in our marriage than most and it just helps to have a “safe” place to hash it all out.  But at this point it’s a maintenance thing, something we can do every 6 weeks or so. 

Even through this session, I just couldn’t put my finger on what is going on.  It’s really weird, but it came back to the almond bread for Nate again.  After my “issue” in the grocery store last week, I came home, resolving to make the bread sooner rather than later- just to get it over with and to prove to myself that my life would not magically transform back to the crisis period it was in when I was doing this in the past.  Let me put it this way- the almond flour has been sitting, untouched, in the food processor for a week now.  I still can’t bring myself to do it.

So I think my feeling of depression may be stemming from the realization that there will be no “end” to this.  When the boys were first diagnosed, I was focused on taking each day as it came, with the hope that there would be “recovery.”.  Well, I guess you could say that emotionally I am settling in for the long haul.  There will be no quick fix or miraculous intervention.  There will be at best, slow progress.  Don’t get me wrong, this is of course much better than no progress- just not what I was praying for.

My parents took the boys for the night last night.  John and I spent our first night in our home without children since Jack was born 6 years ago.  What did I do?  Watched Bridezilla’s, stared at the wall, cried, slept.  John and I shared a meal together, but after that, all I wanted was to be alone. 

Bottom line- I need to accept the fact that I need a break.  That I am burnt to a crisp, have compassion fatigue, am ready to throw in the towel, whatever you want to call it.  Last night was nice, and this morning has been peaceful, but I need to accept more help from family, friends, etc.  I always feel guilty because I am not with my children all day, I am working.  But that does not count as a break.  It most certainly is not a break.  And I am always working on something for the boys while I am doing my job.  I am never, ever “single-tasking”.  The boys can benefit from being with other people, and most certainly they will benefit from having a mommy who isn’t near tears all the time, like I am now. 

It’s time to give some of this over- to my husband, to my parents, to my mother in law, to friends.  This mama is at her breaking point.  I am finally saying it loud and clear- I need some help.


  1. I know the can come out of no where or build up for months. I do think a major trigger for all of us is the beginning of the school year. I feel the anxiety every time my cell rings, every time I meet a new teacher, even when I am about to open the agenda and fear a note will be staring at know the "note"! As the year goes on, I begin to calm down too. I think the bread triggered that ptsd reaction so many of us get. We as moms take on so much of our kids anxieties and how can it not affect us. My Meds help some and I started yoga this past summer which has helped me more than the Meds. It deals with slow breathing n really works wonders. Also praying and my faith. Best of luck my friend. Take the help and the time and will pray for some peace to come your way.

  2. Hugs mama.
    I know the feeling you describe- I felt it with Sophie quite early. It's the realization that she is how she is, and most likely will not "come out of it". I think at some point you do need to let go- just breathe. There is no magic pill, "this one thing to try". There's just this life, with this child and its different than we expected but fighting it will only make it worse.
    I think when I realized it, it was this giant load that was lifted off me. This isn't for me to fix. How do I want to spend the days with my child? Trying, working, stressing? Or forgetting it all and taking them to the park to watch them happily run around flapping?
    I am sorry if I said something to hurt you, I follow your journey because Natey is so much like Sophie, age and development wise. It breaks my heart to read your pain and just wanted to share what worked for me.
    Take care, all the best.