Things often don’t go as smoothly as you would expect, however.
It proved too much for her and her family to live on a piece of land (in the middle of nowhere) that had been all but forgotten for the last 5 years and she decided to stay in my home with her two grown kids and five large dogs. Now, I was foolishly ok with this. I mean, how much chaos could this cause in my home? The home in which I live with my two Autistic children and my husband. Oh did I mention we live in a two bedroom home?
Let’s just say, this was doomed from the beginning.
I think that even if my kids were neuro-typical, it was only a matter of time before there would be some sort of explosion after which everyone would kiss and make up. The only difference is that I am an ASD Mom. You seriously don’t mess with ASD Moms, especially a seasoned ASD Mom.
My kids were diagnosed at age three and are now ten and nine. I have many battle wounds and other various bits of shrap metal under my skin. I’ve had family members and other NT mom’s try to tell me how to better parent my kids. I’ve had doctors, people shopping at the market and bus drivers suggest to me that if my kids can’t behave in public like “normal” kids, I should keep them at home. I’ve had every decision I’ve ever made scrutinized by every kind of person imaginable.
All I can say is … I AM DONE!
I am done trying to justify why I choose what I choose. I am at that point that I have imagined ever other possible alternative to all of our issues and have made my choices accordingly. Yes, my stress is still there and yes I sometimes take an easy way out of a most likely challenging situation and in doing so, I always feel doubt that I’ve made the right decision, but these are mine to make. No one else’s. I know better than anyone where our breaking point is located.
So when my choices were scrutinized and seemingly attacked on the day in question, I had no problem letting go of this friendship. I didn’t even have the energy to fight to keep this relationship. This was just one battle not worth fighting as far as I was concerned and my family came first, not my own need to be understood.
They say that parents of special needs kids possess a lot of the same symptoms as those with PTSD. I can really understand why. When a veteran comes home from battle, he often feels like no one really truly understands what he is going through, and that’s how parent’s of Children with Autism feel too. Sufferers of PTSD feel Isolated from their friends and family because they know that no matter what they say or do, those people cannot imagine what they are living through. Their friends and families cannot conceive in the fact that what their loved one has experienced, has changed them forever.
So now I ask this community a favor. I know some of you have your own networks and blogs. If y'all would indulge me and share this post on your own pages, I'd be very appreciative. I would like to do an informal survey as to just how prominent the feeling of isolation is to Parents of children with ASD or Aspergers.
So the questions are:
1). Do you feel isolated from friends and family and/or have you lost touch with the same since the dx?
2). Do you avoid answering questions from family and friends because you feel they won’t understand your point of view?
3). Do you go out into the community and if and when you do, do you take kids or take turns with your spouse? Do you even have the option of taking turns with your spouse? (In some cases the spouse’s lack of cooperation is contributing to your stress and isolation)
4). When was the last time you spent quality time with your spouse OUT ALONE?
5). When was the last time you spent time alone? (either out in the community or at home)
In some cases, one of the contributing factors to the parent’s symptoms of PTSD is the feeling of being held hostage by ASD and the challenges that it brings to the family dynamics. Now don’t get me wrong. I am in no way saying you are suffering at the hands of your children or spouse, but by the emotional challenges that come with ASD.
So, you may ask, how do we remedy this for ourselves?
It has been my experience, and I only recently discovered this myself, that finding a support system that truly “Gets It” is the best medicine. Some of you already know that there is a slew of bloggers and followers that commiserate together as a community online. Others prefer meeting ASD parents in person, so join or start their own meet-up groups or community support groups. Whatever is your cup of tea, I suggest you go ahead and jump right in. The water is more than accepting.