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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Autism Awareness Confessions, 2013

There is not a day that goes by that I am not fully aware of autism.  Autism lives here in my house 24/7.  It keeps me awake at night, and wakes me up early in the morning.  It gives me headaches, heartaches and nags at me constantly like unfinished loads of laundry or my e-mail inbox.  Every time I finish a load, the hamper is refilled with mounds of laundry.  Every time I think I've cleared the inbox...here comes 15 new messages.

Autism does not go away, not today or any day.  Occasionally, I take vacations from it as a way of saving what is left of my sanity, but it usually sneaks it's way into my suitcase and comes along for the ride.  It comes out and makes its appearance in the middle of dinner out on the town.  There it is -that phone call that autism is out of control again back at home.  It needs your help Mom.  Only you can fix it!

It rears its ugly head in the middle of a romantic movie.  What does romance have to do with autism?  Well lets see.  I'm watching Les Miserables and there is a scene about a girl who is so deeply in love with the boy, yet the boy is deeply in love with someone else.  She is devastated by this, of course.  She sings about it.  She cries about it, and so do I --wondering if autism will ever allow my boys to love deeply and be loved.  I cry out in fear of the day when my son has a broken heart.  When he couldn't see it coming ...that the girl doesn't love him anymore.  How will he handle that when he can't even handle it right now when a friend, doesn't want to be his friend anymore?  He completely falls apart and can't stop the perseverating thoughts  --his feelings so intense that he is pushing friends further and further away because they just don't know what to do with him and his ardency.

Autism can make the simplest things so much harder than they have to be.  Going to high school is a simple thing really.  Or is it? Not for my boy.  I spent the Autism Awareness day rearranging his school schedule so that his days are shorter --more simple.  Because the unstructured times of the day, walking through the hallways and lunchtime are pure, torturous,  hell for him.  He becomes frustrated because he sees what he perceives as 'the happy people who have it all' and he wants it too!  Only he has no idea of how to get it!  So he bangs his head up against the wall over and over again, trying to make things happen, make friends, find a girlfriend, only what he is doing isn't working.  It's just making him more frustrated.   Then he's cursing and screaming and angry thus, working against himself to accomplish his goal.

For my above average intelligence middle-schooler...autism wreaks havoc on his hormonally charged body.  It causes him anxiety.  Anxiety causes him depression.  Depression causes extreme anger and self-loathing.  Yes this -even for a boy who seemingly has it all.  He has friends,  most teachers love him, he has good grades, he has a nice home, full of every electronic contraption that he could ever want.  His life is full of love yet, he can't see it.  He can't feel it.

I am constantly putting out the autism fires.  Each time I put one out, another starts smoldering.  It's an endless fight.  It's an incessant search for answers ...the right therapies, the right doctors, the right medicines, the right education plan, not to mention how to pay for it all.

So yes...today and everyday I am painfully aware of Autism.  It lives here like an uninvited house guest, who apparently does not know how to read these damned eviction papers!