Monday, August 8, 2022

Dear Reader


I miss writing in this space. 

I love the total freedom of it. 

I’m sure your life was on hold, chomping at the bit, waiting for my next post. (insert eye roll here)

When I write here, I’m not trying to impress anyone. 

I’m not trying to build a big audience and earn money from my writing. 

Lies. I always love to earn from my writing. 

You may send all donations for all of the therapy I need to my Pay Pal

Have I told you how much money I spend on therapy just to exist in this family? 

When I started this blog, writing was therapy. 

I was just trying to survive raising two boys on the autism spectrum and one who is not.

Life continues to be challenging even though all three of them are adults (23, 26, and 34). 

Autism parenting does not have a designated empty nest date or a finish line.

My 3 Sons

So...what's new with me? 

Nothing is new. Everything is very old and tired. 

I'm constantly in search of something new. So far, I haven't had much luck.

I haven’t been writing lately (other than journaling). 

I’ve been stressing and depressing instead. It's hard to be creative when your mind is not functioning at 100 percent.

Having my 26-year-old autistic son who thinks he knows much more than he does, living away in Los Angeles has been a blessing and a curse —mostly a curse

He makes sure that he remains in the forefront of my mind, whether he’s with me or miles away. 

His life has been a roller coaster, and the ride is making me sick. I know. I shouldn't even be on the ride. I should extricate myself from his ups and downs. I am a work in progress. 

He goes from having great jobs to quitting good jobs.

From being mentally healthy to sabotaging his mental health.  

Up…down. Rinse and repeat. 

It all affects me more than it should. 

Like it or not, the yanking up and down of his life plays a part in my own mental health. 

Summer depression has been an issue with me from the time we moved to Texas. 

I hate the heat, and this year has been brutal, with temperatures over 100 degrees for months. It’s really pissing me off! 

I am working on radical acceptance of this sucky situation. 

Fighting with it is not changing it. Complaining about it is pitiful. I don't want to be pitiful. When I realize how long I’ve been complaining, I beat myself up for not doing something to change it. That’s an additional drain on my energy. 

Tolerating a distressing situation is a part of life as an adult. 

I remind myself that I have an air-conditioned home. I can choose not to leave my home during the heat of the day. 

I work outside the house in the evening or when there’s cloud cover. 

In caregiving for my mother, I end up running two households and five lives.

Dragging groceries and supplies in and out of my mother's apartment during the heat of the day is a dumb idea. 

I stopped doing it.  

Grocery shopping apps are my friend. (Except,  half the time, they say items are not available that I know damn well are available. When this happens, I send my young, vibrant son to the store instead. He can take the heat.) 

I have book dreams. I have dozens upon dozens of chapters and stories written. 

The feeling that a goal is unreachable can make me shut down. 

Being depressed and beating myself up about not writing makes me more depressed. 

Editing my own writing is a nightmare. It always has been.  It’s hard to find my own mistakes. 

Add ADHD, anxiety, and one family crisis after another makes focusing on writing pretty damn difficult. 

Building a writing career adds the pressure to be perfect. 

Perfection can make me shut down. 

He’s Married Now

I never wrote much here about our eldest son Adrian. He is not on the spectrum. 

He is a college graduate and served in the United States Army Reserve. 

I didn’t carry him in my uterus, but I raised him. He was just about 5 years old when I met his father. 

Now, he is a  grown-ass man with a son, a wife, and a mortgage. 

It’s so nice to pull up to his house and see his success. (Even if his home is larger than ours and has the floor plan of my dreams).

No shade. I’m not hatin’. 

We want our children to be more successful than we are, right?  

Granma status: 

Adrian and his wife, Jasmine, made me a grandmother!!! 

It is one of the most prestigious, pure joy-inducing jobs ever! 

Cayden is two-years-old. 

I am completely in love. 

He is my sun.  He's so pure and full of joy. 

When Adrian and Jasmine had their wedding recently, the best part was taking care of my grandson while they were on their honeymoon! 

23 and Me: 

My twenty-three-year-old son is still living with us. 

He is finding his way in the world. 

He has been having what he called an “existential crisis.” 

He’s such a deep thinker. 

When the world slowed down, he found time to focus on the anxiety beneath the surface (kinda like the rest of us).  

We all had time to think and examine the meaning and purpose of our lives in the last two years. 

Leave it to my kid to teach me new things. 

When I was twenty-three, I had no idea what an existential crisis was.  

I was just swimming upstream, doing all of the things life expected of me.  

I didn’t question everything the way he does. 

Side note -When I was 23, I was madly in love with love. I was caught up in romance. There was no time or interest in reflecting on the meaning of life.

These days both of us treat our mental health like it’s a full-time gig. Therapy, writing, reading, podcasts, and more therapy.  

Therapy is one of our biggest household expenses. 

He volunteers at a mental health support community called the Austin Club House.

During his time there, he has developed even more empathy for those with mental health struggles, including the homeless.  

In fact, he is leaning toward becoming a Peer Mental Health Advocate. 

Recently, he answered the call for submissions to a mental health writing contest sponsored by the Hogg Foundation He won a monetary prize and is being published! 

Maybe, I will follow in his footsteps. 

I’m in a hurry for everything to happen for him. 

He’s in a hurry for nothing. 

His steps are measured and well thought out.   

Note to self, 

Life is not a race Karen. This is his journey, not yours. It’s not your job to hurry things along. You have no control here. 

It’s still like watching paint dry for a person like me who wants everything now! Patience used to be my strong suit. I don't know what happened. 

The pain in my headache

If you’re wondering what oppositional defiance and autism look like in adulthood, it is a picture of my twenty-six-year-old son in the DSM-5.  

He moved to Los Angeles in 2020 to pursue his dreams and escape us. He didn’t want our help financially (except he totally does, only on his terms). Accepting help from us would mean we might have something to say about his decisions. 

He moved to live with my niece and her son. 

However, he burned that bridge pretty quickly.  

My siblings and family also live in L.A. 

He has burned bridges with most of them. 

My family is loving and supportive in the same ways that I am. 

Turns out cussing people out and hanging up the phone on them is not acceptable.

Coming into someone’s home, not speaking, and then storming out because you don’t want to wear a mask around an older, immune-compromised adult is also unacceptable. 

The blessing is California (a blue state) has more services and support.  

He has the best Social Worker in the world (me…for free).  

He does not appreciate or take full advantage of what I’ve tried to put in place to support him. 

When an adult acts like he doesn’t want help, these agencies will not beat your door down to give it to you.  

It kills his brother and me to watch him blow off support when so many here in Texas are desperately seeking help and can't find it. We know so many young adults who have no one to help them navigate an impossible mental health system. And yet, he has my support and more and could not care less. 

Whatever I am for, he is against. 

I’m not Christian enough. So why should he listen to anything I say? 

He continues to be the person in my life who commands the most energy.

And yet, it’s uncanny that so far, he turns out to be the opposite of me. 

I am love and peace. 

He is fight or flight. 

I avoid conflict.  

He lives for it. 

I tell him I don’t want to control his life. I just want to see him happy. 

He tells me, “Life isn’t about being happy.” 

It’s like he tries to make life as hard as can be. 

Ask me for money. No. Problem. 

Take advantage of the support that would help him not waste money. No. Thank you. 

Recently he started attending an extremely conservative church.

When I asked him, “Why the change from the church in Hollywood that you enjoyed?”  

He said, “That was one of those feel-good churches where they don’t preach the hard truth!” (Fire and damnation)

He is antagonizing and frustrating.  

He is the main ingredient of my anxiety, worry, and heart palpitations.

I love him deeply —probably too deep for my own good. 

Sometimes, I don’t know how I pull the love out of thin air for him, but I do. 

Honestly, I don’t want to feel him deeply anymore.  I’m so tired of carrying the extra weight.

I can tell you how hard it is to love him with no shame because more than one thing can be true at the same time. 

There are so many moms in the world who are feeling horrible about how they can have feelings of animosity toward their adult child who causes them so much stress. It’s okay to feel whatever you feel. Love and hostility can co-exist. Love ideally wins.  

As my friend and fellow writer Carrie Cariello often says, “Autism is heartbreak by a thousand papercuts.”  

I continue to work through burnout, which affects my energy reserves. 

It affects my level of patience and ability to be a pleasant human.

Sometimes, I just have nothing left to give. 

I want time just to be focused on myself after years of neglect. 

Menopause only adds to my moodiness and emotionality. 

My marriage is on life-support. 

However, we finally found a black therapist who is culturally sensitive. 

When we told her our story, her jaw dropped a few times. 

But hopefully, she’s a miracle worker. 

Thank you, Dear Reader!

You can read my son's published poem here The Hogg Foundation  

You can also find my stories here on