This is me

Imagine a world where nothing matters, you could do anything. You thought you were invincible. Money could be spent without a thought to how the bills would be paid. Imagine a world where you were the best at everything and you needed very little sleep to get things done.  This world sounds kind of nice doesn’t it?

 Well this is mania – it’s my mania to be exact. It also comes with some very dangerous side effects. That money that you spent, you needed it to pay your rent or buy formula for the baby.  The things I think I can do because I’m unstoppable, well they have consequences as well. Those things almost destroyed my marriage more than once.  This phase can last for a few hours to a month or more at a time for me. Then comes the next phase … I crash.

 I fall into a bottomless pit of depression. It’s dark, it’s scary and most of all it is real. I’m not talking about sit around and cry type of depression. Oh that would be a piece of cake compared to what I experience.  When I hit this depression personal care doesn’t matter. If someone didn’t tell me to take a shower or brush my teeth I probably wouldn’t. During this depression I am not a good mom, I do the bare minimum to make sure my children are taken care of. Not because I don’t want to take care of them, but because I can’t.

 The dark world of this depression hurts physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m not good enough for anyone. I can list all of my faults to an exact measurement, even if no one else can see them. It’s during these depressions that I truly believe that the world would be a better place without me. I know how much of a burden I am on my family, and honestly when I am depressed because of my bipolar lows I know in my heart of hearts that my family would be better off without having to constantly worry about me.  

 As scary as those low points sound, they really aren’t the worst of it. It’s when you cycle back up into mania that it becomes dangerous. All of those negative thoughts you have during depression you now have the motivation to do.

My bipolar disorder has had a major impact on my life. It has impacted my family and those around me. It has led my husband to watch me attempt suicide and have to call 911 to have me hospitalized.  My bipolar disorder has led to my mother to question what she did wrong. She has had to sit in a doctor’s office and be told that without medications I would continue this destructive path.

With medications, which need to be adjusted every so often, I can be somewhat stable. Even that isn’t perfect. I still slip into nasty depressions and scary manias. This is my bipolar disorder; this is part of our life for better or worse. 

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Words from me to you

Dear Son,

I have watched you grow from before you were born. I have been with you through each step of your journey. Somedays I have cried tears of anger and sadness and others I have cried tears of joy and pride. Today though I did not cry as I watched you decided to pull a wall around you and your world.

Sunday morning you woke up and decided you were not going to speak. You see, for me this hurt. I wanted to scream at you to speak. I wanted to shake the words out of you. Those words are there, yet you choose not to use them. We have spent hours upon hours working to get to your words and here you are five years later locking them up inside you.

I know you don’t understand why I am frustrated right now, but I am. I hate watching you pull yourself into this world where only you know what is going on. You lose all eye contact when you do this and it scares mommy. I feel like I am losing the little boy I know when you go to this place.

I think it would be pretty cool if you could take me to this place with you. I know it’s got to be pretty amazing since you have been going there more and more these days.

Son, I know you don’t understand but Mommy misses you so very much these days. I am learning to accept that this world of yours is a safe place and that you will go there when you need to. I am learning to accept that you are not gone, rather just handling your thoughts in a way that you know how. Mommy does that too, I just don’t have any one to say “I wish you weren’t there” to me.

I can’t promise you I will always be the one who is okay with you going to your world, but I will always be the one who loves you no matter where you go or what words you decided to use and when.

What is autism?

Recently a blogger I follow decided to describe the symptoms of autism and how they are used in the new addition of the DSM- 5 to diagnose ASD. Here is what I will say about the blogger, she is a well educated individual. She has her PhD in sped with a concentration in Autism. She is a mommy of NT children. What she did was give the textbook definition of autism.

The one thing that stood out to me in her post was that children with autism do not have/show empathy. While children/adults/individuals with autism display emotions differently than the neurotypicals of the world, they still show it. When my son noticed me laying on the couch the other night while watching TV, he brought me a blanket and covered me up. This little boy who spends his days looking at the world another way showed he noticed me and cared. When lil girl (a point or two shy of being diagnosed) saw her big sister cry at the dentist, she held her hand and patted her leg. She saw a need in another person and offered comfort in the exact way I do.

My 3 year old daughter may not have told me “I love you mommy” yet, but she shows it. After I braided her hair tonight, she gave me a hug. When I am away from the house she waits up for me before she will settle down to rest and sleep. Part of it may be her need for routine and having me home before she will sleep, but when I walk through the door at the end of a long day and night, she yells MOMMY and I know I am loved. When my son is angry or wound tight he seeks me out for deep pressure and cuddles. Even though I may not get “happy birthday mommy” or “happy Mother’s day” I know I am loved and cared for by my son.

The common statement that individuals with autism lack empathy is a myth. People need to realize that it is shown in a different way and they need to learn and/or be taught how to see it. Our children and adults deserve to be better understood. People should know that they are more than a list of character traits listed in a set of diagnostic criteria.

Your worst enemy

Does your own thought process hurt you? Can your own mind limit the options you have avalable at any given time?

When my son was diagnosed with Autism I went through the stages of grief that many other parents have been through. The perfect life I had envisioned for my son was suddenly gone. I heard the doctors say what he may never be able to do. I wondered how in the hell I would handle with life had thrown at me.

I screamed, I yelled, I probably broke things, and I cried. I didn’t think I could handle raising a child who had such different needs from what I knew. I hated hearing the phrase “God only gives you what you can handle.” Seriously at this point I wanted to know what the hell anyone, including myself, knew about raising a child whose entire life would present with challenges that most people would never understand.  I CAN NOT HANDLE THIS!

In 2010 I found out I was going to have my lil girl. You see the thing about her is I wasn’t exactly happy about being prego again but I didn’t exactly do anything to protect myself from pregnency either. At this point I was back on medications and was told I would have to see a specialist because at 8 weeks into a pregnancy the medications I had been taken could harm the baby. Again what the hell was I being given that I could not handle. Of course the nice doctors gave me the chance to abort knowing what the risks of continuing could be. I COULD NOT HANDLE THIS!

7 months later I had a healthy, problem free, baby girl. She developed normally she slept well, was healthy, walked on time, ate everything in sight. The one thing she did not do on time was develop speech. She has language, she has eye contact, but no speech. She did start developing her speech after her second birthday but it is still minimal at 2 1/2.  Her behavior when she can’t communicate sucks! Yes I said it sucks. In my mind I scream I CAN NOT HANDLE THIS!

Today, as I type this blog, she sits in her rocking chair with her baby in her arms staring at the tv like any child would do. The words she wants to get out stuck in her mind.

The thing about “I CAN NOT HANDLE THIS”  is that everytime this thought comes into my mind I sink slowly into this black hole and start a pitty party for one. I won’t listen to the good, I only see the challenges that my younger two have and the challenges that our entire family has been handed.  My mind and thought process start dictating to me what I can and can not do.

In the end, the can’t turns into can because I realize when I am not dealing with the “I CAN’T” thought process I am already handling it. Maybe not in the best way, or the right way everytime, but I am doing it the best way I know how. Thats all any one can do.