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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

If You Were My Boyfriend

This is an abusive relationship 
Autism explains the anger 
fear
anxiety 
explosiveness
depression
your special flavor of rudeness with sprinkles on top 
You’ve been bullied
Left out
Socially isolated
Explanations do not trump unkind words. 
They still beat down the soul
Because I love you, 
I forgive you.
I not only forgive,
sometimes I forget
I love you but…
If you were my boyfriend, 
I would dump you.
If you were my husband,
I would leave you. 
If you were my friend,
I would quit you.
But you are my child. 
Aggressiveness
Don’t speak of it   
It hurts so deeply 
There is shame 
We fear judgement 
Don’t say it aloud 
What will they think 
Always on guard 
Waiting for the ball to drop 
The trigger
The ignition
The bomb
Life in a war zone 
We hear screams 
when there are none 
Relaxation? 
Quiet? 
Is fleeting 
A treasure we hold tight 
The calm before the storm 
The storm always comes 
Not sooner
Definitely later…
Collateral damage lies in it’s wake
Holes in the walls
Cracks in the doors 
Collectables broken 
Will the blows become physical
for you 
for me 
Will the switch flip
Goodbye self-control
Read the signs 
can’t afford to ignore them
I love you but…
If you were my boyfriend, 
I would dump you.
If you were my husband, 
I would leave you. 
If you were my friend,
I would quit you.
You’re my child 
I will help you
I will nurture you
I will guide you 
In sickness and health 
I will point you towards the light
As long as I have breath 
As long as I have strength 
Until you stand on your own 
Until the bough breaks 


Just a little something I'm thinking about today...

Many autism parents are afraid to speak of the physical and mental abuse that we go through. In quiet corners, I hear stories that make me weep. The loss of control is hurtful to all parties.  It devastates our children, when they shift back into reality. Aggressiveness or violence from an autistic child is never an excuse for parents to harm them. We were put here to help them. Read the signs, get them the help, give yourself a break, before the bough breaks.

*Edit
This is not everyone's story. Autism is not one thing. Each child as unique as a precious snowflake. I am immersed in a community of parents and those on the spectrum who do have similar experiences. While I have many whose children don't have these issues. This story is not about me. It's not just about my kids. It's about many parents and many children. 


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Nothing Going On but the Rent

The road to  adulthood is long and hard.  The transition to middle school was not easy, but we made it. High school was pretty god-awful.  We've had a transition to adulthood plan in the works for a few years now for Red. I wrote about this Transition to Adulthood Plan not long after graduation. All I can say is boy, was I naive. This shit is hard!

Red has been holding the same job for 8 months now. That is huge! He still loves it and they seem to love him.  There have been zero incidents at work. Zero. He has been on time everyday, with the exception of the school bus being late once. He handled that responsibly by calling in to let his supervisor know what was going on. He has never missed a scheduled day.  Once, recently he decided he wanted the day off to go to Six Flags with his girlfriend.  He used the employee scheduling text message system to find someone to cover his shift ahead of time.

One of the issues that I am seeing recently, is that he seems to be getting up later and later to catch his ride to work. As in, literally 5 or 10 minutes before they get here is when his feet finally hit the floor.  He is also back to needing a couple of prompts in order to get up.

If you get up only a few minutes before your ride, you can't possibly do everything you're supposed to do to with your hygiene before leaving the house. You don't have time to eat.  There has been a time or two that he has gone out without taking his meds.  He usually catches his ride by the skin of his unbrushed teeth.  All of these are independent living skills that he will need if he ever wants to live on his own and actually to be able to maintain employment or go to college.  I won't be around to prompt him for the rest of his life.  I can't come to his rescue when he forgets his meds. Again ...his motivation needs to be internal, as it is when he gets up for church every Sunday morning (zero prompts).

We still encounter pretty awful behavior here at home.  Our biggest issues are boundaries, plain old rudeness and disrespect.  Of course, all of this is everyone else's fault. We all need to change and stop "pissing him off."  He is the person who sings loudly when others are sleeping, watching television, working or studying, but WE all need to change and stop "pissing him off!"  For the most part, the outside world does not see this ugliness.  It is reserved especially for those of us who love him and provide a safe place to lay his head every night.

Another thing that has improved, is the actual fighting with Blue.  (Instead he fights with my mom, who will NEVER back down by the way).  Blue has softened just a little bit and doesn't accept every invitation to fight (unlike my mom).  Blue has become  more willing to engage with Red in some positive ways.  They occasionally play games together.  Sometimes, they may watch videos on You-tube or maybe even a movie together.

What's next? 

I have been looking into various Adult Transitional Living programs for adults with autism,  Americorps,  Minnesota College of Life, etc. The feedback that I have received is that since he is 18, and his own legal guardian, he must to be 100% willing to participate.  He must be self-motivated, free of aggressive or threatening behavior, able to get along with others in a living environment, be able to and willing accept direction.

He is not demonstrating any of this at home currently.  One intake counselor said to me, "If he can't get along with his 4 family members, how do we expect him to get along with a larger group of strangers?" Well, the truth is that he is usually better with strangers than he is with us!  Of course there are no guarantees that this behavior won't transfer in another living environment.

The word I've been getting from admissions counselors is, "Why don't you keep in the 18 plus program through the school district as long as possible, so that he can do some maturing? There is nothing as intensive as the services that the school district provides ...for free." He is receiving transportation to work through the school district.  He gets job coaching, social skills training, life management, Occupational therapy and person centered planning, which is great! The problem is ...none of this gets him out of my house or away from his dependence on me.  Not to mention his sort of obsession with getting my undivided attention all.of.the.time!

I am still in the process of getting him connected with our local department of Mental Health agency for autism support services.  They can help with community support, counseling, supportive housing (group homes) and several other services.  This is all great however, dealing with any agency that is funded by the government is always a slow, arduous process. After our initial intake meeting with them over 2 months ago, we finally have a psych evaluation scheduled next week.  He will need that before he can move into any supportive living arrangement.

I am also working on getting him connected with DARS (Department of Rehabilitative Services). We finally have our second meeting with them at the end of this month. (As I said, slow and arduous.)  They will hopefully help pay for some of his education,  training, therapy and quite possibly independent living services needed in order to obtain and maintain full-time work, which he says is his ultimate goal.

Meanwhile, we deal with excessive behavior caused by his severe anxiety because of the uncertainty of everything that he is facing in this transition. He has to make a decision about college or trade school. Where will he end up living? He's still looking into driving, but afraid of the costs and the responsibility that comes along with that. Of course, he is also learning financial responsibility as an adult. Period. OMG! He will he not be able to buy everything that he wants, the second he wants it! Will he have to struggle like every young adult does while they are getting their education and finding their way in life? This will be surely be tragic! Unimaginable! 

Oh and of course, the dreaded trying to run a video editing business, with plenty of talent but absolutely no clue about expenses, profit and loss and record keeping.  In other words, he is trying to run a business with no idea how business ACTUALLY works! He is fixating more than ever on what the next gadget is that he needs to buy, in order to make this business a success! Because equipment is like magic! It will help you "look more professional and be able to charge more money."

Even though he is getting support from his job coaches, his Occupational Therapist and Ms. E. one of his old high school teachers, who comes here to work with him on his business ...none of them know what they are talking about!  We are all just conspiring to not let him spend all of his money!

On progress...

As I said, he has been holding this job for 8 months now.  When he got his first paycheck, he was furious with me when I made him take money out of he bank to pay for his own expenses, such as eating out, transportation and entertainment.  Now that he is receiving SSI, his Occupational Therapist has helped him set up a budget.  He is buying his own groceries (specialty items) that the rest of us don't eat.  He pays for all of his entertainment, eating out and dating (yes...6 months later, he still has a girlfriend). He is also paying rent!!! I've been working with him for 3 months on balancing his checkbook and keeping up with his spending.

Just the other day, he took out his checkbook on his own, balanced it and wrote out a check for his rent with zero prompts! Then he went to take a shower. And then I passed out from shock! 

The struggle is real folks.  There are so many steps on the road to independence,  I must admit, I was extremely naive about how much work this is.  Not to mention, how much anxiety and behavior we would have to deal with as a result.  I really feel like this is the hardest stage of life yet.

There is however, incremental ...progress.

p.s. I appreciate your comments. I really do. Helpful suggestions are always welcome. However ...if you just want to tell me how I'm doing this all wrong, send me a direct message.  I will then send you my address so you can come and let Red live with you! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Behavior is Communication

Every single day I spend quiet moments thinking about my children --trying to understand them.  I want explanations for their behaviors.  What are they trying to tell me by this behavior? Is this behavior  hereditary? Is this a learned behavior? Is this innate? Is this manipulation? Do they get this from me? Does he get that from his dad or his grandma? Or  ...oh my God! He's acting like my father!

I know a lot of people don't like the puzzle symbol for autism.  But aren't we all puzzles? A puzzle doesn't have to indicate a missing piece.  Why can't it be about how we put all the pieces together and how sometimes, they're upside down and need to be turned around?

I think I have Blue pretty well figured out. He's nowhere near as complicated as his brother. He is a little closer to textbook Aspergers -extremely intelligent, deep thinking, thinks outside the box, very curious, a little nerdy (he says he would like to be nerdier). He will probably be a world changer.

You may not realize he has Aspergers by talking to him.  He will actually listen to you during a conversation.  He will ask you questions and be interested in you.  Although he would prefer that you see the world as he does, he is intelligent enough to realize that that's probably not going to happen. That doesn't mean that he has to be happy about it.

I'm in awe as I watch Blue constantly evolving, growing and maturing. In his last Person-Centered-Plan meeting the goal he set for himself to try to be more positive in his interactions with peers. He still has a few social issues at school. He has a tendency to comment on everything that everyone else is doing, and when it comes to peers and his brother, he must point out how completely idiotic their behavior is. Peers tend to not like that so much, so he ends up in a lot of arguments.

With his new goal of being more positive, one of his teachers who attended the meeting observed that Blue is not very positive about himself.  He can't really accept a compliment. He doesn't believe that he's smart, handsome, funny or a good friend. He tends to focus on the negative.
"Everyone hates me," he says, which is far from the truth.  The kid has his own social club for people who are different! How brave and forward thinking is that?

So for the next month or so, he is to focus on positive things about his own life.  What is the good that happened in your day? Write it down. Oprah says write down 5 things to be grateful for. We settled on 3 because of course, he hates superfluous writing (and he doesn't care for Oprah nearly as much as I do).

Since he started writing down and observing the positives, he has discovered that he actually is a good friend. He has a female friend who describes herself as "weird and most people think I'm strange." Blue is especially kind to her. When she's upset he comforts her. She is grateful for his friendship.  He seems to be the one boy, who she doesn't have a crush on.  She has told him that he is, "one of the kindest people she's ever met." That's saying something! He can actually be less than kind, if he thinks you're an idiot, and most high school students in his opinion are idiots. Apparently, he sees this young lady as unique and intelligent, instead of "weird."

As a mom, I am happy that he has developed this friendship because it gives him an opportunity to get to know and understand a young lady without the emotional entanglements of a romantic relationship.  This will serve him well whenever he decides to date.

Blue has even been kinder and a little more patient with his big brother in the past few weeks. There have been moments when they hang out together.  He has been teaching Red how to play one of his favorite video games. They've watched movies in Red's room. It's been incredible!

Of course, there are still those moments where he's ripping Red a new one, especially when Red is being his super annoying, button-pushing self (a behavior I believe he inherits from my father).   Still, there is improvement. I appreciate any time that he gives to his older brother both because it makes Red happy, but mostly because it means for the moment,  Red isn't bugging the shit out of me!

Red on the other hand, completely baffles me.  I've been told many times that behavior is communication. When a child behaves a certain way, they are telling you how they are feeling, rather it be good, bad, anxious, depressed.  They are reacting to social and environmental stimuli.  For the life of me, I can't understand Red's motivation behind certain behaviors.

Some behavior is for attention.  He craves being the center of attention and if he isn't, he will find a way to make a situation be about him, good or bad. Hence, Christmas day for us this year was supposed to be more about relaxation, christmas music, and just our immediate family unit.  Honestly, I would have preferred that one of the boys went away to spend time with family.  Unfortunately, that didn't work out.  I specifically tried to take some of the pressure out of the holidays, both for myself and for the boys. I didn't make it about gigantic gifts or large lists of wants.  That usually creates way too much anxiety and drama.

So my dear son Red, found a way to create that drama anyway.  He couldn't allow us just to enjoy the relaxation. He had to stir things up and let us know his dissatisfaction with the world and his family in particular.  Where as Blue went out of his way to get me a small, thoughtful gift. Red made sure that he got several gifts for his girlfriend, but only wanted to know what his father and I  had for him and why he didn't have more?

I wish I could understand him more.  I am in constant thought about his behaviors and motivations ...wondering how I can help him or help him help himself.  How much is his personality? How much is autism, depression, oppositional defiance? What is related to medication? What is this medication really doing for him? Is some of it helping while some of it is making matters worse?

I'm beginning to see some of my father in him. The button pushing behavior is definitely a trait handed down from my dad. My father loves to say provocative things both to get attention and to get people stirred up or upset.

I don't know if I will ever understand him completely. Maybe he is not to be understood. One thing I know for sure, this transition to adulthood seems to be the hardest stage of his life yet ...at least for me. I will continue to support him in whatever ways I can,  even if that support is from a distance. Sometimes, it's just better to work in the background and let him figure his own life out with the supports that he has in place. He is so blessed with a team of people that are working with him to help on the road to success.  The world is his for the taking, he just has to stand up and grab it.

Hopefully, I will live to see the day when he finally does.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Perspective

"Be kind, for everyone you meet, is fighting a hard battle." -Plato 

One thing that having these special children has taught me is to always stop and think about the other person's perspective.  Because my children see the world from a completely different point of view, I no longer take things at face value.  They don't look like they're having any problems, but they are.  The battles that they are facing inside of their own heads.  They don't "look like they have autism, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, depression or a mood disorder.  Their challenges are not visible to the naked eye.  This does not mean that they don't exist.

The way that I see things is not necessarily the way that they see things.  The way that either of us sees things may have little to do with the way that they actually are.

Though my husband has no diagnosis, I think all of the men in this house actually have a perspective deficit. They just do not automatically think about what the other person may be thinking or feeling. I am often their barometer --the one who actually points out the different perspective.  When I do this, my husband accuses me of taking the other person's side.  I'm just pointing out that their actually IS another side. There is always another point of view.

The way that an individual sees and interacts in the world depends on a lot of variables. What is their life experience? Undoubtedly, it's different than yours.
What's going on with that person mentally or even physically?
Are they suffering from depression, some form of anxiety or some other heavy issue?

Lot's of people put on the bright smile and charm, even a great sense of humor. In truth, we have no idea how they're really feeling. Isn't the recent death of Robin Williams proof of that? O.K. I guess we should have known that he was often a bit manic and over the top, but I don't think most people had any idea how low his lows, actually were.

What looks all put together, flashy, shiny and successful, maybe a hot mess on the inside. Just because a person has a great career, is doing well financially, appears to have the happiest, most perfect family ever, does not mean that they are indeed, actually happy.  The truth maybe that that person is so spent from working so hard, that they have very little left over in their mental bank when they come home from work.

Just because that person has to be "on" all day in order to do their job, doesn't mean that they don't come home and want to hide because of social anxiety, depression or self-loathing.

A marriage that looks happy could be a source of internal anguish. We never really know what is going on behind closed doors much less, what is going on in someone's mind and heart.  The pretty pictures and happy smiles are not always what they're cracked up to be.

Some of the most successful people I know still have some kind of mental issues or insecurities.
You don't know what their childhood experiences were. You may not know what their relationship is with their parents and how that effects them now.
You just never know what battles that person is fighting, or what it really takes to maintain their life.

Before you form your opinions about another person, maybe you should try to really understand them.
Before you feel slighted, or angry or internalize something they said or did as a personal affront to you, perhaps you should actually communicate your feelings instead of making assumptions.

It could be that the influences and experiences in your life, have barring on your perceptions.  Whether or not we want to admit it,  deep inside we all have preconceived notions of certain people, based on race, sexual orientation, religion, economic status or level of education.  And most of the time we are DEAD wrong.

If there is one thing that autism has taught me, and it has taught me SO MUCH, is that if you've met one person with autism, you've met just that ...one person with autism. Each person on the spectrum is unique, special in their own way and they all face different challenges right down to the two-children that I am raising.

The same is true about most people. We're all unique no matter race, sexual orientation, neurological status, mental issues, economic status or whatever ...and we're all fighting something.

My own depression has taught me that my perspective may be skewed.  When I am feeling down, I have a tendency to take things that someone says or does more personally than it's intended to be.

Sometimes we sit in stew in our own juices, holding on to anger, or negative feelings.
We don't communicate because we don't want to be confrontational or offensive.  The only person that really hurts ...is you. The supposed offender is off living their life, probably completely unaware of the offense.

In the end, the truth just may be that the person in question is just an asshole.  And even then, there may be a valid reason why they're an asshole.

It has been said, that I'm a bit of a Polly Anna. I really do try to find the bright side in any situation.  I usually try to find the good in a person, instead of just the negatives.  It's not always possible, but most of the time you can find something positive if you're really looking for it.

Having children on the autism spectrum has taught me that even through what looks like rudeness or what may appear to be abrupt or insensitive, there is usually a deeper story --another perspective.  The writer side of me makes me want to find out what the story is. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Case of the Stolen Bacon

*Warning there is some pretty descriptive, colorful language in this post. If you're easily offended, move on.

Lately, in the afternoons when Red is about to come home from work or school start getting this anxious, dread that comes over me. I know that sounds horrible to say, but it is my truth right now. Whoever would have thought that it's possible to feel that way about your own precious child? The precious little baby that you gave birth too. Well, he's my own not-so-precious, adult these days and I am just plain old sick and tired of his behaviors.

When he comes home in the afternoon, I usually haven't gotten enough stuff done. When he comes through the door with his long list of complaints and arguments, my ability to think -to focus is cut down by half.  My focus level hasn't been on full for months, so it's really cut down to about a quarter of a tank, about to hit empty with a quickness.

He comes through the door just as I am about to eat the bacon that my mom has made for me along with a couple of waffles.

"I want that! Let me have it!" He is standing over me, totally invading my space. I refuse to give it to him. He continues begging, insisting really. I finally give in, just to shut him up. I give him a half of a slice. "No I want the whole thing!" He yells, and then grabs the other half and puts it in his mouth.

I took it as, fuck you and your feelings. I want this bacon and I'm taking it. What are you gonna do about it? Nothing.  It was just blatant disrespect. I...was...livid!

To make matters worse, my mom chimes in with her outrage over what he did. The two of them start arguing. "Nana! This is none of your business! It's just a piece of bacon!" "I made that bacon for your mother! You have a lot of nerve!" Minutes later, she wants him to be quiet because she's watching her soap opera. Really? You get him started by chiming in on a matter that doesn't  really involve you. Now you want him to be quiet?

I didn't engage with either of them. I ate my late breakfast while it was hot and then went upstairs, knowing that he would follow and that would break the two of them up.

Internally, I was smoking hot! He kept saying, "I'm sorry! Why are you so mad?  Really mom!  It's just a piece of bacon. What's the big deal? You still had some left."
This is not an apology. It enraged me further.

I explained to him it wasn't about the bacon. It was about the blatant disrespect. "If you did this out in the world, at work where someone has food stored in the refrigerator, or in a roommate situation someone may just decide to stab you with a fork for reaching over and taking their food." (Especially if it was bacon.)  In what world is this acceptable behavior?
His reply? "I would never do that at work or to anyone else!"  Wow! Just wow!

I explained that the bacon was just the last drop in the bucket, that made the water overflow.  It's about the way he has been treating me for years and the increased behaviors in the past few months. While being a very generous person to his friends, almost to a fault, he won't share a french-fry with me! This is  about how he made me cry over Thanksgiving dinner because of his rudeness.  Then he says to his dad, "What's the big deal? I've made mom cry before." 

It's about me being very literally at the end of my rope. I am stressed, depressed, pissed off and generally overwhelmed about the crisis that we've been living in for months. We have in this house the total ingredients for a divorce. There is enough stress and discord to totally tear this family apart. Luckily, hubby and I love each other and are determined to work through this situation to get Red out of here, thereby reducing the stress level.

Everything has been neglected.  Our marriage, our sex life.  The house is clean, thanks to my mom paying a housekeeper, but it's like a freakin ghost town as far as upkeep and decor. We need to paint, inside and out. Furniture is falling apart. Blue is walking around in pajamas are now skin-tight, capri pants. I haven't bought him any new winter clothes.  I haven't even shopped for myself! And I'm a shopping queen.  The pajamas I'm wearing are at least 5 years-old. No holes in them yet, but I'm sick of looking at them! I don't have time, energy or focus on anything other than how I'm gonna get this clueless kid out of my house!  The bacon is just really the straw that is breaking my back.

As I was steaming, I thought what can I do to get my point across to this boy. Should I take his food and eat half of it so that he can see how it feels?  What should I do? He has got to learn. I have to be firm.  I decided that the consequence for his actions was that I refused to take him to the camera store after therapy that afternoon.

He tried his best to muster up a meltdown. I told him, "Go ahead and have it. I don't care.  But if you don't get your shit together in the next half-hour, I will not be taking you to therapy either. I will just cancel or call your father and ask him to take you."
NO!!! Not dad!

Slowly he pulled it together. He apologized again and again, which I really didn't buy.  It felt like a manipulation to get me to change my mind about the camera store.

When we finally got in the car to go to therapy, he had reconciled that we would not be stopping.  He ended up offering to take me to lunch --to a sit-down restaurant.  I mean, as in actually paying for my lunch, which he has NEVER done.

Quite frankly, I told him I would think about it. I really didn't know if I wanted to sit down and have  meal with him. I was just so disgusted, I thought I might gag over lunch.  At the same time, I could really use a glass of wine to calm my fried nerves.

While he was in therapy, I decided to accept his invitation. We went to the Cheesecake Factory. I ordered my wine. He asked to use my laptop to look something up, which meant I didn't have to listen to him perseverate. It was perfect! Until my phone started ringing over, and over and over again.
My mom called. Blue called. My husband called. My neighbor called. With everyone calling I figured there was some crisis and I better answer.  Mom wanted to tell me that the smoke detectors were going off.  My husband was gone and she couldn't reach him. Blue wanted to ask me to bring him something to eat. So NOT happening. My neighbor was having what she thought was either a panic attack or a heart attack and wanted me to check on her boys if she ended up in the hospital.

I told mom to send Blue next door to a neighbor to help with the smoke detectors. I talked my neighbor down to a calm state where she decided, she just might be o.k. But of course, I would check on her boys if need be.

After that, I sent Red next door to Barnes and Noble and ordered a second glass of wine! I sat there alone, and tried to decompress a bit.

On the way home, we stopped by to check on my neighbor.  Luckily for her, she was resting and not up cooking for her boys.  Otherwise, I may have throttled her and given her that heart attack.

I came home and crawled directly into bed.  Less than 5 minutes later, Blue came into my room screaming because his brother was singing in the shower.  I screamed louder than him. Sometimes, you just have to out-meltdown your kid.  I also added in a few expletives. *Warning, this could turn out badly, but in the moment, it felt like a chance worth taking.

"Do you want me to jump out of that fucking window? Well, you better get out of here and leave me alone!"

After an episode of the Beverly Hills Housewives, my nerves calmed a bit and I felt horrible about what I said to Blue.  I apologized this morning.

These are the confessions of a depressed, lunatic mom.

Just one more thing, although I am pretty severely depressed these days, I want you all to know that I never consider hurting myself or others.  I do sometimes think about slapping Red silly.  Though I know it wouldn't do any good, other than making me feel a little better.  (That's humor for you literal people.)


Friday, November 28, 2014

No Thanks Giving

The next time I spend a holiday with Red will be at his house, with his wife and children. I will sit there and whine and complain about how boring everything is, how disgusting the food looks, what I don't want on my plate. I will talk about how I will throw up if I eat one green bean. I will scream how unfair my life was while I was raising him. Then I will laugh manically all the way home.

In the days and weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I knew that I should have sent him away, or I should have gone away. I looked in to tickets to California for me and Blue. When I brought it up, I got the major guilt trip from my mother. "What am I supposed to do while you're gone?" 
"Um ...you could go with me and stay through Christmas with your son." She wasn't trying to hear that. 

She has not picked up on the fact that our family can not always be traditional. We can not enjoy all being at home, for extended amounts of time without there being some fall out. Simple holidays at home don't happen unless one or more people leave this house. 

Life got hectic with my husband's travel schedule and everyday details. Before I knew it, Red was scheduled to work and I was tasked with figuring out how he would get to and from work. Getting away was looking bleak. 

Wednesday morning after sleeping for 8 hours, I woke up still exhausted. I wondered what the heck was going on with my body? Why was I still so tired? Ha! Depression much?  Whether or not I wanted to be depressed, my body clearly was. That evening while I tried to do some food prep, Red came down and started being nasty and negative with his mouth. Clearly he wanted to pick a fight with me. I couldn't take it. I got up and went upstairs and went to bed. 

That night I wrote on Facebook...

"I think my body is revolting against my preparing Thanksgiving dinner. I tried. I got as far as seasoning the turkey. Pray that I get it together by tomorrow, or that we find reservations. I'm out ..."

I woke up Thursday morning feeling somewhat energized. He woke up Thanksgiving morning with the same nastiness. Yelling, angry, and being argumentative with everyone. 

My brother called in the middle of his yelling, telling people to shut up, etc. As, I told my brother what was going on, Red ran up the stairs to his room. He knew my brother would want to talk to him and he did not want to hear what he had to say. 

A few minutes later, my brother/his uncle called him on his cell phone. After their conversation, Red came down and apologized to everyone. 

We had peace for the next several hours while I cooked my ass off. Seriously...I have very little ass left. 
Blue helped me make the stuffing.
Doesn't he look thrilled?
I made everything. Turkey, tenderloin roast, stuffing, sweet potato pudding, macaroni and cheese. My mom made the green beans. Blue helped me with the stuffing, which has several steps and he did great. Everything else was on me. Red was in his room doing whatever. He was quiet and that's all I cared 
about.
My perfect tenderloin roast marinated with fresh basil and rosemary
At about 6 o'clock Red emerged, hungry, grumpy and once again yelling. "This day is so boring! Why is it so boring? Why don't we have any company? Why didn't we have a party! This is the most boring Thanksgiving ever!" 

"We don't have company because I never know exactly how you're going to behave. Up until yesterday, I didn't know if I would have enough strength to prepare a meal, much less entertain guests. How can I plan ahead of time for a party when I'm constantly dealing with your antics? You want to know why their is no party? Your behavior is why we have no party!" 

I ended up sending him upstairs with his dinner. I refused to have him frowning and screaming at my table. By the time I actually served dinner, I was just totally spent. Everyone was going on and on about how delicious everything was. I couldn't even really taste it. I made this beautiful tenderloin roast that I had been dying for.  I did not eat one bite. Half-way through the meal, salty tears filled my eyes and eventually my plate. I was thoroughly, disgusted.

My husband was an angel. He held me, poured me a drink and encouraged me to go lay down. Blue was a real trooper. He thoroughly enjoyed everything that I prepared. When he saw that I was upset I heard him ask his dad, "Is she o.k.? Did I do anything?" Later, he came to my bedroom to see about me and asked if I was o.k. 

A few weeks ago I wrote about the fact that it is time for Red to go.  It's time for him to move out of my house and into some kind of supported living environment. Since then, I've been busy hooking him up with services through different agencies, trying to get that ball rolling towards getting him the support that he needs. I wanted to put him into the best possible situation, so that he can go on from there and thrive. 

A few minutes, after my husband told Red how much he had upset me, he was banging at my door, demanding that I open it.  He did not care about how bad I was feeling. My exhaustion meant nothing to him. As usual,it was all about Red. 

Hours later, when he came to apologize there were still excuses. "People in high school treated me like crap. That's why I behave this way." The excuses nullified the apology. For once in your life, take responsibility for your actions. 

I'm done. I don't care where he goes or how perfect the situation is, I just want him away from me. I have to think of my own mental health. I will be working overtime to make his departure from this house, a reality. 





Friday, November 21, 2014

Ferociously Facebooking

Why do I blog  and Facebook so ferociously? I am desperately trying to understand and be understood. I'm connecting with people who get me, and I get them.  I feel their pain and I know that so many of them authentically feel mine.  It's crazy to feel connected to so many people all over the world who are going through some of the exact same things that I am going through.  I know it's insane, but it's also incredibly real.  We laugh together.  We cry together. I absolutely get high from the laughter everyday.  It makes this crazy life seem a little less crazy when you can find the humor in it. Oh ...and the high of sharing the laughter and brightening someone's otherwise dark day, gives me a buzz.  I'll admit it. I'm addicted.  It's like one of the genuinely good feelings in my lonely days.

It's also sad. Sometimes it even feels pathetic, that some of the people I feel closest to, I've actually never met. It just is what it is for now.  I feel like the good things that come from it, far outweigh the negatives.

No one in my real life, totally gets what I'm dealing with. I'm always out there searching, trying to understand, trying to do whatever I can to help my boys.  I'm looking for answers to their questions, to my questions, looking for the right things to say and what not to say to make things worse.

My husband gets it but doesn't get it.  He's too busy working to really get it. Then he thinks I'm always making excuses or them. That really pisses me off.

O.k. so maybe at some point I made excuses for them, but I've learned that lesson.  Time is short! One is an adult, and the other one will be sixteen before I can blink my eyes! The last thing I want to do is make excuses for them.  Their issues are real.  They're not imagined. They have huge pockets of intelligence.  That doesn't take away their challenges, their different way of seeing and experiencing the world.  Their intelligence does not deem their challenges null and void. I want to understand how to help them to help themselves!

My mother (another story altogether) really doesn't get it as much as she may want to. I know I've said this before, but this is my rant.  She actually ends up adding to the headache. Imagine having your mother as an audience to all of your conversations with your teenagers. Then top that with their autism and lack of filter.  Oh and the cherry is that she also has no restraint and will say anything at anytime.  She's like uninvited audience participation in my own house. How the hell did I get myself into this situation? How did this become my life?

Yeah. Don't answer that. I love her. I'm blessed to have her. Yada. Yada. Yada. I'd like to have her down the street, in an apartment.

I work to put their supports in place and I'm actually quite proud of our team.  Just last night I had his Job Coach, his Occupational Therapist, one of his high school teachers, and our Transition Coordinator at our house for a meeting.  All here on their time off, supporting him! I am eternally grateful for this team of people.  There are so many kids left out there hanging, with ignorant parents who don't get them and have no idea how to help them.
My Facebook and blog community parents, mostly moms and a few awesome dads of kids on the spectrum actually understand this life.

Damn right! I don't want to hear the opinions of ANYONE who doesn't actually live my reality. And my reality is different than anybody else's reality because these are MY children with autism. Each of them is uniquely challenged. There is no one else exactly like them, so if you're not an expert who's studied, or worked with them.  If you're not some one who's actually living this, you really can just shut the f- up! I don't want your 2 cents.

If you want to give your 2 cents to the help pay the experts, pay for medications and many other bills that come along with autism, you can do so by shopping Amazon with me.  Just Click the link below or use Amazon Search above.

End rant...

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