Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mount Autism

"Autism is on my Mind"...I'm printing that on a T-Shirt when I get around to it. Maybe someone already has..."Powered by Autism" perhaps? Nope, too cliche...what about "My other -ism is an Auto"
nahh... no one will get that one. That one limbs and lists all in one.
The point I'm failing to make is that I've been feeling blue about living with Autism for the past few days.
It hits me every now and then, sometimes hard in the gut, sometimes rich with melancholie, sometimes it wakes me up out of deep sleep and graceously grants me a night of insomnia, sometimes I simply can't see anything good...which is bad and I know it, but still, I can't. See. Anything. Good.
Sometimes it makes me want to tell everyone to go jump in a lake, preferrably a cold, deep one and while they are at it, climb up something high before they jump.
I get mean when I get blue.
"Mean when Blue", maybe that's my slogan.
For the past couple of days, Gus and I haven't been on the same wave length. All we create together these days is static snow and noise like you'd see on an old black&white TV in between the channels.
We are dreadful. I tell you.
I spend the day saying "No, don't do that," while he pushes any and all proverbial envelopes he can get his hands on.
Then finally I'm tired of saying "no" so I yell it. He keeps pushing. Different tone, same results. So I switch to sulking and feeling self-pitty. He doesn't notice, because he is busy finding more envelopes to shove around.
When it's his turn, he says "no" just as often. To all my questions and requests, even the ones he should like, such as chocolate, for example. If he isn't busy saying "no" he shrieks demands at me and if I don't hop to it, there is a cover-your-ears-and-run meltdown.
Did I mention we are dreadful right now?
One either yells or sulks. The other shrieks and/or melts down.
Truce comes in the form of videos, playground visits, short walks, feeding the ducks at a nearby pond, or watching heavy, yellow machinery at a neighborhood construction site.
But relief is temporary. Every time we have to do something; put on shoes, take off jackets, leave, stop, walk, hold hands and walk or not walk we descend into disharmony - and we do it fast and efficiently.
So I am feeling blue and mean. Because me and my 4-year-old, going on 2, son can't seem to communicate and find the good in each other.
It's totally mutual, which leaves me feeling like a lousy mom.
Like I need to feel guilty on top of feeling mean and blue.
"Mean, Blue & Guilty". That's it. That's my slogan.
The other day, while I was complaining to God about my lot and how others don't seem to get it (I do this often, I have become fearless about my complaints, I've tried to be polite about it, but I have given up on that and now believe that God prefers me angry at Him rather than me giving up on Him) I came up with a thought (a similie really and I like to think it was inspired by the Holy Spirit) that somehow comforted me in all it's pointlessness.
When I'm blue, mean and guilty I have a hard time filtering out other people's problems as their honest-perceived problems. So when other moms complain about anything, I think to myself "You, my friend, are hiking Mount Elbert, while I - I am climbing Mount Everest and I'm doing it without oxygen, so keep talking I'm all ears and filled to brim with compassion."
Mount Elbert, by the way is the highest mountain in Colorado (14,440 feet) and the reason I picked it, is because I climbed it - twice - with no oxygen, none I had to carry anyways.
It's not an easy hike, but with a day's provision, some good sturdy shoes, a map, rain gear and some determination it can be done and it leaves you with a sense of accomplishment along the way and definitely when you get back home.
Mount Everest, on the other hand (and I've only read this, no first-hand experience here) is a treachourous, scary climb that leaves you feeling sapped and gasping for air at 29,035 feet - and that's only at the halfway point. It requires tons of serious gear, years of preparation, inhumanely strong sherpas, yaks, ladders, tents, teams and logistical geniuses to do at all - and even with all that, some never get to the top and some never come back at all.
That's the trek I have ahead of me parent-ially speaking.
I have to work twice as hard for one-hundreth of your results. I have to endure one Autism professional's pointless prattle and beg another reluctant one to tell me what I can't seem to learn on my own. I'm embarrassed by our short-comings, feel guilty about feeling embarrassed and am no longer willing to leave Gus in the care of anyone other than good friends or family, because I no longer want to try to explain him to someone who doesn't care. I rely on therapists' advise that will either kill me with inconclusiveness or push me one painful step father up the hill -and that's the best-case scenario. I gasp a lot. I feel powerless and tired and emotionally wrought-out and I'm neither looking forward to get to the top nor back home.
I do it, because the mountain is there, as Sir Edmund Hillary, Mount Everest pioneer, so dryly put it. And - quite likely - for bragging rights, since I rarely get to brag otherwise.
But please tell me all about how hard your life is. I'm listening...in my mind though, I picture you jauntily stepping out in a flower-covered meadow, while I'm holding on by my frozen fingers for dear life over some deathly-bluish crevasse...
Like I said, it's a completely pointless similie. Not even remotely fair. I know people's problems are real problems and they aren't telling them to me so that I can belittle them. And I don't want people to stop sharing their problems with me either, but somehow when I'm blue, mean and guilty it makes me feel better.
My mothering is the Mount Everest to your ...fill in whatever mountain you have climbed...mothering.
Not catchy, I admit. But it puts things in perspective for me.
Perspective is hard for me - when I'm mean, blue and guilty.

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