Friday, December 26, 2014

Bang your head, mental health will drive you mad

Someone please message me tomorrow to make sure I didn't do something stupid.

Yesterday was Christmas. We were awoken at 7AM to the sound of my daughter crying and my son headbanging in his room. My wife and I put the battleplan into action- I tended to my son, she tended to my daughter. I wiped his butt and changed his diaper. While my daughter was now laughing and kissing my wife, my son kicked me and threw himself down on the floor, screaming and crying.

Someone please message me tomorrow to make sure I didn't do something stupid.

8AM rolls around, and my son has plastered psoriasis cream all over his head. Bath time. I start up the water and tell him to get into the tub. He bangs his head on the wall and kicks me. Then hits me. Then kicks me again. I finally get him into the tub and wash the cream from his hair.

Someone please message me tomorrow to make sure I didn't do something stupid.

While parents were watching their kids laugh with glee at the arrival of the Lego set they desperately pleaded with Paul Blart, Mall Santa for, I watched my son start to move towards his bedroom, stop abruptly, and then move just as quickly towards my wife in order to rain blows upon her head. I was reclining in the easy chair at the time, so in the time it took me to get my fat ass out of that chair my wife took ten shots to the head. He was sent to his room. 9:30AM.

Someone please message me tomorrow to make sure I didn't do something stupid.

After my son administered my fourth beating of the day, I crashed into the recliner and wept hard. Is this life? Is this all that I have to look forward to? When will it be our turn to see our children enjoy Christmas morning, with the smiles and hugs that accompany such an event for families all over the country? Will it ever be our turn? Will this ever end? Or will the end only come when my son is sent to a group home, or I just die?

11AM.

Someone please message me tomorrow to make sure I didn't do something stupid.

"You need to get some help. You can't go on like this."

Well no shit, Sherlock. I'm not at the end of my rope, I'm hanging from a frayed loose end that is hanging from the end of the rope. I sat in my chair, and wept hard. What can I do? I can't go on like this... but I have to keep going on. I have no choice. There are waiting lists for group homes, and they barely move. To get an emergency exemption isn't as easy as saying "here, look at my bruises". There are forms, and committees, and assessments, and excuses. A group home isn't happening any time soon.

How about therapy? I am ahead of you on that one. I have been seeing a therapist for 9 years. She recently moved on, so I have been assigned to another therapist in the same organization. He already cancelled and rescheduled on me once. Not real excited about switching. Really not excited about seeing a guy.

"Sexist much?" Yeah, it sure looks that way. I will confess to you one thing that will either make me look sexist, or sensitive, or just a guy on the make. As a rule I prefer the company of women to men. I don't like talking to guys. Women tend to have more conversations of substance than men. The majority of my Twitter friends are women, women whom I refer to as my "Twitter sisters" because I feel that strongly about the relationships we have established. Canadian Mom, Tel Aviv Mom, Boston Mom, Washington Mom, Ciarra the UK Gamer, LL Cool Reverend whose state I can never remember, and others whose names I won't give but whose presence is just as strong. You read my last blog entry, did you not? (If you didn't, go do so.) When Eminem told me she had breast cancer it crushed me harder than it probably should have. But what can I say? These people mean a lot to me.

They probably mean more to me than they should, I realize that. They all have lives that include husbands and children with various special needs. (Except for one, who is autistic herself). When I have a crisis I can't expect anyone to drop whatever she or he is doing and dig me out of my latest hole. I need to take my medicine, and keep my psychiatrist appointments, and talk to my wife, and pray, and listen to AC/DC loudly.... And being a man, I usually can expect to hear "buck up and be a man!" from someone.

And all of these things I do. I pray... although usually much more for others than myself. I take my medicine, even when it seems to be doing no damn good. I even take extra when I think I should. Yeah, not cool. I keep the psychiatry appointments... which can only take place once a month, otherwise insurance won't cover them. I listen to AC/DC... oh hell yeah I listen to AC/DC, Back In Black is a rock classic. I talk to my wife...

Let's unpack that last one a little, shall we? I will try not to be crass, I will respect the privacy of our relationship, but I will be honest. You go into marriage with certain expectations and dare I say fantasies, and often those expectations are derailed. By the third year and/or the first kid there are no more long conversations about the meaning of love and life over wine and a nighttime fire; there is no hot romance three times a week, or once a week, or even once a month for that matter; special needs children relegate the weekly date night to the "Gee, remember when...?" file of our brains. I love my wife and I am devoted to her. We've been married for 16 years. But let's be honest, our relationship often takes the form of two people who can barely keep their heads above the water. Who can make time for... well, you know,.. when fighting for survival takes all the time and energy you have?

Someone please message me tomorrow to make sure I didn't do something stupid.

And so, Twitter sisters (who will likely be the only ones who read this), this is where my life is now. In order to survive somehow I have to admit honestly that I am no fatherhood superhero, I am often not a "great guy", I am not a traditional strong male, I hate that shit. I am a mess who is currently fighting for survival. This is where the life of an autism father has left me- proud of my children, fiercely protective of my children, loving my children with an incredible love that I never thought I was capable of... but dying on the vine at the same time.

So every once in awhile, could someone just message me to make sure I'm not doing something stupid? I promise, I won't become a life-draining leech. I also promise that when the tough time comes I will have your back.

OK?

3 Comments:

Blogger Uniting Autism said...

:-( Sounds like a crappy day that you unfortunately deal with all to often

3:24 PM  
Blogger Patty Moliterno said...

I understand, but I also hope for a better tomorrow. I believe in the power of our words. Your son is fearfully and wonderfully made. He is a child of the Most High God. God has a plan for his life (and for yours). Know that I pray for you daily!

4:21 PM  
Blogger Demi Akerewusi said...

It's ok. The shit days can seem should destroying not to mention utterly exhausting. This much I know, in the midst of all that is you. Do whatever you have to to get some sanity.

My daughter more than once has flooded the entire ground floor of our home. Inches high, did not have £1000 needed for a professional flood clearer. I ended up doing it myself. I was sick with exhaustion for days as I also have serious chronic conditions. It does get better but you have to take some sort of action and faith mine is jesus carries me. I can't do this on my own.

6:26 AM  

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