Friday, August 31, 2012

Autism, Up Close and Personal

I thought I had accepted my son's diagnosis of Autism.

Like, he's only been officially on the spectrum for five years now.  The best before date for grieving should have expired about four years ago, shouldn't it?

Would someone fill in the date already???

Then I weaned off my anti-depressants (I was very grown up and even consulted my GP, who woulda thunk it?) and discovered that grief was playing a very long, loooooong game of chess with me.
And I really, really hate chess.

I wrote a blog post during my phased withdrawal from my medication which I will never, ever, post.
Not unless I want my nearest and dearest to grab their nearest white coat, pin me down and inject me with happy juice.
I just went to a quiet hell, said "Hi" to the devil and got cosy with his dearest friends.

With much leaning on my husband's broad shoulders, I am mostly on the right side of Dante's Inferno, but I'm not so much taking taking each day as it comes, as each minute as it arises.
Sometimes it's just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other until the horrors pass.

My toasty new holiday home

Riding Autism bareback, without the cushion of serotonin boosters, has opened up a whole new delicious basket of nightmares.  Yum.
Looking at Autism dead in the eye, without soft focus or misty edges, is like looking at your reflection first thing in the morning, without the benefit of make-up or a comb.
It's not pretty, but it's real.

When the drugs were out, a tidal wave of pain, fear and powerlessness rushed in to fill the gap.

Will my son achieve his potential?
Who will love and cherish him when James and I are gone?
Will be left to fester in some hateful institution, being treated like an inmate in a prison?
Will I damage him permanently by inadvertently fucking something up now?
Will he be forgotten about, abused, neglected?

Pharmaceuticals may buffer the paralyzing fears, but I don't want to see Autism, or my son, down the lens of a long telescope.

Weirdly, there is a bright side of  psychological pain; the knowledge that I am engaging with reality, no matter how unpretty.

Protection from the fears that haunt our dreams is sometimes necessary to help us function through the darkness.  We have other people to care for and other responsibilities to shoulder, so often we have to shelve our grief until a later date, when we can give it our full attention (no matter how reluctantly).

Last week I started to see a therapist, which totally cracks me up.
The notion of a middle aged Irish woman in therapy is hilarious.
I'm in very real danger of  making her tea and inquiring if she's been to mass lately.
My big worry about seeing a counsellor was that I'd cry.  I mean, the embarrassment.
I needn't have worried, because before I even said "howya" the floodgates opened and I was a bulbous-nosed mess of snots and tears. It was like  admitting I like Jedward while baring my arse. Luckily, she was cool with that (the tears bit, obviously not with the Jedward bit), and even though it put the capital D into Difficult, it was a very healthy thing to do.

It's so good to know that the option of medication is there, but for the moment I'm going with poking my emotions with pointy sticks.
And I'm also safe in the knowledge that, having been in labour three times, good stuff comes after the pain.