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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How Autism can be like a bad relationship

I have a very close friend that is going through a divorce. It had been bad for a long time, interestingly one of the ways I knew how bad it had gotten was the fact that we stopped talking about the problems, arguments and cruel treatment she suffered almost everyday. This relationship had been dying for so long it had become a moot point to talk about it. I mean what could you say "yeah he verbally shit on me again today". So instead we talked about everything else.

In some ways I can drawl parallels between a bad relationship and living with Autism. I'm a stay at home, exclusively dealing with therapy, diet, research, doctors appointments, IEP meetings and all the other trappings of Autism. It can make my verbal range of topics a bit small. Day to day life involves cooking, cleaning and arranging therapy appointments and ferrying J to the appointments, all the while trying to give NT child his share of attention and love.

Hmmm, I think this is missing something.
Oh yeah live active cultures, the defining quality
of yogurt!

On top of being so busy J having Autism has changed me. It has greatly lessened my interests in prime time TV, the latest techno gadgets, fashion trends or celeb gossip. The whole lot of it seems like a stupid distraction designed to enslave us into buying garbage and filling our lives with it (really, you can't take it with you). Truthfully it holds no value for me, when your kid can't talk you have more important matters to deal with than Tommy and Katie's oh so riveting break up. I don't give a rats ass who won American idol this year or who the contestants on Dancing with the stars are. I now watch the commercials on Cartoon network aggravated by all the "yogurt" they advertise or the sugary cereals aimed at children that seems to be  pumped into their tiny brains from the moment they can focus their eyes on a moving target. I have in the last few years, seriously begun to wonder why Brangelina outings to the mall is news? Also don't these people deserve the basic human decency to go about their business without photographers capturing every split second unpleasant expression for it only to be used later with an out of context caption. You can't tell I've been harassed or stared at in public or anything.

I find it interesting that even other ASD mommies have this coping mechanism of treating Autism like a bad relationship. I have one mom on my friends list that posts pics of shoes, lingerie, various handsome male celebs, anything but Autism, her kids included. They just don't talk about Autism and what it does to their lives. I can honestly see why, it's a freaking downer! What can you say "so my kid literally shit on me, the walls, the floor, again today". People don't know how to respond and it pushes people away when you are the most desperate to have friends and family to divulge too. Its a tough situation, the all consuming drive to help your child balanced against your family and friends (not to mention your own) sanity.

wow, another shocking Autism statistic.
Color me unconcerned.

For me it is also about awareness, IMHO Autism is like smoking, it's a preventable epidemic that is spreading out of control. I saw this video this other day ( and one of the last statistics stated was that  if Autism rates continue to increase at their current rates 1 in 9 children will have Autism in ten years, OMFG! I've told this to a few people and gotten almost no emotional response, now that truly frightens me.

a regular Tues/Thurs customer.
I know J having Autism has made me a better human being. I understand so much more about my environment, food production, our immune system and how dysfunctional our medical system and government can be. I've also learned a lot about myself and who I'd like to become but that isn't exactly light dinner conversation. Speaking profound truth learned through heartbreaking lessons just isn't the "feel good comedy of the season". The hard truth is I'd love to be ignorant and talk about DWTS and eat at McDonald's on Tuesdays (kids meals 1.99 or so they frequently remind me via advertising to the poorest sectors of the population). I'd dump all that personal growth into the nearest non-recyclable trash can if it meant I could have my kid back!

Gee thanks for the downer this morning Aunt Mary!
I haven't even had my coffee yet :(

The whole thing makes me think of the people on my Facebook friends list. Everyone has a few friends that they have blocked their status updates either because they are uber religious and "love Jesus" several times a day (and want you to prove your devotion by joining them and "sharing") or because they frequently post pics of abused animals or children with Cancer/Progeria, etc, etc, etc. I know I've blocked a few. What I wonder is how many have blocked me?  I've been very blessed to be supported with J's Autism and our choices in regards to it, but I wonder how long can those around you not get sick of hearing about Autism when you are sick of living it.

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