Is it possible to describe the great amount of stress that autism places on a family? Each family member attributes a facet of that stress, and as a whole its sometimes impossible to cut even with the sharpest of knife. We are a family of autism. And though our outer cover is that of a perfect family, the stress hiding just under the surface is enough to blow away the force of the greatest hurricane. Sometimes it surfaces.
How can a marriage survive the stress of living with autism? How can each parent bring their ideas and beliefs to the table and allow those to mesh together into one coherent idea? Because as much as a marriage should be strong enough to survive anything, autism sometimes takes a bit bite and spits out the pieces along the way. Two people can be deeply in love, sharing a true commitment to each other and their family, and it is sometimes still not enough. Those moments of fighting for a sense of normalcy, for trying to make it through another bout of autism at its finest, is sometimes just too much. Love can conquer all, I was once told, and even believed. But now that I have lived both sides, love can remain and build and join and deepen, but it can't conquer the fight of autism, the stress of being a member of an autistic family. The mariage suffers. The relationship, still filled with love, loses strength, the fight too much for already weary people to continue the hard work involved. You try to show your interst, to awaken passion, to give of yourself as a partner in life, but all this was stripped away with the last bout of fighting against the stress of autism. What is left to prove your involvement in this marriage?
A sibling, unable to understand what this stress means, how it works against this familial bond. How do I contribute? How can I gain from this ádventure'? When will I be old enough to escape? Who can I trust? Where is my security? Why is everything always about autism? About working around his needs? What about my needs? I love him, but I also hate him. Autism is so confusing. And there he goes again, another fit of anger...more stress...mom and dad fighting...where can I hide? Or should I just act naughty to try to make the anger go away...make them focus on something else?
Autism carried through this individual. Too much happening, too much going on. I can't understand what they want from me. Why are they getting louder? What did I do wrong? Now I am angry...I can't cope. I scream, I hit, I curse. Now they are mad. I know they are mad. They are coming at me. It looks like a storm cloud, coming into my existence. I want it to go away. Maybe if I hit and kick it will go away. It hurts. I have autism. Only my own scream can block out the pain of theirs. They don't understand me. They don't get it. They can't help me.
A Family of Autism. A family of stress. No place to turn. No single escape.