Today I have to find mental strength. It seems so hard to do the past few months as I find myself sinking into some emotional pit of doom, unable to find even enough strength to do the required tasks of the day. However, this is also a required task, and one of great importance. But, it doesn't make it any easier to gear up for.
My son has been hospitalized in a psychiatric center for issues he is unable to control due to his autism. He is no longer functioning in our world as his fear and struggles prevent him from managing on a day to day basis. And it sounds like he's pulling mama along for the ride, as I am having the exact same issues, without the aggression and violence.
This afternoon we head once again for another meeting with his psychologist, our psychologist, to discuss the ups and downs of our life as a family with autism. The ups come fewer and further between than the downs, and the worry from this has taken the livelihood from my eyes and replaced it with someone I don't even know. I look at myself and wonder where the spirited, passionate mother and woman of long ago has gone. What I see scares me. I do not wish to be the woman behind those eyes. She looks back with a defeated blank stare on her face. She is not alive. She cannot find happiness.
This is the second round of psychiatric hospitals for our family. I have major doubts about what they can do to help. All the time and energy and focus put into helping my child, and I really don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can't fathom finding help for this child whom owns my heart as I think about his thoughts and actions and his manner of living. And yet, something in me won't give up, won't quit searching, won't quit trying. He deserves my full attention, my every breath to get him to a place of happiness and success in whatever his path through life takes. He deserves my undying commitment.
But what he can't take from me, I have learned, is my own happiness and success. He can't grab onto the gleam of pride and strength in my eyes and turn it into the woman I have allowed myself to become. He can't take away my own life. I have allowed that to happen through fault of my own, given in to the power it has over me, this autism thing. I have allowed it to suffocate me. I haven't been strong enough to overcome the pain and hurt and fear and worry and sadness. This isn't about him, but about me. This is me living with autism. Not autism in my own head, but the outward effects of having an autistic child. I am at a place where I am no longer willing to give it the power I have in the past. I want to stand with pride, find the twinkle of expression in my eyes, be one step above this living with autism thing.
Today I will go to the psychiatric hospital where my son is being kept for the coming 9 weeks. I will go and tell them how autism is affecting me, my marriage, my family. I will tell our psychologist what I need to beat autism, what I need to do to find my sanity and regain my lust for life. I will tell her I want my husband to see the life in my eyes, be able to laugh with me again. I will tell her that I want to be the best mother I can be for my little guy, to have energy to play. That I want to do everything within my power to help my son find his place in life, but not give up myself in the process. I will tell her all of this, and ask her opinion on what i need to do to achieve it.
I need mental strength. I need to be alive. I need to live, not with autism, but above it.