Still Treading…Barely

by Mel

So I’ve been pretty overwhelmed with dealing with The Boy lately. I have been so torn, balancing my need to write my thoughts about it, and respecting his right to go through his struggles privately. Some days the hurdles seem so great…the obstacles insurmountable, that I want simply to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head. I get the impression that he sometimes feels the same. Although we have had these challenges all along, the diagnosis…the words Asperger’s….Autism…are still new. In some moments I feel relief. Relief that we have finally gotten the proper diagnosis – a name for the dragon we have been battling for so long. Come face to face with the enemy. Only to have to come to terms with the fact that it isn’t really an enemy after all. It is The Boy himself. If the Asperger’s were to disappear tomorrow, The Boy as I know him would disappear along with it. The pervasive in Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Asperger’s Syndrome is not something The Boy has…it is a part of who he is.

But strangely, even after dealing with these issues for years, upon diagnosis, I find myself moving through the various stages of grief. I seemed to skim right through denial. We have been through too much to even entertain that. Now I spend my time bouncing around between anger, bargaining, and acceptance, at a frenetic pace at times…like a pinball. I see acceptance on the horizon, then a neighbor talks excitedly about signing his son up for football…and PING! I am angry once again. I don’t want to stay there, but I get the feeling that I must let it work through. I must allow myself that anger to move on fully to acceptance. But it is tiring being angry, and I don’t have that energy to spare. I need every bit of that energy to keep myself afloat….and to hold The Boy’s head above water. And so everyday I tread water in this way. And when I am angry, or lose focus, we slip under…and it is quiet, still for a moment. Then the flailing begins and we struggle back to the surface gasping for air and continue the paddling. But there are days that we don’t just tread water. Something clicks and we swim forward together with long, reaching strokes. I live for those days. They give me the strength to keep treading, glancing back over my shoulder at the distance we were able to travel.

We haven’t had one of those days in awhile, it seems, and I feel like I am failing. Spiraling down and pulling The Boy with me. I can’t get into a groove with homeschooling. His schedule goes wacky. I am not sleeping. He is not sleeping. If I could…just…get…back…in …..control. I am his mother, his teacher, his example, his mentor, his confidant, his life preserver. If I can’t stay afloat, how can he? But sometimes I just can’t do it. I just can’t. And I am ashamed of myself for not being able to pull it together. And I scold myself and demand perfection…or maybe just improvement. Something. Anything. And eventually, I pull out of it and refocus and the cycle begins again.

Right now I am exhausted…and waiting…please let me find the strength to begin again.