Autism

The Big Reveal, Part 1

I’m sort of “new-ish” to blogging.

I say “new-ish”, because I used to have a blog when I ran my own business, but I’m finding out the Blogging World changed quite a bit when I was “on sabbatical”.  It seems everyone is about “monetizing” their blog; in other words, making money from their writing…turning it into a “cash cow”.  This has set me back some as I try to establish what I want to achieve here.

Please don’t get me wrong!  I am all about loving your work and making your passions be your career, but I didn’t re-start my blog to make money.  I started this blog to talk to everyone, or no one, or just myself about what brought me to this particular place in life.

So–in case you missed it–here is “my story” up until now in a nutshell:

Successful woman in her 30’s wakes up one day and finds out she can no longer live the life she created as an executive in a local company.  One day, when her new boss–who seems hellbent on destroying her– pushes her a little too hard, she cracks.  Into a million pieces.  She just couldn’t  “pull it together” anymore.  And, strangely enough, she doesn’t want to.  She has a weird life changing experience that affirms she can no longer continue faking everything.  And, to make things interesting, a few weeks later she finds out she is pregnant with her first child.  

She spends her pregnancy trying to figure out what went wrong and coming to the realization that her dysfunctional husband has become severely addicted to several substances and has no interest in changing himself.  After several scary episodes with her druggy husband, she realizes she must toss him out to save herself and her infant son.  Of course, the husband does not go willingly or without causing some major financial and emotional troubles.  

The woman spends nearly ten years of extreme lows (and a few highs) trying to reinvent her life, because she can’t go back to the old life.  By the age of 2, her son is diagnosed with autism.  So now she has to figure out how to take care of her autistic son, how to survive on her own, and how to figure out why this happened to her.  Along the way, she finds out she, herself, has been living with Asperger’s all her life, which only adds to the “hot mess” that her life has become.

Seriously…how do you “monetize” that?  How do I even blog about it?  I literally lived 80% of my life not knowing what autism was, and now I’m finding myself looking backwards and forwards at once; examining my past through this lens called Asperger’s so that I can figure out how to make my son’s future better than I had it.

When you spend almost 40 years not knowing you have a disorder, it can be a weird experience when you suddenly find out that you now have a reason WHY you do or say things.  Yes, I know, the horrific stuff should have been a clue…a BIG clue…a recurring clue.  But, most of the time, I just didn’t understand what I did to mess something up. To keep my sanity, I told myself I was good at some things and bad at other things, just like everyone else; I never claimed perfection.  Sure, I had some pretty remarkable gifts, but they got balanced out by my inability to relate to people.

How did I make it through college?

How did I land an awesome job, travel, develop some amazing talents and hobbies?

How did I survive all those horrific relationships and experiences?

-To Be Continued-

Autism

“Everything’s Broken”

This morning, as we were waiting for the school bus, Master Owen (MO) was looking sullen.  He does not like school, so this was not an unusual look for him at that hour, but it “felt” different to me.  Flipping through some conversation ideas, I started asking him questions about his upcoming birthday.  He is turning 10–double digits!–next week and I’ve been trying to come up with a plan for celebrating, which has been difficult due to his dislike of typical birthday celebrations (more on that another time).

Head hanging low, he barely replied to my question.  Something, indeed, was bothering him, so I tried to look busy while he figured out what he wanted to say.  I’m glad I did.  Eventually MO said: “I hate my life”.  Instead of negating his feelings, I inquired about why he felt this way.  His response: “Everything’s broken.”

Why–you might ask–would I be happy to hear him say this?  For one, because MO is autistic, he usually has difficulty putting his feelings into words, but not this morning.  In addition, because I am an Aspie, I knew exactly what he was feeling and it is something I have struggled with all my life: change.

Well before I was diagnosed with Asperger’s, I recognized how much I disliked change.  I have always desired sameness in my life and any changes that took place set me back tremendously; some changes–even things that have taken place years ago–I still cannot accept.

Yes, I know, change is life, change is growth.  But there has always been something in my brain that wants to keep everything static.  I secretly desire to live in one of those Twilight Zone episodes, where the main character goes about their life exactly the same way every day.  I want to live in a little miniature train set town.  I want to know everything is where I left it.  I don’t want anyone to die or move away or become something other than the role that they have established in my life–teacher, parent, friend, lover.

If something changes, I perceive it as broken.  I want it to be “fixed” and I simply cannot accept it.  I obsess over the change and remind people of how it “used to be”.  It’s never the same.  Sameness is important to me, which is why I completely understand MO’s thought pattern:  life is full of broken things that we cannot put back together.

The Hilltop Steak House–where I once celebrated my marriage–has been leveled and I will never again see the cement cows grazing on the front lawn.  Drugs and alcohol have forever changed MO’s dad from the father he once perceived him to be.  No matter how hard we wish for it, neither MO or I will ever be able to bring my father or our beautiful, loving dog, the Queen Bea, back to us.  These things are broken and unfixable and, yes, it is depressing.  Seriously…how do “normal” people adjust?

In a tiny way I’m happy, because I now have someone who feels the same as I do. (LOL…feels “the same”!)   Change stinks.  It’s awful.  It creates in us such extreme anxiety for what once was.  Yes, change is going to happen, but I don’t have to accept it.

I’m sure there’s some lesson in all this….I’m just not sure what it is.  Until I find out, I will continue on with my anxiety…only now I have someone who completely understands how I’ve felt my entire life.