Roll With The Punches (and Kicks, and Bites)
We have been having so many great improvements over the last few months. After attending AutismOne in Chicago this past May we decided to implement some things we learned about while there. If you haven’t attended AutismOne before I highly recommend it. Not only are there great and informative lectures, but you get to meet a ton of really amazing people just like yourself. I made some lasting friendships while there this year and can’t wait to get back in 2013.
But along with these improvements we have been seeing some anger reemerge. Matthew seems to be swinging on an emotional pendulum. I think that it may be that he is actually going through a real awakening emotionally, but with his limited previous experiences, I think these emotions are overwhelming to him. I believe he is still learning how to control these feelings that he should have learned about at a younger age, and since he is now older these experiences are more confusing to him. Matthew tends to strike out when he is angry so once again I am getting hit, kicked and yelled out. Interestingly, the things that hurt the most are his hateful words. The kicks I can deal with, but after 7 years of dealing with all autism throws at me, I’ m finding that I am emotionally drained and those words cut deep. He always apologizes afterward, but the damage is done. I feel like those bites and scratches he used to mar my skin with years ago are replaced with cuts from his razor sharp tongue.
So now, once again, I am learning how to deal with the new emotional stress that goes along with autism recovery. I have always said that I am not a patient person, and that every experience I have had in the past has been God’s way of teaching me that patience I sorely lack. I think this phase of recovery is yet another lesson for me. I have not been proud of my response to Matthew’s out lashings, but I have been studying my responses and looking to improve them. I guess that is the first step. I have this little trick I use, where I envision myself as Matthew and me as God. How would God behave if I was acting like Matthew? Then maybe I should act accordingly. It isn’t easy, but I am always trying to improve who I am. I can’t help my son improve if I can’t improve myself, right? I think so.
Autism recovery is hard. It is not only hard for the child, and it is not only hard to do, but it is hard on the family as a whole. I have heard my middle son complain about how Matthew will treat him; with anger or indifference. It is disturbing to me and I feel determined to change it. But I have to not only recover Matthew, but I have to recover the whole family. Please stay well, take care of yourself and help your family recover. And remember you are NOT alone. All of us at Generation Rescue are here. Contact us if you need too.
Guidance and support provided by Generation Rescue, call (866) 98-AUTISM or connect with a mentor.
About the Author
Maryann DellaRocco is the mother behind the blog Matthew’s Puzzle, which chronicles her journey into the world of autism and biomedical interventions. She is married and has three boys, her oldest is on the spectrum. Follow her on Twitter: @matthewspuzzle.