Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Peace of Mind

It's hard to believe that summer is almost over, yet here we are. Tomorrow is Autumn's first day of kindergarten and my emotions are mixed. 

I know It's been way too long since I've posted an official blog post and I have my reasons and plenty of drafted posts that just never made the cut. 

However, I feel like it's time to write again and give an update on my semi-hiatus this summer as I'm finally coming out of this fog. 

Back in May, I started to become extremely overwhelmed with work, Autumn, family life, etc. Trying to find a balance with little support caught up on me that I had decided to take a hiatus from working in EI mainly to focus on my family and to build myself up again as I felt like I was becoming lost within my own grief and depression over life in general. 

I decided to seek out my own help and I'm glad I did. Therapy has been such a positive outlet for me. A place that I'm able to run ideas with another mental health professional. A place that my thoughts and feelings are safe to come out and play without the harsh judgments. 

It was there that I was able to see the light again and gain the strength that I needed for what's to come next. It's where I gained my peace of mind. It's where I poured my heart and soul out in regards to everything surrounding Autumn's Autism diagnosis and how I walked away feeling like the weight that was suffocating me was finally lifted.

I was grieving a loss that's hard to describe. I was grieving the "what could've beens" and the loss of things many special needs parents go through. In addition, I was also grieving the fact that there's a good chance that autumn may not have a sibling someday and the pain of that was so unbearable to me because I didn't plan it this way and felt for a long time that there must be something wrong with me because my husband has been indifferent here. 

I had a few good cries and have accepted things for what they are. In addition to gaining control over my emotions, I also have had to help my husband get out of his fog. 

With his consent and full permission, he's allowing me to share his struggle here as well. 

My husband Matthew has been battling his own demons for a long time. This summer was the tipping point. Due to an array of stress, he was on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. Thankfully, he asked for help and is currently seeking the help he needs to feel whole again. 

Matthew started his own therapy and during his sessions, an autism assessment for him was mentioned. When Matthew came home to talk about this, the lightbulbs started going off in my head like dynamite. 

I started to do some research on parents who get an autism diagnosis after their children and the tears started to flood. How did I never see this before? His difficulty with bonding with Autumn, his lack of desire in wanting another child, his sensory issues, his constant perseveration on topics, his splinter skills,
and his intense rigidness that almost caused him to crash this summer due to his work schedule changing by just one hour?!! It all made sense now. The more I researched, the more we talked, the more apparent that my husband met the criteria for being on the spectrum. 

When it came time for his assessment, he was diagnosed with what would've been Asperger's Syndrome. So mild autism according to the new DSM's standard. He came home that night and cried in my arms. It all made sense to him now. The years and constant struggles he's had socially and emotionally, the learning difficulties, the challenges he faced that was masked as ADHD or anxiety. It now had a name. (ADHD, anxiety, depression and sensory issues, etc., tend to co-occur with autism. I call them the wingmen of autism.)

With my husband's diagnosis came clarity. It gave both of us peace of mind and a plan. It helped me become more empathetic and understanding to his needs. I fell in love with him because of his quirkiness, the way he had trouble looking at me when we first met, his sensitivity, his extreme passion for music, etc. The list goes on and on. His autism just blended in within our relationship and became part of our norm. It wasn't until Autumn's autistic symptoms started to intensify, so did Matt's, and that's when he started to search for his own answers.

Overall, I fell in love with an Aspie and married one. We've created a beautiful life together and out of our love came Autumn. No matter how challenging it can be for me at times, I love my family and will do whatever it takes to be supportive towards them both as they are the two most important people within my life. 

This summer was spent caring for myself and realizing what truly matters in life. I had limited my social media interest and found myself enjoying small moments with Autumn and my family. I also spent much of my time helping my husband embrace his autism diagnosis and developing the coping skills he needs to face the world. 

Together, we've come a long way and are looking forward to new beginnings and to enjoying our favorite season of all. 



(That time I left the selfie stick in the car. Lubec 2016 Maine Vacation. We had such a lovely time.)