Its been a while since my last blog post so I thought I would try to break my ‘blog block’. I also just realized that I recently passed my 1 year blogiversary so ‘yay me’. And finally, with Autism Awareness Month this month, I’m going to be posting whether I have anything to say or not—–just wanting to spread awareness.
The only thing that has been running through my mind lately is this concept of “inspiration”. I have been hearing how inspirational I am ever since my son was first diagnosed with autism, and I began opening up about my struggles. Friends from my past and present would send me private messages, or comment on my Facebook, telling me how strong I am and how inspirational I can be. At first, I thrived on these kind of comments and support. In fact, they probably kept me from becoming postal. I would usually cry reading them, and read them over and over again. Especially the ones about, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”. Or, “If anyone can do this, you can.” And my personal favorite, “God only gives special kids to special people.” At the time, these supportive words helped, and I felt like I needed that kind of reminder everyday. It was the fuel that kept me going.
Until one day I realized………………God does give you more than you can handle. And if God only gives autistic kids to special people, then I don’t want to be special. I want to be that non special person with a neurotypical child. What if I am not that strong person that everyone says I am? Everybody has so much faith in me, but I’m not sure I have the faith in myself anymore.
I remember that day of realization very clearly. It was after a hellacious night of no sleep, thanks to autism. My son was refusing to eat—ANYTHING (thanks again to autism). At that time, he also had another regression phase where he stopped talking almost completely, and would stim all day everyday, jumping up and down refusing to respond to anything. He would just stand at our large living room window and stare outside for hours. After 2 years of daily therapy, spending more than $200,000 out-of-pocket to try every “treatment” out there with little to no improvement, I wasn’t sure how much more a person could take. I began banging my head against the wall, literally. I felt so extremely helpless. Not suicidal, but definitely hopeless. After banging my head repeatedly on my bedroom wall, I collapsed on the floor, sobbing until I fell asleep.
When I woke up I began asking myself, ‘Is it inspirational to bang my head against a wall? Is it inspirational to feel utterly defeated, and to wish I didn’t have to be an autism mom? Is it inspirational to wish I had any other life than the life that I had been given? If God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, then why is he allowing these impossible obstacles that make you hurt so much you want to crawl in a hole forever and hide from the world?’
The word ‘inspirational’ to me is that woman who’s son is severely disabled from a tree falling on his head here in Georgia. That woman amazes me. She is so freakin positive, and is always helping out others. There’s a reason she has more than 1 million likes on her FB page. And then there is that guy on Dancing With The Stars that lost both his arm and his leg. The guy only has one arm and one leg and he is dancing!! WHAT!!!!!! Now THAT shit is inspirational. He was fighting for our country, got blown up, and has a smile that could light up an entire room. AND HE’S DANCING.
And then there’s me……….People are telling me I’m inspirational, why? Because I haven’t killed myself yet? Because if they were in the same situation they couldn’t handle it? Well, if you told me 3 years ago what my next 3 years were actually going to entail, and that I was still going to be alive and able to talk about it, I would probably call myself inspirational too. I would have never guessed that I could be this strong.
I guess I can classify myself into that ‘inspirational’ category because I was given a situation that most people don’t want, expect, or prepare for, and I make the best of it. (Try to on most days, anyway). Sometimes inspiration simply means accepting that you cannot control much of what happens around you, even when you are scared. I still have those days that I want to crawl in a hole and never come out, but I do come out, because what is the alternative? We always have choices, but the choice to give up on life, my son, or myself is not an option for me. And that, I guess, is what makes me inspirational after all.