My Birthday Wish

Today is my birthday. I have always loved birthdays – mine and other peoples. I love celebrating a day that is unique to an individual. I’ve even been known to declare “birthday month” or “birthday week” as justification for doing something special ahead of an actual birthday. 

This year my birthday kind of snuck up on me. We’ve been using so much energy just getting from day to day that I rarely look ahead these days. But here it is. 

It also happens to be a student free day in our school district. So we’ve taken the day off and we’re heading to Universal Studios to check out the new Harry Potter world. Harry Potter is one of our son’s all time favorites – he read all 7 books in the summer of 2014, has seen all of the movies and re-read all of the books. This is a big deal for him.

He’s excited this morning. But he’s also incredibly anxious about the anticipated crowds of people, and noises and smells. He’s also saying he didn’t sleep well last night so on top of everything else he’s tired. This may not be the best idea we’ve ever had. 

My birthday wish is that my son is able to enjoy this day and that as a result the family is able to enjoy the day together. 

Cheers!

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That memory popped up in my personal Facebook feed this morning…

The therapist I referred to in this post a year ago was the brilliant speech language pathologist, who spent the next 9 months doing amazing work to close Owen’s expressive language deficit. She’s also the one who referred us to our current psychologist, who in turn referred us the psychiatrist that finally gave us a solid diagnosis yesterday. So apparently that celebratory treat was truly a celebration of the first step down the right path.

 Hope (& Prozac) for the Journey

Last Thursday, we were here. And we were scared and lost and looking for even a glimmer of hope.

Today, my husband and I were back at the psychiatrist’s office to discuss his thoughts on diagnosis and treatment. We didn’t actually find out anything we hadn’t already been told or suspected. His diagnosis was confirmation of autism spectrum disorder level 1 and generalized anxiety disorder. He also added the “sub” diagnosis of panic disorder, said he will also be evaluating for depression as we move forward and pointed out that all of the above is exacerbated by our son’s high intellect.

So we have a confirmed diagnosis, we have a treatment plan, and we have a treatment team who we FINALLY feel understand exactly what our son and our family struggle through. We have hope.

We have hope, and we have a prescription for prozac. We have hope and we have the words to explain to our son what is happening inside his brain and body. 

As I was waiting at the pharmacy for the prescription, I was texting with somebody who had asked me to let him know the outcome of the appointment. In one of those texts I said that I felt like I had finally exhaled for the fist time in weeks. There is great relief in being able to name what he is experiencing. 

So I’ve exhaled. My husband and I have hugged each other tight. Tonight we’ll give our son the words to name his struggles and tomorrow we’ll open the bottle of Prozac. 

Awkward Waiting Room Moments

 

WaitingRoomHeroThe waiting room at my son’s psychologist was particularly full this afternoon. I don’t tend to feel like chatting (hello introvert) while I am waiting for his appointment to be over, so while I was aware that several people had come in while we sat there I didn’t actually make eye contact with any of them.

When my son came out of his appointment I heard a woman say “I thought I knew you.” I looked up, made eye contact and saw the mother of a boy my son used to play baseball with. And so I said hello. But then there was awkward silence as we both realized the therapist’s waiting room is an uncomfortable place for a “how’ve you been and how are the kids” sort of conversation.

That First Step is Steep

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It’s been a little over 24 hours since I took a took that first step of faith and hit publish on the Facebook page that made this blog public to my family, friends, and the world. In that time almost 1500 people have read my thoughts and taken a peek inside our journey. Even more important to me, in that same time I have heard from dozens of friends and loved ones who have offered us the most amazing words of comfort, love, and support.

It’s been a little over 24 hours since I took that first step faith to take our journey public, but that was after 18 months of being mostly silent, 3 weeks of thinking about starting the blog, and another 2 weeks of working on the blog before I was brave enough to put it all out in the world.

It’s been a little over 24 hours since I took that first step of faith, and am feeling blessed, relieved, and surrounded in love. I took that first terrifying step, and found that was waiting for me was the most amazing safety net of friends and family surrounding us in their love.

“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” ~ Martin Luther King

Thank you for taking that first step with me.

 

This Week’s Mantra

It’s Monday morning. I’m up and moving – and I’d rather not be. Before I even opened my eyes my mind was racing – reviewing the weekend (and trying to figure out what we could have done differently a dozen different times my son was challenged or challenging) and scanning the week ahead for potential pitfalls or obstacles. Not the most pleasant thoughts first thing in the morning. 

And then our geriatric cat climbed up on me for her morning cuddle. Stopping to pet her, stopped my brain long enough to take a deep breath and get my bearings. By the time I got out of bed, I was telling myself “I can do this.” It won’t be an easy week, but I can do this. You can do this. We all can do this. 

The Lie I Told Today

This is the lie I told this morning at church…

In response to the question “How are you today?” – my answer was “fine, thank you.” Or some version of that several dozen times as I greeted different people. I smiled and lied to each of them.

The honest answer would have been…

“I’m exhausted and worried. My son is retreating further into himself every day, and I feel like he is taking us all with him as we try to figure out how to help him. It took every ounce of strength I had just to get myself here.”

But that honest answer is probably more than most people want to hear. And it is also more than I tend to want most people to know. I am an introvert and self-sufficient. I am slow to let people in, and even slower to ask for or accept help. I have worried that telling the messy truth will elicit one of two responses from people – either running away as fast as they can, or inviting themselves in with offers of help and support. Neither scenario is particularly appealing. As much as that is true, it is also true that continuing to tell people that everything is “fine” is not sustainable.

So this blog is where I can shout “I AM NOT FINE. WE ARE NOT FINE. WE ARE ALL A LITTLE BROKEN!” It is a safe way for this introvert to reach out into the world and to let people in. It is where I can acknowledge that in order to have the strength and energy to get my son the help he needs and the healing my entire family needs, I need to be willing to ask for and accept some help.

For those of you who know our family in “real life”, the truth is we are struggling each and every day. Struggling to help our son, while keeping things as “normal” as possible for our daughter. Struggling to make the time and space needed for our kids, while also being good partners to each other and  daughter/son/brother/sister/friend/employee/boss to so many other people. We are not fine. We are struggling and we are broken, but we are fighting. We aren’t entirely sure at this point what our son is battling against, but we are close to having some answers and we know there is a long, hard battle ahead for all of us. We know we need our personal village. We know that we have so often in the past been the ones to offer support, and now we need to be willing accept some support.

For those of you who have come across this blog, but don’t know us in “real life”, the truth is we are struggling each and every day and we know we aren’t alone. Whatever your personal battle may be, I hope that following along on our journey will give you comfort. I hope that you will find the strength to reach out to your own personal village and accept the grace they may offer to you.