Autism is usually synonymous with depression… whether it be the person with Autism feeling depression due to their inability to be a ‘normal’ part of society and have friends or if it’s a parent (family member) that has to deal with the financial burden, lack of sleep, stresses of parenting and so on and so forth, not to mention feeling terrible should their child also be depressed.
Not to throw more fuel onto the fire, you also have those who feel violated due to losing their child at some point due to regressive Autism, where their child was developing perfectly well and then, for what ever reason, their child regressed back to a non-speaking, diaper wearing toddler the size of a 3 year old.
The question is, how do you stay positive with all of this going against you? How do you keep a cheerful disposition and go on laughing with friends and encouraging others to be happy as well?
Sadly, I have no miracle cure answer for you. If I did, I’d be rich and this blog would be full of ads selling it to you.
No, there is no miracle answer that will just make you happy because even if there was, all those things would still exist and you’d just fall back into being miserable the moment you stopped using it.
Instead, what I can offer to you is a change of perspective. A way of looking at the positive instead of the negative.
Your child was not ripped away, your child is still there. And your child is still beautiful and amazing and fighting just as hard as you, maybe even harder.. it’s just not evident. Your child is an inspiration whether they can draw Rome from memory, play piano without lessons, recite Pi to 20,000+ places or if they’re just starting to say their first words at 10 years of age.
Dealing with the world is hard enough, doing it with Autism is near impossible but they’re doing their best and in a way, the ones that aren’t savants are far more inspirational than those that are.
They are doing their best and they are doing well and it’s all because of you!
Financial burdens are everywhere, not just with parents of children with Autism. Imagine if your child was actually dying and you had to get a 2nd or 3rd mortgage only to lose the battle anyway… it happens… every single day. And those people, while sad, are happy that they did all they could and gave their child a good life while they had it.
Self pity is a very derogatory term these days, it is something that people tell you is never any good. It has it’s purpose, it’s not a bad thing… unless you let it consume you. You need to feel it but you need to move forward.
Your child was never lost to you, your child is right there with you, verbal or not, toilet trained or not, savant or not… they love you, they need you, they want you.
If all you can do is focus on the misery, the depression, the anger… then perhaps you didn’t lose your child, perhaps your child lost you.
Your child, no matter how many meltdowns or tantrums or hateful things they may say… they would never want you to be consumed by depression or hate. They would never want you to stop being happy, even if they think they can never feel that for themselves.
The biggest disservice you could ever do your child is to lose the love. Not just the love for them, but for your fellow man, for your fellow parent who is going through the same thing, maybe even far worse off than yourself.
Stand up, wear that smile as you count your blessings and share it with those that need it just as much or more than you do.
Happiness is contagious, but so is sadness… so is hate. Which does your child wish to share with the world? Which does your child want you to share with the world?
I hope one day my son will be proud of me for always doing my best to be happy, to make others happy and doing my best to make sure he is happy as well.