The autism glass of water, is it half full or half empty?

This awesome illustration crossed my Facebook timeline today and I just knew that I had to use it. I’ve been struggling with a post all morning about this very thing and sometimes finding the words to make a point can be much more difficult than you’d think.

Anyway, the illustration, please read:

The autism glass of water, half full or half empty?A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”
It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night.
Remember to put the glass down!

I have been reading posts recently on blogs and on Facebook where people are tired. For what ever reason, they’re tired and don’t have much energy to go forward.

For some, it’s that they are tired of the constant IEP battles. For some, it’s that their child is sick that week-end. For some, it’s the years of almost seemingly lack of development from their “severe end of the spectrum” child and the constant care they require. For some, it’s the haters or arguers that seem to find their blogs or Facebook pages.

At first, these people managed quite fine. Ignored the haters, found more resources, got better advice… they kept pushing forward.

But over time, they’ve stopped blogging. They’ve stopped trying the new treatments. They’ve stopped asking for help.

And it’s because they’re tired. Rightfully so.

When I write, as do many, we ask for these people (and all people) to think of their glass as half full. To look at the positives. To ignore the negatives. As I write, I try my utmost to find the positives everywhere, even if what I’m writing about has a darker, more serious and even negative tone to it.

But the truth is, whether your glass is half full or half empty, that glass begins to become very heavy over time.

You need respite. Not necessarily the kind you just imagined when you read that word but you do need rest. You need to put the glass down. Even if you put it down for 5 minutes every hour, you’ll find that you will have the strength to hold it for the next hour much more easily.

Whether that means taking a break from blogging, Facebook, having a night out without the kids once in a while… what ever it is that gives you the opportunity to put the glass down. Ideally, you should be getting a good night sleep (how ever many hours that can be for you) and waking up with all the stresses of the previous day behind you.

What I’m saying is, positive or negative, good or bad… stop thinking about how it may affect you over time and recognize that it does. It really does.

And it’s not giving up to take a break. It’s not admitting that you can’t do it, to take a break.

If you do… when you do… you’ll find new energy, a new perspective and extra strength to pick the glass back up and carry on, should you choose to. For example, blogging or Facebook. Some people feel so much stress lifted that they never do return to it and that’s ok too.

Remember, it’s not the weight of the stress but for how long you carry it.

Don’t give up. Just remember to put the glass down.

 

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of http://www.stuartduncan.name. My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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11 Responses to The autism glass of water, is it half full or half empty?

  1. Derek C February 13, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    Another great post. This one (like the rest of yours) will be shared.
    It should also be noted that half full or half empty really means, ‘room for vodka’.

  2. Flannery February 13, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    I like Derek.

  3. thestatuswoe February 13, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    Yes! Everyone has a class that is damn heavy lately! Chin up brothers and sisters. You have a big *boob squishing* hug coming from me.

  4. Stuart Duncan February 13, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    Vodka and boobie squishing hugs… this was clearly my best blog post ever.

  5. jillsmo February 13, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    Damn, Stuart, you’ve really been knocking them out of the park lately. And always. Did I say lately? I’m so tired…..

  6. Tara (nerdgirlmom) February 13, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    I followed jillsmo here. While she is having her lawyer draw up the restraining order, I will leave me comment about how amazing I think this post is. I look forward to reading more!

  7. jillsmo February 14, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    I have returned to re-emphasize how much I love this post

  8. Eugenia February 14, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    A timely reminder for a mom with two SN kids. Thank you. πŸ™‚

  9. Katrina Moody February 15, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Wow Stuart – how did you get in my head? I *am* tired. Always, constantly, overwhelmingly sometimes, tired. My blogging has been sporadic at best the last couple months as we dealt with way too much illness and I shuddered at the thought of writing anything. It’s so easy to keep fighting, to keep hoping, keep pushing, keep dreaming, and forget that we’re only human and we *will* get tired. Not because we’re weak, or because there’s anything inherently wrong with us, but because the stress we deal with, day in and day out, is exhausting and all-encompassing. Holding that cup of stress day in and day out for years on end gets tiring. It’s nice to admit it without feeling like a failure. I think I really kind of needed to read this today Stuart – thanks! (maybe I’ll actually write a post up about this idea – it seems to me that there are many parents out there feeling similarly – I’ve seen so many of the same messages you have over Facebook and other social media). {{hugs}}

  10. Ajmal February 16, 2013 at 6:37 am #

    Original Post: https://www.facebook.com/ScienceIsMadness

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