I am overwhelmed.
I talked with Anna’s class this morning while she was out of the room. Her teacher offered me a chance to do it or the school counselor could’ve come in, but we thought I might offer a more personal touch. I was really nervous and not quite sure which approach I should take. My exceptional women friends that meet once a year for a retreat (moms I met on iVillage when Anna was a baby and they all have children with special needs) made some great suggestions about how to talk to the kids. (Thank you so much, ladies! You have no idea how much you helped and how I felt your support while I was there today.) I made it very Anna-centered instead of talking about just autism and how Anna is different.
I discussed autism, the five senses, how she was born with it, how it affects her. I talked about the things that Anna loves (SpongeBob, AFV, sports, frogs, baby dolls), things that scare her, things that are easy for her, and things that are hard for her. I focused on how she is the same as them. I talked about how Anna (with more emphasis on Anna’s brain) reacts to stress and fear. The kids had TONS of questions. I was there for 45 minutes. I ended the session with asking them to share some things they really like about her and how they could be a good friend to her. I think it went pretty well. They are having a hard time understanding why Anna wants to leave class and come home, why she asks the same things over and over, why she pushes/shoves/hits, why she wants a wheelchair so bad, and why she refuses to work.
I told them we are having a hard time understanding too.
Things have really changed this last week. It’s tough to realize when you are in crisis mode with your child, how much it consumes you. All of a sudden, your reality is completely different (again) and when you stop to take a breath, you realize that this is really hard and it really sucks. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in Anna’s head right now. I can’t imagine that she can find any kind of equilibrium. Just when I think I have a handle on how to be her mom, something changes, and I really question my ability to parent her well.
There are days when it feels like I’m juggling so much, I don’t know if I can keep all these balls in the air. Between Dominic’s challenges (setting up OT appointments and arranging changes in his classroom), Jenny’s senior year stuff (I think I’m supposed to meet with her counselor Friday to talk about college planning and applications?), my appointments (did I tell you I found a lump in my breast? I’m seeing my GP tomorrow), Charlie the puppy (he starts intermediate obedience class Saturday), being the SEPAC representative for our campus (I’m supposed to volunteer Saturday for a parent summit and be in a mock ARD), and Anna (the list is too long), and all the regular crap (I bought a laptop three weeks ago that I can’t get calibrated properly and have spent hours and hours on the phone with customer service, now I have to prepare to send it in for repair)… I’m so overwhelmed. I know what I need to do… take one day at a time, one task at a time… but actually doing this without this internal churning in my head and heart… well, I’m a little lost in it all right now.
Writing does help me. Sharing helps me. Making siggies and such really helps me. So I thought I would put this all out there and maybe get it out of my head. Sorry for the vomit of overwhelms… I appreciate you reading all of that, lol!
I just don’t know how to help her or what to do, and that is just so very sad for me as a mom. I talked with Anna’s neuro yesterday and tonight we are starting her on Klonopin for anxiety. She historically hasn’t reacted well to most medicines so we are nervous. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will help her and that she can start to manage and cope again. As I was leaving the school, one of the teachers said that she was worried about Anna… yesterday she was in Anna’s class (the administration now has Anna supervised 100% of the time since she is such a flight risk right now) and said that in a split second of distraction, Anna was out the door. I just wish I knew what’s going on in that cute, little confused brain of hers.