I was prepared, plans had been made, set up with consultation, but many of them are falling apart around me.
I dumped some of my worries in the virtual lap of a couple of friends, which was very wrong, especially as they have enough serious problems in their lives already. I hope they will forgive me. I even took drastic action to prevent myself from being tempted to do that again.
People are being very sympathetic about the problems that they recognise: like Angel going abroad for a job interview, and I haven't even mentioned the ones she's done on Skype. I'd say that she will be clocking up the airmails before this year is over. In a good way too, as I'm sure that she will be home to visit us. I'm not afraid of losing her: the close bond we had from the moment I saw her little shock of black hair only wavered for a few months during the teenage years, and now it is as strong as ever. I will cope.
Being Smiley's Mum is rewarding, but also tiring and time consuming and relentless as she can do very little for herself without support, and she wants lots of entertainment and the State demands that I spend vast amounts of time filling in forms in order to get her the additional support that she needs. And right now I'm in the middle of a major campaign to get good adult services for her and for other school leavers. Perhaps it's more stressful than I realise.
Perhaps it was always going to take just one more thing to tip me over the edge this summer.
Sadly that thing seems to be autism.
Before you condemn me, can I just say that I know it's not my son's fault that he has autism. I know that most of the time he cannot help the way he behaves. I know that if he had been correctly diagnosed at a younger age, then his life might be so much better now. I know that other autism parents have to handle and overcome much more challenging behaviour every day.
But what I have to handle can be too much for me.
On bad days that makes me feel like a substandard parent and a failed human being.
On really bad days I lose the plot completely.
I am begging for additional help, but the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly. And when I do find help, it often gets pushed away again. I'm taking my medication, I'm eating healthily, running a couple of times a week and doing some exercise every day, I usually get a reasonable amount of sleep and I take time for myself. I've even got some good news that I will share on reasons to be cheerful tomorrow. But sometimes it's not enough. This week was one of those weeks.
Do you really want to know what happens? Apparently you do.
So far this week I...
- Ran away again (mentally checking that my eldest was in the house first).
- Stabbed myself in the hand.
- Hit myself repeatedly.
- Had my first ever real panic attack when I couldn't breathe.
All this to calm myself down so I can keep going. Because isn't that all I have to do?
But surely it's not just me...