Thursday, October 24, 2013

Depression is a common co-morbid of ASD

Saw a psychiatrist today about my child's mental health. She is 6. This means somewhere along the line her life has become so disordered that cracks appeared in the wall of her mental stability.  In an attempt to hold it all together she shut down everything that was none essential - this including eating, talking, expressing her needs, toileting, getting dressed, leaving the house, loving and playing. The only thing that was left was an empty shell of child desperately trying to salvage herself by clinging onto these fragments.  The fragments held together were too small, too minute to keep out the emptiness which engulfed her and those around her. She is 6. She screamed and attacked us in an attempt to connect. Our burnt-out hearts felt stronger discipline was needed - we too started to cling to the cracks to hold the show together.  In the joint shadow of our emptiness we pushed her away, where she was further engulfed by the shadows. She is 6. Somewhere we have failed her. She is 6.

This is the thing - we have not failed her. She is 6 but she is overwhelmed and uncertain and depressed. These things have their own rhythm, depression grabs and claws to maintain it's hold and robs us in front of us.  We cannot help but fail her but at the same time we are supporting her as best we know.  Depression is a dark land, full of mirages to entice travellers to it's shores.  She is 6. She doesn't have a guide back. Neither do we. Together we must find one.

Mental health issues affect all, not just the person at the heart of it. Joins hands to lead from this dark place. Form families and communities to protect and cherish those most at risk. Love.  She is 6, may her life be loved, cherished and blessed.

"May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness,

May all beings be free from suffering and causes of suffering

May all beings have the happiness that is beyond suffering

May all beings be free from anger,.attachment, and aversion"

Buddhist Prayer, The Four Immeasurable's.

Conversations about autism

I realise where I went wrong with my post about being misunderstood at my daughters pre school.  I can't quantify how much was their stuff, but I'm starting to decipher how much was mine.  I will break it down into stages....

1.  It is really, really, really hard to say to yourself, "There is something wrong with my child."

2. Times this by a million to say to a close friend and then again, and again, and again until you get to the bit where you're saying to a complete stranger, an unquantifiable unknown and quite possibly a hostile audience - your child's teacher.  How do you communicate the most vulnerable part of yourself in that most public of settings?  Of course if you do have a disabled child, you have to commit this act of self exposure, many, many times - to every psychiatrist, paediatrician, doctor, nurse, teacher, social worker, DLA worker, ANYONE who is involved in this situation. Imagine that - every time you set out the front door and your child's behaviour threatens to rip the sky from the earth (or so certain onlookers would have you believe) and then some.

3.  So how DO you say this most intrepid of questions, and more importantly, can you be sure you will be heard?

4. How does the teacher/social worker/health visitor/family friend/paediatrician broach the subject with you?  Will they be calm, reassuring, direct? Or will they fudge around, nervous, bound by professional regards?

5. Will you be able to understand what they are saying? What is being asked of you? Can you fill in the gaps between implications? Will you recognise the traits as difficulties if you yourself share them?  Will be able to cope with the bluntness or will you breakdown and surrender to tears to drown it all out?

Now I get it.