I was beginning to think that my hypervigilance was unnecessary. That it was something that was ‘wrong’ with me and I should just snap out of it. I mean I would get very nervous about 30 minutes before the Boy was due to get off the bus. I would walk around the house making sure everything was exactly as it needed to be. Were the living room toys put away? Was the futon couch we have put back in its proper position after the baby and I had it in the lounge position to watch some TV last night? Is there a snack sitting in the right spot on the kitchen table? Washing machine lid closed and bathroom door closed? All the trigger items back in their proper place – mop, electric razor, stand mixer, vacuum cleaner? Diffuser running with a familiar blend of essential oils? Afternoon supplements set up and ready to go?
I would feel this anxiousness in my chest. Were we going to have a good night or a bad one?
This scenario would play over and over every day. If it was a weekend, the steps would be different but the feelings the same. Keep the siblings quiet. Calm the cranky child so that the whining and the tantrum doesn’t set the Boy off. Lunch on the table in time. Snack. Dinner. Snack. Bedtime routine. But wait, the sun isn’t cooperating and he isn’t ready yet………. Are we going to have a meltdown or just some quick angry punches?
Brace yourself for the worst.
We have been going day after day without a significant meltdown. So I was beginning to second guess myself. I was. I was really starting to think that my behavior, my feelings were unfounded and that it was about ME and not about Autism.
Then we had a very rough time after school today and I was reminded that it isn’t me. He was kicking parts of the bus so long and so hard that a screw came loose and fell out. He put another hole in the wall. My arms hurt cause his nails are overdue for cutting.
I wonder if this is how soldiers feel. How abuse victims feel. You are just waiting for the next time that “it” is going to happen, so you can’t enjoy the time that you have in peace. You just can’t shut it down and relax. Because the moment you do
You are right back in the fight again and that wonderful calm is ripped from your grasp. Best not to enjoy it because it hurts so much when it’s gone… So we walk through life waiting for the inevitable. A soldier and a victim – Lord willing they will escape their circumstances. Lord willing, they will have the ability to end the cycle and move forward with their lives away from the “it” that caused them to be on high alert.
So where does that leave the parents like me?