Side note: For those who are new to my blog I want to clarify that everything I share on here I discuss with my husband. He knows what I write and share. If you were wondering – he feels that my mental and emotional health are far too important for me not to process through. He thinks that it is important that my emotions be validated, expressed, and though some of these things are painful for him, he supports me in writing about it because that is what helps me the most. That is my way of communication – if I do not write I will internalize and that is when the negative thoughts start to become too unbearable.
Back to the story…
The reason that breaking down in front of my aunt was so pivotal is that I do not cry in front of others. I have learned throughout my life how to hide, suppress, disguise with jokes, laughter, being silly, and redirecting conversations/focus so that no one knows what I am feeling. I had to in order to survive my childhood and my adult life. I was not allowed to express depression, anxiety, or even anger I grew up learning to mange everyone else’s emotions while at the same time, being confused and perplexed by them – my own emotions as well as others. I especially, learned not to show any type of emotional “weakness” around family.
I brought all of this into every relationship I have had.
In the months leading up to my break down in front of my aunt, I had sunk into the folds of this house – my only solace was writing, reading other blogs, and sharing bits and pieces of my thoughts with my few internet friends through comments. Still I had very little email connections. I only spoke to one person on a semi-consistent basis – I did not want to be a burden. I knew that others had their own struggles and that they did not need to hear about my situation. I did not want them to worry or be concerned when they had so much going on in their lives as well. Part of my reason for starting to go to the Y for spin class was to force myself out at least one day a week.
My depression started to plummet around October.
In October, I had my cancer scare. Along with my “unknown” (still unknown) “woman” problem in which, I still have. We had to get me to a doctor then despite no insurance because I was getting very ill. Medical bills did not help my depressive thoughts neither did the fact that the doctor could find nothing wrong with me. I started to sink into darker and darker thoughts. (I have been bleeding for over two years now.) I made it through the hopes of birthdays and holidays. I even managed to be refocused and filled with new hope in November with getting my diagnosis. I started to see some light, but not all of the resources my psychologist had given me worked out. Again, I did not qualify so my hope was short lived.
I pressed on, still trying to do everything on my own.
Some of the issues had to do with my inability to say exactly what I needed. When I am asked, “What do you need?” It is too open-ended. I cannot say what I need. I need help! That is I all I could think of – the “help” issues seemed clear enough to me, but I could not articulate what I needed help with. I was trying to manage everyone’s emotions while, suffocating my own. The depression came again in a blast of darkness that I could no longer control. We could not afford for me to see my psychologist and I was hitting roadblocks here trying to get in to see other psychologists/counselors due to money or not having anyone to watch the kids.
I could not pull out.
I cried all the time; I hid it from my kids as much as possible. However, it got to the point where I could no longer do that and it started to be the norm. “Oh, mommy is crying again.” I felt awful I never wanted to be that kind of mother. I fought suicidal thoughts (thoughts are different than, action.) on a daily basis. The thoughts were intrusive I did not want to think them. I did not want to die I did not want to feel that way. I continued to pull whatever strength I had to get through my days and try to help Daniel – alone.
I finally reached a complete breakdown, collapse of self and utter hopelessness.
Those who knew me could not recognize who I was and I had become a blur of a being to myself. I did not know how to help myself or how I could help Daniel. Daniel was having so many rough days, blending into weeks, and I know that some of it had to do with him “feeling” my emotions, but I could not stop. I was the only one who understood how to help in most ways and who was able to keep a calm most of the time. I would have to go outside some days and regain my energies, it was challenging. Yes, I did have thoughts that if I were dead than, David could use the insurance to get Daniel the help that he needed. I thought about who could take care of the kids and how they may be better off. I did.
Remember thoughts are very different from actions.
I did not want to think that way and I fought through those thoughts. That is when I started to look up suicide prevention sites to help get my mind back and out of that pit. I read about suicide and I read stories from people who had been affected by the loss of their loved ones who committed suicide. I almost called a hotline, but the giggles of my babies helped me have hope. I almost called because I did not know where else to turn, but I knew that if the giggles of my children could spark hope for me then, that was a good sign. I knew that my research was pulling me out of those thoughts. These thoughts feel shameful; sharing them makes me on guard and ready for an attack from someone. These thoughts make me feel weak. These thoughts are embarrassing.
Did I tell anyone about all of this?
Yes, at first, I kept quiet, but when I hit a very low day I sent out a quick message to a friend that I knew would understand. All I needed was that reassurance that I was not alone and she understood intrusive suicidal thoughts. I told my mom after the fact, she does understand these thoughts, but in the past, she was unable to talk about it. There was such as stigma surrounding it for her. When I was younger, she could not handle it and had to disconnect from the emotions that it made her feel about my teenage attempt. I know now that it was too much for her in many ways, but she had struggled so much with depression that it was too scary for her. She suffered in silence and it would manifest in angry meltdowns. She has never felt the urge to act, but she has had the thoughts. I am sure many people have had suicidal thoughts, but not many are willing to talk about it. I told David and I told him that he HAD to listen to me. I told him that I had to see someone for help.
David finally understands the severity in which, my depression has been.
He is learning my triggers. There are a lot so it is challenging for him – I will never know all of my triggers. He did not realize that some of his actions or how he spoke to me could spiral me straight into PTSD episodes – either did I until I researched and learned some of my triggers. Now I say to him right away things like, “Do not say that to me or why are you talking to me like that?” I express that I cannot hear or look at certain humor. Things like that used to cause me to shutdown and lose words now I have a new trigger and I hear, “NO! That is not ok for me.” That trigger statement is a script to help me find my words; I may just say those words to him, or to myself. I am starting to use it with others who do the same thing to me.
What helped me the most was writing.
My poetry saved me and kept my mind in a rational state because I could express things and filter through depressive thoughts and reality. My blog writing saved me because I wrote and shared resources that I found that helped me. Never once, NEVER did it cross my mind to hurt my child, blame my child, blame the fact that we are Autistic; none of those things were in my thoughts. I knew that my circumstances were contributing, but there were so many other factors and part of the issue was that I had never learned how to express myself. My confusion of others fed into my isolation and depression.
I felt inadequate because I would read other parents of Autistic children and other Autistics who seemed to have it together.
They seemed to be able to do it, but I could not. Why couldn’t I get it together? Those were thoughts that rang through my head too. In the end, I knew how damaging I was being to myself in all of this. I was no longer the mother that I wanted to be and I was not giving my children what they deserve. I could no longer do that to them. I did not want to die. I did not want to hurt myself – I wanted help and I wanted to be heard. I kept crying in silent desperation until my voice got loud enough to speak to those in my life. I started reading and reaching out to others who could understand the pains that I had from being abused and having unresolved issues from that and my childhood.
This enabled me to be able to share with David just how much I was overwhelmed and hurting.
I forced myself to reach out to family swallowing my fears of rejection because I HAD to do something – I had to take control over my life, my thoughts. I shared as openly as I could on here in hopes that I would not sit in silence and sink into my despairing thoughts. I remember one morning sobbing on the floor wanting so badly to help Daniel, but I could not. I did not know how to help him. As I sat there, I realized that I was not helping him by being a mess on the floor. I got up, went to him, and just held him. I held him until all became calm. It was a struggle – he was hurting because of the sounds that had invaded his ears penetrating his body. He was overwhelmed with the schooling that he had to do earlier that day. He had not slept well in days. He had restricted to his diet so much that he was hungry, but unable to eat at the same time. He refused to drink anything – my son was hurting and I did not know how to help or how to get help.
However, on that day I got up and said, “I am not living like this anymore.”
I knew that my boy deserved much more than, my despair. He, all my kids deserved to have better. It has taken some time to work through these things. I still am, there are many things wrapped up in here, but something started to change in me. I started to DEMAND help and change – not aggressively, but clearly and directly. In sharing more and more of my other stories, I started to find my voice in this situation too. I started to find my words and be specific in my needs. This is a work in progress. Though we could not afford for me to go to the psychologist I told David I had to go and he agreed.
I was not sure if I was going to need medication or not.
I was willing to do whatever it took to get myself better. I sought out a professional to help me again and that was really all I needed. I needed someone from the outside to validate and confirm. It gave me the strength to believe in myself and start to trust my instincts again. She did not feel that medication was the best option for me since I have had so many issues in the past with it. She gave me other tools to help me, things like breathing techniques, and more information about mindfulness, ways to take breaks throughout the day, ways to calm my body, and most importantly ways to combat negative thought patterns.
She validated that I had been through a lot in my life and that I still go through a lot on a daily basis.
It helped me tremendously to hear someone say you are working hard for your children and you put a lot into them. However, if you want to keep giving them that you have to put into yourself. I needed to hear someone else tell me all that I have done and do because I could not see it. I only saw what I was not doing. The silence of my family and those around me made me question myself. I believed that I must not do very much or what I do has little to no value. She reassured me that I was ok, and that many parents go through this and that there is a whole other array of challenges and great blessings when it comes to special needs children. I needed to hear once again that being an undiagnosed Autistic for the majority of my life contributed to some deep pains. I needed to hear once again that being abused was not my fault and it was wrong.
I needed reassurance and validation – thankfully, no medication.
It helped me a great deal to get my Autism (Aspergers) diagnosis. It helped to start establishing my own identity with knowledge of how my brain works. That knowledge helped me when I went through that breakdown in February. I told my husband that he had to listen to me because I had nothing else in me. He was desperate too and did not know how to help. It was really up to me, I had to find the resources, and people that I needed to help me out of the hopeless feelings that I was drowning in. I am still learning and changing.
I am not hopeless.
My husband has jumped on board to gain more understanding and is listening to me about what not to do and what to do. We still have our rough days – we always will. I still struggle with all of my challenges being an Autistic adult along with my other diagnosis, but I am gaining better tools to help me cope and process. There is always hope. There is always somewhere to go. If there is one thing that I desire for people to get from this message is that you are not alone. There are places to go. There are people to reach out to – do not let fear of being vulnerable, fear of what others may think, or possibly shame stop you reach out for that help. Do not sit in silence – there are people who will listen. There are people who can relate.
I will link to several things that I have read and other resources.
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