So Thanksgiving has now come and gone. It was nice…in spurts. We had it at my sister’s house this year; which is fine…with the exception of the autistic meltdowns that happened about every 20 minutes from the time we arrived until we left. Then she walked out the door, screaming from the front stoop all the way down to her seat in the van.
It was a long night. The 4 hours we were there seemed a mere 17.5. On any given day at my sister’s house, time flies by as we enjoy it. But this past Thursday, was awful. And only because my daughter was so over-anxious and distraught.
It’s so difficult to be a parent anyway, but being a parent to an autistic kid…well, adult now….is even harder. Not that I’m at all saying that my job as a parent is harder than anyone else’s. It’s not a competition, y’all. When a kid anywhere between the ages of 2 and 6 tantrums or yells or hits, it’s sort of accepted by society that the behavior is normal, albeit annoying.
When your kid is 19 and screaming and yelling things like, “Get your hands off of me!” and “Leave me alone, you son of a bitch!” it causes a lot of stares and whispers and pointing and sometimes the cops are called and shit gets awkward. Sometimes there are whispered discussions by older people about how I have spoiled her and how had I spanked her more as a young child or had one of them taken her off my hands when she was younger, how they could have “fixed her” for me. They don’t get it. It’s not because of their age. It’s simply not something they can wrap their heads around because they have zero experience with a non-conversational, autistic person who has ADHD and severe anxiety issues. But judging and arm-chair quarterbacking always comes easy to those who are ignorant of our situation.
And so I plod on in my pursuit of the best pharmaceutical solution for now until she is able to verbalize whatever the source of her anxiety. And I will wear my tough shield on the outside to ward off the stares and foul words and unwelcome criticism as I walk through streets and stores with my daughter in her pink noise-canceling earphones while she talks to me in script lines memorized from Batman, Criminal Minds and the Andy Griffith show.
I’ll wait until I am home and alone and my daughter is asleep before I remove my armor and cry about the mean things said and pray for more patience for me and peace and communication skills for her.
Yeah, Autism speaks… sometimes it cusses, shouts, and punches.