Sunday, September 22, 2013

Alice? Or the Mad Hatter?

I have a bad attitude lately. I'm angry, I'm frustrated, I'm just fed up. I've thrown out the rose colored glasses and I have no interest in putting them back on. It shows in my writing and I feel bad that you all have to listen to it. I feel bad that the things taking up all of the space in my mind overshadow the wonderful moments. I want to share it all with you, I want you to see the hilariousness and the moments of absolute pride in my children. I want you to see as much, if not more, good than the bad. I want you to know life is good. That there are always beautiful moments even on the darkest days but I just can't seem to shake this dark cloud. It feels like I am turning into this bad person and I don't like the way it feels. I want out. I don't understand why I am so damned negative all the time. This isn't me. This isn't who I want to be. I decide I am going to stop it. Just stop, move on. and then something happens that reminds me why I'm here in the first place.

I'm used to self doubt. I'm used to questioning my sanity. Living in Wonderland and never knowing if I'm Alice or the Mad Hatter. I chalk it up to my own issues and question my mental health. I started Zoloft before school started but my anxiety went through the roof, to the point I was waking up with panic attacks. The start of school isn't a good time for that because anxiety is already high, so I stopped. I've been wondering if it's time to try it again, if all of these dark feeling are because I'm a mess, because there's something wrong with me. It never really occurred to me that there was a possibility that the problem wasn't me.

Until Alex's Mommy brought snacks for school last night.

Every time Mommy and Sister come visiting, I watch Sister toe-gallop her way where she's going, I watch her happy little flapping, her obsessions, I pay attention to her significant speech delay. I ask Mommy, as I always do, how Sister is doing and if she has thought any more about going back for evaluation. Come back in six months was up a year ago. Mommy, as she always does, looks down and says, "yeah, I've thought about it."

Except last night, Mommy doesn't go on to all of the other things (serious things) going on in their lives, she admits with shame that she doesn't know if the doctor will believe her. The school says she's fine. Everyone who talks to Sister gushes over how much better she's doing. They say she's making great progress- which she is. ...and Mommy questions her own sanity. She wonders if the problem is her. She sees what's going on with Sister clearly, but everyone else says she's fine. That it's behavior. That it's a discipline problem. That Mommy is a bad mommy. She worries that the doctor will see what the school says and say that there is nothing wrong with Sister, that she's fine, that the problem is Mommy.

She tells me what the school says about how great she is doing. I go in and get my Goofy One's take home folder. I bring out his work and ask her to tell me what it says. She picks out a word here and there but for the most part has no clue what it is.

I tell her that they tell me this is typical. They tell me he is fine. She looks at me with hope. Everyone thinks I am crazy, that I am looking for something that doesn't exist. I told her that he qualifies for supplemental reading services and still they tell me he's typical. I told her that the doctor will know the truth. He's not going to take the school's word over what he can see for himself.
I remind her that Sister is almost 5 years old and that at 3, TS has passed her in almost everything. Mommy is painfully aware of that- she watches. and she questions her own sanity because everyone tells her she is crazy. No. She may be making progress, but Sister is not fine. She is not typical. I told her to make the appointment and I would go with her. I told her if she doesn't agree with the doctor's decision that she can get a second opinion. I told her I will go with her anywhere she needs to go. She's feeling better, she's feeling less beat down and outnumbered. She's making the appointment.
Sometimes, when everyone is looking at you like you have lost your friggin mind... sometimes, when  the world feels upside down and you can't figure out which way to go, when you question everything you thought you knew... sometimes, the problem isn't you. Sometimes, the Mad Hatter isn't quite as out of touch with reality as you thought he was. That's something I needed to remember.


  1. The same thing is happening with my daughter. "Come back in six months" is coming up in November. I don't know if I am seeing things that aren't there, or not working with her enough on speech or toilet training because we are too wrapped up in our ASD son. I like to think she is typical...but I know she isn't. Then my husband says that I must want her to be autistic if I am disagreeing with her family doctor. Sigh.

  2. Mhmm, mhmm. Yup. Same here. As if we're collecting autistic children the way my mother collects Chihuahuas. They're just so damned cute, how could you NOT want another one!?

  3. I always got the "you're looking for something that is not there" with my kiddos...I even heard recently that their father was accusing me of issues with my youngest that I was "forcing her to be different" - ummm, no, she had muscle tone issues when she was a baby and delays - now she's great but because of the interventions that I was "forcing" she is where she needs to be now...mother's intuition be damned apparently.

  4. my daughter was diagnosed with autism in august 13' at age 11. She started high school, could not attend, went in 8 times and wanted to 'die rather than be there'. Iv applied for statement for special needs school. Both previous schools have just told educational psychologist she was fine at school 'comfortable and happy'! She was not! She is passive at school, no expression, well behaved. Iv been made to feel like I'm lying :( Her primary school were surprised by diagnosis and lied to psychologist about support my daughter received.