Her Story: #3

These stories are to help others, not to be criticized, judged, or looked down on. If I see any comments that look even a bit judgmental I will remove them and block you. This is your only warning.

I have been married for almost 24 years.  We met in college and pretty much have been together ever since.  We have had lots of trials; infertility which led to adopting 2 babies from South Korea.  My husband has been laid off multiple times so we are always careful with money. We have had several family members die and we even moved across the country on a little more than a whim.  We are different religions, something my parents were ok with, his parents were not. 

The biggest trial had to do with our son, Sam.  When he was in third grade, it was like a switch was flipped.  He became angry, somewhat aggressive, sad, depressed, anxious, etc.  It took many years but when he was 15 he was finally diagnosed on the autism spectrum.  This was the fourth time he was tested. Not sure what caused all the anger. Was he bitten by a tick?  (He was diagnosed with Lyme when he was 17), was it something genetic? Was it PANS/PANDAS.

We tried all kinds of meds, therapies and tests. I took him to every doctor, listened to every suggestion.  Luckily I was a SAHM by this point because I would never have been able to keep a job.

I would get constant calls from all the schools he was in.  I would slink in, so embarrassed, not able to make eye contact. He threw tantrums at school, he destroyed property, he stole from us.  We felt broken. Sad. Angry. Our house, our lives were a living nightmare. We were exhausted. He would sneak into our rooms at night because he couldn’t sleep.  He was addicted to technology so we had to severely limit his usage. That made more fights. 

He was in 3B several times and we had to put him in a Group Home for awhile because we needed respite.  I didn’t think our marriage would recover. It is hard to see your spouse not get along with your child.  I was constantly in the middle of fights. I was beaten down and broken, literally. This all took a toll on my health.  I had back issues. I had pain, anxiety and depression. I cried a lot. My heart hurt. I was diagnosed with Lupus and Lyme, osteoporosis, infertility.  Hard to determine which came first and why.

We worked with what I referred to as The Posse; social workers, counselors, he had OT, VT and bio feedback.  With everything we did, it really was the biofeedback that made the biggest difference. Sam has a good heart, he is a GOOD kid but he couldn’t control himself.  We have been so lucky with great workers, teachers and doctors. They all seemed to see the GOOD in him.

This experience with Sam made me feel totally alone.  How could you tell people that your son stole from you?  Made holes in your walls? Broke your things? Was in 3B? He sounded like a monster.  I did know that some friends who knew, talked behind my back or openly “joked about it.”  It wasn’t funny. I didn’t trust anyone. I started isolating myself. Luckily I have a great Counselor.

His Junior and Senior years of high school were amazing.  He had a one on one para with him at school from Freshman year until the end of October of his Senior year.  For someone who is really smart, his grades weren’t great but the fact that he wasn’t having meltdowns and began advocating for himself was tremendous.  

Sam did 40 sessions of bio feedback and that has made the biggest difference.  That is my opinion because some doctors don’t agree. He graduated high school on time, has had a part time job and is taking 2 classes at the community college.  I never thought I’d see these days.

Sometimes he has a slip up and I am instantly transported back to those days.  Trusting him has been a process. It’s been difficult but we are trying. My husband and Sam have a better relationship but it could be better.  That is still a trial.

I am more open to talk about these times but it took a long time for me to get here.  If I can help another family go through something like this, I am happy to try. It is a very lonely feeling.

I also have a daughter who is 2 years younger than her brother.  She had to grow up quickly. She saw things she shouldn’t have had to.  I couldn’t hide my tears or fears. She was right there in the thick of it too.

Sometimes I get bitter.  Motherhood didn’t come easy for me and it has been one thing after another.  But I love my kids and I love my family. I know that we all have something going on in our lives.  Nothing and no one is perfect.

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