Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Over Tired, Over Stressed and Over It


Yeah. The above graphic pretty much describes the last three days for me. No profound words of wisdom, witty tidbits of advice or even a heartfelt dedication to those who struggle and rise to the top. This is just about me. A human being, on the brink of  losing her mind. At least that's how it feels right now. And it seems, no matter who I talk to, no matter how I plea for help, I continue to bang my head up against a brick wall. 

Let me attempt to explain the inner workings of my brain. 

There are a few things in this world that make my brain jump to hyper-speed level thinking and over working. Silence as a response. Being ignored. Being mocked. And lately, Too much noise. 
But right now... the levels of irritation that I feel when faced with those is NOTHING compared to the utter hopelessness and despondency I feel when faced with all of these things, on top of being just utterly and completely exhausted. I'm not talking about your everyday, run-of-the-mill "Oh man, I only got four hours of sleep last night." or "I shouldn't have stayed up so late." exhausted. I'm talking about that exhaustion that comes from months, or sometimes years, of interrupted sleep, chronic worrying and obsessing, and constant amounts of high level stress. You know, the type that causes Post Traumatic Stress. Don't believe me? Ask ANY special needs parent.. Or read the following article: Autism Moms Have Stress Similar To Combat Soldiers. Pretty scary stuff, right? 

This past weekend, a three day weekend for most, was particularly stressful. One more week of school left. Most wonder why I'm so stressed about it. See, with our son, waking up Monday through Friday, getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing hair and teeth, and playing with Hot Wheels until the bus comes, has become our standard routine. A very IMPORTANT routine. This routine is now about to change. He won't get on the bus. He won't see his friends, or his teacher. He has no break, away from a little brother who idolizes him, and wants to hang all over him. And we, his parents, have no break from Autism. Until August 31st, when school is back in session.

Okay. Let's get one thing straight. Yes. I fight for awareness and education. It HAS become my passion. I will say that, gladly, and whole-heartedly, everyday, until the day I die. However. I am also human. Just a girl, who every once and again, needs to FEEL like a girl. Who needs to feel like what she's doing, and what she's done, matters. And has made a difference. Believe me, I appreciate all of the kind words, and sentiments. "I don't know how you do it!" "You're an awesome mom!" "You're an amazing woman, and a powerful Autism Warrior." Sometimes... "Do you need anything?", "How are you feeling?" or "What can I do?" is MORE than enough. Sometimes, it's the only thing that makes me feel better. I am not altogether comfortable with the "Autism Warrior" or "Awesome Mom" title. I feel like, what I'm doing, what I do, is nothing any other parent would do. I know, not all special needs parents advocate. Or Mentor. Or start their own support group. Not all parents are called to do that. I was. And I know, I bring most of my stress on myself. Because I strive to be perfect in everything I do. And I often come up short. I have huge dreams for myself, and my children. And most often times, they go unfulfilled. But I forge ahead, hoping to teach my children that if you continue fighting, and working, for the things you want, they WILL happen. 

However, this week, it looks like a new lesson plan is needed. Sometimes, you HAVE to ask for help. That's it. That's the lesson. However, in putting my proverbial money, where my mouth is, I've come to realize a couple of things. See, I've ALWAYS been labeled the 'melodramatic' one. That particular moniker dates back to before I can remember. "Stop being so..." "You're being..." You get the picture. Point? I'm not BEING anything. I just happen to feel. Everything. A lot. Sometimes, too much. So much, in fact, that it's overwhelming at times. And if I bottle it up, or push it down, and pretend it's not there, it's bad for everyone. That includes you. But the same people who roll their eyes and whisper about how over the top, or melodramatic I am, are the same people who ignore my flat-line pleas for help. 

"I'm so exhausted, I overslept and missed an IEP meeting."
"Oh tell me about it... I ran out of milk for my coffee.. I'm so stressed out." 

"I'm stressing out about summer break."
"Oh, I don't know why. I always love summer break. All my kids are home, It's great fun!"

"I haven't slept for more than 4 hours in the last 3 days, can't remember when I showered last, and still haven't been to the grocery store this week."
"I can relate! A dog pooped on my carpet. I need a vacation desperately." 

Seriously? 

Screw you too.

Do I sound angry? Bitter? Hateful? Good. It was supposed to come across that way. The fact of the matter is this... Unless you are raising, or have raised, a special needs child, you CAN'T relate. And your little idioms about how much you MISS, or ADORE the chaos in YOUR house, does NOT comfort those of us dealing with an entirely different breed of chaos and stress.

I realize this is long. And it's rather rambling. But this is just another facet of how my brain works. THIS is why I don't sleep anymore. Because one thought... Turns into 30...turns into 120... etc etc... So, to keep those thoughts at a relative calm, I occupy myself with mindless tv, Facebook, and World of Warcraft at 3am. No. It's not wise. It's probably not even healthy. But what are my options? Drinking 4 pots of coffee, while taking six bottle of antidepressants with a bottle of wine? Because I'm thinking that's the ONLY way right now, to curb the constant exhaustion and mood swings. 

So here it is... all laid out for the world to see. I'm not perfect. I'm not a super-mom. Hell, sometimes, I don't even feel like a GOOD mom. There are even days when I feel like, "They're still breathing, and nothing got broke today. I did my job." And yes... sometimes... I need a break. A break that doesn't come very often. And sometimes, I just need to be reminded that someone, ANYONE, appreciates what I do everyday. Even if it's just slapping together a peanut butter sandwich and mixing a cup of chocolate milk, to deter the inevitable meltdown for just 10 more minutes. 



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