Ceasefire: Reflecting on the First Few Months of an Autism Diagnosis

fullsizerenderThere is a silence in my head with a very short life span but a silence none-the-less and well-deserved.

I have not stopped moving, it seems, since May 11, 2016. There have been so many layers to this but today they all came together and I was able to call out for a ceasefire. A good thing because physically it has been hitting me hard. I feel like I haven’t slept. The last time I weighed this much was the fifth grade (and that is equal parts yoga/eating well and equal parts stress just so you all don’t grow too concerned). I bawled until my eyes burned at the IEP meeting, the school tour, and, today, her first day of school. And all of that was in the last two weeks, alone.

Mentally I have been existing between acting on auto-pilot and being psychologically woke. Not sure at all what I am doing while finally feeling the cogs click together in my head all at the same time. Two extremes. Today, it is like we were finally able to reset the accident counter back to zero, but we know this is only the first reset.

I am yawning as I think back on only two weeks.

Scar’s IEP itself is what we needed and is tailored to her so nicely, so we started them off with good news. Then came finding a school, of which, at the time of the meeting, there was only one. A week ago, we went to look at this school and settled upon it right away, as it also appeared to be tailored to a lot of Scar’s needs. Thinking of that day feels hazy to me, damn auto-pilot. All of the built up confidence in me was crashing into panic mode, its more familiar direction to swing. I never could find a balance in my life. I would have to learn on the spot that very balance, but in the meantime, auto-pilot was instituted in place of meltdowns. I trusted my gut a lot towards the end there especially, mainly due to emotional war-weariness, but I had finally began experiencing the best luck I have ever had when figuring out her services. It had not really hit me altogether, though. I flinched only for a moment at the notion of ripping my beating heart out and handing it to strangers. For five and a half hours a day. Five days a week. A flinch…

The weekend came and went. Her bag was packed, supplies bought, papers filled out. She came home from dad’s Monday morning and we got on our usual summer morning routine on Tuesday. It was not until the night before that the button for cruise control jammed and I smashed into a brick wall. Crying and pacing the apartment. Meditating three times, and all three times I could not calm myself. Cleaning things over and over again. It was an entirely new experience with a fairly new improved me and it involved the only human being I would literally die for. OH, and she also has special needs and has never been away from family and is very difficult to explain things to. Especially changes.

However, I am happy to report that she did not even care much that her father and I left the classroom because she was watching the other children and what they were doing. And after the long drive back with my swollen, leaky eyeballs and my silly questions (Me: “BUT WHAT IF SHE GETS SCARED?!” Her father: “Of what?” Me: “THINGS!!!!!”) AND my freak out at the grocery store when she wasn’t in the cart, everything was proven to be worth it by the time I picked her up. Her teachers and para praised her sweetness. Her main teacher could not stop telling her how wonderful she was as we waited for the elevator. She has even already shown rapid growth. She had art lessons in occupational therapy and went over holding crayons and coloring different things. She came home and actually colored the characters in her coloring book with the same color they are on television. And then she put the crayons back in the box. This is a milestone up there with finally having an imaginary tea party.

I see how all of the confusion and re-calibration of life has paid off. I can’t even believe this chapter is really over. It is like I spent most of the past twenty-four hours exploding endlessly. An eruption of madness after four months of not knowing where I was in the fog but marching through it, all while trying to hold Scar’s hand. And the results are unfolding in real-time and all because we have had to learn so fast and keep up.

We learned amazing things.

Patience.

Unique ways of examining behaviors and feelings.

Unique ways of understanding behaviors and feelings.

An entirely new lexicon.

Imaginary tea parties and coloring the apple red.

14199261_10101042054007758_8412853651314797927_nAnd that the bond between mother and child is the liquid nails of piecing back together what had once felt like it was falling apart.

We have survived the toughest part of diagnosis and evaluation. Scar is still in one piece and so am I. How, I haven’t the slightest idea. But we are officially on the other side of grief’s many stages. We are nestled warm into the world of autism. And I have to tell you, it is beautiful here.

 

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