“Leave me the hell alone!” I shouted as I threw my iPhone and watched as it hit the nearest wall.
I had no idea who was on the other end because it was coming from a blocked number, but I did know that I couldn’t possibly have dealt with one more person wanting something from me yesterday.
I was well and truly out of patience and at the brink of tipping over the cliff.
I took a deep breath, steadied myself and walked over to retrieve my poor phone from it’s resting place on the tiles half expecting it to be smashed into pieces to match my emotional state. But I was surprised to see that it only had a few minor scratches and I smirked to myself thinking: ‘maybe there’s hope for me yet’.
I sat down on the floor and put my head on my knees and took several more deep breaths.
I couldn’t believe it, I’d lost my cool AGAIN! I was coming apart at the seams and it scared the heck outta me.
And what made it worse was the realisation that this one had nothing to do with autism but everything to do with my mental state. I hated that I was back there again.
Every school holidays, mothers all over the world have to deal with exactly the same things that I do. Fighting children, constant hunger and requests for snacks, being told by their kids that they’re ‘bored’ several times a day, messy houses and endless chatter to name just a few. And I’ve always wondered if the other mothers that I observe really do just take it all in their stride and how many of them actually end up like me and continue to fall deeper and deeper into the bottomless pit that is depression instead.
Because, unfortunately, depression is still a major taboo in today’s society and no-one wants to talk about it so we all put on the same stupid brave faces and play by the rules smiling through tears and broken hearts.
And for me, this stupid depression is really such a chicken and egg type situation because I’m honestly not sure if my depression is a by-product of the stress that goes hand-in-hand with raising children with special needs, or whether I struggle MORE with raising these kids because of the depression that hangs over me. I just can’t figure it out.
Depression is such a complex ailment. It is like diabetes in the sense that nothing good comes from receiving the diagnosis and while it can be managed: sufferers really do wish that it would just go the hell away. No-one is thrilled when they are diagnosed and it really can make life such a pain in the butt.
But the comparisons end there.
Diabetes is a socially accepted medical condition because it’s got nothing to do with a person’s psychology but sadly, almost every single disorder that is connected to the brain brings with it harsh judgement, criticism and a negative stigma : Including Autism, ADHD anxiety and various other neurological conditions.
There are (and will probably always be) a portion of society who refuse to believe that these are true and very real diagnoses and people like me continue to fight for those whose lives are affected by one or more of them.
Because unlike diabetes; autism, anxiety disorders and depression are all hugely misunderstood. And depression and anxiety almost always go hand-in-hand.
Depression is always exacerbated by stress and stress comes from anxiety which is a common reaction when you’re in depression.
A vicious cycle indeed!
Then add to that the perception that it’s all about choices and that the depressed person should just ‘snap out of it’ or ‘get over themselves’. That kind of thinking is really unhelpful. And so is telling the person that they should be thankful for what they do have instead of focusing on the negatives. Comments like that are a huge slap in the face and totally undermine and devalue the depressed persons cry for help.
None of us choose this life. We all hate it as much as the rest of you hate hearing about it.
Anyway: I forgot to take my medication yesterday hence my complete mental breakdown and freaked out state.
There’s a very good reason that the Doctors tell people not to go off their meds without Dr supervision. It needs to be done slowly and over a very long time period.
When I awoke this morning, I thought I hated being a mother, I thought I hated being a wife and I wanted to run far, far away and never return. I wanted out and I didn’t care who was hurt in the process. I wanted to quit and to give away my children. I wanted to start again.
I recognised that I was heading downhill fast so I told Paul that I HAD to get out so I went for a drive to try to clear my head that was pounding furiously. He joked that I had to come back and we laughed about it but I seriously wanted to keep driving into the sunset.
I drove to the nearest shopping centre with the intention of grabbing a quick take-out coffee but as I stepped into the shopping c, I was hit by a wall of noise that immediately disconcerted me. I placed an ear plug into my ear (I’m deaf in the other) and put my hands in my pockets and walked with my head down. I could still hear every child’s shriek, every word of the song playing over the P.A. and the conversations of those near me. Sounds were mostly muted but still recognisable.
I felt blinded by the bright fluorescent lights above me and the neon shop signs around me were making me dizzy. I took a short cut through a department store and found myself having to block my nose by burying my face into my shoulder because my detour went through the cosmetics and perfume department.
My sensory system was on high alert, my anxiety levels were soaring and I just was.not.coping!
I grabbed my coffee and got the hell outta that centre as fast as I could go and went and sat in my car for the next 2 hours.
Almost in silence.
I asked (begged) God to show me what was going on with me. I asked Him why I was spiralling out of control and pleaded with Him to make it all go away.
It didn’t. But I don’t believe that God ignored me or refused to answer me. Because He did answer me, just not in the way I’d expected him to.
I was finally able to see that giving up or walking out is simply not an option. I realised that my purpose is still very much alive and that I needed to experience such lows today so that it could all become clear to me once again.
I needed to go through what my son goes through every time he leaves our house to help me to gain a better understanding of his struggles and “walk in his shoes” so to speak.
When I got home again, I sat down and chatted with Harley. I described what I felt today and his eyes were filled with amazement as I told him how the noises, lights and smells made me feel. I told him that I was sorry that I don’t always make allowances for him when I should and promised that I would try harder in the future.
He leaned over and hugged me and said: “You’re the best mother in the whole UNIVERSE”
And once again I sat there crying like a little baby.
But this time the tears were happy tears because I know….I KNOW it’s all going to be ok.