Gimme an S! Gimme an I! Gimme a B! What does it spell???? Crappy weekend, that’s what…

Many years ago, I don’t remember when or where, I read an essay about the early weeks of raising a baby.  The author, whose name I don’t recall, mentioned that at some point he/she started crying whenever he/she sang Old Man River and got to the Ah, gits weary
An’ sick of tryin’ part while trying to get baby to sleep…

At the time I thought this was very funny, but I didn’t have kids yet and I didn’t realize how true it can be.  It has long been a running joke, when the kids were sick or restless, that I’d sing that line and Dada would snicker.  We now sing that line together, and it doesn’t sound quite as amusing as it used to a few years ago.

We are going to the psychiatrist this afternoon.  We have reached a point where we are baffled, confused, totally stumped, and pretty much sick and tired of the status quo.  It’s not the lack of sleep (although that doesn’t help,) or the mental exhaustion (which has led us to have mostly incomplete-sentence conversations during which we sound like Jeff Spicoli without the pot…or the pizza.)  We do a lot of “yeah…I know…right?  That’s…yeah…you know…what I’m saying is…  Totally…(sound of explosion made with mouth while hands signal head exploding.)”

It’s not just the Cheech and Chong quality of the conversations that worries us.  We are worried about how obtuse this situation is, and how it’s affecting J.  When you have to fashion an “ice-pack holding” beanie, you know that SIB has become an issue.  When J wears it with panache, you basically know you’re f*cked.

At this point we are pretty sure that there is an underlying cause that WE cannot get at because WE are not healthcare professionals.  We read scholarly papers, and we can say “I see this, this, this, and that,” but it is not OUR place to diagnose him with anything, or to devise a plan without consulting someone who can tell us if he needs something more.  We are not fans of medicating J, especially after working hard to get him off his meds last year, but if he NEEDS medication because there is something that needs dealing with and that’s the only way to clear the functional emotional cobwebs, we do what has to be done.

It was a grueling weekend.  J brooded a lot.  J was stormy…not in a “holy smokes!  We’re all gonna DIE!!!!” sort of way, but in a low rumble of thunder and ominous clouds that make you wonder if you should go out or stay in.  We stayed in…

One of the most difficult sides of this situation is that everyone knows individuals with Autism are prone to SIB.  J has a history, and we accept that not every incident of SIB is the end-all be-all, but…when we tell the doctor that this has been consistent and escalating over the past few weeks, and that there are certain compulsive behaviors that are increasing…

When you wake up at six a.m. on a Sunday because you hear pounding, you go into your son’s room and he’s hitting himself and visibly shaking..that’s not normal.  Or, let me say it another way, no one should expect you to take it as normal.  A while back I spoke to the doctor about my concerns regarding the possibility of J having bipolar disorder like my mother.  He told me we’d have to wait and see.  I asked what for…he didn’t really have an answer.

I don’t expect a blood test to tell me if J’s mental health has become more fragile.  I am not stupid.  I know the whole process is more convoluted than that, and that a great deal is observation and piecing the puzzle together.  What bothers us, and baffles us in those Cheech and Chong-like but completely cannabis-free moments, is that no one seems to trust our judgment.  When we call or e-mail and say “hey, this is getting out of hand,” we shouldn’t simply be dismissed with a “we’ll have to wait and see.”

What has to happen?  The cops have to be called?  Property has to be damaged?  Someone has to get hurt…worse than J has hurt himself?  Someone has to die?  Someone has to be arrested?  I don’t understand what the DefCon thing is for this…

I know that we can deal with this, but not in this way.  Does that make sense?  We have had to take a long hard look at a lot of factors: our age, our physical condition, the stress level we live under.  And, when it comes to stress, that includes J; J is under A LOT of stress, and since we don’t know the source, we cannot really deal with its cause.

Yesterday was hard.  Yesterday there was crying, screaming into pillows, sobbing uncontrollably when J wasn’t around and couldn’t hear me.  Yesterday was long and grueling, and scary.  And it wasn’t made any easier by Dada’s job.  Just as we were heading out to take J on a short drive to be outside the house for a while, work called and that was canceled.

And by the end of the day we realized that we have bought into the illusion that the income makes up for the rest.  It doesn’t.  The benefits are awesome and J is covered for all his dental and medical stuff (except psychiatric services because the State of West Virginia doesn’t cover that for people with Autism, and thank you for that.)  But…we don’t really enjoy any of the other stuff that the salary allows us to have.  We are not really taking care of each other as we should.  We are putting patches here and there, but the raft is still full of holes.

Our marriage is good.  We love each other.  We want to grow old(er) together, but we know something HAS to give, and we have found WHAT it is…we came up with a plan.  It’s not a perfect plan, but it puts J and us as a family front and center.

And today we go to the psychiatrist, and we see if we can figure out the hard part…



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