It has been an interesting start to 2018. Not only is J having his usual spikes in anxiety, his mother is having the usual spikes in being a middle-aged woman. It can get testy around here. As I have mentioned countless times in the past to anyone who will listen: Autism and Menopause are not the most fun of combinations.
We’ve been, so far this year, to the dentist (not good news, I fear…we need to address a few cavities and, of course, this has to be done through the School of Dentistry because the average dental practice isn’t quite equipped to deal with the likes of J), and to the psychiatrist.
This second visit yielded possibilities, and this morning -with the trepidation that is usually attached to such developments- J had his first 5 mg dose of Prozac. The word trepidation has been carefully selected; we are anxious about this, and observant, vigilant, concerned. We don’t know, after reading everything we could possibly lay our hands and eyeballs on, if this will work for J, but the doctor is hopeful that it will. Since 8 a.m. I have been watching my son like a hawk while trying to not increase his anxiety through my own.
The most J has done so far is sneeze. He went to bed happy. He woke up happy. He had his meds and breakfast happy. He wasn’t particularly thrilled about my presence in his room, rifling through a box of odds and ends of Legos looking for Lego people. He observed me patiently, and then he sent me (and my overabundance of Lego males, and not-enough Lego females) out of the room.
We have done the usual: made beds, cleaned kitchen, taken recyclables to the garage, brushed our teeth, gathered laundry, brushed our hair, washed our face. All this has been done in the way it’s usually done. J patiently allows me to ask him for help, patiently completes the tasks, patiently gives me a look that says “can I go now???”
I don’t know much about Prozac other than what I’ve been reading that has raised my hackles, given me pause, and prepared me for the worst. If it is meant to help him with anxiety and depression, it is certainly having the opposite effect on me. The doctor says that, hopefully, the Prozac will eventually replace the Risperdal completely, and we will see more weight loss (so far I have him at ten pounds lost over the past few months) and a happier J.
We want a happier J; we also want a more functional J, a less anxious J, a J that feels better equipped to let us help him. The doctor thinks this is the way to go, and we are willing to give it a go, and we are hoping for the best.
I don’t know if it is that we are getting older, but I feel more like a failure than a success these days. Not in general (though Lord knows that I’ve never really fully realized any potential for productivity I ever had) but definitely in the “how can I help J?” department. I feel like I fall short day after day, and I wake up wanting to do more and do better. It doesn’t always pan out. In J’s world I’m most assuredly Wile E. Coyote with all his ACME accoutrements…on paper they work, and when I go to use them it’s either fizz or a very loud BOOM. One thing I can say about myself: I don’t give up easily, and I’m pretty used to the sheen of egg on my face.
I do spend a lot of time reminding myself (and Dada) that we are dealing with an adult who, regardless of his limited intellectual capacity to process that he is an adult in just a situation, is living with his middle-aged parents, and that -as we did at that age- he probably feels like there isn’t much he can do to take control of his life. When I was a freshly-minted twenty-three year-old I married J’s father so I could get away from my parents. Much as I hate to admit it, J probably views us with the same critical, impatient eye I viewed my parents at the time. We like to think we are cooler, hipper, more understanding, more open, more accessible parents, but we are parents nonetheless…and J is our son, and he is almost 23 to our mid-fifties. That, my friends, must chafe massively.
So that’s where we are today, fifteen days from J’s 23rd birthday. We are embarking on a cruise of indeterminate duration in the good ship Prozac, and hoping to jettison Risperdal in the not-too-distant future. The map might as well have “here be dragons” written somewhere, but onward and upward with a few sideways and steps back is all we can do at this time.
We will see how it goes. I will update you. I go back to my reading, observing…channeling my dear Jane Goodall and crossing my fingers while toiling way in favor of our son…
Egg on face is a possibility I am willing to risk…