Try Not To Lose Yourself – Easier said then done
As mothers, most of us tend to place the needs of our children ahead of our own. We pride ourselves on protecting these little humans with every breath we take but in the process we can sometimes lose track of ourselves. This happens to a lot of women but when you have a child on the spectrum I find that this seems to run a bit deeper. Our own needs no longer seem to matter until one day you stop and realize that you are no longer the person you used to be. Growth is inevitable but I find that for me, I have lost a lot of what made me who I was. I identified myself as an artist, a writer, a singer yet now I can no longer identify with that person. The artist no longer stays up till 4 am sculpting or painting and in all honesty the artist rarely has time to paint anything. The writer has no new poems and the book I had started collects dust in my mind as the plot fades away. Lastly the singer sings bedtime songs to a little Monkey but the music inside of me is lost.
I became a wife, a mother, I took on a 9-5 kind of job and as we sailed on this boat called life I forgot to take part of my soul along for the ride. I left part of me on the banks of a distant past and let her cry alone till I could no longer hear her in the foreground of my thoughts. In the beginning, pre-diagnosis, life in our house was just so busy and stressful. The Monkey would have 2 hour long meltdowns after coming home from daycare literally every single day and we didn’t know why. Trying to deal with the behaviors was emotionally and physically draining not only on me as a person but also on us as a whole. I was determined to find the cause of everything, trying to get him to talk, trying to ease the meltdowns, trying to calm the storm that brewed at every corner. During this time I was also going through my own physical transformation with arthritis and weight gain. I was in constant pain partially from the arthritis and partially from stress so the little time I did have to myself I spent it either researching or sleeping. I also spent 3-4 hours every morning working on activities that I made to try and help him talk because I hoped that once communication started that some of the issues we were having would ease up.
In 2012 through my research, I came across the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the Paleo Diet. I originally made the changes to our eating because of the section in the SCD book about Autism and diet. I was hopeful that simply by making some dietary changes that we would see some progress in the Monkey. I was definitely not disappointed with in 3 months of making the change to our diets the Monkey was stringing together 2 and 3 word sentences. His speech just opened up and it did help with some of his behaviors as now he was able to communicate with us and tell us when he wasn’t happy rather then just screaming at the top of his lungs. The diet, however helped me, possibly even more then him, as after the first month of being grain free and dairy free I had zero joint pain and I had lost 25 lbs. I had more energy and I felt a little bit like myself again but life then became all about autism, diet, and my weight loss. The Monkey made loads of progress over the next 2 years and I lost 100 lbs and now that I feel better and our family life is so much better I find that I am longing for the girl I once knew yet I have no idea how to balance it all. I already feel like there are not enough hours in a day but I know that I need to find some sort of balance between it all so that I do not completely lose myself and wonder 20 years from now what the heck happened to me.
Today I am making the conscious decision to work on finding the balance between work, being a mother, a wife, exercising, and making time to do the activities I used to love. I am going to make the conscious decision to make myself a priority in my own life. I am going to be a little selfish because for my own sanity I need to be.
When Rebecca and I started this page our goal was to share tips with other parents through our own experiences and to also help educate others who may not be as aware of everything that goes along with Autism. This post today is for all the parents who feel like they may be lost or who feel like everything has revolved around their child’s Autism. My tip to you all is to make time for yourselves. Do something that you love and take a step back from meltdowns and thinking about behaviors and therapy. Just take, even 2 hours a week to do something that you enjoy. Find the balance between it all.
For those of you who have found the balance, please share your tips with us all. I could use some direction!
Here are a few shots of my photography. A small glimpse into a piece of me I want to regain.
Have a great day!