It is not possible to be a chipper and productive little blogging bird when one is depressed and overwhelmed, when one's kids are so busy and difficult and sleepless and aggro that even one's usually unflappable and cheerful partner is affected.
So, I'm reaching back to my original people, the Catholics, for some advice on dealing with caregiver exhaustion (the article is for children of aging parents, but the advice really does suit most any 24/7 caregiver).
It is jolting to see myself reflected back in every bullet point. I don't like seeing my friends reflected back, either, but that is our reality, and we could all use reminders about our worth and roles and pressure release valves.
In the meantime, my Anglo-Canadian stiff-upper-lipped facade is cracking. I have tried to reach out to a few people to let them know that, ya, I really am depressed, but they either laugh to demonstrate appreciation for my ironic attempts at mood-lightening, or make awkward excuses to leave the conversation. Which is understandable, as I myself find the situation distasteful. What kind of loser wastes two successive weeks' babysitting nights by taking to her bed? I'm sure I'll snap out of it. Soon.
Why? Because reasons for optimism are on the horizon. We are meeting with Dr. Sheyenne next week to discuss Leelo's absence episodes and the possibility of seizure meds. (Yes, we have skewed perspectives in the special needs parenting world; I doubt many other parents would be excited about opportunities for medicating their child.)
We will also meet with Therapist E, who specializes in aggressive behavior and behavioral, non-violent, non-medication-based approaches for quelling it. We think our families may subsidize a long-term consult. If so, I will record our approach and progress in detail, in case anyone else needs help understanding and redirecting the dangerous behaviors of their aggressive partially verbal autistic children. And if you know of online resources or blog posts regarding autism and aggression, do cite.
Also, Seymour and I talked. We are both freaked about my horrible afternoons alone with the kids. Leelo cannot be anywhere near the girls without trying to hit them. Much of his aggression is behaviorally based, but how do you tell a three-year-old not to scream when her brother walks by because it only encourages him? Modifying Seymour's work schedule is not an option even though he offered; his job is stressful enough without additional time constraints.
Afternoon purgatory is, thankfully, one problem that can be fixed by pouring money on it, by getting an extra adult body in the house for those few hours until Seymour gets home. Where this money will come from, I don't know. But I will baldly state that I am available for editing and content development work.