6.07.2008

Depressed, Exhausted, Looking Forward

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.

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9 comments:

  1. I Know you and your husband WILL find a way for you to get the help in the afternoons to help out with Leelo. As for your depressive state I do encourage you to seek help from church/doctors office/ your husbands EAP Program (emergency help program) at least to talk to some one short term.

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  2. Don't back away from or deny the depression. Call it what it is and deal with it accordingly, just as you would if it were happening to a family member. You've earned that depression, love...you got it honest.

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  3. Big hugs to you! I totally understand what you are going through. Have you considered a consult/possible meds for you? Personally, I recommend it (in a been there done that kind of way).

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  4. i mean this in the least creepy way possible: if you ever think it might be diverting to talk to a recovering depressive catholic you never met, my phone is open. i often read the blog and think how much help you clearly deserve, and how strangers can't do much but buy your book and leave the occasional (not creepy) comment . . . if wishes were anything palpable, you'd have a lot of them on your doorstep.

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  5. underH2Ofrog6:32 PM

    i am laughing (not outloud - too tired for that) at the website from the Catholics. I interpreted it as you_raging_parent.com instead of your_aging_parent.com. I guess that kinda goes with your point. :-) I just became a parent of three a few weeks ago. Have another son now. Not sure you remember me but I check your site every now and then. We just started my boy on Ritalin today as a trial for his hyperactivity we've always just assumed was all autism. It actually worked well. Let's pray it's not a honeymoon effect.

    cheers,
    underH2Ofrog

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  6. Oh, honey. What everybody else said-- do what you have to do to treat your depression. Your family depends on you being healthy and in good spirits. I pray that you find some answers for the challenges you face with Leelo. Sending love and good thoughts.

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  7. Anonymous8:25 PM

    Take care of yourself.
    please.

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  8. Melissa P.9:57 PM

    My doctors at Kaiser put me on an antidepressant. Probably saved my sanity, especially after the 2nd one was diagonised.
    there is nothing wrong with helping yourself cope. We moms have no choice but to cope and handle everything with autism.
    About a nanny or college student babysitter? Need not be a therapist.
    You need help now, college students are looking for summer jobs Squid!

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  9. I think SOMEone needs me to come sing happy songs....

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Respectful disagreement encouraged.

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