Warning to my readers- this won’t be one of my typical “find the silver lining” type of posts. Today I’m telling it like it is chez McCafferty, and what it is includes a very tired Mom.
I have a feeling a lot of you can relate to that.
My oldest son Justin, who is severely autistic and also diagnosed with OCD, has been really struggling the past few months, and the last week in particular has been grueling. His struggles have gone hand-in-hand with triumph (I got him to lose fifteen pounds this summer and he’s on Risperdal, his neuropediatrician was a little in awe of me,) but our success has been tempered by his compulsive behaviors. Justin’s had OCD (and obviously autism) his entire life, but in general the OCD-like behaviors have been very manageable. They often included a bit of reorganizing, making sure a toy was strategically placed in a certain room, etc. We’ve been able to roll with it, and it hasn’t really disrupted our lives or his.
That is until reorganization became his full-time obsession, much akin to mine with chocolate.
This probably doesn’t sound so bad to you, but here’s the thing. He’s throwing things behind furniture (that often his short mom can’t reach.) My boy is putting objects under other objects so I literally have no idea where they are (like my phone, OMG.) But the worst is his almost fifty-year-old mom now relies on visual cues to do anything, and now things and important papers are entering the OCD Bermuda triangle and I don’t even know they’re gone and that I need them.
Trust me, I am a woman who relies on her visual cues.
We’re doing all the right things to counteract this behavior- redirecting to the computer, his DVD player, movies on tv, etc. We’ve been back to see his neuropediatrician, who has made a med change we hope will kick in within two to four weeks (or five minutes ago if I had my way.) But in the meantime it’s usually just me with him at home, and the problem is I can’t always stay with him for his redirected activities because of laundry/phone calls/making lunches/trying to find my phone that I hid from him.
Once again I wish wholeheartedly for the attractive Swedish “manny” to make his appearance.
But even though his reorganization tactics have wreaked hell on our household (he once threw out all my sticky notes, it was like the world ended,) the worst part is that when he’s doing it he’s miserable. There’s no satisfaction derived from him for angling a book a certain way on a countertop, or reallocating certain toys to different bins in our garage that hosts every toy he’s ever had from 2003 to date. He often gets upset when things just aren’t right, and believe me, nobody has any idea how to make them right. Sometimes he just cries in frustration, and there’s not a Baby Einstein video in the world that can snap him out of it.
Trust me, in this house if Baby Einstein can’t fix something, things are in dire shape.
I’m hoping his neuropediatrician is right and the med changes will help alleviate this behavior, and I hope so both for him and for all of us. I hate seeing him so unhappy, and I frankly I also hate the 24/7 surveillance I’ve had to put on him so my car keys don’t end up in the garbage (they’d have company with those sticky notes I rescued.) I shared with you that today there’d be no silver lining, and there isn’t. My boy is the best, but sometimes his behaviors are really tough, and this week I’m just tired of how damn hard things are some times.
And I have a feeling many of you can relate to that too.
For more on my family visit my blog at autismmommytherapist.wordpress.com/
Follow me on Facebook at Autism Mommy-Therapist