Living with PTSD, Anxiety and Autism.
So where to begin. I love my husband, my kids, my dogs and my Job. But I hate some of the things that come with it. All everyone ever wants is happy healthy kids. Enough money to pay their bills and to wake up every day with the ones they love.
I’ve woken up some days not knowing when I would talk to my husband again. I wake up now to him having cold sweats and bad nightmares. I wake up to him grabbing my arm and sobbing. I’ve seen my husband wake up, grab a gun and walk around our house outside because he thought he saw someone. My husband has PTSD and is waiting on back surgery, and one of my children has been diagnosed with Autism.
My nights consist of waking up to a child that I love that doesn’t sleep. My child was just diagnosed with autism and not everyone in the family believes it. They think he’s fine and he will grow out of it. How is a child supposed to grow out of it? That comment always baffles me.
Three times a week he has therapy. I take my four-year-old to preschool. Some days I take my step-son and his brother to school. Most days I run on 3-4 hours of sleep. I work 46 hours a week and my husband works 40+ hours a week. He deals with the VA, and I deal with well…EVERYTHING. Some days it feels like too much to bare and other days I feel like I can carry the weight of the world.
I’ve always been the strong one, the funny one, the happy one, the one who’s always there for everyone. Well this is how I see it. On a day to day basis I have to be the strong one. I sleep three maybe four hours a night – and certainly not all in a row.
My son was recently diagnosed with autism. I know I’ve already said that, but it doesn’t matter how many times I say it – or how many times I don’t say it, it’s still my reality. It’s still something that needs to be said. It means something to me, it means something to us. Before his diagnosis, autism was just a word…now it’s my life.
Autism. It’s something a parent fears. We fear it because it’s different, it’s not something that’s programed in us to know how to deal with it. For me, Autism means giving up control. I am a bit of a control freak and that’s something I have just come to terms with. If I can’t control a situation – I panic. My mind begins to race with the what if’s. Though my son babbles, I worry he won’t ever learn to speak. He is two and says no words as of yet.
I worry that my son will be that kid that gets picked on at school. I worry that my son will never really get to experience life. It’s something I think we as parents always fear for our children but when something unexpected happens it scares the living hell out of you. But on top of that you also have to face the reality of your husband having PTSD as well, you’re relied on to be the “strong” one. The one who isn’t scared of anything.
Well I’m here to tell you that’s not true.
My family is my EVERYTHING and I would do anything for them. I gave up my dream of becoming a cop. Some people may say that’s insane, but try having the stress of your loved one being in a war zone for a year not knowing if he will come home. I could never in my life do that to him. To have him sit at home every night wondering if the mother of his children, his wife will make it home that night. If that kiss every morning is his last. My husband is truly my world.
He fought for me and won. He fought to give me a life we’ve always wanted and I really do love my life. But some days are way harder than others. My husband is my rock. He is the ying to my yang. When I am stressed out he knows to tread lightly and how to calm me down. When he is stressed out I know how to calm him down.
Most days I love coming home. That’s all I can ever think about, but there’s always that 1% of the time I just want to sit in my van and cry, or take a nap, or just enjoy the silence. I NEVER know what I’m going to be walking into when I come home. I never know if my husband is in the right state of mind and if the little one is just going to be chill or a raging asshole (Yeah I said it, and I know you have too).
Life at home can be stressful, especially when your child doesn’t talk and screams at the top of his lungs because you don’t know what he wants. When you try to stay on trying to teach him sign language but he doesn’t have the patience to try to learn. When all he wants to do is rock in the recliner or lay on the floor with his trucks. When your child is so picky all he will eat is Pop-tarts, Graham crackers, puffs yogurt bites and baby food, it’s a struggle.
When he fights you on everyday things you tend to stay inside and become a hermit. It’s not easy to go places when your son throws a fit no matter where you go. My husband and I have to take turns on who gets to go to the store and who stays home. We NEVER go to other people’s houses with the kids because let’s face it – I can’t handle the stress of my kids possibly fucking something up in someone’s home, nor can I take the fact that I won’t be able to just relax. It’s hard for people to understand the struggle of day to day life when you go to work and come home.
When you choose to stay home because you know how difficult your child can be. You know that not everyone can handle it. I’m not sure how many people my son has scared away because he is a lot of work. Sometimes all we want to do is just go to the store together but can’t. We rely solely on one person to watch our kids during the day and that said person is the only one we can look to if we want a night out. It’s just too much to put on one person. So, we choose to stay in.
Adults should be able to get away guilt free and have time together at least once a month to just breathe. But sometimes not everyone gets that or believes in that.
Since our youngest was born – my husband and I have never been able to sleep in our bed alone. Well, besides the week he was in the NICU, but that doesn’t count because lord knows neither of us could sleep. Life definitely took a turn the moment our youngest finally came home. My kids have never been easy. Neither have ever slept through the night. The oldest started when he turned two but that was when the youngest was born. So, for four years I haven’t slept a full night’s sleep. Side note, some days I feel like a 50’s housewife. Like I’m supposed to do everything when it comes to cooking and cleaning and taking care of every need of the kids and my husband but also working a full-time job. I can’t do everything on my own. I’m not super mom.
I just want people to know I feel the stares. I feel you looking while I’m trying to stay calm as my husband has a freak out because there’s too many people in a store while my son screams at the top of his lungs because he can’t run away from us. I feel the dirty looks I get because my son has my phone or his tablet when we do go into a store because it’s the only way he will stay calm. He gets too over stimulated and just freaks out. I see the dirty looks and confusion, I see you looking at my child when he doesn’t speak and only sounds come out. I hear the remarks that you make when my husband has a panic attack.
All I simply want people to know is that you truly never know what is going on in someone’s life. Behind someone’s smile is pain. Behind that pain is a parent who just wants the best for their children. Someone who just wants to see the good.
If you have a story you’d like published, e-mail me at email@example.com and we’ll talk about it 🙂
Thank you for visiting MadStella <3