Sunday, 15 March 2015

The isolation of autism

I've always been a loner.

But now ... I feel alone.

I've never felt so alone in my life. I may have my mother living with me, my siblings being supportive of me, my husband who's got my back ... I even made from tentative friends with other parents at the schools, thanks to volunteer work.

But still I feel so, so alone.

Because as much as I try to educate people on what it's like raising a child on the spectrum (even though the condition is so mild most people don't even know it's there), unless they have first-hand experience caring for them day-in-day-out, 24 fucking 7 ... they can never really understand. And I cannot connect with them. Even my mom who helps me with the kids cannot full grasp the intricacies of the condition, nor understand why I feel the way I feel.

Motherhood is already an isolating condition, separating you from the friends you had before kids (not helped by my existing trust issues caused by childhood bullying trauma). People also get more competitive, judgemental and bitchy when they become parents, so it's even harder to find a friend you can safely share parenting experiences with. And then, on top of that, is having a child with an "invisible" condition.

Unlike physical disabilities and conditions, it's not apparent that your child has it. They look like neurotypical kids ... albeit with some quirky and sometimes anti-social behaviour that even most paediatricians miss diagnosing.  The average stranger just thinks he's ill-mannered and his parents suck. So instead of getting automatic understanding or sympathy, you're shot with judgemental stares and nasty whispers behind your back ... just like in secondary school. Fuck. Getting ugly flashbacks now.

And you are afraid to be forthcoming about it because there's a stigma attached. And so little understanding of the symptoms other than the savants shown in Hollywood, most (fearful) parents find it easier to avoid you and your kids.

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