My daughter has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, along with depression and OCD. We did not learn until she was 21 about the Autism. (Thank you Reader’s Digest for the article that spelled it out for me.) By then, after being unsuccessfully treated for over ten years for anxiety and depression, she felt hopeless. As she stated to me, “None of the meds I have tried ever worked. Nothing changes and I will never be normal.”
Well she was right. She will never be “normal” (whatever that is), but she will always be herself! And that is perfect to me. I wish she could understand how much I love her and love herself just as much.
We work together with a therapist on life skills, and I believe I see glimpses of forward movement – or what the therapist and I see as such. To my daughter, it takes a lot of energy and is play-acting. It does not come naturally to her and, in most cases, she would be just as happy not to change.
Social skills? She has “friends” all over the world via the internet. What is so important about going out and interacting with others? She hates noise, hates to be touched and has no interest in any relationships.
The world is seen as black or white, good or bad. “Why are teenagers so stupid about life? I do not understand the chances they take and would never do those things.” As her mother, I can attest to the fact that I never worried about her drinking, trying the latest bad fad or lying to me about where she had been.
I feel lucky in the fact we are very comfortable with each other, warts and all. With my M.E., we even share some sensory problems that effect both illnesses. She likes that I can understand some of what she goes through and it makes our living together easier.
Most evenings you will find us in the family room, each with a laptop. I will share recipes, cat pictures and other items of mutual interest by turning my laptop to face her. She will share like items by sending me the link via Skype. Then she will turn in my direction and watch my reaction. Usually I have a comment or two. Sometimes I laugh out loud, maybe even “snort”. This will make her shake her head and smile. She tells me she is “laughing at my laugh”, not at what is on the screen. If it makes her “laugh”, I do not care how silly I act – it is a special moment – one of many that we share.