A fellow mom asked for my help the other day. She was overwhelmed and needed someone to tell her she was going to get through the place she was in.
I’m a pretty good person to go to when you’re in the Land of Overwhelm. I know that place like the back of my hand. I used to give tours, but well, they got overwhelming. But as a frequent visitor, I get it. Like I really, really get it.
So I offered this mom the words that have been offered to me over the years. The words that have served as a bridge from the land of Overwhelm to the land of Action. In part they come from my friend Emily, one of the dearest souls I’ve never met. In part they come (indirectly) from Luau’s mom. In part they come from my dad. And in large part they simply come from knowing what it means to feel paralyzed.
I’m not sure that the mom that I sent them to ever saw them. If she’s reading this, I sincerely hope she’ll check her Facebook messages so that she can see the note in its entirety. But in the meantime, I thought that perhaps she wasn’t the only one feeling like it’s just too much. Wondering how the hell she’s going to get up and face this all again today. And tomorrow.
So I share my response to her here. From someone who gets it.
You will do it my dear. You will just like we all do – one baby step at a time. One ‘next right thing’ at a time. Even if the ‘next right thing’ on some days is brushing your teeth.
When the mountain is overwhelming, I look not to the peak but to my feet. When I look up, I get paralyzed. When I set my focus instead on the mechanics of each individual step, I can keep moving.
And I say it to myself over and over. Just do the ‘next right thing.’
The prospect of a (second) diagnosis is terrifying, I know. But if it comes, it will bring with it knowledge, understanding, access – the lanterns that light the path forward.
I know you feel alone, but there is help out there, where you are. The Autism Society of [removed]* has chapters all over your state. There is a listing of local chapters here: [removed]*
Call them. They will be able to help. They have tons of resources and can help connect you with the services and support that you need. That’s what they’re there for.
It’s the next right thing.
Hang in there, lady. You can do this. I promise.
*There are a number of places to find resources right where YOU are. While they don’t exist everywhere, there are more and more LOCAL advocacy groups popping up all the time. Google “(nearest city) autism resources” and see what comes up. If you come up dry, there are many national organizations that can offer assistance and may be able to connect you locally. Some are listed below. Feel free to add yours in the comments. And remember, if there isn’t anything near you yet, you can always create a group of your own.