i see myself

I seeeeeee myself!

~ Brooke every time she sees her reflection

Saturday night, six months ago

Luau and I are chatting about the evening’s plans. Our sitter is coming over in an hour, but we have no idea what we’re going to do with the free time. I grab a gift certificate off the bulletin board and present it to Luau. “How about this?” I ask. “I won it at the Flutie Bowl auction, remember?”

It’s an evening of F1 car racing.

Luau considers it thoughtfully. He turns it over and reads it, then looks at me. “It’s been a long day, babe. You sure you’re up for something like this?”

I look back at him and shrug.

“I’m not sure it’s such a good idea,” he says. “It’s likely to be pretty loud. Might be a little overwhelming for you tonight. Just think about it.”

I stand in the kitchen dumbstruck. The conversation is hauntingly familiar.

Can she handle it?

Too much noise?

Too much input?

Will she get overwhelmed?

Is it too much after a long day?

But we’re not talking about Brooke. We’re talking about me. And he’s right. It’s more than I can handle.

We don’t go.

Two weeks ago

I’m in the dressing room at a local department store. I’m thanking God no one can see me as I’m making a complete ass of myself. I’m hopping around in a circle with my jeans half on and half off trying to figure out what size they are. I want to grab a similar pair from the same designer but I’m loathe to take my boots off and start actually trying anything on.

Thing is, I won’t figure out what size the jeans are.

They have no tags.

Tags don’t live long in my world. Tiny little devices of torture, they have to go.

I can’t tell you how many of my shirts have what look like vampire bites at the back of the neck – two or four small (and sometimes not so small) holes where overzealous scissors did permanent damage. Luau does the laundry. He has chided me for years that nothing I own contains laundering instructions.

Last week

I am in my doctor’s office. I am not sure what to say when he asks what brought me in. I’m guessing it won’t be particularly illuminating if I answer, “Because I promised my husband I’d come.”

I do my best to explain.

“I’m worried about my health,” I tell him. “Overall.”

I pause. He watches me expectantly. I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I run through a couple of specific physical concerns, but I’m stalling.

After an awkward silence I find myself saying, “My youngest daughter has autism. And one of her biggest challenges is anxiety. We recently switched her medications and it was relatively disastrous. Anyway, there’s a lot to it, but I guess the thing is this – the thing that she needs most from me is calm. There’s nothing more important than me keeping it together when she loses it. And I’ve grown pretty good at it over the years. As she escalates, I de-escalate. But well, it’s not natural. In fact, it takes a hell of a lot of energy to fight every impulse I have and stay calm when I feel anything but.”

I’m gaining steam now. The doctor is listening intently.

“So I guess what I’m saying is that the stress of that situation has to come out somewhere. I keep it together for her, but I think it’s taking a toll.”

He looks at me and says, “Of course it is.” His tone suggests that we’ve both agreed that it’s a Tuesday. He might as well have answered, ‘Duh.”

We talk a bit more and he makes a suggestion.

“I’d like you to consider taking something to help manage the anxiety in the near term,” he says.

Wait. I didn’t say ‘anxiety.’ I said ‘stress.’ I almost interrupt him to tell him he’s made a mistake, then realize the difference is semantic. One is what I call hers. One is the name for mine.

He ticks off the attributes of some SSRIs and ultimately recommends one.

The room goes eerily quiet. I can hear the blood pounding in my ears. I laugh. It’s an awkward, pained laugh. Nothing’s funny.

“That’s the same med my daughter’s been on since she was five,” I say.

I agree to think about it.

I’m having trouble taking a deep breath.

The parking lot, half an hour later

I am sitting in the car. I am angry.

No, not angry. What?

I watch scenes fly by as in a movie trailer.

The F1 racing.

The tags.

Sitting across from a friend in college, aware – so aware – of needing to make eye contact, wondering where to look. What does that mean, ‘eye contact?’ Does it literally mean staring at her eyes? I do. It feels wrong, aggressive. I look at the bridge of her nose. This can’t be right. For years I will think about it, play with it, try to make it feel natural.

Walking with a neighbor last year. Talking without looking at each other. Relishing the ease of watching the ground while talking.

The Halloween party at the local elementary school. I’ve got to get the hell out of the gym. I can’t do this.

So many places. Too much. I have to get out of here.

A party. My party. At my house. I’m in the powder room. I needed a break. I wait the amount of time I assume it would take one to use the bathroom, take a deep breath and walk back into the fray.

Trying not to ask Luau to change the radio station as he happily drums along with the music, then finally losing it when I simply can’t take it anymore. The music, it’s just too much. “Too what?” he asks, trying to understand. “I don’t know,” I say. “just too much.”

The movie comes to a halt. I am crying.

I write to my friends, stopping to wipe the tears as the words blur.

I just feel this overwhelming sense of guilt. For so many of Brooke’s issues looking so God-damn much like my own, for not being able to handle this, for sucking the life out of my family, for f%&@ing global warming. Just guilt.

I know it’s not rational or remotely productive. I just had to say it.

In Welcome to the Club I wrote, “You will recognize some of your child’s challenges as your own.”

Indeed.

“You will get to know yourself as you get to know your child.”

Uh huh.

“You will look to the tools you have used to mitigate your own challenges. You will share them. You will both be better for it.”

Hell yes.

_

I look at my girl.

I see myself.

69 thoughts on “i see myself

  1. Oh Jess,
    I see myself too, you’re not alone.
    Not that if stops the hurt – but anyway, just saying…
    Embrases, Tina

  2. Thank you for always being so heartwrenchingly (is that even a word) honest with all of us. Thank you for taking the time to share with us.

  3. Oh, yes. I know how hard this is. I know how funny it is, but definitely not lol. My husband likes to tease that a tense cinematic experience for me is Wallace and Gromit. I prefer Shaun the Sheep. Getting my boy to a movie is a major undertaking. He girds, I gird, we sit in the very back row, loaded with popcorn and the ultimate prize, a Sprite. I find myself wincing and shutting my eyes and then look and see him doing the same thing. It was Arthur Christmas, 3 weeks ago, and it was *almost* too much for both of us. And anxiety? Well, it’s true that I wake up every night at 3 AM worried about my boy, but I’ve been a worrier forever. That’s what they used to call anxiety. And my older boy, who shoulders being the world’s greatest big brother so, so beautifully and lovingly? They call him a “worrier,” too.

    Here’s what I can say to you, though I can’t really take it on board for myself, I confess. One of the very most important things you can do for Brooke–okay, and I can do for my guy–is to really *get* her. Maybe that comes of that stuff in the mirror, but wherever it comes from, she needs it. I know you have it for her, and that’s all that matters, really, now.

    Thanks for another wonderful, thought-provoking, tear-inducing post. Oh and my older boy thanks you because now I’ve let him sleep for 10 minutes more… !

    Karin

  4. Everything you said here is absolutely “right on”. I see myself in you, in Katie and in Brooke. I’ve worried over the years because I, too, can’t take the crowds and the noise and lights whirling around me and, yes, I also cut out tags and I’m not sure looking people straight into their eyes is something I’m good at because I often seem to land at their noses or mouths.

    I love you,
    Mom

  5. I was just saying to a friend I am pretty sure if I was born at a later time I am sure I would have been dx with some form of autism. I know all to well how he feels about all the little things no one else seems bothered by. Thank you for sharing. I think I might need a visit with my DR.

  6. I think that those of us who connect with people on the spectrum best *have* to see some of ourselves in them. The children I work with do not seem foreign to me; very often they make so much sense. If I did not share some of their traits, I would not be able to make the connections that are so important, to reach them where they are. Sometimes I curse my lot in life– the occasionally (though less frequently) debilitating anxiety that no one sees, the feelings that I am somehow different or strange, but then I remember that these things are what have made me the person I am today and I am also grateful. I am glad that Brooke is helping you learn about yourself, and I am also glad that you will once again have the opportunity to see that you are *not* alone. xoxo

  7. Oh Jess…
    This was incredibly brave and strong of you to write. As always, you write with such strength and familiarity that many of us with the same guilts will come out and say “thank you, for once again I feel less alone.”
    So thank you. I feel less alone.

  8. Love this piece. In our house, we say that we are the trees the apple fell from, and we see O in my husband’s OCD, in my dislike of crowds (at the mall at Christmas, I blew into a sweat – my boots were damp), in my abhorrence of change and/ or uncertainty.

    The good news is that, if we are not alone, neither are our kids. πŸ™‚

  9. Jess, I could have written this myself. I’ve been wondering about pursuing diagnosis for myself. I know exactly what you mean here. I needed to read this today. Thank you.

  10. You are singing my song. It’s the guilt that always gets me. I constantly thinking that it is my fault that my little guy is on the spectrum. The crowds, the tags, the anxiety, the music, my husbands foot wiggling — it all bothers me. With my SSRI, not only have I been able to make it through, I have been able to maintain some sense of humor about our journey. I don’t know you other than through this blog, and I defintely don’t want to sound preachy, but please do think about it strongly and don’t feel like a failure if you decide you do need some help. Good luck in your decision making.

  11. Oh Jess, lol, I am totally with you on this. Every one of Cam’s symptoms are my own, just exacerbated to the point of having a label.

    Any change in the plan and I need a second to regroup. I’ve flaked so many times on group events that it’s now my M.O. Can’t tell you how many times my husband has found me in the back room of a party, sitting on someone’s bed, rocking back and forth because I just can’t do it. Do what exactly? I have no idea. Eye contact? Gave up on that a loooong time ago. Awkward is where I live.

    Guilt? Yea, a little. But it is what it is. And no one gets my boy like I do. I find, so often, that I’m saying, “Yea, Cam, when that happens to me I feel very ” and he relaxes. I can see him relax. Someone gets it and that really matters. So yeah, technically I may have caused it. Knowing that my anxiety was hereditary wouldn’t have stopped me from having kids, though.

    It bothered me at first. I’d seen autism in my boy as an adversary for years. And then I was seeing it in me, not to the same degree of course, but the traits were the same. And that felt like a betrayal, of sorts. This all eventually led to me accepting Autism as a part of our lives and not something that needed to be hated. And that led me to an acceptance of myself. I’m no longer ashamed of my quirks. I embrace them. And to hell with everyone else. πŸ˜›

  12. Ouch. But we either see the traits in ourselves, our spouses, the grandparents, some cousin. It hurts. But seeing it and getting yourself some help is only going toake things better. I remember going to the doctor 12 years ago, being prescribed an SSRI and going back to my office to weep that the doctor has said I was depressed. And the guilt – God, why did I have kids knowing I have these issues? What was I thinking? That they would somehow be spared? Not so far. Love you, chica. I get it. I’m here. xo

  13. I am beside myself. Last night I told my husband that all the noise, the input, it was just too much. The anxiety is gripping me Jess, and I am praying and praying and asking God for help and He is ignoring me I think. I don’t know what to do. I just don’t. I see myself retreating where once I was vivacious and funny. The more I want to help my child the deeper I get down the rabbit hole. It’s all too much. Thank you for sharing.

  14. The Mister and I have a talley going of which of our own quirks have developed in our boys. I thought he was well in the lead until last week. The ABA therapist pointed out that I am much more in line with some of Ks issues than I let on. She is right.

    What is it you say? Dogs don’t have cats? I am more like my anxiety, impulsive, dramatic child than I thought. It’s okay with me as long as I realize it πŸ™‚ thanks for sharing this!!!!

  15. I see myself too. Things that appear so easy and fun for most people are just plain frightening for me. Tags, food textures, sounds, smells, lights feel like assaults. My son is just like me. Learning how to protect him and teach him how to manage, has taught me how to protect myself and manage situations to keep myself from becoming overwhelmed also. I’ve spent just over a year in therapy and with appropriate medication, and now for the first time I can say that I understand and accept that I am who I am, and so I do what I need to do. I hope that self-awareness and self-acceptance is something I can also pass on to my son.

  16. I was just thinking this very thought within the past week… was it just me that noticed the same quirks we share (and I’ve struggled with)? Makes it easier to work with sometimes when its so familiar.

  17. What I say over and over: the apples don’t fall far from the trees. Our kids just seem to have… more of what we have, or a different constellation of the traits, a different shape to the snowflake. But it is of us they are made, yes indeed. I had completely forgotten about my own sensory issues as a child since I’d outgrown them (noises hurt me physically when I was little) but then I was reading up about SPD because of Jake and it all came flooding back. Yikes!

    Thank you for your bravery & honesty in sharing this with us. Love to you, always.

  18. You’re definitely not alone. We’ve learned a lot about my husband through my son, but the truth of the matter is, it didn’t all come from him. We are both on the same anxiety meds as well. Have the same issues with holding it together for just so long and then completely losing it. Sensitivity to noises, etc. Consider that it is just one aspect that makes you such a good mom to her – you really GET it.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I hope you find what you need to help you. And there’s NO shame in that. In fact, it’s pretty damn brave. To be honest right now I do see much of myself in Cymbie… some how I have a feeling I’ll see more as she gets older. I was always a bit of an out cast. Socially awkward. As a child I liked (LOVED) to rock, and had what I suppose they call “abnormal attachment to objects”. And I certainly had very specific and obsessive interests which I went on and on about even when no one cared.
    Right now I think Cymbie is just too early on in all this for me to see ALL of our “likes” emerge. But I know they will in time. I’ve thought a lot about it. Like I think you’ve said before….Apples don’t have oranges.

  20. Me too. What was hard was filling out all the questionnaires in pursuit of a diagnosis for my son. “Did he have normal eye contact at age…?” I have no idea. What’s normal? I’m certainly not the one to ask. I learned eye contact through movies. I noticed that they look from one eye to the other while talking, so that’s what I do…when I remember to and/or have the energy to process everything and act socially correct.

  21. I don’t often want to admit it. You said a couple weeks ago something like “well, we know where she gets her sensory issues!” It’s been in my head these past weeks. My husband was diagnosed right after our eldest son, but I _know_ he got his allergies, eczema and sensory issues from me. I hope and pray that fact doesn’t weigh me down with guilt, but forges a new bond between us as mother and son. It’s good that he takes after me (in strengths and weaknesses), because HE IS MINE.
    We are forever linked.
    In yet another way.

  22. You are to the cause of global warming not to mention the job and econimic problems of the whole nation……….I don’t know how you live with yourself. But, anyone who comes in contact with you can’t help but to see your intellegence, humor, humanity,….and fall in love with you…
    Dad

  23. Jess, you said something a while back…”Dogs don’t have cats.” This has stuck with me and I say it often when i’m talking about how my son and I have such similar challenges, yet different. Find the positives in it. You are who you are, for her : – )

  24. Again, I can relate. Many of my son’s sensory issues could be my own…are my own. I know the sense of guilt that stems from “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, and knowing that I am the tree. I internalize my anxiety…my son flaps. Sometimes I think he may be better off for it!
    Thank you for your honesty…your openness..and for once again helping me feel more “with company” on this crazy journey….

  25. I think we all have “issues”. LOL. I think back to all my quirks as a kid and how I am now. I’ve always felt that I’m abnormal in sooo many areas. My poor girl didn’t have chance. Between my husbands and mine genes she got it all tenfold. But she got alot of the good too! Thanks Jess for all honesty and pure goodness that you bring to our world. ❀

  26. Jess ~ again, thank you for sharing the thoughts that so many of us have. This is so true. I used to say that I can’t remember if I had these feelings too before autism came into our world, or if I have just adapted. I see myself in so many ways when helping our 18 year old son w/ autism. It’s tough every day. We have not been able to ‘cure’ him… in fact, he’s regressed. There’s guilt… so much guilt… And I think by releasing some of these things out into “our” community, it allows us to heal. I hear ya, girl. I feel your pain. Thanks for braving it out with us.
    Becki
    http://www.theothersideofnormal.com

  27. Thank you for your honesty Jess.

    I’ve heard someone say “we’re all a little bit autistic”… And may that is true to some extent. Not something to feel guilty about, but to explore and research and be open about as you are…

    Many Indigenous peoples and cultural see direct eye contact as very aggressive… When I learned that I said “Ah! I’m not alone!”. I too aim for the bridge of the nose… Or a cheek. πŸ™‚

    You’re an amazing gift to us all. Thank you.

  28. Jess,

    We all have sensory issues, and there are some pretty common behaviors among adults, such as the girl who wraps a hair lock around her finger all day. The guy who taps his foot on the floor or fingers at a table. I do suffer from sensory overload every night past 7pm when I can’t take the TV noise and lights on anymore. I have a thing where I don’t eat finger foods ever because I can’t stand the crumbs. I love french fries, but I wipe my fingers after I eat each one of them. Labels in my pantry are all facing forward (my husband does that too). My brother won’t eat rice that has been “stained” with meat sauce. He prefers quiet and has extreme anxiety to dare to make new friends. While we are technically not on the spectrum, I can see where this is going.

    Hang in there darling, and thanks for sharing from the bottom of my heart πŸ™‚

  29. Beautifully written … and a mirror to my own thoughts. These last four years since autism came into our house, I have often looked at my boys and seen myself, only magnified. A trait here or there, so like my own, yet so much more rigid and all-consuming. You are so not alone on this one. I think most of us see parts of ourselves in our kids’ autism and wonder. But you know what. I also look at my oldest son, and I see myself in him, too. And as much as you see yourself in Brooke, I hope that you see yourself in Katie, too. Because there’s a lot of really amazing and wonderful qualities that got passed down to both of those girls from you. Hugs and love …

  30. Wow….your honest words….so beautifully written. As my Dawson has been saying to me lately……”I see me” rather than “I see you” when we play the game of hide and seek.

    Thank you for helping me to see “me”……your a gift to your girls..your family….and this community……thank you for helping us see!

  31. Well, yes….
    I think most mums do.
    Neither of my daughters have autism, but I still see myself in my younger daughter’s anxieties, and my older one’s determination to work all out…. I think it is part of being a mum. Along with that, for me, comes guilt – “did I make her that way? Is it my fault?”
    But you know what?
    It isn’t.
    Because it is not something we can be blamed for. It is what it is. That’s what I try to tell myself, anyway. With varying degrees of success.
    Just wanted to let you know I hear you.

  32. Pingback: Help « Try Defying Gravity

  33. Just got rid of all my turtlenecks because I couldn’t stand the sensation of the touch on my neck. My husband finds something wrong in nearly every food with taste to it. My neurotypical girls–one won’t wear socks anymore, and the other has no idea what a soft voice is…we are in it together, that’s all I know, and there is, at least, something good about the word “together”.

  34. I was just thinking about this. My David has so many of the same issues I have and even my mom have. I have been considering taking something for anxiety too, but what holds me back was that I took Paxil while I was pregnant with him and I feel guilty because I’ve been told that it is probably what caused him to be Autistic. My mom also used to take Paxil. When I was a kid I had so many issues. I failed second grade because the teacher thought there was “something wrong with me” however testing didn’t point to anything I was too smart to be in any of the categories they had for disabilities too bored to do well in class and not quite smart enough to be gifted.I had no friends at school at that time either. My mom has issues with texture and sound even with cold foods and drinks I see him in me and her. My NT daughter has some quirks too and I of course let her have her way with these things because I understand and because it is only fair to make adjustments for every person in my life.

  35. My shirts have all had homemade thumb holes before they sold them like that. My dad used to yell at me for scratching the side of my thumbs bloody with my finger during soccer games. i still do it, it is how I can tell if it was a good day or not. I never know I do it until I look down at the blood. There is so much I’m learning about myself by watching my son. I feel like J is making progress, but I’ve been in a downward spiral. But after reading this, and A’s post at Try Defying Gravity today, I feel less alone, and like maybe there is some way to not feel so overwhelmed all the time. Thank you for your honesty and courage in writing this. sending hugs and strength.

  36. Thank you for being so honest in this blog, I am feeling a bit the same way and I promised my doctor I would ring a psychologist she recommended but I am scared, I have seen lots of those and never seem to follow through with things but I like you need help so maybe this time it will be different?
    Take care, we are special people too and have wonderful kids who need us so we need to be strong and try to help ourselves don’t you think?

  37. I have 2 daughters – The older one is lower functioning. Not a ton of language. Your Brooke has her beat. The younger one is the opposite end of the spectrum. My husband sees himself in the older and I in the younger. I can say I just want to protect her from all the hardships I had growing up until now. I wish I could tell her what she needed to do to not go through what I did. I really could relate to you today on many levels.

  38. Thanks so much for posting this. It’s been a family joke for as long as I can remember that I cannot bear opening biscuit cans. The sound (and the ANTICIPATION of the sound) makes my heart race and my nerves jangle. I laugh along with everyone else, but since my son’s diagnosis, the thought of my little “quirk” fills me with guilt and sorrow. There’s not a damned thing funny about it these days.

  39. Teresa ~ Don’t forget the amazing parts, too! *hugs*

    Crystal ~ β€Ž2Corinth 1:4 “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled,we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

    Crystal ~ I often see the same in my personal “stress like” syndrome in my nephews anxiety…..and you know what, My heart goes out that much more to him for trying to deal with this everyday…But you know what he gets through it everyday, one day at a time. Some are very very good and others are total melt downs….but in the end he’s stronger than most β™₯

    Vicki ~ Thank you for sharing. It hit home. I’ve never really thought about it. I hate going to the store and fighting the “crowd” and find myself wanting to leave. The TV can be on and if I’m not watching it, it’s too loud. Ummm, I have a hearing problem and it’s not really that loud. I work at a place that allows people to listen to music. Several people have taken to having a device that will play their music to all to hear instead of wearing earbuds, so there are times when I’m in ear shot of several peoples music and the stores music, if it’s playing, and it’s too much. I could go on and on but now that I think about it…all of it is, just like Nick.

    Erin ~ You must know that your honesty in your writing gives voice to the same feelings and experiences so many of us share. You are not alone on this one. In our house we say the autism makes them just like every other kid, only more so- more excitement, more anxiety, etc. This doesn’t come out of thin air, I think we all know that. But the blessing in that is that your daughter has a mom who really “gets” her. God gives us what we need, whether or not we can understand it. Thank you for sharing this, because I am certain that most of us feel or have felt the very same way. You will be ok and you will be an even better mom for it. Take care of you. Hugs.

    Denise ~ I can see it in myself and in each of my other boys as well…thanks for being so “real” You make my life easier to bear with your truthfulness.

    A Chameleon in the Spectrum ~ Ahhhh. Yes. EXACTLY. You are NOT alone in this! Thank you for sharing, Jess! (((hugs))) β™₯

    Daisy ~ So true I see myself in my son all the time now.
    Great post thanks!

    Dana ~ β€Ž((((( ))))) as you embrace yourself in all your intricacies. And thank you for helping others to see themselves in their children, or you. And for helping them learn to ASK for HELP for THEMSELVES, too. It doesn’t always come naturally, or easily – as you well know. But it IS as crucial as the help we demand for our children.

    Remember you have a tremendous support network, in person and online, who will carry you and walk with you.

    Jackie ~ I see myself so much in my son, too. I had to start meds after years of “handling” our stress and I am now thankful that I did. (however it took me a couple of months to fill the prescription ‘cuz I didn’t want to believe that I needed meds to function) Thank you for sharing your family’s journey. I know it helps me feel less alone on ours.

    Colleen ~ Awesome post – thanks for sharing.

    Jennifer ~ I honestly don’t know what I’d do without your words anymore. There’s such an understanding there that I brush away the urge to hum, “strumming my pain with her fingers, singing my life with her song; killing me softly with her words, telling my whole life….” Didn’t expect tears this morning but here they are. Only a few. Work to be done. Thank you, Jess.

    Lisa ~ All my life I struggled Everyone called me “uptight”. I had no way of explaining what I felt or experienced until my son. I could finally put a name to what I was feeling. Anxiety. Using the skills our team has put on place for him helps me tremendously!!! Plus my trusty Suntheanine. Ya know Jess, my biggest breakthrough was being able to tell my son (when he was ‘stuck’) that I absolutely got it. I understood. I feel that was our true bonding moment. He gazed deep into my eyes and he KNEW that I got it.
    So don’t feel guilty. This revelation will only empower you. It gives you an advantage that you can truly understand. And ya know what? For the first time in my life, I’m comfortable in my own skin. No more “what’s wrong with me?”
    ((((Hugs))))

    Lisa B ~ Hugs, sista β™₯

    Bethany ~ As so many have said, thank you for your honesty. This post hit home for mr. The more I learn about my son, the more my childhood issues – heck, even current ones – make sense. I hid behind books as a kid to deal with what I couldn’t understand. Hopefully I can give my son better tools. Again, thank you!

    Patty ~ Thank you for putting my thoughts into words…again.

    Jessica Rae ~ I am literally crying my eyes out. I have no idea how you articulated THAT into words but thank God you did. Thank you. So much.

    Erica ~ Thank you, as always, for helping each of us feel less alone. It’s more of a blessing than I can come close to articulating!

    Luna ~ β€Ž@Jennifer ~ “I honestly don’t know what I’d do without your words anymore.” wow. so true.

    Tammy ~ I can relate.

    Debbie ~ Fortunately, I’ve always known that something was not right with me. I guess I have tools, too, which I will share with my son. I’m grateful for that. I find consolation in that I can empathize with him and that he won’t feel like he’s alone… I won’t let him feel as I felt.

    Rachel ~ So get this! Thank you for putting it out there. Hugs.

    Tracey ~ Hugs.

    Holly ~ I don’t have kids of my own but 3 of my nephews have autism and that’s how I began asking questions about myself. I see little me in my 5yr old and I am exactly like my 10 and 12yr olds. Also, I start college Monday and all I can imagine is me crying in a corner like I did as a kid. Jess, there are so many that feel as you do. Take comfort in that!

    Tasha ~ Going thru something similar myself! Thanks for the honesty!

    Laurel ~ It’s sobering to see ourselves in our children. I’m trying to show compassion and understanding to my kids when they act just like I did (sometimes do), instead of getting annoyed or frustrated. It sure gives me more empathy for my parents, too.

    Karen ~ It is a wise woman that can look within, take perspective, learn, and grow. You are very wise, my friend.

    Linda ~ Ah, I see me too….and my hubby, it is tough to see our issues and see theirs….sigh

    Elizabeth ~ Thank you…..you have a way of exposing what so many of us are feeling and unable to put into words….so….thank you…

    Sarah ~ Yes thank you jess. Ive seen myself soo many times, but put it to the back of my mind. Ur couragous for seeing it in yourself and and thank you for letting me feel allowed to see it in me!xx

    Alicia ~ I am taking this post to my therapist appointment tomorrow!

    Cindi ~ just had this conversation with Paul while laying in his bed… Paul: “what if God didn’t make me special by putting autism in my brain?” Me (completely off guard): “well you would still be special because you are you.” Paul: “well I don’t want autism in my brain, I don’t want to be special.” Me (thankful we are laying in the dark cuz i don’t want to cry) “You are special no matter what. With autism or without it.” Paul: “did you eat cheese?” Me: “Huh? Um, earlier I ate cheese. But I brushed my teeth since then.” Paul: “you brushed your teeth? I don’t think it worked.” and then he fell asleep while I laughed and cried at the same time…. just needed to share

  40. This was really difficult for me to read. I (like so many others here) see a lot of both my sons in me and other people in my family. It hurts. It feels like it’s my fault. The 1 person I tried to talk to about it is my Grandfather who I’m sure would be diagnosed with OCD had that been around in Jamaica 70 years ago. He gave a short, shallow response. The tone he said it with almost sounded like he was proud that he had passed his “ways” onto my kids. It’s not what I wanted at the time so I haven’t shared these feelings with anyone else since. Thank you for sharing and for making me feel like it’s ok to talk about it again.

  41. I thought I posted a comment here yesterday but I can’t seem to find it now, Well, if it got lost some how,,,I just wanted to say it again to you simply then…..me too

  42. At Christians last paed appt the doc asked my husband and I if we recognise any of Christians traits in ourselves. I didn’t know where to start. I see myself.

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  44. Once again you’ve struck a chord. Lex and I were just having this conversation the other day. We’re both anxious that we’re passing-on too many of our negative characteristics to our children (our ADD, our tempers, our frustration, our anxiety). It’s always the negative things that stand-out the most. Those are the things we catch most often and stress-out about (a self-perpetuating circle of anxiety, are we screwing-up our kids THAT much?)…

    When we get really bad and find ourselves having a “where in the hell did she get THAT!?!?” conversation. We spend the next several days watching closely and pointing-out all of the positive things we see our kids mimicking, like their determination, their humor, their kindness and wanting to help, their loyalty to their friends, and even their smile or the dimple in Charlotte’s chin (she got it from me)! LOL!

    It’s parenting and we’re ALL in the same boat whether we have children on the spectrum or neuro-typical kiddos (or both).

  45. If you see yourself in your little girl, you know you’ve done her a service. You’re an amazing woman, and she will be too. I hope you won’t punish yourself with guilt for too long. After all, for better or worse, I think it’s normal for all of us to pick up pieces of our parents. In your case, I’d say finding pieces of you is apt to be for the better. I hope you can start to erase some of the guilt you feel for her troubles with pride for the positive qualities in her that are a direct reflection of you (tenacity, anyone?).

  46. oh man….yes indeed. looking back over my childhood i wonder what my life would be like if i had been born now. little things that bothered me (and still do), the way i was (am) particular about certain items in my closet, when the noise is too much and there are too many people. the tiny noise that no one else seems to hear, but is driving me CRAZY and the shirt with the elastic in the sleeves that is sometimes ok, but sometimes i can’t even look at it because it feels so wrong. and i think, ‘gee, it’s no wonder my daughter is the way she is! it’s been coming down the genetic line!’

    i have said before- i don’t think it’s about whether or not a person is autistic or not, it’s about where they fall on the spectrum. i think we are all on it in some way or another.

    i am so glad i came across your blog several months ago. i wish i had uninterrupted time so i could sit down and start reading all the posts from the beginning. your brooke and my grace have so many things in common. it encourages me to no end to read your entries.

    thank you

  47. I’m just getting around to reading this blog. I have an 8 yr old boy with Autism, a 12 yr old boy with Aspergers, and an 11 yr old girl with very very mild Aspergers and possible anxiety. Both boys have ADHD . I myself have anxiety. I recognized myself in your post. So many things have had to be cancelled or postponed in my life because of the anxiety. I’m now on meds, butit’s not completely under control.

    I started a blog just a few days ago about my story. It’s rough around the edges, but if it helps even one person with their journey, that’s all I need.

    http://ihaveautismnotcooties.blogspot.com/

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  49. I can certainly relate to seeing some of my daughter’s traits in myself- some days moreso than others. And I too suffer from anxiety/stress & at times depression (and I too am medicated for it, although my daughter is not – she’s only 4 & we’re still in fist 6mths since dx, so I feel it’s too soon yet for her to not keep trying social stories etc but it’s been mentioned).
    My doctors/psychologist don’t think that I fit “enough” of the criteria to match her diagnosis of Aspergers, & that’s OK for now, but I find myself wondering some days… today was one of them as I forced myself to make eye contact & wondered if I was staring them down, or just being polite. (some days it feels natural, others it is an effort/conscious struggle)

  50. This is me. I see myself in my daughter so, so often. I recently found your blog. I started reading it because you have a daughter on the spectrum. My daughter was diagnosed with ASD in April, and finding a blog about a girl with ASD has been a life line for me. That’s why I started reading your blog. I’ve contributed to read it because I relate to it, because I like reading about a little girl like mine, and because I like your writing style. This post in particular, speaks to me. I’m living with anxiety—my daughter’s and my own. I’ve often thought of going to my doctor and owning up to it. My hubby has asked me to do do. I haven’t yet found the courage, but I’m thankful that you did. I’m even more thankful you had the courage to blog about it. It is reassuring to know I’m not alone in this. Thank you.

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  52. I held my breath reading this. We do not ha e any diagnosis of autism here, but the sensory, the anxiety, the too much, the emotional intensity and ADHD. Last week it all smacked me in the face when I snapped at my son for drumming his spoon at the table and my husband said “G, you know your mom cant handle repetitive noises like that. ”

    Oh the guilt

  53. *more huggings* i often wonder if my grandmother was on the spectrum. she understood me in a way my mother never did.

    gramma taught me how to carefully cut out tags, to always FEEL clothes before buying them (including theseams!), needed her routine (a break in her routine was something to be avoided at all costs because she’d have a panic attack), loved solitary activities like gardening or crocheting or activities with only 2-4 other people far more than anything in a crowd (i’m not sure i ever saw her in a crowd that wasn’t at church or a funeral!), didn’t wear anything that wasn’t comfortable, never forced me to look at her, always always understood.

    she was happy and strong and wonderful. ❀ and a huge blessing and lifesaver to me.

    my heart is so joyful that brooke has you to understand her so well because you GET it so well.

    xoxoxo

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