Saturday, March 17, 2012

My Hero

I had an interesting conversation with my son today.My son is a person with autism. He is 26 years old. I started questioning his pediatrician when he was just a little more than a year old.We visited our first so-called expert when he was 18 months old. Much has changed since then, thankfully. Those first 'experts' were so wrong about so many things.

My son is my hero. He meets every day with optimism, and is truly the most content person I have ever known. Things most of us take for granted can be difficult for him,but perseveres and learns how to deal with any challenge.

Having a conversation is not easy for him. He talks to me the easiest when we are in the car. There is a reason for this, when we are in the car, Mom has to pay attention to driving, so I can't ask him for eye contact, or even to look at me. Because his brain works differently, he doesn't see things the way most do. He can't read body language or facial expression. He is challenged by tone of voice. Today, it dawned on me that that also describes those of us who communicate with others on the computer. When we read a post on facebook, or a message board, we can only read the words. We can't read body language, or facial expression. We can't hear the tone of voice.

So, back to the conversation I had with my son. We were discussing a commercial we had seen while watching some NASCAR programming. In the commercial, a driver mentions that the rate of autism in our children is now 1 in 110. When my son was diagnosed nearly 25 years ago it was thought the rate was 1 in 10,000. So our conversation was centered on not only the need for awareness campaigns, but on the increase in numbers of persons with autism.

I guess I need to point out that we have always considered my sons autism as a blessing. We accept that his brain works differently, and that that difference is not bad, it is just different. I am often astounded at the way he thinks. I was told I was "an unrealistic" parent by certain experts because I said that if we can figure out how the autistic brain works we would find the answers to most of the worlds problems. I thought that when my son was a toddler, I totally believe it now that he is a young man.

When we talked, my son said awareness is necessary so that more people can see that different is just different, not wrong, or bad. Just different.People need to see that there is nothing to be afraid of when someone is different,and that being different doesn't make you less of a person. We also talked about how awareness campaigns might help those who aren't blessed with autism to be more patient with some who are.

Then we talked about how many more people are being born blessed with autism. That is when I was reminded that the answers to our problems might just be in those autistic brains. "What if," he said, "there are more people with autism because the world needs the way we think. What if our brains are evolving to help."

What if, indeed! In a world where more and more communication takes place on the computer. More and more communication takes place where we are unable to read body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. In a world where in my lifetime technology has evolved more than I can even comprehend some days, what if more people are being born with brains that function differently because we need them.  I was definitely given something to think about, and that is only one of the reasons he is my hero!

Monday, March 12, 2012

I need One

I am still not functioning very well due to the lingering effects of the shingles. When you have a chronic medical condition, especially a chronic pain medical condition, you have a finite amount of energy. You spend most of that energy dealing with the pain, and the rest of it dealing with everyday necessities of life. So, something as simple as a common cold, or as difficult as the shingles, can wreak havoc with your body, because there simply are no reserves of energy to deal with it.So things like writing a blog tend to not happen, even though you have the best of intentions. Then, the next thing you know you are feeling pretty damn sorry for yourself, and more things in your life get left by the wayside. It is all too easy to start thinking that no one else has things as bad as you-which you know is a crock-but it feels like it some days. Then you start withdrawing into yourself, because honestly who wants to be around someone as miserable as you.

Dang, we tell ourselves some stupid stuff!!! (maybe it's just me that does that)

Truth is we need people, and there are more than likely people in our lives that are missing us.People in our lives that think we are pretty cool.

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.~~Jane Howard~~

We need others. We may at one time or other stick our noses in the air and sniff "That's OK, I don't need anyone else." But it's a lie, we know it's a lie when we say it, we only say it so that some other person is not allowed to see how badly they are hurting us by leaving us or rejecting us. But, the truth is we need others. We need some people just for a season, and that is OK. They may move into our lives and move out again. But we need others, because we have a need to be loved, but more importantly I think, we have a need to love. Hopefully, we will learn that we have to start by loving ourselves, taking care of ourselves, learning and living the truth about ourselves. This enables us to surround ourself with the right others. When we are operating under the untruths that get stuck in our head, we often surround ourself with the WRONG others, so instead of being strengthened, encouraged, loved, we end up depleted, despairing, and destroyed. When we choose to love ourselves we will create a tribe, a group of others who have our greater good at heart. But when we are choosing to operate outside of love for ourself, we can surround us with toxic, discouraging others.Sometimes, we are that toxic discouraging other,and we need our tribe, clan, friends to help us remember our truths and to love ourselves again.