My child is amazing, truly freaking amazing. She is everything that I want to be.
When I'm tired and I think that there is just not one more day that I can possibly push through, I look at her progress and I push myself to push on through, on days when I feel like I can't even get out of my own bed. Zoey pulls mentally pulls me out, that's what my depression does to me. I am a mom that struggles with illnesses of my; major depressive disorder, anxiety, and panic disorder, complex ptsd, and Fibromyalgia
3 years ago on a day in August, my husband and I drove 2 hours away to have a specialist confirm what we had already suspected...autism had chosen our child.
Getting any kind of diagnosis is a shock, nothing prepares you for it, and if you think you are prepared, well that preparation crumbles in the wake of a specialist looking at you and telling you that there's something wrong.
When it comes to your child, the last thing you want to hear is that there is something wrong, you don't want to be handed pamphlets and told to find a support group.
Even after they looked up and asked us, "do you understand what we just went over with you?"
We shook our heads yes, obviously we were in shock because we didn't understand what we were in for
We were exited out and then shown where to get onto an elevator. I looked up at my husband who was holding onto our almost 2 year old and I asked him
"what do we do, what happens now?"
"It Changes Nothing, she's still our happy child."
I tried to accept that and believe him as he said it to me, but it did change everything for me!
I stayed up every night, researching, blaming myself, even blaming my own illnesses, what had I done wrong. So I cried, sobbed, grieved, I got angry, and I spiraled into another bout of major depression, one of many in my life.
These emotions of sadness, fear, and anger, well they lasted for more than over a year for me, and on the days that I had thought I had settled up with those emotions, they came back looking for more from me. A vicious emotional cycle of tug of war that I was really tired of fighting, and I realized that I needed help and so I started seeing a therapist and soon I stopped fighting those emotions and I released them, I stopped blaming autism for choosing my child and I stopped the love hate relationship that I unknowingly had with autism.
I realized I was discriminating autism, not my child, but autism. I was treating autism poorly and making autism into something scary and wrong...why, because autism is different, we are all different.
Yes, different can be scary and we can be afraid of the unknown, but everything and everyone deserves a chance to show you just how beautiful different can be. I tell my children that just because someone or something is different, "different isn't bad."
Zoey's autism saved my life! I know it sounds silly and like I'm trying to kiss autisms ass for "likes" but it's true...autism saved MY life.
If not for Zoey's autism I never would have woken up and embraced my own illnesses and I wouldn't be the mom I am today, not just for my kids, but as a person. I became Zoey's voice when she had none, her advocate when needed...always her mommy that loves her.
In being Zoey's voice, I found my own voice, in helping to fight for Zoey's needs, I learned to fight for my own needs. Getting Zoey's autism diagnosis helped me understand my own diagnoses and something inside me woke up and I realized autism doesn't discriminate and that no one should discriminate and that in talking and sharing, maybe we can end the stigma surrounding "differences."