|Image by Danilo Rizzuti|
Soup of the Day: PTSD
And not my child's. Could I be diagnosed with PTSD?
According to this article about the stress levels of mothers of kids with autism, it's highly likely.
When I read the article, I guffawed at first. Then I thought about it some more. I thought about the incident that took place on Monday, when I found myself calling 911 because E. was so frighteningly out of control. He was threatening to kill himself and was fighting tooth and nail to get past me to get into the kitchen and get a knife. I have bruises covering my arm.
I stayed calm throughout the majority of the ordeal (well, as calm as possible). Once the police arrived and took hold of the situation, I sank onto the couch. I felt my chest began to contract, I started breathing in gasps, and my hands were shaking uncontrollably as the adrenaline that had been flooding my body took hold. I felt sick, like I was going to throw up. Later that night, I was hit with major digestive issues. According to a quick web search, my tummy troubles were the result of the major adrenaline dump that had occurred earlier in the day.
This is what severe stress looks like. While not every day is that bad, every day is a struggle. Every day has some kind of stress attached to it. From little things like arguing over whether E. had cleaned himself properly to bigger issues like today's, when I was visited by maintenance. It turns out that E. had been dumping the garbage out by the side of the building instead of in the dumpster. Why? It's actually a farther walk to the location where the dumping was happening than it is to the dumpster. And of course the mess was spreading as birds and scavengers went through our garbage bags. The guy who visited me was clearly pissed about it. I'm pissed too. There goes my stress level.
Now I'm trying to work out an appropriate consequence (I'm thinking garbage pick-up this weekend). I know that there's going to be a fight tonight when we confront him, and I feel sick -- preemptively.
The other part of the article that spoke to me was that mothers of children with autism are interrupted at least one day out of every four, compared to other moms, who are interrupted less than one day out of ten. It's why I left my full-time job. How can you keep up a job when you are constantly fielding phone calls from the school or child care? I'll tell you -- you can't. At least today I could just stop what I was doing and answer the door. But trying to juggle constant messages from human resources, write-ups for missed work, the dread of knowing that you have to go speak to your manager because you have to leave for the second time that week... Constant stress.
I have no solutions. I try to take care of myself, but some days it has to take a backseat to dealing with all of E.'s crises. Today is one of those days. I feel like a mess, but I have too much work to do. Writing in the blog is my self-care for the day. I'm hoping to meet up with a friend later, but I may have to cancel, depending on how E. handles the revelation that he's been caught red-handed.
This is my life. And then people wonder why I'm cranky.