I don’t think about things like I used to.
I try not to think too much.
I wont allow myself to churn things over.
I know from experience that thinking can eat away at you, I know because I was my own worst enemy.
When Isla was diagnosed with autism I spent every waking hour thinking about it, the why’s and wherefores’, the past and the future, and I let it consume me. I felt a sadness like I hadn’t felt before, numb, hopeless, guilty, afraid, I blamed myself, I wanted answers when there were none and I literally fell in to a pit of despair.
I soon realised the only person who could change this was me. I was responsible for my own happiness and I was steeling it from myself. I knew that I had to change my mind-set because if I didn’t I would miss out on what was happening now, I would miss out on all of the amazing things my family do and I would not be the wife nor mother my family deserve.
It took a while but these days I have more than embraced Isla’s autism. Autism is a fundamental part of who she is and she is the most amazing little girl in the world. I don’t see autism as the tragedy I once did, Autism is a game changer no doubt about it but it isn’t a life ender and Isla brings us so much love, joy and happiness simply by being the girl she was meant to be.
At the end of the day thinking about the if’s, but’s and maybe’s changes nothing except how you feel inside. So my way of getting through life is to just not think too much about anything, embrace the life we have, accept the cards that we are dealt, see the humour, keep pushing forwards and change the negatives in to positives.
Most of the time this works.
Not all of the time though.
When it doesn’t work and my emotions start creeping in it often catches me by surprise.
Like this week.
Yesterday morning I was walking Billy to school and I saw all of the mum’s whose children have just started junior school, laughing and joking and chatting as they walked up the street and that’s when it hit me, completely unexpected and out of nowhere.
A wave of sadness washed over me.
All I could think to do was walk, as fast as my little legs could carry me, away from the school and away from all of these parents. I even crossed the road to avoid a group of mums that I know because I didn’t want to see them, I didn’t want to see their children, I didn’t want them to ask how I was, I didn’t want to say I was ok and make small talk when I wasn’t ok and didn’t want to be there.
I marched the dog around the town, feeling better the faster I went until two miles later we were back on our doorstep.
That was when my eyes started to sting a little, a lump formed in my throat and I couldn’t prevent it, not thinking about it wasn’t working, I just had to accept that in that moment that was how I was feeling.
It was ok not to be ok.
You see every now and then reality hits you, the if’s, the why’s, the but’s all come creeping in and there is little you can do about.
Yesterday seeing all of those children on their first week in junior school triggered feelings I no longer tend to feel, feelings I thought I had dealt with and buried but were actually probably hidden, just below the surface.
You see two years ago Isla was in the same class as those children, Isla should have been going up to junior school, Isla should be attending the same school as her brother, skipping in to school holding her friends hands.
But she isn’t, and at times it doesn’t matter how much you’ve accepted it, it doesn’t matter how much you embrace your life, it doesn’t matter how much you know in yourself that your life may be different but its not any less, you can not help but wonder, you can not help but think, you can not stop your emotions getting the better of you and catching you off guard.
Yesterday I cried and I am not ashamed of that. I haven’t cried over Isla’s autism for a very long time because I don’t usually even see it, I just see the most beautiful, amazing girl in the world, I just see Isla.
I was mad at myself for feeling the way I did yesterday, for feeling sadness about a situation I haven’t thought about in a long time, for crying because our daughter isn’t having the same life as her peers, for just a spilt second wondering what life would be like if things were different.
That doesn’t mean I am unhappy, it doesn’t mean I don’t adore my child exactly for who she is, it means I am a human!
How can I be mad at myself for feeling the way I did yesterday and the way I will no doubt feel again when I feel it because of the overwhelming love I have for my family?
It was ok to cry, it was ok to be sad, it was ok to wonder, it was ok to question, it was ok to think, it was ok to let the if’s, but’s and maybe’s creep back in because I didn’t stay there, in that moment. I didn’t allow that black cloud to hover and follow me around forever, I didn’t allow myself to get consumed in negativity. Instead I thought about all of the amazing things that I am blessed with, my amazing husband, our wonderful kids and all of our adventures.
I am blessed, I never doubt that but its ok to allow yourself to break a little every now and then, as long as you put yourself back together.
I will always have a multitude of feelings when it comes to autism, like I do with everything in life but instead of trying to supress them, I will simply acknowledge them like an old friend, accept that they are there, that it is ok and as always move forward.
Feelings after all are a lot like waves, we cant stop them from coming, but we can chose which ones to surf.