I would like to announce to everyone, that this is going to be a very important post for Jim's Autism Blog. This will be the first post generated by my wife, Shannon. Since Jacob's diagnosis, we've tried our best to go down this path together, as a family. Unfortunately, that path can be difficult to navigate. It can even have obstacles that not every one can see. I'm just happy that my wife is ready to share her personal experience, while raising a son with Asperger's.
Hi everyone! This is Shannon, Jacob's mom. And yes, this is my first time posting on our blog. And I wanted to share with you all, some of the difficulties I had when it came to understanding Jacob's diagnosis. Jimmy seems to understand it a little more than I do, so he's better able to cope. But for me, it was nothing I could imagine.
I remember back when Jacob was in kindergarten. It was so upsetting when his teachers would say he had a tantrum or meltdown in class. Not to mention all the times that Jim and I would get "the call" from the school to pick him up. Sometimes he'd be crying or screaming for what seemed like no reason. Sometimes there would be all kinds of teachers there trying to help. Everyone would be staring at us, which was worse when it was just me getting him. I couldn't understand how his behaviour could be so bad at school, yet completely different at home. I'm still trying to understand how Asperger's works, but I'm not sure that it's possible to fully understand it. I cried so much when Jacob was in JK and SK. I felt so overwhelmed with it all. We had to get help for Jacob's sake.
During his first 2 years in school we began seeing a paediatrician. Our son's doctor didn't think it was Asperger's because Jacob was too social. So when Jacob was finally diagnosed with Asperger's in Grade 1, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I fell into a deep depression after Jacob's diagnosis. I asked myself how could my 1 and only child had Asperger's? I thought what did I do to deserve this? But I didn't have an answer. I mean, I've been in love with Jimmy since high school and we're best friends and have a great relationship. I didn't even stand in front of a microwave when I was pregnant. I quickly began to resent Jimmy and I became very angry with him, yet I knew it wasn't his fault. But it did put a huge rift in our relationship because I had turned into someone that he didn't know. I found myself getting mad and yelling all the time, which of course made Jacob act worse. Everything was spinning out of control and it felt like I was powerless to stop it.
I had to get help. I found the strength to talk to my family doctor about my depression, which I almost couldn't do. He referred me to a mental health councilor and am I glad he did. I did have to take some antidepressants and attend regular meetings, but once I started letting out and dealing with my emotions, I slowly began to feel better. She was great. She made me realise my feelings were quite normal and justified. It took many months of talking with her to finally start feeling like myself again. Because I'm a stay at home mom, she suggested that I should start doing more things for myself. To help regain my identity. I was more than just a mom to a child with Asperger's. Jimmy has been very supportive of me and he's enrolled me in 2 cooking classes which I love. I'm meeting lots of new people and I'm learning lots of new things, which help me feel good about myself.
In closing, I'd like to say that February 8Th is Mental Health Talk Day here in Ontario, but it can go much farther than that. If anyone reading this has a feeling of being overwhelmed with their child's diagnosis, then you should try to talk to someone about it. You can talk to anyone you trust. A friend, a spouse or your doctor. The important thing is to talk about our problems before they become too big. I promise that if you start talking, you'll begin to feel better. Only now am I able to talk about depression and how it affected me. But in time, you too will be able to talk about it. I hope everyone has a good Mental Health Talk Day.
WELCOME TO JIM'S AUTISM BLOG
Hi everyone and thanks for visiting our blog. My wife and I created this blog to chronicle our experience while raising a son with Asperger's syndrome. Since our son was diagnosed with an ASD at age 5, we've had a lot of questions. Lucky for us we have a great support network in place. And our blog gives us an opportunity to share what we've learned with our readers. We hope you find our blog informative and interesting. Thanks again for visiting.
"It seems that for success in science and art, a dash of autism is essential." Dr Hans Asperger 1906-1980