Over two years ago, I wrote something I never let anyone see. I was embarrassed that I felt that way and hurting in a way none of my friends with "typical" kids could understand. I'm not proud of how I felt, but I FELT it. And I was ashamed of feeling that way. I am proud, however, that I don't feel that way any more, but I would like to think that hearing how I felt back then might make someone else feel less ashamed and more understood now. And I also like to think that hearing I feel differently now might give them hope.
I called it The "A" Word
There's this word. It might mean everything. Mostly it means nothing.
It's like the "just not right" of our generation of parents. Which is obviously a dumb phrase that's pretty much useless.
You think to yourself, that dreaded word doesn't mean OUR stuff -- I mean, we've got some stuff going on, don't get me wrong -- but that word isn't for OUR STUFF. Then you can't find any other words to describe your own specific bag of issues, problems, sensitivities, activity choices. So you try the word on for size.
The word feels like crap. AUTISM. It's a really lousy word.
However, it would seem it's the only word some of us get. There are some other labels that get you some of the way there: "on the spectrum," sensory processing, sensory integration, ADHD, shy. Gosh, those other labels sure feel a lot less itchy and ill-fitting. They work for a lot of other people and I sure hoped they would work for us.
Unfortunately, as the process (of survival, of diagnosis, of picking words and phrases to call things) continues, these words lack the oomph and the ability to convey the depth of the, ah...., the....um, situation.
There's this word: Autism. Sometimes I have to use it. But that doesn't mean I don't still hold back tears.