For the first time in months, I am truly alone in the house, if  you don't count the five cats and the two dogs (one of which is lying on my legs).
(after writing the post, Lucy joined me)
The silence is the most remarkable thing. So is the sense of space. I've been retreating more and more to my bedroom these last two months, seeking the silence and solitude I've been without. Funny that over four years ago when I first got my taste of extended aloneness with all three kids off at school or the center, I didn't know what to do with it. I did my damnedest to fill every single moment with action, and now finally, all I really want is a chance to recharge, to be alone (relatively) and just breathe.

At first I associated this intense need to be alone with depression, which I have to admit I am struggling with. I felt guilty, which of course made me feel even worse. How could I need to isolate myself from my family and hide in my bedroom?

It's so ingrained into parents of kids with disabilities that we are supposed to be on 24/7, working actively with them, especially autistic kids, to bring them out of their shell--if they want to be left alone to play or engage in their special interest, we must interfere and interrupt.

Of course I've felt guilt and wondered what was wrong with me for wanting to escape to my own space where I could indulge in my own special interests like reading without having to listen to children who still have no concept of inside-voices or watching netflix, catching up on shows I never had a chance to see.

And you know what--that's bullshit--the guilt, I mean. I realized that mostly this morning but kinda over the weekend. When I escape to my bedroom with books piled on the bed just waiting for me to dig into them, I feel happy, a rush of energy and joy. Screw letting guilt take that away from me.

You know why I realized the guilt is stupid? When I would come out to check on the kids and Rick, they were all happy too. They were engaged in their own activities--much of the weekend and the last two days into Dungeons and Dragons--all four of them engaging each other and happy as clams. They didn't insist I join them. They didn't make me feel bad for not wanting to play (I don't like games). They waved happily at me as I wandered back to my room. They each would wander into the bedroom to touch base, linger for a few minutes and share with me their progress.

I think it's more than a bit funny that it took to the age of 45, in the midst of a suffocating depression, to reorient myself and realize that it's more than okay to want to be alone, to engage in the activities one is interested in, and to be able to say no to things one doesn't want to do.

Realizing this makes that too-tight feeling, that suffocating sensation lift, maybe not completely, but enough to where I can get a few deep breaths in.

And that's what I'm going to do--keep getting those deep breaths in so that I have enough oomph to keep going, to keep moving through this life that will always have sorrow threaded through it, and I will hold onto those pockets of joy in the belief that they will help sustain me through the rough patches.


Floortime Lite Mama said...

great post

farmwifetwo said...

My biggest issue is the little one. I did send the elder out more, and he did have more private speech. BUT, things were different then and I have to keep telling myself that. Not only a different dx, but simply different.

Coulda, woulda, shoulda is nasty and my list goes on forever.

But for the most part they are happy and if Russ' autism hadn't eased some by now... it never will.

simplegiftsgalleries said...

Good for you!

You know...the less I do, the less guilt I feel.

Look at it this way...you are making your children independent. (Cough, cough.)

Works for me.

Stephanie said...

I'm glad you got some relief from the guilt. We all need to sharpen the saw, whether we know what that means or not, whether we forget or not. We need to recharge and that means not fulfilling other people's expectations--or what we think they expect from us.