(after writing the post, Lucy joined me)
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.
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.