If I tell you I’m ok, it’s a lie

I am the mom of a child with autism. I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that this is my life. I think I want to, but I don’t know how because I’m still so angry about it. I feel like most days, there’s this illusion of “normal” because we’ve had a lot of progress with Norah, and so things feel manageable and mundane enough that I actually believe it. Then, one day, it all falls apart. The charade is exposed. Norah has an off day or series of days turning into weeks and I realize my life isn’t normal and how different Norah is compared to typical children is brought into focus. It’s like a one-two punch to the gut. That first hit, the reality check that stuns you, and second takes your breath away. And it’s hard because in those “ordinary” moments, I forget: the pain, the resentment, bitterness and anger; all cleverly hidden behind smoke and mirrors. It’s really shitty, because when smoke clears, I’m still standing in the same spot. I thought I had grown. Changed a little, maybe let go of my anger just a little. No, I’m like Prometheus, tethered to a rock whose liver was eaten daily only to regenerate and then go through the same thing again. Day after day. Only, it’s my anger that tethers me me in the same place and the bitterness and resentment the eagle pecking away at me. 
I remember when I miscarried, how hard, nay, devastating it was. I had just come out of this dark season in my life. I had thought I could walk away from God, and I tried, but God, who is just and demands obedience, is also eternally steadfast, loving and merciful, pursued me. 

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. – Psalm 139:7-12

God had brought me out of the wilderness and I had hope. Then I miscarried, and that hope carried me. So much so, that I named the child I lost Hope. I remember going through it though, recalling “advice” that had been given to me anytime I was struggling with something. Advice I’d given others. “Give it to God”. I’ll admit, that while that sounded freeing, I didn’t understand it. How did you give something to God? How do you let it go? How do you know if you in fact, “let go and let God”? I had prayed that a lot, only to say “amen” go about by business still dealing with it and and not handling it any better than before. It was after I miscarried and I was living moment to moment that I realized what that meant, and it was how I survived. There was no one and done, I give my crap to God and from that moment on I’m great. It was more like in one moment “God, I can’t breathe, this pain is too great”, and God’s response, “I will carry and sustain you. I will heal you”. When I had fears of another miscarriage and whether or not I could endure, His response, “I am sufficient”. 
Navigating the waters of special needs and raising a child with autism should be no different. This season of suffering should elicit the same response. Why is it so hard then? Why have I not been able, moment to moment, to approach God and depend on Him for my survival? There’s a wall. Is it because I’m angry? I’ve admitted to being angry with God. I’ll also confess, I don’t know what to do with that. How do i get through that? What do I do with it? I’ve prayed, read scripture, talked about it. This season of suffering had been especially hard. Norah is only four and the road ahead is only paved with more struggles. More therapy, more special education, biomedical therapies and the list goes on. It’s so daunting to look up from where I am and know that this is really just the beginning. We’ve only scratched the surface. 

I have mentioned before that I struggle with depression. I’m prone to it. My body seems to struggle making enough dopamine and keep it bouncing around my brain long enough to keep me stable. The stress of the last year has been unmanageable. I recognize that a chemical imbalance is just part of my problem. I know there’s a heart and sin issue too. I did get some medication, and that has helped me feel more, level headed. I’m still struggling, but I think I’m better able to start dealing with things. I don’t really know what that entails though. Despite being medicated, I’m still stressed, overwhelmed and melancholic. There’s not a pill that helps with doubt and disbelief. I keep going over things. Reminding myself about who God is. How good He is and that He is sufficient. I may not believe it today, but I will be again be confident. 

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” – Lamentations 3:21-24

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Moving Forward

In my last post, I was approaching the one week mark since getting help for my depression. Last Thursday, I had a follow up appointment with my midwife to go over the results from my blood work and to talk about how I was doing on my antidepressant. We started off by updating her about how the past week had been. Everything was positive. I explained to her that I felt different after the first dose and how I had not expected to feel anything that soon. She seemed surprised too as it normally takes a few weeks to get any results, but that my brain must have really been needing the dopamine. I was happier, and so much slower to anger. I felt more cheerful and not quite so blah. In all actuality, I was beginning to feel like a different person, or rather, more like my old self. I was starting to feel human again.

My blood work all came back normal as can be, which is both disappointing and a relief. Disappointing, because I was hoping to have some more answers into why I had felt the way that I had for so long, but I was relieved that there was  nothing else wrong. My thyroid, cortisol, everything was as normal as can be. The only thing that was ‘off’ was that I had a vitamin D deficiency, but that’s as exciting as it got. So, while I may not have gotten the ‘answers’ that I hoped for, all in all, the appointment was positive. She did say that my vitamin D deficiency could be contributing to some of my symptoms, like my fatigue, sleeplessness, poor concentration, and even my depression itself. Since I had an improvement in some areas and not others, she decided to increase my dose of the Wellbutrin (antidepressant). She also prescribed Vitamin D2, 50,000 units per week! On top of that, I am taking 1000-2000 mg of DHA/EPA and Omega 3’s. So LOTS of vitamin D. The point of this was to get my vitamin D levels up where they needed to be, but to also help my body start producing more on its own as well.

My midwife also encouraged me to see our homeopathic doctor as well and even start seeing my chiropractor. She said that even though all of my blood work came back normal and I don’t officially have a diagnosis, based on Western Medicine, all of my symptoms are congruent with Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue, and would most likely benefit treating those with alternative medicine. I haven’t done this yet, but I intend to. She also didn’t want to get hung up on being depressed, so she didn’t even give me a diagnosis of ‘depression’. I am appreciative of that, although, if that is what this is, than so be it. I am not defined by it.

So today marks two weeks. Two whole weeks of feeling human again, two weeks of a happier me, and two weeks of me actually giving a darn! The first couple of days were rough, with the new dosage; I felt pretty crummy with headaches and nausea, but I am so grateful that I am feeling more and more like me every day! I am looking forward to more good days!