Monday, November 25, 2013

Am I thankful for Autism?

Tis' the season where we start to wonder and contemplate about what we are thankful for with Thanksgiving being right around the corner.  I see lists and thankful posts flying around social media like a contagious yawn and it got me wondering....what am I thankful for beside the obvious.  Of course I am thankful for my family, our friends, our health, having food, etc, but what else besides that. Am I thankful for all that other stuff that affects our life everyday?  Am I thankful for autism?  Am I thankful for bipolar?  Would I change it if I could? 

Really these are horrible questions to ask because they can down right drive you crazy.  But come on, I am sure if you ask any family out there that is dealing with things like this they have asked themselves these same questions.  It's only normal.  So what have I come up I thankful?  Well yes and no. 

These syndromes come with their ups and downs, and no doubt they at least make life interesting.  Without them my world might seem boring and routine.  I would be worrying about whether or not my snack tray was liked at the local PTA meeting or what to wear at this year's Christmas party; not wondering if I should pass out Prozac at the door when our 15 guests show up for Thanksgiving dinner for them to handle our crazy house for the evening.  But then again, life might be a little simpler and things like running to the store wouldn't be a major three act production. The answer to these questions are not that simple.  But if you look at the silver lining of these disorders there are a few amazing things that I have found that I am absolutely thankful for. 

Over this last year I have watched my husband  grow and change in ways that I never thought I would and for that I am extremely thankful.   My husband hid his bipolar for many, many years and this year decided to embrace it; which has overall made him more comfortable in his own skin.  He has taken responsibility for his bipolar and has been able to recognize when things are going amiss.  He knows when to leave, when to take time for himself and because of that our whole family has been healthier for it.  If takes a very strong person to do that.  To take on something as powerful as bipolar and not let it control him, but to learn how to deal with it to the best of his ability.  AND to recognize that his family needs him to do it.  For that I am sooo thankful!  (Next year maybe I will be able to post that I am thankful that no inanimate objects have been thrown but I am not holding my breath.)  Now would I cure my husband?  Yes, yes I would.  And only because when he is down he wishes he did not have it.  Knowing that makes me wish I could give him a magical potion and take his pain away in a swallow, but I can't.  So instead I will be his rock until that day when I find a genie in a lamp and wish it away for him.

Of course I am thankful for both my boys, they both make me proud and grateful that they are mine everyday.  When I question whether or not I am thankful for my apsie's autism it puts me in a very uncomfortable position.  I think in a way I feel guilty for even questioning it, but in reality no parent wants their child to have to have anything "wrong" with them.  Every parent wants their child to go through like with no struggles, and grow up in a world of rainbows an unicorns, but that is not reality.  Reality is, he has autism.  He will struggle everyday. Some days will be easier than others, but everyday it will be something.  But the thing is, it is much like the riddle which came first the chicken or the egg, when the answer is neither, one cannot exist without the other, my son will never exist without Asperger's, its a part of him.  I am not waiting around for a cure neither.  Why?  Personally I believe it is not my decision but will be his if one day they ever find one.  So why concern myself with it now.  Instead I will make available every therapy I can that might help him with what causes him problems and we will work together to get through the rough times.  And as he grows and continues to make progress I will be thankful for everything that he does that amazes me everyday!  I am privileged to watch my aspie's brain work in ways that I never dreamed humanly possible.  My aspie can remember anything and everything ever really spoken.  He will bring up things that happened when he was two that my husband and I struggle to  remember.  He can solve a 250 piece puzzle in under five minutes, and can take almost anything apart and put if back together if he desires too.  He can recite the words from any movie or TV show he has watched and now songs that he finds interest in and that are not too loud.  (These are mainly holiday songs since he is still not fond of the radio.)  He sees the detail in everything and loves nature and magical things like Christmas like no one else I know.  He is amazing, and if autism gave him that, then I am thankful.

I am a logical person in many ways, which I guess is what makes me a good scientist. I believe in the laws of physics and think that they affect all of our lives in all different ways.  Physics tells us that everything has equal and opposite reactions, and so with the good comes the bad.  No one has a perfect life.  No one.  But overall when I look at mine, I am so very thankful.  My life is stressful no doubt and if I wanted I think I have every right to rock in a dark corner and claim insanity on any given day.  (And there are certain days that I want to do that!)  But overall, I am thankful for my family and all the labels that come with them........and for  the big bottle of margaritas the local liquor store keeps in stock for me. 

Happy Thanksgiving!! 

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