Honestly, I have been unsure about what to write this week. It’s cold here, and like a lot of people, we’ve all been wrestling with various sicknesses and ailments. And worse still, it seems like everywhere I’ve turned in the autism parents community online, people have been really struggling.
It’s hard to know where to even begin to respond. There are almost never any easy answers to such challenges. You just work them out as you go along as best you can with people you trust.
I’ll be a little briefer than usual this week, but there are a few things I’d like to say to you, especially if you are in a really bad place right now. Even if life is going OK for you, you most likely know parents who are having a very hard time whom you could help.
First and absolutely foremost, if you are thinking about hurting yourself, get help. Now. Not later. Now. I’ve talked a lot about building communities of support and getting help that way, but that’s not what I mean here.
There’s a time and place for that, but if you are thinking of doing yourself harm, you need to seek qualified, professional help immediately. I’ve seen too many autism parents harm or kill themselves. Don’t hesitate to get help. Call your therapist. Call 911. Call whomever you have to. Do it now.
If you are barely hanging in there, take a minute or two right now, and write down three things you are thankful for. It doesn’t matter if they are big or small or what they are about. Everyone can find three things they are thankful for.
This is not about glossing over all the hard stuff in your life. Not remotely. This is about gaining a foothold, an anchor, a piece of solid ground from which hanging in there is just a bit easier. If you can do this every day, all the better. It will help. Do it now and from here on right before you go to bed.
Take five minutes and just sit. Find five minutes somehow, no excuses. Breathe, slowly and deeply. If you are a person who prays, just say, “Help.” If you aren’t, you can still ask for help and just be open to something outside yourself. Think of a source that wishes to fill you with what you need to get yourself out of the place you are in.
As you breathe, imagine yourself being slowly filled, held, and supported. No matter what, you are not alone. Feel this as deeply as you can.
Reach out to a few close parent friends who understand, and just say, “I need you right now. I’m in a bad place.” People want to help. I’ve learned that over these past couple of years, especially with everything we’ve had going on. Reach out, ask, trust.
Again, I’m not trying to gloss over all the challenges in your life. I couldn’t actually do that if I tried. In fact, it’s just the opposite. You and I have to be completely honest with ourselves about where we are right now. If you’re in a bad place, do what you have to do to save yourself and get others to help you.
You are not inconveniencing anyone or anything. You are worth it. Don’t question this. You are worth it.