The Mask of Strength

I put on good front.  I smile a lot, joke often, and let on that I rarely ever let anything get me down.  It’s all a lie.  I’m tired all of the time.  I’m cranky, moody, and depressed.  My kids are my world and I would do anything for them, but I’m drained of every ounce of my energy and my spirit is fading.  As the boys get bigger, so do their challenges.  They aren’t adjusting to the move very well and quite frankly I’m not adjusting to their new selves.  Because of Aidan’s growing sensory needs, I seclude myself and younger brother in the house most days.  It’s just too much trouble to make it outdoors.  Even trips to the backyard can be hell.  I don’t know what has happened to my little boy over the past year or so, but it appears as though he just simply cannot handle doing anything outside of the house (he isn’t much better indoors either, to be honest).

I used to be able to deal with his meltdowns in public and perhaps this was partly due to the fact that he was younger and smaller, therefore strangers tended to be a bit more understanding…but now that he is so much taller and bigger, I can feel their judging eyes on me, their comments on my poor parenting are beginning to pierce like daggers.  And I hate it.  I hate that Autism has a hold on my children and it’s swallowing them whole.  I want to help others on this Autism journey but I need help and guidance I suppose.  I am not as strong as people claim I am.  I am quick to anger now, frustration is pretty much the only emotion I feel constantly nowadays.  I’m lost.  I’m hurt.  I’m trying everything, doing everything, and having yielded little to no results…my will to never give up is beginning to break little by little, day by day.

I would attempt to put myself in my boys’ shoes and whenever one or both of them had a rough day I would try to not think of how bad it made me feel but how bad it must be for them…and that would usually work.  Changing perspectives made me change focus and I was better.  Not anymore, I want to know, “what about me?”  Aren’t my feelings supposed to matter?  Am I not allowed to feel the anger, hurt, frustration, anxiety, etc.?  Because now, I feel it all.  I’m overwhelmed by them…consumed by them.  I function well on the outside, I put on a mask of strength…I wear it most of the day and night, sometimes I don’t even take it off.

But I’m breaking inside.

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