We’ve been experiencing really dramatic highs (Ethan’s new school) and equally dramatic lows (Ethan’s head-banging, hitting, and refusal to wear his cochlear implants) lately. I’m so glad we’ve got the positive stuff happening to help create some semblance of balance, otherwise I might have gone mad by now. I feel like I've been on this ride with my son and I just want to get off. I know he'll be a passenger for many more years, but I'd like to just stand a few hundred feet away and watch him, rather than experience the spiraling emotional ride in the seat next to him.
Speaking of my mental health, I recently started seeing a therapist. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, but for some reason I've seen it as somewhat of a luxury, something that only rich people do. I’ve had a really tough time emotionally this past year and finally decided that one of the best parenting moves I could make was to start helping myself with some of that same gusto that I help my son. So far, it has been great. She asked me an interesting question on our first meeting: Do you think you approach your situation with a special needs child from an emotional or an intellectual point of view, or a combination of both? I’m not really sure why she asked, perhaps just to get some clarity on how I cope, but it certainly was interesting to think about.
When we got Ethan’s initial diagnosis of hearing loss, followed by his diagnosis of CMV, I instantly went into research mode. I joined several Internet groups and started voraciously reading blogs. Then we found out about his GI issues, apraxia, and eventually autism. I continued to bury my head in books and the online communities for help and support. So I guess I’d say that I’ve taken the intellectual approach, and that one of the reasons I’ve been feeling so down lately is because that approach finally became tiring and now I’m absorbing a lot more of this on an emotional level. As you probably know all too well, it’s a lot easier to tear through books and information than it is to face a broken heart. I’m glad to have found a good therapist, one that specializes in working with families like ours, to guide me through this stage of realization and grief. And I’m tremendously grateful for those of you who blog about your lives, and for Hopeful Parents, because knowing that I’m not alone on this exhilarating yet terrifying roller coaster ride makes all the difference.