Autism

“Everything’s Broken”

This morning, as we were waiting for the school bus, Master Owen (MO) was looking sullen.  He does not like school, so this was not an unusual look for him at that hour, but it “felt” different to me.  Flipping through some conversation ideas, I started asking him questions about his upcoming birthday.  He is turning 10–double digits!–next week and I’ve been trying to come up with a plan for celebrating, which has been difficult due to his dislike of typical birthday celebrations (more on that another time).

Head hanging low, he barely replied to my question.  Something, indeed, was bothering him, so I tried to look busy while he figured out what he wanted to say.  I’m glad I did.  Eventually MO said: “I hate my life”.  Instead of negating his feelings, I inquired about why he felt this way.  His response: “Everything’s broken.”

Why–you might ask–would I be happy to hear him say this?  For one, because MO is autistic, he usually has difficulty putting his feelings into words, but not this morning.  In addition, because I am an Aspie, I knew exactly what he was feeling and it is something I have struggled with all my life: change.

Well before I was diagnosed with Asperger’s, I recognized how much I disliked change.  I have always desired sameness in my life and any changes that took place set me back tremendously; some changes–even things that have taken place years ago–I still cannot accept.

Yes, I know, change is life, change is growth.  But there has always been something in my brain that wants to keep everything static.  I secretly desire to live in one of those Twilight Zone episodes, where the main character goes about their life exactly the same way every day.  I want to live in a little miniature train set town.  I want to know everything is where I left it.  I don’t want anyone to die or move away or become something other than the role that they have established in my life–teacher, parent, friend, lover.

If something changes, I perceive it as broken.  I want it to be “fixed” and I simply cannot accept it.  I obsess over the change and remind people of how it “used to be”.  It’s never the same.  Sameness is important to me, which is why I completely understand MO’s thought pattern:  life is full of broken things that we cannot put back together.

The Hilltop Steak House–where I once celebrated my marriage–has been leveled and I will never again see the cement cows grazing on the front lawn.  Drugs and alcohol have forever changed MO’s dad from the father he once perceived him to be.  No matter how hard we wish for it, neither MO or I will ever be able to bring my father or our beautiful, loving dog, the Queen Bea, back to us.  These things are broken and unfixable and, yes, it is depressing.  Seriously…how do “normal” people adjust?

In a tiny way I’m happy, because I now have someone who feels the same as I do. (LOL…feels “the same”!)   Change stinks.  It’s awful.  It creates in us such extreme anxiety for what once was.  Yes, change is going to happen, but I don’t have to accept it.

I’m sure there’s some lesson in all this….I’m just not sure what it is.  Until I find out, I will continue on with my anxiety…only now I have someone who completely understands how I’ve felt my entire life.

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