The desire to please other people is a potent way to distract yourself from what you are feeling. ~ Gary Zukav
Autism does terrible things to relationships. Especially undiagnosed autism. The most damaged relationship was the one I had with myself.
I was trying to make my life work. I was also trying to make my husband’s life work. (Try being responsible for two adult lives at once.) I was being a mother, a translator, a mediator, a psychologist, an anthropologist and a job coach. All while unknowingly being thrown into a foreign culture with a foreign language (Autism). I was learning while I was teaching. Every moment of my life felt like survival mode, because that is where he was. No rest from the fight or flight. None. Except when he went to sleep. Which I would at times hold my breath until he did. Then I could remember that I loved him.
The rants, the rages and the meltdowns – this was my every day. I had to shut off my own emotions to keep from sparking more.
When I got to my 30s, I had been doing this for a while. I was worn down. I had nothing left for anyone else. Hell, I didn’t have anything left for me. Migraines, pain, joint dysfunction, depression… I was barely getting to work and playing music. (Music and teaching music was the only thing keeping me alive.) It became obvious that I couldn’t continue relational dynamics in the manner I had before. My responses to crises, traumas, and happinesses had changed. I couldn’t fulfill my relational obligations. So what inevitably happened was isolation. Just what I didn’t need.
Or so I thought.
It was through that isolation that I started to get acquainted with myself. Without input from how others saw me, I became more clear on the me who was. The quieter I became; the less external noise I experienced, the more I could hear the small voice of I Am.
I wouldn’t have known I was in that state, and I couldn’t have written this if we hadn’t tried the gaps diet. Now that his autism symptoms have disappeared, I have gradually gotten a life and given his to him.
It has been most difficult to turn my emotions back on. They were buried under years and years of non-expression. With the help of friends, who probably don’t know they are in this role, I’ve opened more and more. Such freedom! (I love you friends!)
If you can relate to this message, know that you are not alone. If you have been a “victim” to my absence in the past, know that I was too. It’s time for a new start.