An autism diagnosis is not the end of the world #autism #HFA #highfunctioningautism #specialneeds

Posted on Jan 25 2018 - 9:55pm by Nicole Smith

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been mostly MIA for quite some time now. To be honest, I think I needed a long break from posting to focus on my personal life, including my own health, as well as focus on my son, who faced, and is still facing, his own set of struggles.

An autism diagnosis is not the end of the worldSpringInspiration

In a previous post I mentioned we were waiting for an appointment to get him tested for Autism. It was a long wait. At times I grew extremely frustrated with the entire process. I hated seeing my son struggle on a daily basis. I hated not knowing how to help him.

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My readers that have been here from the beginning may remember me posting about my son’s struggles over the years. There’s been a lot of uncertainty and worry in our lives. In my gut, I always knew something was different about my son. Not bad, just different. I’m his mom. I know him better than anyone, and my gut kept telling me there was more going on with him than just ADHD.

My son is now 10 years old, and not only do we have the Autism diagnosis that we were anticipating, we also found out he has hypotonia, Tourette Syndrome, Executive Functioning Disorder, Transient Alteration of Awareness, OCD, anxiety, the previously mentioned ADHD and now Sensory Processing Disorder. (Oh yeah, his behavioral therapist and neurologist also think he may be gifted, so that means more testing for him.)

If you’re thinking to yourself, wow, that’s a lot to process, you ain’t kiddin’! I was not prepared for a multitude of diagnoses. Some I wasn’t surprised by, even though I wasn’t anticipating them, because of my own mental health struggles. Others, though, shocked me, and I was clueless about how to help him deal with them.

I had to do a bunch of research to understand each diagnosis, that way I would be able to help my son as best I could. The more I learned, the more I realized that I had missed so many different signs that I thought were “normal” at the time. Had his doctor cared enough to have him tested when he was younger, he probably wouldn’t be struggling as much today because he would have already had the therapy he needs.

And I will be honest, I blame myself for all of this. I feel like I let him down because I didn’t push harder to find out what was going on with him. I put too much trust in his doctor, and now my son is struggling because of it. I’m not sure if I will ever let go of that blame.

All that being said, an autism diagnosis is not the end of the world. My son is still my son. He’s the same little boy I’ve always loved. Yes, I’ve had to learn a new way to parent when it comes to him, but that’s okay. I wouldn’t change my son for the world, and I know he has a bright future ahead of him.

As for what’s going on with me, I was so focused on growing my site, and taking care of my family, that I forgot about my own well-being. I would like to pretend that I have my act together and life is easy, and I never struggle, but that’s not reality. The reality is, I didn’t take care of myself. I didn’t make myself a priority. I focused on my family and ignored the signs that I was getting sicker and sicker.

I’ve always struggled with depression, but it wasn’t until the end of 2016 that I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I know there are people out there who will hide the fact that they have a mental illness because there are still many in society who look down upon people like us and think we should be institutionalized. It’s a shame that there’s still this stigma out there about mental illness.

I’m not afraid to share my struggles, though, because I want to help others. I want them to know they aren’t alone, and that their mental illness doesn’t have to run their life or define them.

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