Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Dark Side of Autism

Today I did one of the hardest things I've ever had to do as a mother...

For the past few months, Harper-Lynn's behavior has been challenging.  While she's been great at school, her behavior at home has consisted of screaming, knocking things over, hitting me and sometimes injuring herself during one of her rage episodes.  It's the dark side of Autism that I rarely share outside of my little bubble. I never want people to think badly of my daughter, but the truth is that this has been happening and I didn't know how to help her.

In addition to the behavioral issues, Harper-Lynn has been chewing on her fingers or putting them near her mouth throughout the day EVERY day! She's had little red bumps around her mouth, her nails are soft from being in her mouth and let's not talk about all of the germs she's ingesting.

I hit a breaking point with everything two weeks ago and called Harper-Lynn's neuro-developmental pediatrician at the Marcus Autism Center.  She wasted no time in calling me back and telling me it was time to start H on medicine.  We agreed we would do it during Christmas break so she could have time to adjust to it before starting back to school in January.

I have prayed so many times that it wouldn't come to this.  For me, this is a last resort type of thing.  I never wanted to medicate my child.  But deep down I know she needs it.  Our hope is that the medicine will help with her anxiety and help stabilize her moods so she isn't having the aggressive behaviors at home or anywhere else for that matter. 

I'm sure there will be people out there who are appalled by this decision.  Some of them may even be people close to us.  I'm going to say something that will probably sound ugly.  If you haven't stepped up to try to help me by babysitting Harper-Lynn, given me a break when days are super hard with her or offered to drive her to therapies, then you have NO say in this choice to medicate her.  

I made a promise to God that I would do everything I could to help Harper-Lynn. He has opened so many doors for us on this Autism journey.  We have had incredible care by some of the top professionals in their respective fields.  I have to continue to do what's best for my daughter and what those responsible for her care believe is best.  

Blogging about this is hard.  But this is our reality.  My life isn't full of sunshine and rainbows.  Unfortunately, it has some rainy days too.  Being a single mom to a child on the Spectrum is no cakewalk.  Lots of times I feel alone...isolated...judged.  I guess in some ways I feel like a failure, too.  I know I've definitely felt like that since H's doctor suggested medicine two weeks ago.  Getting that prescription today made me feel helpless.  

Our plan is to try the medicine through the end of the school year.  If we see it's not working or causing unwanted side effects they will stop it and try something different. We have a follow up appointment in a month so I'll update after that.