It seems like I skipped a day…I didn’t. When I looked back I actually had two posts for day #192. Overachiever, I know. So – here we are. Post #200.
Stop reading this blog.
Well…not really. I hope you don’t stop reading this blog…but sometimes we need a break.
A break from the spectrum, a break from this thing that is our reality. A break from the ‘on-edge,’ a break from the ‘I hope this goes well,’ a break from ‘preparing for a concert,’ a break from it all.
As with anything we can become overwhelmed with all of the information that comes our way. It’s part of living in this digital age. In the world of Communication Studies we refer to this as ‘Analysis Paralysis’ in that a person becomes so inundated with information that they are unable to make any type of choice. A few years ago I read this on a blog post, “analysis paralysis uses the remote dream of some unrealistic, perfect future state to avoid taking action in the here-and-now. It’s a holding action. Nothing moves or changes, and therefore no growth occurs. There’s no way around it: growth involves discomfort and pain. No pain, no growth. You won’t start growing — and learning — until you start doing things. You don’t know what you don’t know, and no amount of analysis will ever tell you.” (http://communicationnation.blogspot.com/2005/11/do-you-suffer-from-analysis-paralysis.html)
It’s from 2005 – but that idea stuck with me for quite some time in a variety of avenues, simply recall Day #175 – Imperfectly Perfect.
I remember a time about two years ago – I was drowning. Analysis paralysis. It was 5th grade. It was a rough year at school.
I was exhausted. Exhausted.
from all the research
from all the advice
from all of the emails from teachers
from the social media outlets
from the blog posts
The more I took in, it seemed the less I knew. The less I trusted myself. The more I blamed myself. As I read the research about what ’causes’ autism…
- Did I not take enough folic acid? (https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2013/03/12/more-about-prenatal-folic-acid-and-autism)
- Did I let him cry too long as an infant? (http://www.autism-help.org/points-refrigerator-mothers.htm)
- Did I allow him outside while pesticides were sprayed on the fields around us? (http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2014/jun/autism-and-pesticides)
- Did I allow him to eat and drink out of unapproved plastics? (http://humanreconstruction.com/uncategorized/chemicals-found-in-plastics-linked-to-autism/)
- Did I (do I) allow him to eat too much gluten? His beloved tortillas…is that causing the spectrum issues? (http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/gluten-free-casein-free-diets-for-autism)
- Did I feed him too many scrambled eggs made on non-stick pans and too many handfuls of microwave popcorn? (http://www.autismhopeandhealing.com/gogreen.html)
- Did his vaccines cause autism? (http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/searching-for-answers/vaccines-autism)
- And the most difficult for me….as a daughter of a farmer and a lover of agriculture. Did GMO’s cause his autism? (http://www.responsibletechnology.org/autism)
Please, before you judge the validity of any of the arguments/articles – put yourself in my (and many other parents) shoes.
All you want to know is why. All you want to know is what you can do. All you want? Answers.
So we read everything…and nothing gives a clear answer.
It’s like trying to find the end of PI. It’s never-ending.
In a strange ironic twist – the information is never-ending, just as life on the spectrum is never-ending. Sure some days are better than others, but it’s still the same. So, one day I quit (for the most part)…and just began listening to my gut.
From that blog post above, “You won’t know what you’re doing till you already did it.‘
One day I quit caring – caring about why he has autism or how he developed autism and I began focusing more on doing. The reading and researching began focusing on the doing and helping…not the why and the what.
Because in the grand scheme of life the why and what don’t matter all that much. It’s here. It is what it is.
What matters is how we help/teach him coping skills and mechanisms.
What matters is how we love him through difficult times.
What matters is how we advocate for him.
What matters is how we teach others.
What matters is love…
So, stop reading everything you come across. It will literally drive you crazy. Find someone’s ‘voice’ that helps and provides comfort to you. It’s one of the reasons I am never afraid to share someone else’s blog. Maybe my voice does it for you. Maybe it doesn’t. Mine is just another voice, another viewpoint.
In an interesting paradox – I’m not stopping. Not for another 166 days. Why do I continue to write? Honestly, I have moments that I don’t feel like writing or am simply exhausted. In those moments I think of my son. I get to take a break from autism.
He will never have that privilege.