Special Needs Parenting

Post Autism Diagnosis Depression

person sitting on bench

Postpartum Depression is getting more traction on the internet lately. I’m glad that people are opening up more about their Postpartum Depression and getting help. Sometimes I have wondered if I had Postpartum Depression. I think I am definitely prone to anxiety and depression in my genetics. But I think my depression is centered on one thing: my son’s autism diagnosis. I will call it Post Autism Diagnosis Depression.

Post Autism Diagnosis Depression (PADD) is when you find out that your perfect little boy has something wrong with him. He starts regressing. He could do puzzles wonderfully at age 2, but can hardly put one together at age 4. He could say 20 words last month, but now he says 2 words. It is heartbreaking. A diagnosis of severe or moderate autism is among the worst things that can happen to a mother.

People try to comfort you, but there is no comfort in anything they say. “They are just such a special spirit” and “You must be so awesome to get that child” feel more like daggers than hugs. The only time I have felt really comforted by someone is when they tell me “Wow. I worked with autistic kids once. It is REALLY hard. You have a really hard life.” For some reason, I wish more people understood how hard my life is. I wish they knew how hard each hour is. Each minute. I guess I wish I was understood more. If someone broke down and cried with me maybe I would feel like they understood my heartbreak.

Early Intervention

Post Autism Diagnosis Depression gets worse when the entire world tells you that “early intervention” will help your son make great progress. Spend all your time and money on therapies in the first few years and you will get him functioning. For some it works. For me, we have tried everything and my son still gets worse. It makes me wonder if maybe I am to blame. Could I be the reason that early intervention isn’t working? Why has it worked for so many others and not for my son? Is it because I wasn’t consistent enough? I have worn myself out with therapies and nothing gets better.

Autism Depression

I suppose by now we could just call my depression “Autism Depression”. Its been 2 years since the diagnosis. And I am still depressed. My autism depression gets worse when I see teachers and staff that are excited to work with my son and help him talk…and then slowly lower their expectations and start hinting that he will spend his entire life in special education.

My depression gets worse when other people hint that it was vaccines that caused my son’s autism. If it was vaccines, then WHY didn’t someone tell me THIS COULD HAPPEN!!!!!! Seriously, why didn’t anyone tell me this was a possibility?

My depression comes when I blame myself for his autism and hate God for not healing him. I feel depressed when I see so many other people around me with normal children who don’t realize what a blessing it is to be able to speak to your child and have them speak back to you.

person standing in front of body of water

Real me

All I want to say is that I am depressed. That is the real me. Autism is one of those extremely tragic things in my life. Sometimes I try to think positively about it and sometimes I just want to die. I suppose everyone has tragic things happen to them. Severe autism is just my lot in life.

And yes, I am extremely jealous of all people who have high functioning autistics. And yes, I usually get mad at them when they complain about their autism hardships. If I could get my son to the level of high functioning, I would be SOOO happy. I would sing hallelujah. I’m not proud of any of these feelings, but this is where I am. This is the real me.

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