Monday, May 25, 2009

Raising Denver Part 6: Self Discovery

In this series, I mentioned that my diagnosis directly resulted from my son's diagnosis. This news set a series of resolved issues that changed my life.

As a child, I hated myself. I blamed myself for the abuse I received and the failings I endured in social circles from so very young. As I grew up I thought I must be some kind of chronic bad luck in human form. Nothing worked right for me, ever. When I started working jobs, I lost them or found I just couldn't handle them. I tried to go to colleges, but didn't understand what I was looking for or getting into. I was walked on, duped and scammed. I lost hope on daily basis.

In relationships I did no better. In my first marriage I had anger problems. I never hit anyone (except myself since I was still having the tourette-like self damaging seizures) but I would yell and scream in arguments when really not necessary. Everything frustrated me and I could connect through very little.

All my life, I've asked myself, "why?". Then, through a little one who had no idea he was a hero, the answer came. As I studied the effects of Asperger's syndrome on my life, with guidance and doctors assistance, I learned all the answers I could ever hope for. I can look back now and tell you exactly what made me lose jobs, become a bully and con magnet, and even lose relationships. I can do this, because now I know myself. I can now tell you just how lost a person can really be when they don't know themselves or what affects them.

For all I went through, I am still one of the lucky ones. I could have been any kind of criminal you can imagine by simply taking random paths in life as many of us do. That's how my life happened, it happened at random and with little control. Sure, I had ideas of what I wanted to be, but I had no clue how to get there. Because of that, I wound up in relationships that didn't match me. I built up colleged debts on things I would never use. Even when I joined the Army, it was on a whim. I was out of control because I had no support to teach me about my conditions and what they could to to me.

Could my life have been different? Certainly it could. I think the abuse would still have happened, but my thought processes would be with a different understanding of how I felt and saw the world around me. Now I see this as possible for all our our children who have autism, bipolar, ADD, ODD, and any of the other combinations of disorders that afflict our society in growing numbers year by year. We must teach them about themselves.

Take a child with peanut allergies. What do you think his chances in life are if he manages to somenow never learn that he has that allergy? Consider that the parents never ever eat anything that has anything to do with peanuts. Once he's on his own (I know it's virtually impossible to go through life with such an allergy and not discover it before you're five), how long will he make it in an now unprotected fashion? He can't. The same is very true for our children who grow up never understanding what is happening in their bodies from these disorders. Their lives become random and often chaotic.

So look to your children, teach them about themselves and how to control their conditions. You'll be glad you did.

1 comment:

jandre said...

You seem to have gained considerable insight into your condition and are coping well inspite of your hardships. My 42 y/o son has OCD but I didn't know this until he was grown. Had I had knowledge then, both of our lives would have been easier. Try to remind him to consider his own childhood when he disciplines and sets limits with his own 2 boys. He's trying and professionally is very successful. Just wish his memories of his childhood were more pleasant. You sound like a very good father. Hope the best for you and will be following your posts. Good luck.