Our Autistic Life











{April 9, 2010}   Fears & Obsessions; aka Dear God, I need a drink!

As much as I’d like to focus my energy elsewhere I find that attention needs to be paid to my daughter’s obsessions and fears daily. Don’t get me wrong ~ I do enjoy all the weird little thoughts that tend to cross her brain ~ but I also worry that this pattern of losing one set of fears only to replace them with something shiny and new heralds a future full of difficulties she will never fully overcome. Her newest fear is of the Santa Ana’s. Yep, the wind.

Ok, admittedly, Autistics are very sensitive to the….well, everything. I could write out a long, long list of all the things that set their teeth on edge, but it wouldn’t do more than scratch the surface. The bottom line is that these kids worry and they worry pretty intensely.

So, the wind thing is new, but only in the way it’s evolved from a sudden and odd fear of tornados. I don’t know how or why that one developed, but now it’s evolved to include strong winds that come up suddenly and have her pushing to my side so much that I think she’s trying to climb inside me!

But, that fear ~ oddly not of earthquakes, which we get kind of a lot! ~ that fear is nothing compared to her obsession with death. I won’t ever argue that she’s been through a lot in her short life, but I cannot seem to get her past the death thing. Her dad died when she was a baby. My dad died several years ago. So, she now is obsessed not only with us “being the same!” as she words it, but with how and when people die. She’ll bring up my fathers death daily; asking me things like “Was he old?” , “Was he sick?”. She was keenly aware of Keith Olbermann’s father being ill and when he  did pass away she actually said ~ and this brought tears to my eyes! ~ “Poor Mr. Keith’s dad died. But, it’s ok because his dad is in heaven with my dad and my dad will take care of him.” What 6 year old would even think that way? I mean, talk about a sentiment that goes well beyond what one would expect from a tiny, tiny child!

Obviously, a kid who’s lost a parent will be sensitive to anyone else going through it, but for her ~ this little person still trying very hard to get a handle on emotions and what they mean ~ this obsessing about death can be hard to hear about every day. And, almost like clockwork today she began ~ “Mom, did your dad die because he was old?” , “Mom, was he sick or did he die in a hurricane like my dad?” , “Mom, is God dead?”. 

I bet that made you tired and you’re not even here!

So, I try to calm her fears and steer her away from morbid conversations. I think I’m getting pretty good at it, but just the same, I’ll be pouring a cocktail soon!

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Sire says:

At 6 years old you would hope she would grow out of it. I know how you love your horror movies, she’s not one to sneak in and watch is she. That probably wouldn’t help.

Death doesn’t bother me too much. I’d hate to lose family and friends but it’s not something I think about. When it happens it hits pretty hard but unfortunately death comes to us all.



twilighthotel says:

Actually Sire, it comes from the other kids. She sees them with their dads and she also hears the other kids talking about their dads and she feels left out. There’s also more than a bit of “kids are supposed to have a mom & a dad” and Autistics need their worlds to be really organized that way. Both are what makes it so tough for me – there’s really not much more I can do than tell her I understand how she feels and remind her that we do ok for ourselves. She, of course, though feels it could be better.



Sire says:

What a bummer. Still, she’s a great kid and that alone would mean a lot. I reckon things will get better as time goes by. What she needs is something exciting to happen every now and again to take her mind off things.

Hows that photo project for her room going?



ms. Zola says:

I remember you wrote a blog about how Nella’s father died. It was a very sensitive piece. I feel for a child who has to wonder about death because of such a tragic loss. When I was 5 we went to Mexico and took a city tour. One place we visited was a Mexican graveyard an the guide was telling us that if the family of the dead didn’t pay the rent on the grave, the bones were dug up and thrown in a pile. Then I saw a picture of a young man who was in a crypt and it occurred to me that the guy in the picture was the guy in the grave. I spent years thinking about it in school because I couldn’t think about it at home or I would get sick.



twilighthotel says:

Hi ms. Zola! Welcome to my little blog! Do you have one here?

Well, yes, it’s still hard and she misses him so much. It really breaks my heart and she’s constantly telling me how I need to find her a new one. I’ve done pretty well in reminding her that we’re not doing terrible on our own and we do have fun. That calms her down for awhile, but it always comes back up again!

Yikes, that sounds like a creepy field trip! I bet you thought about that for years! I know I would have! Death really is a powerful thing. Which is why I’ve decided not to do it and made Nella promise she won’t ever die, too. So far so good! lol

Oh, but here’s something funny. Friday night we sat down to watch Countdown and at one point Keith was talking about Sarah Palin and set up a joke for the audience to finish. He said “That woman is an – ” and then pointed to the screen for the viewers to finish. Right on que my baby girl yelled out “AN IDIOT!”. Too, too funny!!!!!



twilighthotel says:

Almost forgot! Typhoon??? Japan??? Sounds like you need to write a post about that! AND, link it to facebook so I know when your new posts go up!



twilighthotel says:

Actually, you and me both, Mitch! I actually became so afraid of dying after my father died that my hair stopped growing. Seriously, it was such an intense fear that my body reacted like I’d managed to stop time! I hope she gets over the wind thing, but really – it will only open the door for a new fear. ah, I’ve seen so many before this! lol



Mitch says:

You know, I’m not autistic, but I have a great fear of that myself, to the point that sometimes, like now, I can’t even utter the word, or the other “d” word signifying that someone has passed away.

As for the rest… well, I remember being scared of the wind for a short while after going through a typhoon in Japan as a little kid, but that one only lasted about a week or so. Hopefully she’ll grow out of that one.



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