Sunday, December 4, 2016

What is it like to live in the dark?

It is 5:30 on a Sunday night.
We are currently sitting in the dark.  Not because we are watching a movie, or going to bed, but because Max hates lights.
This is Max running to turn off the lights I just turned on.  (My bad.)
Max's OCD and anxiety have been getting worse.  He follows us around the house closing all of the doors. The doors and lights have to be closed and off for him to be able to relax and calm down. He has to have the lights off (or what he calls "the moon") from sunrise to sundown.  It is becoming a hard way to live.
If we put the lights on he goes from calm Max to over-the-top, out-of-control Max.  He cries, tantrums, throws, bites, kicks, and argues - which can last for up to 2 hours.  Yes, we have tried a lot of coping mechanisms, we have tried tents, sunglasses, and other ways to make it dark for him beyond just turning off the lights. (Because that just leads to a meltdown.) Will and I have talked to his teachers, other autism families, consulted Dr. Google and alas they have no ideas other than what we have been trying.

We are hoping this is a phase.  One that will go away quickly.  But for now we are trying our best to stay calm.
That is Max.  In the dark.  Under a tent.  With the lights off. 
Autism just doesn't go away, there is always something new and unpredictable.  So when people ask "He seems to be doing better?"  or "Is the Autism going away?" Or they comment to us how "lucky we are to have an easy autistic child!"  Yes, we are very blessed to have a sweet boy.  Max struggles daily, and sometimes his struggles come out in unforeseeable ways.  Autism is magical, but is also frustrating and hard and something our family lives with.  There are silver linings and amazing moments, but there are also moments where I want to run and hide.  (And cry and wonder what the hell I am doing?) 

So currently if you come to our house, bring a flashlight, and some patience.  You will be in the dark.  And Max still doesn't wear clothes in the house, so expect him to be in his cute boxer briefs.

*And for me writing down my frustrations is the best way to deal with stress.  Hence this blog post.*

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