From: Happie Aspies
I was reminded today, as I am very often, that life for Wolfie must feel like one correction after another. A pile-on of reminders that he is doing things differently, and not in a good way.
“Hey buddy, can you look at me for a second?” I asked him this while we were waiting in line for the Scooby Doo ride at Six Flags. He gave me no response. I asked him again to look at me. He yelled at me to get away from him. I tried and tried to keep my voice quiet and let him know that he wasn’t in trouble and that I wasn’t angry with him.
I was painfully aware that he was standing too close to the woman in front of us. She and her family kept looking back at him and then at me because he was standing in their family space, totally unaware. For me, this was hard to watch and not want to interject my own feelings about the situation. On the one hand, I wanted to let him alone. He wasn’t hurting anyone. But, I could tell that the woman was uncomfortable. At least I think she was.
This is just one of many examples of how his limited social awareness creates discomfort for those around him and then for himself. It’s like a vicious cycle. He does something out of the ordinary, people notice, we try to help him to be more conventional, he becomes angry, he becomes sad, we talk it out,and then he’s happy and loving. Repeat.
I am juggling a lot of feelings here. I am sad for him because I hate to see him in pain and his life is painful right now. He feels let down by society and I get why. We are asking him to do things that don’t feel right to him and he has no real reason to comply because none of it makes sense to him. Why should that lady care that he is standing a half an inch away from her body?
I am happy for him because I adore who he is and get the biggest kick out of his quirky imagination. He is genuinely loving and so sweet. He makes everyone around him smile because of his unique way. He draws people in and that’s good.
I am afraid for him because he is angry. When I ask him why he is so angry he says it’s because he’s tired of being wrong. When I ask him why he becomes violent he says so he can have power.
He has some pretty sophisticated ideas about the world and yet, there is so much he doesn’t understand. This fact alone, makes things complicated.
He had an enormous meltdown in the parking lot of Six Flags as we were leaving. It was a response to all the stimuli he encountered while we were at the park and he was clearly overwhelmed. By the time I saw that it was coming there was no way to diffuse it. We had to ride it out and it was no fun at all. We were hot and sweaty to begin with and the giant explosion of emotion made it feel ten thousand degrees hotter.
It occurs to me as I write this that Wolfie’s meltdowns are not unlike the release a person feels from riding a thrill ride. You scream and scream, and you are frightened and exhilarated and there is a huge array of emotion. After the ride, there is this sense of calm and newness almost. It’s like when you have been riding on a boat or an airplane for a long time and then you have to walk a straight line. You know you can do it, but your body keeps feeling the motion of the boat or plane. Eventually things even out and you don’t walk crooked and things go back to normal.
As we pulled into the closest drive thru I felt relieved and very blessed to have the sisters that I do. They handled the days events with a great attitude, even though it was challenging at times, and I never felt judged by them. So, my sis who was driving ordered five enormous ice waters, some fries and a few sandwiches and all was well for the drive home.
I sat next to him in the back seat and was struck by how quickly he recovered. He just kept commenting on how nice the ice water tasted and how much he loved the french fries in his now hoarse voice. It was as though nothing had happened. He was himself, happy again and I wouldn’t want it any other way.