August 10, 2017/Facebook

“So, I’m putting this on blast to raise awareness for autism and mental illness. After my time at HopeWay, I’ve decided that “hiding it” and pretending it’ll go away isn’t helping anyone. If I can help just one person by reaching out, then my job is done. In the essence of full disclosure, here it is.

I’ve gone virtually 20 years without much contact with law enforcement officers. In the last several months, I’ve had three interactions with them. The first time was when our 11 year old son was at Carowinds with a therapist and had a severe meltdown. We had to go pick him up because the police officers wouldn’t let him leave with Isaiah. Thank God he is just 11 or he may have been arrested.

The second time was Tuesday when he was at the mall with his therapist and had a meltdown. Again, security called me, but allowed Harold to calm him down and let them go when it was safe for them to leave.

Today was the third time when I got stopped for speeding because I was rushing home to help when Harold called me to say that Shane had locked him out of the house during a meltdown and was on a rampage destroying everything within his reach. Harold could see what he was doing, but could not get inside. My interaction with the cops came when I got stopped for speeding because I was doing 80 mph in a 65 mph zone and trying to get home as quickly as possible. Kudos to the cop who believed me when I told him what was going on and let me go. By the time I’d gotten home, crap was still going down. The downstairs of the house looks like a bomb went off. Things are broken and strewn everywhere.

Maybe you’re reading this and wondering what a “meltdown” looks like. I have videos and pictures but would have to put a *warning for graphic content” if I posted it. I’ll do my best to describe it although anyone who hasn’t seen it cannot possible grasp the severity of it in full-on batshit crazy mode. It involves hitting, kicking, biting, punching (hence, my broken nose}. At times, we have to use a therapeutic hold to keep him from hurting himself or others (he weighs 135 lbs.). Take the most hurtful thing anyone has ever said to you and multiply by 100 (believe me when I say that it hurts more when it comes out of your kid’s mouth). Pictures and things that you love are targeted and broken. For a fleeting moment, you are afraid for yourself. But, for the entire time (30 minutes to 3 hours), you are helpless and worried sick for your child. What’s going to happen to him? What else can I do to help? Why isn’t what we’re doing helping?

I’ve yet to gather the strength or desire to pick up all the pieces from today’s incident to put it back together again. I might leave it that way for a while. I’m tired, weary and feel everything but strong. The only reason I cleaned up from last Thursday’s meltdown was because the two-story chandelier had shattered when a stool was thrown and hit it. There was glass everywhere. I had to do it for the safety of everyone.

I’ll be the first to admit that there was a time when I cared what things “looked” like. I had to have an impeccably clean house, car, etc. I had a spot for everything. So much so that friends would move things and sit back to see how long it took for me to wander over to it, move it back without saying a word. Those things no longer matter to me (and how foolish that they did). Who cares what things “look” like? It took #autism to show me that those things mean nothing.

What is the most important thing is that you have to sit and watch your child flail and literally fight for his life turning blue from hyperventilating. My family is fighting for its life and unity. Just a little air to breathe and lasting moments of fresh air. My sweet boy with the longest eyelashes of anyone I’ve ever known has a lifelong struggle in front of him if everything we’re doing doesn’t help. The kid that’s in the middle of a meltdown is not the kid we know. He becomes someone else. Our boy is the one whose laugh is contagious, whose stories are hilarious, whose snuggles at night are priceless. That’s who our boy is. But, #autism doesn’t care. It doesn’t matter what people see. It doesn’t matter what it “looks” like. It doesn’t matter that my heart is broken into a million pieces just watching it all go down and feeling helpless. It doesn’t matter. #Autism is a bitch. #neverthelessshepersisted

If you know someone who needs help or has similar struggles, please share this with them so they know they are not riding the crazy train alone.

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