I haven’t written a lot this year. Frankly, I haven’t had a whole lot of time. Between grad school, a new full time teaching position, and a family to take care of, writing has had to take a back seat.
But truth be told, there’s more to it than that.
For starters, I often feel like I’ve run out of anything new to say. I’ve been writing about Autism for almost eight years.
Furthermore, I’m a sensitive soul. Writing about it takes a thick skin, and honestly, sometimes I just want to cover up.
But there’s even more than that; sometimes I just don’t know where I fit in all of this anymore.
The thing is, I live in between two worlds. My daughter has recovered from Autism, yes. She does not qualify for a diagnosis any longer. And yet, my daughter has not totally escaped the residual effects of what it did to her. We still deal with our fair share of social and academic issues; medical and self care concerns, and more.
Make no mistake; I’m not complaining, just explaining.
It’s bizarre, really, one foot in the non-affected world, one foot in the affected. I am never completely in one or the other. A strange state of simultaneous gratitude, relief, sadness, guilt, obligation, responsibility, anger, panic, elation, fear, and exhaustion lives inside me.
On any given day I am relating to the crises so many of my friends are experiencing, trying my best to help them, and then closing my lap top and going to have a conversation with my daughter about her day.
And so it has been with great caution I have tried to share our experience. On the one hand, I want everyone to know recovery is possible! We are living proof! It’s so important my child’s experience make a difference. I also want to share our hardships and lean on my friends.
But on the other hand, those problems pale, I mean pale, in comparison to what some are dealing with. It gives me great pause. Am I being insensitive by sharing my heartache and problems? Can they even compare?
All I know is I still need this forum. I can’t imagine my life without this group of people. And I can’t imagine there aren’t many of you reading this who can’t relate.
Your child has also made great strides; perhaps they too have recovered. And yet, you’ll never be the same. Your life will never be one that isn’t or wasn’t affected by Autism. You too need the support of a group of people that in some ways you can’t relate to anymore. And they need you, too.
As I have struggled with writing for the past year, I have finally realized that it’s not writing that’s been the problem. It’s been figuring out what to write about. Now I know.
Moving forward, The Recovery Room will be a column here on Age of Autism. I’ll write about living between the two worlds, easing from one into the other, and all of the problems, issues, heartaches, transitions, and celebrations that go along with it.
I’ll highlight the lives of children who have proven recovery is possible and help give direction and hope to parents and loved ones who still want to make a difference for those on their way. I’ll give a voice to the parents and children who live a life most of the world denies is possible. I’ll do all of this and more.
Join me, won’t you? My greatest wish is that we’ll all meet in the recovery room some day.
Julie Obradovic is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.