(Note: I was not on drugs when I wrote this, Just a little sleep deprived this week.)
There is Fantasy, Reality Show Reality, Getting By and Truth. Since Tanner's diagnosis with profound regressive Autism and Epilepsy, my two heart attacks at 38 and the dawning of the social media age, we have lived much of our lives in that Fantasy / Reality Show Reality world. Today I am blessed to have the opportunity to peel back a few of the layers and expose a little about our situation in the Getting By and Truth categories.
There is a multitude of reasons why most of us reside in the first two. It is easier, more comfortable, less stressful and politically correct. Many of us live in the fear of losing a job or being embarrassed by admitting what is really going on behind our castle walls. This sleep walking and defensive shields are both coping mechanisms and a way of keeping the masses in line. If we compare notes and rise up, the powers that be would have to address our situations.
Part of my fantasy world is the dream of one day being a well respected Author, Journalist, Advocate, Health and Freedom Fighter. To that end, I have studied journalism and tried to get into it with the uniform (hat, worn out notebook and big bold Press pass). I quickly learned to be a "Professional Journalist" the reports must be detached and distant from our current situation. Absolutely, I found out the reports cannot be about myself.
Many times I have put pen to paper, writing in my humble opinion that pompous third person billowing about things as though I have an omnipotent eye. Well sorry, I can't do that. The closest I came was a blog I had prepared about the juxtaposition of a huge mansion and party versus the impending foreclosure and eviction of the family. It really was surreal attending one of the most glamorous events in the largest house I had ever been too. All the while everybody was whispering about the Sherif's notice being processed right as the DJ fired up the lights and music. This is an example of living in the fantasy world for both home owner and this reporter.
Over the years of avidly studying mainstream media, news and entertainment, I have witnessed many slips. I have been rebuked, berated, blocked and even suspended from social media accounts because I called attention to reporters, entertainers and anchors. There have been mentions of Nieces, Nephews, Sons and Daughters on the autism spectrum or dealing with special needs issues. There are so many of us fighting a good, but for most a very private fight. We must dispel the myth that going it alone is the best course of action.
I write this in another first week after a job loss. In some respects this gives me the total freedom to do and write what I want to. I admit I do have a difficult time with the filter thing.
This is the first time I have said publicly how close to the edge I have been on several occasions. The first lesson in the handbook of torture is sleep deprivation and system stress. Well our first lesson here is tell folks when you are not getting sleep. It is absolutely true that you can't burn the candle at both ends and the middle. Get the rest and support you know you need.
Many of us will if pressured move out of the first two categories and into a placating "I am getting by." Most people do not want to know the gory details of our lives. So just blowing past the questions suffice the masses. You will not be labeled a whiner or negative person if you are that "trooper" that caries the weight of the world on your shoulder but keeps moving forward.
I guess what I took the long winded way again to get to with this blog is... look after yourself. That advice is not always practical. Many times we need to bend a friend's ear. We need to find those that will tell us when we get over tired. Force us to take respite breaks and rescue us if they are thinking about locking us up.
I am still a little nervous about revealing the dates, times, and details of my entire life on the edge. Truth is really scary. I just want to say thank you to those that have rescued me in my various stages of self destruction. It feels good to admit I am human. In our roles as public figures sometimes we are put on unrealistic pedestals. I do not do everything right. I am not a perfect man. I am definitely not worthy of Father of the year and do not have the answers.
What I do have is a decade of survival. Debt to many. Wisdom of experience. So once again cheers and thank you to my friends. Prayers for your families. Take time and protect yourself. We say this often. You must look after yourself, so you can look after your loved ones. Carry on Warriors.
Tim Welsh, is one of the most active and influential Parent Advocates for Autism. Avid Speaker, blogger, and Tweeter (@TannersDad). Tim works to build unity within the Autism community, Gain Insurance coverage reform, End Restraint & Seclusion, Advocate for services, prevent wandering and much more. Tim & his wife Cheri have one son Tanner (16).
“I have a son he has autism, but, I also have dream. I dare dream of a world where profound regressive autism is not only treatable, but is also preventable”