THAT was a rough #autistic meltdown…that lasted well over an hour.
Usually Arlo is so happy to see Carson & Millie when they are walking home from their bus stop every afternoon. But not today. He saw them and instantly started punching himself in the face. Then he threw himself down onto the ground and started banging the back of his head on the floor, repeatedly. I was holding the baby so I had to put him down in a safe spot and run to my sweet boy and try to calm him down. He just scratched me and screamed louder than before.
I managed to get C&M inside, but Arlo pushes through and slams his little body into the glass door, trying to bolt. I grab his pj’s and drag him back inside and in my scared mommy voice yell, “NOOOOOOOO YOU DO NOT GO OUTSIDE WITHOUT ME. NEVER EVER EVER!”
He is crying now. And I won’t lie, I am too. I don’t know what’s wrong.
Once I get him inside he starts running through the house, throwing everything he can grab. He knocks over a glass of water, he throws water bottles, he grabs a small hot wheels car and throws it at me. I finally get everyone situated, him screaming the entire time. I have to hold him very tight to help calm him down. It only kinda worked. He’s still upset.
I grab the pillow and blanket and tell him it’s time to go “sleepies,” our word for sleep/nap. I have to sternly tell him to lay down and stop throwing the pillow and blanket at least 10x. He won’t sit still so I ask him if he can sleep in Hunter’s crib. He agrees. And finally he stops throwing the pillow and blanket.
An hour goes by and finally the screaming stops. His beautiful blue eyes are heavy. I tell him over and over that I love him so much and that he will feel so much better after a nap. And he listened.
This storm has passed. Finally.
I have to be ready at all times, for happenings like this. They happen in public A LOT so we stay home more than we go out. But we try. These meltdowns are not him throwing a tantrum because he doesn’t get his way (which he does do sometimes, just like my other three). For Arlo, his meltdowns are a result of what’s happening on the inside of his body – the things we cannot see – the things he cannot control. And it is f-ing heartbreaking.
I don’t think anyone really grasps just how difficult our life is. We often hide behind “We are good!” “We are ok, thanks for asking.” And we smile and nod. Because that’s easier.
We do have visitors from time to time and they only see snippets of Arlo, mostly his calmer moments of the day. No one sees these moments – the ones that almost break us, daily. The heartbreaking moments that leave us in tears.
We cry more than we smile.
I am sharing our journey because there are still SO many people who honestly just don’t “get it.” They don’t SEE a disability. They judge. They tell us we are bad parents. Strangers. They feel obligated to stare and silently judge with their ugly showing on their face. And it really sucks.
There are SO many beautiful parts of Arlo. The autism? There are definitely beautiful parts of him that are because of his autism. But the hard stuff? I just wish they weren’t SO hard. I wish there wasn’t so much judgement. And I wish there was more acceptance and patience and understanding.