The Anniversary of a Diagnosis

Diagnosis: noun. the identification of the nature of an illness or other problem by examination of the symptoms.

A year ago, I received

a diagnosis,

a slap in the face,

a validation.

No mother wants to admit she feels a slight twinge of relief at hearing something is “wrong” with her child.

But I did.  A small, small part of me thought, So it’s not me.  I’m not a horrible mother.  I have a difficult child.  It isn’t this hard for every mother.

Feelings are feelings.  What can I say?

Of course, those thoughts were immediately bulldozed by feelings of deep sadness, fear, and shame. Sadness for my three-year old son who had to deal with these struggles, fear these struggles would overwhelm and consume him, and deep shame that I felt that earlier twinge of validation.

What’s also surprising about receiving a diagnosis is that, on the surface, nothing changes.  After our initial meeting with the doctor, we went about our day.  There wasn’t an immediate transformation or quick fix.  In fact, pinpointing a diagnosis our insurance company could accept took months.  Any change my son actually felt (in the way of therapies, special needs preschool, and the implementation of an IEP) was months down the line.

But for me, the change was immediate.

In an instant, I was told there was a name for my frustrations, for my son’s frustrations.

Autism.

I didn’t truly understand what the word meant beyond the stereotypes, but I knew in that moment, this word and I would come to know each other on a visceral level.

And we have.

Autism is feisty.  It refuses to pin itself down to just one definition.  Some days, I question whether autism really belongs in the list of terms to define my son. Then it slaps me in the face, boldly reminding me it is a term that defies boundaries.  I don’t know I’ll ever be able to provide it a proper definition.

While autism may be an intriguing word, I’ve also learned it’s just one of many words to describe my oldest son. It has some fierce competition with intelligence, strength, and passion. 

A year ago, I received

word,

an insight,

an understanding.

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~Chaos Contemplated (for now)

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4 thoughts on “The Anniversary of a Diagnosis

  1. I remember when we met the educational psychiatrist and I was trying to explain to her why I wanted an assessment/diagnosis for my son. I said something along the lines of “I know lots of parents will say in the playground that they have had a terrible time getting their child ready for school but I don’t think they’ve had as bad a time as me, I ‘d like to know if I what I’m going through is “normal” or actually more than the average parent has to cope with”. And her response was “what difference would it make?”.

    I think she was thinking that it wouldn’t change how hard I found things or what I had to do, and that is right, those things wouldn’t change. But to me, it would make all the difference in the world. And that is what I’m reminded of when I read this blog post. That need to know that its not just you, being rubbish, there really is something extra going on. And I think (hope?) knowing that helps, especially with having patience.

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    • Yes, I absolutely agree! Knowing DOES help. Because when you know, when you can name something, then you can DO something about it. It also allows you to forgive yourself when you lose your patience, and to strive harder for patience because you know your child is struggling, and not just being obstinate.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My son was older when he was diagnosed, but I think on some level i had always known — about us both! I think what the diagnosis meant for me – and this was definitely something that emerged in the yearS after diagnosis itself – was to stop wondering what was “wrong” with my son and why he wasn’t like the other kids and to start celebrating him and accepting him and learning about him (and autism) exactly as he is…
    Nice post!

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