A Little Gratitude

There is a lot of great news out there regarding autism.  Many families have tried biomedical and therapeutic interventions with terrific results.  The website, autism.com has great information about treatments that have worked for many children on the spectrum.  No one can predict whether any of these will help your child.

When I was in my early thirties I sought help from the medical community for my bulimia.  I was depressed, could not stop the destructive cycle of binging and throwing up.  There seemed little to live for.  I phoned several rehabs and after speaking with several doctors and eating disorder specialists, I was told the longer a person had an eating disorder, the more intractable and harder to treat it became.  When I mentioned I had been bulimic for going on two decades there was silence.  I remember hanging up the phone and feeling utter despair.  I felt a similar despair when Emma was diagnosed.  But then, as I had when I was still bulimic, I became determined.  That determination served me well during those difficult years.  I never gave up and eventually found enough people who were able to help me, hold my hand and advise me.  I learned I couldn’t recover on my own.  I learned how to ask for help.  I learned to lean on others.  And I learned that in my darkest moments, if I remembered to reach out to someone else in need, to offer to help them, my own problems diminished.  I have tried to live my life in this way ever since.

Sometimes when I read about other people’s successes with their children, while happy for them, I feel sad for Emma.  I believe it’s natural to feel this.  I will never give up on Emma.  I will continue to do all I can to help her and while I do, I continue to work on my impatience while remembering to be grateful for each moment with her.

A little gratitude goes a long way.

For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to:   www.Emma’s Hope Book .com

2 responses to “A Little Gratitude

  1. Your words are so heartfelt. I try and remember gratitude as well when I am feeling like there will never be a light at the end of the tunnel. I have to admit that sometimes I not only feel sad for my Emma when I read about other children having such marked improvements, but I also sometimes feel jealous. Is that horrible? And as much as I honestly want each and every family who has been affected by autism to have those miracles occur for them, as much as I would never wish the agony and daily heartbreak related to autism, I can’t help but have days when I wonder why not my Emma? Why not have these miracles occur for her? Then I somehow remind myself that she is a miracle in her own right, just by being. And little miracles do happen every day with her. Maybe they are not the big aha moments I read about in articles or books, but miracles nonetheless.

  2. Jealous! Yes. What parent wouldn’t? Right? We work so hard. I had a realization recently when someone sent me a link to the cell medicine website in which they use one of my posts about Emma on their “testimonial” page. At first I read it and didn’t understand why they would use my post, and then I saw how optimistic it sounds, how someone reading it would come away thinking it really was a miracle because it’s all about how Emma is doing so well, (and she is) how far she’s come, (and she has) and reading it there on their website I thought – it’s all true, but it doesn’t feel like a miracle to me on a daily basis because the other is also true – Emma still presents as a moderately autistic child. We have not found any “cures,” but we have found things that seem to help. She is now reading and writing, something a year ago I would not have believed possible. She is out of diapers, she is slowly, so slowly expanding the foods she’ll eat, she is speaking in more grammatically correct sentences, she is beginning to answer questions. It’s slow, so very, very excruciatingly slow… When Emma still wasn’t walking when she was a year old, someone said to me, don’t worry, she’ll walk eventually, she has the rest of her life to walk. And I thought – Ugh! I’m still working on that “Ugh!” response.

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