Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

"Hey Mom Mom" at 3:00 a.m.

This is Griffin at 3:00 in the morning right after he woke me up. I was not a happy camper as one might imagine. I had just gone to sleep at 12:30, that will teach me to stay up late! It is bad enough that in Alaska this time of year that we hardly have any sunlight, but to get up at 3:00 and not see the sun until about 12:00 , and then it's not even up but a couple of hours, is a real bummer. It is rough for someone who is Bipolar too. We are especially sensitive to the long dark hours. Notice that I didn't call it "long dark days" because to me a day is when there is daylight. Being Bipolar and caring for an autistic child is quite the challenge , let me tell ya. I have been struggling with depression due to all the darkness and then hearing Griffin say "hey mom mom" over and over and over again ........well, it's not a lot of fun.

Don't get me wrong, you know how much I love my little guy, and no matter how irritated I become I am still patient with him but I think that you know what I mean when I say "it's not easy". I am not here to complain, I just kind of wanted to let people know more about what Griffin's mommy is like and how I work very hard to do my best for my little guy regardless of having a serious mental illness. There, I said it! There is a lot of stigma attached to being mentally ill . Even though I am on medication and am considered to be "stable" I still have to contend with some who believe that "we" are raging lunatics. I am just a regular person who happens to have an invisible disability in fact, those of you who know me already are probably surprised because you could never tell by seeing me in person. I hide it well (evil snicker lol)

I am taking a chance by putting it out there that I have Bipolar Disorder. I may scare people away because the topic makes so many people uncomfortable but I have to do it. I know that my blogging buddies will be there for me and be understanding. All of you have shown me so much support and I also have the support of my dear friends and family who love me unconditionally. I hope that you all know how much I appreciate you.

I just don't think that when one has a serious illness of any kind that they should have to hide and just because it is a "mental" illness is not a reason to keep it as a deep dark secret. It sets me free to be open and honest about something that I struggle with every day. Something, like autism, that I didn't ask for.

Even though this may sound like I am a dreary individual it's not the case there is the joy of my life in my beautiful child Griffin even at 3:00 a.m. repeating "hey mom mom " over and over and over again! Oh how I do love him so!


Suzanne said...

I've been reading your blog for a few weeks -- long enough to know that you are a wonderful mother to Griffin, and it's extremely obvious that you love him SO much. I'm having a hard time dealing with everything that comes with autism, so I can only imagine how difficult it must be for you. You're doing a great job, and I for one will keep reading and cheering the two of you on.

Tina said...

Hi Lora and Griffin,
Being Bipolar is very difficult especially when your child is Autistic. I know going to therapies with K.C., and keeping him in touch with the world is a hard thing for me to do. Especially when I want to hide myself. We do have many struggles but in the end we push and I mean push ourselves to do what is best for our kiddos. I am so proud of you for expressing that you are Bipolar Lora. I too had a hard time letting people know but now it isn't as hard. I know that everyone blogging reading your posts knows that your love for Griffin is one that cannot be measured. You are doing a wonderful job with this little boy Lora, he can write and spell and is making great strides for sure! It is good that you are saying it openly that you are Bipolar and an awesome first step in feeling like some of the weight is being lifted off your shoulders. We will support you and I know everyone here will not think of you any differently because they have been following Griffin's story and they know you are a great Mommy!

mommyguilt said...

Hey Lora - you are SO fine! So many of the moms, just in our little blog group, are experiencing some form of mental health issue along with their ASD child. You are totally not alone on that and don't worry 'bout a thing! We love you and Griffin!

If it makes you feel any better, the sky in Chicago will be permanently gray until about March or April. Just as exciting as 3hrs of daylight by you...same affects, too. BUT the sun will be up and we'll have normal days soon! Hang in mama

Peggy Lou Morgan said...

Good for you, Lora. I think the most valueable gift we have to give is being totally open and honest about who and where we are as individuals. Our children are individuals too but that is often ignored and stereotypes used.

Billy Ray experiences Autism and also bipolar. Both effect his sleep. You and Griffin can relate to each other in the coming years because sleep is such an elusive thing for both conditions.

Best regards,
Peggy Lou Morgan

Eileen said...

You are a wonderful person, your son is an amazing little man, and he is extremely lucky to have such a great "Mom Mom". It is so nice to have our little Autism Community to share our experiences with. We can help each other through some difficult times and share in the celebration of the good times. Thanks for sharing. Hang in there!

gretchen said...

My son, Henry, has PDD. He displays many autistic traits but my husband and I have said many times that we are so thankful he is a good sleeper (unlike many ASD kids)!!! Your mind and emotions cannot be expected to function smoothly without enough sleep. And to add bipolar disorder AND living in Alaska on top of that??!! You are definitely blogging mom of the year, in my book!

Thanks for sharing everything. This support group grows more important to me every day.

Anonymous said...

Lora...I can tell you that even parents of non-autistic/ "normal" children can have nights like you had. strong you are to be there with your own issues. I know several bi-polars who are doing quite well with their meds, and hope you have the right ones. I can't tell you how many of my friends are on prozak, or something similar....later in life. We all have "issues" hormone or whatever and need each other's support....moms and grandmas...we need each other!

For some reason, we moms have to be the strength in our households. Keep things running smoothly, and going on whether we are sick...depressed...tired, whatever. That's a huge burden for us moms (and in my case, I'm still doing it as a grandma) Remember to take time out for know, that bubble bath!! I would invest in those special lights for SADD ? I hear they work!! Lots of lighting and happy music in your home....sometimes I force myself to put Motown on because it can instantly change my mood.

I can tell you are a fabulous mom, your are bright, intelligent, strong and handling what life throws at you...although I know you think of your son as a gift. And he is. But...once again!! TAKE TIME FOR YOU!!! You SO deserve it. I know I know "easy for you to say....when do I have time????" Make time and get some rest!!!!

Love to you and your adorable little guy!!!! Grandma

Felicity said...

Hi, I'm new here. Both of my kids are neurotypical but I seem to have made friends with quite a few blog moms who have kids with autism or aspberger's. So I'm trying to learn and relate and understand.
Does your gorgeous son nap? I used to lie right down with my kids and nap alongside them, housework be damned.
It seems liek this is the first time you mention being BiPolar in the blog? I've been on antidepressants for years--I was pretty much non-functional without them. There is NO SHAME in having a mental disorder...any more than there is in having, say, diabetes or any other disease. Anyone who says different, doesn't deserve your time.
As far as the three hours of daylight? I'm not sure I could handle that. Any chance of Santa bringing you a lightbox? Even if it is electric, it's nice to have some light that simulates natural daylight.
Best wishes,

Laura said...

Hi - found you through MommyGuilt. I am in the process of being diagnosed Bipolar II (have to have some formal ceremony or something, or seal it with wax - who knows?) and also have a child with Asperger's. To be perfectly honest, I have not met another mother of a child with autism who is not medicated. I am sure they are out there, but I haven't met one yet! I also live with a chronic illness, thus the trifecta of frustration at my house.

I wish you good hours of sunlight, a sleeping child, and peace of mind. Also, I think you can find lightbulbs that can simulate a lightbox without having to get the lightbox - they can be spendy. Please know that others are out there who will be supportive to you - bipolar is not something to be ashamed of, and when you need help, you need help. Flat out. E-mail any time. I will try to stop back often.

Astryngia said...

Great to meet you - thanks to mommyguilt for the introduction. :-) Self-knowledge and the courage to share makes the world a better place. Thanks for making the day good. :-)

Jenn said...

I always enjoy reading your blog, and learning more about you and Griffin. It is so obvious how much you adore him, and how much you do for him. I see you as a patient loving mom, and really that's what matters. You are an awesome mom! I'm pretty out of it when Matthew wakes up in the middle of the night - It takes me forever to get back to sleep, so I'm a bear the next day,and am often less than patient than I should be with my kids. My confession - I sometimes get upset that he just doesn't "get it" or do what I tell him to. I get upset that he's not *normal* and I get frustrated at times with myself for not being as patient a mom as my child needs.

Octoberbabies said...

My mother is Bipolar and I she did a fine job mothering me anyway.

You, my friend, love your kid so much and so openly that even at your "dreariest" he surely feels your love. Keep writing to us. No matter what the mood, we want to hear from you.

Lots and lots and lots of love,

Revka said...

I am new to your blog. I have 2 boys on the spectrum. One who is 5 with autism, and one who is 6 with aspergers. I have 2 typical kiddos. One who is 3 and one who is 19 months old.. ALL BOYS!

I haven't read a lot of your posts yet, but just wanted to say hi!
I have a blog myself. It is a political blog, but i have another one about my 2 boys I just started.
Here is the address:
Feel free to pay a visit. I just started it, and I need to do more posts!

marti (standing still for once) said...

Hey gal! Marti here (standing still for once). Learned about you through Mommy Guilt. Although I know that Bipolar is the phrase that doctors prefer now, I happen to like calling myself manic depressive. It's the old term, and it feels more descriptive of how I am. I was diagnosed last March after a long and very crazy (duh) period of mania. I love depakote. I love paxil. I talk about my mental illness with everyone -- my friends, the entire staff at my son's school, the teens at my church, the old folks at my church. And, I blog about it (please visit my site). I remind everyone that if I were a diabetic and I would check my blood and give myself insulin so that I would not die. As a manic-depressive in treatment, I check my moods, check in with my shrink, take my meds ... or I will die. And to make the little connection with you more profound, I have an aspie. And, one more step ... I live in Minnesota. Now, we don't have the endless nights ... but we do have the cold, and it gets pretty gloomy some days. My hubby hates the winter, and we long for our snowbird days ahead (years in the future, but we dream). Good to meet you!

Audra Jensen said...

Just found your blog. Does your child also have hyperlexia? I haven't surfed through your past posts to find out. I wrote a book about kids like ours (called When Babies Read). Don't know if it would help at all, but you might check it out.

Just started blogging myself. I'm at Nice to "meet" you!


Kristina Chew said...

This is what love is all about, isn't it?

I think we forget it is ok to get mad at our kids. Charlie is my little angel, but he does have a devilish side, if I may put is that way. I think it's key that we let our little guys and gals know, listen, Mom loves you to the ends of the earth but she is sick and tired of hearing you say "fwies ann burgers"--she's not answering to it anymore!

Moi ;) said...

You know what? You are doing great. You are NORMAL. :) You are frustrated just like all the rest of us, lol. {{{{{{{Griffin's Mom}}}}}}}

You know, You do have an advantage over those who aren't BP when it comes to our kids - if your son has BP (many kids on the spectrum do) you will know, you will know what to look for. And you will be able to get him help.

Many of us are clueless about this stuff - That would be a great post for you - maybe to help us so we know what to look for - what do you think?