The last few weeks, I’ve been feeling like the respite I get is in ever shorter, ever more fleeting chunks. An hour here or there. Sometimes 15 minutes. Some days it is so bad that being at work, in my understaffed, high-pressure, intense, deadline-driven job feels like respite compared to being at home.
I’m enjoying some respite right now, and if all goes well, it will continue for the next hour and 20 minutes, when I next expect the fireworks of a 14 year old teenager with Asperger’s to begin.
That’s when I’ll be removing all the electronics from her room, as promised. There is no question, she’s an addict. And she’s going through the classical denial stage. No one in this house has slept for the last three nights. She has been sneaking in, or coming in loudly to my bedroom where I’ve hidden it all away.
Last night was the first parent training part of the ABA she will be getting. The speaker talked about the importance of focusing on one task at a time, and linking it to one specific desired outcome. I kept thinking, but she has SO many issues…where do we begin?
The one thing I was reinforced with was the need to honour my word. The device go away at 10:00, so the devices will go away at 10:00…be it easy or be it with drama. I have for the last two nights managed to do it on autopilot…no, go to bed. Please go to bed. You need to get some sleep. And so on.
I could hear myself, being calm. But inside I felt weary, like it would never end. Luckily, I am stubborn. I detached. I heard someone else saying no repeatedly, like a broken recording.
Later, telling a good friend about it, I broke down. It is so exhausting.
Take a break, she said. Get some respite.
I am trying, with this glass in my hand, I am trying and I will take what I can get.