One of the things that is hardest for me to do is letting go. Michael is the same. Autism makes it harder for him to do this, to let go of certain thoughts, mistakes and things that happened that have caused him regret, and regulating his feelings around this. Sometimes it is a fight he had with me that he thinks I haven’t forgotten about. Other times it is a song or video or image that disturbed him. He has learned to no longer watch it, but is haunted by the image and repeated fixates on it. I can tell you that a lot of people who don’t have autism experience this also, only we don’t realize it until it has taken over. Then we are stressed, having anxiety and feeling out of control. This is completely normal and sometimes takes us off guard.
I will sometimes get into loops of worry and it takes over my thinking. This is happening less and less each day as the strategies I use to handle stress are good ones, but sometimes at a super busy time of the year I feel those old urges coming back. So how can we fix this? Like I tell Michael, we have to stay calm and focus on what is bothering us. Next we use our strategies to calm down, and third we remind ourselves that it is normal to be scared, to have a hard time sometimes. I am also reminding Michael, and myself when I have difficulty letting go of emotion, that he/I can do it. We are strong and will be made stronger by this experience. I phrase it differently for Michael to understand the meaning, that he can do it, but the thought is the same. I think as long as we remind ourselves worrying is normal, about the past, the future, in the present, we can start to find solutions to tackle what is really going on. Certain times of year, like end of school year, can bring about exciting and nerve wracking change for children and their parents. It’s important to control what we can, remember that we all learn from our mistakes when we are aware of them, and then take a deep breath and leave the past or present worrying in God’s /the Universe’s hand.
Exceptional Parents, are you having a hard time letting go of something, whether it is feelings, past hurts, or something else? Remember, it is normal. Life is a series of changes that sometimes are challenging for us and our children. Just remember, you are not alone. Find out what the worry is, take little steps to moving away from it with whatever positive strategies have worked for you in the past, and remind yourself and your child that you will be stronger for this stress. You truly will be. Then release it. Three words popped out at me last week when I was writing: Relax, Trust, Release. And that is what you can do to move forward in your process of owning how you feel. Until next time.