I Am Tired

I’m a special needs mom and I am tired.

It’s the kind of tired that affects a person both mentally and physically. The type of tired that I feel can’t be explained. You have to endure the day-to-day challenges of autism to know what I am talking about.

I’m tired from the lack of sleep because autism doesn’t know how to sleep. Most mornings my oldest is awake by 4 a.m., bouncing off the walls — literally! For years he didn’t sleep. We survived on about two hours of sleep in a 24-hour period for several years. Needless to say, I lived off of coffee. During this time in my life, I suffered the kind of tired that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy: Sleep deprivation.

I’m tired from the day-to-day challenges. I am worn out from trying to figure out what Trenton wants because he can’t communicate. I’m exhausted from making sure I do everything just right in order to prevent an OCD meltdown from Andrew. I’m enervated from all the anxiety Andrew suffers from daily.  I’m ready to drop at the end of the day from preventing sensory overloads and following schedules so we don’t have meltdowns. The list goes on and on. Each day is full of challenges. Each day is mentally and physically exhausting.

I’m tired from all the paperwork. I’m sick of talking with insurance companies. My son needs an AAC device and all the paperwork and signatures to prove that he can’t communicate is out of this world! I’m drained reading the words from therapist and teachers. I know it’s the truth, but it hurts so badly reading about what my child can and can’t do. I am so mentally tired from it. Oh, how I wish I could make it all better for him, now!

I’m tired of the loneliness and isolation I feel. I’m sure being a single mom doesn’t help the loneliness factor, but it’s there and I wish it would go away. It wears me out wishing and hoping for the best daily.

I’m tapped out from having my guard up non-stop. I just want to let it down sometimes, but I can’t with two boys with autism. I just want to be in public and not feel like I have to explain why my son is doing what he is doing to the people who gawk and stare. Oh, the looks and stares get so tiring.

I’m drained from educating others on autism. I am sorry that your sister’s husband’s friend’s cousin has a child with autism and he’s different than my child, but yes, my son still has autism. Yes, actually — both my boys have autism. And yes, they are totally different. It’s all autism; not one person is the same, but it’s still autism! I’m so mentally exhausted by that fight!

I’m exhausted from all the doctor and dental appointments. They are not pleasurable visits for any kids, let alone those on the spectrum. I have one child who needs a group of people to hold down to get any kind of exam done. Then I have my other child who will do the exam, but yells and tells everyone exactly what he thinks of them because he thinks everyone just did “bad” things to him.

To be honest, I’m tired of the challenges that autism brings to my children and our lives daily. However, the challenges are always going to be here. If I am this drained from the challenges, then I know my boys are, too. Therefore, we just take very short naps daily and wake up facing our journey with autism together. We are tired but we refuse to give up and walk away. Instead, we continue daily — we just do it a little tired.

Angela Conrad

Angela Conrad is a freelance writer, mom to two boys on the autism spectrum, determined autism advocate, and fun-loving person. When she is not doing her advocacy work, she can be found managing her son’s therapy schedules and all the other crazy things that life brings. She enjoys reading, exercising and helping others.

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