It's a Marathon not a Sprint

"You are not a failure."

My dad was trying to console me during our phone conversation.  I couldn't stop crying, and I had been crying for several weeks.  I felt totally overwhelmed.  My depression was such that I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up, but didn't have the energy to do anything.  Everyone was worried about me, yet I couldn't communicate my deep pain.

Lacy was spiraling down and down.  He couldn't stay at school for more than a few hours without having a meltdown or becoming violent.  He put his fist through walls, stole food and drinks from others, and wasn't sleeping.  He was 15 years old.

Yes, his behavior had been tough to handle all his life.  Several times he had wandered away resulting in frantic hours searching for a young man who became totally silent when his name was called.  Yet, God had been faithful and we had found Lacy every time.  This was different.  Kenny and I worried that he'd never be able to function in a school setting let alone in any kind of supportive living.  I was on edge constantly.  This little boy we loved had such difficult behavior that it had worn us both down to the end of our strength.

I went to sleep exhausted and woke up in the same state.  Kenny and I were both suffering, but we were so overwhelmed we couldn't share our pain with each other.

This crisis landed Lacy in the psychiatric unit of Children's Hospital for three weeks.  Our family went through counseling in order to deal with Lacy's behavior.  But even the hospital staff was stumped as to how to help.  We had to learn how to manage our stress and take care of ourselves.

Three years later, we sent Lacy to another facility for respite care.  Again, three weeks of peace for all of us. It was shortly after this respite stay that we found a wonderful supportive living situation for Lacy.

Our story is fairly typical of many families whose children have autism and developmental delay.  Once we got Lacy to an appropriate supportive situation, he blossomed and became so happy and independent.  Although the changes due to HD began a few years later, Lacy was successfully living an independent life for quite while.

To parents of children with autism: There is always hope for better days ahead.   Don't give up hope for your child to achieve an independent life.  It may take a while, so take care of yourself.   This is a marathon, not a sprint.


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