Autistic mum of two and I'm losing the plot(8 Posts)
I'm a fairly recently-diagnosed (but long-suspected) ASD mum of two. This year after a bloody long struggle I finally qualified as a doctor, started work in August, and I am not coping. I love the job, and I love the children, but I cannot seem to deal with both. Things are fine at work, even if I feel a bit like the proverbial duck paddling frantically beneath the surface, but at home things are awful. My mental health is through the floor, the DC are driving me absolutely round the twist (eldest also has ASD, youngest the jury's out) and the place is a tip. I've never really had meltdowns before but the last few months the slightest thing seems to be rendering me unable to cope. Again I'm fine at work - coping well - or at least as well as most of the other people I started with. But I guess what's happening is perhaps like the equivalent of children who mask well at school but lose their shit at home? I don't know.
DH is doing his best to help but has his own lovely wonky wiring to cope with in the form of ADHD, and is also on shifts. Ever since DC2 was born I've felt less and less able to cope - he cried a lot in the car as a baby and the sound used to reduce me to a quivering wreck, whereas with my eldest is been able to block it out - but finishing medical school and starting work, (and consequently losing the ability to just say 'fuck it, today I'm hiding in my bedroom while I regain my sanity' on occasion) seems to have tipped me over the edge. The lack of routine is driving me totally insane - I'm part time and theoretically work the same three days each week - but between on-calls and swaps with other people either for childcare reasons or just to help out there is a total lack of consistency. Not to mention swapping jobs every four months, and DH working a ten-day rotating shift pattern that means literally every day is different. It's absolutely hellish, and tbh I think also is probably contributing to the DCs' frankly appalling behaviour since I started work. Oh, and, we moved house in October, DS1 has barely slept since and likes to remind me EVERY SINGLE SODDING DAY that he hates our new house and wants to go back to our old flat. Which I know is his ASD but really isn't helping. And I'm physically unwell - not sure if it's stress or yet another fucking autoimmune disease but I had blood tests last Friday and was called by the GP on Monday to say I need to go in next week. So obviously something going on.
Anyway apologies for the rambling - basically, after an epic epic meltdown today DH and I have decided I probably need to take some sick leave. Up the antidepressants, work out what's physically wrong with me, get some counselling from someone who knows about ASD, try to sort the house out so we can stop living out of boxes and try to stabilise things for the DC. I think it's sensible, I'm sure the GP will sign me off. I am entitled to a month off on full pay and then if necessary two more on half pay, before we'd be completely up shit creek financially. But I'm terrified. I'm terrified of having to explain at work - I haven't told anyone except DH about my diagnosis, not even my mother. And I'm scared I won't actually be able to face going back and starting this all up again, but I really really love my job. It's just totally unfair on the DC to have to put up with a basket-case mother because coping with interacting with other humans for thirty hours a week is taking all my emotional and mental resources.
I don't know why I'm writing this really. I'm just desperate to talk to someone who might understand a bit of what this feels like.
You need practical help. What can you outsource? Can you afford to buy in support..cleaner, nanny, housekeeper? My motto is concentrate on the bits you are good at (work for e.g.) and outsource what you can of the rest. Take some time out to work out a routine
Hi AspieDoc... I was diagnosed with ASD just over a year ago at the age of 44.
I'm currently an intern architect planning to compete my exams later this year. I have a husband and 2 children (aged 7 & 9). Work full time. And most of the time I feel like my head is going to explode.
Your post resonated with me. I'm trying to work out what the answer would be. I love my job and adore my family but I just can't do both. I feel like I'm always trying to catch up and never can.
I have had counselling/therapy with a psychologist who specializes in ASD. I would highly recommend it if it is available to you. Talking to someone who understood completely my feelings of alienation from the rest of the human race rather than calling me 'quirky' was spectacular.
As the other poster suggested ... any possible outsourcing of household tasks that you can do go for it! Even a cleaner will make such a difference. We got one about 6 months ago and it felt really weird at first (and a bit extravagant & lazy) but I got over it sharpish coming home to a spotless house & just not having the cleaning to deal with on the weekends.
I don't know... but your post mirrors how I'm feeling so closely. Maybe it would help just to know that there are others out there with very similar experiences?
Hi both, thank you so much for replying. Unfortunately financially we can't outsource loads. DS2 still hasn't got his free hours so childcare is fairly crippling at the moment. It would help a lot though so perhaps something to aim for.
And counselling with an ASD specialist sounds like it would help- I've tried other counsellors in the past but yes, have essentially been dismissed as quirky, or just felt on a completely different wavelength to them.
Elemental yes it does help, thank you! I feel so ridiculous not being able to manage what other people seem to do so easily. I'm sorry you're in the same boat but also slightly glad on a selfish level that it's not just me.
Do you think it would be possible to disclose to your employer? And / or set boundaries for things like schedule changes? In your original post you mentioned that you often change your schedule 'to help out'? Sometimes it might help to weigh up the benefits of being nice and helpful against the impact these changes have on your mental health.
I understand the risk of disclosure though. I work with someone who embraces all manner of woo BS and keep getting told to stop using my phone, remove wifi from my home and as for vaccinations....😑. And the websites offering to 'cure' me with all manner of activities and a huge fee 🤔. But then another colleague totally gets it, finds it interesting and we can even have a laugh together over some of my social awkwardness/literal interpretations -she totally accepts it and is beyond supportive when things start going wibble.
Please do feel free to message me directly if you want to chat further!
You've done amazingly to qualify as a doctor. I don't have ASD but I have some problems and a very emotionally demanding job and I can empathise with struggling to cope with both kids and work. I use a kind of expensive ear plug sometimes when the noise gets too much. I also make sure I have some time off without the children and there are certain times in the week (e.g. Sunday afternoon) when I allow them an extended TV or computer time. These are some of my coping skills and I'm sure you have your own but ultimately if it's too much for you at the moment then you need to put your MH first. I actually nearly got signed off in the Summer but decided to start counselling instead which seems to be helping.
Try Action for Aspergers for counselling: www.actionforaspergers.org
And for general support try Mums on the Spectrum on Facebook.
I relate hard to that feeling of just about coping but not. You are probably doing better than you think though - and it is hard, but your child will do so well for having a parent who genuinely understands his own neurology.
Firstly, congratulations on qualifying and juggling all that you do! You sound pretty amazing to me, OP.
I think, until the youngest qualifies for nursery hours, it’d be good to speak to HR and tell them a) of your condition and b) that presently, you are really not coping fully. Can they reduce your hours? An acquaintance is a GP who has similar issues and she has reduced her working week. She has young children and it’s made a huge difference. You can but ask.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Get started »
Please login first.