Start. Stop. Think. Breathe.
I am always so far behind of all the bloggers with posting about current autism-related events. It’s because I know what I want to say, but it’s locked behind so many doors in my brain that finding the right keys takes too damn long. Then, by the time I have something, the moment is gone – we move onto the next big/exciting/devastating event. In this digital age, everything moves at a break necking speed.
But, here I am, trying to find the right words to say about Kelli and Issy. It’s so important to me to get this post out, that I’m sure my thoughts will be jumbled and my phrasing won’t make any sense. But anyway.
For those that have not heard, the autism community is facing yet another crisis. One that is so much more than the individual event itself. I’m speaking about a blogger who allegedly attempted to kill both herself and her daughter.
This, on top of Alex Spourdalakis’ death in June, has sent chilling waves throughout the autism universe.
And the rise of opinions and judgments have followed in spades. From support to vilification, everyone has got their own opinion. Some are extremely, er, strong.
I only know what Kelli was going through by her blog. I know she is one of the strongest moms out there. From what I have read, she is a fighter and a tireless advocate. There are many posts that I can clearly empathize with, even if our children are on different shades of the spectrum. In her recent post, she speaks of the all-too-common thread we face about battle fatigue and her daughter “was not going to be allowed to go to school”.
So, what brings a parent to such a deadly decision?
As always, I’m on the fence. I rarely see things in “black and white”. First, I cannot fathom murder. I cannot begin (and don’t want to) go down such a dark, dismal place. There has never been a time when such a horrible idea would pop in my mind.
Anytime I read a story (and Husband keeps telling me not to) about anything like this, my heart sinks and my hypersensitivity to sorrow kicks in. I grieve in such a deep way, as if I’m personally affected by the tragedy. And for that, I am saddened for what Issy has gone through.
On the other hand, I have battled depression for many, many years. It’s not a big secret, though I choose not to hyperfocus on it. But – I have felt the depths of despair. I have swum in the black hole of nothingness. I have rode some nasty waves in my journey (with the anxiety sidekick, to boot). And that’s just self-care. Add in the other stressors (work, family, autism, etc.) and there can be some hefty battles in my mind. And when I hit the depression rabbithole, well, it’s hard to wade through it.
But, I want to stress that while I work on managing my depression, death has NEVER been an option. Quite frankly, I’m also scared of dying. So, I continue to “work on” myself not only for myself but for my family. I have learned, just like my son, to manage and try to work through my challenges.
And, for me, that’s why I keep going. Some days, it is really tough. Anyone that has dealt with depression knows that it’s not “one size fits all” and not all strategies work the way it’s supposed to do. The medication may “stop” working or new crises emerge. That’s why I have also turned to this blog. Writing down what I’m dealing with helps identify what I’m truly facing, versus one large swath of gobbley-gook that bounces around my head.
As for this case, I pray that Issy will survive and recover. Kelli has been arrested. She will face arraignment, then trial. In that aspect, I allow the court system to do what it’s supposed to do – justice for Issy. I choose not to pontificate on other aspects – that is not my place to do so. I can only hope that Kelli can also get the help she needs, while facing ramifications for her actions.
You may disagree with me on this, which is fine. I only hope we agree that this serves as a wake-up call to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are an autism momma, a Down Syndrome dad, or the seemingly perfect neurotypical parent, seek help if you need it. If you have ever felt such a strong feeling to end a life please reach out.
Look to your family. Look to your community. Look to the wonderful Interwebz and find support in online groups or social media. I know that in this case, all this and more may have been utilized and still the outcome could have been deadly.
But it doesn’t need to be your outcome.
Some noted resources: