Therefore, I would like to share a partial extract from a chapter of my book: "Autism On The Frontline - Through A Mother's Eyes ~ The Early Years, which describes one such incident that has remained clearly in my thoughts, as though it was only yesterday...
Partial extract from...
Chapter 27 - "The Nightmare Continued ..."
Just when I thought everything was finally settling down with Matthew's schooling arrangements as he entered his second year at UCSC despite his continual escapades from the classroom, another major meltdown erupted.
I went and promptly had yet another meltdown of my own and right in front of my children, just like I'd done the last time. So what happened this time, you ask. Well, I hate to state the obvious of course, but once again, it was over something so absolutely trivial - as usual!
At the time, everything had quietly been ticking along nicely, or so I thought, but there was apparently an emotional "time bomb" silently waiting to go off just as soon as the human pin was pulled. I often liked to believe or at least pretend we were a happy family and that everything would be all right. Just like I used to dream about when playing happy families with my dolls, as a young girl ... yeah right!
But just who did I think I was kidding? I was only kidding myself, of course. In fact, I can remember this incident clearly, as though it was only yesterday, except this occurred on 20 February 2006 according to my roughly scribbled diary notes.
It had been an ordinary day, like it often was when many of my previous emotional meltdowns occurred and my life managed to start off reasonably okay, until it once again, suddenly descended into the abyss of hell by the afternoon.
Suddenly, out of the blue and for no particular reason, Matthew decided to go down to his father's shed-cum-computer room after he'd just finished watching his favourite "Thomas the Tank Engine" video, but his father was not there. He was somewhere else within our expansive bush property, mowing the acres of long grass. In fact I could clearly hear the engine of the lawnmower, even from such a distance.
Unfortunately, on this particular occasion, hubby had forgotten to close and lock the door of the shed as he normally would. This was obviously for safety purposes, because the shed, which not only contained hubby's computer equipment, also housed our solar power equipment, with cable leads, switches, inverter, monitor unit, and panel board, including, of course, the heavy and industrial-sized bank of batteries. In other words - it was the main engine room.
So perhaps it was because hubby wasn't in the shed at the time, that enticed Matthew to do what any curios child would: see what happens when you flick the switch. Who knows? All I knew was that Matthew had decided to turn the main solar power switch to the OFF position, which instantly caused everything in the house to go OFF - fridge, freezer, lights. The entire place had suddenly fallen into total darkness, even though it was still only early dusk!
I immediately stopped what I was doing at the time, which more than likely was preparing the evening meal as usual, and bolted down to the shed to switch the power back on. But the lights did not come back on as expected. "What the hell happened?" I thought. But more importantly, "What other switch has he touched?" I wondered.
Of course, I realised it was no use asking Matthew, because he would not have known how to answer such a straightforward question, let alone understand what I had even asked him. But for all it was worth, I gave it a try anyway - only to be proved right, of course. Matthew had absolutely no idea what I'd asked. He simply repeated the words I said in typical echolalia fashion: "Which switch?"
In desperation I screamed out to my daughter to tell me when the lights had come back on, but they didn't, no matter which damn switch I flicked up or down. At that point I suddenly saw red - like a red rag to a bull. I was not angry at Matthew however, but at this ridiculous so-called self-sufficient lifestyle of ours.
When one solitary switch could virtually mean the life or death of our stupid and inefficient solar power system, it really made you think about converting back over to conventional electricity grid power, I can assure you, despite the ever-spiralling increased cost of electricity.
Normally, I would have just flicked the main switch and all the solar powered electricity, "For what it was worth," I thought would instantly be restored. This incident had occurred many times before, whenever Matthew flicked the switch. But this time, God knows for what reason possessed him, Matthew had obviously flicked another switch on the main panel board. "But which one?" I asked myself.
Eventually though, after what felt like ages, hubby returned from the bottom of the property with the lawnmower still loudly roaring its engine, while deafening any chance I had to try to explain what had happened. But instead of wasting his time listening to me rant and rave on as usual, whenever I was having a crisis, hubby said nothing and simply walked past me and into his shed and flicked a switch. Just like that, all the power was restored to the house, once again. "But which f**cking switch damn it?" I asked myself in anger.
Once again, instead of reaching out to the problem, I promptly reached out to the bottle of alcohol and got myself disgustingly drunk, again. And once again, it was in the early evening while trying to cope with bath time, cooking the dinner, and struggling with Matthew's autistic behaviours. "Brilliant!" I thought, with cool sarcasm.
Once again, I wanted to run away from it all, although as usual I simply ran to my bloody bottle and spilled out a glass of alcohol and poured it down my throat, while also knowing that within a few short moments I would become numb. My senses would close down and merely refuse to feel any more of the emotional pain and anguish of having to endure another one of Matthew's mischievous incidents.
Knowing I could not punish Matthew or make him try to understand what he did was wrong, I'd simply punish myself by sloshing down a couple of large glasses of alcohol just to shut everything out. Once again the alcohol was my escape, because I knew only too well, I couldn't physically escape. I felt angry: I felt frustrated! But mostly I felt totally fed up with it all, and it was only Monday for God's sake. I still had the rest of that wretched week to endure.
By then the alcohol had also started to work its magic and my senses were now so numb, I could not even feel the floor. I tried to get up from where I was sitting outside in the cool evening air, as a gentle breeze drifted in to cool down what was a typically hot summer's day in February.
Partial extract from Chapter 27 - "The Nightmare Continued ..."
Page 217 - "Autism On The Frontline - Through A Mother's Eyes ~ The Early Years
(c) Heather Golding - Author
Posted: 20 February 2018