They came looking for me, but I wasn't there.
I had hit Carer Burnout 7 months ago, sick with a contagious virus for the first three months and still in recovery. As a 24/7 Carer, I recover while I work around the clock. My housemate was super kind to take my child skateboarding during the time I spent mostly in bed, and this is how they met Kim.
Kim told my housemate that I was their support person.
My housemate knew this wasn't true. I'd only spoken to Kim a few months earlier they were very emotional (fell to their knees and cried when they saw me) and understandably their mental state was all over the place.
Due to other things, not because they saw me! LOL
My housemate kept my contact details private. Having Carer Burnout meant I couldn't help another person in need. Kim tried different things to connect with my child. Offered a helmet, and when my child refused, Kim told my housemate to make my child accept it. My housemate explained that it wasn't going to happen. That's not how we do things.
Kim persisted, and my housemate did not waver.
At this time, Kim saw my parent at a festival and made them a cup of tea. Sat them down and chattered away about things. Kim wrote on a playing card and drew love hearts with their phone number. I said to my parent I didn't want it, (the pressure was too much) and my parent returned it to their front shirt pocket.
Kim's brain works very fast and I imagine it gets locked onto their hyperfocus of what they want.
When the virus passed, and I was willing to venture out into society again a few months after that, I took my child to the skatepark. Kim was there, and they came up to me for a chat. It wasn't long before my child joined us. Silently. They were not responding to Kim's greetings, questions or comments. Within 5 minutes, Kim recognised my child was struggling probably because my child was burning them with their raging eyes and death stare.
Kim trying to help, over talked everything and my child not able to hear a word they said.
They were trying to explain to my child that adults are allowed to talk with one another. That they weren't there to upset anyone, "talking out my thoughts, so you don't have to guess". This is good however, too many words spoken can further overwhelm my child's brain when it's threat response is triggered. I spoke on my child's behalf, and Kim told me that my child could respond if they wanted to.
Me: "No. You're expectations far exceed my capabilities right now.
... I'm here to help my child." Kim doesn't know enough about my child's challenges, beliefs or values or our families autistic culture to understand how best to support them. But I do. Kim has extensive experience working with others mental disorders however this doesn't mean they know about our autism and this can cause my child more distress – as they did.
Kim grabbed their things and happily walked away – I really appreciated this.
I did not try to stop or encourage them to come back (like I would have done years ago). I let that be. I turned to my child and asked what was going on for them. I could see their breathing was shallow and fast. Their eyes were wide and frozen in position. My child had a panic attack – experiencing FFFF (Fight, Flight Freeze and Fawn).
My child: "You are not to have a relationship with them".
Me: "Are you afraid I will forget about you if I am in a relationship?"
My child nodded. I could see their very real struggle and pain. I understood another person in our lives as my partner far exceeds their capacity. It exceeds mine too. There is no room in our lives to be worrying about someone else, trying to negotiate with them when our job is to stay connected to meeting our needs first. There's no way there would be an adult who would solely accommodate to our needs.
And be okay to be inconvenienced all the time.
Many adults are about what they want because 'they are adult's'. Rather than understanding because we are adults, we can assist children with disabilities and their trauma. A partner would be required to put a seemingly impossible list of their desires and needs aside to accommodate my child.
Me: "I'm right here. I am not going anywhere.
... I have your back. There is no room for someone else to be in our lives." We've seen Kim nearly every week for over a month now. They are knowledgeable, witty, super creative and funny. Their mind is all over the place. They've made it no secret that they are a mess. "Broken". I've explained to Kim my child is a PDA'er and that they need choice. Kim said they know about PDA, however going by how they approach my child I'd say they don't – not many people do.
Me: "My child is to be asked and not told.
... When you ask them something, always expect a 'no' and if they say 'yes' well that's great, and be prepared for them to change their mind again." I love how I can ask Kim any question, and they'll explain it thoroughly, and in a way, my child understands. They enthusiastically share information because they love helping. They are very kind. Musically gifted. Has every instrument they can get their hands on, just like my child. A carefree individual who does things their way. This sounds familiar! LOL.
My child had a blocked ear after swimming.
Kim made some suggestions, with a demonstration of how to fix it. My child is a visual learner. With no success, Kim offered to go to the shops to buy some earbuds. My child agreed, and so that's what they did. Kim does all sorts of things for others.
Kim mentions all the sexy sex stuff we did together many light years ago.
Nearly two decades ago. It makes me laugh, blush and squirm. It's mortifying. They make it worse with their type of Hyperthymesia memory; exceptional "recall any specific personal events or trivial details". I'd rather not know all those details. Back then, I didn't realise how romantic love drug affected my brain and my decisions. I made decisions on a high and out of desperation. I had a low view of myself, loneliness and no awareness of my neurology.
"Romantic love is an obsession. It possesses you. You lose your sense of self. You can't stop thinking about another human being".
What I thought was love, was mostly driven by an addictive substance. So, not love. Just a drug. Knowing all of this now and the fact there's no room for romantic love, Kim still triggered it.
"You gravitate to certain people, actually, with somewhat complementary brain systems".
I have to admit, the feelings that come with romantic love are fun. But not necessarily good for me to get to carried away with it. I celebrated my 12th year of celibacy this month, including not kissing someone in all that time. (That's another story). So when Kim's leg hairs touch my skin, I feel it more so. More so too, because my Tactile System is super sensitive. It's the simple things that get my attention.
It's just lovely to chat away with someone when I feel this way.
Last week, Kim was high on mind-changing substances. If there was room for a partner, my child requires 24 Responsive Present Caregiving — a sober human who is dependable, clear-headed and available. Mind changing substances can bring unnecessary problems to our world. Our shortened life expectancy for autistic is at the forefront of our minds. Suicide and self harm related deaths cause us to die between the mid 30's and 50s. So yes, we go to great lengths to reduce all unnecessary stress to "live long and prosper".
Choosing the right humans – our Innate Tribal Flow, matters!
Wednesday nights are skateboarders night, and my child loves these gatherings. They are really good humans. My child always chooses the right humans that are right for them. My child instinctively knows their tribe. The right friends nurture, respect and protect our Innate Flow – they become apart of it and our Tribes Innate Flow.
We all ended up at the new amazing building in town, near the police station.
Fabulous for skateboarding. I really would never have guessed I would be hanging out down the street with skateboarders. But here I am. I treat it the same as a parent supporting their child for any other sport. Whatever the sport, the parent goes along and supports their child.
And that's what I do.
Skateboarding is their sport, social connection and community. I am not to judge or interfere with my child's choices. My child loves surfing and skim-boarding on the river. They choose what makes up their Innate Sporting Flow when it comes to sport and exercise and I support it.
The skateboarding community is a big part of their Social Innate Flow – their culture.
If we lived on the beach like my child wants us to, they would become part of the surfing community. They would LOVE THAT! I hope to get them there in the future.
Kim took my hand and held it for a few moments before I broke our clasp. "Sorry, my child is here, and holding hands would be too much for them". And me too. Remembering my child is terrified of being abandoned. We listen to our anxieties as they communicate that something is TOO MUCH and not okay.
We feel our feelings first and find the words later.
Amongst all the flirting, chitty chitty chat chat and mucking around, Kim spills out "I love you", "I want to be the right person for you, strong, not like before when I cried". Me: "there's nothing wrong with crying, and you only need to be yourself with me". Kim probably wouldn't remember saying these things to me.
I enjoyed the moment for what it was.
They quickly triggered my, "romantic love is an obsession. It possesses you. You lose your sense of self. You can't stop thinking about another human being." My mind is vulnerable to mind-changing chemicals, and this includes the romantic love drug.
"Romantic love is one of the most addictive drug substances in the world".
My neurodivergent brain (affected by C–PTSD with other co-occurring stuff, such as; Relationship, Responsibility and Harm OCD's) cannot process chemicals very well. It has an extreme reaction. I lose the ability to make safe, rational and sound decisions. I become susceptible to losing myself and vulnerable to abuse.
When my child had had enough of skateboarding, so we left.
The next day my child received a message from someone that they were going to come and speak with them whether they wanted to or not. We both felt fear, so did my housemate. I suggested we go and talk with our local police for my child to know what their rights are and if there was anything we could do to reduce the escalation of violence.
My child thought this was a good idea.
My housemate's Innate Working Innate Flow is the law (they have loved it since a teenager), so they were our advocate and spoke on our behalf. We discovered my child does have the right to say 'no' to see or speak with anyone regardless of who they are.
No matter what the relationship is to the child.
We accommodate my child's disability needs; there is no pressure for my child to do, say, feel or think anything; my child chooses what they can and can't do. Valuing my child, understanding their challenges and what works for them as an individual comes first. Safety and Wellbeing is the number one subject my child learns in their Natural Learning (no schooling) because those with disabilities are three times more likely to experience abuse than those without disabilities.
It's paramount we know how to protect ourselves.
The police officer suggested an intervention order. I felt it wasn't necessary at this point. Or, we could re-inform the other person, 'this weekend isn't a good time'. If they ignore this and arrive at our home door, we ask once to leave, and if they don't, we call the police.
The police would, at that stage, would suggest an intervention order.
We sent a message this weekend wasn't good for us, and the other person was okay with not coming. Thank goodness. Kim had called during this time to see if we wanted to go for a swim. I responded two hours later explaining we were going to the police station and if my child felt up for it, we'd let them know. We did get to the pool; however, my child wasn't able to have others join us.
I felt a super-strong inner push to ignore my child's needs and invite Kim to come anyway.
Helen Fisher says the Romantic Love Drug shuts down parts of the brain. My thoughts wanted to convince me it wouldn't hurt my child too much, that I could make it work. I could get away with it; that I had worked so hard over the years, untouched for over a decade, I deserved a bit of fun. I realised I was required to push past these thoughts and get present to my child and our reality. If it were anyone else, I would not do any of the things my brain was trying to convince me to do.
I work with my child's capacities and capabilities, not what I think they should be able to do or handle.
When my child is struggling, it takes all of my mental, emotional energy and focuses on assisting my child through. If I miss a beat, my child's struggle can go from mild to severe in seconds where I require more emotional and mental capacities in Carer Burnout.
I accepted my reality check.
I sent a text to Kim letting them know my child was struggling and not wanting anyone else to join them for the swim. My child had had enough after 20 mins of swimming, and we went home for a rest. Kim's parent had said we could swim at their quiet house "good for busy minds" they said. Instead, I responded that my child was resting and I needed a nap. Naps are vital for my ability to keep going through to the rest of the day and night, which is around 10:30 pm most days.
Our days start early, around 5-6 am.
My child disrupted my power nap – usually does, excitedly telling me their home learning friend was going to the pictures to watch Star Wars. It's five days before mainstream holidays. Our learning doesn't stop as mainstream schoolers do. I regarded this as a celebratory and social activity with another family – (separated parents working together).
I text Kim our plans, and that was the last I have heard from them.
I called after we had returned home and either the phone cut out or they hung up on me. I sent a text sharing others mistake our unavailability and inability to do what others think we can or should do as a sign we don't care. I expressed sadness around this and still no response from Kim – *sigh.
"At first, I assumed hate was the opposite of love. But it isn't. The opposite of love is indifference".
Indifference; "lack of concern, interest and sympathy". From Kim, we did not receive much care about our situation. There seemed to be no concern, interest or sympathy when they hang up on us or return our call. There was no response to my expression of sadness with others negative response to our disabilities and struggles?
When Kim says "I love you" what I am experiencing is, 'I love the idea of you' (Romantic Love Drug), and that is not love.
The following day I had a rare 30 minutes free time, and the Romantic Love Drug was pushing me to see if they were free to catch up. Chase them anyway. My mind was making up all sorts of excuses for Kim.
Ignoring the fact they didn't get back to me – that I need to let it be.
I don't 'chase' others as I once did where I seemed to do most of the work; all the concern, interest and sympathy – with little, if any, in return. I didn't wait to find out if others were reciprocal in their care or attention. But I do now.
We're a disabilities family where others are required to be accommodating.
When creating and building friendships with others, we look for qualities in others where they nurture, respect and protect our Innate Flows. Indifference can block and suck the life out of us. It draws us away from loving and looking after ourselves. Instead I can be drawn to caretake someone who can take care of themselves at a high cost to our Innate Flow. Those with the capacity to show genuine concern, interest and sympathy are our Innate Tribal Flow. We don't need to judge those who don't or can't.
We gently pass them by and that's what I'll do for now.