As I lay here with silent tears streaming down my face, Jackson is vocal stimming (manic laughter), with a body that just can’t find a calm state, evenings have been hard lately, he just can’t wind himself down anymore. Even as we lay here and he’s drifting off to sleep he’s moaning to keep the sensory input going…… his body is working overtime right now.
The aggression is at an all time high right now, not the intensity, but the frequency. He’s hitting when told no, when he’s denied access, when he’s asked to transition. He’s also pulling on clothes, kicking, he’s kneed me, and pulled my hair…… I said I’d never talk about the aggression to protect him but that means I’m not genuinely sharing our story.
The aggression isn’t Jackson, it’s his tired little body not being able to work in overdrive anymore and autism takes over in those moments. He loses control but he doesn’t mean to.
I love my son, I love him more than I could have ever imagined the first time they placed him in my arms at the hospital. I didn’t realize there in those moments how deep our connection would become, love without words for so many years. Becoming his person, physically and emotionally. His advocate, learning to anticipate his every move, want, and need because we spent so many years in silence. The aggression isn’t him, and even though it’s a part of our journey it’s so hard to share and talk about.
We’ve seen aggression come and go, last winter was the worst it had ever been, and it was because we were trialing meds for his anxiety. They weren’t a good fit, we saw that very quickly, but the trial phase was enough to break us both down.
It was a few days after Christmas and I had to call my mom and grandma to come get Monroe. I screamed into the phone “get here now, you have to take her”. There wasn’t time to explain, I just couldn’t keep Monroe safe and try to keep Jackson from hurting himself at the same time. Jackson and I were sweaty, crying, and exhausted from the bout of aggression that unfolded. He couldn’t control himself, he was apologizing to me, asking me not to cry, trying to wipe my tears but because autism was controlling his body he couldn’t help it.
Even then , with the people I trusted most I felt that I had to say “but I love him so much”. It wasn’t my fault, or his, but I feared by not saying anything it would be looked at as a horrible scene.
So many autism moms who go through aggression have said they too feel they have to lead with expressing how much they love their child in those hard moments for fear the world will look at them like monsters for speaking about aggression…… I’ve had that fear too, I even do right now as I’m typing this.
We are in a season of hard, he needs more tools for coping, we need the support and the guidance to help him. It’s coming, I am so thankful. I need to save my sweet boy…… and the moments those therapists walk in the door, even though I know that they know I’ll say “but I love him so much” because it’s true.