We have told our story a thousand times. We have told our story so many times that it’s almost rote now, no emotion, just fact. It sounds cold, it sounds harsh, but after you tell your story so many times and to so many different people, it begins to feel like you are walking through the desert begging for a drink of water.
Sitting in family therapy, telling our story last month, it became different. We had told our story to the therapist many times. We had given her different pieces of the story and we had spent countless hours explaining the “World According to D.”
This day, however, something clicked. It hit me hard, like finally finding that drink of water in the hot desert, only to find out it was a mirage.
SPD did not start one day, D had dealt with it since the very beginning.
The mirage in our life was that we could go somewhere and our son would be happy, well behaved, and enjoy the outing.
Family therapy that day helped me realize that in those very early days when D was shrieking through the store while I was trying to buy groceries, he was not intentionally misbehaving. He was not trying to draw attention to the fact that I had no control over my child and that I was quite possibly the most frazzled Mama in the store.
D was trying to tell me that he could not handle anymore sensory input. He wanted me to know that he had true pain – physical, emotional, mental. The lights, sounds, and smells were causing sensory overload. It was more than his little body could process.
In order to survive, I would grab the closest toy, throw it in his lap, push the buttons to show him how it worked, and praise God for the silence. The silence was golden, it was a gift from the toy, a toy that I would inevitably buy because it had bought my sanity to finish my shopping trip.
D now had somewhere to focus his attention and he was able to finally zone into the toy and out of the sensory overload he had been experiencing.
The therapist D is seeing at his treatment center right now is amazing. She understands D, she understands our love for him. She also understands our will and our need to survive with him and our other children. She does not judge us for the choices we have made in the past while trying to survive. D may be a spoiled rotten little boy because I bought him a toy every time we went to the store, but she knows it was a means of survival. She also knows that we have better insight now. She supports our beautiful son, and our beautiful family.
With her help, I realized that I do have a drink of water in the desert. There is quenching thirst in the knowledge of how to help D now and that is what we are doing. We are working together to help our son learn to use his strengths to compensate for his weaknesses in order to be successful and happy.