Personal Experiences

My Own Mental Health Battle

Ever since I was little I knew there was something wrong with my sibling.

One day while driving I remember telling my mom over and over that something was wrong, he shouldn’t be behaving like he was and treating me how he was. “He has problems” she said.

Well that doesn’t do much now does it.

At the time I had not even the slightest clue that he was autistic. All I knew was that I was being treated like absolute sh*t and my mother didn’t do anything. She always sided and defended him, but what about me? Was I not important?

Yes I know that autistic people and children need more attention and care, but if you have another child or want more kids who end up not being on the spectrum please make sure they get love and attention too. Don’t let them think that the world is against them. That was and still is a revolving thought in my head.

Ever since I was little when I did something my mom would consider wrong or bad, she made sure my brother knew so he could have a say because of course he needs one. He was like the devil on her shoulder telling her what she should do for my “bad behavior.” Not once considering the fact that her daughter might be struggling too. Parents seem to forget in the midst of things that everyone is going through a battle, mentally or physically.

So many parents forget that the sibling without autism could be struggling with their own mental battle, and are lashing out because of it. I know not all people will lash out due to health issues but I felt as if I couldn’t speak my mind without the fear of getting yelled at. I struggled so much just trying to live and talk because my sibling was always influencing my mom. No matter what I always felt like I would never be good enough and that she always cared more about him.

She always made sure that he knew he was handsome, and smart, and a good kid. But what about me? Surely I didn’t receive any of these compliments until after she was done telling him what a wonderful person he was.

I have never felt true motherly love. My mom always makes sure either her, or my brother are taken care of and that their feelings matter before anyone else’s let alone mine. 2 particular events come to mind where my feelings were irrelevant to her.

The first one took place in a public craft store. We were already having family issues with other things in the home so it didn’t help. My best friend was throwing a birthday party that weekend and I asked my mom if I could go. She said we will see, which basically means don’t do anything to screw up her attitude or piss her off.

My mom has always used anything and everything she can against me so I can’t go out with friends. She literally banned me from going out to dinner at restaurants because of my so called attitude. Who does that? Who takes away social interaction from a kid?

“Is there a reason why you won’t let me go? I made one comment that wasn’t offensive.” I said to her. She didn’t say anything. As I choked back words and tears prepared to stand up I said to her “You’re really gonna take away a party from an already depressed teenager?”

“Your not depressed” she said.

*Side Note: Nobody knows how much someone is hurting inside. Everyone is fighting their own battles everyday. Be courtesy to one other especially younger people for they are struggling more then you think.

I lost it. Tears were streaming down my face. “At [my age] I should not have a list of reasons to kill my self or to live.” She pulled me into her with one arm while I cried so no one would hear. Her grip was tough and showed no emotion or sympathy. “Okay we will get you put on medication” she said. Medication only does so much. You can not heal in the same environment that hurt(s) you. Yes therapy and medication will help but she also needed to realize that her, my parents divorce, my brother being a little devil on her shoulder were all reasons why I was so depressed. Reasons why I feel like I am ugly, fat, and alone.

One morning she asked me to do something very simple while I was getting ready for class. “You can do it to I said”. “THAT’S IT YOU ARE NO GOING TO HER PARTY. NOT HAPPENING. I DON’T LIKE YOUR ATTITUDE.” Those were the words I heard yelled at me for not doing something she could have done. I immediately said why? I had done nothing wrong. This is one experience that taught me to be quiet about anything and everything. Now my mom never grounded me, she only takes away what I care about.

The rest of the morning was silent. I said not one word to her. How could she do this to me? If she really cared she would let me go to the party. This girl was my best friend. We talked day and night and she knew that.

Taking away social interaction from a teenager who already has had a pretty rough go at things doesn’t help. Now look, I don’t drink, smoke, or sneak out. I read and do my homework and chores like any normal teenager. Only a normal teenager who’s mom looks at the bad in everything she does.

Many parents fail to pay attention to the mental health of siblings to an autistic person. They focus so much on the parents and the kids that all care for the other child is forgotten except the obvious, clothes and food. Oh and a roof too.

It’s important that people pay attention to siblings who have an autistic brother or sister because not all of us can survive alone with no resources. I struggled so much in finding resources for people like me and when I did my mom refused to let me go to them. She has always given me a hard time about my mental health and I beg you to pay attention to your’s but also to your children’s. If you want kids that means valuing them and their mental health.

There needs to be more help and places available for teenagers with mental health struggles. Without the help we are left to suffer on our own with the dark thoughts or worry. I have seen therapist after therapist who didn’t do anything. People need to be more educated on mental health in teenagers and what do when they ask for help instead of just saying “oh we’ll put you on medication.” It’s not that simple.

Mental health took away my childhood and who I am and was supposed to be. In relation to having an autistic sibling I always felt like I would never be loved the same as him and he and my mothers feelings were always above mine and always would be.

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__with Autisim

Traveling with an Autistic sibling

Ever since I was little we have been traveling. From New York, to Hawaii, and from Big Bear to Palm Springs. You could say that I’ve been almost all over.

Traveling with an Autistic sibling can be difficult. I learned this the hard way.

My Experience with flying an Autistic sibling:

One day we were boarding on a plane to go see a school my sibling would soon attend. While picking our seats we decided on a middle row. My sibling following behind, was trying to get his bag into the overhead compartment.

A lady behind him, and a line of other people were mad that my sibling was taking so long, and that my sibling would not let her pass. His bag being very heavy didn’t help the situation.

The lady looked at my mom and me, and gave us a sign and a wave of anger.

It was obvious that she was mad, but if only she had known he was on the spectrum.

People forget in the midst of chaos that there are people with more problems and a different understanding of things than us. It is hard to see that however because they look, walk and talk (most of the time) like a normal person would.

I just wish I could have told that lady to be patient and wait. She was going to get to her destination it’s not like she couldn’t wait for him to put his bag up and to take a seat.

Soon after we took our seats followed by the two of us bumping arms the whole time. When traveling on a plane with an autistic sibling I recommend being respectful of their space. While the seat spaces are small, its important to not make them feel claustrophobic. Let them take their time when loading but also remind them that there are other people, too. Encourage them to bring something entertaining for the traveling part such as a book or music so they are occupied.

Road Trip Time:

I personally have tried to be generous when traveling by car with an Autistic sibling. Being in a car for a long time for them, and you may and will be stressful.

If you can and are willing to, try to stop for a snack or a stretch break. Many times we have had to stop for numerous reasons and almost always my sibling would get out and stretch.

The morning of or right before you leave for a big trip you’re gonna want some food in you. I have learned this the hard way when I only had a donut and an ice tea before a 3 hour drive. My sibling was smarter and ordered two pastries.

Sitting in the front seat he was giving us directions to our destination. However they weren’t so good. He was telling us where to go but would say, “I don’t know..no not here…yes…sure.” This annoyed the cr*p out of my mom and me. While he thought it was funny to him, it wasn’t to us.

While it is important for people with Autism to know they can do things, remind them that you are trying to get to your destination safely. If you experienced what I have let them know when you get to your destination that what they did was not funny to you or the rest of your party.

CRISIS NUMBERS

CRISIS NUMBERS

  • Teen Line

Teens helping teens. Open 6pm-10pm pacific time every night. Non profit dedicated to helping teens. Also available on the app store.

teenlineonline.org

1(310)-855-4673

1(800)-852-8336

24/7 free and confidential support. Helps those in distress, in a crisis, and/or in need of support.

1(800)-273-8255

Free 24/7 crisis support from anywhere in the world. Every text is connected with a real person.

Text HOME to 741741.

  • FIRE, POLICE, AMBULANCE

911

  • RAINN(RAPE, ABUSE, AND NATIONAL INCEST NETWORK)

Free and confidential, providing information as well as referrals.

1220 L St NW,
Washington, DC 20005

http://rainn.org/
800-656-4673
202-544-1034
info@rainn.org

Personal Experiences

Introduction: Who and Why I am doing this

My story:

Hi there! If you have already read the intro then you know that I am creating this as support for people with autistic siblings. I have a sibling who is autistic, and I know the struggle of how tough it can be.

I didn’t find out that my sibling was autistic until I was about 13 or 14 years old. One of my parents had told us at the most unexpected time. We were in a family therapy session and it fell silent for a moment. Then my dad posed a question to my sibling…

“Do you know what Asperger’s-Autism is?” said my Dad.

Already pissed off at him for the language and topic being discussed before said question was discussed I said, “What does that have to do with anything?”  I had no clue what was coming and was sure as hell not ready.

I looked to the therapist for support who said “No I want to see where he is going with this.” Not even caring that two children were in the room and most likely had no clue what he was going to say. We were there to talk about the problems and flaws in the relationship with each other not our own flaws.

My dad  then said those words I will never forget.

Directed and facing my sibling,  “You have Asperger’s- Autism” came out.

Probably not giving two sh*ts about his effect of what he had just said. The therapist then had us leave the room so my mom, and the other biological half to my DNA, could talk with the therapist.

We walked out and obviously my mom knew something was wrong. The look of fear and confusion on her face was one I will never forget.

“What’s wrong?!” she said, her motherly instinct to protect came out.

“Well [Dad] just told us that [siblings name] has autism and I have ADHD.” The look of anger was widespread and quick. She started crying. I had no idea why as she never told us. Why should she get to feel, she was the one who had kept it from us.

In that moment I just wondered, what was going through my siblings head.

What happens next?

After we were told that my sibling was on the spectrum, we left the building where we were forced to meet and parted from my dad and went to a restaurant called Maria’s. A restaurant we had been to before, for beloved Italian food only this time there was no love.  Filled with confusion and a awkward silence we didn’t know what to say to one another.

Why were we never told? Why would you do this to us? 

Those were the thoughts running through my head.

I wasn’t even thinking about my sibling,  who had just been told a life changing event. What they were thinking and feeling.

My mom was crying and mad. Mad that my Dad, had told us. Upset that we found out. I didn’t and still don’t know why she was so upset. She was the one who had wanted it as a secret.

“I didn’t want to tell you because it wasn’t relevant. You’re fine without it. You have grown out if it” said my mom in a not so calm tone.

First of all, no one grows out of things. You can learn to minimize it and make it smaller but it will truly never go away. There will always be a reason you do what you do. But back to the story.

So the next couple of days following were quiet. And I mean really quiet. It was that weird sense where there is a constant elephant in the room and nobody wants to talk about him. Nothing felt real. Until my sibling had a school event involving groups.

But that’s a story for another time.

How I ended up with my own blog:

I was looking for volunteer opportunities for school one day and came across a position for a writer for a non profit called Autism Care Today (ACT). It said that they helped families who couldn’t afford the services needed to treat and aid Autism. I was more than excited to be a part of this let alone have the opportunity to. I sent a message saying I was interested and here we are! Thanks to ACT I am here today to give you this blog as support for whatever troubles you may go through with your sibling as well as inform you and the people who need it about ACT and what a wonderful non profit they are.

 

CRISIS NUMBERS

CRISIS NUMBERS

  • Teen Line

Teens helping teens. Open 6pm-10pm pacific time every night. Non profit dedicated to helping teens. Also available on the app store.

teenlineonline.org

1(310)-855-4673

1(800)-852-8336

24/7 free and confidential support. Helps those in distress, in a crisis, and/or in need of support.

1(800)-273-8255

Free 24/7 crisis support from anywhere in the world. Every text is connected with a real person.

Text HOME to 741741.

  • FIRE, POLICE, AMBULANCE

911

  • RAINN(RAPE, ABUSE, AND NATIONAL INCEST NETWORK)

Free and confidential, providing information as well as referrals.

1220 L St NW,
Washington, DC 20005

http://rainn.org/
800-656-4673
202-544-1034
info@rainn.org