“Have you ever considered that he might be on the autism spectrum?”
The air left my lungs.
My heart dropped to the floor.
My world stood still, and silent, and dark.
The psychiatrist sitting in front of me looks at me with her clear, blue eyes.
Her pixie face is soft and caring.
She asks the question with compassion in her voice.
This was the polar opposite of the encounter that I had when Oli’s diagnosis was dropped into my lap.
I hadn’t even thought of it until right at that moment.
That brief moment.
It was 10 seconds of my life that might potentially change the course of my days from here on out.
My life is made up of these little moments.
I hadn’t considered it at all.
Until I started looking at him with a different set of eyes.
Now I am seeing him.
The social awkwardness.
The sound sensitivity.
“What do you think?” There’s that quiet concerned tone again.
In my opinion, all major medical diagnosis suggestions should come from psychiatrists.
Should come from this psychiatrist.
There’s no judgment.
There’s no doom and gloom.
There’s only presence.
“I don’t know. Do you think?”
My mind is half in the room with her and halfway through his future, playing out every possible reality.
Predicting what a diagnosis of autism would mean for him.
“We may be looking at more than depression and anxiety here.”
She says it bluntly.
She says it without complete conviction.
She is throwing out another possibility to explore.
She isn’t diagnosing. She is suggesting that I further investigate.
If I want to.
Kekoa was diagnosed with a major depressive episode and anxiety a few months ago.
After he had changed schools.
After he began being bullied at school.
After his dad had moved out of the house and to another city.
After we got divorced.
After the world as he knew it, fell apart and began to feel empty, and dark, and cold, and painful.
After he lost all of his joy and happiness.
After he began to loose hope. Hope in himself. Hope in the future, and the present. Hope in the people around him.
I watched my happy, energetic, 9 year old boy loose himself in a tumultuous sea of sadness, where he was beginning to sink because he could no longer swim.
“I may not cry on the outside, but my heart is a flood of tears.” These were the words spoken by my son tonight at his therapy session.
And now possibly autism.
As I rode home, with my baby boy sitting next to me in the car, I began to process the information that I had just been given.
And I began to feel the exact meaning of the words just spoken by Kekoa.
I knew exactly how he felt because I too may not cry on the outside, but my heart was a flood of tears.
I was so sad.
I was so angry.
I began to question and feel everything that I felt when Oli was born.
Why? Why my child?
And in an instant I remembered the answer.
Because it’s the same answer that I found with Oli.
Why not my child?
We are not special here.
We are not invisible, indestructible, or impenetrable.
This is life.
There are no contracts, agreements, or guarantees. We get what we get and must accept what is.
Not what should be, or might be, or could be.
I know what to do with this.
I know that any diagnosis will never quantify, explain, or define my child.
He is who he is and I love who he is.
I will allow myself a few moment of sadness. A few moments of anger.
And then I will move on.
I will move on to tomorrow and do exactly what I am meant to do.
Which is to help my son.
My heart may be a flood of tears tonight, but I see the sunshine in tomorrow.