Managing  Depression

Managing Depression

Today I want to talk to you all about managing depression. For those of you that don’t already know, I am diagnosed with “long term” depression. Basically meaning it’s is something I have been battling with for probably about 18 years now. I have learnt ways to manage it better, but it is always there. It’s an illness that I don’t see ever going away, maybe I’m wrong and it will. But I don’t see hoping for it too suddenly go away as helpful, I have to deal with the here and now. So managing depression is what I have to do.

I said I’ve had depression for 18 years, I came to that conclusion with a counsellor. After finally going to see a doctor 4 years ago, as for the previous 14 years my depression was hidden from the world. I hid it well. Looking back, there were definitely signs that people could have seen. Some ways that I acted at times, but when people did ask if I was alright. I was quick to say of course and put on a happy face.

Tell people you are struggling

That’s the reason I’m writing this post. Like a lot of men out there, I just don’t like talking about how I’m feeling. I think we should all know by now, that’s not a good things. If you are struggling, be it depression, stress, anxiety or anything your worried about. Finding someone to talk to is the best thing you can do. It’s a hell of a lot easier telling other people to do that, than doing it yourself though.

This is where I take a deep breath, and tell you I am really struggling at the moment. I’ve not used this platform for this before, and I’m not even sure how I feel about it. Or even if I will end up posting it. I’ve just picked up my phone and started typing, to get out of my own head for a bit. This isn’t a planned post, and I have no idea where it is going…

What depression means to me today

To this day, I still don’t talk about my depression a lot, and I still mostly hide it away. There are a few reasons for this. Probably at least once every day, even during the good times, a suicidal thought will appear. I don’t want to be telling people everyday, what’s going on in my head. I’d worry them to death. But I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on things, I’ve learnt to recognise when there’s a real problem forming, and I have strategies in place for “surviving depression”.

I use words like survive and battle, because to me that is what it feels like. My depression doesn’t come from a specific event or some trauma, for whatever reason it is just part of who I am. People have asked me in the past what depression is like, and to be honest I’ve always given a vague answer. Saying things I’ve heard other people say, rather than what it’s like for me. Things like being in permanent low mood, which isn’t true for me. Even at my lowest points, if I forced myself to do something I liked, I could be happy for an hour or 2.

Natalie was the first one to realise that, me acting in a hyperactive silly manner. Was a sure sign I was struggling, and that was my attempt at managing depression. It usually lead to making everyone around me getting angry, and was massively self destructive. I’m working on not letting things get that far, before talking to people. Managing depression for me is a constant work in progress, there is no super cute. There is no, I do this and then everything is better. But I have things in place that I would like to share with you now, I’m no doctor or expert, but this is what helps me.

My 5 tips for managing depression

  1. If you haven’t already, go see your doctor
  2. Build a support Network
  3. Try to improve your lifestyle
  4. Learn to manage negative thoughts
  5. Create a wellness toolbox

Point one is the obvious starting point, you need to seek help and any possible medication or counselling you might need. I take anti depressants, and have been through counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) all of which helped me get to where I am today.

Building a support network is the big one, when it comes to managing depression. You can not do it all on your own. You need the help of supportive people, whether that be your spouse, parents or friends. Or a support group, or even people you’ve met on social media, whoever you feel comfortable confiding in. Having someone to talk to, is probably the biggest thing that will stop you doing something stupid. I have my people now, and it is the most important thing in my life.

Improving your lifestyle is an obvious, eat better, sleep betters exercise regularly, and it’s likely you will feel better. It’s easier said, than done of course, but keep trying.

Learn to manage negative thoughts

Managing depression

This is going to be my favourite bit! I often read things about “stopping” negative thoughts, and that can “eliminate” your depression. Maybe that works for some people, I don’t know. I wish I could just stop the thoughts in my head that tell me I’m worthless, that I’m failing, that I should just look myself. I really do. Whilst I can’t do that, I can manage them, and that’s what CBT taught me. Not magic ways to stop everything, but how to manage them. So I can function somewhat normally.

Knowing the signs that I’m starting to slip, and I need to talk to someone in that support network. Before it’s got to a point that it’s too late, and I’ve shut myself away. Being proactive, and making sure I make time for self care, and doing things I enjoy. For me personally the science behind depression I learnt through CBT, was a comfort. One of my major frustrations was I didn’t see a reason for being depressed. I couldn’t say this event happened, and that’s why I’m depressed. Learning that it is an illness, and all I can do is manage it helped me come to terms with depression and move forward.

Finally, create a wellness tool box. Which is basically just making a list of the things that make you happy, then having it on hand when you are feeling down. So you can quickly look at it, and choose something of off the list to do. In an attempt to make yourself feel better. This feels like it’s been a long post, so I’ll leave it there and talk more about the wellness tool box another time. It deserves its own post to be looked at in more detail.

I’d just like to say, that I am okay. I don’t know what this post is like, and I don’t much fancy reading it back. But I feel better for emptying my thoughts like this, if I do decide to post this, as always, thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

I’m feeling so tired

I’m feeling so tired

For the last 2 or 3 days I’ve been feeling so tired. Perhaps it’s a turn in the weather, we’ve had lots of lovely sunny spring days during this lockdown. This week however it’s been more like the British dull, grey and drizzly weather, us Brits know only too well.

Perhaps it’s the lack of Vitamin D, and not getting outside as much. Leading to an even greater feeling of isolation than previously, but I’ve been feeling so tired this week, and really struggled for motivation.

Annoyingly 3/4s of this post appears to have vanished, and I’ve not got it saved anywhere else 🤦‍♂️

Feeling so tired

There was at least another 7 paragraphs, talked about the difficulty and demands on parenting autistic children. I don’t think I can remember well enough to write it all out again, even if I wanted to. To be honest I don’t want to, the tiredness probably had something to do with me messing the post, and i’m feeling a bit dejected about it.

I’ll quickly say the two main points, that are proving difficult, and taking my energy. Jack’s routine. Dinner has to be at 12, and Tea has to be at 5. If it’s not he gets annoyed, sometimes angry. With Lily it is the demand for attention. All the jobs I would normally do when the kids are at school, I’m finding difficult to do, as Lily always wants you with her. I will just have to keep plugging away and do what I can.

I also went on to talk about playing in the rain, but I will now do that in a separate post tomorrow. As I have plans with Lily to get the waterproofs on and go for a long walk in the rain tomorrow. Assuming that it does actually rain that is.

Dad Does Autism

Self Isolation Questionnaire

Self Isolation Questionnaire


Today’s post is a sort of Self Isolation questionnaire. I was never much into blogs before I started writing my own, but now I read a lot of them. There are lots of good stories and ideas out there. One thing that really interested me, was a blog post titled 40 self isolation journal prompts at the blog Our favourite jar. Ive narrowed it down to 25 question, which I will be providing answers too. To see the full list 40 head over https://ourfavouritejar.com/, that’s where the inspiration for this post came from, there’s lots of other great posts to read as well.

I’ve never kept a journal or diary, but in a way this is my diary. Not every post is about me, what I’ve been doing, or how I’m feeling. But this is the only place I keep record of those things. That’s why I’ve decided to answer the questions here. Feel free to use the questions yourself, i think it’s a worthwhile exercise, which is why I’m doing it. So, on with the questions

Self Isolation Questionnaire


1. How long have you been self isolating now?

We started when Boris Johnson made the announcement. A quick google tells me that was March 23rd, which makes it 37 days as It writing this.

2. Who are you isolating with?

My partner Natalie and our 2 kids Jack and Lily.

3. Are you still working?

No. I actually left work in March, it wasn’t related to Covid-19.

4. How are you feeling today?

I’m feeling pretty good. I did quite a bit of cleaning today, and rewarded myself with a couple of games on Madden 20 on the PS4. It’s the first miserable rainy day I can really recall since this started, so I’ve left the kids playing on their games while I got on with the cleaning.

5. Who do you miss?

Our Sunday routine for as long as I can remember, has been I take Jack & Lily to my parents while Natalie goes to work. We are video calling my parents to keep in touch, but all 3 of us are missing the visits. Especially getting to play with their dog Mack.

6. What keeps you going?

When things start to get on top of me, I try and get a bit of space and listen to some music. Music has always been a very important means of escape for me.

7. What events are you missing out on? How do you feel about it?

Currently we haven’t missed out on anything that was planned. We do have a holiday booked in August, in Devon. We’ve only paid a deposit so far, and they’ve informed us we would get a refund if they are closed due to lockdown, or we could choose to move the holiday to next year. We are keeping the options open for now.

8. How did you exercise today?

Vigorous cleaning was the sum total of my exercise today. Normally it’s been playing sports games in the garden with Lily, and some days going for a walk.

9. Have you had to go shopping?

Natalie has done the main shopping, as she normally does, and she is doing it for her parents as well, who are both in the high risk group. I’ve been to the local shop a couple of times when we’ve ran out of milk.

10. How are you keeping in touch with people?

As I’ve mentioned, video calls to my parents, then I’m on a WhatsApp group with my closest friends. Then using social media to communicate with everyone else.

11. What is on your to-do list today?

I don’t have one.

12. How are you coping emotionally?

I’ve been up and down, but mostly up. I have long term depression, so I was worried how I’d handle this situation. Overall I’m doing ok.

13. How is home schooling going?

Hit and miss. Lily quite likes doing the school work…when she’s in the mood for it. Jack not so much.

14. What would you do right now, if you could do anything?

I would go for a nice walk in the Peak District with the family, followed by a pub lunch.

15. The first thing you will do when we are released?

Not much. I don’t think I will be rushing straight out to be honest.

16. Has this time made you change your mindset?

Not really, it has more reinforced my mindset. The need to slow down and focus on family, which is what led me to leave work. I would have been classed as a key worker, if I’d still been at work, and would have been expected to continue working. I have huge respect and admiration for all the key workers out there, but I’m glad to be at home putting all my efforts into my family at this time.

17. How do you deal with difficult days?

If it’s the kids having a difficult day, just put the extra effort in to make them entertained and happy. Get some games on the go, try and get everyone doing something together.

18. Do you avoid the news?

Yes! Like the plague, and that’s 365 days a year. I figure if anything important is announced, I will hear about it.

19. One thing that made you smile today?

Reading a new book with Lily, it was called the Zoo bet.

20. How are the children dealing with it?

They have been up and down. It’s not been as bad as I might have feared. Jack has delayed processing, so issues might arise later on, but up to now he’s coped fairly well considering his routines disappeared overnight. Lily has started to get bored revelry, and is missing her friends from school a lot.

21. What have you done that you wouldn’t normally have time for?

Stuff with the kids. They are quite demanding, so other jobs I’d like to get on with, aren’t always easy to get too. I have managed some time for it, but of my time is spent entertaining the kids.

22. Have you kept a list of things to do once this is over?

No, it’s perhaps something to do though. I think we will all need some things to look forward too.

23. Do you feel closer to people even with the distance?

Strangely, yes. I guess as most of us don’t have much to do, we are all talking to each other more than normal. Whether that’s phone/video calls or messages.

24. Have your political views altered in any way?

No.

25. What has been your self isolation highlight?

Our kitchen sink got blocked. I’m not known as a DIY handy man, but I managed to take the pipes apart, clear the blockage and put it all back together again. It was a proud moment for me.

That’s it for the self isolation questionnaire. I hope you enjoyed my answers and why not have a go at it yourself?

Dad Does Autism

The positive things

The positive things

I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s really important to look at the positive things at the moment. I have been up and down myself, which is why I decided to write this post. So I can myself focus in on some of the positive things that are happening at the moment.

The first and most obvious thing is, having lots of time to spend with the kids. Now of course it’s not all roses and sunshine, but for the most part I’ve enjoyed it. Watching Lily do her art, baking cakes and playing some board games has been nice. Lily’s latest creation is this lovely blue and green penguin, made from a plastic bottle cut in half. Then wrapped in newspaper and painted. Then stuck on some googly eyes and cardboard wings.

Penguin

Getting outside

Before I hurt my foot we were playing lots of sport in the garden, I think I’m just about fully recovered now, so we can start doing that again. Getting Jack outside in the garden is still hit and miss, but he’s getting out enough that’s it’s not a major problem. Jack and dad time has largely been about watching movies and snacks, with a bit of Lego building thrown in. We have been on a few short walks. Jack doesn’t want to go everyday, but again he’s going enough for it not to be a major concern.

I’ve also had a couple of walks, where it’s just me and Lily. Both kids like to have their own time with us. We live in a small village, so we are surrounded by fields and a lot of animals. There seems to be a lot of horses round us, which Lily loves. So we walked up to take a look at some of them, which was really nice and Lily loves it.

Lily and horses

I’m not a hardcore environmentalist or anything, but I also think it’s quite nice that everything has slowed down. I’m sure Mother Nature is taking some deep breathes of cleaner air at the moment. Obviously things can’t stay like this, but I do think there is a lesson to be learned regarding slowing down, and what people’s priorities are.

Friendships

It’s been a very interesting time for friendships. I’ve had a lot of friends and acquaintances over the years, from school, college, football teams and work. There is only a very small group of friends I stay in contact with regularly. At the start of the lockdown we were talking a lot, as we all processed what was going on. It’s slowed down a bit now, as o think everyone has settled into a bit of a routine with what’s going on. But it was good to have friends there, helping to keep each other going.

Jack and Lily are both missing their friends from school. It used to be said autistic people cant make friends, which is absolute rubbish. Both Jack and Lily crave friendship. None of Jack’s friends from school live anywhere near us. But Lily has seen a couple of her friends around and has been able to say hello. We live close to the local shop, so when we are in the front garden we see lots of people.

Lily saw her best friend/boyfriend, and his mum took this lovely photo of them waving to each other over the garden fence. You could see how much they wanted to be able to play, hopefully they will be able to soon. It is lovely to see how strong the friendship is.

Waving the positive things
waving, with Jack sneaking in the photo in the background

They are a few of the positive things I could think of. Have you had any positive experiences come from this pandemic? We’d love to hear about them, so feel free to let us know in the comments.

Dad Does Autism

Getting creative

Getting creative

If this isn’t your first time reading one of my posts, you’ll probably know that Lily loves her art. She enjoys getting creative, and she’s been doing a lot of art whilst being off school. You can’t just keep drawing pictures though, so we’ve been looking at different things to do.

One thing she has enjoyed doing, is blow painting with straws. She did a really nice one of a dolphin that cut out of card, and put in a sea background. It was so nice it deserved to go in a frame. Though we haven’t yet settled on a place for it to go in the house.

Dolphin painting

That one was very precise, with a picture in mind. She then did another one, which is a more traditional blow painting, which I also really like, again there is an animal cut out of cardboard in the corner. I think it’s supposed to be a dog, Lily doesn’t seem too sure herself. Oh well it adds to the intrigue.

Blow painting


Finally we come to my favourite piece, and something completely different.

Branch art

A small branch decorated with leaves that have been cut out of paper and coloured in, then attached using string. Then we’ve used the string to hang it in pride of place on the upstairs landing.

Lily really enjoyed doing these, and we are looking at other things to do. The next idea we have is some paper roll animals which should be fun. I am always a big supporter of getting creative, and not just for children, adults too. I find it an extremely important part of maintaining my mental health.

As always Lily would like to know which one people like the most, so if you can comment your favourite below it would be really appreciated.

Dad Does Autism

Spending time in the garden

Spending time in the garden

Spending time in the garden is always nice, right now it’s a lifesaver. Something I had planned to do this spring, was finish the garden. At one time it was an overgrown mess, but last year with the help of my parents, we got it looking pretty good for the most part.

This year I want to keep on top of it, and finish it off. The one major obstacle, other than me possibly breaking my big toe (click here if you haven’t read about that calamity yet) is we have bramble growing out from under our cherry blossom tree, which is proving impossible to get rid off. So I just need to try and stay on top of it.

Our garden

Things have started growing and flowering over the last couple of weeks, which has been a welcome sight, when the garden is pretty much all we get to look at most of the time. Some plants have still got a lot of growing to do yet, and a bit of weeding needs to doing. I’ve put one new plant in this year. I would like to fill a few more of the bare spots we’ve got.

I want to get Jack involved in helping me. He enjoys the allotment and growing stuff at school, but as is often the case, that is a school thing. So when you ask him to do it at home, he says no that’s for school. Which is why I chuckled when they sent school work home. Unsurprisingly he’s not accepting it if you say it’s school work. So I’m trying to get him doing learning stuff, without ever mentioning the S word.

Garden 2

Despite my injured I got back it there and did a little bit of gardening. I was careful not to over do it, my foot is feeling better, but my big toe is still a bit sore. Fingers crossed it will be back to normal soon, spending time in the garden is the most enjoyable thing at the moment. Whether it be the gardening, playing with the kids or just relaxing out there. It’s so important for my own mental health, as it is for everyone in the family. The most eventful things that has happened is the kids letting the Guinea Pigs our on the lawn, which led me to think one got stuck under a tree root. Thankfully the she was just hiding and got out by herself. Still it had me stressed for a bit.

Guinea pig under root


I even ventured out for a little walk today, as Jack asked to go for one. Considering the problems we had with just getting him outside last week, I didn’t want to say no. We didn’t go far, just 30 minutes around the village. It was nice though, we took it steady and it was nice and quiet. So overall it’s been a positive day. Have you been making the most of your garden? If you don’t have a garden, what do you instead? Make the most of your once a day exercise allowance?

Dad Does Autism

Dad Does Autism blog checking in

Dad Does Autism blog checking in

It’s been tough going so far this week. I’m trying not to let things get to me, but I’m finding it impossible not to worry. The Dad Does Autism blog is certainly helping me keep my sanity, but myself and Natalie both have underlying health conditions. Obviously there is concern for our own health, but the impact one of us being hospitalised on the kids would be huge.

Obviously it wouldn’t be easy on any children, but the difficulty in understanding and communicating, means Jack at 12 years old will find it as confusing as a much younger child. Unfortunately we’ve had some experience with this. A couple of years ago Natalie fell and hit her head, it quite quickly became apparent things weren’t right. So we called for an ambulance.

Seeing his mum taken away in ambulance convinced Jack she was going to die. I didn’t realise this at first, he became very quiet and withdrawn. I thought it was the shock of what happened, but Natalie came home later that day and we told him everything was OK. Over the next few days Jack didn’t get any better, and started lashing out. We managed to get him to communicate, that he still thought Mum was going to die. It took a few days using PECS and social stories, but eventually he was happy that mum was not going to die.

Talking about coronavirus

We have talked with the kids about the coronavirus a little bit, they knew the reason they were of school. So we told them there’s a chance we could get poorly, but most people get better. Lily doesn’t seem to phased by it, she doesn’t really understand what it means. Jack on the other hand, keeps getting worked up about it. He’s started saying it’s a zombie virus, and we will all be turned into Zombies.

I’m guessing someone’s said something in a YouTube video. The trouble with letting Jack do things on his own, if he sees a video like that, he will take it literally. The BBC news or people joking around on YouTube, Jack has no concept of the difference. So I’m currently trying to convince there’s not hoards of Zombies roaming the Derbyshire countryside.

Trying to cope

As I said, I’ve started to struggle mentally. So I’m now making a concerted effort to get back on track. Getting outside and doing the daily exercise had ground to a halt. So I’m back out there today, playing some sports with Lily. I’ve always liked to play sport, rather then just do what I call mundane exercise. I don’t mind a walk around somewhere nice, but jogging and going to the gym I’ve always hated.

Then there’s my autism blog, it’s certainly been more difficult to keep up the writing, with the kids always at home. I have managed to do a bit most days, but there needs to be a bit more general organisation. So we can all be a bit more productive. Getting the kids to go to bed, and to sleep is become more and more challenging. They just aren’t getting the stimulation during the day to wear them out. Especially Jack, who has been up into the early hours the last few days. We are trying, but being so limited with what you can do, it’s proving difficult.

Exciting things to come

There are a couple of things I am excited about. I have started writing my first short story, that I plan to share on here. It’s about halfway done. It will be the first time I’ve wrote a piece of fiction and shared it with people in over 12 years. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time, but I’m so happy this autism blog has given me both the platform and the confidence to do it.

Natalie is also planning to write a piece for the website, which I am really pleased about. It will be about how the relationship between Jack and Lily was built, the strategies used etc.. Natalie really is the “expert” with this stuff, I spent a lot of time at work in the early years and Natalie did a phenomenal job with Jack and Lily. She doesn’t have much confidence with the writing side, so with my help with that side, she’s happy do it. As always teamwork is vital to our success. Hopefully that will be on its way soon.

Dad Does Autism

FGTeeV giant TeeV review

FGTeeV giant TeeV review

Something different today as I’m doing a FGTeeV giant TeeV review. I’ve been feeling much better since my last post. The weather has been decent, and a bit of time in the garden has been good. But today I want to talk about the fact that, Lily loves FGTeeV, if you don’t know what that is, it’s a channel on YouTube. As seems to be the way with kids these days, YouTube is where Lily finds her entertainment, and her favourite celebrities.

We decided at the weekend to get Jack & Lily a treat each to cheer them up. Like I’ve previously mentioned, we’ve all been finding it hard. So a little treat to boost morale, I felt was a good idea. For the record I treated myself to 3 bottles of beer. I don’t drink a lot, but I do enjoy an occasional beer.

FGTeeV giant TeeV

Jack chose some add on pack for a game on his Xbox. Lily wanted an FGTeeV giant TeeV set. She has wanted it since Christmas, but it wasn’t on sale in the UK at the time. So she had been saving a voucher she got for Christmas, which she used for this. As this was more expensive than what Jack got. The delivery man came calling this morning, a lot sooner than I expected. It’s safe to say Lily was super excited.

She finally calmed down to take that photo, at first she was running around shouting “oh my god, oh my god”. It’s safe to say that Lily loves FGTeeV! Next of course came opening it. As is the fashion at the moment, you open the big box to find lots of little surprises inside each in their own package to open. Lily has had similar things for Ryan’s World (also on YouTube), my initial reaction was you get more for your money with this one. This costs £39.99 in Smyths at the moment.

A review

As you can see above, you get a big figure, a smaller figure, a small plushie that makes a noise and a keychain plushie. You also get a little squishy , a little flashlight and some stickers. You get the TV box to keep the toys in, with the added aspect of the enjoyment of opening each one. There are different ones to collect, with smaller and cheaper option to get more figures.

Lily was over the moon with it. Which is the important thing. She needed cheering up and it certainly worked. This was a nice and quick little blog post to write. It’s not the easiest time to be doing this, but for my own sanity I’m desperate to keep writing. Finding the time has been challenging, but I’m just about managing. Even if this was not how I’d planned things originally. It’s important for everyone to find things to keep you going in these difficult times. Stay safe everybody.

Dad Does Autism

Anyone else starting to crack up?

Anyone else starting to crack up?

So it’s basically been 2 weeks of everyone being at home, and not being able to go out. So the question I want to ask is, anyone else starting to crack up? Or is it just me? I’ve got a lot of things I can be getting on with to pass the time, but for the last couple of days I’ve struggled for motivation.

What really hit home yesterday, was I saw it in Lily for the first time. She didn’t want to go outside, she didn’t want to do much of anything. She just sort of moped about, looking fed up. I was in a funny moody, Natalie and the kids would tell you I was being annoying. Basically I was making silly noises, and doing stupid things. It’s something I do quite a lot, I get a sort if release from it. Yesterday was over the top and I got on everyone’s nerves.

In the end we went for a little drive around locally. I’m not sure where you stand with just having a bit of a drive. We didn’t get out anywhere, we just had a bit of a drive. Is that ok? I’m not really sure, but I needed to see some different scenery for my sanity. Everyone else felt the same, and I personally felt much better when we got back. I think everyone did. Jack has started to get more and more agitated, by not being able to follow his normal routines. He’s become very argumentative, but we are just about keeping a lid on it. I just wish I had some answers for him, the uncertainty is the worst part for everybody. For Jack it is even more of a problem.

So is anyone else starting to crack up? Or are you doing ok so far? If you are starting to feel it, what are you doing to try and cope with it? Any ideas are welcome, please leave a comment below.

Dad Does Autism

The first week at home with the kids

The first week at home with the kids

So how is everyone feeling after the first week at home with the kids? I know some might have had them home earlier, and some homeschool all the time. But I think for most of us, at least in England where I live, this was week 1. So how’s it been?

Still having problems with Lily’s ear

It’s gone fairly well for us. The only real problem we’ve had is Lily is still complaining of pain in her ear. She seems fine the majority of the day, but come night time it’s a different story. She has woken up crying every night this week. Jack has coped with it really well, a few times he seems to have slept hrough it. 

One time I went to check on Jack he was awake playing on his Nintendo Switch. It was around 4am. I asked him if Lily woke him up, he nodded yes. I asked him if he was alright, he nodded yes again. He was clearly tense, but he was managing to hold it together, which is really good.

Last night didn’t go so well. Lily woke up crying again, and this time I could hear straight away, Jack throwing things around his room. I went to check him and he had a real look of distress on his face and tears in his eyes. I tried to reassure him, but he just threw things at me, I told him Lily was ok, and left him for a few minutes. When I checked he had calmed down enough to be sat on his bed. It was just one disturbed nights sleep to far.

It’s a frustrating time, due to the situation getting a doctors appointment is near impossible, so you speak to one on the phone and they are guessing what’s wrong. She’s on her second antibiotic now. Fingers crossed this one works. The situation is difficult enough, without that added stress.

Things have generally been good

The day times have generally been good, during the first week at home with the kids. Jack and Lily both seem to be enjoying being at home. They’ve had some fun doing different activities. Jack has been a bit argumentative, which was to be expected, but has been calmer than he was during the recent school holidays. We’ve not pushed him with doing school work. He’s never had any homework, so he’s not understanding why he suddenly has to do work at home. So I’ve got a few ideas for him to learn using things he’s interested in.

Lily didn’t do any work the first few days, I thought it right to give her some time to adjust to what was going on. Then she started doing the work by herself. I’ve seen people trying to be teachers, and it’s almost like a competition with some people on social media. I don’t understand that way of thinking myself. I’m more interested in my children’s well being, than I am making sure they get all the work sheets done.

We are lucky to have a decent bit of garden space, so the kids can get out there for a bit of fresh air and some exercise. They’ve been out everyday, with the exception that Jack didn’t want to go outside yesterday. 

I’m doing ok

I’m holding up alright. I am concerned about the effect of a prolonged lockdown on my depression, but I’m doing fine. I’ve actually enjoyed having the kids home for the most part. Ask me if I still am in 3 or 4 weeks, then maybe my answer will be different, but so far I’m feeling good. I’ve been spending a lot of time at home anyway over the past year, so one week without going out doesn’t bother me. If it becomes 4, 5, 6 weeks, then it will be a different story.

The first week at home with the kids then, up to now it’s been pretty good, everyone’s fit and well, and as long as that’s the case I don’t want to complain about anything else. I hope it’s going as well for everyone else. Families living with autism have extra pressures, and this a really difficult time. But it is difficult for all families. So I say to everybody, stay safe and stay well.