I am a very lucky woman. I have an amazing husband and three beautiful children but a croquembouche hangs over my head like the Sword of Damocles. A bit confusing? Let me explain..
My house is a complicated house. I had a troubled upbringing full of psychological abuse, leaving me with severe anxiety, OCD, and depression. Personal circumstances, such as the deaths of people close to us over the 20 years we have been together, have left my husband with depression. And our two eldest children, who are now teens, have autism. In my eyes, their autism is awesome. It is a part of who they are and it is a part of what makes them beautiful. But- and there is always a BUT, isn’t there? …They have suffered through bullying in their lives,which has left deep and terrible scars.
My eldest got so relentlessly bullied and ignored by those in positions of authority that she violently lashed out. And got punished for it. The bullies got nothing. Then she got laughed at because of it. It became a vicious cycle with that school. Bullying, lashing out, punishment, laughing. So I got her out to the only school in the country for autistic girls and the best possible place for her. However, the damage was done. 5 years later we now have a watch phrase for when she has dark thoughts of harming herself and wants to die. I want to make a croquembouche. Then we know to sit and talk.
This is what makes me lucky. We butt heads. A lot, but she knows when it comes to it, I am right here. And now, we need a new watch phrase for her brother.
Where the last 6 months have been really hard for her, he blossomed at home. They both have autism and they both present completely differently. She explodes, he implodes. He has always been so quiet and placid; never had meltdowns or lashed out. He has what is referred to as ‘stoneface’. I am the only person that can read him.
At least until he came back from his first day back to school. He was pale, shaking. As soon as I asked him what was wrong, he burst into tears. It took him hours to calm down. He physically couldn’t go to school the next day, or the next. He keeps having panic attacks at the mere thought of having to return. Why? Bullies. Relentless Bullies. He says he doesn’t feel safe at school and the school does nothing. I see the red flags of suicide ideation in my child again and although he doesn’t say the words, I hear in my head I want to make a croquembouche.
Like I said, in the last six months, my son has gone from a timid little boy to a funny engaging lad and watching that transformation was incredible. He believes literally everything he is told and I make sure I tell him every day something good about him, something that is true. That he is loved, that he is great with his toddler brother, that he has a great sense of humour, that his independence has come a long way, even the tiniest thing.
Bullying is NEVER ok. Letting bullying happen is never ok. The only way to stop bullying is to teach active inclusion. That being different is not only okay, it is good. Life would be boring if we were all the same. Teach that you need to stand up for people, not shame them because they are neurodiverse or any kind of different. I stand up for my family and wow, are my legs tired. But I will keep doing it. Because I am the luckiest woman in the world and no croquembouche is going to take that from me.
If you are in danger of hurting or killing yourself, please call emergency services. If you are safe and need to speak, please visit our website www.IMAlive.org and click chat now to speak to one of our trained volunteers.