>I’m having a rough night. My tics are really bad this weekend, which makes me more anxious, which makes my tics works, which makes me more anxious… I think you get the idea. I actually called the emergency number for my doctor’s office last night, realizing that tics aren’t exactly an emergency, but I may have found my way into an emergency if I didn’t find a way to calm them down. I hoped that the psych nurse on call would be able to give me some advice, but she just called the doctor on call, who told me to take a Klonopin. So, another day, another Klonopin tonight, and I’m starting to feel trapped in my head, which is never good. I start to lose the ability to communicate and interact with people. I don’t know why it happens, usually. It always happens after I’ve been social for too long, but today, I’ve been snowed in the house all day. Who knows. But here I am. The only way out of my head is to write, so write I will.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want in my life. It was the last topic I wrote on in my book, so it had to be on my mind. I want a job, part time. I want my own apartment, away from my step-father. I want my cat, and I never want to be without a cat or two. I don’t want to get married, as far as I can see it. But there’s one thing that really, really stands out, even more than the cat. I want to adopt a baby.
The nature of autism means that I’m focused on myself. The nature of parenthood means that I would need to be focused almost entirely on another person. How to reconcile these two things so diametrically opposed to one another?
Growing up, and pre-diagnosis, I had a dream for my life. I was going to be a trauma surgeon, live in Florida, and adopt children internationally. What about that hasn’t changed? After freshman year of college, I realized that I would never be able to handle the physical and social demands of residency in order to become a doctor. I developed a new plan for my life. I would be a teacher, live within a few hours of home to stay close to my mom who I love so much, and still adopt children, able to be home with them in the summer. And then I got the diagnosis. Since then, my plan has shifted dramatically. Now, I hope to work part time in the lowest position at a daycare, move into low-income housing, and just be able to take care of myself. Did my plan change because of the diagnosis? Am I selling myself short?
At this point, I think not. Growing up, I had no sense of… anything. My dreams weren’t based in reality. My dream of being a doctor was a bit like dreaming of winning the lottery. Yes, I have the brains for it, but I never could have handled that type of schedule. When my professors mentioned, and several times, that they were worried about student teaching, I ignored them. I blocked it all out. I wanted to prove everyone wrong, that I could do it. I thought that simply because they thought I couldn’t, that I had to prove it to them. Had I been smart about it, I would have asked, “And what if I can’t do it?” But you know, the truth is that I probably wouldn’t have believed I couldn’t student teach until I actually tried and failed. I didn’t want to hear it.
I still have long-term goals for my life. I want to go back to school and get my master’s in either special education or psychology. I want to work with children with autism, whether in the context of school or home or educational research, I don’t yet know. I need to do something that will allow me to work one-on-one with people, rather than in large groups. I also need to be able to leave my work at work, and possibly even find something that I can do on a part-time basis. I may never be able to work full time, and that’s okay. You see, college is no indication as to how a person will do with full time work. College classes rarely go over 20 hours per week (and the one semester mine reached 21, I skipped classes weekly). So, yes, I did well in college. No, I don’t do well working full time.
But that’s just work. Where I live isn’t of much importance to me. If I live in low-income housing (it’s not near the city, so it’s really not a bad situation), so be it. If I live in a studio apartment till I’m 40, that’s fine. I don’t need a lot, and as long as I have what I need, cat included, I’m happy. I’d rather not have the house and yard to take care of, to be honest. But gosh, that baby. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do it, but doesn’t that give me something to really work for? Sometimes I get really strong gut feelings about things, like the fact that I don’t think I’ll ever marry. Other things, I’m just lost on. The baby issue is one of them. I have no idea if it would ever work, but I can hope. I can dream.