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Forums / Relationship and family issues / Feeling utterly depleted - Our family needs help.

Topic: Feeling utterly depleted - Our family needs help.

22 posts, 0 answered
  1. Ammee
    Ammee avatar
    29 posts
    11 August 2021

    Our household is falling apart after almost five years of a hard long battle with our daughter’s mental health. It’s always one step forward, two or three steps back. Sometimes the one step forward lasts quite some time, and you are lulled into the falsehood of thinking, finally, this period of our lives is over we can now move on. Then it all goes to hell again. We have spent hundreds on health care professionals to little avail. Read every textbook, watched videos, sought advice from other parents, been to family therapy, individual therapy, psychiatry, occupational therapy, hospital, day centres, and still we are in this awful dark place. Every one of us is mentally unwell , all of us are in therapy with two or more specialists. We have all been driven to the edge, because of the neurological mental health condition my daughter has – who knows what that is, many have had their various theories. Pathological Demand Avoidance seems the best fit, but still doesn’t quite fit. She is an extrovert but autistic. Incredibly intelligent. Often as mature as a 16-year-old – but also as immature as a two-year-old the next with huge aggression, nasty words, and screaming. Desperately wants friendship – but burns every bridge in them by lying to them, deceiving them, stealing from them, making demands from them. Desperate to be someone she is not, and seemingly not able to find who she really is. Helpful, polite, friendly, charming to each new person she meets. Nasty, mean, resentful, demanding and aggressive toward anyone who SHE thinks has done her wrong. Often deeply loving, empathic and kind, but also often cruel, rude and unfair. Wants to control everything in her world. Is confused about her feelings, to the point of self harming and suicidal thoughts.

    Our marriage is on the rocks.
    My husband has anger management problems.
    My son is falling over the edge now, the most gentle and forgiving soul out there - he now doesn’t want to live here anymore and is so afraid of what is happening to us. – He is 15.
    After 12 and a half long years being her primary carer, I am now in a heap – sick with depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome – I have been driven to the edge and have already fallen off the cliff once, I am dangerously close to falling off it again.
    My daughter doesn’t understand who she is, where she is going, how she can help herself, or how she can help her family. She loves us all dearly but is very mentally unwell.
    We need help.

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Sophie_M
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    5654 posts
    11 August 2021 in reply to Ammee
    Hi Ammee,

    We are so sorry to hear that your family are going through so much right now. We understand this must be so overwhelming and stressful, especially with so many appointments and family members struggling. Please know that you never have to go through this alone, and support is always here for you.

    If you would like to talk to someone we would recommend that you get in contact with the Beyond Blue Support Service. They are available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 1pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport  One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings with you and can offer support, advice and referrals.

    If you feel it may be helpful for your son, you are always welcome to get in touch with Kids Help Line. They are a confidential and anonymous, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged 25 and under.

    We also strongly urge that in overwhelming moments you get in touch with our friends at Lifeline (13 11 14) or the Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467).

    Please feel free to keep reaching out here on your thread whenever you feel up to it.
    1 person found this helpful
  3. Joshua W
    Joshua W avatar
    1 posts
    11 August 2021 in reply to Ammee

    Good evening Amme I am Joshua

    That is quite a story and it is unfortunate that you and your family are struggling so.

    Know that whatever comes you are not alone in this, there are good people who care and can help if you wish.

    I find that sometimes writing down those thoughts in a journel helps clear your mind. For me anyway I feel so much better after I journel.

    As for your daughter I would like to suggest you have a read of a book personality plus. To get a better understanding of why she acts in a certain manner. I am no doctor however I can relate to being agressive and wanting things my way. As I found out it is my personality that makes it so.

    Getting some clarity on why she behaves certain ways may help you communicate with her on a deeper level in order to have a breakthrough in the relationship.

    Never let your struggles get you down! It is through struggles where we become stronger and makes us better for it.

    I hope this helps in some way and please feel free to reply to this.

    Keep pushing forward

    Joshua.

    2 people found this helpful
  4. therising
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    12 August 2021 in reply to Ammee

    Hi Ammee

    My heart goes out to you and your family so very much, especially your son. Being a mum, I can easily imagine your heartbreak for him.

    I imagine you've possibly already tried this but I can't help but wonder. Has anyone ever suggested 'leading your daughter to come to her senses' in an outside the square kind of way? What I mean by this is - is it possible your daughter, while being highly sensitive, is misinterpreting what she's sensing? For example, you could say to her 'No, you can't do that'. While she's sensing resistance (a negative feeling), you're sensing direction (a positive feeling) through this form of guidance. They're 2 completely different feelings or sensations in the body.

    You mention her high intelligence. Does she have the kind of intelligence where she can sense just about everything, like the mood of the house, the mood of individuals, the overwhelming feelings that can come with certain challenges, being emotionally shut down? Can she sense a lack of direction, can she feel when she's being judged by others (something we can typically get a feel for through experience)? Do her feelings trigger her even if she doesn't know exactly what she's feeling or why she's feeling it?

    I'm wondering if people ask your daughter what she's sensing exactly, when she enters into a state of anger. Does she know what she's sensing? Could she be sensing her own resistance when it comes to constructive change? Is this something she can identify with? It's an absolutely horrible feeling at times, that's for sure. Does she seem happier when she's more in touch with her feelings?

    There's not a huge amount of talk out there about both the ups and downs in relation to heightened sensitivity and how we feel it in a number of ways, both good and bad. It's like you can't necessarily feel dis-ease (unease) in a certain challenge that can possibly be going on for weeks. When it starts to go on for months, you can begin to really feel the dis-ease (unease/stress). By the time it hits years, it is undeniable, you can feel it on so many levels. It changes you. It changes your mind, your body and, on some level, your sense of soul or connection to life. I don't have to tell you...to feel so deeply, so intensely is not just exhausting, it can be overwhelming and debilitating.

    Again, my heart goes out to you.

    By the way, wondering if anyone has ever led you to research 'The abilities of a highly sensitive person'. Wondering if such research could help somewhat.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Petal22
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    1108 posts
    12 August 2021 in reply to Ammee

    Hi Ammee,

    I am so sorry this is happening to your family…..

    Its so hard when someone in your family is mentally unwell…… especially one of your beautiful children….. it would be so hard …. But all you can do is try to show her LOVE and support…… I feel for your daughter because she must be going through so much within herself and not sure how to understand it or navigate it……. It must be terrifying for her aswell…….. and for her family to witness this is also heartbreaking…. All we want to do as parents is fix our children but sometimes it’s difficult to know what to do…..

    Has your daughter been able to explain to you what she is going through from the inside?

    I know it’s hard but we just need to try to understand her…… and just be calm…… with her….. reacting in a negative energy to her won’t help it just puts more flames in the fire…. Try to react in a loving positive way…. It will help you internally and also your daughter….

    I understand mental illness I suffered with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for some time until I receive d professional help for my condition….. I was given the correct treatment and I was able to recover….. I was put on a antidepressant and did meta cognitive therapy for OCD…. I learned to master my OCD…..

    While I was going through my Illness I felt so scared and confused inside I was always in a heightened state of anxiety….

    My thoughts to my loved ones sounded irrational but to me they felt very real and intense…..

    It was hard for my loved ones to see me going through this condition…

    Can you see a another phyciatrist for a diagnosis? Please don’t give up there is always HOPE you just need to see the correct health professionals and be put on the correct path……

    Can I ask what you do for your own self care? You need to look after you aswell…….

    im here to chat to you

    2 people found this helpful
  6. Ammee
    Ammee avatar
    29 posts
    12 August 2021 in reply to therising
    Thank you. My son, myself and my daughter are all highly sensitive people and often ‘feel’ what is happening in any given situation.. which of course makes it harder because we all domino on each other.
  7. therising
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    13 August 2021 in reply to Ammee

    Hi Ammee

    Wow, that's intense, yourself, your son and your daughter. I could say the same thing - myself (51), my son (16) and my daughter (18). It does leave my husband feeling like he's living with somewhat insane people at times, especially when the 3 of us sense the need for discussing complete and utter nonsense (amusing food for the soul).

    While I find mainstream medicine (both mental and physical) to be absolutely fascinating and of great service in so many ways, it's a 3rd element that often serves me best in some ways. It's an element that's more so about the nature of people. While dictating we're designed to be highly sensitive, a lot of it is about recognising sensitivities and mastering them or balancing them, as opposed to suppressing them. Much easier said that done. I'm still learning :)

    With your daughter being highly sensitive and with you having mentioned she desperately wants friendship but burns every bridge by lying to friends, deceiving them, stealing from them, making demands from them, I can't help but ponder the idea that she's perhaps sensitive to wonder and imagination. Wondering what she'd need to say to someone to keep them as a friend may involve her imagining lying to them, which leads her to do it. Wondering about how much of a difference their possession would make to her may involve her imagining what it's like to have that possession for herself. She sees herself with it, gets excited and therefore feels there's no choice but to take it. Maybe she wonders about what demands she needs to make of friends, to maintain a status quo. She imagines those demands and then makes them. Wonder and imagination are truly brilliant aspects of our self but they can also be highly destructive at times, such as in this case. Is your daughter someone who is naturally wonderful (full of wonder) with a brilliant imagination? If so, could you positively trigger her, leading her to wonder and imagine differently while mastering herself?

    Wondering whether your daughter has certain 'body language' so quite that she can barely hear it/sense it. it's like you could be thinking of doing something wrong but get a feeling/message, like a 'ping' that helps you confirm it's the wrong thing to do, leading you to not do it. Some would call this feeling 'guilt'. Is that 'ping' there for her but she dismisses it? Would you say she needs to 'tune in' or 'turn up the volume more' on certain feelings that ground most of us out of doing what's wrong?

    1 person found this helpful
  8. BElaine
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    5 posts
    11 September 2021 in reply to Ammee

    Hi Ammee,

    Does it help to know that my daughter is exactly the same? All that you said - intelligent, autistic, rude/mean, loyal, controlling, kind, funny, burning off friends...? Please know I empathise completely and have some understanding of the toll it's taking on yourself and your family. Good on you for reaching out for support, again, as I have, here. I found some of the advice very perceptive and helpful and hope you did too. Self care seems obvious but should always be top of the list. The sensitivities idea raised in one response struck a chord with me. We have learned that our daughter doesn't understand her father's humour - he's a lovely, jovial, glass half full kind of guy (or he was...). Our daughter responds so negatively to him, accusing him of mocking her when he's not. She also doesn't understand me - if you need help with something, I'm your person! I will sort any issue with you right to the end. My daughter sees that as attacking her, pressuring her. So, reluctantly at first, my husband and I have adjusted our personalities for her, or at least our natural behaviours in her presence, to meet the needs of her sensitivities. Along with therapy, medication etc, this has helped to stabilise the home front. At first I was annoyed that I couldn't just be myself in my own home, but apparently, this creates a less stressful, more predictable environment for her. And the person who responded about your daughter imagining what it would be like to do or have this and that, rings true for my daughter too. I've learnt my daughter's perception is her reality and what is really going on doesn't matter so much when I'm trying to deal with her, to encourage her and even love her. Lots of thinking outside the box from an unimaginable perspective by me.

    Being kind to your partner and son is also important and tricky. My hubby and I regularly check in - the one that is feeling strongest takes the lead while the other recuperates or shelters for a bit. It's OK not to be OK all the time. Being a coordinated team keeps you stronger for longer. Not sure if it's relevant for you, but we have also been looking at family history of MI, swept under the carpet in generations past. In doing so we have found some of her older cousins have been experiencing difficulties that haven't been mentioned before we asked. This gave us a different context.

    Please know you are not alone, there is always hope and seek support every time you need it.

    2 people found this helpful
  9. quirkywords
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    11 September 2021 in reply to Ammee

    Amme

    can feel your pain and frustration. When I was 16 I was the problem in my family and I put pressure on everyone. At the time I was in denial, lying, cheating, being horrible to my poor totally exhausted parents.
    eventually I took medication and with having knowledge of what worked for me My life and my family’s stabilised.

    Joshua

    Welcome to the forum and thanks for using your first post to help others.

    1 person found this helpful
  10. Ammee
    Ammee avatar
    29 posts
    20 September 2021 in reply to therising

    Thanks Therising,

    Interesting theory and I agree, she is very imaginative. I think you are right with some of these things, but I don’t think she is capable of imagining people in a different light to what she already does - we have tried so many times to talk her through these things, to get the possitive side going, only to have it all crash down again. She is so complex and the difficulty is she doesn’t share much with us. Thank you for your insight.

  11. Ammee
    Ammee avatar
    29 posts
    20 September 2021

    Thanks for your help everyone. Your posts in combination have been very helpful for my mindset and some things have come in place for me and my husband because of that understanding. Unfortunately though, our daughter is getting worse by the day. Home life has become so chaotic and dangerous (she is very aggressive now, breaking things, self harming). I don’t know what is happening to her, and neither do her medical professionals - I wish I could get inside her head. She doesn’t talk to us. I feel like I have lost my beautiful girl and wonder if I will ever get her back.

    Last week I broke down again. My daughter had once again tried to take her life. I rushed her to hospital (surely they would see her this time right? She actually had injuries, though superficial - her mental health was the emergency) - So we wait for three hours. The first nurse we see tells her it will be ok, they will take care of her and she can have a good lie down when she sees the mental health nurses. She spent the next hour lying in my lap, utterly depressed. The two mental health nurses came and got us and were HORRIBLE- My daughter got up on the bed to lie down (after all that is what the previous nurse said) and they immediately told her off in an angry tone - they treated her like a naughty child through the whole discussion! My daughter started getting very angry with them about what the other nurse had said and then started crying into my chest. Meanwhile the nurses totally ignore her, as if she weren’t there. They say to me that they have spoken to the psychiatrist in charge and he believed my daughter’s case wasn’t severe enough. NOT SEVERE ENOUGH? !! I mean what does she have to do to be severe enough? Do I actually have to let her finish her attempt so someone will actually see her!! It’s crazy. I told them this wasn’t fair, that she needed help and had done the right thing in listening to me and telling me she needs help - then we come in and get none, after 3 hours! The two nurses marched us out with the words “you have to go home and be a good mother now” Excuse me? Then I tried to go upstairs to make a complaint and they had a security guard march us out. It was so distressing! This incident led to me breaking down - I lost myself after that, had a total relapse. It lead to my own self harm and suicidal ideation. I got myself out of our house. I cannot be there with the way things are. Don’t worry I am getting help for myself.

  12. Sophie_M
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    20 September 2021 in reply to Ammee
    Hi Ammee,

    This sounds like an incredibly difficult experience, we’re so sorry to hear about this. You did the right thing getting her to a hospital, and this is not how you should have been treated. We can hear the love and concern that you have for your daughter, and we are sorry to hear what you've been going through. It may sound like cold comfort right now, but we hope you can see how inspiring it is that you’re supporting and protecting your daughter, through a time when it can be difficult to find the help she needs.

    This is an incredibly difficult time, so we’re reaching out to you privately. We’re so sorry it’s lead you to a place of self-harm and suicidal ideation. Please know that we are here for the moments you need help, on 1300 22 4636, or via webchat here.

    It sounds like you are checking in with someone about this, whether that’s existing mental health support, a GP or another health professional. There is always somewhere to turn for you, your daughter and all other affected members of your family. You could check in with Parentline, who have a number for each state listed here, and if possible, encourage her to contact Kids Helpline whenever she needs, on 1800 55 1800 or via webchat here. You could also reach out to our friends at Carers Australia , as they may be able to support you with this extremely difficult experience of caring for and advocating for your daughter’s health, on 1800 242 636. They offer short-term counselling, emotional and psychological support services for carers and their families.  

    While you’re waiting for some replies on this thread, you might be interested in some of the other posts around the forums: We also wanted to recommend the Beyond Blue podcast episode, Supporting a Loved One. It might be helpful to hear another parent tell their story, in their own voice and their own words.

    We really hope the kind words and understanding of the lovely community members here is comforting to you. Please feel free to keep us updated whenever you feel comfortable to do so.

    Kind regards,

    Sophie M
    1 person found this helpful
  13. pvroom
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    125 posts
    20 September 2021 in reply to Sophie_M
    hi Sophie, my 6yo son is PDA autistic and I can relate to what you have written. he is only young so we have some advantages in knowing this already. I recommend reading about low demand environments as that may help a little and indirect language too. I'm so sorry you're dealing with so many rude health professionals, I know what that is like. You're doing everything you can, don't forget that
    1 person found this helpful
  14. therising
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    20 September 2021 in reply to Ammee

    Hi Ammee

    I wish I was there for you right now and there in the hospital at that time. What the heck is wrong with those people?! How challenging is it, dealing with people around you who are completely insane (such as the hospital staff)? How challenging is it dealing with insane people who insist they're not the crazy ones? If they were to insist 'We're not crazy', I would insist 'Oh yes you are, you just can't see it. Let me point it out'. While you tried to raise their consciousness to see the insanity of that situation, they flat out refused to question themselves.

    One of the things people really need to learn is don't challenge a lioness when she's protecting or serving her cub. It'll just send her wild :) Wondering if that's the first time you've ever seriously met with the lioness in you. She's pretty powerful. I actually work with a lot of sensitive women who easily sense that part of them coming out. We all relate to it as a part of our self no one wants to mess with. Personally, I've allowed her to naturally come out in me more and more over the years. You can pick her, as she sets you in her sights once she establishes you as a threat (aka 'The death stare'). I'm so glad your daughter got to see this part of you, the part of you that's willing to fight to the death for her or close to it :)

    Do you ever have those moments where you can feel your thoughts or feel what you imagine. It's like you might come to imagine/recall the day your daughter was born or the day you got married and suddenly you feel this incredible sense of love and joy. So peaceful. Perhaps you have moments where you may imagine/recall what was the saddest day in your life and you suddenly feel sadness within you. Maybe you've imagined the day where someone offers some epiphany that changes the mental health of your daughter and you feel excitement or overwhelming relief. If you can't imagine this, you won't feel the excitement or relief. If things are feeling worse for your daughter, I can't help but wonder what she's imagining. Perhaps, things not getting any better. Maybe, even things getting worse. Maybe this is what she's feeling. To be able to feel your thoughts can be so challenging.

    There are some brilliant guided sensory based meditations that lead people to imagine and feel what they imagine. Some are even designed to guide you into your subconscious so you can access some revelations and feel those inspiring revelations when you come back out of the meditation.

    1 person found this helpful
  15. therising
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    21 September 2021 in reply to Ammee

    Hi Ammee

    Checking in to see how you are. I hope where you're staying someone is taking extra special care of you, a friend or family member. I can imagine how incredibly worn down you're feeling right now and even then I'm sure it wouldn't come close to how truly exhausted you are.

    I wish you were in a mindset which allowed you to clearly see what an absolutely incredible person you are. While your efforts have been exhausting, they've also been stunning and something to be unbelievably proud of.

    I know it's easier said than done but try not to be too hard on yourself as you meet with the peak of your tolerance, spilling over into intolerance. Everyone has a tolerance cut off point. Sometimes we only come to know it when we meet with it. You now know yours. You now know it is incredibly high, higher than most.

    You've been managing what has been a mentally and physically exhausting number or years. The nature of your challenge dictates it is depressing in ways. From my own experience over the years, I've found managing not returning to depression to be so much harder when I've been worn down by a challenge. It is in a worn down state where we can most easily feel the depressing nature of the challenge we face. It becomes so much clearer. The fact that you've come so far before meeting with complete intolerance speaks volumes when it comes to your strength, determination, commitment, devotion and more. You've been pushed so hard over the years to constantly find the best in yourself. You didn't settle for filling the role of 'She who is basically patient, she who is basically loving, she who is basically tolerant, she who thinks basically when it comes to problem solving' and so on. Many parents settle for basic effort. We hear of such parents every day. Your efforts have redefined you as extraordinary, amazing, incredible, powerful and more.

    I would define you as a woman who does not simply love. I would define you as a woman who actively loves, to the point where it hurts, to the point where it is completely exhausting. The world is short of those who love as much as you do. You are truly beautiful. This is who you are. You deserve a break, a time of reflection, when it comes to loving others so intensely. If there is one who needs your love and devotion, more than anyone else right now, it is you. Take great loving care of she who has worked so hard. Be kind to her, for she is truly beautiful :)

  16. Ammee
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    29 posts
    25 September 2021 in reply to Ammee
    Hi all, just letting you know I’m ok. I haven’t caught up on the comments yet. I’ll be reading them this afternoon. I also have some more questions for everyone. But right now I have a visit with my daughter organised. Didn’t want anyone to worry and wanted to tell you all that I’m still here, though still shaky
  17. Ammee
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    29 posts
    26 September 2021 in reply to Sophie_M
    Thank you Sophie
  18. Ammee
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    29 posts
    26 September 2021 in reply to pvroom

    Thank you pvroom,

    I have done lots of reading on PDA and joined support groups. Our psychologist believes our child to be PDA, so yes, know all about low demand environments. Thank you.

  19. Ammee
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    29 posts
    26 September 2021 in reply to therising

    Thank you Therising,

    The lioness in me has come out many times - so many I don’t have much energy left. Advocacy is something I have had to do for both my gifted with special needs children all their lives, from the time my son almost died in the emergency room when he was 6 weeks old while they told me that I was just a first time mother and babies cry (then they saw the lump - it was a strangulated hernia!) to the most recent experience - It has been ongoing for what seems forever. I am so drained.

    Thanks for your suggestions. I do a lot of medication and teach my child them as well.

    The worst of the mental health stuff came out for my youngest child (one mentioned throughout this thread) when they had their first period - then everything snowballed from there to all the stuff I write about here. Yesterday they were finally confident enough to say they are questioning their gender —

    Long way to go yet, but I think that’s a breakthrough.

    Pity I am so unwell and can’t be there for them during this difficult time - I try to be there as much as I can via phone and visits.

    Thanks for everything.

  20. therising
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    27 September 2021 in reply to Ammee

    Hi Ammee

    I'm so glad you're continuing to take time out for yourself, with support. It's something you so obviously desperately need and deserve.

    That does sound like a breakthrough, your daughter openly questioning aspects of her identity. Perhaps this was something she felt she couldn't live with, while keeping it to herself. I hope she's now feeling more freedom to express herself and not have to live with such internal self doubt and stress. As you say, there's still a long way to go. At least you now have some idea of which path she's on (in her mind), one of self questioning in order to gain a greater sense of identity, hopefully leading her to discover who she naturally is.

    With you having originally mentioned the many avenues you've tried, in gaining a sense of support and understanding, I can't help but wonder whether anyone mentioned gut/brain axis issues in autism, more specifically in anxiety and depression. 'Mood and Food' is a fascinating field of research these days. It first triggered my interest when when one of the heads of research in this area, from Deakin Uni, came out to my children's school some years ago. It's amazing how the chemistry in the gut feeds the brain in various ways. I was surprised to learn that the majority of serotonin (the chemistry that's partly responsible for happiness) is actually produced in the gut. To also learn how anxiety can be modified/managed (in some cases) through the gut microbiome was truly surprising. Current research being done regarding the benefits of gaining a healthier gut microbiome with the help of pre and probiotics in people on the autism spectrum is something that's also gaining interest, inviting further research.

    Personally, research fields fascinate me. It's like you've got all these detectives out there wondering why nothing seems to be working in certain fields of medicine as well as wondering about what could be linked to certain issues and what might actually work under certain circumstances. Without such wonderful (wonder filled) people in the world, we'd be stuck with outdated 'solutions' that just don't work for a lot of people.

    Take good care of yourself as you re-energise :)

    1 person found this helpful
  21. Ammee
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    29 posts
    5 October 2021 in reply to therising

    Thank you for your kind words Therising. I love research. In fact I have done two masters thesis’ myself and would love to do more, but that is very difficult at the moment.

    I have read all about the food and gut flora stuff including gut bacteria and how that impacts on autism. My daughter almost died of pneumonia when they was 1 week old. They had to have antibiotics, there was no other way. I often wonder if it affected them. However - it’s impossible to know for sure. We have tried various diets but none of them work because my child can never keep to them and sneaks food they are not allowed to have - so it’s impossible to know what works.

    Thanks for the advice and the compassion. I am trying to look after myself. One step, one hour and one day at a time.

  22. therising
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    7 October 2021 in reply to Ammee

    Hi Ammee

    I imagine, if such intense and constant research paid, you'd undoubtedly be able to retire much earlier than most people. Every post you write makes the frustration, exhaustion and burn out so much clearer. You're truly an incredible mum, literally stunning. By the way, the wonderer in me can't help but wonder what you studied at uni :)

    I imagine, even if it's just for a moment, you've wondered about some type of reform place, in a way, for your daughter. Kind of like one of those retreats for young people, where the folk there take responsibility for helping someone reform themself through incredibly regimented strict discipline over a number of weeks, with a psychologist thrown into the mix. For someone else to take care of all the hard work, the constant discipline, the initial regular emotional outbursts etc would be tempting, even if it was just for the break. I think the mum in me would be saying 'No, I can't do that', for a number of reasons. I'd be imagining my child feeling abandoned by me or feel deeply hurt by such a choice. I'd also be imagining they'd never forgive me for it or it would mess them up more than it would help them. I also imagine the people who productively, lovingly and carefully run such programs would say to parents 'Most parents who come here imagine pretty much the same thing'. Still don't know if I could do it. I admire parents who can (work through all that questioning).

    Hoping you're continuing to take good care of all the many aspects of self: 'The emotional eater,' who loves the occasional fill of 'joy', 'The hard worker', who deserves a long overdue break, 'The wonderer', who deserves time to wonder about the things that bring them a sense of happiness, 'The child' who gets to play and laugh a little and so many other aspects of self. I think sometimes we can come to forget who we are, based on our circumstances.

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