Do you want the fake answer or the truth?

Holidays bring out the worst in me. National, religious, Hallmark, school… these are not fun and carefree days for me.

The heightened expectation to be cheerful and joyous is crushing for a person who is struggling with the regular days! I have a family that is heavily impacted by special needs. Plus I have my own battle with anxiety and health issues. It’s a lot to get everyone fed and groomed to even leave the house. Add anything extra and I am sizzling with stress.

When I am asked by anyone, family, friends, or acquaintances, “How are you?” I have to decide what kind of response does this person really want?

Do you want the lie or do you really want to know how I am doing?

Even those people who love me are probably bummed out by the real answer, “We are struggling.”

I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable, but I feel so alone and cranky and yes, depressed by your happiness. Your plans for school vacation or a party make me want to crawl into bed and put the pillow over my head.

Hey, Cyn, how’s it going?

Here is the real answer.

My kids are autistic and I just want everyone to be emotionally regulated for one hour.

I have a child who is anxious and sad because he doesn’t have even one friend.

Our kids have a team, a literal team, of teachers and therapists because they can’t safely get through one school day without them.

I got a note from school that my child has broken another window.

There are only 5 foods my kids eat so every snack or meal is a battle of wills.

We don’t have any friends because someone is always screaming or yelling shocking words because they don’t understand how to be socially appropriate.

My kids are going to be afraid of the noise or overstimulated by that party, but thanks for inviting us.

Your happy neuro-typical family makes me want to throw something across the kitchen.

We are the weirdest people wherever we go.

Here’s my fake answer.

Oh, we’re keeping busy! Yup, doing well! Aren’t the kids big? (quickly pivot the conversation back to the other person) How are you!? (painfully pasted on smile)

The lie is exhausting and the truth is too much information.

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