Autism and Marriage: The Wife Chronicles (Part 2: Motivation)
Moans, Groans, and Grumbles...
Being a single mom was not really new to me, before I married my husband. And during that time in which I was, I think I definitely learned a few tricks here and there. Especially the lovely art of multi-tasking. But wow, has that come in handy...
I spent a week in September 2015 being pregnant and sick with "stomach flu" so bad that it was an E.R. visit on the first day I caught it. I figured it came from my son, and his friends at school. I couldn't stop vomiting and it led to horrible dehydration. Amazingly, as I got up in the middle of the night, Seth couldn't be bothered with. About five feet away from him, sat his pregnant wife, throwing up non-stop. And he snored away.
It was then that I thought to myself, between bucket hugging wretches, that I realized motivation just seems to be a problem with him. He stirred in his sleep, but wasn't motivated to get up, and help me out.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to make him out to be a bad guy, but he seriously couldn't be bothered with. He snored away, when I would finish my vomit sessions. I needed help, and I couldn't talk. It was like being paralyzed in a vomit producing swirl. So, I waited... He was just... So self-absorbed, happily asleep.
Morning eventually came, and he awoke. He realized what he had slept through, and that I couldn't get my son dressed and ready for school. And for some odd reason, he didn't prepare my son for school either. Knowing my "super-mom" skills, hell or high water, I would have gotten my son to school.
In the E.R. I was led to a room, given an IV and 2 bags of saline fluid, then sent home. Eventually, as it came to be discovered as of October 2015, I've preeclampsia, possibly HELLP Syndrome. And that is where I've been stuck at in my life, for a few weeks...
As the Leaves in a Tree Change Colors, So Does Life...
As I rested on the couch, time after time in bed rest mode, I've taken time to get my husband some help on managing Aspergers. Which, I will explain in a moment...
I've also been trying to figure out our household, and getting this house on track. No one wants to clean. I've been quite frustrated, feeling stuck on bed rest. Seth has been very self-absorbed and has been needing help managing his life. I figured that it was time to make a plan, step by step. And "Step One" was to get him a job.
Upon searching what kind of jobs would be best for someone with Aspergers, I've come across a couple, not a lot, bits of information about how it can be common for someone with Aspergers Syndrome to often be unemployed. And I can see that with Seth.
As I sat there thinking about this, I began to wonder why, and just dismissed it as being that no one has tolerance, the patience, for a person with Aspergers. How could it not be the most logical reason? After all, I was dealing with Seth being unemployed for almost a year, after being fired from a big name hardware store, just because they couldn't tolerate him and how he functioned.
(Maybe cue right here, the hazy, fuzzy t.v. screen moments where they enter a flashback of a memory...)
Sadly, Seth was dealing with discrimination while working there. And he deals with that a lot. People just don't seem to understand Aspergers, and just don't seem to have the patience with him. At that job, he was given warnings a lot, and written up a few times, for the most stupidest things. And that being mostly for him not being able to modulate his voice, or his eagerness over his job (which led to him talking a customers ear off now and then) and not knowing how or when to end a conversation, often landing him in trouble. Not because it would upset a customer from time to time, but because it would irk the manager, who would claim ALL of the customers were getting angry with Seth.
The only way we realized that it wasn't "ALL" of the customers is because when Seth and I would walk in to the store, when he wasn't working, just being there for paint or whatever we needed, customers wanted his help while he was off-duty, and they preferred him over whomever was working. All in all, maybe he was too good at his job.
But for sure, we know it was discrimination over him having Aspergers. It was always a warning or some problem, over how he functioned. Seth is coping, and finally found a new job with an understanding manager. It's a lot better than his last job. Besides, orange aprons never looked good on him anyways.
Okay, cut the flashback, and back to where we were...
Well, to explain, as much as it may sound a bit strange, but I've really become my husband's secretary. I've been making sure that he has the correct date, and time, for appointments and anything that is needing scheduling. After a couple errors in scheduling, wrong days and wrong times, I've come in to the habit of making sure everything is correct. Some of my spare time is spent at a make-shift computer desk, with a laptop, job hunting and making sure dates and times are correct. He has felt like he hasn't been able to do anything right, so I've begun the habit of helping make sure that everything he does, is right.
After making a list of places I have applied my husband to, places I made sure he has called to check on his application, after marking the dates and times for interviews, and any sort of action that felt needed to be taken, he finally had a job offer, which he accepted. And it was an interesting offer, as well...
Seth has an attachment to hats. I assume it's because it easily covers his eyes when need be, so he doesn't have to make eye contact with people. And on his hat is usually pins, be it for supporting Israel (he has family there, and is Jewish) or be it pins for the place he works at. Interesting enough, he is well known in our area as "the guy with the top hat". No one else is brave enough to wear hats other than baseball caps, fedoras, or those tweed hats, in our area.
And his love for hats of the different, usual types, has gotten him a job.
His current manager recognized him from his past job, as "the guy with the top hat". He told Seth that he was going to offer him a job, as he liked Seth's work ethic and his personality, but didn't proceed to do so, as Seth seemed dedicated to his job of the time. Upon seeing the unemployment situation that Seth was in, he offered a job to him and above minimum wage, too. He jumped at hiring Seth, and felt he was well beyond worth hiring.
On To The Next Steps!
As Seth now has a job, I have been trying to help him find Aspergers groups, like support groups, so he can relate stories, get support, and discover himself some more. This has been our next step that we are making our way up to.
Ever since he was a child, he has been through testing, evaluations, only to be diagnosed wrongly as having ADHD. Of course, back in the 1980's, autism and the whole concept of Aspergers, was just being discovered. So as time passed and evaluations came and went, Seth and his family just went along with it. And for 30 years after that, he just stuck with the idea and refused to change, even though he began to realize maybe the diagnosis wasn't correct. Eventually he got to where he is now, trying to figure out life with Aspergers, with little, and slow motivation. He also has been changing his life around so as to function more "normally"; to function with as little problems as possible, seeing he just has had more than enough problems for one lifetime.
Although, as these groups are new to Seth, he is going to have to do without me. He's quite nervous, but is willing to take the chance.
I've been a sort of "comfort blanket" for him, for quite some time now. When he is upset, I tell him to breathe, take deep breaths, think of happy thoughts... When he becomes overwhelmed, which happens quite easily, I tell him to take a moment in another room, enjoy the silence, take a breath, count to ten, or do what he needs to to wind back down again. And through doing this, being by his side, making sure that he reminds himself that everything is okay, and to just breathe, touching his arm or giving him a hug... It's very comforting. Reassuring. And that is what I am... Reassuring.
Believe it or not, but October 2015 has been crazy for us. I admit, it has taken me a whole month to write this. There are so many changes going on, and so many more moments where he is overwhelmed, and has slumped right back in to his slow-going motivation. When new changes occur, with it comes him withdrawing back, and becoming overwhelmed. And now that I near the end of my 2nd trimester in pregnancy, he is panicking more. Which is understandable. We have been trying to find resources about grown adults with Aspergers, becoming parents. And of course, it leads us to parents with children who have Aspergers. Which just means... We're one of those in the new grounds, and the new discoveries, of one parent with Aspergers and one without. I have faith we will make it, and that everything will be okay. But it's looking like preparing for a baby is definitely in the steps soon to come for us.
As for now... We're going to continue the next step with the support group. It's much easier than him having a difficult, overwhelming time, trying to read what I've found for him online. (The internet does get overwhelming and bothersome for him.)
And after that? My son's birthday, Hanukkah (Seth is Jewish.), Christmas (I'm not Jewish.), and a literal meaning to the upcoming New Year for us. So much more planning for me to do...
I'm going to really need a lot of patience, and recovery, from being the reassuring, comfort blanket of a secretary. It really does take a lot to be with someone who has Aspergers. And as much as it can be a pain in the ass sometimes, it's worth it.