special needs parenting · Uncategorized

The Summer of the Introvert 

Despite some bumps at the start (and bumps are our status quo), summer might just be going okay. Ben is in a good place with autism meltdowns on hiatus, and we’re getting a bit of routine going, and even some homework

So by all external measures, we’re succeeding at least moderately, so why do I feel like I’m suffocating?

It’s a condition I call “introvertitis”. 

After almost two weeks of sickness, 8 days of which was spent in introvert hell (aka the hospital), and the constant companionship of my offspring, my breathing is shallow, my fuse is short, and my amygdala is on high alert. 

I am an introvert.  As an introvert, time alone is essential, it is my air, my water. It’s not that my children bother me, or that I dislike them, it’s that in order to give of myself in the way they need, I need breaks. Long breaks, frequent breaks, whichever, I need them. The longer I go without quiet, undirected, alone time the tighter my chest gets. 

The only way to set things aright is alone time, very preferably in my home and uninterrupted, although runs do help. 

It helps to know what this is and what causes it, to have a name for it. Before I stumbled across introversion resources I had no language or understanding for this and wondered if I was disturbed or somehow a bad parent because of the tension that arises when I lack quiet. Now at least I know, and in a pinch I can settle for a half hour of garden time here and an hour or two to run when I can. 

But I am here to tell you that there’s nothing better than the arrival of the buses in September and the first full week of school during which I fill my introvert alone time cup to the brim, and self regulation becomes a part of my life again. 

So often I hear how quickly time passes and to enjoy these days while they’re here, and believe me, with Hannah entering her Senior year in high school I get that, but in my reality, sometimes these days are taxing, and adding guilt to the mix only makes the burden heavier.  I know I will miss them some, but that doesn’t change the suffocating feeling I have today.  So I will be gentle with myself, recognizing that the coin has two sides, both of which are very real, and work toward balance when I can. 

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