My dear friend,
It was just after my children had returned to school after the long summer holidays. The weather was still decent and the house quiet, yet I had no motivation.
Summer with two children with autism had drained me. There just seemed to be nothing left of me to give. I sat on the couch with a cup of tea and logged onto social media. It was my escape.
All you did was start a chat.
“How are you?”
I was fine. Of course I was fine. I was just tired after seven weeks of non stop coping with my children day and night. I adore my children. They were now back at school and routine was re-established so why would I be anything else but contented, happy and relaxed.
We chatted briefly for a bit while I scrolled through pics of smart children in uniforms, smiling selfies and the usual other tweets and statuses. Today I was just not feeling it for some reason.
I was exhausted. I convinced myself that was it. It was the change from having a noisy, chaotic house for seven weeks to having silence. It was the lack of sleep that comes with having children with autism. It was the one too many meltdowns I had dealt with. It was the isolation of summer. It was the facing another school year of my son still not speaking. It was the thought of another term full of meetings, forms, homework, appointments and even more meetings. It was the anxiety of wondering how my children were coping with huge changes and the thought of how they would be when they came home and we had the brunt of all that stress. It was wondering how to reconnect with my husband who I had barely had a chance to speak to for seven weeks alone. A mix of everything; that was what was wrong today. Tomorrow I would be fine.
An hour or so later, and still sitting on that sofa, my doorbell rang.
Of course it was you.
“I’m worried about you.”
So we chatted face to face for a bit. I just needed a down day I told you. Let me catch up with some sleep and get my house in order and all will be fine. Maybe I just need to get my hair cut or something? Perhaps a bit of retail therapy would get my spark back?
“Perhaps you should go see your doctor?” You said.
Why would my doctor want to see me? Antibiotics or painkillers won’t help me. I don’t feel ‘ill’?
“You may be depressed?”
Who me? Really?
I called the doctor in the end, if nothing else just to get you off my back.
Thank you for pushing me. Thank you for caring enough to reach out to me. Thank you for noticing me struggling.
Yes, you were right, I was depressed. I never expected that. Maybe you did? Maybe you were able to see something I couldn’t?
I am not sure if you remember that day as much as I do? It was seven months ago now but it changed my life. The doctor gave me tablets and I am so much stronger, more motivated and happier now.
One day I may be well enough to come off them. For now the stress and strain of everyday life with two young children with autism means I need them. I am not ashamed of that. Why should I be?
I am just ashamed I never sought help sooner.
I will never forget you my friend. I have not seen you in person for a while now but you were there at the right time and I am grateful for that.
You taught me to look after myself. You also taught me that sometimes love and care means stepping out when you think someone is struggling.
I just want you to know that I am looking out for others now just as you looked out for me.
You taught me that sometimes others can have an insight that the person themselves can not see.
You taught me that friendship and social media can be a way to spot things in others and help them.
You were more than a virtual friend, you were there when I needed you.
Thank you again.
I really hope all is well with you and yours.
In gratitude forever,
One of your social media friends.