Thursday, July 7, 2011

Breathe Deeply

One of the workshops I attended this year at a large autism conference was "Caring for the Caregiver."  It was an accepted fact that parents of autistic children are drained, much as any caregiver of any disabled or handicapped person is.  Such folks are in a role with high demands placed on them and are in need of encouragement and a respite.  But hear an NT spouse use the word 'disabled' in reference to her aspie husband and more often than not she gets attacked--not encouraged.

An aspie spouse is an aspie child who has grown up.  And just as an aspie's mother is his caregiver when he is young, an aspie's spouse is oftentimes in the role of caregiver in their marriage.  And she  (or he) gets drained.

But currently there are very few (if any) workshops given specific to her filling that particular role.  So it's important to allow yourself to call it what it is and seek the kind of support any other caregiver of a disabled person would need.

The most important thing I learned from the workshop was that I must BREATHE DEEPLY.  Literally.  The medical doctor giving the lecture taught the following:  "Fill your abdomen with a deep breath as you count to three.   Then let it out slowly as you count to six."  This really helps body and mind and soul to relax.

Remember the instructions given on an airplane in case of an emergency:

"Put on your own oxygen mask first." Only then can you properly care for those who need so much from you.

Sometimes life feels like One Big Emergency in an NT/AS relationship, doesn't it.


  1. I really needed to hear our difficulties acknowledged today - thank you. And it's so simple but breathing (properly) is such a good idea!

  2. I needed to feel a little acknowledgement as well! As I read this post, I wondered if perhaps, in 20 years or so, our caregiving role will be more understood and appreciated by society in general -- much like the role of parents/caregivers of the more obviously disabled is. Until then, what can we do but breath deeply and carry on? Thank you for this!