She sits at the window pondering if she is the only one. She has wondered for so long if there is anyone else out there that understands what is happening in her home. Are there others out there who are afraid of what the world holds for her child? What do the neighbors think every time the police pull up to their home? Can they hear the commotion going on in the house and see when it spills over onto the yard and sometimes into the street? What do they perceive as this child emerges crying, yelling, threatening? Are their heart strings pulled when they see her pacing, or are they secretly accusing her of not pursuing help, or worse yet, mumbling she just doesn’t discipline the child.
Are they too struggling with a child who cannot control their dysregulation or are they shaming her as they peer out the window behind closed blinds? Secretly thinking they are glad their child does not behave like that. There are even other family members who do not understand and have words to say.
What are they saying to each other over their texts, phone calls, and Facebook pages? Oh, maybe they are just not using her family’s name, but they say things that are harsh and hurtful sometimes even to her face. When she tries to explain, the response is never empathetic or even a feigned sign of care. It is harsh, judging, and condescending. She fights back the tears she knows she will cry for hours in the darkness of her room.
She has done her research on her child’s diagnosis, she knows more than she ever wanted to know and has asked question after question, but there are some questions that have no answer, there are some answers she does not want to hear, or cannot fully take in. Some days she wants to forget the issues exist, that most days life will be harder, and some days new diagnoses or difficulties will come, but most days she is overjoyed with even the smallest of accomplishments.
She is petrified to reach out to someone for dread of what they will think, say, or do. She has tried that before and has been met with how she should be doing things, what she is doing wrong, and on and on. All she needs is someone to crawl into the ugly, muddy cesspool she is in. She just wants someone to sit with her, to say nothing, to just be there. To let her cry, to regroup, and be ready for the next time.
One day she may venture out, become brave, and share her story. She is tired, weary, and unsure what life holds for her child, her family, herself. She does not have the energy to reach out, not now, maybe never.
So, if you are peeking from behind the curtain open your door and at least say, Hello, I see you. Give her some hope let her know you are there watching in the wings and she is not alone.
My name is Terri Clyde and I have been married for 41 years. I have 5 children ranging in ages 41-17. My youngest is biologically my grandson whom we adopted when he was 4 years old and who lives with FASD along with other diagnoses, which are all in some way related to the FASD. Currently I am on the NOFAS-NH board and the New Hampshire Family Network Grant Oversight Board with NAMI NH. I have a BS in Psychology which I obtained in 2016.
I currently live in Merrimack, NH where I have lived for the past 22 years. I am originally from Iowa where I was born and raised. I moved to NH after my husband left the military. I have been the parent/guardian volunteer facilitator and advocate for the parent support group, at the Early Childhood Adventures Program at the Adult Learning Center in Nashua, for the past 15 years. I have been the keynote speaker and presented workshops for NH Children’s Trust’s summits and was one of the first to receive their Unsung Hero award.
I worked in the medical field for over 30 years until adopting my grandson and being led on a new path. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, listening to music, playing cards, and spending time with my friends.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org