Anger, Alone, Loneliness, and Sadness

Oct 12, 2011   //   by Shawna Figueira   //   Blog, Uncategorized  //  No Comments

 Growing up with a brother that has autism was (and sometimes still is) difficult, confusing, and definately frustrating. I was always taught that I shouldn’t be angry for the things that my brother does because he “can’t help it” or the he “doesn’t understand”. I was taught to suppress my negative feelings towards my brother, and that nothing was ever his fault. Now that I’m given the chance to express these feelings, to acceptably  express these emotions that I have felt since i have been small child, a wave of emotion comes over me. And honestly, I dont where to start.

     It’s difficult to remember your childhood, to go all the way back to the beginning when no one really knew how to cope, how to deal with Jared. But I do have some memories that stick out that give me negative emotions. I remember being angry and confused as to why my brother got to go to these “play dates” and I didn’t ( I now know them as occupational therapy sessions). I remember having to go to many doctor’s appointments with my mom and brother, ones at Bradley( absolutely HATED these appointments) and ones at hospitals and different clinic type settings ( speech and physical therapy). It made me angry that I had to go.

     Because of my brother I had to talk to many people. Adults asking me to draw pictures, asking me how I was feeling, why I thought Jared was the way he was. I was angry and upset that I had to go to these people, angry that my mother wouldn’t listen to me when I told her I disliked going. I was never really told what autism was a child but people asked me what my thoughts to it was. Everything in my childhood was autism-based. We had forty hours of ABA in my house a week. Something that I couldn’t participate in, but tried to alot. I was alone and angry that I couldn’t participate in fun activities as I saw it. I had to sit in my room or downstairs in the living room while he had lessons.

     I also remember feeling sad, but I don’t remember why I was sad. I never slept well as a kid and remember lying in bed at night for hours staring at the ceiling until i finally fell asleep. Embarrassment was a negative feeling that took me a long time to get over also. I was told that I should never be embarrassed of my brother, but inside I was. I was embarrassed in the way he acted out, his behaviors, how he would take a tantrum when we sang happy birthday and everyone clapped(he hated loud noises). It made me sad and still does to this day how limited things are/were for him and how limited he is/was. I always think to myself, what if Jared was born without autism? What would my family be like? What would I be life? I contemplate this sometimes and I’m sure the rest of my family does too. I know I have more feelings, but I feel like I was told so much as a child not to be angry at him, that I need to understand his disabillity and move on from it, that I can’t be sad; that I think I have repressed alot of my negative feelings towards him all because I wasn’t allowed to.

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