Recently I thought an acquaintance was going to take her own life. She had written a series of increasingly alarming Facebook posts, culminating with one where she says she feels bad for telling her mom she wanted to die.
I tried to several different ways to reach her and finally she called me. She explained she was so lonely she could hardly stand it. Even now, I’m holding back tears thinking of her voice as she was going through the things she had tried to find friends.
Loneliness can literally be deadly, and it happens right under our nose.
This week, I ran into a coworker who has an autistic son. I told her about my son and she shared a lot of information and tips. After a long conversation, she told me to reach out to her any time. And she said to join the autism community at-large in my area.
Parenthood can be isolating and much more so if your kid is differently wired. I had not realized how lonely I have been. Not generally, I have a huge family and my two young sons. But maybe I am autism-lonely.
Connecting with my acquaintance and then with my coworker reminded me that no man, no woman, and certainly no parent is an island. I’m not sad about autism; it is what it is. But I am struggling with my own how: how do I create an autism community for my son? And I do not have an answer.
If you’re an autism parent reading this, how did you find your local autism community?