Autism Awareness: From Burnout to Baseball

Look. If you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted. One moment, Would you capture it or just let it slip?  “Lose Yourself” -Eminem

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This month is Autism Awareness Month, and for me I like to laugh at that. I am very AWARE of Autism. I can’t understand how in this day in age how anyone can’t be aware of Autism. It is everywhere. The Current stat is 1 in 68 and in boys its 1 in 45.

Last June, I had a nervous breakdown. What is called today as “Burnout”  It came on the heals of a very hard year where it was discovered that my second son Ian was diagnosed with Autism level 2. I had been dealing with my older son Ben’s diagnosis and getting him all the help he needed it never even occurred to me that something would be wrong with Ian. I felt like the worse mother in the world. How could I have missed this? Me?!

I was super involved in the Autism world. Reading anything I could get my hands on about Autism and attending conferences.I was an active member of a Autism mom support group.  I was even doing advance parent training with an Applied Behavior Analyst so I could basically be my son’s full time therapist.  When in April we were told the news that  Ian had autism. I thought OK I can handle this I know what to do. Come June I would start to unravel.

I remember when it happened. I am at the pharmacy where they know me and my kids by first name. My children are on six different medications. I should tell you this is not a mom and pop pharmacy but a big chain one. I am there so often they KNOW me. I was going to have to wait 15 minutes for them to finish the order. I saw a friend in passing and said Hi. I sat on a bench and when the friend was out of sight. I burst out into tears right there in the store. I came home wrapped myself in a blanket and cried for three days straight. I couldn’t do not do it again!  How was I going to help Ian? I am drowning in Autism already. There is no more I can give.

My moms support group had a therapist that they used for their group therapy and I called her. I went into therapy. She helped me get rid of my guilt for Ian. She showed me that a life of only autism was no life. I needed to rediscover myself. I went out and got some new friends, I rediscover my love of writing and started (and still working on) a novel. I went back to the love my life. Baseball.

Through the power of social media I was able to connect to baseball in a way I could not have imaged. I found Gabe Kapler and his health and fitness blog. http://kaplifestyle.com/  The advice got me healthy, I went from being sick every month to I don’t know when the last time I was sick now. I have lost count of my healthy months. His blog is my inspiration for this blog. I just saw it and said to myself “That what I want to do. Write about what I care about and tell my story.”

Social media also helped me connect with other former and current ballplayers. When I wrote about how I was too chicken to get Dean Palmer’s Autograph. https://missbaseball.net/2015/01/15/tbt-dean-palmer/

I then shared the story with him via Twitter and his wonderful reaction to my request.

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Well that was it for me. I knew right then and there that I want to be a sports writer. I want to interview ballplayers and go on television. I had a purpose in life. I am me again. I am Miss Baseball.

Now I would love to tell you that everything in my life is just wonderful but” Let’s snap back to reality.” ( that’s for you Kap) I had a set back in December when I decided I could dance like Janet Jackson at a party and tore up my knee.

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Because I was active and healthy I was treated like an athlete and after 8 weeks of intense physical therapy I am back. My first son Ben has had some issues with sleep and seizures and we are dealing with that now.

A new plus. My boys love baseball. We watch it on television. They are big Ranger fans. My boys want to play baseball. I am hoping next year I can put them in a special league and they can really play. Ben is left handed and I think I could make a pitcher out of him. Ian is my tough guy, he’s got a lot of muscle on a little body he’s going to be my big bat.

If there is one thing I have learned is Don’t stop being yourself. Autism is in my life but it shouldn’t be all of my life. My children need to see me, living my life.

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