Please Don't Take It Personally!

We, as a couple, don’t get out much. 

In fact, I occasionally look for reasons to not get out; not that I avoid people or events but I consider the benefit versus the consequences and decide accordingly. If you know me, especially from a distance, you could even consider me a recluse, but be careful.

If by recluse (from the Latin recludere, which means "shut up" or "sequester") you mean someone in isolation who hides away from the attention of the public, a person who lives in solitude, i.e. seclusion from intercourse with the world, you are only partly right. Reclusiveness does not necessarily connote geographical isolation. A recluse may live in a crowded city, but infrequently leave the security of his or her HOME.

You see, I am not:

1) A celebrity seeking to escape the attentions of fans (that will never happen);
2) A misanthrope unable to tolerate human society (though I have my moments);
3) A survivalist practicing self-sufficiency;
4) A criminal hiding away from people to avoid detection by police (funny);
5) A loner (right, with an Indigo [more blue then red] personality – I don’t think so);
6) Hiding a physical deformity that repulses others;
7) A hermit or an anchorite hiding away for religious reasons;

However, I am a variation of a recluse who sequesters himself due to psychological reasons (I heard that!), such as:

1) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,
2) An avoidant personality disorder,
3) A phobia,
4) Or Autism Spectrum Disorder (BINGO!)

Trust me, this desire to keep sequestered in the “security” of my HOME has nothing to do with any person in particular, or any specific event for that matter. As I said before, I consider the benefit versus the consequences and decide accordingly. This is a life-skill learned through nearly fifteen years of hard fought campaigns on the AUTISM battlefield of nuclear meltdowns.  

Let me give you an example of our WEEKLY battle.
Ethan: Mom, after I go to bed and I wake up, how many more days of school is it?
Mom: Five more days.
Ethan: Uuuuuuuuughhhh! Mom, I think its too hard.
Mom: On Wednesday, its a half day. [this only occurs on the first Wednesday of the month]
Ethan: (Tiger Woods fist pump) YES!

The next day...
Ethan: Mom, after I go to bed and I wake up, how many more days of school it is?
Mom: Four days.
Ethan: Mom, I hate school.
Mom: Tomorrow is a half day.
Ethan: (Tiger Woods fist pump) YES!

Friday afternoon:
Ethan (as he gets off the bus): Mom, no school tomorrow?
Mom: Nope, no school tomorrow.
Ethan: (Tiger Woods fist pump) YES!

Saturday evening:

Mom: We need to go to bed, tomorrow is Church.
Ethan: Uuuuuuuuughhhh! Mom, I hate Church.
Mom: But you like Church.
Ethan: Mom, I think Church is too hard! I think I need to stay home cause I have the sniffles.
Mom: You don't have the sniffles.
Ethan: Mom I need to stay HOME and take care of Michael.
Mom: Michael's going to Church.
Ethan: Uuuuuuuuughhhh!
Mom: Maybe we can see how you feel after Sacrament meeting.
Ethan: Mom, I think Church is too hard...

Last summer we took a vacation to California to visit relatives. We had gone to Church with my Aunt and cousins. We had been at Church for a whopping 70 minutes. We had barely concluded Sacrament meeting when we could feel Ethan's anxiety bubbling to a melting point. This is most noticeable from the whining requests, physical agitation and tension seen and felt in his body. We had experienced this behavior before, and had ignored it in the past, nearly to our demise. But we had learned from our mistakes, and would not suffer the consternation of ignoring it again.

I excused myself and Ethan and I drove to the hotel. What should have been a pleasant Sunday drive of no more then 5 minutes, became a anxiety riddled E-ticket ride, that seemed to last forever.

Upon entering the hotel room, which had been our HOME for the past week, Ethan quickly changed clothes, and took a seat on the couch. In less time then it took to drive home, the anxiety had melted away, like morning frost on a spring meadow. For the next two hours he sat calmly, his legs crossed, watching cartoons. Nary a peep, a twitch, or an Uuuuuuuuughhhh!

So, Please Don’t Take It Personal! 

We have learned that HOME really is HEAVEN ON EARTH!

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