The emotional impact of 24 hours with Gavin

Gavin’s been home about 24 hours already.  He’s actually doing pretty well and we haven’t had any direct problems with him. 

That doesn’t mean we aren’t having problems though. 

Sometimes, the emotional impact of something can be just as significant and disrupting as a physical one. 

This is certainly the case right now. 



I love Gavin and when he’s not home, I worry about him and wish that I could bring him home once again.  However, it’s clear to me, at least at this point that it’s best that things are the way they are. 

When Gavin’s home, even when he’s perfectly well behaved, there is a cloud of tension and anxiety that falls over everyone in the entire house. 

I don’t know how else to describe it.

If you are a parent, sibling or friend to someone with reactive attachment disorder, this probably makes sense to you. 

It’s not meant to be a put down on Gavin at all.  Unfortunately, it’s just the reality.  While he’s home, everyone’s on edge.  Everyone’s nervous for what he might do.  No one treats him any different or avoids him.  In fact, the boys are thrilled that he’s home and just want to play with him. 

I like the visit as well. 

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However, none of this makes the visit any easier or the emotional fallout any less. 

When you’ve lived with a child with RAD, you know that you can never let your guard down, no matter how pleasant they may be at that moment.  What they are capable of is forever etched into your mind and you know that at any moment, things could go very badly, very quickly. 

Read This  The day is not starting out good

It’s honestly a very conflicting experience, especially emotionally. 

I can see it in the boys already.  They’re overstimulation shows through and their ability to cope with things is affected. 

For the next few days, they will remain on edge as they slowly come down from all the excitement, anxiety and stress of having their big brother home for a day. 

As much as I wish things were different, they are what they are. 

All we can do at this point is make the best of what’s going on and do what we can to focus on as much positive as possible. 


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  • Kate says:

    This must be such a difficult situation to be in. I follow your story, frustrated/horrified/excited and in awe of all that you do. You are already living with unimaginable struggles with autism, combined with unimaginable struggles with health issues (any one member of your family alone), unimaginable financial struggles, and impossible decisions, and I must say that you have an unimaginable inner drive to be able to handle it all. Do you handle it all perfectly, all the time? Probably not. But do you handle it as best you can with the best of intentions every time? Absolutely. When I have children one day, even if they are all neurotypical, I could never live up to the standards you do for your children, but I would do my best to use your example and try. None of us can imagine what you go through, so don’t let internet trolls bring you down. We’re just glad you’ve brought us into your life and let us see. I know that I have had my eyes opened. Hopefully others have too.
    Good luck out there.

  • jtpaquette says:

    I’m so sorry that you have to go through all of that. I definitely think that emotional problems are so much harder than physical ones to deal with!