#Depression, #Autism Parenting and Turning 40 are not a good combination

Needless to say, that’s not going to work out and on top of that, I’m stressing out because the boys are excited about my birthday and won’t understand if we don’t do anything. I don’t want them to feel bad about anything, so I need to figure something out. Even if we just do something small.

As Thursday draws closer and closer, I’m feeling my Depression creeping up on me. I can feel myself beginning to struggle more and more, while I’m overtaken by a sense of dread.

For me personally, turning 40 has caused me to evaluate my life thus far and the direction it’s going in.

The truth is, I feel trapped but not in the sense you might be thinking. This isn’t about my family or not being happy with them because they’re my entire world. I feel trapped because no matter what I do, I cannot get us out of the hole we’re in.

I can’t get us financially stabized. I can’t get us out of this house and into a safe neighborhood where the boys can play outside. I can’t get us into a new car that isn’t bleeding us dry and requiring the boys to barely fit. There’s a laundry list a mile long of things I haven’t been able to do and it’s weighing incredibly heavy on me.

Before you say that I’m too hard on myself and I should focus on the positives, I’m really trying to right now.


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    • Becky Wiren on August 20, 2018 at 7:47 pm
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    I’m sorry you’re struggling to not be depressed. Honestly, I would love to go back and be 40 with what I know. Why wasn’t medical knowledge better developed then? I’m nearing 60 but not sure if it will be depressing yet. I do hope the very best for you though, Rob!

    1. You’re comment made me realize something. Everything is relative. At 40, I wish I was turning 30. We spend so much time chasing our youth, we sometimes forget to live. 🙂

    • Cindy Jones on August 20, 2018 at 1:15 pm
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    You say you’re stressing out because the boys are excited and won’t understand if you don’t do anything and you don’t want them to feel bad. How about letting them be involved. Maybe Lizze and the boys could bake you a cake. The boys could make you homemade cards as those are always the best! Have a cheap fun typical kids birthday meal like hot dogs and KD or homemade pizzas and everyone puts on their own toppings or something that the boys really enjoy. Watch a family favorite movie. I don’t think they’ll feel bad that you all don’t go out for a lavish dinner. You can have a great celebration at home that doesn’t cost a ton of $$

    1. All great ideas. Thank you Cindy.

  1. 40 was hard. 50?…. I’d prefer not to discuss it thank you. I’m older than Big Bird, MTV and over recently learned a few other things I thought had been around longer. Happy birthday. You will be an autism dad, or a dad of any kind, most of your life unless you die young. Embrace it.

    1. Maria,

      I’m really trying to do just that. I think it’s less about the age and more about where I am in life at this age.

    • Curtis G on August 20, 2018 at 11:08 am
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    I’m 68 and have a 35 year old son on the autism spectrum. Also retired from working with an agency as a resident counselor in a group home for young adults and adults with mental problems and mental disabilities. Trust me, right now reaching 40 seems like an undesirable age but very soon you will grow past that and not give it a thought. I went through that at 40 and at 68 now I’ve also wished I could go back to being 40 with what I know and have experienced with our son. It’s kind of a phase a lot of people go through. First it’s 30 and then it’s reaching 40. 40 is kind of like having to fit into a new mental skin. Very soon, it just becomes who you are in age. But for parents who find themselves in this life of autism that now has become our entire world, the thoughts of our mortality, what’s going to happen to our children when we are no longer here, added to the non stop daily stresses that come with being in an autism family make reaching 40 a possible depressing time. But those feelings of aging to 40 will become absorbed by you because that feeling is a temporary halt and then you realize that you still have a job to do and you move on from there. I’ve read your blog for a couple of years now and felt your pain and the pain of every parent who looks after an autistic child. People not in this situation have no idea of how overwhelming it can be to spend what time you have on this earth, putting yourself last, pushing aside your own personal goals and aspirations in order to devote your entire life to your children who are born into the world of autism. A lot of people look only to the child with the autism and never consider the life long effects it has on the family care givers who take on such a Herculean task simply and totally out of love for their children. You hang in there because that’s all we can do. And don’t worry about reaching 40. I went through the same thing but realized that whether I was 40, 50, 60, I still had to always, to the best of my ability, step up to the plate and keep forging ahead, no matter how difficult, how exhausting, how overwhelming, how many tears…I had to be dad and keep pushing forward to handle whatever was thrown at us. You are a great father, husband and human being and sometimes it takes someone standing to the side, whose been in the same arena to see the great things, whether small or large, that you and your wife have done for your boys. You’re a really good man and I am hoping for something to turn about for you and your family to at least alleviate some of the immediate problems your family is going through.

    1. Curtis,

      Thank you so much. I’m actually fighting back tears right now because I can totally relate everything you’re saying. Facing my mortality is very difficult for me and I think that’s what I’m struggling with. When we have so many responsibilities and kids with Autism, it’s a truly terrifying notion.

  2. I turned 40 this year too. I have an almost 14 year old and an 11 year old that both have ASD. 40 is honestly no different to 39. Just take each day as it comes and look after yourself too x

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