The Perfect Family

it was all I ever wanted and prayed for my whole life. My parents had four children in less than five years. I am the oldest with three younger brothers. The brother born after me is autistic. We were all 70’s babies, back in the days when autism was still rare. My parents are polar opposites and not in the magnetic attraction way. My dad was a cruel man when he took any interest in us at all. My mom was strong. Not at all the refrigerator mom she was accused of being. Sometimes I think she blamed herself too. 

My autistic brother, Matt, was nonverbal for a long time and very violent. Some of his daily activities at his worst included repeatedly banging his head against the wall (mom put a helmet on him), punching, kicking, biting, scratching, and pulling my hair, throwing things, running away from home, and breaking my things. He gave my mom a black eye and bloody lip. She cried a lot on that day.   A majority of my childhood consisted of being physically abused by my brother  and verbally abused by my father. I took on the role of parent to my brothers before I was a teen because I was the responsible first born and my mom needed help, a fixer. 

By the time I was in my late teens, I was on the highest possible doses of antidepressants with no relief. Prozac, anafranil, buspar, zoloft, Paxil, and lithium To name a few. I was never allowed to fight back when my brother hurt me because I knew better and he didn’t. I stopped feeling everything. Gradually the feelings came back, feelings of rage, depression, and anxiety. Please, please parents of the disabled I beg you not to use your firstborn as a crutch. I lost my childhood and I can’t get that back. Some days the anxiety was so bad, that I would pray for the relief of depression. Exercise has helped me exorcise my demons. I am not talking about yoga people, I mean hard core marathon training hours of exercise. 

I spent my childhood praying for the perfect family, now I have it. A wonderful husband that is nothing like my dad.  And in less than five years, I had three children none with autism. 

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