You may recall that several months ago I solicited help for my friend Teal regarding issues she's been having with her live-in father-in-law Ernie, who may or may not be on the spectrum. Many of you offered your thoughts and insights, which were tremendously helpful to Teal. She recently sent me an update and asked that I pass it on to you. Here it is, in her own words:
You were kind enough to use your blog to get me suggestions about Ernie. I feel like I almost know your blog friends, and I feel that I owe them a debt of gratitude for staring me on the path to finding help. Please pass this along to them.
Here's what's gone on:
1. The blog friends gave me concrete ideas to consider.
2. The blog friends made me feel understood and supported.
3. The blog friends gave me the courage to look to a professional for help.
4. I am on medication to reduce my anxiety (and chest pain).
5. I see a therapist once a week for myself.
6. I go with my husband to the same therapist once a week for a couples session.
7. Our therapist has given us very concrete suggestions for solving specific problems.
8. The therapist helps us to get over the "not wanting to hurt each other" and get to the truths that need discussion and action.
9. We have taken several very big steps already including having Ernie stay upstairs and out of my hair. (My guilt over his being like a prisoner was overruled by the therapist who said it's HIS choice to stay up there. He could go out, he could get a hobby, he could make a friend...)
10. The other big step is that I no longer drive Ernie anywhere. My husband and Ernie had a talk and he realizes now that he is not my responsibility.
11. We are acutely aware of this being a work in progress. Ernie may have to move out eventually, but we will try the "least restrictive environment" kind of thing first.
I guess that's the update. I think it's important for the blog friends to know that THEY, and you, MOM-NOS, really started the ball rolling for me. I sincerely appreciate it all.