The Bloody Washclothes

Autism?

There are two bloody washcloths in my bathroom right now. They are laying in a heap next to the shower. I should go in there and pick them up, clean up the stray drops of blood, and give everything a good wipe-down with some Lysol.

But, I can’t.

My stomach is turning just thinking about it and I start to tear up when I go near the bathroom. I am so scared and worried and sick right now. They are a symbol of the elephant in the room that I have been alternating between fighting and ignoring.

About an hour ago, Robert had one of his worst episodes ever. I took out the Christmas tree to make sure we had all the parts to it. (Of course we didn’t and there is one missing brace on the stand. Of course.) Robert got so excited. Too excited. He wanted to plug in the lights, start decorating, have Christmas NOW! He was incredibly frustrated by my constant redirection. He was furious that I told him we couldn’t start decorating yet because the tree needs all its parts. It was wobbly and not ready to put up for real. I knew he was boiling, but I hoped he would calm down. He seemed like he would for a while.

He didn’t.

A few minutes after everyone was put down to bed, Aili started screaming. She is a chronic over-reactor so, I didn’t make any fast tracks to her until she came tearing in the room, blood pouring down her face.

I ran her to the bathroom and spent about a half an hour trying to stop the bleeding. Her nose was a tiny, scarlet faucet. I called my husband, I called my mom. What do I do? I’ve never seen a bloody nose this severe! Eventually she calmed down and the bleeding stopped. I gave her a gentle bath to clean her off because she was covered in blood head to toe.

What happened?

She had a book that Robert wanted. He hit her in the face with a broom.

I really didn’t want to write that. It makes me so sad. He’s not a bad guy. He’s not a villain. He’s not a horrible child. But, he’s scaring me. He’s getting so violent when things don’t go his way or when he’s over-stimulated. Now he’s hurting people.

No one writes about these things. No one puts it all out there when they or someone in their family struggles with a mental or psychological problem. But, I can’t keep this to myself. It’s too much for just me and my husband.

This isn’t just acting out in public or being moody at home. This is getting dangerous.

We are getting help for Robert because this can’t continue. But right now, all we have are bloody washcloths.

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2 thoughts on “The Bloody Washclothes

  1. I’m sorry, Tina. This is so, so hard. You are right to seek help, and to understand that this isn’t “badness”, but something out of Robert’s control. You are a good mom and exactly the right person to help Robert learn to handle his frustrations.

  2. Tina,
    You are not alone.
    Robert’s siblings are not alone.
    It is ok to be upset, but never be afraid. Respect Robert as someone who does not quite understand his emotions or actions.
    I wish I could tell you it will get easier; it won’t. Instead, I will say that you will get stronger, in mind and heart. Your children will learn compassion, tolerance, and unconditional love from their brother.
    Reach out! Ask for help! Do not be afraid!
    Love,
    M. (older sister to an autistic individual)

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