One par­ent’s story

The Saturday Paper - - Letters & Editorial -

I read this story with tears in my eyes (Lindy Alexan­der, “Cy­cles of af­flic­tion”, Novem­ber 3–9). My daugh­ter, now 28, is se­verely autis­tic. Her abil­ity to tell you if she feels sick, and where and how much it hurts, has only started to serve her well in the past few years. Can you imag­ine what she suf­fered ev­ery month since her first pe­riod at age 12? I was her res­i­den­tial par­ent for 12 years till she had to be placed in care at 16 years old. Her cycli­cal an­gry rages ex­hausted me. I tracked her moods and pe­ri­ods on cal­en­dar spread­sheets and is­sued fore­casts to her spe­cial de­vel­op­ment school teach­ers. We had a lot of vi­tal help: coun­cil care ladies to get her dressed for school and bathed on her re­turn home, a lady GP, a very knowl­edge­able lo­cal phar­ma­cist, and a very good pae­di­a­tri­cian and (later) an ex­cel­lent ado­les­cent gy­nae­col­ogy ser­vice. The lat­ter two put her on high-dose con­tin­u­ous con­tra­cep­tive hor­mones, a huge suc­cess. No more life-threat­en­ing anger cy­cles. In the light of Dr John Eden not­ing pre­men­strual dys­pho­ric dis­or­der some­times gets mis­la­belled as bipo­lar dis­or­der, I am now ask­ing my daugh­ter’s GP to look for per­sist­ing re­leas­ing-hor­mone cy­cling for her vague ups and downs of mood. One of my friends asked me if I was glad I be­came a fa­ther of a girl. I quipped: “It will be in­ter­est­ing – I was a lit­tle boy.” It cer­tainly was for those 12 years.

– Name and ad­dress with­held

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