It is not all doom and gloom and misery in our house. We have our moments when even living with autism doesn't have to be so painful. These times are not so frequent, but when you spend so much of your life on a knife-edge, not knowing when the next scream will erupt, and feeling mentally exhausted as a result of trying to manipulate situations in order to avoid explosions, well, they stand out a bit more.
For example, I get a great feeling of pride when I think that my daughter is coping at all with this. She will sometimes decide to go off to town (about 5 miles away) to "buy a new bag". She will plan this of course. She would normally plan to leave early on the Saturday. She has a pass that allows her to travel on the buses for free. She is very good with buses, at least the routes she knows. She will know which bus to get on and is comfortable travelling on it.
So for a "bag mission" she would travel to town by herself, carry out her mission, coming back soon after (why stick around?). It would take about an hour and a half all in. She has bought several bags. On coming back she would normally not show us what she has bought, but Amy likes to know, and so asks her. Reluctantly Lucy would present her carrier bag (actually dumping it on the floor). We typically find various sweet wrappers, drink bottles (fruit juice and what-not) and maybe liquid soap (she often buys liquid soap), and of course the handbag. It is sweet, because it makes us think that Lucy is sort of trying to be a woman (women have handbags) but at the same time not wanting to be this (so it will be a big thing, good for carrying lots of "stuff"). Whilst we look we can't ask any questions, or if we do it will be simply "yes/ no" answers, followed soon after with "stop asking me, I don't know, ok!" at which point we need to shut up or things will escalate.
She bought a new bag the other day, and what delighted me was to see her going to school on the Monday morning carrying it on her shoulder. For all those reasons of social isolation, inability to conform and understand society and the underlying fact that my daughter Lucy is now a woman, I feel love and pride when I see this. It is a sign that inside all the confusion, fear, reclusivity, depression and loneliness, there is the germ of a normal woman trying to express herself. I know, I shouldn't read too much into it. However, amid all that anger and sadness, there really is a person who wants to be just like everyone else.