On the Autism Warpath

When her son received an autism diagnosis, actress Jenny McCarthy went into 'warrior mode' to save her child--and other kids.

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I called my therapist and said, "I haven't seen you in two-and-a-half years, and I need to know why I'm having anxiety attacks, like full-blown heart palpitations." And she said something that made me think, "Whoa." She said, "You still feel guilty for giving your son autism."

And that's where my guilt was coming from. I fell to the floor, because all along I kept going, "Oh, you know, it's these pediatricians, the government, the vaccines, blah, blah, blah." And really, underneath all of that anger, it's the little mom that went, "I feel responsible. I'm sorry, Evan." I felt guilty, and I had to let it out.

How do you come through moments of despair?

I give myself a break, because it's so overwhelming, so exhausting and trying, and no one gives you a pat on the back. I have to step away sometimes. I say, "I don't want to hear about the autism, diet, detox, therapy." Those are the times where I took a vacation with my girlfriends, or I just stopped for a little bit just because I had to recharge my battery and know that it was okay to not be supermom. And then I'd come back around and go, "Okay, Mom's back."


Would you give that advice to other parents, especially with kids with autism, to deal with the low moments?

Stepping Away from Autism
Yes. You need time to step away from autism, because your life becomes consumed with it. Especially if you can't afford babysitters, and no one knows how to watch your kid. Call on family. I owe my sisters so many favors because I didn't really have money then. When I got divorced I had to give [my ex-husband John Asher] everything.

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