Thinking about words is a perpetual audio playing in the periphery of my mind.  Given recent life events, “indifferent” has become powerful and is the perfect expression as I try to understand Garrett.  It is my word of the summer.


[in-dif-er-uh nt, in-dif-ruh nt]

1. without interest or concern; not caring; apathetic: “His indifferent attitude toward the suffering of others.”
2. having no bias, prejudice, or preference; impartial; disinterested.
3. neither good nor bad in character or quality; average; routine: “an indifferent specimen.”
4. not particularly good, important, etc.; unremarkable; unnotable: “an indifferent success; an indifferent performance.”
5. of only moderate amount, extent, etc.
6. not making a difference, or mattering, one way or the other.
7. immaterial or unimportant.
Above is Garrett at the beach last week.  He does not look indifferent.  He is happy in the water, happy to be with his parents, happy in the beautiful day.  He is fine in his new home, does not ask to come back to our house, he accepts, as far as he can understand what and where he is.  Today is his first day in his new school.  This is the closest we have to a “first day of school” picture for this year, but it is from last week.
First ran into the use of this word with frequency when Garrett was evaluated by yet another psychiatrist.  To have a trainer come to the home to help us, the client has to have more than one diagnosis.  He has been diagnosed with Autism and OCD.  But this doctor came up with another which was spot-on.  GAD.  Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
We had no idea that GAD even existed, but when explained to us, man, did his habits become a lot clearer.  Garrett “spooks” or is overly surprised a lot.  He  stims all the time.  Frequent urination, morning nausea, muscle aches are also characteristic.  And he worries about anything and everything.  When an anger episode starts, it often is initiated by worry about death.
In the paperwork that accompanied the diagnosis, over and over again in the blanks following specific questions to him: “indifferent”.
rain man
Remember the movie “Rain Man”?  I see that last scene over and over in my head in thinking about Garrett.  The brothers discover each other, go on the road together, live together, experience good times and bad times.  The younger brother is very emotional, angry, a heightener of experience.  And at the end of the movie, Raymond is indifferent, unchanged by the last months.  On the bus, going away from that intense family experience, it is as if it had never happened.  He was in the moment and indifferent to what had happened.
I for one, see Garrett’s new life as small, routine, repetitive.  I see what he could have here were he not violent.  His own room, his computer, a swimming pool, the freedom to run.  Probably better food, but not sure about that.  Seconds, for sure.  Ice cream cones.   But Garrett is indifferent to these changes.  It is difficult to imagine.  It doesn’t matter one way or another.

4 thoughts on “INDIFFERENT

  1. Lee…When I was a senior Journalism student at Mizzou, I interviewed the director of the Judevine Center in St. Louis. It’s been 43 years and I don’t remember if it was a day care or residential facility for autistic children and adults. I do know it no longer exists. The comment she made that struck me is that these people are highly intelligent; their anger and violence comes from not being able to communicate. One patient had actually ripped the baseboards off his room at home with his bare hands. After treatment, he remembered everything he had done and all his therapists and relatives. Of course, everyone is not a success story, but I wouldn’t consider Garrett to be “indifferent.” He’s just in his own world, for now. ~ Liz

    • We are always hoping to break some kind of barrier, Liz. He has some skills that are amazing. He can “center” himself in the landscape like a gyroscope. I must say that some of the skills he once had he does not display anymore. Puberty changes things. About two or three years ago, Judevine changed its name, but not the services they provide. Glenn could never take much advantage because he lived so far from the city, and for a long time was a single parent. One thing this residence facility does do is play a bit with drugs to find which will let him operate the best, and wouldn’t it be great if some kind of veil was cast away?

  2. ah Dear Friend, I feel your opposite of indifference in trying to understand Garrett’s lack of longing for what you have given him. How deep a longing you have for a connection, a concern, an appreciation perhaps, that your family care is different than institutional care. Ouch. Ouch. You know that what you provided was fabulous. And, that his mind isn’t working in ways that let’s this in and to be expressed out. Maybe I’m reading more of your longing for the functioning that isn’t functioning. So so hard.Bighugs and more hugs, and more,love, m Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2015 15:56:58 +0000To: madelynmackay@hotmail.comFrom: comment-reply@wordpress.comSubject: [New post] INDIFFERENT

    leemalerich posted: “Thinking about words is a perpetual audio playing in the periphery of my mind. Given recent life events, “indifferent” has become powerful and is the perfect expression as I try to understand Garrett. It is my word of the summer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.