Most people see me as a strong, confident and independant person who is highly passionate about her children. This is all just a mask of the real me. Most people wouldnt have a clue who I really am. Having children with "issues" has changed me considerably over the years, some things for the better, most for the worst, one of the not so good ones is that I regularly have highs and lows, ups and downs, depression and sometimes I just struggle to cope. I find it difficult to relax, I battle with anxiety and quite often feel alone in my struggle and very overwelmed with what life has dealt. Sometimes it feels like if I stop fighting for my kids for just one moment, the wheels will fall off. All this has led to me becoming a very insecure person, a far cry from the strong person I once was.
It hasn't been an easy road for our family and yes those closest to me, especially my husband, have born the brunt of my anxiety and depression. I always felt guilty - why couldnt I cope, its not that bad, there are people worse off than me, pull yourself together, get on with life etc, but I never seemed to be able to. I thought it was just me and my personality, however I have just read a booklet on Chronic Sorrow that parents of children with disabilies experience.
It came with mixed feelings. On one hand it was quite relieving to know that I'm not alone in alot of the feelings I have and the other hand great sadness for everything I've lost because I haven't acknowledged or dealt with these feelings for all these years..
The opening 2 paragraphs of the introductions says:
"Many parents who have a child with a disability find themselves constantly doing a series of juggling acts. There is the organisational juggle of managing life with work and family demands and a range of health and education professionals to deal with. There is often a financial juggle if one parent is unable to work or if there are expensive therapies or travel to pay for and there is the emotional struggle of loving their disabled child, but wishing things were different, trying to be positive and hopeful for their future, but feeling sad, angry and worried about it all at the same time, trying to accept their child as he is and at the same time hoping things will improve.
Parents often find this juggling very difficult. It is complicated and exhausting. Some parents are reluctant to focus on their feelings of sadness, anger or guilt. They feel that staying positive is their best strategy and that acknowledging their difficult feelings will drag them down."
Now if you have a child with a disability you will instantly relate to this, as I did. I cried and cried finally realising I was not alone with the battles going on in my mind.
God bless every single parent raising a child with a disability..........
More on chronic sorrow will follow.....