As parents your days are spent caring for everyone else; making sure everyone else’s needs are met. As a parent of a child with special needs, research has reported that at times the stress experienced rivals that of veterans who have spent time in a combat zone. The stress you experience on a daily basis is very real and despite the stress, your responsibilities do not bend and so you must continue to do all the tasks; childcare, work, therapies, housework, maintain a relationship with your partner, eat, sleep, and even bathe. All of these may feel like chores at times and overwhelming, even bathing! So, if you’ve felt this way, you are not alone.
The thing about stress is that we often withdraw when we experience a lot of it. We often turn inward and avoid other people. This also happens frequently when a child is diagnosed with a mental health disorder or even a chronic medical condition. Families withdraw into themselves because of all of the appointments and perhaps the the different needs of their child which makes it difficult to go many places. This separation, which initially is meant as self-protection against the outside world, the world that doesn’t understand, can end up feeling isolating and lonely.
Creating a space where parents, specifically parents of children with mental health disorders or chronic illnesses can come together and gain support is imperative to a parent’s health and therefore the entire family’s health. There’s a quote I read on Pinterest, “You cannot serve from an empty vessel”. You are called to serve others daily, sometimes all day every day. If you’re feeling like you’re running on empty, or notice yourself hitting “ignore” when people call, or can’t remember the last time you talked about your needs not those of another family member; we want to see you. We want to listen. We want to help you fill your cup and find some ways to add more self-care in your daily routine. We have some ideas and would love to combine them with yours to come up with a plan that is realistic for you and will be a step towards greater balance.