balancing actRead Now
It’s just another “typical” day in the Duell house. Yeah right! I’m still not settled from spending nearly three months in a hotel with my two sons due to flood damage to our home. Hotel life was sweet. I didn’t have to clean, make breakfast, or make dinner three days a week because the beautiful hotel had free food and free breakfast. I was pampered beyond my wildest dreams, and then reality set in once again.
I had to return home. I had to return home to endless stress, decisions, deadlines, schoolwork, housework, and errands.
I am two weeks behind in schoolwork and frankly unbothered by it. You would think that since I’m three classes away from earning my degree that I would be like flash lightning. I am not! I’m more like a slug. I do things at the absolute last minute, and my self-care is currently not to care. I am always on the back burner and I’ve learned through this whole process that some people only care about you when it benefits them. Once they have no collective interest in getting what they want or need from you, it’s bye, bye birdie.
I am drained. Something as simple as grocery shopping or getting a pedicure has become a chore. I don’t want to drive unless I absolutely have to.
I have been incognito and my phone has been so quiet I have to check it to make sure my ringer works. One by one, I’ve lost dear friends who are not dead for no good reason. I guess our friendship wasn’t that valuable or important to them. Life goes on. My circle is not even a half moon. I don’t know what it is. I have this innate ability to totally disconnect and it’s scary, yet amazing.
My body is weak and I’m barely able to eat or drink. Most days, I’m on a BRAT diet because my stomach is in knots. I’ve been to the ER three times, and still no relief. I have to find a specialist, and that’s just the beginning. I am extremely anemic, which is dangerous. My levels are so low, it’s a miracle that I’m alive.
I have spent days in parking lots and outside in my driveway, crying uncontrollably. Feeling frustrated, afraid, inadequate, lonely, like a burden, and trying to keep it all together. Smiling on the outside while screaming, “Help me!” on the inside.
Who takes care of the caregiver? The mother like me who’s trying to balance it all while fighting the good fight of faith? I can’t even begin to tell you how this is impacting my body physically and mentally. What were once solutions have become problematic due to a lack of support. I barely have “me” time anymore.
I am drowning trying to keep up with my son’s needs, my needs, and life’s needs. I am only one person, performing the tasks of many in an effort to be the “perfect” mother of a son with a disability. The guilt, the anger, the sadness, the wrestling back and forth with hard choices and emotions are overwhelming most days. I do my best to stay positive and reach out to the faithful few friends that I have, but truthfully, I still suffer in silence because I don’t want to dump all of that on them.
Despite all of that, I have found a glimmer of happiness along the way. I have found some positive outlets that are fun and uplifting to my spirit. I decided to take one day at a time, take better care of myself, and I learned that saying no is a wonderful thing. I don’t have all the answers and I never will. What I do know is that I will survive.
my child is specialRead Now
If anyone knows how difficult and tedious it is raising a special needs child, it’s ME! Couple that with being a single mother, and if left unchecked, these five unhealthy coping mechanisms that we as mothers or parents allow to manifest in our daily lives could destroy our families and us.
If you’ve done or are doing any of these five things, STOP!!
Aren’t you tired of being tired? How much more money are you going to spend? How many more yeses can you handle? If you say no, are you or your child going to die? Did you know that you are putting yourself at risk to be used and abused?
No amount of money, gifts, or material things can change the fact that you have a child or adult with special needs. The reality of not knowing what the future holds sends us into a tailspin. There’s a fine line between showing love and affection versus trying to make yourself look good on the outside while you’re screaming in pain, guilt and unforgiveness on the inside.
You can’t spend it away, buy it away, or yes it away, so STOP! Make peace with it and forgive yourself and your God, but don’t become the disabilities victim. I know you’re angry, salty, and if you admit it, downright pissed! Been there. Your children can tell that you love them and that you’d give your last breath for them. STOP!
The only time you should ever feel this destructive emotion is when you’ve either committed a crime or sinned. Either way, repentance is the order of the day. YOU are not to blame for why your child has a disability!
Guilt causes all kinds on unhealthy thoughts, feelings, and emotions, such as depression and suicide, both of which had a hold on me for a long time. I was in denial and selfish. Not once did I consider my children’s needs or feelings. It never occurred to me what they’d have to endure for the rest of their lives.
Even if it was your fault, what good does it do to know that? Is it going to make you better or bitter? Guilt will literally kill you. STOP!
If you’ve ever seen or been on a game show, something or someone is to blame for why some lose while others win. Such is life!
Proverbs says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” If you think you are to blame, you make it so. This empty and futile emotion will take you on a roller coaster ride to hell. Again, what solace is it going to bring you or your child with special needs by placing blame? It’s not going to magically erase your child’s disability or condition. STOP!
This should’ve probably been number one on the list. Anger is a human emotion that we were given so that we could discern injustice in any form. It is not intended for us to live in anger, work in it, raise a family in it or sleep beside it in marriage. Why? It is because we lose control of this unruly emotion when we can’t have our way, make sense of a matter, or when we feel or perceive we have been wronged or are in danger.
Having a child with special needs will anger you at times, because it’s not easy or convenient to have to do everything for someone else, every second of the day. Yes, you’re angry and feel slighted! You want to ask, “Why me?”
The anger comes from not being able to “fix” your child. Mothers kiss boo boos and make them better. These boo boos need all the love, patience and support that we can muster.
However, allow yourself to feel. Numbing never works because the numbing agent eventually wears off. Whether it’s sadness or anger, feel it, but don’t give place to it. When it shows up, rebuke it from your life and from your spirit before it destroys your inner and outer peace, joy and happiness. There’s nothing wrong with anger in and of itself. It’s what you do with it that makes all the difference. STOP!
Come out, come out, wherever you are! Some wounds only heal if they’re exposed. Someone out there wants to listen to your story or your testimony. Don’t hide in shame.
Shame says that you are not worthy of a thing. Shame says you are less than and not equal to. You and your child are a good and perfect gift. You are beautiful and you are loved! Never be ashamed of your child or for being his or her parent.
Shame is an underlying form of rejection. I almost let shame cost me both of my sons. I was ashamed to be a single mother and a parent of a child with special needs. I got tired of explaining in an almost commercial tone of voice my son’s Cerebral Palsy and all that jazz. I was tired of folks staring, and their children who hadn’t been taught we don’t all look the same. My son isn’t deformed. He’s just in a wheelchair with all of his limbs properly intact.
Shame is saying that I can’t be seen with you, you embarrass me, I’d rather you stay home, or nobody knows about you. Isn’t that a SHAME? How would you feel if it were you? Think about it. I know society says image is everything and you should look like this or wear that, but if you look at what’s walking up and down the streets nowadays, you should hold your head up high. Your child has just as much right to live and love as you do. Don’t let shame remain. STOP!
You are embarking on a magical journey filled with mystery and suspense. Trust that you will be led to your destiny. Use this as a stepping-stone to find the greatness already placed inside of you before your parents ever got together. You are not a victim. You are VICTORIOUS!
If anyone knows how difficult and tedious it is raising a special needs child, it’s ME!