Sometimes it is hard to be open about what we have been experiencing. We fear others will think we’re crazy. We think we are the only one experiencing it so we don’t share. Maybe we don’t all experience the same things but I hope that by sharing, some of you may not feel so alone if you go through what I have been experiencing.
We all deal with periods of what I call the “funk” at some point and in our own way. Some might call it depression. Some call it grief or disappointment. The funk, as I experience it, is often exhaustion for long periods of sleep deprivation. Everything seems more difficult than it normally does.
It is probably not entirely connected to parenting a special needs child. It could be worse if our kids experience special needs in the same way that everyday things of life seem to feel more overwhelming. It does seem harder to pull yourself out of it because it is more difficult to do some of the things that would help (like time for yourself and extra sleep, etc.)
There are seasons of our lives when change seems to be unavoidable. Fortunately when Billy Ray goes through a period of change it is not usually the same time I do. This time we are both going a time of change. I have been dealing with seemingly overwhelming paperwork that has been let go during Billy Ray’s multiple health crises, still unpacking boxes from moving almost two years ago and facing some physical things of my own, mostly normal aging stuff.
Even things unrelated to our kids can seem more overwhelming than they might be. For example, my elderly parents have reached the point they can no longer take care of themselves. It has been difficult to accept the fact that we couldn’t bring them to live with our family. This is not entirely because of Billy Ray. Fortunately my brother has been able to move them to his home. He is bearing the brunt of the situation but it is still emotionally charged.
At the same time Billy Ray was hospitalized with pancreatitis, my father-in-law passed away (these events were less than two weeks before the publicity was to begin on Parenting Your Complex Child. My mother-in-law is incredible despite low vision. Larry goes to visit and raves about how well she is doing.
Billy Ray’s physical health is better than it has been in a while except for recurrent sinus, ear and skin infections. His surgery in September has made a major impact on his health. It does; however, complicate things because it has so strongly affected his appetite. He wants to eat but can’t eat as much as he used to so we do a lot of small meals. . It seems we are cooking a lot more and sometimes for the garbage disposal. On the other hand, he has more energy and wants to do things again. It is a good thing to regroup for him and generally uplifting. However, if you are going through other things in life it can be more overwhelming.
At some point we have to pull ourselves out of the funk. I know that I am ready to do something about it when I want to do certain things like curl my hair or clean house. While those things may not make the major changes in life that is needed, they energize me to do other things.
When exhausted or stressed it is hard to make yourself do even important things. Sandra Felton founder of Messies Anonymous and author of many books, suggests baby steps and using a timer. I use a timer for projects for me and for Billy Ray. It helps a lot because you can make yourself do something for 15 minutes at a time much easier than trying to deal with a total project at once.
The other things that help a lot are the Serenity Prayer and the lighthouse concept which I have written about here and here.
The funk seems to be on growth and regrouping in ways nothing else can. I hate the funk when it starts but it brings on valuable regrouping and growth.
Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan
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Websites: Parenting Your Complex Child and Lighthouse Parents
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