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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

My Little Cricket’s Delay: LA FEAT Meeting: Parental Challenges and How They Affect Their Children’s Progress

Yesterday I went to my second LA FEAT Meeting. It was a bit of a hot mess. I arrived on time and before long a whole group of women had gathered. Sadly we were locked out of the building. Not to be thwarted the board member of LA FEAT who was managing the meeting found us a location at a local restaurant. Not ideal but at least the meeting continued.

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Crammed in to a restaurant table we managed to have our meeting. I was blessed to sit next to the good doctor so at least I could hear well. The topic today consisted of parent challenges. I am only 3 months into this journey or raising an autistic child and I can already feel the extra workload pulling my already exhausted self-lower. I was doing ok as a mom of one, I was struggling with two young children, and now with two young children and the added work of caring, learning and organizing a team of highly qualified therapists for my son I feel like I multiplied my workload and stress by 1000.

The psychologist talked about two major points. The first is the handicaps a parent with a special needs child may face. If you have ADHD, Depression or Anxiety then getting professional help, therapy and or medication is so important. She went into detail about each disorder and how going untreated would affect every single aspect of your life, especially your ability to help your autistic child.

The second point in her presentation is the importance of keeping yourself happy and healthy. Of keeping your marriage happy and healthy (80% of special needs children marriages end in divorce). And of making sure to keep the family as a whole happy and healthy. Extra time and attention needs to be given for the treatment of a young child with autism for sure, but the goal is not to lose sight of everything else in the process. Hearing the message, it totally makes sense. But I couldn’t help but feel like that there are already not enough hours in the day. There are already way too many things I have to do. There are already a million and seven things on my to-do list that aren’t getting done. And of course the things I want to do for myself. The things that I love. The things that keep me happy and fulfilled always end up on the chopping block first.

I understand the theory of her words. And I am going to try harder to make sure I carve out at least a little time for myself but it is difficult to do. It was difficult before, and it will be even more difficult now. But I believe there is a balance here. A balance that may just be my lifelong struggle to find.

I have been debating for months about going back to therapy. I don’t want my depression to drown me. So far I have been able to keep it at bay. I have been doing well at juggling the balls in the air and not letting them drop, But I don’t want to become a person that I no longer recognize. I want to do the best for my son, the best for my marriage and the best for me. I took this talk as the catalyst to move into a better place.

After the meeting was over I spent time speaking with the psychologist. I asked if she would help me find a therapist in my area that I could go to that would help with depression and eating disorders (because the eating problems have come back with a horrible force). She is going to contact me in a week or two with a list of people and I am going to try to squeeze an hour of therapy in our already overflowing schedule.

Help me god. I pray for patience, I pray for happiness and more than anything I pray for balance.

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