Wednesday 17 October 2012

Feeling Overwhelmed

All parents feel overwhelmed sometimes.  It comes with the territory.  Phenomenal responsibility ... no instruction book.  Or worse, thousands of entirely self-contradictory instruction books.

But I think parents of children with special needs feel overwhelmed more often.  There's so much more to do and fewer tools to do it with.  No matter how much work and therapy we give our son, we have to be prepared for the possibility he may never be able to live independently from us.  It's something we don't want and we're doing our best to avoid, but the truth is, it's a statistically-relevant possibility.

I find myself wondering if we're doing the right things.  It's part of my job to be constantly evaluating: is this working?  Could we find a better method?  Are we missing an opportunity?

Since I'm human, there are days when the pressure gets to be too much.  What I've learned is that I have to accept that fact, accept my feelings for what they are and let them run their course.  If I try to bottle them up and go on in spite of them, they'll boil up and backlash on me.  If I feel guilty because I'm not living up to a "supermom" standard, I get drained of energy and the confidence I need.

I'm not looking for sympathy.  In fact, it annoys the heck out of me to have to go through someone else dwelling on the unpleasant portions of my life.  But part of the reason I started this blog was to offer my experiences for other parents with autism.  And this is part of our experiences.  No matter how gung-ho, Pollyanna you want to be, sometimes its going to crash around you.  It doesn't mean you're giving up or that you're failing.  It's just a part of life and being human.

To risk exposing my extreme geekiness, in the words of Alfred (in the Batman trilogy):

Why do we fall, sir?  So we can learn to pick ourselves up again.

Not falling is impossible.  It's in picking yourself up that you demonstrate your strength.

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