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Tag Archives: support systems for special needs parents and caregivers

When Parents Fall

I fell hard last night, you guys. It’s really hard for me to admit that.

The last couple of weeks have been rough for Connor at school and the after-school program. Without getting too specific, his hyperactivity has been out of control. Every task, Every. Single. Thing., has required herculean efforts of wrangling him to get it done.

Day after day of negative reports, coupled with another day of homework struggles was enough for me to snap. I left the room sobbing and shut myself in the bedroom. Hubs was working late again, but was on his way. I told Connor I needed a time-out, which was an understatement.

One of my personal challenges is black-and-white thinking. When upset, I tend to see things in a worst-case-scenario kind of way. “If I can’t fix this, it will never get better and his future is doomed.” It’s not rational, logical, or helpful. But when I get that far into my emotional response, logic doesn’t matter.

Really, I don’t care for being emotional. I’m generally pretty stoic about things, because I know that progress can only be made by being calm and focused. But everyone has a breaking point.

I reached out to a group of friends that share this kind of parenting journey with me. Within minutes I had numerous text messages and phone calls. I cried, ranted, and unloaded every sad, angry, and hopeless thought I had. And I wasn’t judged. Nor was I given false hope. Instead, they took each piece of me, dusted it off, and put it back into place. They reminded me of what I needed to do to keep moving; call a school meeting, move up the doctor’s appointment, make some accommodations for homework. And without doing it intentionally, they reminded me that there were so many families out there facing far tougher challenges than I am.

There was never any danger that I would have hurt myself or anyone else, but my “breakdown” lasted about an hour, before slowly starting to dissipate. Today I’m left wondering what happens to people that don’t have someone they can call, someone who understands their unique challenges? What about those that are dealing with a situation far more extreme than mine?

Today I’m back to being stoic as I make phone calls and plans to address the issues. But I’m still worried about you guys. Do you have someone you can call if things get bad? Do you have a safety net if you start feeling like it’s too much to handle?

Here are some general numbers of support. Please put these in your phone, or hang it on your fridge. Don’t let yourself get caught in a bad emotional storm without a life jacket or two.

help numbers

One last thing. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that online friends aren’t “real” friends. Some of my best, most precious friendships are with people I’ve never met in person.

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