Mental Health Issues In Special Needs Parents

Studies suggest special needs parents are more likely to have mental health issues. This is not to suggest our children cause us to have mental health issues, but the challenges we face can bring out some of those tendencies. The chronic, on-going, on-call, adrenaline filled days that never end can turn into something more serious. Not only that, but many special needs parents experience trauma because of medical complications their children have to endure (and the kids do too!).

Mental illness is the second leading cause of disability. 1 out of 4 people have a mental illness. For women, 1 out of 5 women will struggle with mental illness at some point in their lives. It is a lot more common than people think.

We do not realize how prevalent it is because people keep quiet because of the stigma.

Clinical or situational depression is not the same as feeling really sad.

The signs of depression are different for everyone, but when they last for more than four weeks and they interfere with our ability to interact with life, we are at a point in life when we need help.

Sometimes we hold on for so long that when we can finally let go we fall apart.

Some women feel like they are bad moms because of how their mental illness affects them, but that is not true, there is a difference between a bad mom and a sick mom.

Mental health issues can amplify with our life’s circumstances.

You feel what you feel, and you have to work through it.

Getting the help you need looks different for everyone, it could be medication, support groups, therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, reach out to people and create authentic friendships, exercise, diet.

Nobody has the time for life overhauls, sometimes small changes can really make a difference, it is something.

You are worth it! To be who you need to be for your family you need to take care of yourself and do something about any mental health issues you have. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do for your family is put yourself first.

Taking care of ourselves is not a selfish thing to do.

Mental health illness is a family illness. It affects everyone in the family, your friends, your church.

Mental health issues can affect our marriage too. Not everyone has a spouse who is supportive or understanding. This is why if you feel like you do not have a teammate, getting help is so important.

We are made for community. Sometimes our inclination is to move inward, rather than move outward and ask for help.

We all have individual journeys, but we all have to start the journey

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Dealing with the Cold and Snow

Now that the holidays are done and all the pretty decorations and lights are down, things can really start to look gloomy. Especially with all this snow we now have on the ground. Everywhere you look all you see is white, white and more white. Then there is the ice that keeps you slipping and sliding around. It seems like every week there is a new storm coming through and you just wonder where can you possibly put any more snow? You can barely see around some corners the piles are so high and you are afraid you are going to get hit by a car. Then there is the problem with even trying to walk on the sidewalks. Some have been cleared but there are many that still are not clear and you have to risk walking on the street and who wants that?

So what does a person do when you can not get out a lot and you are starting to feel a little down? This winter has been a hard one at times and even I have been having a difficult time keeping that happy face around. I have offered to send the snow to other places but since that is not a possibility I guess we must find other avenues to uplift our spirits because Mother Nature is not helping. Usually this time of year my kids would love to be out throwing snowballs and just playing in the snow but the snow in the yard is taller than my 7 year old. How would he even play?

I try to open up the shades every single day even when it is gloomy outside because I find that if I keep them closed I feel more down. Even if there is only a tiny bit of sunshine it does brighten my mood a little and every little bit helps. I love to read, so I will make myself a nice warm cup of coffee, add my favorite creamer to it, find my favorite blanket because I am always freezing and curl up and read one of my many favorite books. I will be lost for hours. If I want to actually brave the cold and get a little exercise I will go to the mall and walk around just to get out of the house and you never know who you may run in to while you are there. It is always fun just to see what is new.

There are those times I want to get out of the house but not be around a lot of people so depending on the time I find Barnes and Noble is a good place to hang around. I can lose myself in the books or get a wonderful coffee and stay warm yet be in different surroundings. It lifts my moods up. I also find journaling can be helpful to get all that frustration out. Another great tool I find helpful is a gratitude list to just remind me all the things I have to be thankful for.  Every once and awhile I just need to do something silly and paint my nails or try to do something new with my hair. Anything to get through these long cold days. I also like to write on my blog and there is nothing like sending silly things on Facebook to your friends.

I am lucky that when my kids are home I have a 7 year old that loves to play Trouble. I can not tell you how many games I have had to play already. We play Memory and Go Fish and that is great fun. Then they have school and I do like my games on my tablet. None of my children will play Scrabble with me so it is great that I can now play it by myself. It helps my mind and gets me through these long winter days. I also found these wonderful puzzle books like Sudoku and Logic puzzles. They keep me busy for hours. I light my favorite scented candle and go those puzzles. It is wonderful.

Thankfully winter does not last forever, although it may feel that way at times. Sometimes we just have to find little comforting things to do to help us get through those winter blues. What it comes down to is you have to find things that make you happy and keep you busy. If you keep yourself distracted with fun things you like you won’t have time to get so sad about all this snow. Spring will get here….eventually.