Sunday, November 15, 2009
The one thing that parents of children with special need are experts at is putting on a brave face. No matter how difficult you are finding things to cope with, its like the glasses you take from the bedside locker each morning, part of your daily ritual. Get up, shower, and put the impenetrable mask on that few are privy to see behind. It is almost as if we admit to others that we are finding it hard to cope, the reality will hit the person we least want to admit it to... ourselves.
I had a meltdown this weekend while visiting my family. I had spent a particularly lovely morning with my Facebook friends, enjoying coffee and chat, and even got to meet the hairier members of the group in the form of Jules and Dusty the assistance dogs. These girls are the ones we allow to see past our shields, the ones who know that struggle to keep our emotions in check and understand why we feel the need to bury them at times.
Stress is something that can build slowly over time too... I like to think of it as my own personal pressure cooker... Lets start with that ingredient ADD, yep can cope with that, throw in a bit of Aspergers, yep still coping, add some more ADD, a pinch of OCD, a smidgen of anxiety, wow.. still managing! Wow, this recipe is shaping to be an interesting mix... Add in a handful of divorce, a dash of depression, a HT program, dealing with the authorities and the powers that be, fill in some paperwork, chase and make phonecalls... yep the pressure is building now but if I only take a little bite at a time I'm managing to keep the meal I'm making down. Stick the lid on, turn up the heat and like a pressure cooker, let a little steam out through a safety valve (my own safety valve is my facebook friends, who get the steam blown their direction and who help me diffuse it before it fogs up my glasses!) Then something unexpected happens and it might seem the most insignificant thing in comparison to the other ingredients in the pot and the valve bursts off spraying the ceiling with the contents of the previously controlled chamber...
This is what happened this weekend... Being slightly oversensitive and a tad over reactive, I perceived advice as a lecture instead of remembering that the person who had offered it only has my best interests at heart. This person loves me unconditionally, has always been there to catch me when I fall (which I have plenty over the years) and has only ever wanted me to be happy. Its my fault that I keep my mask in place and don't want them to see when I'm not coping and stressed. I dropped my mask and dissolved in floods of tears. Ok that last bit sounds like tears rolled gently down my cheeks where in reality, I'm not the prettiest cryer. My face was one only a mother could love, crumpled, red, bloated and there were plenty of tears and snot involved (thanks Dad for the kleenex). I opened up my fears to them and they all spilled out mixed together and jumbled up. I'm sure that it must have been difficult to decipher half of what I was crying about through the wails and tears.
What I have to try to remember to do is not to keep the mask in place with the people who love me most. To allow others in, to help before the pressure pot builds to that point again. I'm sorry now that I hid my stress levels from the person who loves my kids as much as I do. I think a lot of us do that to protect our families and loved ones from having to worry about us. For now, I can put my mask back in place and carry on with the daily grind of appointments and paperwork etc, but I will be asking for help when I need it.
For Mum xxx
Posted by Petunia at 7:38 AM