At times it can be hard for me to keep smiling. Oh yes, I’m very good at slapping on a fake smile – aren’t we all? It’s easy in this fast pace world to fake it, til we make it, but that’s not really healthy for our mental health in the long run, is it? Sooner or later we snap.
I have seen a lot of people close to me suffer with not speaking up. In some respects, even though the dialogue is out there and many awareness campaigns, there is still somewhat a taboo about admitting that you are feeling worn down, emotionally exhausted and the physical exhaustion that goes along with it.
During our time as parents to MrD, it has occurred to me that over time things have become easier in some respects. The transition of pre-prep to school has been amazing. The structure of the classroom to meet his needs has really helped. It’s the meltdowns at home, I never realised that would get to me so much.
I had a little getaway to Melbourne over the weekend, and as usual, couldn’t see everyone I would have loved to, but made the most of who I did see. When I returned home, I was shattered, and it wasn’t just that I’d been in Melbourne for a long weekend, dancing into the wee hours to some of my favourite 80’s/90’s bands… (!)
Because I had 3 days ‘off’ when I got home, I was back ‘on’ and the first day back ‘on’ we were back at the hospital. The whole reality of life with chronic health conditions, disability – both intellectual and physical, really hit me again, as I came back from my respite.
It dawned on me, like it was a new thought, that this way of life is actually bloody relentless. And unlike my neurotypical child, there will be a time, when she is so independent she will take off into the world and not really need me. Of course, I know she’ll need me for money and advice(!), but not in the same sense that Mikey will always need me and Bryce.
I guess this is one of those things that is always at the back of my head, and I know I must not look too far into the future, but the relentlessness of it all at times does and no doubt, will continue to play with my mental health along the way. It is a bit of a silent one, because as soon as I open my mouth about it, I feel that I need to justify and readjust my thinking pattern to the here and now, which is really hard when you are mentally exhausted!
The reality of the amount of help Mikey needs and will continue to need, even post-surgery, is a reality that I must face and be realistic about if I want to embark on this adventure and keep my sanity in check!
Do you agree? Do you think it is a constant process that we have to readjust our thinking patterns and expectations? Let me know!