Friday, July 11, 2008

No matter how well you're coping, you still have bad days.

Today is one of those bad days. I go along for weeks, feeling competent, hopeful, cheerful and organized. I can juggle all 12 balls with an eye on the horizon and not skip a beat. Then, suddenly, a weird feeling of exhaustion will creep up from my toes until my hands go numb and I drop every single ball on the floor where they bounce around crazily until rolling out of sight. I'm stunned, overwhelmed with emotion and angst. To make it worse, I burst into tears. It feels just like when I first learned something was "wrong" with my daughter. That moment presses in on me until my heart feels too full to beat. I thought I was coping so well, I wail. What the hell is wrong with me?

Relax. Nothings wrong. You're just having a Blue Day. They happen now and then, even to the most capable and intelligent parents alive. Anything can trigger it; new shoes already being worn down at the toes, running out of hearing aid batteries, a form you forgot, a phone call from the Regional Center Case Manager. Even something simple, like more weeds in the garden, bring on the tears.

All parents have bad days, but the parents of special needs children get an extra helping of the blues. The trick is to be kind to yourself. Don't suppress your fears or grief, but don't fixate on them either. Take a deep breath, tell yourself you're okay, then do something nice for yourself. In time, you'll find all those balls you dropped and will begin to juggle again, adding one ball at a time. It might take an hour, or a week, but you will be okay.

Today is my bad day. I heard the words "trying not to give up" and wammo, I was on the floor gasping for breath (not really. Metaphorically). I used to freak out when I had a bad day and wonder if I needed more therapy or maybe medication, but over time I understood that having a bad is a normal part of being the mother of a child with disabilities. You can't be perfect and together at all times of day and night, no matter how much you'd like to. I've learned to let myself play The Sims, eat chocolate if I wish, watch a Johnny Depp dvd, take myself for a walk, or dance in the living room while listening to Fat Boy Slim. If the blues get really bad, I call a friend. That was an important step for me. I was attached to the idea that I must be strong ALL THE TIME because if I didn't keep a smile on my face everyone else would fall apart. Um... no, Terena. You may as well insist you learn to fly without an airplane as keep a smile on your face 100% of the time. Besides, you'll creep everyone out (doesn't she ever stop smiling?)

So, that being said, I'm off to crank up the music really loud and "dance away the heart-ache" as the song says. Tomorrow will more than likely be less blue.

No comments: