Coping?

Coping.
Am I?
Is anyone?
Why is not coping seen as a weakness?
At the moment I don’t feel like I am coping, but I am.

The dictionary defines coping as “to face and deal with responsibilities” and “to deal successfully with a difficult situation”.
Which I do…..because I have to.
It is part of being a parent, it is my responsibility to be responsible for myself and my family.
Does that mean I am coping?

I deal successfully with a difficult situation, therefore I am coping.
What if that situation is an hour long violent meltdown where words get lost, my child has lost all control, and I sit and watch because there is nothing else I can do?
Is that coping?
What if I am being bitten, kicked and shouted at because I have pushed my child over the edge by asking her to do something?
Is that coping?

When do you reach that point of not coping?
We all have days where we feel like we aren’t.
When everything just gets too much and you want to go and hide away.
You get overloaded with negative emotion, you are tired, exhausted, depressed and you feel alone.
Locked in a viscious cycle of self blaming thoughts….
…but you are coping, I know, because I am.

It is not easy to parent a child with Autism,
but there are many occassions when parenting a child with Autism feels like the best job ever, when your heart swells with pride so much that you think it might explode!
The joyous moments; the ones that get you through.
On the other hand there is no denying that there are many challenges we face.
The constant fights for services, for education, for help and to be heard.
Too much to do, too little time.
The sleepless nights, the challenging behaviours, the meltdowns; it can feel like you are spiralling down to a place of no return.
These feelings are normal.
Normal, natural reactions to stress.

Having difficulty coping is a common problem amongst all parents.
It is not a weakness, not something you should be afraid to admit.
That feeling you feel that you don’t understand it is not an inability to cope.
Life is a journey through mountains and valleys, the trick is learning to ask for help when you are stuck at the bottom.
The trick is to not feel you cannot admit you are struggling because it is seen as a weakness.

I, Our Autism Mum, have been down on that valley floor this week.
I have felt like I couldn’t cope anymore, but I did.
My body experienced a natural reaction to stress.
I AM coping.

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