I can’t seem to snap out of this negative phase.
Everything just feels so difficult.
Everything is such an effort.
I am tired. Not just tired, completely exhausted.
My positivity and happiness seem to be buried so deep that I can’t quite reach it.
I know it is there, I just haven’t got the energy to dig it back up.
I have mental health problems.
I always have done.
Sometimes they are tucked away, hibernating.
Sometimes they are hovering on the surface waiting for an opportunity to escape.
Sometimes they sit on my shoulders and hold me hostage.
I used to hide my feelings and plaster on a smile pretending everything was ok.
I used to be ashamed….
….but now I stand proud with all the other sufferers, not embarrassed with the stigma attached.
I still struggle.
I still have my bad days.
I just don’t hide it anymore
Being a parent is a stressful job.
The constant anxiety, worrying you are not doing enough, worried that you should be doing better.
Being a parent of a child with additional needs adds more pressure.
I don’t get thank yous, or hugs or gestures of appreciation very often.
I feel like I am on a roundabout of caring, cleaning, administration, appointments, feeding, bathing and bedtimes.
Physically and emotionally I put my all into ensuring they are cared for and get what they need.
I spend a huge amounts of time and energy on my child with additional needs, feeling horrendously guilty that I am neglecting the needs of my neurotypical child.
I didn’t get depression because I am a parent of a disabled child.
Being an Autism parent does not mean that you will get depression.
We all manage things differently.
We all come from different backgrounds, and have had other stresses along the way.
I don’t know the exact cause, nor do I know how to fix it.
Having depression does not mean that I cannot cope.
It simply means that in an effort to provide the best possible care for my child, I have neglected my own physical and emotional needs.
My depression and anxiety are fuelled by guilt.
The biggest negative feeling I endure daily.
Are all my childs problems my fault?
Did I do something wrong in my pregnancy? Am I a bad parent?
That feeling of never being good enough.
You then feel guilty for feeling the guilt.
This leads to anger, sadness and isolation….
….then loneliness as you hide away from your feelings and the rest of the world.
Exhaustion sets in.
Physical and mental exhaustion.
Everything feels more intense.
The negative feelings become relentless.
You fall into a dark place, falling deeper and deeper and you can’t see a way to get out.
I didn’t want to tell anyone.
I suppose I was in denial.
I smiled through the tears.
I needed/had to be happy for the children.
I had to cope.
I didn’t want to show signs of weakness.
I didn’t want to ask for help, didn’t feel I could.
I was supposed to enjoy parenting and love every single second.
No matter how upbeat, energetic and optimistic a parent is, the guilt, exhaustion and isolation can take its toll.
I have learnt;
It is ok to struggle.
It is ok to feel you are not coping.
It is ok to admit it.
Negative feelings are natural.
It is when they become intense and consuming that you have to ask for help.
Talk to friends, family.
Join support groups of parents in the same situation.
Seek professional help.
I cannot always be happy.
I have come to accept that.
I know I will have bad days, weeks or even months.
I know I will have days where I cannot see the good in anything I do.
I will never see the positives before the negatives.
I watch my children grow as my anxiety increases, thinking about the future.
….I no longer face it alone.
I cannot face it alone.
This is the greatest lesson I have learnt.
This negative phase will pass.
I will nap, go for walks and immerse myself in audiobooks and slowly my happy will return.
I know I can get help.
I have alot of support around me.
I am not scared to tell people how I feel anymore.
Don’t ever be alone.
There is always light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot always reach it without a little help.