Monday, February 6, 2012

Nuture Thyself part 3

Mental Health: This always has a stigma attached to it, but really there is no reason for that.  What's the old saying?  If Momma isn't happy no one is happy?  (Dad too)  The fact is, the adult care givers in the home will be much better equipped to handle all the needs of their special needs child if they are on an even emotional keel.  This may require seeking help from a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and/or support group for Special Needs Parents.  Let's look at that even further.  Seek out any and all mental health support you feel that you would need so that you can bring 100% to the table in order to help your child.  If that requires AA, Al-Anon, Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse, etc. do it!  No shame.  If cost is a concern, Catholic Charities or Lutheran Social services offers a variety of mental health services for sliding fees.  Often times your special needs child is sensitive to your emotions.  Do what you can to seek healing and wholeness in this area. 

Social Health: Don't isolate yourself.  Many times it is hard for special needs parents to find friends who understand the struggles you and your child are facing. If you have relationships that are toxic to you and your child, cut them off.  That being said, not all of your relationships need center around your special needs child. While a ground rule to mutual respect needs to be maintained, don't isolate yourself from relationships that can be just "social", like the occasional coffee buddy, or mall friend, maybe a ladies Bunco group.  Light hearted social interation that isn't always about your struggles with your child is healthy. 
On the other end of the spectrum, you do need close, personal relationships with those you feel you can truly trust and share your struggles with.  If you don't currently have any such person, consider joining a local support group for Special Needs Parents.  No one else knows what you are going through other than a fellow parent with a special needs child.  Those relationships with get you through the incredibly tough times and validate you like none other can.

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