Supporting Your Own Mental Health as a Special Needs Caregiver
Let's be real here. Mental health is a huge problem that so many people want to ignore or think of as taboo.
Mental health issues are very real and unfortunately found even more in special needs families. Special needs families have a higher risk of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. And that is not even mentioning caregiver burnout. The biggest issue is that people do not want to talk about it or feel it is taboo. We need to break the silence and talk about it.
I know personally as the mother of an autistic child , I suffer from these mental health issues.
I also have a form of PTSD from diagnosis. Those first days after diagnosis were incredibly hard and I was in a very dark place mentally. Add in my daughter’s sleep issues and meltdowns, my life was a hectic mess. Each day was a huge struggle.
It was not until I found other parents who understand and have been in the same place. Through talking to other moms and being open and honest, I learned my feelings were very real and very normal. It was in those moments that I was able to start moving forward with my own healing. I will admit it never fully goes away, but it does get better.
Here are several ways to support your own mental health and avoid caregiver burnout...
Some of the key things are to find others who understand, like people in our facebook support group. Find a counselor or therapist who specializes in working with special needs families. Then we have the very important self care. We need to take good care of ourselves so we can be good parents and caregivers. Try to find even a few moments just for yourself each day. I tend to put my kids to bed and read. Or even grab a shower when dad comes home from work. Whatever it takes to give yourself some time. These are all key in improving your mental health.
So stop hiding from it and face it head on. That is the only way you are going to come out on top. Let's gather as a community and stop the stigma behind mental health. Let's build each other up to be stronger, more healthy stronger parents and caregivers.