MENTAL Health – it’s about you, me, and us

By Kelly Wilton

How are you? No, really how are you?

Has anyone asked you lately and really listened?

For the first time ever, the world is facing a situation that is affecting us all at the same time, but as we process what is going on with the Covid-19 situation together, we are all having vastly different experiences.

Some of our friends have had a handle on ‘social hibernation for years’ as it has been their lived experience for a long time. Have a look at the most recent Parent’s Perspective post over on Source Kids which sums it up perfectly:

“There is a group in our society for whom this social hibernation, economic uncertainty, and fear of life-threatening illness has always, and will continue to be our reality – pandemic or not. Who are we? We are the people living with rare diseases and intellectual disability, their families and carers. And we’ve been living like this for years.” You can read the whole post here.

All families with school-aged children are facing complexities with online learning right now. Our families, those with children with disabilities – in particular, are really struggling.  With the lack of structure, and the reliance we have on supportive teachers with a literal hands-on, one to one approach with our kids – they are missing out. The behaviour challenges which we try so hard to regulate with structured routines throughout the day, are again at the forefront in the home environment, while any educational focus simply takes a backseat.

And that’s ok – really that is ok. We see you! Oh, do we see you – because we are you, I am you. In this time, please try and be easy on yourself. Be kind to yourself in this situation. The situation we are in as special needs parents is vastly different to our neighbours. 

And yet again we are reminded of the stark differences in our society of those who are vulnerable and those who are not.

In the last five weeks we have done approximately – 7.5 work sheets, watched 1000s of hours on the iPad/TV/Movies (see how we changed it up there!) and played WWF Superstars of Wrestling – with bruises to match! 

Our children are lashing out, creating holes in walls (we have 2 freshly plastered walls currently!) and regressing due to this huge change. Just try to breathe, mama. If you promised yourself you would walk every day, eat well every day, not drink every day (I’m failing that one!) or whatever it was that you made a deal with yourself, please know that you are not alone.

You have had to put your child’s mental and physical health first and in due course, you must put yours first too. So what if you didn’t go for that long walk today? Walk to the letter box instead and breathe deeply for 3 times when you get there – yes, you made it!

So what if you didn’t do that online lounge workout? You’ve no doubt been wrestling in one form or another, so give yourself a break!

Minimise social media and all the ‘perfect parenting’ posts, or even worse, the mainstream media ideas of what we should/shouldn’t be doing.

Pat yourself on the back, pour yourself a well deserved drink and smile/cry, because you got through today and tomorrow’s a new day! 

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