We all have our struggles. Parents of special needs children and caregivers have more than most. Looking for a crutch is tempting. A little something to lean on sounds like such a relief. There is no easy fix to your problems and leaning on addictive substances like painkillers, alcohol, or other drugs has consequences. These things may make you feel better in the short term, but long term it’ll sink you.
It’s difficult to struggle through the chaos jumping from one thing to the next with no break between. Emergency after emergency barrels you over and there’s no way to tell for sure you’ll make it up for breath before the next wave comes crashing down, pushing you deeper underwater. You manage to survive the onslaught and suddenly everything goes quiet. You cringe waiting for the next wave to hit you and it doesn’t come. Instead, there’s nothing. The silence is deafening as you wash up on a perfectly calm beach which would theoretically be a wonderful place to be except the transition is so abrupt it’s jarring.
This is what happened after our son was diagnosed. Suddenly all the chaos went silent. In an effort to cope I’ve been cleaning the house non-stop and working continuously on our son’s occupational and physical therapy. I picked out decorations for the house and placed them appropriately. I’ve done some research into my next writing project. I’ve put in time at work. Today it finally hit home. There are no more emergencies. We may never rush off to the hospital emergency room again juggling calls from specialists and the pediatrician to determine if they want our son immediately admitted. From here on out our interactions with medical professionals are going to be routine. Straight forward. Normal.
Sometimes it feels as if there’s no end to the guilt hoisted upon me by others. Generally, these statements come in the form of, “You SHOULD [insert thing].” While there’s no reason the word, “should,” need be entirely removed from the English language, it’s frequently the word choice of people when they want to use guilt as leverage to direct me toward a different course of action. Guilt comes in two forms.