‘Why me?’ is a question I think most of us have asked ourselves at some stage in our lives, when we’ve been going through a hard time. It’s only natural. It’s easy to look around at other folks and think they have everything on a plate and that their life is easy. I think us Special Needs Parents probably think it more than others. Why did this have to happen to my child and not somebody else’s child? (whoever that somebody else might be).
This week has been particularly hard, as our son is having real problems with anxiety. It is something that he has really struggled with since being a toddler and a condition that commonly occurs co-morbidly
with autism. I hate seeing him anxious, it is the most heart-breaking thing ever. Watching a basically non-verbal child endure an awful panic attack, when there is very little you can do to help him, is just the pits. Anxiety is a hideous condition for
anyone, but most people can attempt to talk about and describe what is bothering them. My son does not have that luxury. He has been medicated for anxiety since the age of seven (that’s another story) but it doesn’t take it away completely.
So, this week I have been thinking ‘why him?’ and ‘why me?’ an awful lot.
As I have mentioned before, when our son was born, I was overwhelmed with love – I’m talking mind-blowingly so. I have a good level of education, a degree from a decent university, but never really found
a career I was passionate about. Yes, I liked my job in Sales, but it didn’t really ignite anything inside me, if I’m brutally honest. All I ever really wanted was to be a mother. So when our son came along – I was complete. So, tick one – I have the crazy
love to do this job.
A certain amount of creativity is required when you have a non-verbal child. You need to produce visuals, timetables, schedules and think of various other ingenious ways to help your child connect with
the world. I also have those skills, I may not be a logical thinker, but I’m pretty creative. I also have a passion for language, communication and people, things that my son needs a lot of help with. Tick two – I have the skill set.
Just as there are many types of mainstream parents, there are many types of special needs parents. I’d probably class myself as the ‘out there’ special needs mum. If I was stuck in a lift with you, you’d
probably know after 2 minutes that I had a child with autism. I apologise – I’m the boring autism mum. But I do think that it actually defines me as a person now, whether that be good or bad. Probably both. I’m pretty sure some people wish I’d shut up
and get on with it, but it’s my way of dealing with it. Some parents prefer not to talk about it at all, or not much. And that’s OK too. Whatever works for you. So, Tick three – I definitely have the passion.
And the forth tick…..I’m not easily embarrassed. Let’s face it, I’m pretty honest. I wouldn’t be pouring my soul out publically in this blog if I wasn’t. When I hit the town with my fellow Autism Mums,
the conversation topics are erm, something else. Let’s just say the toileting stories are legendary and when we get onto the subject of puberty and growing up, well, you can imagine. Nuff said.
So back to the question that I have been batting about all week Carrie Bradshaw style – why me? Quite clearly the answer is obvious. Why NOT me! I’m well qualified for the job! As they say, I tick all
the boxes. And any boxes that I didn’t tick, I’ve had to jolly well skill myself up on. And to be honest, I think it’s made me a better person in many ways. Being a Special Needs Parent has toughened me, made me focused and determined and most importantly
showed me what matters in life. It’s given me more strength and patience than I ever dreamed I could have. Of course I would take it all away in an instant – that goes without saying. But as it stands, I’ll take all the positives I can from the situation I’ve been given.