I’m going to get a little real with you all…
If you talk to any parent who has a child with Special Needs or a Rare Diagnosis, a lot of them will tell you about their feelings with anxiety, depression, and secondary trauma. I have experienced ALL of these feelings or symptoms. I only shared my feelings with a select few so this might come off as a shock–“I didn’t know you felt that way.”
“A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease. – Dictionary.”
I had anxiety prior to this but it was magnified after my pregnancy and delivery of Jaxson. As most of my readers know, I had a high risk pregnancy and Jaxson was in and out of the hospital the first six months of life. I took him to so many different specialists, so many well-baby visits. I was frequently worried about something terrible happening, I didn’t like to go out of the house, I was angry a lot, quick to get angry.. I didn’t feel like myself. I especially felt like such a jerk and bad mom because I was so short with my oldest son. Every little thing he did I freaked out because I didn’t want him to wake the baby, hurt the baby, get the baby sick, etc.
How to recognize the signs here (Depression in Parents of Children with Special Needs).
|Depression is real|
Some may wonder what did you possibly have to be depressed about? You have an amazing support system, amazing husband, beautiful family, etc.. Despite having all of these things, a person can still have some form of depression. My depression stemmed from having a child who was in and out of the hospital because he wasn’t thriving and frequently ill. I felt helpless because I couldn’t help him, I tried everything, and yet he wasn’t thriving. I thought I had failed him as a mother.
I was up every other hour pumping furiously, tracking his consumption, thickening his feeds per feeding therapists, I literally did everything. I pumped an entire chest freezer full of milk that he couldn’t drink because of his severe Reflux/GERD, I ended up donating it all to a patient I met working at the Chiropractic Office. That made me feel as if I was a failure as well, I pumped ALL of this milk for him to drink and he couldn’t, he couldn’t thrive off of my milk.
We did have great friends who were able to drop in and check on us during these difficult days. I’m thankful each and everyday for them. Why? Because we are a military family and our parents, siblings, and even cousins are not nearby. Friends are everything to us, they’re part of our family.
Reach out to someone who is going through a rough time with their special needs children or any difficult part of their life. Trust me when I say it will mean a lot to them, even if it’s just sitting in with them or something simple as bringing coffee.
I also worry about my oldest son. A few months ago I ran him to both the Naval Hospital Urgent Care and then Emergency Room at Sacred Heart because he was having severe pain in his side. I was scared and anxious that it was something serious, something life threatening. I was so blinded by fear! Thankfully it wasn’t anything serious, he was just backed up and needed an enema (poor guy).
Symptoms of Secondary Trauma:
- Chronic fatigue
- Poor concentration
- Second guessing
- Emotional exhaustion
I wanted to share my experiences of these emotions in hopes to help another. These feelings are normal when you have a child that isn’t thriving, seeing multiple doctors every week, chasing diagnosis after diagnosis, all the therapy, etc. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The fist step is to admit and talk to someone, it will get better over time.