So last Friday morning I found myself anxious. More anxious than I’ve been in a long while. I counted. I’ve had a few anxiety episodes in the last month with all the problems Michael has been experiencing at home. I managed to handle them and stay relatively on track. Not happy, but on track. Great. But I also was noticing that my level of frustration tolerance and stress towards Michael and other things in my life had gone considerably down in the last month as more stress built up on the home front. I remembered where I was five years ago during my second burnout. I didn’t want there to be a third. I couldn’t afford it. My child needed me. My husband needed me. My family and friends needed me. My jobs needed me. I needed me. It was time to go back to therapy-short term counselling to learn additional ways to cope with new diagnoses on Michael’s part, and new ways for me to function appropriately as a Mom and person on my own. I wanted to live my life fully with all the new challenges in my life.
So this got me thinking, how do you know when therapy, either for the first time for a pruning or looking for additional strategies, is necessary? Here are the 5 signs:
- You can’t de stress on your own: Yes, it’s obvious. But on one level, when you are a busy parent, you don’t always think you can’t unwind because of extreme stress. You think it is due to a bad day. Look back though. If you’ve had a string of “bad days”, chances are you are suffering from overload. Ask for help.
2) You are angry at everyone, including you: You have lots of anger. At your family, friends, the world, anything A LOT of the time. You know in your heart you are stressed, but try and justify it. Listen to your heart. Find a trusted source where you can be yourself and unburden. It is usually someone unconnected to family. This way there are no strings.
3)Self-pity : While it is normal and right to feel sorry for yourself for a bad day or week, if you are constantly in a state of feeling sorry for all your stress and not reaching out to others, it’s time to unburden yourself and get help. If not, it will filter into other positive areas of your life and cause problems.
4) You forgot the last time you laughed: Sad, but true. If you are having a hard time finding anything funny, even real funny things due to overwhelming stress, get in touch with a professional who can help. We all have good moments and times we can let loose. If you’ve forgotten how, find your way back. With time and patience, it will happen.
5) You forget to see the good moments with your family: Sometimes, family stress and coping is all Moms see. Remember though, there are the good moments when things fall into place. If it is hard to remember the last time you laughed with your child or partner, get help. There are always good things. You need to see them to have hope, or else the journey towards healing for you and your family is that much more difficult.
Exceptional Parents, how many times have you felt at your wits end coping with yet another challenge in your Exceptional Parenting life? Remember, it is ok to feel overwhelmed and fed up. Anger is ok. What is not ok is staying quiet. You need to get yourself help and not suffer in silence. The first sign of stress is usually when old strategies that helped you regulate don’t anymore. Don’t be afraid to reach out-to family, friends, professionals and admit you need help on your parenting journey. This makes you strong, not weak. Remember how you encourage your child to take a new step every day into the unknown. Do the same for you. You will see how you will look at things differently once you know you have new tools and support to guide you as an exceptional parent. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com