We always blame the single straw
That breaks the camel’s back.
Instead of blaming all the weight
Of the others in the sack.
This week my back broke. It must have, because while I pride myself on my ability to roll with the punches, to accept all of the little things that I can not change, here I sit, completely stressed out and overwhelmed.
What was the straw that did me in? What, as the mother of a child with special needs, after years of tests and diagnosis and medical interventions, finally floored me?
Ellie may have had a seizure.
After finally getting better after months (yes, months) 0f illness, after getting a diagnosis of asthma, after starting three new meds to control that asthma, after learning how to use and inhaler, a spacer, and a nebulizer, after all of that, and just when we thought we were in the clear..she had a possible seizure Monday night.
We aren’t even sure that it was a seizure, but I caught it on video and the pediatrician was concerned enough that he scheduled an EEG for next week with a neurologist appointment to follow.
It was like I could feel something break inside me.
Suddenly everything has hit me so hard. One more specialist. One more thing to obsessively Google. One more possible diagnosis. One more thing to lose sleep over (because did you know that kids who have seizures in their sleep can stop breathing and die? I didn’t, but now I do.) One. More. Thing.
There went my back.
With worries about seizures came a whirlwind of other thoughts that have been building up inside me ever since kindergarten started. How we just don’t seem to have any time anymore. Now that she’s started getting behavioral therapy we have no free evenings. None. Monday- physical therapy. Tuesday- dance. Wednesday- occupational and speech therapy. Thursday- behavioral therapy. Friday- Shabbat and/or more behavioral therapy. I work every Saturday. Sunday is the only day off we get, and we are all so tired that we rarely do anything fun. And she still only gets half of the therapies that she should get. We just can’t fit any more in.
I’ve gotten to the point of considering home or cyber school for Ellie, even though I love how much she loves school and all of her friends. At least she would be able to get all of her therapies and then we could sign her and Laurel up for some of the fun activities they keep asking for, like Little League and Girl Scouts. Because right now, they are out of the question.
I am so freaking tired.
No, everyone is tired.
I am drained.
I feel like I have nothing left to give.
I know that throwing in the towel isn’t an option, though, and that is part of what’s so damn depressing about it. I have to soldier on. I have to suck it up, buttercup, and keep on keeping on. Because there is no other option. My kids depend on me. Chev depends on me. My job depends on me. My friends depend on me. No matter how bad I’d like to run away, I can’t. That’s what being an adult is, I suppose. But damn it sucks sometimes.
There is a thing called Caretaker Burnout. If you’ve never heard of it, you are looking right at it. I know what it is. I know I have it. What I don’t know is how to make it go away. No amount of “me time” is going to fix it. I just spend the time thinking and worrying about the same things I think and worry about the rest of the time. Someone suggested I join a support group for parents of kids with special needs. Like I can fit one more monthly meeting into my schedule. I don’t know if there is a cure. I think it just becomes part of your life.
I’ve been tired for so long that I don’t remember what it’s like to wake up refreshed and ready to start the day. But I can still usually put on a happy face and feel pretty optimistic about our prospects as a family. Today I can’t.