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What Helps My Anxiety and Depression as a Parent of a Child With a Disability

As a parent of a child with a disability, I have a finite amount of time, patience, perseverance and ability to hang on.

The last two days I’ve been realizing I’m at the end of my rope and I have nothing left. When this happens, I know I need to make my life smaller, at least for a while. This is a sign I’ve allowed my life to spin out of control and spread myself too thin. A trigger for my anxiety and depression.

I started out by deciding while I love to crochet, I’m no longer going to try to sell my wares. It’s not worth my time and effort. I’m sure I’ll continue to crochet but it will be just a hobby.

Next, I looked at my nemesis: Facebook. I spend way too much time on there. It’s important to me as I can connect with people and family my circumstances may not otherwise make possible. But there is another side of Facebook that drags me in. All of those worthy causes. Right now I don’t have anything left to put into caring about the world. Next week, or next month, maybe I can. But for now, I can’t. So I went through and deleted myself from about half of the groups I belong to, thus making my world smaller and mentally more manageable.

At times like this, I often won’t answer the phone. I let it go to voicemail and if it’s important they’ll leave a message. I can then decide when I have the emotional strength to deal with it. I would be concerned if this were what I did long term, but it’s usually only for a few weeks until I can breathe again.

Next, I started cleaning and getting rid of things. I inherited my mother’s appreciation for an uncluttered space. It is rare, however, that any of my spaces are uncluttered. Our family room has been in the process of being cleaned out for at least the last three months and stalled halfway through. It is now mostly done… other than the laundry I’m still working on folding. Getting rid of those things on my to-do list that has been mentally freeing.

Throughout it all, I was praying to be able to be strong enough to carry the burdens placed on me and that a way through some of them would be provided.

I started the day utterly dispirited, dejected, crying and overwhelmed. But as I took these steps, by the end of the day, while none of my troubles and cares had changed, I felt immeasurably better. This tells me I’m on the right track. I frequently can’t change the roller coaster that is being a parent of a child with a disability, but I can take care of myself so I can better handle it.

A version of this post appeared on An Ordinary Mom.

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Getty image by iolya