You know the feeling when you wake up from a sound sleep and your whole body is deeply embedded in your mattress, perfectly hugging your body with every breath you take? That lazy feeling of wanting to do nothing else but lay down in bed. The darkness of the morning coaxing you to wrap yourself in your comforter like a caterpillar in it’s cocoon.
I woke up this weekend feeling this way and all I wanted to do was be lazy and linger in bed. But this isn’t an option when you have a child with special needs who still depends on you so much. Getting up at the crack of dawn (and earlier sometimes) has been the norm in our home and although I’m used to it, I’m also extremely exhausted.
I appreciate waking up and seeing the sunrise every morning while I have my coffee. I appreciate the quietness of the house while everyone is sleeping. Everyone except for me and my son. I appreciate my son who tries every day to stay in bed a little longer and not wake up so early. I appreciate so many things but I’m still extremely exhausted.
As a toddler, he would wake up even earlier when he was sick with a fever. It felt as though we never went to bed. The days seemed endless and unbearable when I could not comfort my child. I don’t know if it was the exhaustion that caused my anxiety attacks or vise versa. It doesn’t matter because the two do not go well together. And even though my anxiety attacks have gone, I’m still extremely exhausted.
The challenges we face today are much different than when he was a child. Back then I used to worry about securing the right support and resources for him at school. I used to worry about the next therapy program I would put him into. I used to worry about bringing him to family functions hoping all would go well. This never-ending planning, worrying and organization took a huge toll on me. I was extremely exhausted.
I still worry about the same things, only now he’s seventeen years old and with that comes a whole new list of issues to worry about.
First there’s his transition planning as he’s aging out of school. What will he do once he’s 21? He’s still missing some critical life skills to help him function somewhat independently. How will I help him achieve this?
Then there’s the fear of who will take care of him should something happen to me? What will happen 30 years from now? Where will he live? How will he earn money? Will he have friends? Will he be lonely and alone?
I worry about finding the right activities for him to participate in. I’m always planning and organizing things for him to do because if I don’t, he’ll all to quickly be on his computer watching videos.
These concerns have a way of creeping up on me while I’m sleeping, waking me up from a bad dream and keeping me up all night. It’s a small fraction of why I feel so extremely exhausted.
Every day is different though. Some days I’m tired but still energetic enough to get many things done. These are the lighter shades of tiredness. It’s not so dark, not so heavy. It’s light, manageable and I can still have fun. Other days can be the complete opposite and I get less done. These are the darker hues of exhaustion that are somber and cold.
The ones that leave me physically and mentally depleted.
Thankfully, the darker shades have been few and far between as Emilio has gotten older. I’m hoping they continue to get lighter as he matures and develops more skills, becoming more independent.
He’s is a blessing and continues to inspire and impress me every single day.
I believe we all have a few shades of exhaustion (anxiety, fear etc.), that we all live with. What’s important is to acknowledge these feelings and then deal with them in a construction and positive manner. By doing so we’re building our strength and confidence as individuals and as parents. And please remember to be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can so cut yourself some slack.
Thanks for stopping by…