I am a mom of a 2-year-old who was just diagnosed with autism. I also have had fibromyalgia for 5 years. I don’t know how I am going to get through this.
I had assumed that, with husb&’s help, I could be a pretty good mom despite my illness. But now with all of the extra attention he is going to need, as well as therapy, doctor’s appointments, & even the possibility of needing a caregiver the rest of his life, I feel completely overwhelmed & even a bit betrayed by the Lord. Where do I start to work my way through these emotions? -Name Withheld
Wow, your family has a lot to h&le right now. First, you should know that the feeling of being overwhelmed is normal. The fact that you recognize & want to address those emotions shows that you are being realistic & proactive.
Now, to avoid feeling so overwhelmed, you need to stop worrying about being your son’s caregiver the rest of his life. The mother of a severely h&icapped young adult says that when her daughter was little, it was easy to become overwhelmed. So she trained herself to ask, “Is there anything in this hour, just this one hour, I can’t h&le?” She learned to live by the hour & by the day until she no longer felt overwhelmed.
Also, if you don’t already belong to a parent support group for autism, you should join one. Ask your doctor or local school district’s special education department for more information. If they can’t help you, the Autism Society of America can help you locate a local or state chapter. Even if there’s no chapter near you, their national website can advise you about how to get support from your school district & even social services, depending on the severity of your son’s autism. It also has daily, practical tips for parents.
If you don’t belong to a support group for fibromyalgia, find one & join it, too. The encouragement of others dealing with your struggles is a powerful thing. Other sufferers may have advice on how to make it through each day. You also should explain your situation to people in your church. Perhaps they could bring in meals a couple times a week, help with housework or mow your lawn so you have time to rest now & then.
Finally, your sense of betrayal is a normal, human emotion. The best way to h&le it is to be completely honest. What did Jesus say in His darkest hour? “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?” If the Son of God asked such a question, you can ask it, too.
So be honest with God. Tell Him how you feel, & tell Him what you need. The darkness will not lift immediately, but it will lift as He brings people into your life to help your family.
Jolene Philo is the author of “A Different Dream for My Child: Meditations for Parents of Critically or Chronically Ill Children“. Visit her web site at www.jolenephilo.com
Be sure to listen to Jolene’s presentation from Invisible Illness Week, When Your Child is Chronically Ill