First, I had to really put my fact checker to work! Can you imagine if I would have titled this, "I am Simba's evil uncle, Scar!" It's been a long time since I have sat down with my oldest two to watch The Lion King. I don't believe that my younger two have ever seen it. That's a shame. I think I am going to have to change that really soon. It's such a great story about perseverance and being stronger than you think you are. There are so many things out there trying to tell us that we are strong in the popular media. Kelly Clarkson sings about it (Stronger - What Doesn't Kill You). There is an entire reality show named Survivor.
Are we overreacting? Well according to Marsha Mailick Seltzer, Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, mothers of adolescents and adults with autism experience chronic stress comparable to combat soldiers. -Another study by Marsha Mailick Seltzer, of the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin evaluated parents who have children living with disabilities that included attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder and Down syndrome. The study showed that those parents had a significantly higher concentration of cortisol, a stress related hormone associated with health issues, than did parents of typical children.
So what does this mean? This means we need to be kinder to ourselves and reach out for the support when we need it. Seek out respite services so that you can take a much needed break. Join a support group and network with parents going through similar situations. All of the buttons below are to support groups or organizations that have respite services or are great resources. There are others out there. I invite you to add other organizations/networks in the comments section so that we can create a great resource for families!
But moreover, wear your scars proudly. They are proof that you are strong!
Nauert PhD, R. (2009). Parental Stress With Special-Needs Children. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 9, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2009/02/19/parental-stress-with-special-needs-children/4219.html