Like most moms, I put myself on the back burner to take care of everyone else. I was too busy taking kids to therapy, doctors, activities, and other appointments to stop and tend to my needs. There was always laundry to do, dinners to cook, or a house to clean. I downplayed the stress and the toll it was having on my life.
My body was screaming at me, but I just kept ignoring it. I believed that if I stopped and took time for myself, everyone and everything would fall apart. I believed that I was the only one who could take care of our son.
I began to get sick and could not do everything that I needed to do. I struggled to keep it together but was failing. After years of numerous doctor’s visits, blood work, MRIs, and other testing, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder called Hypoadrenalism, also known as Addison’s Disease. My life is forever changed as I am dependent on medication to live and be functional. Now, I often wonder why I worried about other’s opinion of my housekeeping skills.
According to the American Institute of Stress, 60 percent of all human illness and disease is caused from stress. It increases the risk of heart disease by 40 percent and the risk of stroke by 50 percent. I sometimes wonder if I would have gotten ill if I had taken care of myself. I now understand that my health is more important than the dust on the shelves or the socks that need to be matched.
So, moms and dads ... take a break and breathe.
You are worth a 5-minute coffee break, a girl’s night out, a date night with your spouse, or whatever it is that refreshes you! If you don’t know what that is anymore, here are some places to start:
The sky is the limit but take the time to invest in yourself. Self-care is a necessity for your health and well-being. Learn more about it, and then do it for yourself, and your kids.
I have a friend who is full of wisdom. He has autism, and I have learned important things from him. The lessons learned include slowing down to enjoy the details.
Raising a child with a mental illness is stressful. It takes an emotional toll on the entire family. Make sure you have a strong support network. It makes a huge difference.