One of my best friend’s sons was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease almost 2 years ago. It has been a long, hard road and I’d like to think that I have been there for her throughout this very challenging time in her life. Because you see, I know what it feels like first hand to be the parent of a child with special needs. Furthermore, I’m not only a parent; I’m also an RDI consultant supporting families of children affected by Autism and other developmental disorders. I know the worry, the sleeplessness nights, internet searches until wee hours of the morning and consequently the increase in fear that those searches bring! All you were really looking for was some calm to your new state of calamity. The roller coaster of emotions based on your child’s good days and bad, the disconnect with family and friends that don’t get it, the loneliness, the grief and the tears.
We’ve had long phone calls, long walks; I’ve listened, and become more informed about Lyme’s disease. My friend, she has earned the equivalency of a Master’s degree in Lyme’s these past 2 years. She has been in and out of hospitals, travelled to the USA for help, spoken to experts all over the world, is considering a $30,000 dollar trip to Europe, and has tried western medicine and holistic medicine. She makes fresh green juices for her son daily, provides him with a diet of the highest quality to support his immune system and has become an excellent pioneer and advocate for him not only in the medical arena but with the school system as well (most days he is too sick to attend school).
We talked the other day and she said “I miss yoga”. About 5 months ago I had encouraged her to participate with me in a 4 month unlimited membership to our local hot yoga studio. The more often we attended the better value we received. Each week we set aside time in our schedules to attend a yoga class. We were able to partake in 4-5 classes per week. She and I enjoyed our little breaks to nurture our minds, body and souls. We’d laugh and chat on the way, discuss the class on our way home and no matter how hard or hot it was we were ALWAYS thankful that we had gone. She’d confide in me that she would often cry during the middle Shavasana between the standing and lying down series of poses. This was when her release would come. Afterwards, mellowed and uplifted by the class, she would exclaim “I feel like I can handle anything now!”
We took a break for the summer from yoga in favor of more outdoor time. This time away also provided space for reflection. Our knowledge is strengthened; we know that we need to take that time for self in order to be good for our kids. It’s not a selfish act to put yourself on the radar, it’s a necessity. Eating right, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, exercise, “me-time”, spiritual time, social time – these are all various ways that people find rejuvenating and balancing.
As a parent of special needs kids or a professional supporting others with special needs, what do you do to take care of self?