– But it doesn’t make us losers, it just means we’re human. Rather than staying there and wallowing for too long, there are some basic tools I use in order to fight my way out of the blues.
Let me paint a picture: I could find myself easily susceptible to moping this week since our Spring Break plans fell through. Not a big deal, really, when you consider all the horrible things that go on in the world, and how we have a roof over our head, I am able to work, we have food in our bellies, clothes on our backs, and decent education. And my kids don’t hate me (at least I don’t think so…).
That being established, we haven’t had the greatest history of family holidays together, since we’ve been pretty broke for years. Sounds pathetic, but when you barely have two pennies to rub together, saving up for a family vacation is a little pie-in-the-sky for some of us. So, instead, we made efforts to enjoy each other, visit extended family, learn to relax, and to dream. This year, though, I (thought I) had everything in place to make our way down to Florida to visit my brother and his family for a week. I had taken the time off work, and was even going to host a bridal shower for my lovely niece while there! But the money I had been counting on to get us there was delayed. And then two out of the three of us got violently ill the night before we would have left, and put us completely out of commission for 4 days. Fab time.
Even if we had had the money to take off for this trip, and even if we hadn’t felt like we’d been hit with the sledgehammer of sickness, there are other factors for us to consider that can put a bit of a different spin on every outing we venture upon. Factors concerning Hannah. Countless times we have had incontinence issues that have not been simple little mishaps. All the planning in the world doesn’t mean diddly when it comes to her bodily functions. Depends are dependable only so far, and because she usually doesn’t give any indication if she’s uncomfortable or unwell, its a big surprise to be in the middle of a ballpark, or the zoo, or on the road, or in someone’s house, and you have an immediate need for a HAZMAT suit.
Or to realize that the nice event you were going to do as a family she suddenly does not have any more patience for, no matter how much music and snacks you have brought along for her. There is no reasoning with, no cajoling, no persuading, no disciplining, no rewarding this side of heaven that will work, and you have no choice but to pack up and get her back to somewhere she deems comfortable, familiar and safe.
Any parent who does not have a child with Downs and ASD probably will read that last line and purse their lips in disapproval and judge what kind of a poor mother I am. That’s ok. There are a small contingent out there that do understand. I have successfully raised 3 girls, and the one with special needs is usually easy-going — but when she’s not… She’s not.
So of course, that throws a measure of trepidation and a larger than usual volume of planning and prevention into each outing we attempt. To admit that it is often much easier NOT to do anything extra in our lives would be an understatement, but then, that’s not really living, now, is it?
Suffice it to say that it was quite disappointing to have put all the planning into our Spring Break trip and to have it all crumble around us. And it brings to the forefront of my mind all of the other things in my life that have not gone quite as well as I had hoped, and I am then completely enfolded within the heavy blankets of discouragement.
What now? Well, I feel sorry for myself, of course.
I cry a little, because that just makes sense.
And then, since I have become quite familiar with the lure of dejection and pity parties, I make an effort to employ the tools I have learned to use over the years to keep me away from stepping off that ledge. (after the cry, that is.)
- I make an extra effort to be grateful for what I do have. Sound corny? Too bad. It works.
- I shift my focus to the One who loves me, and I praise Him. I tell Him how thankful I am that He loves me, and let Him know I love Him too. I sing to Him as many songs as I can conjure to praise Him with. What happens when I do this? My attention is turned from my problems to the God of the universe. I am reminded of how great He is. I am reminded that He is always at work, even when I do not see it. I am reminded that I am valuable to Him, and that the dreams I have were given to me by Him, so He has a vested interest. He will bring them about. And He is good all the time. Not just some of the time. All the time. And then I sit still and let Him speak to me, in whatever way He chooses to.
- When I feel myself settling in for a particularly dark moment, I get up and do something different. Like this, for example. I was sitting on the sofa only a few minutes ago, felt darkness begin to hover, and I decided to write about it instead. I still feel weak as a kitten from the joys of Flu and her cohorts over the weekend, and our attempt at going to the zoo today as a stay-cation-outing was short-lived for a variety of reasons. But life isn’t all that bad. I know that. So I don’t allow the junk to take hold if I recognize it coming.
Maybe you have some tried-and-true remedies, too. You should share below so we can all benefit.
Here’s to banishing discouragement! Onward!