Hi everyone! I hope you all are doing well and had a great week. Today I want to talk about the importance of having support as family members of people with special needs. In the past 2 weeks, I have really thought a lot about the topic of support, and I want to share my story and thoughts on it.
In my opinion, having a support system for yourself is the best thing you can do for your personal well being. Let's just put it out there, life with someone with special needs can be really lonely. It can feel like no one understands what you are feeling and that you are alone in your journey. Finding people who understand/can help you understand your life is a game changer. Not only will it help your personal well being, but it can also help your family by having the resource of someone else going through something similar to you. It is really hard to find someone who has a family member completely similar to yours, because all people with special needs are different in at least one aspect, but just having someone to talk to can be so beneficial.
As long as I can remember, my mom was always involved in a parent support group for people who had kids with special needs, and to this day, she still is. This group of moms and families gave my parents people to talk to as well as support and guidance for navigating life with Cate. They still meet as often as they can to talk and have a large Facebook page for moms in our area. As well as the original support group we had, when Cate was diagnosed officially with NAA10 Deficiency (we did not know what she had for over 20 years!), we were invited into an NAA10 family support group as well where we connected with other families similar to ours. There are a lot of parent support groups out there, you just have to seek out and find them because they are incredible resources and friends.
Personally, finding support for myself has always been really hard. There are not a lot of support groups/positive resources for siblings of people with special needs out there. I was really lonely in elementary school because I did not know anyone else who had a sibling with special needs. It was really hard on me and my parents tried to find a support group for me. There was one sibling support group in our area, so I went to it, and wow did I not like it. The support group did not have the support I was looking for, because I just found it to be a big pity party. There was way too much conversation about what was wrong with our lives, rather than giving each other advice and support for our lives. I have always thought about support this way: I love my life and would never change it, I just want support and advice how to get through the challenges I have, so I can keep loving my life. It took me a really long time to find this support, but I am getting there. I now have one close friend who has a sibling with special needs and we always have each other if we ever needed anything, and that has been really amazing. For me personally though, getting a therapist changed my life. Being in therapy is not something I talk about a lot, but it is what made a difference in my life. Having someone to give you the tools and support you need to keep loving your life is a game changer.
Don't be afraid to reach out for help and support, because it is the healthiest and best thing you can do for yourself. Creating and giving support is the reason that this blog was made, because I want to be that positive supporting resource that took me so long to find. Never be hesitant to contact me for anything you need. If you want me to talk about a specific topic as well, send me a message. I hope you all have a great weekend and week ahead.