Last night I spent hours crying. I eventually cried myself to sleep.
I spent a good bit of time trying to talk to my husband, to explain how I’m feeling, to express to him that I’m already regretting agreeing to create and facilitate a parent support group. There’s simply too much work to be done even for one able-bodied person, certainly there is too much for someone facing pending surgery who lives with chronic pain every day.
I was the Parent Co-Chair of a Task Force set up for Parents, for some 6 years. I worked incredibly hard for the Task Force, gathering all the resources for a Parent Care Package (a ring binder filled with information and materials to assist parents in better understanding the special education system and how to navigate it. The binder also doubled as a place parents could keep and organize their child’s educational/placement documents) as well as creating documents such as a glossary of terms, tips and hints, etc. I created all the flyers for monthly meetings, the brochure we distributed, protected name badges for key members and a stenciled table cloth/banner we used on our resource table at events. I kept and maintained a record of minutes and created agendas. I stuffed envelopes and completed monthly mailings.
I did all of that while meeting my responsibilities at my social service job and managing my son’s program as well as my home. I was healthier then, than I am now. I had half as many diagnoses as I do now. I was still driving on a regular basis, attending and facilitating trainings and workshops as well as managing a grant for ‘transition’ for students leaving school for adult life.
I don’t share these things to brag, but to demonstrate how I tackle things and assume the responsibility for things getting accomplished, something I was concerned about in this endeavor and wrote about before I even got started. I thought of this endeavor as a ‘test’, one that I realize I am already failing miserably.
Today, I’m truly lucky to get through a day completing ‘every day tasks’ of a stay at home mom. I take pain killers in the morning so I can begin my day and I have to sit down, sometimes lie down to rest several times throughout the day. Some days the pain is just too great to even attempt doing much of anything. If not for my power chair I wouldn’t be able to do much of anything productive around the house.
Situations like this really bring into focus for me just how much my life has changed, just how much I’m no longer able to do. The stress of doing something like this is overwhelming for me, it was overwhelming when I was working 7 years ago, as I had a migraine almost daily, my blood pressure topped out at 189/101, but I was able to push through, not so any longer.
I was thinking, when I agreed to do this, that not only could I feel I was contributing again, but I could benefit from making some new friends and socializing with parents who understand and know what I’ve had to deal with throughout the years.
I was talking to my husband, trying to share how I’m feeling, asking him for some advice, only to discover he’d fallen asleep while I was talking to him. The other night while talking to a friend on the phone, she encouraged me to share a situation I’ve been dealing with and I was talking to her until I realized she hadn’t responded in any way for quite a while. I had to raise my voice saying, ‘hello? hello!’ several times before my friend responded, only to tell me she was chatting with someone and was very upset about what had been said by that person, she hadn’t heard anything I’d said to her and rather than apologizing and asking what I needed to talk about she simply changed the subject and began to tell me what the other person was saying and doing. This sort of topped off a number of incidents where I thought I was chatting with someone online only to discover they either weren’t reading what I was writing, were chatting with someone else, or weren’t even there.
I had been corresponding with a peer supporter I’d been matched with, for mentoring in the process of setting up and managing the support group, via email, but she just kept asking me the same question over and over again, even though I was answering her. It was as if she wasn’t even reading my responses or was dismissing what I said.
At the end of the day when my husband fell asleep while I was trying to share with him, I’d just had enough. So often I feel as if no one is listening, oh they pretend they are, they even encourage me to share, but then they reveal they are really doing something else, chatting with someone else, or they just change the subject without any acknowledgment of it at all. This is one of the things that riles me up about my Godson… his lack of consideration for the thoughts and feelings of others.
I know people have lives, they have their own crap to deal with, I get that because I do too, but what is so unfair is when they expect me to be there for them, to listen to them, I try to be there, be supportive, even when I couldn’t give a rat’s you-know-what about what they are talking about… it’s just the courteous thing to do, to show respect for what’s important to them. This is what started this whole falling out with my Godson, his expectation that I would be there and listen to whatever was important to him even though he refuses to show me the same consideration.
Why don’t people understand that when they don’t pay attention to what’s important to others, when they dismiss the feelings of others, when they treat people with disrespect they are perpetrating emotional abuse?
I spent hours struggling with feelings of worthlessness, no value, feeling as if I am a burden to others, that my struggles and concerns have no meaning to anyone, even my family, they are unimportant, not even worthy of consideration, that they are not worth acknowledging.
I hope this meltdown relieves some of the stress. It brought on a serious migraine that I dealt with for the day, but I’m hoping I’ve let off some of the highly charged emotions, so I can better cope with the situation I now find myself in.
I wish I knew what was the matter with people, why demonstrating a little consideration is so terribly difficult. If I treated others the way they routinely treat me they wouldn’t let me hear the end of it.
I think I might have to take up talking to myself, at least that way I know someone is listening!