I’ve been quiet lately. I haven’t been writing as much. We hit quite a wall with therapy right around Christmas. We finished the sensory program that we were doing with music therapy and did not see the results that we (and our therapist) were hoping for. In fact, we have really in the thick of it with behavior yet again. It’s something that I haven’t found the words to write about it yet.
So, January started and it was time to regroup. We’ve been treading slowly through to the next steps. But, more than anything Sensory Dad and I have had a more difficult time coping with the stress of parenting a special needs child. It’s a heavy weight to carry. When you push through therapy hoping for positive outcomes and get to the point where you’ve exhausted the best therapy in the nation, hope leaves quickly.
But today, what I really wanted to tell you about was how Sensory Dad and I are doing. I had wanted to write about marriage more this month with Valentine’s Day coming up.
We’ve been learning about how we each process the waves of emotions that come with parenting a child with extreme needs and behavioral challenges. We each process it differently and both ways are not wrong. I have more of a need to talk things through, to research, to connect relationally in our marriage. Sensory Dad does not. He wants to withdraw, he wants to relax watch, TV and have a beer. It’s simply the way each of us as individuals process stress.
But what happens in marriage too often is that we can get easily upset that our spouse doesn’t process things the same way that we do. He tries really hard to talk things through with me but it’s a challenge for him. I never feel like just watching TV because I know that once I shut it off, all the stress is still right there waiting for me.
So what do we do with this? There is really two parts to this equation. First, recognizing our individual differences and giving each other room to process it how we need to. Knowing how we each need to cope with stress helps us make sense of each other. It helps him know what I need. It helps me understand why he wants to be done talking.
The second part of this is to come along side each other with whatever the need may be. For us it’s usually just telling each other what we need. I am usually the one who’s saying, I really need to talk through this with you and even though it’s hard for Sensory Dad to do, I know that he’s trying and there is a point where I need to recognize that’s all he’s got to give and then curl up and watch a movie with him because that’s what he needs.
Along, with this is how you process stress together while living life. Sensory Dad and I have the tendency to just quite honestly hunker down and live through it. It means we say no to a lot of activities. It means we don’t do a lot of “normal” family things like going to church. It means we are both fighting just to get through the tough days, because our tough days are extreme. Some, get busy with other things to distract them and we’ve done that to. And sometimes, we fill our days we activities hoping it will go well and knowing that it probably won’t. It just depends on the day.
It’s the day in day out that we get through and remind ourselves that every day we show up, we do our best, we survive. And as hard as that is to accept sometime that’s all we have to give.