Public lives and behind the scene

I have spoken before about the public face and private face of social media and how very few of us (including me) share the ugly stuff of life in all its rawness when we post. Every now and then I break the rules and share some of the gritty stuff, not as a cry for help and attention but as a way of letting other people who are also going through a hard time know that they are not alone. I have a safe space on Facebook in a group of parents who have kids on the spectrum, or with ADHD, or the myriad of acronyms our children are diagnosed with. It is wonderful to talk about school refusal, medication side effects, the latest broken appliance or hole in the wall (none for a while luckily!) with people who don’t judge or offer advice like ‘you need to be stricter’, or ‘you need to stop them manipulating you’ or ‘have you tried changing his diet’. But I don’t tend to post that stuff in the open.

Sometimes it is because I just don’t want people to know how hard life is, other times I don’t want to deal with their pity. Because one of the absolutely hardest things in the life of a single parent of kids with special needs is that there actually isn’t anything anyone can do to make it better. It is my responsibility and my joy and my burden. And it is exhausting and rewarding and draining and bloody hard work. And even though I really just want to run away and hide some days, I don’t. Because where would I go, and how much worse would things be when I got back?

So my reality for today is that while I am feeling particularly broken today there is always something to keep me going. Today I managed to get my boy to school for the first time this week and as I sat outside the school after dropping him off, waiting to see if he would run away in the first 15 minutes, so I would know whether it was safe to drive away I felt like crying. But then I decided to drive past Spotlight to see if they had any new colours of t-shirt yarn and found they had a sale on all yarn! A full basket later I was back to counting my blessings and remembering how privileged I am compared to so many others. Because shopping therapy had brightened my day. (Well – lifted it a bit anyway.). Then I then popped into an op shop and heard a well dressed young woman with three kids in tow explaining that she was there for the food bank because her husband had left and she had no money to feed her children. I would put money on the fact that she wasn’t advertising that on social media. And yet there she was, being brave and resilient for her children. Getting on with life.

My message in all this? You know that saying about not judging people because you don’t know what they are battling? It is a good one to hold on to and to practice. It doesn’t matter how people are dressed or where you see them shopping. You don’t know their story and you don’t know how much kindness they need in their life. Be kind, always.

As for me? Creating is my therapy of choice as you know, so I have been busy making things and trying to ignore housework. And drinking tea.

5 thoughts on “Public lives and behind the scene

  1. Rebecca

    Making things is excellent therapy. So is sharing a cuppa with friends. You know I will always have one waiting for you. (((Hugs!)))

  2. Jane

    I too have raised a child with similar problems and told very few people what I was going through, because no one understands your individual complications. They are all different and we all fight the good fight to do the best we can for them. We don’t need others to give suggestions or criticism, what we need is strong support while we are doing it the best way we can. Mine was my granddaughter. Her mother was not able to and did not want to deal with her so I took her. Let me say though, she is 17 now and growing into a wonderful person. She still has severe social anxiety, but the violent behavior is amazingly faded away. She is a blessing and I would go through it all over again for her. I too resorted to creating things late at night after she had finally fallen to sleep It was a way of renewing myself. Hang in there. You will find your way through the rough times.

    1. a little bird made me Post author

      I suspect that you were her blessing too. Thank you for sharing, and for understanding. And thank you for seeing the potential in your granddaughter and helping her to find her way. And yes! Renewal is a great word to describe the benefits of creativity!!


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