My eyes sting with tiredness as I open them, I rub them trying to clear the blur.
I’m tired. I’m always tired, I can’t remember when I wasn’t.
I think back to when my 1st child was a newborn, and I felt overwhelmed with tiredness from the sleepless nights. Well little did I know that was just the beginning, little did I know that was just the tip of the tiredness iceberg.
My disabled son woke during the night, and he bangs his head even in slumber, that’s made me tired. But last night my own mind also kept me awake just like it did the night before, and the night before that, and the night before that. .
Thinking, over thinking, worrying. .
My mind doesn’t stop. .
I get on with my day by caring for my disabled son, lifting, cleaning, dressing , getting him onto his school transport. .
I look after my other children, making sure they’ve eaten, bags packed, hair brushed.
My mind’s still whirling faster and faster ‘ I need to phone SALT ‘ ‘ I must answer those emails’ ‘ did he keep his belt done up on the bus ‘
Do the housework, walk the dog, get some shopping. My mind is not taking a break, thinking, thinking, worrying ‘ have I got all the correct paperwork ready for the next appointment ‘ ‘ did I change the school transport for tomorrow morning ‘ ‘ make sure the house is cleaned, i don’t want anyone thinking I can’t cope ‘
Sort the paperwork, make those phone calls, order unflavoured toothpaste. My mind is working at full speed now, ‘ is my son cared for right when I’m not around ‘ ‘ how long will i be able to care for him ‘ ‘ what happens when I’m too old ‘ ‘ what happens to him when I’ve passed away ‘
It never occurred to me before having a disabled child what would put the most pressure on me in my adult life, what would push me the hardest, what would expect the most of me, what would be my fiercest critic, what would exhaust me the most. .
I didn’t know that thing would be my own mind. .
I’ve heard of caregivers burnout and I know the symptoms. I now know how they feel. .
Withdrawal from friends.
Loss of interest in activities.
Feeling furious one minute, helpless the next.
Change in appetite.
Catching every bug.
Snapping at people.
Emotionally and physically exhausted.
This isn’t just tiredness and I’m certainly not the only one that feels this whole new level of tired. .
When asked if we’re OK, why do we only say ” yes I’m fine, I’m just tired “?
Because that answer is a lot easier to say than the whole truth. .