Parenting a child with additional needs when you are mentally ill

Parenting is the hardest job in the world. Parenting a child with additional needs is even harder. Trying to parent whilst you have mental illness is even harder than that. So imagine all three mixed together and you just *might* see a glimpse into my world .

Today, has been a particularly hard day for both me and the Foo – luckily active Girl stayed at her nans last night so she was spared the emotional meltdown .

Now, normally I’m the mum who hides her illness from the kids – yes they know I’m poorly and need to rest and take pills to make me feel better but I never show the worst of the illness in front of them , I’ve been known to be curled up hidden in the kitchen in silent sobs before wiping my tears away putting on a smile and taking them to school , both none the wiser.

Which is why today has shaken me slightly , it came from nowhere first of all – I awoke feeling happier in a long time , I actually felt rested for once – like I was slowly getting some semblance of normality into my life.

However, the Foo had other ideas , he’s back to not wanting to go to school again , he refused to get dressed , refused to let me help him get dressed and ended up locking himself naked in the bathroom. I tried all the usual tricks , coaxing him, joking with him, distracting him but to no avail.

The pressure was on , there was 10 mins before our lift would arrive and I knew we had to be ready otherwise my dad would be irritable and shout at the pair of us causing the situation to be ten times worse.

Then there’s the pressure of him having to go to school – the 95% attendance target is hot and parents are being called in for interviews if the kids don’t reach it – non attendance means fines I can’t afford to pay.

Add my personal need that he goes to school , I need to be able to come home and rest for two hours to be able to deal with the afternoon shenanigans home time brings – the constant attention he craves , the refusal to sleep and the three hours it takes until he does .

I need to sleep otherwise my illness becomes worse and I feel I can’t cope .

Its all become too much and I hate to say it as I love and adore him so much but his behaviour triggers me. Most of the time I can deal with it but it’s been 8 years and there’s just no sign of relief.

I completely lost it , my voice wasn’t even my own , it was something primal , deep and evil …. I told him to stay away from me , I told him that was it … I locked up the house so he was safe and couldn’t escape and went to bed and sobbed for an hour .

Something i have never done and never thought I would…. something i wish I hadn’t .

But he was then good as gold he kept himself entertained for an hour whilst I composed myself. He even carried a bag for me when we had to go to the shops .

Of course , it didn’t last long after an hour he was back to same old Foo – demanding I do twenty things for him at once , mucking about.

The thing is I understand that his brain works differently from other kids , like mine does from other adults , that’s why I am patient with him compared to how others react when he starts but I’m seriously at the point where I don’t know how much more I can take. He recovers quickly from his meltdowns , I take days to. That’s the difference.

We ve spent time talking today , he’s promised he ll go in the rest of the week , I’ve apologised for my behaviour and told him I love him. We ve built minecraft houses together and he’s happy as Larry but me ? I just want to curl up somewhere and sleep , I already can’t face tomorrow.

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