Asking for help

Recently, a mother shot and killed her 5 year old daughter and herself. She also shot her 7 year old son who has Down's, and he's barely clinging to life. It's been determined that she became so overwhelmed as a special needs mother. She showed no signs of anything being wrong, on the outside. But the truth is, no one knows what was going on on the inside, nor for how long.

Often times, we wait for people to ask for help thinking "if they need or want help, they will ask." But you know what . . . that's just simple not the case. We don't ask for help when we need it because we don't want to be a burden to those around us. We don't want to seem unfit. We don't want to seem weak. We don't want to appear to be bad parents. There's such a stigma surrounding mental health and needing help, I just don't get it. 

I always need help! I need it on a daily basis. There are sometimes I just need someone to listen to me on the phone. There are times I just need someone to come over and occupy Mr. B while I get a shower, do the laundry, take a nap, or go to the store. Praise Jesus for Kroger Clicklist! Seriously! There are days when I need to call someone and say, "can you just keep him for a while so I can listen to silence for an hour." I'm blessed with a support system of people who know this, and do help. Why? Because I've vocalized that need to them. Not everyone has, or can. 

Being a parent is hard, being a single parent is harder, being a single special needs parent is the hardest. He's with me nearly 730 hours out of 730 hours a week. I'm his one and only caregiver, and I'm here to tell you I can't do it alone 24/7. I need that help. And for a long time, I too was too....I don't even ask. And when I did ask I was met with, "God doesn't put more on you than you can handle." People, that is NOT what the Bible says at all! Or I heard, "You should feel blessed he's not any worse than he is." WHAT THE EVER LOVING WHAT?!

If you have friends or loved ones who parent kids with health care needs, here are a just a few things you can do to help.

1.) Don't ask, just do. I'm the type, if you ask me if I need help I will plaster a smile on my face and say, "Nope. I got it!" When the reality is I'm wishing you'd just help anyway. If you go over and see dishes that need to be done, or laundry that needs folding just help! "I know you have it more hectic than me. I'm not asking if you need my help, I'm here to help so I'm asking what you need done first. You pick, laundry or dishes. Now...go sit down, and RELAX!" I will feel guilty to just sit there, so I have to be made to sit down.

2.) to them. Ask about the kids. Ask if you can pick up the kids and take them to a movie, out to eat, for ice cream, etc.

3.) Ask before buying gifts. I can't tell you how many times the most well meaning gifts end up making my life so much harder. Yes, YES I realize my child LOVES water balloons. DON'T BUY THEM and just give them to him! Why? Because it will set off a chain reaction of hours of non stop asking for them over....and over....and over.....and over thanks to preservative thinking. Ask me what he needs. Ask me what he could use. Ask me what would be the best thing to get for him.

4.) Don't try to make me feel better by pointing out how much worse it could be. I'm well aware of the blessing God has given me. That doesn't mean my life is all rainbows and butterflies. I am well aware there are those who have it worse. Trying to guilt trip me into feeling better won't work.

5.) Stop the over zealous judgement. Don't tell me I'm being too hard when I say no candy after 7pm, or if I say no to that 5th slice of pizza at 8pm. I have my reasons why that you may not know about. Candy after 7pm could result in him still being awake at 3am. That 5th slice of Pizza at 8pm could result in hours of vomiting the next day.

6.) Don't exclude us. Don't think you know better than me what my child can and can't tolerate, and don't use that as an excuse to exclude us from your life. It's not an excuse. If you dont' want us there, be honest and lets go our separate ways. But don't tell me that you would have invited us, but you didn't want him to be overwhelmed, etc. Let me make that decision. The worst thing in the world you can do is isolate us more than we already are. We need that interaction just like anyone else, but we need it with love and compassion.

Now I'm not saying the family who has suffered this horrible tragedy could have prevented the events that have happened. There's no way to know that at all, and I'm sure they have been racking their brains trying to pinpoint signs or anything that would have predicted what ultimately happened. What I am saying is, reach out to others. Help them even when they say they don't need help. Make sure you're really being a help. And don't exclude them.