Thank you

2018 was a difficult year for two of us in this family, and I am very glad to see the back of it. It nearly broke me. But it also reminded me of all the good people in this world, as I have been supported every step of the way.  Too many to mention, from family who took a break from their own problems to visit, to real life friends who were always there for me, to on-line friends who sent presents and took an interest in everything that happened to this family, to all those people who organise the activities I have enjoyed throughout the year, and all the times my disabled daughter has been included. I even achieved a couple of firsts, with a weekend away with B and some friends to Co Kerry, as well as a morning spent wall climbing.

So a huge THANK YOU from me and mine to you and yours, and for 2019, I would wish that everyone who is struggling enjoys the same level of support as I do.

My hope for 2019 is that I will see results from all my hard work over the past 12 months, but I also know I face some difficult decisions and hard choices. Sometimes you have to take risks, and I’ve seen what happens in families that do nothing, where they just keep trying to cope. Until they can’t. I’m not going to let that happen here.

2018 highlights

 

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Baby, it’s dark outside

Velvet black skies, even at 7am. Just the glow from the orange street lights out the front. Not a sound, except the drone of the fridge.

Wide awake for the night shift, sleep did not return, and I gave up before 6 to see in St. Stephen’s Day in the calm of early morning.

Pacing around the house quietly, tidying this and cleaning that. Creating a new normal with all the lovingly given Christmas presents. Finding new homes for them. Squeezed onto shelves, squashed into drawers.

Meantime outside the darkness wraps around the red brick terraces like a new blanket, while the people who live in them sleep off the excesses of Christmas day. It’s giving so many the chance to rest, nest and reflect.

We’ve survived another year as my eldest always says. And we survived Christmas Day too, with the help of my girls and a dear friend. Today we look forward. There’s a week to fill before the manic chaos of normal life returns. Decisions, decisions.

By 8, I am joined by the early birds tweeting, and a lone bin lorry rumbles its way down the street – not ours. Our overflowing bin will have to wait until the weekend..

The first rays of light are spilling over the rooftops. Soon, very soon, my disabled daughter will be the first of the household to wake, and my time will no longer be my own.

And then I hear a giggle from the next room. She’s awake and she’s happy. It’s going to be a good day.

Baby it's dark outside

 

 

Some Festive Reasons to be Cheerful

The reasons to be cheerful team of Lakes Single Mum and Mummy from the Heart are taking a well deserved break during December, but I find myself in serious need of some positivity, so here is this week’s happy post..

Running

I haven’t been able to do Parkrun for the past two weeks, but I did dash out for a stress fuelled 5K on my own last Saturday morning, and clocked my best time of the year (27 minutes and 18 seconds).

On Thursday I headed for the Phoenix Park after a very difficult meeting, and running with my running group helped me to calm down. I can’t thank them all enough.

Winning

I rarely win anything, but I do occasionally enter competitions or buy raffle tickets and this week I won an umbrella and some toys!

B won at inclusion by being given the opportunity to work towards a modified version of the Gaisce Award, though she wasn’t too impressed that the presentation did not include cake! Gaisce – The President’s Award is awarded to young people in Ireland between the ages of 15 and 25 who participate in a set of activities for a certain period.

Christmas

One of the more serious house problems got fixed in time for Christmas, and eldest has let me know that she won’t be working on the Big Day. Also B’s wonky wheelchair issue has been sorted for now as she arrived home from her Day Programme yesterday with a replacement base, so she’ll be safely seated over the holidays. Phew!

Weekend Outings

I’ve now retired from my 14 year involvement with the Rainbow Junior Arch Club (for children with special needs, disabilities and autism) so the Christmas Party last Saturday was more than a little poignant. B loved it as usual, and I was slightly overwhelmed with the presentation at the end. Thank you, it was a pleasure helping to make so many children so happy for so many years, and I hope the club continues to thrive for many more years to come.

B, M and I visited a Christmas market at the CityNorth Hotel on Sunday, just a short road trip away, and we will certainly go back again – lots of great value and unique gifts, lovely food and music too.

So Happy Christmas to all my readers, and I’ll raise a glass to avoiding Grinches, if I can. See you on the other side.

Some Festive Reasons to Be Cheerful 2018
Phoenix Park pic, Grinch bauble, Gaisce presentation, post 5K run, market, and B in party mode.

 

Falling into the Mental Health Abyss

We’re all told to mind our mental health, so practice self care and mindfulness, to talk about our problems, and pace ourselves. But what happens when that is not enough? What happens when you beg for help and it simply isn’t there?

I am dealing with this situation in relation to a family member right now; it is completely overwhelming and a huge struggle. It’s hard to think clearly about the problems here, let alone define the problems with the system, but others who’ve faced this before do understand and can see clearly, and it was comforting to read these words of wisdom from Jackie (@ja54kki) this morning, and please follow her on twitter.

When we had a major crisis here in the past , the services were basically the police. I remember asking an Educational Psychologist years ago if CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) provided an emergency service – and the answer was ‘no’. There’s the gap that needs to be filled.

The police can only do so much. Accompany you to A&E if needed, and/or stay until things have calmed. Paramedics can help with injury and arrange emergency medication through an emergency GP. Then, you’re left. No support in place.

I believe there is an emergency social services number for a bed, but how the hell could you place an already stressed and anxious young person in a strange setting with strange people? Where is this “ wraparound” care I used to hear about? More meaningless jargon.

There needs to be support in place to come to your home in an emergency. Very often a fresh face helps to de- escalate. Not rocket science. We need a service like this desperately, we shouldn’t have to use police services in this way. Not fair on them or us. 

What do you think?