We need to talk about depression.
Depression in the special needs mum or dad is so understandable but too often goes unnoticed. People see a mum crying and think she is having a bad day.
What they don’t know about is all the other nights she cried in private and no-one knew.
My eyes are more tuned to see people struggling since I have walked that path. I know what it is like to look at my child and worry for her future.
I know what it is like to feel there is no hope.
I recognise that feeling of failure when you realise your child is just not developing as they should.
I know the pain of taking your child to hospital when they should be outside playing with friends.
It is isolating when your child is disabled or has special needs and it is ok to admit that.
Society sadly expects us to be positive, upbeat and encouraging and often I see parents who are so emotionally overwhelmed, so sleep deprived, so beaten down by the system, that they have so little hope.
When you have a child who struggles with day-to-day tasks, a child who won’t eat, who cannot play in a park as the equipment is unsuitable for their needs, how would you feel?
If your child was denied the support they need, or could not communicate, or is living in pain every day, would you not be heartbroken?
Is it any wonder there is an epidemic of depression among parents of children with additional needs?
While so many are on medication, and this is vital, we also as a society need to recognise that special needs parenting is exhausting and draining.
Medication is wonderful but what about better support and understanding for our children, better care for those in society who are full time carers, training for staff so they can better meet the needs of the most vulnerable, and a society less prone to judge and quicker to encourage?
Don’t ever be afraid to tell someone you’re struggling.
Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help.