As a parent of a child with a disability, how do I take care of my mental health?
Caregivers of children with disabilities have shown higher levels of financial and psychological stressors than caregivers with neurotypical children. Dr. Stutman reminds us that taking care of yourself and your mental health will not only fill you up to better take care of your kids, but it’s also a great way to model self-love and self-care. And, she says, remember not to be too hard on yourself. There’s no “magic bullet” that is going to make everything run smoothly, so managing expectations and being okay with things not going 100% according to plan can also help ease anxiety and stress.
If you’re feeling dysregulated and defeated, and all the parenting books aren’t helping, it may be time to speak to a professional, even if it’s for a couple of sessions, to get that additional support and coping-with-parenting skills. Dr. Stutman also emphasizes how much healing can take place in a support group and being around people who share similar struggles and experiences.
For specific ideas to incorporate more self-care into you and your family's life, and tips on how to find a mental health professional, see this article.