Hey guys. It’s been a while. I stopped writing as it felt so loud online and I didn’t want to add to the chaos. Since it seems like the whole world has devolved into complete craziness, I thought I’d write a welcome letter to those trying to figure out how this works.
Let me start with some background. Our daughter Claire is 14 and has Rett Syndrome. In addition to being a bright eyed, smart-ass teenager, she can’t control her body and is dependent on others to care for her. She takes medication 6 times a day, is spoon fed meals 4 times a day and needs to stand up out of her wheelchair and take a few steps every hour or two. It’s a lot. We never know when she will aspirate during a seizure and wind up in ICU for a week (that happened last August) or when she will have a long streak of health (that happened last July).
Because of this we spend a lot of time in our safe space at home. We are terrible at making plans because we got tired of breaking them when she wasn’t well and we are often just too tired to hold a conversation. I always keep an insane amount of medical supplies and food on hand because crazy hits us and I can’t manage ordering in those seasons as well. When the world flipped upside down, there really wasn’t anything different for me to do. It was in that moment that I realized just how crazy our day to day life is. Our life is also beautiful and wonderful and full of joy, which is why I am writing today.
The thing is, I feel for you as you are scared and overwhelmed and trying to figure out how this is going to work. How are you going to stay sane at home for so long? Particularly my fellow extroverts, this is hard! Is there a drug to treat this? What exactly are the CDC and FDA indicating about these trials? How can there be such a thing with no way to treat it? Why is there so much conflicting information? How is this going to effect me? Will it ruin me financially or will I get sick? Welcome to Rettland as I affectionately call this world that we live in where I try to find balance between a life with Rett Syndrome and one that revolves around it.
As somebody who has been living in crazy for 12 years, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me and I thought maybe some of this could encourage you.
- Don’t SHOULD on yourself. If you find yourself thinking “I should…” give pause because it’s most likely fine if you don’t
- Talk to a real, live person. There is something about talking instead of texting that allows for a better human connection that can go a long way to fighting depression and anxiety
- SLEEP! If it’s the only thing you do, try and get a solid 8 hours of sleep whenever possible, your brain needs it
- Laugh, or cry, but feeling when possible is good
- Music, movement and art are also good things to help
There’s no right or wrong way to get through a crisis so be gentle with yourself. We are all a bit irrational at the moment. Keep breathing and if you have access to one, dogs and cats can do wonders for a terrible day. I’d love to hear what you are doing during this time to stay sane.
To my family that has been living in chaos for longer than they remember, I see you and I know you are tired. Even though you’ve been told this before, you are stronger than you know and you got this. You’ve already got a whole hospital at home and this is your time to shine!