This may sound like it would be counterproductive, but one of the best ways to cope with the stress of being an Autism parent is to use your experience to help others. That’s sound crazy right? I know it does but let me explain.
When I first began my Autism parenting journey almost seventeen years ago, the stress was unbearable. I was on edge all the time and barely slept. I didn’t know what to do and felt like I was completely lost in the dark, trying to find my way.
I began blogging under the title Lost and Tired. It was basically a digital journal that helped me to process things. I could write about what I experienced or how I felt and walk away from it feeling lighter.
I soon discovered that there were countless others out there like me, feeling just as lost, overwhelmed and exhausted as I did.
What I learned was that people found comfort in the knowledge that they aren’t alone on this journey and it made a huge difference in their lives. I began writing more and sharing my personal experiences being an Autism parent. I shared the good, bad and ugly. I shared my victories and especially my mistakes, of which there were many.
After awhile, I realized that I was actually helping people, and that felt good.
There was an overwhelming sense of satisfaction in taking a bad situation and turning it into something positive. Just so we’re clear, my kids having Autism wasn’t the bad. The bad was simply the challenges, exhaustion, stress, and overwhelming feeling that I was failing my kids because I couldn’t make anything better for them.
Helping others has become the single biggest way I cope with the challenges in my life. Knowing that someone is benefiting from my efforts to help the Autism community assists me in processing and putting behind me, all I’ve experienced.
Not only am I helping myself, I’m helping myself and most importantly, I’m giving my kids a better version of me at the same time.
Helping others doesn’t have to be what I do. Maybe it’s making a phone call or sending am email to another parent that is struggling. I know that when I get a phone call or email from someone wanting to know how I’m doing, it can make all the difference in the world and give me the strength to finish out the day.
Everyone’s situation is different but we can all learn from each other.
I used to think that doing all that I do would take energy away that is reserved for my kids but in truth, helping others actually refuels my tank and helps me to keep moving forward.
This may not work for everyone but imagine if using your experience to help others, helped you just as much.