We are in the middle of a pandemic. I didn’t even know what the word pandemic meant and now I’m hearing the word every single day. Our lives are changing, and everything is going through a massive shift for every single one of us. We are all experiencing the same kind of traumatic shift in our lives and it’s a really good time to take a step back and look at the picture as a whole and try to find meaning, purpose, and the light at the end of the tunnel. We just want to know that we’ll be okay. So, in this episode, I want to tell you, guess what? You ARE going to be okay. The world is going to be okay. We are all going to get through this, I promise you. 

How Special Needs Parenting Has Prepared Us For the Corona Virus

Autism and epilepsy is such a blessing because when you witness your child suffering, you learn how to be comfortable with uncertainty, and you know that tomorrow is never promised. You learn how to enjoy the good things in your life and enjoy the present moment. You don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Now that this pandemic is out there, the world is experiencing the same thing that special needs parents experience, but they are all experiencing it at the same time. I think that a lot of us have already experienced that trauma and shock in our life. One day our future looks a certain way and the next we are dealing with doctors, a diagnosis, and a child we don’t know how to raise. We don’t feel like we have the support and are alone without any tools or guidebooks. This reality that we’ve been living is now what the world is seeing.

Why Am I Not Panicking? 

It’s been a really tough week for me because I have been dealing with people close to me not understanding why I’m not panicking and being hysterical like the rest of the world. It appears that I’m not taking this whole thing seriously. 

That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s just that when you practice being calm in a storm. When you see how your response affects all those around you, you start to be very conscious of how you show up.

That’s a lesson that Remy taught me. We have to learn to be present in our lives so that outside circumstances don’t dictate the level of joy and contentment and wellbeing.

I’ve learned that becoming anxious and fearful about outside circumstances only put us in a state of paralysis. And being moms and caregivers, we don’t have time to freak out. 

you can only panic and freak out for so long before you can’t move anymore. 

Your brain is not meant for that fight or flight all the time. It is meant for periods of anxiety, so you can run away from a saber tooth tiger, but once it’s gone it should go back to normal. When you are in a constant state of stress, that is when you get sick and have severe anxiety. That’s when you have mental breakdowns and panic attacks or heart attacks. 

This pandemic is the perfect opportunity to learn how to get through a storm in one piece. 

How Is The Special Needs Community Doing?  

One of the first things I thought of when the whole pandemic started becoming a thing is that our special needs parent community might just crumble with the thoughts of their kids getting sick. It turns out that I was mostly wrong. This community is doing a hundred percent better than most other people. 

This pandemic is going to end up being a blessing in the world. If you can’t see that as a blessing right now, it’s only because we are going through a storm at this moment and the sun is being blocked by the clouds. But you know that the storm always passes, and the sun and the birds come out eventually. 

How To Respond To the Corona Virus

Things are going to be different. It’s going to be hard and hurt a little bit. You don’t know what tomorrow is going to look like, if school will open again, how long the epidemic will last, or how long we’ll be inside our homes. But the sooner you can surrender to it and say, “okay God, I give up trying to control everything. I get it. I surrender” the sooner your brain will have room in it to start taking the next steps you need to. When you fill your head with anxiety, worry, fear, and pandemonium, there’s not enough room in your brain to think creatively. 

If you are someone who has anxiety, don’t watch the news. Don’t let the fear of the world come into your mind. Putting anxious thoughts in your head will not make anything better. It sounds SO obvious, but anxious people are attracted to the news and more anxiety. So if you are bringing anxious thoughts in, then paranoia, fear, worry, and doubt will come out and then you become a victim. 

Are We Going to Be Okay? 

All of this is going to end. We’re going to be able to come out of our houses and go back to work and our life will resume. But it’s important to ask yourself when you look back at this time, what will you remember? Are you going to see it’s full of worry, doubt, yelling at your husband and kids? Or is it going to be a time where you say you had fun with your family, played games, laughed, went for walks, had dance parties, and connected as a family? 

You’re going to be okay, no matter what happens. I promise you. I know this because I’ve been through it all and I’ve come out the other side. My life has never been as good as it is right now, in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of my daughter having a severe seizure disorder that could take her life any day, and her future with autism completely unknown. 

Your special needs child is given as a gift to teach you how to rise above fear and anxiety and pandemics. Being a special needs parent is a blessing. And the clarity I’ve gotten around that statement has never become more clear than in this pandemic and crisis that we’re facing as a world. So more than ever, I am thankful for every single hardship I’ve gone through. I’ve learned and am learning how to get through the storms and trust that it’s always for the greater good. 

Important Takeaways

  1. If you are just processing an autism diagnosis or any kind with your kid, then you are probably getting hit with a double whammy here. If that’s you, I just want to tell you I PROMISE you are going to get through this and in the end, it will all be a blessing. 
  2. If you struggle with anxiety, don’t watch the news. Don’t let the fear of the world come into your mind. Putting anxious thoughts in your head will not make anything better. 
  3. All of this is going to end eventually and we’re going to be able to come out of our houses and go back to work and resume a normal life. But it’s important to ask yourself what you want your family and your kids to remember. Do you want them to think about fear, stress, and anxiety? Or how this brought you closer as a family and fostered amazing memories you never would’ve had without this pandemic. 
  4. Autism and epilepsy is such a blessing because when you witness your child suffering or struggling, you learn how to be comfortable with uncertainty, and you know that tomorrow is never promised. Being special needs parents have prepared us for this season of uncertainty because we as parents have already felt it. 
  5. This pandemic will end and everything will go back to normal. But it is important to practice valuing each day, and living in the moment, without cluttering our minds with fear and anxiety. Being in a constant state of anxiety will only hurt you. 

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