How do we deal with burn out??


We talk alot about the needs of the person with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) but honestly it is important to talke about the needs of the caregiver.  Can any of us be on our A game all the time?  Truly to maintain a calm demeanor and let it all roll off is not something that anyone can do all the time.  How often is it that we just are tired and need a moment to deal with a problem that has to be dealt with right now?

In order to take care of a person who needs an external brain pretty much 24/7 the fact is that the caregiver has to have a way to relax and unwind.  Okay but it you are needed 24/7 when is that time to relax?  This is where the support system has to come in and how is it that a support system can get built?  It is absolutely pivotal that the caregiver have people who are willing to listen and be non judgmental.  These people need to understand that the caregiver is not crazy that they are trying to explain a brain injury that can be very devious.  See some of our kids sound great.  They may be able to talk incredibly well but perhaps don’t always understand the messages they are receiving.  The FASD person may be exceedingly bright but still have severe impulsivity issues.  Just because they are bright does not mean that they may not need assistance to stay safe.  The fact is that the brighter the FASD person is the more they may not get the help they need.  This help may just be that they are easily victimized.  So many FASD people are very giving and will give away their money, food and prize possesions so they still need that external brain.  As caregivers we need to know that there is someone willing to learn to be that for our FASD people so we can have a break.  If we get that break we are more likely to really shine for our children instead of just muddling through.  I know that even having a few hours for myself enables me to come home and be ready to understand instead of feeling the frustration of burn out.  I encourage all people to try to learn about FASD and to look into the need of the families dealing with this largely invisible disability.  Stop judging parents and see that they are trying to educate and ask for help.

I know that I hear the most from families about how cut off they begin to feel from the outside world.  They feel as though they have no one who could or would fill their shoes for even those few precious hours.  Often families are broken apart due to frustration and anger.  There are huge chasms created when well meaning family members try to brush away the parents needs or concerns with “if you would only…” or the wonderful “well you got yourself into it.”  Hmmm…think of what a difference you could or would make by just listening and trying to learn and understand the needs.  I challenge all to ask how you could help a family dealing with FASD to not have burn out!!  I hope to hear many success stories in the future.

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About fasmom

The adoptive mom to 12 wonderful children who are affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and other issues including Reactive Attachment Disorder, bipolar, schizophrenia, CP, epilepsy and oh the list goes on...The thing is these children have taught me things about myself I never knew and would not have missed out on learning. Married to an amazing man and enjoying life on a sheep ranch.
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3 Responses to How do we deal with burn out??

  1. Jarrod Anderson says:

    One thing that may help is Respite Care which is a program through South Dakota Dept. of Social Services. For qualifying famlies, it sends a stipend to use for babysitting services to allow the primary caregiver a chance to “take a breath and recharge.”

  2. Shanny says:

    We have almost zero support parenting our FASD child. We are so burnt out. There’s no funding for parents with kids who have FASD. There’s also no funds for respite care as well. All we can do is survive day by day and at the point where we are counting down the days he is old enough to move out and having him placed in a group home. It’s sad in a sense but the way things are going and he’s 14 going on 15. I’m so DONE being his mother and look forward to the day he is forever out of our home. I think it’s mostly because of the lack of support for parents like me and no funds for children like him. I’m truly alone in our struggles.

    • fasmom says:

      Shanny you are bringing up exactly why I keep talking and praying people will listen that if we did have support less families would feel so incredibly burnt out. In the end it would save money as there would be less disruption! I am so incredibly sorry that you are feeling so alone. I hope that you know there are others of us out there. We do have a facebook support group called Roots to Wings FASD support. It won’t fix it all but will at least give you connections to others for those hard times.

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