Welcome! Let’s Weather This Storm Together
On Wednesday September 5th 2007 at 11:30am (to be specific) I learned that my daughter had a rare genetic syndrome called Smith-Magenis Syndrome (SMS).
I had never heard of this diagnosis before and when a life-changing event occurs it is remarkably easy to remember every single detail of that moment. I first remember feeling scared and profoundly alone.
My fright/flight response was in full force and I was trying to figure out how I could flee from this devastating situation yet at the same time there was a part of me that was preparing to fight against whatever was ahead of me.
Here I am now, almost a decade later, and I am living it, surviving it, and honestly I am thriving. I feel ready to help you do the same no matter what you are dealing with. My personal experiences with special needs helped me become a better therapist. I have taken the skills I learned through my own struggles and have been able to help others do the same in their own lives. Whether you are dealing with special needs, chronic illness, changes in your relationship, job loss…. Life isn’t easy, but together we can figure out how you can do it, too. Life isn’t just about living, it’s about thriving.
The first and most important thing you can do is to allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling. Cry if you need to. It is cleansing to both the mind and soul.
Choose your closest and most trusted friend to do this with because there will come a time when you prefer that others do not remember you this way. You may have a very long road ahead of you.
Protect your vulnerabilities. Once you have experienced the first (because there probably will be more) round of crying, then start talking. Talk to anyone who will listen. Whatever you are going through, it’s helpful to go through it with someone else whom you trust.
Trust me that you want to avoid those dark thoughts until you have at least recovered from the initial shock of this unexpected life change. By talking to others you will slowly learn what is needed to begin an action plan (but if that doesn’t happen, that’s what I’m here for!). People love to share their experiences and you can learn from them so listen even if they say things you don’t necessarily want to hear. This is especially helpful if you know someone who has gone through what you’re going through now.
The transition to this new life can be rough. The health and wellness of yourself and core family is vital to surviving this profound detour in your life.
Build your own personal support team. Determine who will be able to go the distance with you because the road will be long and arduous. Times might get ugly, they might get messy, and there will be moments when you will want to leave it all behind. You need someone to make you realize just how strong and powerful you are, not someone saying, “I can’t even imagine” but someone who says, “you can do it”.
After you’ve started the process of healing and growth, you may be surprised that you’ll be empowered and inspired by how much you have learned about yourself. At some point, you will feel like you have choices in your life again. A new “normal” will appear and with the support of this new life you have built you will begin to venture out, with your head held high, into the world again.
With this renewed sense of hope and it has the potential to lead you to many new avenues in your life. New doors will open for you and you will meet many new and interesting people. You will experience setbacks along the way (everybody does…) but your emotional and physical strength will surprise you.
As you make your way through your new world make sure you keep this in mind, you are now a warrior. You have fought long and hard and have not only survived but thrived. There will be numerous battles along the way but if you stay focused on the important things in life, and avoid getting side tracked by naysayers and self-doubt and pity, I promise you will win the war – the war to live a happy life.