After much thought, time to reflect on the dreadful months we have all had, I have taken time to think about the direction of my blog and my YouTube channel. I feel that my lack of dedication to posting blogs and videos comes from the fact I choose to only share a very small portion of my daily life and try to keep posts either educational or upbeat.
I have always been someone who faces her battles internally. Pushed my struggles to below the surface and presented myself in a capable light because I find vulnerability a very hard thing to show. Maybe it’s because I had a disrupted childhood and not the happiest of starts, maybe it’s because I am on the spectrum and find sharing emotion hard. Or maybe it’s because I am someone who sees tears and struggling mentally as something shameful thanks to past abusers in my life making me feel weak. Either way I find it very hard to share truly the problems in my life outside of a mere couple of people. I have been trying to better this part of me and with some friendly support and encouragement I have decided to be more frank about my life and struggles on my blog and my YouTube. In short, open up my life to help others who may also have my struggles.
One thing people always tell me, is that I am real… that I am who I am and I make no excuses. Who you meet online, in person and in life, they are all the same and I treat everyone at face value. I have patience for most people. I am relatable and easy to share issues with and it made me think about the unfairness of it being one sided. I have always been the shoulder to cry on and the strong friend who will help when she can, but I am not being real and honest when I brush aside my own pain and troubles and refuse to share with people who care. My fans and followers are more than just readers and faceless names, many are my friends and have shared deep secrets and issues in their own life with me. I enjoy interaction and respond to emails and messages when I can. I have forged some true friendships because of this, brought about a community in my fan group and made solid relationships with many who trust me to help them with their issues. Many look to me for advice and I value every one of them.
So I intend a change in how I write my blogs and create my videos, they will be more than a place to share crafts or books and I want to share aspects of my life, motherhood and the struggles of raising two autistic children while being on the spectrum myself. My life is far from rosy. I am strong yes, but I am not indestructible or built with boundless energy and composure. far from it. My career is not as effortless as it seems to fellow authors and my talents come at a price to my ongoing mental health. I am me…and I hope to share more with you in hopes that someone out there struggling will get some sort of support form knowing they are not alone.
To outsiders my life seems controlled, peaceful and as though I always ‘handle’ everything and that image is not accidental. I am someone who is stubborn, who gained strength and independence from a troubled youth and find it hard to show anything more than capability. I am often praised for my abilities to keep on going, to handle both career and family life and to still always have a smile for people around me. Some say I am super woman or incredibly strong, those who know me much more personally know that it’s not entirely true. I am tired, but I am a fighter, a survivor. I just don’t know how to give up.
My children have their own difficulties and in recent years both have become increasingly hard to deal with in terms of life and school. Both are diagnosed autistic but my daughter also has similar issues to me – OCD, ADHD traits, severe social anxiety, dyslexia, and she also suffers from depression. Both of my children do not enjoy the social aspect of school, life in general, and both have health issues not related to being on the spectrum. My daughter has chronic fatigue syndrome, which was diagnosed this year, and was something I myself was diagnosed with at 15. I truly feel like she is reliving my youth and my struggles. Whereas my son has IBS and ongoing toilet related issues and pain, and problems with leg pain.
Therefore my life has daily battles and struggles in merely trying to get my children through every single day. Both have attendance issues at school which are anxiety related as well as health, and both find it very hard to stick to any kind of sleep routine. I am lucky if I get four hours on a good night without being woken and most days I am beyond exhausted. My children just find sleep a very hard thing to obtain properly and I myself have had broken sleep and erratic sleep schedules since I myself was young. I believe it is common in autism. Because of them my life is filled with health related appointments and school meetings and I am often run ragged with dealing with both. My daughter gets weekly therapy but due to her inability to communicate well I too have to be involved in the sessions. I feel like sometimes I rarely have a minute to myself so it shocks me that to date I have written so many books. I often wonder how I have managed that at all.
I myself have a few health issues and since contracting suspected Covid in march 2020 (sadly I was not tested for weeks) I have had ongoing breathing related issues which kickstarted childhood asthma again. I suffer from severe pain in my hips, legs and lower back which has been present my whole life and possible EDS but it was never confirmed. I gave up trying to find solutions to my own issues when my childrens health became priority. I am extremely awful at prioritising myself in anyway. I guess most mothers are. Isn’t that just what we do to ourselves when little ones come along? I also suffer from sensory issues and severe social anxiety and I will go into that in more detail in a future post.
In the past two years I have learned so much about the process of going through assessments, dealing with schools, things in place for children like mine and it’s a never ending battle. Getting your kids diagnosed is not easy and we started this journey with my son when he was 4, he is now turning 11 in two weeks. My daughter was more severe and as she was placed on a risk list for being suicidal her evaluation only took two years. It’s the worst thing in the world to feel so powerless and not be able to make things happen faster or give them a quick fix to cure how they feel.
Of course all of this greatly impacted the writing career I had struggled so hard to start and despite the ups and downs and sporadity of books coming out, so many followers have stuck by me. I can only thank them beyond the bottom of my heart for continued support. Patience and encouragment have truly kept me battling on.
So I guess I wanted to touch base and start to share my life with you, even briefly to rip the band aid off, and this blog is how I am doing it. I will go into more detail on certain aspects in future posts and only wanted to make a dent, before I lost my courage. Lift the mask of capability, no matter how scary that is, and show that I am human too. I struggle, I cry, and breakdown. I hide in dark rooms when I can’t face the world and despite always seeming confident and pulled together on social media, sometimes I am sat in pajamas with unwashed hair and barely holding myself together. It’s not shameful to admit we all struggle and sometimes wish this was not our life. I want to be a voice to reach out and say I see you, I struggle too. You are not alone and motherhood can be hellishly hard.
It’s not shameful to not be able to navigate life every day and to buckle with the pressure of problems. It’s being human. It’s how we deal with the fallout that defines us. I can cry, yell, vent, and even sit in a dark room for days and that’s okay. It’s okay to break. It’s okay to need to lean on others and it’s taken me a long time to see that. What I need to do is allow myself time to feel, to fall apart, and to rest mentally, but as long as I get up to face it head on again, that’s all that matters.
Strength is not someone who never stumbles or breaks down, it’s the person who buckles and sobs and gets up to keep on fighting that is truly strong. It was a lesson I had to learn for myself. To appreciate what truly being strong was. It’s not weak to show vulnerability.
So from now on I intend to be more frank and hope to start filming life videos without keeping the negative stuff out. I hope you will come along for the journey, although I have no idea what I am doing, no plan, no clue at all. I intend to go with the flow. I only hope that my words will help someone out there who feels like they are failing and see that everyone fights battles, everyone struggles and there is no yard stick to measure yourself up against. We are all only doing our best.