Since I started to self identity as a parent carer 4 years ago, one thing has astounded me more than most, and that’s how quickly things can change.
On the left was me just over a week ago. Yes I’m totally sleep deprived and wearing a lot of make up, but I was stable. A week on and I am not. What caused the turn of the tide this time? One single email.
It takes one email, phone call, letter or meeting to completely turn your world upside down. To stop you feeling safe and supported. To leave you and your family feeling vulnerable and threatened. To feel like all of a sudden you have yet another mountain to climb.
I’ve been doing this long enough now to know that this won’t change. There will always be funding reviews, assessment reviews, education reviews. Just a slight change in one sentence can destroy your feeling of safety and it is here that our mental health is often challenged so frequently.
The need to feel safe is a basic human need. It’s even listed in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Yet as parent carers this is something that we so often don’t get the chance to feel.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t have reviews, but what we should be doing is going into them with the presumption that nothing has changed rather than parents being told to prove that things are still the same. Maybe then we would go into these reviews constructively rather than with our defences up on a mission to protect our family’s basic human rights and needs.
This week my world has been turned upside down by one email. The person who wrote it will no doubt not have given it a second thought. I have lost sleep, had to up my medication and I have cried. Physically my health has deteriorated because yet again the safety my family requires is threatened. Crisis looms should they attempt to reduce our funding.
I have already sought legal advice, perhaps the authority in charge will not understand why I felt the need to do this. Because to them it may just be a budget, but to me it is an absolute essential to surviving everyday life. The thought of losing it terrifies me to my very soul. I cannot go back to that state of crisis. Our health as a family has already suffered too much.
Why do we appear defensive and maybe even aggressive on occasion? Because the authorities are a constant threat to our family’s safety and health. Wouldn’t you want to protect them from that?