‘My mind is always racing, and I can’t turn it off.’: Special needs mom gets candid about mental health, urges ‘find the joy’

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“As not only a mom but also a special needs mom, many times there comes a point when you realize there are so many feelings bottled up…sometimes you need to let them out.

My knack for details is both a blessing and a curse; I notice little details, and I pick up on things that don’t even register to many people.

My mind is a steel trap. I remember events, dates, comments, like it’s nothing. So is my heart. I take everything to heart, and I keep it there—whether it deserves to stay or not.

I put my all into everything I do; it’s in my blood. It’s how I was raised. Whether it’s my family, my friends, my job—I dive in headfirst and give with my whole heart. I don’t say no easily—or often, for that matter.

I’m a people-pleaser, and I’m loyal to a fault. The problem is, with this type of personality, it’s also very easy to be walked all over, easily taken advantage of, or taken for a fool.

However, as quiet as I can be, I am anything but a fool. I notice everything. Every detail. Every smirk. Every wince. My husband has a personality which allows him to see micro-aggressions in all the interactions he has. I notice micro-rejections.

I notice when people I care about don’t react the same to me as they do other people we both care about. I’ve noticed them since I was a child. I know immediately when someone is being genuine with me, and when someone is just ‘getting along to get along.’

I analyze everything. Every interaction in my life. My mind is always racing, and I can’t turn it off. Believe me, I try. The problem is, I always put it on myself. I often struggle to find the words to truly express my feelings, because I feel the energy I receive so strongly. I am a full-blown empath. I feel so deeply, yet I struggle to vocalize the true intensity of those feelings.

When I feel hurt by something or someone, I replay the situation in my head over and over—wondering what I could’ve done or said differently to reach a more favorable outcome.

It’s taken a long time for me to realize—and will likely take me years to accept—that sometimes I didn’t do anything wrong. In reality, not every person who acts nice toward you wants to be your friend. Not everyone has genuine intentions, and much as I want to see the best in everyone, sometimes it’s just not there.

It’s so disheartening to see so much selfishness and manipulation in the world today; it breaks my heart this is the world my kids are growing up into. I want to be around forever to protect them from it. But the truth is, I can’t even protect myself.

It breaks my heart, even in our special needs community, some of the very parents who are fighting for kindness, acceptance, and support for their kids, don’t do the same for other adults unless it benefits them.

Through all of these experiences, I find myself still looking for the silver lining. And I remember someone I genuinely look up to saying, ‘Find The Joy.’ Remembering that, I appreciate even more I have found a few amazingly supportive, truly genuine friends.

The ones who check in on me when I haven’t been heard from in a few days, just to make sure I’m doing okay. The ones who know we’re struggling with lack of sleep, and tough behaviors—and check in to see if things have improved.

I have been reminded, consistently, where to focus my time, energy and love. It’s not the quantity of friendships and relationships in my life…

It’s the quality.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Trista Heffner. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more powerful perspectives from special needs moms:

‘The neurologist called. ‘I’m 90% sure your son has Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation. Do not google it.’: Special needs mom urges, ‘Life can be beautiful, even when it doesn’t go as planned’

‘She fell into my arms, tears falling. ‘My boy was non-verbal. He let himself out the front door.’ She tightly clutched his blanket, and described a boy just like my own.’: Special needs mom talks anxiety, missing children statistics

‘We see you put self-care on the backburner, skipping workouts and coffee with friends for an IEP meeting. You are miracle workers, moving mountains by sheer will.’: Husband pens sweet letter to special needs moms, ‘You’re the epitome of beauty’

‘The teacher said, ‘Your son is unteachable. He is the most autistic child in the group.’ It wasn’t true. He just needed someone to care.’: Special needs mom pulls son out of school after neglect, ‘He now gleefully puts on his backpack’

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