Depression and Autism mothers is very real. I recently spoke to a lady of a child with autism who reached out to me. I
can’t say for certain she is experiencing depression, however my gut instinct, as someone who has experienced it, told me this mom required help. It was this conversation that prompted this blog on depression and autism mothers. This one is for all you mommies, daddies and friends to shed light on Depression and Autism Mothers.
This blog does not replace medical advice.
DEPRESSION AND AUTISM MOTHERS IS REAL!
A research study indicated autism mothers experience higher rates of depression and stress than mothers of typically developing children. ( Topics in Early Childhood Special Education November 2013) Depression and autism mothers can have different experiences. Symptoms can change over time.
I did a bit of research on the internet and found a reputable site: http://www.autism-help.org/ who have put together some signs of depression. This check list is a general list. If you experience or know someone who is experiencing these symptoms for more than two weeks it is important to get help.
I wanted to share these signs with all my readers out there.
“A change in eating habits resulting in unwanted weight gain or loss
• A change in sleep patterns—too much sleep or not enough
• Feeling tired all the time
• A loss of interest in people and/or activities that once brought you pleasure
• Becoming easily agitated or angered
• Feeling nothing you do is good enough
• Thoughts of death or suicide, or attempting suicide
• Ongoing headaches, digestive disorders, chronic pain etc that don’t seem to go away.”
While I would love to write more on the topic and give advice I am simply not qualified. Having said that, I wanted to tell all you mothers out there, you are doing a great job. Your sacrifices are not unnoticed. You work hard. Your children are making gains. It does not matter how small the gains, they are NOT trivial, and your efforts are changing their lives.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of depression please seek advice. Don’t Wait. Depression and Autism Mothers is Real!
If you don’t know where to start, visit your family doctor for advice.
I Wanted To Share Some Practical Tips With You On Depression and Autism Mothers
1. Learn To Take A Break
It is okay to take a break. You deserve it! It can be as small as a half an hour to yourself to read the book you have always wanted to read, flip through a magazine or simply to have a cup of coffee by yourself. Yup its hard to get that cup of coffee sometimes by yourself. Check out my hilarious crappy illustrations of Mommy Needs a Break for some light heartedness comedy. Remember it is important to take a break every day at least once in the day. I actually have to schedule my breaks otherwise the day slips by and I have forgotten about myself.
2. Do Something Special For Yourself
How many times have you thought of going for that manicure but never have the time? It is important to make time for yourself. A special time when it is all about you. A coffee at Starbucks, a long walk, a trip to the shopping mall. Making time for yourself does not mean taking a trip to the grocery store to do the weekly grocery shopping. Some of you may think this is crazy when I write this, I know lots of moms whose alone time is running an errand ALONE.
THIS DOES NOT COUNT!
3. Meet Your Friends
Many of you are going to say, I don’t have the time, or I can’t find a baby sitter. When there is a will there is a way. Having a night out for some great girly time is a stress relief. Joke, have a drink, laugh, share your problems and leave with a boulder lifted from your shoulders. It does not have to be long. Recently, I went to a girls night out. I got there late by an hour and left after an hour. It’s all I had time for, and it was great. I loved every minute of it.
4. Go On A Date
NO this does not mean you have to sign up on a dating site. It is important to make time for your significant other and yourself as a couple. When was the last time you went out on a date just the two of you? If babysitting issues are a barrier, the date does not have to be for a long time, even a few hours for a dessert and coffee or a drink at the local bar can have positive impacts on your relationship.
5. Get A Good Nights Rest
As simple as this sounds, this is a hard one for almost any autism mom. If your child wakes up at night multiple times or wanders at night, light sleeping is a way of life. This is not healthy. Even though Niam sleeps through the night, I still only sleep a few hours a night, a contributing factor is I suffer from insomnia. In reality, my insomnia is attributed to anxiety and worry I experience during the day making it difficult for me to have a long rested sleep. The solution is variable from person to person. For me, I can only get a good nights sleep if I am out of the house and away from everything. I literally have to forget. For parents whose child continuously wakes up at night, try to have your significant other take the duty for one night a week, or recruit a friend or relative to help out.
6. Do Physical Exercise
I know its hard to make time for physical exercise. The Mayo Clinic reports exercise can relieve stress. There are countless studies on exercise and stress. Exercise does not have to be a trip to the gym to perform a gruelling weight lifting session or hours of cardio. Exercise in any capacity can have positive effects. I sometimes run up and down my stairs for ten minutes. I do lunges when I brush my teeth. I try to get a bit of exercise in whenever I can.
THREE TIMES A WEEK I MAKE TIME TO DO A HOUR OF EXERCISE
Exercise helps to increase the production of your brain’s feel good neurotransmitters called endorphins. A swim in the pool can help promote meditation. I love swimming and when I am in the pool I forget everything. I drift into another world while concentrating on my laps and my stroke. I feel great after a workout as it calms me and help improves my overall mood. I am sure this is one of the main reasons my husband is alway pushing me to go swimming. 🙂
It is very liberating to write your feelings down in a journal. Writing this blog made me think of myself, depression and autism mothers includes me, and I realize I have to do more for myself. If you want to publish your feelings, a story, tips for other mothers, a favourite recipe – even if it is a cooky autism recipe your child loves, you can submit it to our blog. I would be happy to publish it. There is an option of being anonymous.
SEND IT TO US AT firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope you liked our article on Depression and Autism Mothers. The article does not replace medical advice. If you are experiencing any symptoms please visit your family doctor or seek professional help.
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