Originally published on Dec. 28, 2019.
I have been ill all over Christmas. One of those bugs that deceives you into thinking it is going and then just moves to a slightly different part of your head and throat.
I am usually pretty good at being ill- I am a big believer in resting and hydrating and letting your body do what it needs to. But I confess that when I woke up still ill this morning, two weeks in, feeling worse than yesterday, I very much reached the feeling sorry for myself stage.
I was very tired going in to the holiday, and feeling a bit demotivated. I was hoping a really good rest would re-enliven me for the New Year and that I would start with a boost of energy and motivation.
You wouldn't have known it to look at me, but internally I was in full toddler tantrum mode about being ill. It occurred to me that part of what I was feeling sorry about was that I hadn’t really been able to fulfil this storyline- yes, I had rested, but not in that restorative way, more in a ‘being immobolised against my will’ sort of way. I hadn’t managed to catch up with the household jobs I had planned for between Christmas and the New Year. And so I was telling myself that now I wouldn't have the energy I needed to start the New Year, and this was a bad start to it etc etc.
This got me thinking about storylines. In my experience, it is often not the thing that has actually happened that causes you the pain, more the narrative that you attach to it.
What storylines are you carrying about your child’s communication needs, their learning or their eating? What storylines are you maintaining about your role as a Parent? Are your stories helping, or are they wearing you out?
Stories are a natural by-product of being human, they are our attempt to create sense out of events, and they can help us when they motivate us. But when we are weighed down by our emotional responses to our stories and so often, completely unaware that those stories are playing out in our minds, then we can be making things much harder for ourselves.
As a Speech Therapist, it is not unusual for me to be trying to support children to develop their ability to sequence and explain events in stories. But also as a person working with families, it is my wish for you that perhaps you can become aware of and let go of some of the stories that might be getting in your way.
If this post resonates with you, I'd love it if you would join the Facebook group that I run for families of children with complex communication needs.
Lots of practical stuff about supporting your child, and a chance to talk with a Speech Therapist and with other families about communication. I like to talk about the emotional aspects of being a Parent or family member to a child with communication needs too, so we are here for whatever you need at the time.