Wednesday 30 January 2013

The Beesley Buzz - Finding support where you least expect it

I have a very new blogger posting here today, Rebecca has been part of our community for about 4 months now and gives us a very open and heartfelt account of why blogging has become really important to her. First a little about Rebecca and her family -

Rebecca blogs at The Beesley Buzz with husband Richard and her three children. The Beesley Buzz is very much a family effort and you’ll see all the family getting involved. J, her eldest, is great at maths, loves reading and is the worlds’ biggest Moshi Monsters fan; he also happens to be on the Autistic Spectrum. D, her younger son aged 6, is The Brilliant Chef  and loves to cook. Both boys are home schooled. Last but not least is T, 9 months old, who adores her two brothers.

In my excitement at recently discovering the wonderful concept that is ‘New Bloggers Fortnight’ (and wishing I had come across it before we started blogging), I enthusiastically agreed to write a post for this year’s New Bloggers Fortnight and then started reading through all those great posts from the previous years.
Then it dawned on me… what had I done?!? All these bloggers actually knew what they were talking about… and I really don’t. So I don’t promise any real wisdom but just our experiences of how blogging has opened up a world of support and understanding that is sadly lacking in other areas of life.
When we first started blogging 4 months ago, I hadn’t realised just how many other bloggers were out there who had experienced similar situations to us having a child on the Autistic spectrum. But the more I read, the more I came across situations that seemed to mirror experiences that we had – some of the difficulties our son experienced at school, the reactions of others when he has a meltdown in public, how siblings in the family are affected, some of the tensions in friendships and relationships when there is a lack of understanding about Autism.
So many times, I thought I could have been reading about my own life. How could these people so accurately understand what we’d been going through, the emotions we’d felt, the feelings and frustrations we had?
The sense of relief… So often when your child is different… when they don’t fit in at school, when they struggle with the little things that other kids just fly through, you are left wondering what is ‘normal’ for a child like mine.
Sometimes in real life, you are left feeling that your child is the only child who is capable of having a meltdown so huge that it seems that the whole world has stopped to stare and you just want the ground to open up and swallow you, just to stop yourself feeling so judged, so inadequate as a parent, so helpless.
And then I tuck the kids into bed, turn on the computer and I realise I am not alone. Sometimes I might blog about the bad days myself (although often I find I don’t because as therapeutic as I know it would be to get it out of my system on those days, I don’t have an ounce of emotional energy left to give any more output). More often I read. I see what everyone else’s day has been like and I feel comforted, I feel supported, I realise that I am not alone in feeling like this.
The times I have been able to type a few words whether in a blog post or on Facebook, I have been so encouraged by the words of kindness and understanding shown by other bloggers. Some understand because they are going through similar situations, others understand because they have a good awareness of the issues from the blogs that they read – but the important thing is they understand, they care, and they don’t judge me.
And I could go on. I could tell you about how impossible I find it to get to any support groups locally because those held during the day would mean I would have to drag along three children who really wouldn’t want to be there, and those held in the evening just feel impossible to get along to when to have spent the day just managing to get through to bedtime and the last thing you can face is getting yourself out the house at the end of a long day.
I could tell you about the ‘friends’ that suddenly disappeared pretty much as soon as my son received his diagnosis (we do also have some truly wonderful friends who we do stay in touch with and I am so grateful to them for loving and accepting J for who he is regardless of his ASD).
I could tell you about how those we should be able to trust the most in real life, those in responsible positions of authority in the education system, those we had initially assumed would be there to help our son fulfil his potential and not be limited by his condition, let him down so badly and didn’t seem to have any knowledge of how to effectively deal with children with ASD or special needs. And when we wanted to shout out from the rooftops about the positives, those little achievements (that are actually big achievements for J) – a calm day, being focused, coping with his school work – it just seems meaningless to those who don’t really understand.
Yet so many bloggers do ‘get it’. They understand. They celebrate the good days with us and stand alongside us on the not-so-good days.
The dictionary definition of a ‘Community’ is “a group or society helping each other” and our experience of the blogging community has been just that. And I want to thank the blogging community for the true sense of community I have found here – whether you realise it or not, so many of you have helped me at the times I have needed it most – thank you.

And thank you Rebecca, I expect every one of us reading this can relate to how much the community has helped us at one time or another. Great to have you posting here!