A group of RADical moms just met together in Orlando. I was not one of them. Boo. I sense an over all theme of "You Are Not Alone". This really struck a cord with me because there were so many times when I felt so completely alone in raising my children with RAD. It felt like no one person truly understood what was happening with them. I did not know what to do or where to turn. As I looked at Gala's photo:
I thought "Wow it is so great not to feel that way any more." It seems like long ago....
So what took me from that place of despondency to where I am now? A lot of work on ME. Yes. I have continued to work with boys who are not teens and almost grown up, but mainly I had to change me. I know none of us want to hear that.
Seek out support. Find people who understand. If you can't find any.... make some new friends. That doesn't mean you ditch the old ones, unless they are really destructive for you. It means you add on friends...Seek out foster families. Ask around at school and church and see if anyone knows of any. Just say something like "Do you know of any foster families? I have a few questions." You dont' have to sob "I'm so lonely. Find me a friend." Even if it is what you feel. I just started an adoption support group at our church.We have 12 families already. We have our first meeting this Sunday during the Sunday School hour. That way there is a place for our kids to go. It meets once a month. This week a parent is going to talk about becoming an interracial family. Next month we have a speaker coming to talk about his company and how it helps families find services.
Take care of yourself: In many ways RAD takes a toll on you in the same way a serious illness takes a toll on a parent. You becomes exhausted and depleted if you are not careful.
Exercise. If you can't leave your kids, there was a time when I would lift hand weight during commercials and run in place during a TV show. Get moving. You might be surprised how much better you feel. If you have a Y membership take your kids with you and get them moving. It is good for them to expend energy. They may have to stay in the same room with you. If so, take them to the gym and shoot hoops or run around the outside of it. I am in week 8 of the http://www.c25kcom/ and feel REALLY GOOD. If you feel like a slug chances are you need to get moving AND
Eating: Cut out the refined carbs. I have gone semi organic. I do still have the occasional Diet Coke. Which I know is acid. I'm working on it. I've never been more than a one a dayer, but have cut back to 2 or 3 a week. I am cooking more with fresh produce and only lean meat sparingly and have lost 10 lb. Great! Only 19 more to go. Ugh. But I will not give up. Even the loss of 10 makes me feel so much better.
Pray: How is your spiritual life? I'm not going to tell you what to believe, but I will tell you I get great strength from my relationship with God. I spend quiet time each day reading the Bible and praying. Prayer changes things. It is not just a slogan.
Love: Love on those kids. They will react in fear. Do no give up. Healing is possible. We found a great amount of help with an attachment therapist/EMDR therapist combination. Our insurance and Medicaid were willing to pay for both at the same time! If that is not a possibility for you, read yourself silly. There is so much great info out there. I am a big fan of http://www.center4familydevelop.com/ stuff.
Blogs: There are many great blogs out there by moms. Find someone you connect with and communicate with them through comments or email.