The following is Bennie's recent post on Hopeful Parents. I thought it was so raw and real--and true of the lives of so many of us parents with kids who have special needs--that I asked for his permission to repost it here.
I, too, have had great difficulty finding the spirit to write lately and I know that much of that is from the ebb and flow of my mood.
Give Bennie's site a gander when you're done reading. And check out he and Ben's artwork while you're at it!
It’s been awhile since I last wrote here at Hopeful Parents. My absence hasn’t been intentional – it’s just been one of those times where life just happens…or maybe hasn’t been happening enough to blog about it…or perhaps more precisely,feeling like blogging about it. Okay let me be just a little more honest with you. I’ve been depressed.
Depression is an illness I am very familiar with. In fact both my wife and I are so up to date with the latest new-fangled anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications that we are surprised we are not called upon by pharmaceutical companies to provide potential patients of possible side effects. You know those advertisements – the ones where Wonder Drug returns you to “normal” life except for the insomnia, hot flashes, diarrhea, nausea, constipation, shortness of breath, hemorrhoids, uncontrollable flatulence, drooling, headaches, affectations for reptiles, dry lips, body odor, hair loss, joint pain, or an odd desire to set your neighbor’s kid on fire. Like so many of you, most likely all of you who visit Hopeful Parents, the realization that life will never be “normal” again sometimes weighs me down like a cement life-jacket as I float along the Sea of Life.
Don’t get me wrong, just like all of those drugs that keep my son so much healthier these days I am genuinely thankful that some doctor, scientist, or researcher discovered emotional pain relievers. It’s just that depression is another one of those consequences of exceptional living that I…we…don’t deserve. It wasn’t something we either intentionally earned or even wanted. It came with the “whole package.”
And here’s the worst part: of all the parents out there we are the ones expected to hold our shit together the most. God forbid any of us give up, walk away, toss in the towel, deciding there’s got to be somebody else or a social service agency better qualified/capable/deserving/undeserving/needing/willing/ loving/etc. to care for my kid. Oh that person becomes the ultimate pariah of society…the worst of the worst! So we continue letting our souls and spirits descend into a special compartment of Davey Jones’ Locker filled with lead waders and concrete flippers.
But there is the upside: we know how valuable or children are! We do know how much joy and love they bring into our lives. We know how often they bridge the gaps between races, religions, cultures and everything else that divides the rest of us. We sometimes even know of special gifts, incredible potential or talents, accomplishments never expected; diamonds within the coal. This is why we continue “the journey.”
I’ve been casting an un-baited hook for awhile now. The illness of depression makes you selfish which just adds more slag to that weight pulling you down. Recently I’ve run into a few folks that enjoy dropping a cane pole in the water now and then. They too have occasionally been using the wrong lures to reel in that “keeper” we all want to brag about. The one we take a picture of...that ends up as a happy news item...something we are darn well proud of. That is the beauty of having fishing buddies – in the end we are proud of how we contributed to that special catch – at least that has been my experience with those I love to cast with. That would be the little fishing community of Hopeful Parents.
Bennie and his much more talented son, Ben, blog at A Work of Art: Raising Our Exceptional Son.