“To all of the Mum's out there with ASD kids. We spend so much of our time doing therapies and specialist appointments to help our kids but I have to ask. How are you?”
Over 18 000 people saw that post. Your answers blew me away. I wanted to reach out to each of you and give you a great big hug. Overall, for the majority of you the answer was feeling tired, stressed and overwhelmed. My heart broke for so many women struggling to cope. Crushed, crap and chronic fatigue also seemed to be the words that I saw over and over again. Some were just happy to be asked how they were feeling. It had been a while since someone inquired.
“Sixteen years down the track and I don't think I have ever been asked that?!” - Tracy
I have the honor of running a playgroup in Melbourne and even though my kids are all at school now I find the time to sit and connect with lots of Mums. I think some groups of Mums have a harder time than others and Mums in the ASD community are doing it tough. Struggling to get through each day. More and more of my friends are now on anti-depressants just to get through the day. Two women that I know in the past week have reached breaking point and are now taking medication. Last week I sat across the table over coffee and just listened as a friend wept. Ladies, I think it’s time we talked about this.
“Sad” - EJ
The love we have for our children pushes us to work hard and do all we can to give them a great life. We attend regular therapies, long meetings and at times, emotionally devastating appointments. All in the hope that they will make a difference to our kid’s outcomes, and I’m sure they do. But then we come home and clean the house, wash the clothes and try and get a healthy meal on the table. Hoping that it will be eaten, with as little fuss as a possible. Days are long, and for some, there’s no parenting support to lean on. There’s no respite and there’s no me time. Ladies, this needs to change.
“Tired and fed up, between the constant round of appointments and dealing with the school and it's intolerance of some of the students towards my child’s need to fit in and be treated like every other student in the school” - Lawrence
A number of you were kind enough to ask me how I was doing. Thank you.
“Yep, tired. A bit overwhelmed. But ready to face a new day tomorrow head on! Thanks for asking :-)” - Robyn
But here’s the truth. How am I really going? I’m loving life. I’m taking the time to enjoy every moment. But I’m run down. My body is struggling to cope and it’s way of showing it is through the illness of allergies. Being run down effects different people in different ways. Some get irritable bowel syndrome, some get headaches, some get fatigue, some get anxiety and for some, they get much worse.
My allergies now extend to tomatoes, avocado, sesame oil, peanut oil, wheat, MSG, preservatives and sulfites. I’m lucky as I can avoid consuming these foods and most of the time feel well. But when I found out what had caused the allergies, I realized it was time to look after me for once.
Hair testing showed that I was very, very low in a number of essential minerals. Minerals that without them, your body can’t function. Well known minerals like Magnesium, which controls over 300 body systems, and not so well known ones like Molybdenum that is needed to convert sulfite into sulfate. But why had my body been stripped of its minerals? I eat fairly well, love my veggies and try and buy organic. Why? Because of stress.
Stress causes your body to use up minerals faster than it should. In particular, magnesium and zinc. But they’re not the only ones. I was also low in sodium and potassium. A combination that when found together are called the “emotional stress pattern”. Over the years I’ve mastered the art of bottling up my stress and getting on with life. And as much as my mind can believe I’m ok, my body tells the truth.
The reality hit home when I found out that very low levels of Molybdenum had been linked to esophageal cancer. I had to make a change; it was time to start looking after me.
Things like nuts, which had been banned in our house for the past 10 years due to my son’s allergies, made a come back. They’re very high in magnesium. I’m having lentils twice a week, as they’re a great source of Molybdenum. And I’m taking supplements. And I’m having regular Epson salt baths. And I’m feeling better. Much better.
We can’t afford to let ourselves become run down. We need to look after ourselves. First. Because if we can’t look after ourselves, how can we be expected to look after our beautiful children.
A great quality vitamin and mineral supplement won’t cure chronic illness, but it will help. And if you’re really run down, it’s worthwhile doing a hair test to find out what minerals your body is low in.
Remember, no zinc, no think! (Zinc is essential for brain function.)
What will help the most though, is taking time out to look after yourself, before you hit breaking point.
What does your body need right now?
P.S. The mineral I was lowest in was Lithium, which is linked to mental illness. I’ve been drinking lots of Italian mineral water and my lithium levels have improved. Am I less mental now? Well, you might have to ask my family that question, I am still playing Roller Derby!