How do you enjoy the little things in life when you are so overwhelmed by all the big things in life? It is not easy, but just like food is essential to your physical health, joy is essential to your mental health. One of the reasons I started this blog was because of my son. When he was three and a half we were told he was somewhere on the Autism spectrum. That diagnosis changed a lot for our family. Having been a nurse for many years at that point, I knew a fair amount about spectrum disorders, but frankly I was overwhelmed. If you read last weeks post, I alluded to how I used the “brain train” analogy to explain ADD to him, well over the years I have had to explain ASD, PDD, OCD, anxiety, Asperger’s, and even aversion therapy. So trust when I say I hear you & empathize with what you are going through. I truly hope that someone out there will find hope and encouragement through this blog and know that they are not alone.
So the topic of this week is how do you find joy in the midst of feeling overwhelmed, dealing with a crisis, or handling disappointment? I certainly had to deal with frustration, hurt, tantrums, lots of appointments, diet changes, medications, and more. For me, joy came in watching each small accomplishment. While parents naturally marvel at their baby’s steps, smiles, or the first time they say “I love you”; I had to wait on those. Even now at 15, he has said “I love you” maybe six times unsolicited. My joy had to come from watching the progress he made in cognitive and behavioral therapy. Knowing that for every step we took forwards or backwards, we were still moving and that brought us not only joy, but also hope! Watching him grow and develop his own unique personality, even if it was different than most children, brings tremendous joy to all who love him.
Last week we got to experience his first time of going to a camp, it was for basketball of things but required five straight days of driving back and forth over an hour each way. I loved watching him shoot the ball, stand in line (somewhat patiently I might add), and felt triumphant when he was on the team who won the “championship”. While every parent who has ever had this experience knows that this is a big joy. However, any parent with a kid on the spectrum knows that this was also a HUGE social experience to participate in. So where is the “little thing” you ask?
The little thing was going to lunch on the last day, during which he engaged in almost 15 minutes of actual conversation with me about his camp experience. See that is something most people would take for granted, but if you or someone you love is struggling with any kind of spectrum issue that moment means everything. So my practical strategy this week is that if you are overwhelmed with any situation in your life, stop and enjoy something little. That “little thing” will become the very rock that you build on to help you cope with what comes next.
After years of people telling me I should share my successes with my son as a means to encourage others, well here I am! As a professor of nursing I have explained many of these disorders to people in a variety of settings, but through this blog I am able to share them more personally. As a Certified Life Coach I teach others how to enjoy the little things no matter how overwhelmed they may feel in a particular moment. I have been blessed by my son and my experiences, and I can honestly say I am living life well.
See you next Friday,
P.S. Be sure to follow me on instagram @Laurawellfocused or find me on FB at Well Focused Life. I would love to hear from you.