The Caregiving Paradox: Loving your autistic child, letting go of your anxiety

Time for a hard truth. If you pour yourself into the people who need you without taking the time to recharge and take care of yourself, you will burn out and fail the people who rely on you the most. This is the paradox of caregiving. In order to take care of others, you must deeply and authentically care for yourself as well. Often self-care is the most difficult task a caregiver faces. When you give and give and give, the self sacrifice can begin to provide a sort of martyrdom high, with an equally powerful feeling of withdrawal when you stop or even slow down. This is why saying never mind, which is an act of letting go is important to practice as well as preach. 

Try it right now. go to the list you keep in your head of all of the present and future tasks you are juggling (I know you have one). Choose one, and try letting it go by taking in a deep breath, and let it out with a shrug. "Never mind". Some of the tasks in your head can just be released. Others are more critical, but it is worth asking yourself what would happen if you a) delegated the task b) put it off until tomorrow or c) were willing to forgive yourself for a less than perfect outcome.

Aaron Weintraub, MS runs child-centered social skills groups with a focus on children and teenagers with Pervasive Developmental Disorder,Asperger Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Shyness. Strengths-based approach in a community based setting. Groups available in Tolland, Mansfield, Willimantic, Hartford, Vernon and Coventry Connecticut.