Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Advice to my Mother by Sarah Evans

I was blessed growing up. I was very close to my mother and always felt extremely loved and nurtured. This is not to say that I agree with all of the choices she made. One piece of advice that I would give to my mother and other people with disabilities is to not be too overprotective. 

My mother encouraged me to try many new opportunities, but she over protected me when it came to issues and problems that were going on in our family. My sister, who is two years older than I am, was not overprotected in the same way that I was. It was about not telling me what was going on. I am sure my mom had her reasons. She believed I had enough to worry about related to my disability. She thought I would obsess about issues - yes, I tend to do this quite a bit.

But I believe this experience left me ill prepared to deal with challenges in my later life. I had unrealistic expectations in relationships and in life in general. I believed that I could magically make everything wonderful and great and problems would never come. But, of course, they did come. And because I had no coping skills, I would get really upset and be unable to control myself. I struggled with serious mental heath challenges for a number of years. I am not saying that the only reason for this was that I was overprotected as a child, but I do believe it was a factor.

Disclosing anything to kids or letting them try new things requires wisdom and knowing the individual. But a lot of people mistakenly believe that kids with disabilities need to be protected physically or emotionally from the world around them because they have their own problems to deal with. But kids with disabilities turn into adults and, just like other kids, need to be as prepared as possible to deal with the world around them.